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What Is a Home Network System?

A computer, keyboard, and mouse connected to a home network system.
An external hard drive can be used for backup.
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  • Written By: Summer Banks
  • Edited By: Michelle Arevalo
  • Last Modified Date: 30 August 2014
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A home network system allows multiple computers within a home to communicate with each other. This network allows for file, resource and Internet connection sharing. When home computers are connected to one central network, the computers can be run independently while maintaining a constant connection with other computers on the network.

File sharing on a home network system allows files to be accessed from any computer on the network. Computers can swap or exchange files and information including MP3s, pictures, and documents. Laptops, desktops, and mobile computers can all be a part of the home network system. Files can be protected, allowing only certain users to access or edit information. This is especially important for financial and personal records stored on home computers.

Resources may also be shared on home networks. These can include network printers and hard drive space. If one computer on the home network system has a large amount of available hard drive space, other computers can use that space to store files and information. This allows additional computers, that may have limited storage and fewer resources, to be added to and used on the home network system. An external hard drive can also be added to the system to provide backup space for all computers.

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If a wireless network is installed on the home network system, all the computers can share an Internet portal, which typically alleviates the need for hard-wiring individual computers for online access. Shared Internet connections do not require all computers to view the same webpages at the same time. Each computer can work independently of the others on one network. Gaming through a home network can allow several people within a home to compete against each other while using shared Internet access.

Limitations can be placed on certain files and resources based upon needs of home network users. If children will have access to the network, parents may choose to limit kids' access to certain information. Internet access can also be restricted using the same type of parental or administrative controls.

When setting up a home network there are generally specific pieces of hardware needed, based upon the type of network chosen. Different types of home networks can be set up using Ethernet connections, wireless connections, or dial-up connections. If wireless home networks are installed, some computers may require a wireless card to access the home network. Laptop and desktop computers may require different wireless cards for Internet access.

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Discuss this Article

orangey03
Post 7

When my teenage cousin came to stay with us for a few months, she had no idea that we had a shared network. This got her into trouble.

She had gotten one of her friends to take racy photographs of her to give to her boyfriend. She wasn’t wearing much at all. Her friend emailed her the photos, and she stored them on the computer in my room.

My mother got home from work and saw the photos on the shared drive. She gave her a long lecture about modesty and the dangers of teen pregnancy. My cousin was so embarrassed that she moved back home.

StarJo
Post 6

When I got a job working from home, I was glad that my dad knew all about how to set up a wireless network. We have a small box through which we receive wireless internet from the phone company, and I needed to be able to access it from my new computer.

I have no idea what he did, but it didn’t take very long. Using only a few pieces of equipment, he hooked me up, and I started work within minutes.

We are both on the internet most of the day every day. I’m glad we can share access while conducting our web business separately.

Oceana
Post 5

My dad and I share a home network system. He has one computer in the house, I have one in an office in our backyard, and he has another one in his shop. They can all interact with each other as needed.

One time, I ran out of ink in my printer, and I needed it for a class project. I was able to link to his computer and print my documents on his printer.

We only have one scanner, so he can come to my office to scan photos and then store them on his computer using the network. It’s a great system to have when you own multiple computers.

David09
Post 4

@nony - One thing that I’ve found for those needing home network help is to check what kind of modem you have.

The reason that I mention that is that some of the newer modems combine both the modem and the router in one unit. That basically means that you don’t have to buy a wireless router.

It’s easier to set up the wireless network as a result. Your modem operating instructions should tell you if you have this feature. So if you are interested in transforming your regular network into a wireless one, it might be easier than you think.

nony
Post 3

@hamje32 - I have a home network but it’s not wireless. I admit that I feel a little behind the times.

I have four computers, all strung about with cables. It’s not very space age I’m afraid. However, I do enjoy one distinct advantage I believe over others who have wireless home networks. The wired connections are much faster.

I am referring to how easily I can drag and drop files from one computer to another. It’s a snap, and happens just as quickly as if the files were all on the same computer.

Wireless file transfer is not as fast; at least that's what I've heard from other people's experiences.

hamje32
Post 2

I setup a wireless network too but it was all for work, no play. I am a web developer by trade, and so it’s important for me to work on two computers.

The first computer has the web page, and the second computer has the server which makes requests and sends them to the backend database. I do this at work easily of course, but a lot of times I need to take my work home.

I duplicated the setup that I have at work on my home computer. I use my home network in this way as a test environment on my web pages before I am ready to publish them live on the corporate intranet.

It also saves me the hassle of having to subscribe to an online web hosting service. My second computer takes care of all my hosting needs.

MrMoody
Post 1

I set up a wireless network at home. I actually have three computers: one upstairs in the master bedroom, one in the office downstairs and one in the living room.

The office computer is the main one and it has the wireless network router that broadcasts to the other computers. I do most of my work from this computer. It has an Ethernet connection to a cable modem and I have high speed Internet so I’m very productive.

The other two computers are mainly for surfing the Internet and doing some basic productivity applications. My kids use the computer in the living room. I would say it’s more of a multimedia PC; there are video and music applications on it.

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