Networking 101: Served Right



The Soup

With your computers connected through a network, you could:

  • Share a single printer between computers

  • Use a single Internet connection

  • Share files such as images, spreadsheets and documents

  • Play games that allow multiple users at different computers

  • Send the output of a device like a DVD player or Web cam to your other computer(s)

  • And much more

With wireless, you have the added benefit of mobility. Now if your house consists of all desktops then there isn’t much need of a wireless network besides the “impress your friends” aspect of it. There is one other benefit that I fell must be noted. It is wireless! No mess of extra cables and no drilling holes in your ceiling only to have to have it replaced because you screwed up. It’s a touchy subject for me.


The Main Course

Let’s compare speeds shall we. Ethernet comes in 3 common speeds: 10Mb, 100 Mb and 1000 Mb (a gigabit). 10Mbit is kind of slow for today’s standards, perhaps if you were using an old corporate network this is where you may find this but being the prices as they are today you can get a 100Mb card for the same price as a 10Mb.

In fact, nowadays most cards are 10/100Mb auto-sensing which simply means the card will run at either speed depending on what the rest of the network is running at, so if you want to run a 100Mb network all your devices must be capable of 100Mb.
For most common purposes this will be fine although if you have the money you could go up to a Gigabit, but I really meant to say you need to have the money… we will just stick with the 10/100 series cards.

In the other hand we have wireless, here speeds get slower. There are 3 technologies in the works right now: 802.11 a, b, and g. B runs at 11Mb, A at 52Mb and G at 54Mb. Read on to learn more about Wireless and Wired connections.

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