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Book Review: Home Networking, the Missing Manual

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I wish I had read this book about three months ago. I bought a wireless router and a card for my laptop. I set up the network. I could get on the internet now from the laptop — I was thrilled.

Then I tried to print. Nothing.
Then I tried file sharing. Nothing.

If I had a new laptop, it would have been no problem, but I have an ancient laptop — a Pentium 1, 166Mhz machine running Windows 98. And I had no clue what to do.

I’m still not really sure how I got everything to work right. I messed with settings and finally got it working. I can print, and share files. But it took me a lot of mucking around with things that I really didn’t feel qualified to muck around with.

As I read this book, I kept saying “I should have done THAT!! Why didn’t I do THAT? So THAT’S what that does!” Slapped myself on the forehead a few times, too. It was bad — my head still hurts.

This book breaks the process of setting up a home network down into managable steps. It talks about both Windows and Mac OS setup, and shows easy ways to get the two operating systems talking to each other. It shows how to set up wireless AND regular networks — it even mentions Powerline networking, and shows how it can be used to extend an existing network. Everything you need to start networking at home is right here, in one volume.

I learned several things that I’m planning on using in the near future. One problem with my home systems is the lack of storage space. This book shows how to set up networked storage using USB hard drives and a Linksys Network Storage Link. I’ve also been introduced to Apple’s AirPort Express, which I would already own if I had seen it before.

This book is essential for anyone who is going to set up a home network. If you’ve done that already, read the book anyway. You might get some ideas for things that you can do with your network that you hadn’t thought of before.

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About Warren Kelly