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Home Networking: Choose the right hardware

Home networking with Windows Me

Now that you have determined which type of network is right for you (see Picking the right home network), you can purchase the necessary hardware.

Ethernet networks
For an Ethernet-based network, you'll need the following:

  • An Ethernet network adapter (either PCI or ISA) for your server and each of the other computers on the network
  • For security, an additional adapter for your server's Internet connection sharing (see the Ethernet and Internet security tip).
  • An Ethernet hub with enough jacks and sufficient cable to connect all the computers and devices on your home network; or, if you opt for an Ethernet that uses external adapters, an external adapter for each connected computer
  • Ethernet cable with RJ-45 connectors at both ends for each client computer, long enough to reach the hub
  • An RJ-45 cable with connectors at both ends to connect the hub to the Ethernet card of the server computer (which must be running Windows Me)

Non-Ethernet networks
For a network that uses phone lines or wireless devices, you'll need the following:

  • An external or internal network adapter for each connected computer
  • If you will be using phone lines, an HPNA, a phone jack near each computer, and a standard phone cord with connectors at each end for each computer, long enough to plug into the nearest phone jack
  • External wireless network adapters for each connected computer.

    Note   In some instances, the wireless network adapters actually go inside the computer but the antenna for transmitting the data is outside of the computer case.

Which kind of modem?
If you have a cable modem or DSL (digital subscriber line), which offer higher-speed connections to the Internet than a standard modem, the Internet service is always available, meaning you don't have to wait until you dial up to the Internet service provider (ISP) to get a connection. With a standard modem—for example, a 33.6 Kbps or 56 Kbps modem—you must manually connect each time you want to use the Internet by using dial-up networking, clicking an icon for your ISP on your desktop, or other action.

If you don't know what kind of modem you have, read the documentation that came with your computer, or check the Modem Properties in Control Panel:

  1. Click the Start button, point to Settings, and then click Control Panel.
  2. Click the Modem icon.
  3. On the General tab, click Properties (be careful you don't click Dialing Properties).

No matter which type of network you opt for, be sure to read the Sharing an Internet connection tip.

Information for this article was provided by the Windows Me Help and Support team. Similar articles are available as updates to Windows Me Help and Support.


Special terms

  • Bus: Any group of wires carrying data in a computer, so called because it travels to all destinations. In personal computers, "bus" usually refers to the bundle of wires connecting all the internal computer components to the computer's central processing unit and main memory.
  • Cable modem: A device that enables a high-speed connection to the Internet by using cable television infrastructure.
  • DSL: Digital subscriber lines. DSL technology is a type of high-speed computer-Internet connection that uses standard phone wires.
  • HPNA: Home phone network adapter. A network standard that assures compatibility with a wide range of phone-line networking products.
  • Hub: A device used to extend a network by connecting network components at a central location.
  • ISA: Industry Standard Architecture. A personal computer expansion bus used for modems, video displays, speakers, and other peripherals.
  • Modem: Short for MOdulator/DEModulator. A communications device that enables a computer to transmit information over a standard telephone line.
  • PCI: Peripheral component interconnect. Provides a high-speed connection to peripheral devices.

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