Building a Home Network - Hardware

A network access point, or hub, and network interface cards, or NICs are required. The NICs connect to each computer, and must match both the interface bus on the computer and the media connectors, in our case RJ45. The portable computer requires a PCM/CIA based network card. Of the three desktop computers, two utilize a PCI interface, and one an ISA interface. The various interface cards have different prices.

Hubs come in a variety of sizes, varying from four ports, up to dozens of ports. Initially, based on the number of rooms and computers in our hypothetical home, an eight port hub seems appropriate. Because the office requires a jack, not all eight of the other connection points can be live. Initially, one of the bedrooms will not be connected. We can swap cables at the hub when access is required. Based on this, our shopping list for network hardware is one eight port hub, two PCI, one ISA, and one PCM/CIA NIC.

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By Robert Corfman - 06/13/98