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Monday, August 29, 2016

Everything You Need to Know About Home Networking

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Setting up a home network is not as hard as you think it is. In fact, if your Internet Service Provider (ISP) gave you a router when you signed up for their services, you probably already have a home network. In this guide, we’re going to explain the fundamentals of home networking; look at expanding your network to handle more devices; consider the different types of Internet connections; and guide you through some exciting scenarios.

The Big Picture – What Can You Do With a Home Network? 

Before we get into the technical details of setting up a home network, let’s look at the big picture. A home network is a private collection of devices – computers, mobile phones, gaming consoles – which are all connected to a router or switch. This is also called a local network. Every device on your home network can “talk” to every other device, which opens up possibilities for media streaming, network backup, multiplayer gaming – and so much more. Here’s an example of a home network – mine, in fact.


I’ve augmented the router my ISP provided (by placing it into modem mode) with an Apple Airport Extreme, which provides better wireless performance to some devices. From there, I’ve extended the wired part of the network into two parts of the house using 5-port Ethernet switches – my office and living room, each with 4 devices. In the office, I have a Network Attached Storage (NAS) device, which provides shared data folders to every device, for movies and TV streaming anywhere in the house, as well as backups. In the living room is a range of gaming consoles, a TiVo box and an Android media player (our ProBox EX2 review). Despite owning a smart TV (What is a smart TV and do you need one?), it’s not hooked into my network, simply because the devices we own do a far better job of anything the smart TV offers.

Many people think that getting a router is only about providing an Internet connection for all their tech toys, but it can be so much more. Here are a few ideas of what you can do with a home network – check out the last part of this guide for other home networking scenarios.

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