Hardware, Cabling, and Connections

Before you can set up the networking software in Windows, you need to assemble and configure the proper hardware. In addition to two or more computers, you’ll need the following components to set up a home or small office network:

  • Network adapters. Each computer needs an adapter to communicate with the other computers on the network. (An adapter is sometimes called a network interface card, or NIC.) Network adapters can be internal (usually installed in a PCI slot) or external (typically connected to a USB port). Most wired network adapters conform to the Ethernet standard. Wireless adapters conform to one of several 802.11 (Wi-Fi) standards.

  • A central connection point. Use a hub or switch to connect the computers ...

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