Network Cables, Switching Hubs, Cards, Adapters, Media Converters, KVM Switches, Patch Panels, Keystone Jacks
We carry Everything you need to build a 10/100/1000 Copper, Fiber Optic or Wireless Network. Wireless Routers with Switches built-in, Wireless PCI and USB cards, 10/100 and Gigabit Switches - both Copper and Fiber, PCI Gigabit Network cards and 10/100 or Gigabit Media Converters, Patch Bays, Keystone Jacks, wall plates and Surface Mounts, Server or Network Racks, Relay Racks, Patch cables, Bulk Cable and Connectors.
What do you need to know about networking to set up a simple home network? First off, there is the whole wireless or no wireless thing, and then there's the combination of both.
Wired Network (Non wireless) - You need your Internet connection, and a router/firewall/hub (often all combined in a single unit) , some computers with "ethernet adapters" and a bunch of Cat5/Cat5e/Cat6 cables. In order to use an Ethernet connected router/firewall/hub you need a cable/fios/dsl Internet modem with an Ethernet port, not just a USB port. Most cable/fios/dsl Internet modem's now support both USB and Ethernet. Anyway, you should use the Ethernet "RJ45" Connection and connect that to your router/hub. The RJ45 connector looks like a telephone connector, except bigger, with 8-pins rather than 6 or 4 like on telephone connectors. The cable is also different, usually round, and is capable of network speeds. Your Router/hub should have multiple outputs if it is a "hub" or "switch". If not, connect it to an Ethernet Switching Hub with a Cat5 type cable, or possibly a crossover cable, depending on the Router. Connect all the computers with Cat5 type patch cables or in-wall cables if you have them. If they are In-wall, make sure they are real network cables and not Telephone cables.
If you use dial-up, it is much trickier to share a connection. Email us for suggestions on that.
Wireless Network - Connect your Wireless network from your cable/fios/dsl Internet modem with the supplied (hopefully) cable. A regular Cat5 type patch cable is often the right choice for that, but it might be possible that you need a crossover Cat5 cable instead. You'll need to follow instructions for setting up your network to be secure using WPA2 if possible. Without WPA2 your network is pretty easily hackable, so take the time to do it right. The newer Wireless routers make it almost easy. You do have to write down the settings you use and enable each computer to use the proper passphrase with the right network settings to get each wireless computer onto the network, but this is usually a "one time" setup (ok - one time, is not usually accurate, you'll have to redo them sometimes so write them down!) .
Wired with Wireless Networks - These are almost always going from cable/fios/dsl modem to router/hub to wireless network. For that, it is usually a matter of connecting a wireless router to to your wired router. Leave the wireless router setup on DHCP settings, but do, DO enable WPA2 encryption on your wireless network, and set up the wireless computers to use WPA2. Using an open Wireless connection on your nice secure firewalled network opens it right up to wireless hackers.
1) Always use a router with decent firewall capabilities when connecting to the Internet. Always use WPA2 for wireless connections. If you can't use WPA2 and have to use WEP on a computer, you need to "lock down" the other computers to keep them safe.
2) Most Internet connections are under 5mbps, so a gigabit network is usually not going to do much to speed up Internet access for any of the computers. It will help if you are doing network file sharing and possibly printing.
3) It is possible to share peripherals on your local network, such as Ethernet connected printers NAS Drives, and even USB "Servers".
4) Ports: Some types of audio/video streaming and games require opening "ports" and allowing network traffic through these "UDP" and "TCP" ports. This kind of thing can be very tricky, especially since the web based firewall configuration utilities for doing these things are truly horrible. You may need to do some research and maybe get on the phone with your router manufacturer's tech support to get this stuff setup right. Don't get lazy and just open up everything - you'll pay later.