Buying the right hardware

To successfully install and run a home or small office network, you need to have the right hardware installed in each computer. This hardware includes modems, network adapters, network cables, hubs, or phone cables.

The table below will help you determine the type of network to install and the equipment you need. For a comprehensive list of hardware supported by Windows operating systems, see Compatible Hardware and Software in Help and Support Center.

Home Phoneline Network Adapter (HPNA)

In a home phoneline network, you use your home's phone lines to connect your computers together. Each computer must have an HPNA that is plugged into a phone jack. Every phone jack in your home becomes a port on the network.

HardwareHow many?Comment

Home phoneline network adapter (HPNA)

One for each computer on your network

The Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) host computer typically uses an Ethernet network adapter if you are using an external DSL or cable modem If you have an internal modem, or an external 28.8 or 56 kilobits per second (Kbps) modem, you only need one network adapter.

Telephone cables

One for each computer on your network

Standard telephone cables to plug your computer into the phone jack.

Wireless

In a wireless network, each computer has a wireless network adapter. They connect by sending out radio waves using a transceiver

Hardware

How many?

Comment

Wireless network adapter

One adapter for each computer on your network

The ICS host computer typically uses an Ethernet network adapter if you are using an external DSL or cable modem. The wireless network adapter communicates with the rest of your home or small office network. If you have an internal modem you only need one network adapter.

Ethernet

In an Ethernet network, each computer generally has an Ethernet network adapter and connects to a network hub.

Hardware

How many?

Comment

Ethernet network adapter

One adapter for each computer on your network

The ICS host computer typically uses an Ethernet network adapter if you are using an external DSL or cable modem, so a second network adapter is required. If you have an internal modem, you only need one network adapter.

Network hub

One

The hub should have enough jacks to accommodate all the computers on your network.

RJ-45 network cables

One for each computer that is connected to the network hub

These look like standard phone cables, only larger.

Planning your network

Using the information above, determine the solution that best suits your network. Then make list of equipment you need to buy. To do this:

1.

Make a table showing each computer on your network.

2.

Under each column, note if there is a network adapter, and if so, what kind of adapter it is (Ethernet, HPNA, or wireless).

3.

Under each column, note if there is a modem installed in the computer. This can be an internal or external modem, ISDN, DSL, or cable modem.

4.

If you have printers or scanners, make a note of which computer they are attached to.

After you have this list, you can determine how many adapters and cables you need to buy. If one or more of your computers already has a network adapter, such as Ethernet, you might want to purchase Ethernet adapters for the rest of your computers. Or, if one or more computers each has a home phoneline network adapter (HPNA), you might want to purchase a home phoneline network adapter (HPNA) for the rest of your computers. If none of your computers have adapters, you'll need to decide how you want to connect your computers.

 Note

If the ICS host computer is using an external DSL or cable modem to connect to the Internet, you need to install two network adapters. The DSL or cable modem is connected to one network adapter and provides the Internet connection. The second network adapter communicates with the other computers in your home network.

If the ICS host computer has an internal modem, install one network adapter that will be used for your home network.

Most external DSL and cable modems are wired to connect to an Ethernet network adapter. Check the manufacturer's specifications to determine the type of network adapter you need to connect to your external DSL or cable modem.

There are several HPNA kits on the market. These kits typically have all of the hardware you need for one or two computers on your network.

For a comprehensive list of hardware supported by Windows operating systems, see Compatible Hardware and Software in Help and Support Center. 

Hardware requirements overview

Modems overview

Network adapters overview

Steps for creating a home or small office network

Connecting your computers together

Public and private network connections

Using a mixed network environment



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