A network is a group of computers that communicate with each other in order to share resources, such as Internet access, shared files and folders, printers and even the computer themselves. If you've worked on a corporate or office network, you may have heard the network referred to as "LAN" which means "Local Area Network". Your home network can also be correctly described as a LAN.

There is no hard rule for how small or large a network must be in order to be considered a LAN. It may consist of as few as two computers or as many as several hundred computers. 50 years ago, most homes had only one television and one telephone at best. Just 20 years ago, most homes had only one computer, if any at all.

The benefits include:
1. Sharing high-speed internet: In the not-too distant past, sharing an Internet connection across multiple computers would have been laughable. Dialup modems, accompanied by their trademarks symphony of screeches, beeps and other harmonious sounds are as aggravating as they are slow. But as high-speed internet with cables and DSL routers and modems have become more accessible (and affordable), sharing an internet connection has become more commonplace.

2.Sharing files and printers: Moving over a home network is as easy as cutting and pasting. A home network also makes it possible for you to share printers. No more tying up the "printer computer" to print a massive homework assignment or work project.

3. Playing games, videos and more: A home network allows multiplayer games so you can enhance your game-playing experience well beyond Solitaire! You can also connect your digital video recorders (DVR's) and game consoles to your network to entertain the entire family.

Now if you live alone, that does not mean that a Home Network is unnecessary. You may still find it beneficial. Wireless networks are ideal in these situations, particularly if you have a laptop computer. A wireless network with a laptop gives you the freedom to work from your desk, your bedroom, your kitchen, your backyard - just about anywhere in and around your home. And don't forget about the other wireless devices you may have, such a game console and your mobile phone.

As home businesses and telecommuting or working from home have become a commonplace in today's business world, a small office or home network (SOHO) network is very good. Much of the equipment for a SOHO network is the same as for a home network, just a few differences like you may require a Voice-over-IP (VoIP) phone or set up a virtual private network.

Well for connecting computers in the network, you have 2 choices: Wired and Wireless.
Wired networks are generally faster and more secure than wireless networks, but wireless networks provide mobility and convenience if you have a laptop or mobile devices. Although a wired network generally provides faster network speeds than a wireless connection, that does not mean that you'll get faster internet speeds with a wired network. It's just that wired networks operate at speeds 100 or 1000 Mbps and wireless networks operate in the 54 Mbps range.

Of course you don't have to be a purist when it comes to home networking. It's entirely possible to have a little bit of both and this approach can be advantageous. Both wired and wireless networks are fairly inexpensive to set up and require just a few basic pieces of networking equipments, which i'll explain in the next article. :)