If like me you thought that Network Cables referred to the satellite TV subscription, or the term networking meant getting together with people to share business information or support information (kind of like a social event), then obviously like me you have had absolutely no previous experience of installing a computer network!
Everyday I take for granted the fact that I go into the office, sit at my computer and type away to my hearts content without giving a fleeting thought as to how it all works. Sure there are cables connecting the computers, routers, switches, servers, computer towers etc around the office, as long as I walk into the office, switch on my computer and hey presto my desktop appears, then network cables could quite happily stay null and void.
It never works like that though and sure enough I suddenly find myself having to know my network cables from my cross-over cables! My daughter started senior school recently and they are expected to do a large percentage of they're homework on the computer, we only had one computer which someone else set up for me in the first place, so again I didn't give it a second thought.
I came to the conclusion that as I do a lot of work from home; therefore requiring the computer a lot of the time, the sensible thing would be to invest in another computer for my daughter, so that she could access the internet to complete homework even if I were working! Perfect! I didn't know what hit me.
Buying the computer was the easy part! I was then told that if I wanted to network both the computers and share my printer I would need to buy some network cables and a hub for the network cables to plug into. Of course these wouldn't be required if I had a wireless connection.
He then explained and drew a detailed diagram (an idiots guide) of how I could connect the network cables from the hub, to my computers, printer and router. After purchasing the computer, network cables or CAT 5 as I was informed, complete with RJ-45 connectors, I felt confident enough to go home and tackle a crash course in home networking.
I started in the most obvious place, my daughter's bedroom, unpacking the computer and setting it up, that didn't seem to take too long and was fairly unchallenging. I then returned to my computer in the lounge.
Researching the diagram again it showed the central point to be the hub; the hub would need its own power supply. From the hub I would need to install four network cables, one to each component of my network, I would need the router to stay connected of course to the phone line so decided that would be best left where it was, I then connected the printer and my computer to the hub using two more of the network cables, lastly I would connect my daughter's computer to the hub using the final network cable, and fingers crossed all components should be able to see each other, and thus work!
Everything turned on, each computer works individually but my computer still couldn't see my daughter's. I checked everything making sure that all network cables were plugged in properly and nothing had been disconnected; everything seemed fine. Puzzled by this, I decided to ring the shop from where I had bought all my networking equipment; I explained in detail how I had followed the step by step instructions.
It turned out my networking was fine, I just needed to run the standard network set-up programme on my computer for everything to recognise each other, another step by step guide!
I thought that setting up my network would be far more difficult than it actually was, thanks to the basic instructions I was given to follow and combined with buying the right equipment, networking seemed straight forward. For those new to networking, you will face making mistakes it is just a matter of patience and research.
Anna Stenning Learns by means of a crash course, how to use network cables to create a basic computer network.