Chapter 14: Setting Up Your Network
Requirements for Building a Small Network
Every computer you want to connect to your network requires a network interface card
(NIC), also called a network adapter. Some motherboard manufacturers include a net-
work adapter on the board, making connecting to a network very easy. You can pur-
chase additional network adapters at any office supply store or computer hardware
supplier. Ethernet is the single most common network standard in the world, and inte-
grated network adapters always fall into this category. Additional network standards
exist, and they work very well with Windows Vista, but Ethernet has the most use.
This chapter only discusses its use as a network medium for shared network resources.
Networking machines together requires several different items to allow the function-
ality you desire. Table 14-1 lists the different requirements and functionality of the
As the table shows, you can set up an isolated internal network using network
cables, network cards, and an Ethernet router. I recommend an Ethernet router over
a hub or switch to allow you to connect your network to the Internet later, without
having to purchase an Ethernet router. As an example, the D-Link Ethernet Broad-
band router has four Ethernet ports for connecting your computers and network
devices, and an additional port for connecting to the Internet. The LinkSys Wireless
G Broadband router has four Ethernet ports for connecting your computers and net-
work devices, wireless connection capability, and an additional port for connecting
to the Internet.
You can create a simple network to connect your computer to the Internet using a
network card, two network cables, and a cable/DSL modem. Typically, your ISP will
supply the necessary cable/DSL modem.
By merging the components required for an internal network with those that are
required for connecting to the Internet, you could create an internal network with
Internet connectivity. This type of network would allow multiple computers to share
resources and to connect to the Internet through your ISP’s cable/DSL modem.
While most ISPs will allow you to connect multiple computers to the Internet
through their cable/DSL service, some won’t, and you might need to purchase a ser-
vice upgrade to allow this type of connectivity.
Table 14-1. Small-network functionality requirements
Hardware Internal network
with secure Internet
Network cables XXXX
Network cards XXXX
Cable/DSL modem X X X
Ethernet router X X X