Peer-To-Peer Network Setup


Network Setup



When building a network, you can physically connect the computers before or after installing (or checking) the operating systems. After installing the operating system, there are a few you should check to make sure a computer is working.

One of the things you should do is to check that a computer can communicate with others.

Wired Networking

After installing the operating systems on the computers that will primarily participate in the network, you can "physically" connect the workstations to the router. You can start connecting the pieces whether the computers are on or off.

To connect the computers:

  1. Shut down all computers and the router (if necessary)
  2. Turn on one computer you will use to setup the router
  3. Your router should have come equipped with a piece of paper or a brochure of just a few pages that lists the instructions to follow to setup the router. One of the early instructions may ask you to insert the CD that came with the router, in the CD drive and wait for the instructions. Follow these instructions faithfully
  4. After setting up and configuring the router, turn it off and turn off the computer you used to set it up (this step is optional)
  5. Connect each of the other computers to the router using an RJ-45 cable for each connection:

Accessing the Network

After installing the operating systems on the computers, a network, named a homegroup, is automatically created, and that network is called Homegroup.

Microsoft Windows 7 provides a fast way to create a peer-to-peer network. To use it, start Windows Explorer. Depending on the computer or its manufacturer, in the left frame, you may see an icon labeled Homegroup:

Home Group

If you see it, click it. A new window may come up:

Home Group

Read the text and click Join Now. Another window would come up:

Home Group

Click Next. You will be asked to provide a password.

Wireless Networking

If you plan to let some computers access the network wirelessly (using a router that has wireless capability), you may need to use one computer to set it up.

To do this:

  1. Start the computer you will use to setup the router (you should turn the others off):

  2. Most, if not all, wireless routers come with very easy to follow instructions. Most of them usually ask you to first insert the disc that accompanies the router, that is, before physically installing the router. Consult the documentation (usually just one or a few pieces of paper or a small brochure) and faithfully follow its disc's instructions. At one time, the instructions would indicate to you when to connect the computer and the wireless router. To do this, you will use a cable (usually supplied to you) to connect one end to the computer and another end to the router:

    Because the steps to perform depend on the router (or the manufacturer), we will let you perform as described by their documentation

  3. After installing and setting up the wireless router, turn it off and turn the computer off
  4. For any computer that doesn't have a wireless network card but has a wired network card, connect it to a port of the wireless router using an RJ-45 cable. The computers that have a network card will not need a physical connection to the wireless router:

  5. Turn on the router. After a few seconds, turn on the computers one by one.
    You may not need to check whether they work at this time or not.

Checking Network Connectivity

On the Taskbar of a computer that is a member of the network, you should see the icon for the network connectivity. The the icon may appears empty:

Network Connection

 That's good (this is not a guaranty that everything is alright but probably everything is fine).

If the icon appears with a rotating cursor, the computer is probably looking for a network:

Network Connection

In this case, you should let it continue searching.

The icon may appear with an orange ball:

Network Connection

Click that icon to show a list of available networks (from your neighbors) and click the name of your network.

If the icon appears with a red X or any suspicious sign, it means something is wrong:

Network Connection

If the computer connects using a cable (wired connection), the first thing you should check is whether the network cable is connected. If it's not, connect it and check the icon again. If the cable is connected, the next thing is to check whether the driver for the network card is installed and up-to-date. To check it, click Start, right-click Computer, and click Manage. On the left, click Device Manager. Check how Ethernet Controller and/or Network Controller appear. If either or both have an exclamation mark in their icon, ...

Network Connection

... right-click the item and click Properties (you can also double-click it). A dialog box would come up. It may display a message that the drivers are not installed:

Ethernet Controller Properties

There are various ways you can get the drivers. One way is to get to the web site of the manufacturer, download the driver, and install it. Then check the icon again.

Network Discovery

Network discovery makes it possible for a computer to allow other computers to "see" it on the network. If you have a computer that needs to participate in a network, you should allow network discovery on it. To do that, open Windows Explorer and click Network (you can click the Start button and click the Network option). A message should appear under the toolbar stating "Network discovery is turned off...":

Netowork Discovery

Routine Operations of a Network


User Accounts

A pee-to-peer network, also called a workgroup, is a network where each computer owns its own resources and can make them available. Each computer may or may not present much security. One way to secure a computer is to make sure that anybody who wants to use it must be identified. That is, everyone who wants to use the computer must have a user account on that computer.

To create a user account

  1. Click Start -> Control Panel
  2. Under User Accounts and Family Safety, click Add Or Remove User Accounts
  3. Click Create a New Account
  4. Specify a user name
    User Account
  5. You have the option of making it a regular account (Standard option) or an account that can perform more advanced options (such as managing other account and/or controlling various operations on the computer).
    When you are ready, click Create Account
  6. To assign a password to the account, click the account to open its properties
  7. Click Create a Password
  8. Type a password in the first text box and press Tab
  9. Type the same password and press Tab twice
  10. Type something that can help you remember the password if you happen to forget it
    Account Password
  11. Click Create Password

Sharing a Folder

Probably the most fundamental way a computer can make a resource available is to share one or its resources or files. Of course, you must first create the reources.

Of course, to create a folder, open Windows Explorer or any file utility of your choice. select the drive. Right-click it or right-click the right frame, position the mouse on New, and click Folder:

Creating a Folder

Give a name to the folder and press Enter

After creating a folder, to share it:

  1. Start Windows Explorer and display the drive where the folder is located
  2. Right-click the folder -> Share With -> Specific Prople...
    Sharing a Folder
  3. Click the arrow of the combo box:
    Sharing a Folder
  4.  Then:
    1. If you want to control access of the folder for all user accounts, click Everyone
    2. If you want to control access for a specific account and that account is in the list, select it
    3. If you want to control access for a certain user but his or her account is not listed, click Create A New User... and create the new account
  5. Under Permission Level click the down-pointing arrow for the account you selected
    Sharing a Folder
  6. Select the desired permission
  7. Click Share
    Sharing a Folder
  8. Click Done

Accessing a Shared Folder

When a folder is shared in a computer, the other computers can access it. To access such a folder from another computer, you must use an account that exists in the computer where the folder is shared.

To access a shared folder:

  1. Open Windows Explorer
  2. In the left frame, click Network.
    The right should play the names of the computers of the same network
  3. Double-click the icon of the computer where the desired folder is located
  4. A Windows Security dialog box may come. In the top text box, type the name of the computer that has the folder, followed by \, followed by the user account you created in that computer
  5. Press Tab
  6. Type the password that was given to that account
    Windows Security
    About the check box:
    • If you leave Remember My Credentials unchecked, the next time you try accessing the folders of that computer, you will be asked to provide the credentials (user name and password) again
    • If you check Remember My Credentials, next time, you can access the folders of that computer
  7. When you are ready, click OK
    The computer should then show its shared folder(s)
    Windows Security
    You can then:
    • Double-click the folder to see its contents
    • Open a file that is in that folder
    • Create a file and save it in that folder
    • Copy files and put them in that folder
    • Put various types of files (pictures, music, videos, presentation, etc) in that folder
    • etc

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