How to build a home network.

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How to build a home network.

Post by Cool_Fire » Sun May 28, 2006 7:18 pm

How to build a home network.

- What am I going to use this network for?
- What kind of network should I build?
- What hardware do I need?
- Where do I start?
- Building the network
- Check connections
- Configure network
- Test network
- I've ran into trouble!

What am I going to use this network for?

Firstly you should figure out what you want outof your network. Are you going to run internet services, host a website, or do you just want to let everyone on the house use the internet?
In this tutorial I'll use a simple example.
A man, a woman and 2 kids living in a 2-story house.
The man wants to use the inetrnet in his office, and he uses a laptop.
The woman wants to use her PC in the living room.
The one kid wants to use his computer in his room.
The other kid wants to do the same, but also host a small personal website of his own server.
The phoneline enters the house on the ground floor, in the office.

What kind of network should I build?

In this example I'm going to build a few networks mixed into eachother in order to cover as much ground as possible.
The basic network types you can build are:
Wireless, ring network, bus network, star network.

The folowing scematics will show the basic layout of each network:

Code: Select all

[phoneline]---[splitter]---[DSL modem*]---[wireless router/hub]~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~[PC]
                                                `~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~[Laptop]
Ring network:

Code: Select all

[phoneline]---[splitter]---[DSL modem*]---[server]---[PC]---[PC]---[PC]---[printer]---[back to server]
Bus network:

Code: Select all

[phoneline]---[splitter]---[DSL modem*]---[router/hub]--,-------,------,------,------,
                                                        |       |      |      |      |
                                                       [server] [PC]   [PC]   [PC]   [printer]
Star network:

Code: Select all

[phoneline]-----[splitter]-----[DSL modem*]-----[router/hub]-----[server]
                                                  | | | |
                                                  | | | `------[PC]
                                                  | | `---------[PC]
                                                  | `------------[PC]
* = Often a DSL modem modem will have a small router built in, in which case you won't need a separate device.

Each network type has it advantages and disadvantages, ring networks are easy to lay out and cost very little wire, but if one of the PC's isn't on, the others down the line won't be able to use the internet. Star networks are easy to manage and deploy and usually faster, but at the cost a lot of wire. You'll have to decide for yourself which of type of network works best for your needs.

What hardware do I need?

In the case of our example, we'll need a DSL splitter (this splits the the phone signals from then internet signals), a router (and modem, if it's not built into the router), a wireless access point, a hub and a bunch of LAN cables.
When you're using cable internet, you don't need a DSL splitter, and a cable modem instead of a DSL modem.)

Where do I start?

The best thing is, to start where the internet connection starts. That means we'll start with the incomming phone line, and then work our way up the network untill we reach the compters.

Building the network

Splitter: Starting at the phoneline, we'll need to insert our splitter before the first phone is connected to the cable.
Which wires to cut, and how to install the splitter should be explained in the splitters own documentation.

Modem: now that we have an internet line, simpelly plug that into the modem, and hook up it's power cord. (phone line cable, not a LAN cable.)

Router: (if not built into the modem) Put a short LAN cable between the modem and the router and plug it's power in too.

The wireless access point: Since we assumed the network started in the office, we'll set this one up next.
It's again, fairly straight forward. Run a LAN cable from your router to your wireless access point, and plug the power in. (This guide does not cover wireless security.)

The living room PC: Run a LAN cable from the router to the PC and plug it in, that's it.

Upstairs hub/switch: Since we didn't want to run three LAN cables upstairs for the kids, we decided to place a hub upstairs. So we'll have to run one cable upstairs, connect that to our hub, and plug the hub's power in.
Then just run LAN cables to the two kid's PC's and the server, and your done.

You should now have a network that looks like this:

Code: Select all

[phoneline]---[splitter]---[router]---[wireless access point]~ ~ ~ ~ ~[laptop]
                             | |
                             | `------[living room PC]
                            [upstairs hub]------[Kid1's PC]
                                | |
                                | `-------------[Kid2's PC]
                                 `--------------[Kid2's server]
Check connections

Now to see if everything works. Best would be to use the laptop for this. One by one , go to all the computers, plug their network cable into the laptop and see if you can get the routers configuration page. If so, you'll know the network is ok from that connection down to the router.

Configure network
In this case, we don't have to configre much, since most routers appoint IP adresses to the computers automatically, we just have to set up the router to accept outside requests for the webpage that's on kid2's server. We can do this in the routers configuration, we have to tell it to forward port 80 (most common port for websites) to the server's IP. It might also be a good idea to let the wireless access point only accept the laptop's connections (you can set this in the wireless access point's settings page) just have it only accept the laptop's MAC adress (a number that identifies the network interface in the laptop).

Test network

Now that everything is ready, try the connetions for each computer one last time to see if everything is as it should be, and if noone has any problems connecting to the internet. Finally go to some computer that's not on your network, and type your own IP into your webbrowser to see if you get the webpage on the second kid's server (or ask a friend to try this for you) If you don't know your own IP, go to

That's it! Your network is now ready for use!

I've ran into trouble!

Q: I can't connect to the internet on one of my computers
A: Check or all the connections are alright, try a different LAN cable, try to use a different computer on the same cable.
If you CAN get the routers config page, check or the router isn't blocking you for some reason.

Q: None of my computers can connect to the internet
A: Make sure your router is switched on, check if you can get the routers config page. If so, make sure your router is set up correctly, check your wires from the phoneline to the splitter, and from the splitter to the router. Also check or the splitter itself is working properly.

Q: When I want to use my wireless connection, it shows two or more access points
A: Someone near you might also have a wireless access point, set yours to have a name you can recognize.
Often the one you get the strongest signal from is yours.


Cool Fire

PS. I couldn't be bothered checking the spelling, if you find any mistakes, please PM me about them.
Last edited by Cool_Fire on Tue May 15, 2012 7:28 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: minor corrections + code tags for network diagrams
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Post by Net Battle Bot » Mon May 29, 2006 1:04 am

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