Your home network

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These days it is quite common for one household to have several computers online, connecting to the internet via a wireless router. In our house, we have 4 computers. Mine is connected by cable to the router, and the others connect wirelessly. Of course, you want to make sure your network is secured with at least a password or passphrase – that keeps your neighbors (or anyone else nearby) from accessing your network.

There are a couple of advantages of this scenario, aside from everyone being able to connect to the high-speed internet signal.

We only use one printer. It is located in the office and connected by cable to my computer. I designated it as a “shared” printer, so that anyone on the network can use it. We might use more ink in that printer, but that’s still cheaper than buying 4 printers. Also, if someone comes over with a wireless laptop and needs to print something, they can use the password to get on the network and use the same printer.

Another feature of this system is that it makes backups easier. I have an external hard drive connected to my computer, so I designate it as “shared”, and then each person on the network can create their own folder on that drive. Everything important is sent to that drive on a regular basis, so the critical data is always in two places. Incidentally, having the data in two different places at all times is the critical rule of backup strategy. Sometimes people will tell me that they are going to put their valuable family pictures on a CD, so that they could delete them from the computer hard drive. What if the CD somehow gets damaged? Always keep the data in two places.

There are other advantages of having all computers on the same network (such as making it very easy to share files). If you don’t already have your computers set up this way, I recommend doing it or having someone help you do it.

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