In this article, you will learn how to create a local area network that allows connected computers and devices to communicate with each other and access the Internet.
Part 1 of 3: Determining Your Network Needs
Step 1. Count the number of computers that will be connected to the wired network
Before you start running a local network, you need to know exactly how many computers will be connected to the network via Ethernet ports. This will allow you to determine the required number of ports.
If you need to connect up to five computers, use a router. If there are more, then you will most likely need a switch to increase the number of available ports on the router
Step 2. Decide if you need to configure your wireless network
If you want your devices to connect to your network wirelessly, get a router with a wireless access point function. Most modern routers have this feature.
Network switches do not support connecting wireless devices and are used exclusively for installing wired LANs or increasing the number of free router ports
Step 3. Decide if you want all devices on the network to have access to the Internet
If you want all connected devices to have access to the Internet, you need to configure the router to handle connections. If the devices do not need to be able to access the Internet, use a network switch.
Step 4. Measure the distance between all connected devices
This is unlikely to be a problem for most homes, but you should be aware that the maximum allowable network cable length is 100 m. If you need to extend the cable beyond this distance, install a switch in this section.
Step 5. Plan for future needs
If you occupy all ports on your equipment, consider connecting more devices in the future.
Part 2 of 3: Installing a Basic LAN
Step 1. Take care of the necessary network equipment
To create a local network, you need a router or switch that will act as the hub of your network. These devices forward data packets to the appropriate computers.
- Router provides IP addressing of devices on the local network and is absolutely necessary if you decide to provide other connected devices with an Internet connection. We highly recommend setting up your network through a router, even if you don't plan on sharing your internet connection.
- In fact, network switch Is a simpler version of the router. While connected devices will be able to communicate with each other, the switch itself will not automatically assign IP addresses and will not be able to set up a shared Internet connection. Switches are best suited for increasing the number of LAN ports available on the network.
Step 2. Configure your router
Setting up a router for a core network is straightforward. Just connect it to a power source and not far from the modem if you plan to distribute an Internet connection through it.
Step 3. Connect the modem to the router (if needed)
If you plan to distribute the Internet from a modem, connect it to the WAN / INTERNET port on the router. This port usually differs from other ports in its color.
Step 4. Connect the switch to your router (if needed)
If you decide to use the switch to increase the number of available ports on the router, use a network cable to connect any LAN port on the router to any LAN port on the switch. This will expand the network with the remaining free ports on the switch.
Step 5. Connect computers to available LAN ports
Use a network cable to connect each computer to an available port on your router or switch. The order in which the ports are connected does not matter.
The network cable cannot provide reliable data transmission over a distance of more than 100 meters
Step 6. If you are using a switch, make one of the computers act as a DHCP server
If the switch is only serving as the hub of the network, using one computer as a Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) server will allow other computers on the network to automatically obtain an IP address.
- Installing a third-party program will allow you to quickly organize a DHCP server on one of the computers.
- If the rest of the computers on the network are configured to automatically obtain IP addresses, this will happen as soon as the server is up and running.
Step 7. Check the network connection on all computers
Once the computers receive IP addresses, they can communicate with each other over the network. If you have configured the router to share Internet access, then every computer on the network will have Internet access.
Step 8. Set up file and printer sharing
Even when the network is created, you will not see anything on other computers until you share files on them. Share files, folders, drives, printers and other devices so that anyone or only a specific user on the network can access them.
Part 3 of 3: Build a Wireless Network
Step 1. Configure your router
There are a few things to keep in mind when setting up your wireless router:
- For easier diagnostics, the router should be placed next to the modem.
- Place it in the center of the room for maximum wireless coverage.
- During the configuration process, the router will need to be connected to the computer via the Ethernet port.
Step 2. Connect your computer to one of the LAN ports of the router
The wireless setup on the router will be done through the browser on the computer.
Step 3. Launch a browser on your computer
Any browser is suitable for this purpose.
Step 4. Enter the IP address of the router
It is usually printed on the bottom of the router or in the accompanying documentation. If you can't find it, try the following options:
- Windows - right-click on the “Network” icon located on the taskbar → select “Network and Sharing Center” → click on the Ethernet link → click on “Details” → the IP address of the router will be listed in the line “Default gateway ".
- Mac - Click the Apple menu and choose System Preferences → choose Network → choose Ethernet Connection → The IP address of your router will be listed in the Router line.
Step 5. Log in with an administrator account
You will be asked to enter your credentials to access the router's settings. The default credentials tend to depend on the router model, but the username is usually “admin” and the password is “admin”, “password”, or an empty string.
The router model can be viewed on the website: https://portforward.com/router-password/. You can also find your login credentials there
Step 6. Open the Wireless section in the router settings
The exact location and title of this section depends on the router you are using.
Step 7. Change your network name in the SSID or Network name field
This name will appear in the list of available wireless networks.
Step 8. Select WPA2-Personal in the Authentication or Security field
It is the most secure security protocol available on most routers. Use WPA and WEP only if required to connect older, incompatible devices.
Step 9. Come up with a strong password
This password will be used to connect to the network. This field can be labeled as Pre-Shared Key.
Step 10. Make sure the wireless network has been turned on
Depending on your router, you may have to check or click on the button at the top of the Wireless menu to enable the wireless network.
Step 11. Click Save or Apply to save the changes to the router
Step 12. Wait for the router to restart
It can take a minute to get the router and network up and running again.
Step 13. Connect to a wireless network on wireless devices
When the network is up and running again, it will appear in the list of available networks on all wireless devices in range. When connected to the network, users will be asked to enter the password you provided.