Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Setting up a local network at home: equipment, access to shared folders and printers

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What is a local network for?
The local network provides many convenient features for using multiple computers at the same time:

file transfer directly between network participants;
remote control of network-connected printers, scanners and other devices;
Internet access for all participants;
in other cases, when communication between several computers is needed, for example, for games over the network.
What you need to create a local network
To create your own LAN network with a minimum configuration, it is enough to have a couple of computers, a Wi-Fi router and a few cables:

devices themselves (computers, printers, etc.).
Wi-Fi router or router. The most convenient device for creating a home network, since there is a Wi-Fi router in almost every home.
Internet cables with twisted pair. It used to be important to use crossover cables when connecting computers directly, without routers and switches. Now there is no need for them, since the network cards themselves understand how the cable is connected and perform automatic configuration.
Switches or hubs. They are used to combine devices into one network. The main “transport hub”. An optional, but convenient device, long supplanted by Wi-Fi routers from ordinary apartments.

Switch TP-Link TL-SF1005P 3 150 *
NAS (Network Attached Storage). Network storage. It is a small computer with a disk array. Used as a server and data storage. Also optional, but handy.

Network Attached Storage (NAS) Zyxel NAS326 12,899 *
We have the necessary equipment, what’s next?
First you need to decide how the computers will be connected to each other. If a wired connection method is used, then we connect all the cables to the router or switch and connect them to the network. There are several ways to create LAN networks.

If Wi-Fi is used, then first you need to make sure that the devices support this type of connection. A separate Wi-Fi adapter may be useful for a computer, which will have to be purchased separately. In laptops, it is preinstalled from the factory. We connect devices to one Wi-Fi router.

Discovery setting
Just connecting the equipment to each other is not enough, so let’s move on:

All devices must be in the same “workgroup”. This setting is easily configured in Windows 10.
To do this, we go along the path: Control Panel – System and Security – System – Advanced System Settings – System Properties. In the window that opens, indicate that the computer is a member of a specific workgroup and give it a name. Repeat this action on all other PCs from the network.
When using Wi-Fi, change the network profile setting in network settings. To do this, in the “Network and Internet Settings” settings in the “Status” section, you need to click on “Change connection properties” and select the “Private” profile.
After that, configure the sharing settings. Go to “Network and Sharing Center” and open “Change advanced sharing settings”. There you need to enable network discovery, as well as access to files and printers.
Do not forget to enable access to the PC and disable password protection.
Now comes the important stage of work: set up network discovery and file sharing
It is important to make sure that all computers have the correct IP addresses. Usually, the system automatically configures this setting, but if the LAN fails, you will need to specify the addresses manually. You can check the IP using the “adapter settings settings”. Go to “Network and Sharing Center” and from there click on “Change adapter settings”.

Right-click on the connection and open properties. Next, open the properties of IP version 4 TCP / IPv4 (may be called “Internet Protocol version 4”). The IP address is what we need. We look for the first computer to have an address different from the second. For example, for the first it will be 192.168.0.100, 192.168.0.101 for the second, 192.168.0.102 for the third, etc. For each subsequent connected computer, we change the last digit of the address. It is worth considering that different routers may have different IP addresses than the specified ones. At this stage, the local network is already ready and functioning.

We go to the “Network” section of the explorer. If everything is connected correctly, then we will see the devices connected to the network. If not, then Windows will prompt us to set up network discovery. Tap the notification and select Turn on network discovery and file sharing. It is worth considering that the firewall can interfere with the LAN, and if there are problems with the network, you should check the firewall settings. Now you just need to enable the necessary folders and files for sharing.

How to open access to folders?
Right-click on the desired folder and go to the “Access” tab. Click “Sharing” and set permissions. For a home LAN, the easiest option is to select Everyone. Select the access level for other participants “read or read + write”.

Now from the properties of the folder we go to the security tab. Click “Edit” and “Add”. Select “All” and activate the changes. The folder’s permissions list must include the Everyone group. If you need to open access not to a separate folder, but to the entire local disk, then you need to go to the properties of the disk, click “Advanced settings” and check the box “Share”. With the “\localhost” command, you can see which folders on this computer are shared for the local network. To view files from shared folders, you need to find the “Network” section in Explorer and open the folder of the desired computer.

How to connect a printer to a local network
In “Devices and Printers” you need to select the printer and by right-clicking go to the properties of the printer. In the “Access” tab, click on the “Sharing” checkbox. The printer should be displayed with an icon indicating that the device has successfully connected to the LAN.

Laser printer HP LaserJet Pro M15w 9 999 *
If you need to block access to the folder, then in the properties you need to find the item “Make inaccessible”. If you need to disconnect the entire computer from the LAN, then the easiest way is to change the PC workgroup.

Administration and creation of local networks using programs
There are situations when it is necessary to make a local network, but this is physically impossible. Software comes to the rescue that allows you to create virtual local area networks. There are different programs for creating the administration of local networks. Let’s talk about a couple of them:

RAdmin
A very handy application that allows you to work with a local network or VPN in a couple of clicks. The main functions of the program are: remote control of a computer with remote desktop viewing, file transfer. Also, the program can help gamers playing on the local network.

Hamachi
Perhaps the most popular program in this category. Can create VLANs with its own server. Allows you to chat, transfer files and play games over the network. Also has an Android client.

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