A lot of our projects rely on networking. We also set up networks of many different types of device. Testing web pages and coding locally can help solve issues quickly.
Networks and networking devices can be simple, or have a bewildering array of options and settings. It all depends on what you want the network to do and what is connected to it.
Networks can be as simple as several machines connected to a hub* or switch* by network cables. We use the word machines, as game machines like the X Box 360, some printers, and certain external hard disk drives can connect to these networks.
Rather than using a wired hub or switch like to the right, a wireless access point can connect wireless capable machines together. The different speeds available can often be mixed, as long as they are of the 802.11* standard.
Internet sharing allows several machines to access the world wide web simultaneously through one internet connection. With some of todays broadband speeds, you don’t even notice it it shared.
There are two main ways of Internet Sharing.
1) A computer connects to the internet, then shares it’s connection to a network
2) A device called a router connects to the internet and the connection is shared from there.
Option 1) relies on a computer that uses a modem to connect to the internet, and without that being switched on, nothing else on the network has an internet connection. This is often a less expensive way, but is often less flexible and more prone to attacks from the internet.
Option 2) has a device called a router connected to the internet, so any computer or networked device, has an internet connection whenever they are turned on. This is the option used here in WebKarnage Studios. Quality routers also have hardware firewall systems built in. Firewalls act as a safety barrier between the internet and your network. A wireless router (a router with built-in wireless access point) can send your internet connection throughout your home, without a mess of wires, and makes laptop computers a joy to use. Provided they are set up with good security, you need not worry about people ‘hacking’ into your network.
Some DNS services available can offer you and your family added security. We recommend that if your ISP doesn't offer this free of charge, then you should at least look at OpenDNS that are free and do offer a variety of security features, including many to make the younger members of the family safer while surfing. They can restrict access to adult content for all or particular computers on your network, depending on your connection and service of your ISP.
This is the first thing that has a huge part to play in how safe you are from virus' and hacking attacks. In general terms, the more popular the platform, the more attempts are going to be made to compromise the security. This puts Windows at an instant disadvantage when compared to MacOS or Linux, where it takes quite an effort to actually find a virus (still not a recommended pastime!). There is still a huge part for you to play in where you surf and what you download.