How to Setup a Home Network

This article understands how to setup a home network .

Home Network Components

Modems

Modems are the most important components in any home network. Without a modem, it will not be possible to achieve internet connectivity. They are based on the type of internet connections like DSL, cable etc.




Home Network Routers

Home routers are other important components in setting up of the network. There are basically 3 types of home routers

1. Home routers with inbuilt modems and switches which would be useful for sharing internet among desktop users.

2. Home routers with inbuilt modem, switches and access points are useful in scenarios where combinations of wired and wireless users are required to share the internet. The access points provide wireless access to users on the network.

3. Home routers with all of the above components, with inbuilt print servers are used for sharing a printer with all the users on the network. A print server is a device, which is used for converting a parallel port printer into a network printer.

When the numbers of users are more, additional components like access points and switches would be required.

Home Router features

How to setup a home network

A home network setup topology typically consists of 2 networks, the internal and external network. If the internal network corresponds to the LAN network to which the home users belong to and the external network, corresponds to the internet. The router typically has two interfaces, which is the WAN and LAN interface. The WAN interface of the router is configured with appropriate parameters based on the type of internet connection. This interface has a public IP address, which is configured statically or received dynamically by the ISP. The LAN interface IP address of the router is configured by the user.

The following are the predominant features which should be available on a home router and their use.

NAT –

NAT, which stands for network address translation, is used for internet sharing among the home users. There is only one public IP address, which is received by routers for the internet connection. Internet is accessible, only through the public IP address. So, for the LAN uses, to access the internet, the connections available through the public IP address have to be shared for users on the LAN to access the same.

DHCP –

DHCP, which stands for dynamic host configuration protocol is used for assigning IP addresses, subnet masks, default gateway, dns server details to users on the LAN network, dynamically. This is provided by having the DHCP server feature, inbuilt in the router.

PAT –

PAT, which stands for port address translation, is a feature, which is used for allowing port based communication. It is used in scenarios, where users from the outside network like the internet would need to connect to specific applications or view the desktops of systems on the LAN network.

URL Filtering –

URL filtering is a feature, which is used to block or allow URLs. This feature is used to allow or block websites for users on the network

TCP/IP for Home Network Setup

A typical home network has 2 parts, which is the LAN network for the home users and the external network, which is the internet. The internet network is provided by the ISP. The LAN network is designed and configured by the home users. The network addresses used on this particular network belongs to private IP addresses ranges which are 10.0.0.0/8, 172.16.0.0/16 and 192.168.0.0/24.

After identifying the appropriate network addresses and the number of users, the IP addresses are assigned accordingly. For ex, if there are 5 users in a home network, and if the network address, 192.168.1.0/24 is used, the IP addresses for the users would be from 192.168.1.1, till 192.168.1.5. Along with the IP addresses, the subnet masks corresponding to the internet, which is this case would be 255.255.255.0, should also be configured on the user’s PC.

The gateway address for the PC’s on the LAN network should be the LAN interface IP addresses of the router. All packets bound to the internet should be sent to the router. This is achieved by configuring the default gateway of the PC’s as LAN interface of the router.

DNS server IP addresses are required to be configured on the PC’s for DNS resolution. This is required for converting the website names to IP addresses, without which internet communication would fail. The DNS server IP address for the home PC’s can either be the public DNS server IP address provided by the ISP or it can also be the LAN interface IP address of the router. If the latter settings are used, it should be ensured that the actual DNS server IP address provided by the ISP should be configured on the router.

The above topology shows a home LAN network, to which the desktops are connected to the inbuilt switch on the router. The TCP/IP configuration, which should is configured on a PC on the network is shown below.

The IP address is 192.168.1.100. It is part of the network, 192.168.1.0/24 network. The DNS server IP address in this case is configured with the LAN interface IP address of the router, which is 192.168.1.1.

Home Network setup Guidelines

The above topology shows the physical connectivity layout in a home network, where the PC’s share the internet connection on the router.

Router Configuration Guidelines.

Connect the WAN interface of the router to the internet connection socket. Login to the router and configure parameters for internet connectivity like encapsulation protocols, static and dynamic IP addressing etc. These settings are typically provided by the ISP. Setup NAT on the router for internet sharing. Configure the
DNS server IP address statically or check if it is received, dynamically along with the public IP address. If the LAN users are to receive the IP address and associated parameters like subnet masks, default gateways and DNS server IP addresses dynamically, the DHCP server would be used to be setup on the router.
Setup dynamic IP addressing on the TCP/IP adapter if DHCP server is configured or setup the IP