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How to build a home wired network

Now that many homes have more than one computer, the idea of a home network is becoming more and more relevant. Home networks allow multiple computers to share an internet connection, share printers, and share files among computers. A properly set up network will also greatly increase the security of your computer systems. They are inexpensive and simple to set up. This page describes how to do it.



You will probably not want to bother with a network unless you have more than one computer, but even with just one, a router is still beneficial. It will be easiest of your computer is running a modern operating system like Windows 2000, XP, or Mac OS X, but Windows 95, 98, ME, and Mac OS 9 and earlier can also be made to work without much additional configuration.

Network cards

To set up a network, you will need to have a network card for each computer you want to network. The network cards are often referred to as ethernet cards. Many new computers have them built in, but make sure your computer has one before you begin.


Each of your computers will be connected to a central router, and your router will in turn be connected to your cable or dsl modem. Routers are inexpensive, and they start at about $75. Be sure the router you select has a firewall so that you can protect your files from hackers.

Network cable

You will need a ethernet cables to go from each computer to the router, and one to go from the router to the modem. Be sure that the cable you buy is a "straight-through" or "patch" cable, specifically not a "crossover" cable. Ethernet cables look like fat telephone cables, and they have a slightly wider plug at the end. (Ethernet cables have 8 wires instead of 2 or 4 in a phone cable.)

Cable lengths vary a lot, and depending on where you want to put your computers, you have a lot of flexibility. In some cases, you may be able to run wires through ducts, or even through the walls (though you may want some help doing this - and FieldCo would be happy to help you.).


  1. Turn on all your computers and leave the router turned off or unplugged.
  2. Identify the mac address of the computer that is currently connected to your modem. If you don't have one connected yet, don't worry about the mac address.
  3. Connect the computers to the router using the ethernet cables. Be sure to plug the computers into one of the LAN ports on the router, not the WAN port. Leave the router disconnected from the modem.
  4. Make sure your computer is set to use DHCP for ethernet. (This is sometimes called obtaining an address automatically)
  5. Turn on the router.
  6. Open your browser and go to your router's main admin screen
  7. Select a secure password for your router
  8. Enter the mac address you saved earlier into the WAN mac address box
  9. Shut down your router
  10. Plug the router into the modem
  11. Turn on the modem and then the router.
  12. Navigate to your router's WAN admin screen and configure it with the same parameters your ISP told you to use when you configure your computer, and apply your changes.

If you have any questions, or would like FieldCo to help with the wiring or configuration, please do not hesitate to contact us, we would be happy to help you.