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Cheat Sheet

Home Networking For Dummies

Setting up your first home network will be easy once you understand the terms and lingo associated with home networking. Keep some basic information about your network computers and network printers handy and you'll save yourself time and frustration if your network ever goes down.

Networking Jargon at a Glance

This list of frequently used networking terms may seem like a foreign language to you now, but they are terms you'll need to know as you set up your home network.

administrator: The person in charge of maintaining the network — probably you.

backup: A copy of the files on your computer (stored on a removable device) that can be used to restore data in the event that a computer in your network meets with disaster.

CAT-5 cable (Category 5): Ethernet network cable. Also called twisted pair cable.

client: A computer that uses hardware and services on another computer (called the server).

client/server network: A network model in which one computer (the server) provides services for the other computers (the clients).

concentrator: The home base of an Ethernet network to which all lengths of cable from the network computers are attached. The concentrator can be a hub or a switch (including a switch that is built into a router).

dial-up networking: A feature in Windows that enables your modem to connect to the Internet through an Internet Service Provider.

driver: Software that enables the operating system to communicate with the hardware in your computer.

IP address: A number that identifies a computer’s location on the Internet.

IRQ (Interrupt Request): A communication channel assigned to a device so that it can communicate with the PC’s processor.

ISP (Internet service provider): A company that provides Internet access to individuals and businesses.

LAN (Local Area Network): Multiple computers connected as a network in one general location.

Mbps (Megabits per second): One million bits per second. A measurement of the speed at which data can be transmitted.

NetBIOS (Network Basic Input/Output System): A network communication system that enables the various applications running on computers in the network to communicate with other computers on a network.

network: Two or more computers connected to each other with hardware (network adapters) and networking software to communicate and exchange data.

NIC (network interface card): A hardware device, also called a network adapter, that enables networking by providing the features necessary for cable (or wireless) communication.

peer-to-peer network: A network model in which each computer has the same capabilities as the others, and each computer can communicate with all the other computers.

protocol: A set of rules (sometimes referred to as a language) that computers use to communicate with each other across networks.

RJ-45: The connector at the end of Ethernet cable. It looks like the connector at the end of telephone cable, but it’s slightly fatter.

router: A hardware device that lets network computers connect to a single DSL/cable modem.

server: A computer that provides services for other computers (called workstations or clients) on a network. Also called a host.

shared Internet connection: A system that permits all the computers on a network to be connected to the Internet at the same time using a modem attached to one of the computers.

shared resources: Resources such as files, folders, printers, and other peripherals that are attached to one computer and configured for access by users on other network computers.

TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol): The basic suite of communication languages (protocols) of the Internet. TCP/IP can also be used as the primary protocol for home networks.

workstation: A network computer that uses the resources of one or more servers. Also called a client.

Important Information to Know about Your Network Computers

A time may come when one of the computers on your home network goes down, and you have to reconnect the network settings. Rebuilding your network settings is a lot easier if you don’t have to start from scratch — you shouldn’t waste time trying to find the original documentation if you don’t have to. You can find the essential information you need to get in, set up the connection, and get out again by double-clicking the Network icon in the Control Panel. Then select each item and click Properties to see that item’s settings.

Print this form and fill in the name you've given each computer, it's network interface controller (NIC) brand and type, and the network components you've installed on each. Then keep this form in a safe place — just in case Murphy’s Law comes a-calling.

Computer 1

Computer name: ______________________________________________________________

NIC brand and type: ___________________________________________________________

Network components installed: ___________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________

Computer 2

Computer name: ______________________________________________________________

NIC brand and type: ___________________________________________________________

Network components installed: ___________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________

Computer 3

Computer name: ______________________________________________________________

NIC brand and type: ___________________________________________________________

Network components installed: ___________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________

Important Information about Your Network Printers

If you have a home network, a day will come when you really need to know about toner and shared resources. Print and fill out this form and you'll have all you need to know in once place. Simplify your life — write down the important stuff once (and only once), leave the list in a handy place (don’t forget where you put it!), and go on with your life.

Printer 1

Printer manufacturer and model: __________________________________________________

Ink or toner cartridge part number: ________________________________________________

Attached to Computer #: _________________________________________________________

Shared as (share name): __________________________________________________________

Printer 2

Printer manufacturer and model: __________________________________________________

Ink or toner cartridge part number: ________________________________________________

Attached to Computer #: _________________________________________________________

Shared as (share name): __________________________________________________________

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