Home Networking Survival Guide

By David Strom

ISBN 0072193115

Publication date: September 2001




This book provides practical advice for the average consumer who wants to setup his/her first home network. It explains the various types of technology choices and makes recommendations on particular products and strategies. It covers the major Windows operating systems (with an emphasis on Win98 and WinMe but also including XP and 2000) and MacOS, and discusses network applications including email, file/print sharing and Internet access.


This book is not meant to be an exhaustive reference work, but something that anyone, even the most nave user, can follow and implement. Read the Osborne press release here. It has received great reviews:


Buy the book from Amazon now.


Read the preface to the book here or download the Acrobat files for chapter 1 or chapter 6 here.


Strom's last radio appearance was on Bill Thompson's Eye on Books program, which aired across the country during May 2002.


Strom was also a guest on the "Let's Talk About Computers" show on 11/10, which aired at various stations around the southern US and also over the Internet. Strom has appeared on numerous radio stations and Internet-based radio programs around the world talking about the book, and was featured on local TV news as well in the Washington DC area.


Strom was also a guest on TechTV's Silicon Spin show, where host John Dvorak said "If you need to know how to set up your home network, you should buy Strom's Home Networking Survival Guide book." Amy Wohl, long-time industry consultant, says: "We heartily recommend this new book on home networks. We intend to use it as the basis for our own decisions and implementation."



Chapter Outline:



Each chapter has five sections:



1. Home wiring choices


This chapter covers choices among wireless (802.11b), Home PNA, and standard Ethernet cabling. It covers the differences between internal network adapters, USB network connectors, and network PC Cards


How do I connect my computers to each other?

How do I install a network adapter in my computer?

How do I choose the right wiring scheme?

Where do I put my computers in my home?

How do I make sure I have the right kinds of cables?

How do I track down cabling problems?


2. Basic file sharing and operating system/networking concepts


This chapter describes how to setup your computer's operating system to support basic file sharing across your network. Both Windows and MacOS are covered. It also touches on what devices you don't want to share on a network (scanners, modems, cameras).


How do I share my files with others?

How do I share files between Windows and Macintosh computers?

Where do I install my applications on the network?

Do I need a special "file server" computer?

What do I when I can't see my shared files?


3. Sharing printers


This chapter covers how to setup existing printers so they can be shared across your network. It covers print server products, sharing a local printer on the network, and specialized devices that include print servers. Finally, we offer advice on what kinds of printers to buy that lend themselves to networking, and when you don't want to share your printers over a network.


How do I connect my printer to the network?

When don't I need to share my printer?

What do I do when my shared printer disappears from the network?


4.Sharing your Internet connection


This chapter covers how to connect your network to the Internet, using the various technologies such as DSL, cable modems, ISDN, and dial-up modems.


What are the differences between DSL and cable connections?

How do I choose the right Internet access technology?

How do I pick the right DSL provider?

What happens when my Internet connection disappears or slows down?

What changes do I need to make to use my existing AOL account over the network?


5. Email issues


This chapter covers how to setup and configure your email applications, specifically so that you can make use of them across your home network. It covers how you share and extend email identities for your family members, and consolidate existing email accounts, with specific suggestions about AOL and AOL Instant Messaging.


How do I use my existing AOL accounts over the network?

How do I convert from AOL to other email providers?

How do I use AOL IM clients?

How do I choose an email provider?

How do I access my email from a laptop or at work?

What happens when I don't get any email?


6. Securing your network


This chapter covers what you need to protect yourself from network intruders, including choosing the right kind of firewall, virus protection software, and other tools.


How do I choose the right kind of protection?

What are the differences among various firewall products?

Should I purchase a software-based firewall or hardware?

How do I install and maintain anti-virus software?

What else should I download from the Internet to protect myself?

What happens when I find out someone is trying to break into my network/computers?


7. Keeping track of your family's surfing habits


This chapter will cover ways parents can stay smart and stay informed about the web sites, news groups, chat rooms, and other places around the Internet that their children visit. The goal here is not necessarily to block access to potentially objectionable sites, but to be able to review what places their kids go.


How do I find out which web sites my kids are visiting?

How can I monitor what my child is saying in various chat rooms?

Are there places on the net that are warning signs of particular inappropriate behavior?


8. Having fun with your network


This chapter discusses how to connect your network to additional applications, such as sharing digital music and videos and using your PC to control and automate home functions.


How do I share my audio CDs on the network?

How can I connect my network and PC to my stereo equipment?

Do I have enough storage for digital video and audio files?

How can I use my PC to control home lighting and other functions?


Appendix A: Tips to Fixing Windows Network Problems

By Carey Holzman


Appendix B: Securing Your Desktop from Automatic File Associations

By Tony Ryan


Appendix C: A Case Study in New Home Wiring

By Pat and Brownell Chalstrom