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Why You Want Your Own Network


  1. Big and Scary Networks: The Simplest Introduction You'll Ever Read
  2. Learning How to Share
  3. Headline: Entertainment Network Wows Friends and Neighbors
  4. Summary

Chapter Description

For the novice, networking can seem like an intimidating concept, but this chapter will help you to manage your fear of networks and discover the joys of a home network.

Headline: Entertainment Network Wows Friends and Neighbors

If you really want to wow your friends and neighbors, it's hard to beat the effect of a well-thought-out system of entertainment options connected to your home network. Just imagine the possibilities:

  • You can have thousands of songs arranged in play lists to match any occasion.

  • You can play multiplayer video games via your broadband Internet connection.

  • You can listen to countless Internet radio stations in virtually any format around the world.

  • You can rent movies for instant viewing without ever leaving your home.

  • You (or others) can view your prized exotic fish tank using a wireless webcam.


You can find out more about the Linksys gear mentioned in this section on the Web at http://www.linksys.com.

Home Entertainment Centers

Listening to music has certainly changed over the years. Instead of playing one song or a single disc at a time, PCs have made it easy to set up play lists of your favorite songs so that you never have to play DJ during a party again. Until recently, it simply wasn't very convenient to play music that was stored on your computer through your stereo because most people didn't want a PC in their living room. That all changed with the introduction of products such as the Linksys WMA11B Wireless-B Media Adapter shown in Figure 1-7. This handy device wirelessly bridges the gap between your PC and your stereo to create a home entertainment center.

Figure 7Figure 1-7 A Wireless Media Adapter Channels the Music from Your PC to Your Home Stereo System

Wireless Game Consoles

Does your home have a video game console such as a Sony PS2 or a Microsoft Xbox? If so, you probably already know that multiplayer games are even more fun than single player games. What you might not know is that by using your broadband Internet connection, you can open up a whole new world of challenging multiplayer games where your opponent might literally be halfway around the world!

The Linksys WGA54G Wireless-G game adapter shown in Figure 1-8 can be the key to connecting your video game console to the Internet through your home network.

Figure 8Figure 1-8 A Wireless Game Adapter Connects Your Video Game Console to the Internet

Internet Radio

The Internet can be an amazing source of entertainment. In addition to millions of websites, another part of the Internet exists of which you might not be aware. Radio stations all over the world broadcast their programs across the Internet for free. You can listen to rock music from New York, opera from Rome, or new age music from Tokyo as easily as listening to your local FM stations on your radio—and without the static! For example, Figure 1-9 shows just a few of the stations that are available in the world music category in Windows Media Player.

Figure 9Figure 1-9 The Whole World Is Within Range When You Listen to Internet Radio Stations


Remember that your home network's wireless media adapter is just as adept at playing your favorite Internet radio stations on your stereo system as it is at playing music from your PC's play lists.

Wireless Webcams

If you need one more reason why you'll want your own home network, consider the many different ways you could use a wireless webcam. Earlier I mentioned monitoring your exotic fish tank, but what about some of these ideas:

  • Place a wireless camera where you can see who is at your front door on the screen of your PC.

  • Set up a webcam so that you can check on the status of your home when you're at work.

  • Keep track of your infant's room using a wireless camera.

  • Use the motion detection feature of your wireless webcam to record the neighbor's dog when it visits your rose garden.

Figure 1-10 shows the Linksys WVC11B Wireless-B Internet Video Camera. This handy unit might just be the crowning touch for your home network.

Figure 10Figure 1-10 A Wireless Internet Video Camera Enables You to See What's Going on Even if You Can't Be There Yourself

Working Remotely

Finally, a home network can give you more time at home away from your office. Here are a few ways:

  • Save the time of a commute by quickly logging in to the office in emergencies. Check e-mail, get documents, or publish your web pages.

  • Attend scheduled meetings virtually from the comfort of your home.

  • With a wireless network, work comfortably from the comfort of your own living room, backyard, or porch on a nice sunny day.