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Building Your Network

Simplest way to install a network at your home or office involves talking to friends who live nearby, finding out which Internet service provider has the best deal, and then having the phone company or cable company (or satellite company or whoever) install your whole network, from the get-go. If you can't find the right person at the phone company, hire that ten-year-old next door to help.

Most ISPs will install an Internet connection and hook up a hub with four or more networking slots, for a pittance. The same ISP will no doubt install a wireless access point for a tiny bit more.

As long as everything works, you're in like Flynn. But the first time you go looking for your son's computer out on the network and you can't find it - whoa, Nelly. And, if the Windows 7 troubleshooter tells you to contact your network administrator, you might seriously consider tossing your PC out the, uh, windows.

In my experience, networks give rise to more troubleshooting problems than all other pieces of Windows put together.

This tutorial steps you through the process of setting up your network, explains what's happening behind the scenes, and sets you up to shoot a whole lotta trouble in getting network problems solved.