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How to Build a Computer Network

If you own or manage two or more computers you need to connect your computers in a wired network to share Internet Connection and other services.
Here is a complete How To Build a Network.

Whether you are doing it at home or at your workplace, creating a computer network is not very difficult if you are a handy person and you have basic knowledge of computer networks. We will cover here most of the concepts you need to make your own LAN.
Computer Network
The series of articles will show you how to create a physical network and how to configure it to provide various services to your network users. We will focus on TCP/IP networks as this is the most common networking protocol.

Why Do You Need a Network?

You need a network if you need to share services for two or more computers.
Services that can be shared include: File sharing, sharing a network printer, Internet sharing, email services, Intranet, media broadcasting, etc…
In a home network, it is very common to share a printer and the Internet Connection.
In Business environment, the network becomes more complex and many more services will be needed to accommodate the use of many computers in a single network. Such services are DHCP – for automatic IP configuration, DNS – for name to IP resolution, corporate email, Proxy Server – for increased security on Internet, Intranet server – this is a private web server, VOIP phone system, etc…

What are the Limitations of My Network

You Ethernet cables are limited to 100m between any two active devices. If you need more than 100m between any two active devices such as computer and switch or computer to computer, you need to add a repeater or a hub, a switch will work as well, at each additional 100 meters, (or 333 ft.).
Depending on your materials and equipment, your network can run at 10Mb/s, 100Mb/s or 1Gigabit/s.
The most usual is to use Cat 5 or Cat 5e cables and connectors. A Cat 5 network can provide a speed up to 1000Mb/s.
If you need to connect at longer distances the more suitable solution are
Coaxial cable – up to 500M, speed 10Mb. You need special repeaters or hubs or special network cards.
The fiber optic – 10Km or more, speed up to 100Gb, depending on the equipment. It is the most expensive solution; the price though can be affordable for slower connections. For slower connections, most of the cost will consist on running the cable between the two points.
DSL is the cheap way to connect two remote offices if you have an available copper pair between the two offices.

What Do I Need to Make My own Network?

To make your own Ethernet Network you need the following equipment:
UTP/STP networking cable, RJ-45 connectors, Crimping tool, Punch down tool, Keystone Jacks, Wire stripper / Knife, Network Tester, Patch Panel, Network Switching device. The list includes also a stud finder, drywall saw, measuring tape, mounting plate, fish tape, ladder, and the usual tools such as screwdriver, drilling machine, hammer, etc…
Ample descriptions on the tools and materials are provided by following the links.

Computer Network Planning

The typical Ethernet Network has a star topology. That means that you have a central device, (network switch), that connects all of your network participants. This is important for your planning since you will have to run all of your cables to a central point. Make your measurements and place your central point in such manner that all of your cables are 100m or less. This includes the patch-cord as well.
If you have computers farther than 100m you will need to install a repeater. Alternatively you can use other types of connection, (coax, fiber optic, etc…), see the limitation paragraph.
When you run a cable consider the maximum amount of devices that can be stuffed into that office. It is a lot cheaper to run an extra cable or two per each office location than to run a single cable after the initial installation.
Install the keystones as close as possible to the actual location of the computer. Plan this thoroughly and pick the best location so that the patch-cord is out of the way.
Buy extra cable and extra connectors.
Use common paths for your cables whenever possible. If you run ten cables at once saves a lot of work and time.
Plan your cable route. Use ceiling whenever possible, it is the easiest path. Avoid running the cables near big electromagnetic sources.

Buying Computer Network Tools and Supplies

Do not buy cheap tools and materials. If you do, you will be penalized in different ways:
At the installation time you will get all sorts of problems trying to connect poor materials, cheap cable will be damaged more easily when manipulated, connectors will break easier.
In time the quality of the network will decrease if poor supplies and tools are used.
Overall experience and quality will be very poor if you get too cheap. If buying expensive tools is not justified, (a one time job), try to borrow good tools and don’t buy cheap ones.
Follow the links to learn what to look for when you are buying specific materials.
Now that you planned and bought all the Networking tools and supplies you can proceed to the Running the Cables for a Computer Network.

Computer Network – Tools and Supplies

Punch down tool

Punch down tool – The punch tool is used to insert the network cable in the patch panel or similar connection panels. For a small network up to 7 devices you might not need it as you can easily connect all of your devices directly into the switch.

Keystone module RJ45

Keystone Jacks – The RJ45 keystone jack is the female connector, usually immobile, part of a network connection that is mounted on the wall or similar. It provides a network connection close to the device to be connected. A patch-cord is used to connect the device to the keystone jack.

There are many types of RJ45 keystones, some require a punch down tool to be used, and some are tool-les, providing a lever for insertion and a retaining clip to secure the connection. The keystone is also produced for various categories, (Cat 3 – Cat 7), make sure you buy the correct one.

Deep Surplus
Wire Stripper Twisted Pair Cable

Wire stripper / Knife – I am not a fan of the wire stripper because it always cuts a little of the wires. Most of the times, the cut is superficial and it doesn’t get to the wire. But sometimes the stripper will scratch the wires. Using a utility knife or cutting pliers, is a little more laborious but I prefer it as I get more control. Moreover the many crimper tools come with a cable stripper. Don’t use that one, it doesn’t work for round cables, it only works for flat cables.

Simple Cable Tester

Network Tester – This is not a must, but if you are doing this for the first time, it will save you a lot of troubleshooting. For professional network cabling an expensive Network Tool that can measure attenuation, cable length, category supported, etc…, it’s a must. You need to give your client a report with your measurement results.
For small DIY jobs a simple tester will do it.

Patch Panel

Patch Panel – This is beyond the purpose of this article since it applies to bigger networks.

Network Switch

Network Switching device – The switching device switches packets between the different devices on your network. Modern switching devices can make a virtual map of all of the devices in your network and route packets according to this map.

Older connectivity devices, such as network hubs, used to indiscriminately broadcast the packets on all of the ports and only the device which the packet belonged to would have accepted it. This design creates a lot of collisions and saturates the network with unnecessary traffic.

Network hubs, (two or more ports), or repeaters, (only one port), are used to increase the maximum of 100m, (333 ft), between two devices connected on an Ethernet segment. Every repeater adds up another 100m.

Internet Marketing – 16 Ways to Get Back-links

Why is Backlinking important for Internet Marketing

Backlinks are incoming links to a website or web page.

Inbound links were once important as a primary means of web navigation;

Today their significance has diminished as the emergence of search engines changed the way WEB is accessed. Today, the importance of backlinks lies in search engine optimization (SEO). The number of backlinks is one indication of the popularity or importance of that website or page. Search Engines use backlinks as a parameter to determine the Page Rank of a webpage. They are still a source of traffic but is not as important as search results traffic direct traffic or advertising traffic.

Everybody has now recognized the importance of backlinking and it is an important aspect of the Internet Marketing. Some companies spend a lot of money trying to improve linking popularity and consequently Page Ranking.
There are various types of linking methods used by the Internet Marketers:

  • Reciprocal link
    Trade reciprocal links with other webmasters using a link exchange website or a script on your site. Reciprocal links do not carry the same weight as before, but it is still a good way to improve link popularity.
  • Article Marketing
    Article Marketing is a great way to obtain one-way links. Make sure you create a good resource box containing information about you and your website and attach that resource box to your articles. Distribute this to as many article directories as you can.
  • Forum signature linking
    Post on forums and share your knowledge. Create a signature that contains your website’s address. Posting on do-follow forums can be an efficient method. Do not spam forums, as this will blacklist your IP address, and your posts will be removed.
  • Blog comments
    Commenting on other’s webmasters’ blogs is an efficient way to get backlinks. Do not spam and post valuable comments that could benefit the community.
  • Image sharing
    (providing free quality images for a link-back)
  • Directory listing
    List your website to web-directories. DMOZ and Yahoo Directory are the two best ones and being listed here gives your site many points in rankings calculation.
  • Post press releases
    Underutilized method, great for a short time span popularity gain in Search Engines.
  • Blogging
    Very effective since you decide how many links you want to post on your blog, but can be time consuming.
  • Link-bait
    (Writing great article to which other webmaster will link to. Slow method for link building but is the most natural and provides the most stable back-links.)
  • Social Bookmarking
    The more bookmarked your site the better your rankings. Submit at the most popular Bookmarking sites and ask your friends to bookmark you.
  • Buying links from a web 2.0 site
    There are plenty of web sites that will sell you links. Beware that this is against the T.O.S. of search engines.
  • Video posting
    Posting videos to youtube, metacafe, etc… and attach your website’s link to it. This will not only provide you with a backlink, but will bring you traffic as well.
  • Social media links
    Links listed to Facebook or Twitter will convince Search Engines of the popularity of your page.
  • Create a WordPress plugin
    A great way to create back-links, but it is expensive. If you are a PHP programmer, and would like to start such a project, contact me.
  • Create a WordPress or Blogger template and give it free.
    A link to your website will be included in all of the websites that use your theme or template.
  • RSS publishing

As a rule for getting your backlinks, do not focus on one method. Use all of them because the diversity of links and link types will bring the value and will suggest Search Engines that the links are naturally built.

Link building won’t do anything for you if you don’t have content. There is no reason to conduct an Internet campaign for a website that doesn’t have any content.