Home Networking – How to Connect 2 Computers

Networking – Communication – Medium. All those key words, and many others, are fundamental to networks. Configuring your own computers and allow them to exchange data, is a great way to start Networking.

Ethernet Networking (Wired Ethernet connection)

To start with, there are some basic requirements that will allow us to achieve our goal: Hardware and Software.

Hardware: Make sure there are at least two computers with Network cards installed, and then we have a cross-over cable ready. NB: use of any other type of cables may result in connection failure.

Software: verify that the computers are running a proper operating system, and the network cards drivers are properly installed and up to date.

With those entire in place, simply plug the two ends of your cross-over cable to your computer’s network cards and wait for a while until they get IP addresses and you are ready to go. By default your computers will get APIPA addresses (Automatic Private IP Address). This is due to the fact that a DHCP server hasn’t been found, thus they auto assign themselves private addresses.

We can now enjoy sending ping messages between our computers to test connectivity: we have just achieved our first Peer-to-peer Networking configuration.

Voila a basic way of networking between computer. Having the right equipments, such as a cross-over cable, is crucial for communication to take place. Yes, computers can talk to each other and allow us to share data and all their resources.

Peer to Peer over Wireless (Wi-Fi)

Wi-fi has been out for some time and has become a norm for most homes or enterprise users. Unlike wired networking, wireless does not require any cabling to work.

In order for two computers to communicate over Wi-Fi, they must have wireless cards installed. There are many card manufacturers such as Linksys, Netgear, D-Link. Although 98% of mobile computers are wireless enabled, some desktops or towers need wireless card installed.

Wireless requires a lot more knowledge and configuration, as it’s not plug and play as wired would be to some extend.

Although it is a peer-to-peer connection, make sure:

  • Both Wireless adapters are set to Ad-hoc mode instead of infrastructure. Infrastructure mode is a connection where an access-point is present.
  • The wireless cards must use the same SSID (Service Set Identifier), which are case sensitive.
  • The encryption type must be the same. So if for example WEP/WPA2…, it must be the same as well as network key.

Would recommend disabling all sort of security, when connecting for the first time, and configure later when the connection is up and running. Although this is not a norm, this helps troubleshooting when connection issues occur during setup.

APIPA: Automatic Private IP Addresses start with 169.254, and the range reserved by the IANA is 169.254.0.0 to 169.254.255.255.

DHCP Stands for Dynamic Host Configuration, and allows computers to dynamically acquire their IP address from a DHCP server configure for this purpose.

PING stands for Packet Internet Groper, is used to test connectivity between two nodes on the network.

Just in case there is no reply for the ping message, does not mean there is no connectivity. Check that your Firewall allows Incoming Echo Request.

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