The simplest kind of home network contains two computers. You can use this kind of network to share files, a printer or another
peripheral device, and an internet connection. To connect two computers for sharing these and other network resources, consider the options described below.
Connect Two Computers Directly With a Cable
The conventional method to network two computers involves making a dedicated link by plugging one cable into the two systems. You need an Ethernet crossover cable, a null modem serial cable or parallel peripheral cable, or special-purpose USB cables.
The Ethernet method is the preferred choice as it supports a reliable, high-speed connection with minimal configuration required.
Also, Ethernet technology offers the most general-purpose solution, allowing networks with more than two computers to be built later.
If one of your computers possesses an Ethernet adapter, but the other has USB, an Ethernet crossover cable can be used by first
plugging a USB-to-Ethernet converter unit into the computer’s USB port.
SERIAL AND PARALLEL CONNECTIONS
This type of cabling, called Direct Cable Connection in Microsoft Windows, offers lower performance but the same basic functionality
as Ethernet cables. You may prefer this option if you have Ethernet cables readily available, and network speed is not a concern.
Serial and parallel cables are never used to network more than two computers.
Ordinary USB 2.0 or newer cables with Type-A connectors can connect two computers directly to each other. You may prefer this option over others if your computers lack functional Ethernet network adapters.To make dedicated connections with Ethernet, USB, serial, or parallel cables requires that:
- Each computer has a functioning network interface with an external jack for the cable.
- The network settings on each computer are appropriately configured.
Connect Two Computers With a Cable Through a Central Infrastructure
Rather than cable two computers directly, the computers can be joined indirectly through a central network fixture. This method
requires two network cables, one connecting each computer to the fixture. Several types of fixtures exist for home networking:
- Ethernet hubs, switches, and routers.
- USB hubs.
- Phoneline and powerline wall outlets.
Implementing this method often entails an additional up-front cost to purchase more cables and network infrastructure. However, it’s a
general-purpose solution that accommodates any reasonable number of devices (for example, ten or more). You will likely prefer this approach if you intend to expand your network in the future.
Most cabled networks use Ethernet technology. Alternatively, USB hubs work well, while powerline and phoneline home networks offer a unique form of central infrastructure. The standard Ethernet solutions are generally reliable and offer high performance.
Connect Two Computers Wirelessly
In recent years, wireless solutions have increased in popularity for home networking. As with cabled solutions, several wireless
technologies exist to support basic two-computer networks.
Wi-Fi connections can reach a greater distance than wireless alternatives. Many newer computers, especially laptops, contain built-in Wi-Fi capability, making it the preferred choice in most situations. Wi-Fi can be used either with or without a network fixture. With two computers, Wi-Fi networking minus a fixture (also called ad-hoc mode) is especially simple to set up.
Bluetooth technology supports reasonably high-speed wireless connections between two computers without the need for a network fixture.
Bluetooth is commonly used when networking a computer with a consumer handheld device like a cellphone.
Most desktop and older computers do not possess Bluetooth capability. Bluetooth works best if both devices are in the same room in close proximity to each other. Consider Bluetooth if you have an interest in networking with handheld devices and your computers lack Wi-Fi capability.
Infrared networking existed on laptops years before either Wi-Fi or Bluetooth technologies became popular. Infrared connections work
between two computers, do not require a fixture, and are reasonably fast. Being simple to set up and use, consider infrared if your
computers support it, and you lack the desire to invest effort in Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.