Networking

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Do you have multiple computers?  Do you want them to share access to a single internet account, printer(s), a single phone line, FAX service, files, or other peripheral devices?   What about sharing a printer when the computer is off?  What about accessing email from multiple computers?  The answer is NETWORK! 

Networks is what we do.  We do the whole thing, soup to nuts - we assess your requirements and provide recommendations as necessary.  We provide the parts and equipment, run the wiring, upgrade your computers, and configure the system so that everything is communicating properly.  We address common systems issues such as backups, virus protection and security in your environment.  We'll also be glad to work with you - and let you do whatever part of the installation you like.

We install wired and wireless networks for a fixed charge.  We prefer wired networks for fixed-location equipment due to the security and reliability concerns, and wireless networks for laptops and where wiring is not possible.  We can also implement printer and file sharing, to let you share your printer and files between the different computers in your house. 

Wired Networks

Just about all the networks we implement have a wired component.  The "center" of the network is usually a router/switch combination device.  All your computers plug into this device, and this device plugs into your cable or DSL modem.

This sounds simple, and it is!  But there is a lot going on in that little device so it can route internet requests from any computer out to your modem, as well as route computer-to-computer requests within your network.  An added bonus is additional protection from hackers on the internet - instead of your computer being attached "naked" to the internet, the router is connected to the internet.  The router knows how to reject other computers who are attempting to gain access to your computer.  While no protection is 100% (other than unplugging from the internet!), this plays a big role in your overall security strategy.

We recommend wired networks when all computers are in the same room. when computers will remain in fixed locations, and when running cables is feasible.  Wireless networks operate at a slower speed than wired networks, are subject to interference, and by their nature are less secure.

Even if you have a wireless network, the "core" of the network is still wired.  The connection from the router to the modem is a wire, and the primary computer is usually wired.  If you have broadband already, the first step in setting up a network is inserting a router between your computer and your broadband modem.  That forms the core of your wired network.  Additional computers in the same room can be attached to the router; computers in other rooms can be attached to the router with cables that run through the walls.

Expanding your network is easy - just plug in more computers!  Upgrading to wireless is easy too.

Wireless Networks

Nothing is better than sitting out on the patio on a beautiful day with your laptop as you are working from home.  Wireless networks are great for this - giving full mobility to your laptop.

WE CAN COVER ANY HOUSE WIRELESSLY!!  Don't let others tell you it can't be done.  The technology is available and affordable.  We can cover every corner of your house and your property, including your guest house on another part of your property.

Wireless networks are also good when you don't want to run wires through your house.  This can be due to the difficulty and expense of running wires, because you expect to move soon, or if you rent your house or apartment.

The disadvantage is the wireless networks are slower than wired networks, the signal has a limited range.  There are also some security concerns - while it would be difficult for someone to tap into your wired network, they could be on the street and attempt to connect to your wireless network.  Wireless networks can be reasonably secured from unwanted access or eavesdropping and is strongly recommended.

Printer and File Sharing

While you may want a network in order to share your internet connection, there is more you can do now that you have a network in place - namely share your printers and hard drives.

Printer sharing in it's basic form allows the printers you have attached to computers to be accessed from other computers.  Even if you have a printer attached to each computer, often it is nice to be able to use a different printer that has color or better resolution.

More advanced printer sharing connects your printers directly to the network, instead of to a computer.  Some printers have this capability, but for most a device called a print server needs to be connected between the printer and the network.  The main advantage is only the computer that is printing (and the printer!) has to be turned on.  When the printer is attached to a computer, both that computer and the computer printing have to be turned on.

File sharing in a home environment is typically used for two purposes.  You can have a common "My Documents" directory where you store your documents.  This directory would reside on the hard disk of a computer your designate as your "server" which would remain powered on all the time.

The other common use for file sharing is for backups.  It is as simple as "dragging and dropping" to make a backup - just copy from one computer to another.

All Windows operating systems allow file sharing, but if you want to add security we recommend the "pro" versions - either Windows 2000 Professional or Windows XP Professional - for your "server" computer.  These allow you to implement user-level permissions to folders, so each family member can store documents that are private.

 

Please make backups!  We are not responsible for data loss under any circumstances!! 
A hard disk can fail at any time and there is nothing we can do about it.  Please make backups before your appointment, before you bring your computer to us, or ask us to make backups before working on your computer.

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