Home & Office Networking

Common Networking Issues:

Printer sharing-

You’ve got multiple computers on your network but only 1 printer. So what do you do if you want to print from one of the computers that isn’t connected to the printer?

There are 2 options:

  1. save everything you want to print onto a thumb drive, walk to the computer with the printer, plug in the thumb drive, open the file and print it, or
  2. have the printer set up so that it can be accessed directly from any computer on your network.

Most people do number 1 because they don’t even know number 2 is an option! Setting up option 2 can be a little bit tricky to set up initially, but it saves so much time and hassle once it is done.

File sharing-

What do you do if you want to frequently share files with other people on your network?

There are 3 common options:

  1. email the file as an attachment to the other computers. But this doesn’t
  2. pass around a shared thumb drive. But the thumb drives get misplaced and it’s not a very efficient way of sharing a file to multiple people .
  3. have a sharing folder set up on the desktop of every computer on your network, so that all you have to do is drag and drop or copy and paste the file you want to share into the sharing folder and it is instantly accessible by everyone on the network.

Option 1 won’t work with large files at all, is sometimes slow and requires each computer to have it’s own email address.

With option 2 the thumb drives often get misplaced and it’s not a very efficient way of sharing files if it needs to go to multiple computers .

Option 3 is a little tricky to set up initially, but it saves so much time and hassle once it’s done.

Wireless networking-

Is it the same as mobile broadband or wireless broadband?

This can be a very confusing area for people and the mobile phone carriers don’t help as they muddy the waters by calling their “mobile broadband” service “wireless broadband”. While mobile broadband actually is wireless broadband, to name it that would be the same as calling your mobile phone a “wireless” phone. We feel that this is probably done deliberately in order to take advantage of people’s confusion and sell a product that they couldn’t sell if the customer was properly informed.

Don’t get us wrong, mobile broadband has a purpose, but it is a very limited purpose and in our experience, most people buy it because they think they are buying wireless networking, which is actually a function that mobile broadband lacks. In fact, without some specialised (and sometimes temperamental) equipment, mobile broadband doesn’t do networking at all, so there are many disadvantages to it if what you really wanted was a simple wireless network.

What is the purpose of wireless networks?

  • Your computer is too far from the modem to be able to connect it with a cable
  • You want to be able to move around with your laptop anywhere in the house or office
  • Installing cabling in the walls and ceiling is too expensive or not possible due to access in a multi-story building.
  • You want to be able to share printers or files with other computers, but cant use a cable to connect to your network.

What are the disadvantages/dangers of wireless networks?

  • It often requires extra or different equipment to what your internet provider initially provided you.
  • It must be PROPERLY set up with security to avoid your neighbours connecting to your network and using your download allowance – or if they really know what they are doing, hacking into your computer
  • The maximum distance between the modem and the computer is 20 metres (or less) and the further you are from the modem, the slower your internet speed is.