How to Set Up a Private Network

by Contributor

A private network can be set up in your own home to allow the networking of resources between multiple machines. When you create a private network, you can configure it so that all members of your private network can share printers as well as files. Although setting up a network can take some time and effort, it is well worth the convenience in the long run.

Set Up the Network Router and Adaptors

Decide whether you want to set up a wired, or a wireless network. Some routers will allow both types of connections.

Install Network Adaptors in both computers you have selected to begin the configuration of the network. Read the instructions for your chosen adaptor, but typically you will need to install the software from the CD before you physically connect the adaptor to your computer.

Setup the network router away from all phones, microwaves and other radio wave monitoring devices such as baby monitors. Today's routers work as both a connection to WAN's as well as a switch for your private network. If you chose to set up a wireless network, your wireless router serves as a switch, router and wireless access point.

Connect one of your computers to the router using a network cable. The router CD should walk you through the configuration and basic security options. Run this CD, and save the resulting configuration file.

Copy the router configuration file to the other computer.

Setting Up the Computers

Open your Windows Control Panel and select the "Network and Sharing Center" icon. You must have an error free connection to your router before you can start this step.

Select your current network connection and click "Customize."

Choose "Private" for your network type.

Click "Next." On the Set Network Location dialog box, click "View Computers and Devices on the Network." Make sure that your network list is showing all of your existing network devices.

Close the network window and the Set Network Location dialog box.

Select the Network and Sharing Center window. Check the boxes for the following options: Network Discovery, File Sharing, Public Folder Sharing, Printer Sharing, Password Protected Sharing and Media Sharing. Click "Apply."

Click the link for "Show Me all the Files I am Sharing." Ensure that these are the only files you want to share, and that nothing is shared that you don't wish to share. Close all windows and you're done.

Tips

  • check Most routers include built in security functions which can be configured to assist in the security of your network. You still need good virus and firewall protection on the individual devices connected to your network.
  • check Use the same brand of equipment for all network adaptors and routers.
  • check To minimize interference with your wireless router, change the channel of the router so it doesn't share a channel with your phones, move the router to a central room of your house, point the antennas of your connected equipment towards the router's location and set your router as high in your home as possible, like the second story of your house.
  • check You can use media adapters, game adapters and Internet video cameras to add value to your private network as well.
  • check You don't need to set all of the Network and Sharing options to be shared. For instance, if you don't have media files you wish to share, then do not check the "Media Sharing" check box.

Warnings

  • close Always use the security features of your router. On most routers you will have the option of WAP and WEP password encryption to control access through the wireless access point, as well as TCP and UDP port configuration options to control how access to your network from a WAN such as the Internet.
  • close These steps are for Windows Vista. Other operating systems will have similar options, although the actual steps will be different.
  • close Always use password protection on your shared files. Give intruders as many levels of security to fight through as you can, without making the system unusable for yourself.

Items you will need