What is Home Networking?

Ken Black

Home networking does not normally describe a type of computer network, but rather its location and general use. Up until the beginning of the 21st Century, home networking was relatively rare, simply because there were not many households having more than one computer and peripheral device. Now, as times have changed and computers are becoming more prevalent, the need for a dependable home network is clear.

A wireless router can be used as part of a home network.
A wireless router can be used as part of a home network.

Home networking can be broken down into two major types of local area networks, wired and wireless. Most people tend to install a wireless network in their home only because it is the easiest to install and maintain. There is no need to worry about running wires through walls or worry too much about hardware failure. If there is a failure, the problem is usually easy to diagnose. Whether it is easy to fix is another matter.

A wired router can be used to set up a home network.
A wired router can be used to set up a home network.

While it is possible to do many things from multiple computers, home networking offers some advantages that others do not. For example, the computers are able to share files with each other. Also, they can share hardware uses such as the printer. No longer does the printer need to connected to the computer through a wire. The information can be sent over the air to the router, which will then forward the data to the printer.

However, while home networking increasingly takes advantage of all these things, the most popular reason for the technology is simply to connect all computers in the home to the Internet. Whether it is a desktop or notebook computer, or a combination in the household, home networking makes connection possible from probably anywhere in the home. The only limiting factor is the range of a system, which varies based on technology but is generally not less than 300 feet (approximately 100 meters).

For parents who do not want their children using the printer without permission, home networking software usually allows privileges to be set up based on the device being accessed or the computer that is trying to access it. This may include entering a password for access, for example. In those cases, this provides a way to control features parents do not want their children using without supervision. This can also be done to restrict access to the internet.

One thing home networking may do is cause slower speeds than the household may be used to if only having one computer connected prior to setting up the network. This is because more computers are competing for the same amount of bandwidth. In some cases, this is a minor inconvenience. However, if internet speeds become unacceptable, the user may have other, speedier packages available to them. Check with your internet service provider for more details.

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