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Home Networking: What Type Is Best?

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This brief guide to building a home network helps you decide how each device should relate to the others. Your determination will be based on what you need the network to do, cost, need for speed, and how much you plan to grow.
This chapter is from the book

In This Chapter:

  • Network Basics: How the Building Blocks Come Together
  • Network Control: Peer-to-Peer Networks Versus Client/Server
  • Network Topologies: How Your Home Network Comes Together
  • Wrap It Up

After reading Chapter 2, "Home Network Building Blocks: What Makes Your Network Tick," you should understand the building blocks that you need in order to put together a simple but highly functional home network. These building blocks are used by nearly every type of local area network, both in the office environment and within the home.

Although we have explored the basic network building blocks, there are still a few network basics that would be helpful before we dive into talking about the different network technologies and choosing which will be best for you. Discussing these different basics will help you to better understand how networks are set up and then help you decide, based on your needs, which is best for you.

Network Basics: How the Building Blocks Come Together

In addition to the basic building blocks used in a typical home network, there are certain things you must consider when planning to put together a home network. "Oh great," you're thinking, "I knew there had to be a catch." The building blocks were just too easy. Well, if you're thinking this you're right in one sense: understanding the network building blocks is easy. And the other concepts described in this chapter about network basics are just as easy, and will help you decide how you want your network set up.

The discussion in this chapter centers around relationships between the PCs on your network. These relationships can be broken down into two categories: the control relationship and the physical relationship. If you think this is starting to sound like marital counseling, don't worry, I won't go into how to "reignite your hard drive."

The control relationship in your network is based on whether you want a peer-to-peer or client/server network. The physical relationship of your network is described as network topology. Both of these topics sound complicated, but they are not, as you'll see next.

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