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How to Install and Setup a Home or Small Office Local Area Network (LAN)

by: Megan B. Bolivar | 14 Oct, 2010 16:55:54

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Having a basic understanding of a Local Area Network can help you Setup, configure and install a Home or Office Network. Familiarity with PC Hardware and Software Troubleshooting and Repair is reccomended to successfully build a small LAN.

We will build a LAN from the ground up from purchasing LAN devices to configuring and running the network.

We need to buy the following Network devices for our Small Network.

1. Computers
2. Network Adapters
3. Switch
4. UTP cables
5. RJ45
6. Crimping Tools
7. LAN Tester (optional)

You can buy brand new computers or used and refurbished computers  for your network. If you use brand new computers it automatically has a Network Adapters built in the motherboard so you dont need to buy anymore but if you use old computers there might be no Network Adapter inside so you have to purchase it separately.

Make sure that the network adapter installed on your computer has a speed of 100mbps or more for fast network experience.

Another essential Network device that you need is the LAN Switch or hub. You will need this to connect all your computers on your Network. You need to buy a Switch hub with speed of 100mbps or up for optimum performance

You also need UTP cables to physically connect each and every computers on your network. Buy CAT5e or CAT6 cables this cables can carry high speed network bandwidths.

To be able to connect your UTP cable to your computer you need to attached an RJ45 connector to each end of the UTP cable.

To attach an RJ45 cable on your UTP cable you need to buy a Crimping tool to crimp the RJ45 connector to your UTP cable.

If you dont like to do all the crimping for your cables you can buy UTP cables with pre attached connectors these are the patch cords of course this will cost alot more.

You can also buy a LAN Tester so that you can test if the cable you build were working properly. This will help you troubleshoot network errors related to the Physical connection of you computers on your network.

Now that you have all the necessary network devices for your LAN Its time to build it up.

Follow this Steps

1. Install the Network Adapter to your computer, if it doesnt have one

2. Install your Windows Operating sytems on every computer on your network

3. Give Each computer on your Network a unique name. eg. PC1, PC2 you can do this during Windows installation, you will be prompted to enter a computer name for your computer. You can edit your computer name anytime later in the My COmputer Properties later if you want.

4. Install the device driver of your LAN adapter. Make sure that it is working properly. Go to Device Manager and see if LAN adapter doesnt have a yellow icon beside your LAN adapter

5. Bring out your LAN Switch or hub Find the best location for your switch on your LAN

6.  Make a LAN cable crimp the RJ45 connectors to your UTP cable of course you need to get the right measurement from your switch to your computer.

7. Connect all LAN cables. Connect it to the LAN adapter on your computer to your LAN switch or hub do this to all computers that you want to connect on your network.

8. Assign a unique IP address to each computer on your network.

If you have a router you can use the default setting of obtaining an ip address of your computer because routers have built in DHCP server.  DHCP server will automatically assign unique IP address to every computer on your network so you can skip step 8 if you have one.

Finally, Test your Local Area Network.  You can test the connectivity of each computers on your network by using the PING utility program.

Open a command prompt Click Start and then Click Run and type cmd then press Enter a command prompt window will appear.

In the DOS prompt type ping <computername> replace computername with the name of your computer eg. PC1.

You should see something like

Pinging with 32 bytes of data

Reply from bytes=32  time=1ms TTL=254
Reply from bytes=32  time=1ms TTL=254
Reply from bytes=32  time=1ms TTL=254

If you can see the above message to all computers on your network then you have successfully wired, installed and setup your network

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