Practical number 5
How to Create a Local Area Network (LAN)
A LAN, or local area network, is a great way to share files and devices between multiple computers. If you have several computers in your home, setting up a network will allow you to share an Internet connection, data, printers, and other devices between your computers - all without wires. Fortunately, the process is simple, and you can learn how to set up a LAN in your home by following a few easy steps.
Assess your needs in a network. The devices you use to set your network up will determine your network's capabilities. You should address your needs in terms of cost, security, connection speed, expandability (adding more computers or devices later) and distance between computers. In general, you will need to keep all the computers in the network within 100 yards (91 m) of each other.
Ensure that your computers have wireless networking cards installed. In order to communicate wirelessly with other computers in the network, each computer must have a wireless networking card. If your computers are only a few years old, you are almost guaranteed to already have one built-in, as this is a standard feature on all computers being produced today. If you have an older computer, you may need to purchase and install a networking card.
Set up an Internet connection. While LANs can be set up simply to share files between computers without Internet connectivity, there is little benefit to doing so considering the cost of wiring the entire network. To share an Internet connection between computers, you will first need a broadband Internet connection (such as cable or DSL) set up for your primary computer. Contact a local Internet service provider (ISP) to establish a connection if you don't already have one.
Purchase a wireless router. You will need to broadcast your Internet connection wirelessly, and for this, you need a router. When buying a router, make sure you get one that is designed for your connection type (cable, DSL, etc.). You should also consider the strength of the router's signal. The packaging will describe how far you can expect the router's signal to broadcast. It will need to reach every computer in your network.
Install the router. To install the router, run your main Ethernet cable (the one used for connecting your primary computer to the Internet) from your modem into the router. Plug the router's power cord in, and then install any software that it came with on each computer in the network. When you are finished, the router should begin broadcasting your Internet connection wirelessly.
Connect each computer to the wireless network. On each computer, find the wireless network's name that you assigned during the software installation. Connect to that network using the password that you created.
Share files over the network. To make files on 1 computer accessible to users on other computers, you must mark them as shared. In Windows, you can do this by placing the files in the "Shared Documents" folder or by right-clicking on each file and checking "Share this file" in the "Properties" menu. The process will differ slightly for other operating systems.
Connect to any devices in the network. To connect to devices such as printers and scanners, these devices will also need to be able to communicate wirelessly (this feature is not nearly as common on printers as on computers). To connect to a device, simply locate the device's icon on the network drive on each computer. Double-clicking on a printer's icon, for example, should install the printer and enable it for future use.