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An Ethernet home network is established when a group of computers are connected to each other and the Internet. Ethernet utilizes hardware and software to establish protocols for how computers send data. First developed in the 1970s, Ethernet traditionally refers to a system that uses cables to connect computers to form a Local Area Network (LAN).
One advantage of an Ethernet home network is that it allows all computers in a home to connect to the Internet at the same time. Through the network, the computers may also share printers, fax machines, and files. A disadvantage to an Ethernet home network is that the cables can be cumbersome. In large homes, the cables may not be long enough to reach every computer. This may be corrected by hiring an electrician to install additional Internet connection ports.
Although Ethernet traditionally refers to a cable connection, it may also be wireless. A wireless Ethernet bridge device is one option. This small tabletop device uses radio waves to allow wireless equipment to also operate on an Ethernet home network.
A network using cables tends to be more secure than a wireless network. One reason is that the information transmitted by cables instead of airwaves is harder to eavesdrop on. With wireless networks, special care must be taken to establish encryption and other security features, so the information being sent over airwaves cannot be intercepted.
Computers can be connected to a home network via a network adapter. This is an opening on the back of a computer that resembles a phone jack. Newer computers usually have a network adapter already installed.
A connection from an Internet Service Provider (ISP) is needed before all of the computers in a home can connect to the Internet. A router is often used to set up an Ethernet home network. A router looks like a box similar to the connection modem provided by the ISP. The network is established by connecting the router to the modem. Then each computer in the network is plugged into the router.
A properly functioning home network allows each computer to access the Internet and connect with other computers. If the network does not appear to be working, an ISP may be able to provide additional assistance. The ISP may even help in the initial setup of an Ethernet home network.
A homeowner may want to consider having a wireless network if he or she also has wireless devices that use an Internet connection. Lifestyle and the devices used the most should be considered. This will help determine which network is the best choice for the homeowner.