Home or small office network overview
In your home or small office, you might have more than one computer. You might also have other hardware devices such as printers, scanners, or cameras. With all of these computers and devices, sharing files, folders, and your Internet connection is the ideal solution.
A home or small office network is a way for you to use other computers or equipment without actually being at those computers. You can work on photos and files with other family members or co-workers while surfing the Internet at the same time.
Using Windows, there are numerous ways to connect computers or create a network. For homes and small offices, the most common model is peer-to-peer networking.
A peer-to-peer network, also called a workgroup, is commonly used for home and small business networks. In this model, computers directly communicate with each other and do not require a server to manage network resources. In general, a peer-to-peer network is most appropriate for arrangements where there are less than ten computers located in the same general area. The computers in a workgroup are considered peers because they are all equal and share resources among each other without requiring a server. Each user determines which data on their computer will be shared with the network. Sharing common resources allows users to print from a single printer, access information in shared folders, and work on a single file without transferring it to a floppy disk.
A home or small office network is similar to a telephone system. On a network, each computer has a network adapter that acts like a phone handset; just as you use the handset for talking and listening, the computer uses the network device to send and receive information to and from other computers on the network. With home or small office networking, you can:
Successfully setting up your home or small office network is a two-part process:
The Network Setup Wizard guides you through Internet Connection Sharing, enabling Internet Connection Firewall and network bridging, naming your computer, and providing a computer description.
You can set up one computer to communicate to the Internet using Internet Connection Sharing (ICS). ICS provides the relay for all computers in your home or small office network to communicate with the Internet through a single connection at the same time. Other members of your family can surf the Web, check their e-mail, and play Internet games through a single connection.