How to Connect a Computer to a Server

Level of difficulty: Intermediate

The process of creating computer networks is somewhat complex, considering the various options available with each its own specific hardware, software, and cabling requirements. Majority of Local Area Network (LAN) connections implemented in computing environments make use of routing devices that allow the sharing of resources like printers, hard drives, and Internet connections. The use of computer interconnection allows the reduction of operation costs as well as maximizing computing benefits and supporting the deployment of services like network games and file sharing among others. For wired networks, the most ideal set-up is what is normally referred to as the star structure.

Materials Needed:
- Network Interface Cards (NIC) for each computer (if none is present)
- RJ45 Ethernet cables
- Network router
- Client and Server computers (preferably using the same Operating System)
Step 1
The first step to implementing wired networks is to configure the router by defining the security protocols to be implemented (WAP, WEP, and the likes) as well as the IP addresses that will be used by the internal network. This option can usually be done via the Graphical User Interface of its accompanying software.
Step 2
Connect an RJ45 Ethernet cable to the WAN port of the router and the NIC of the computer machine that will function as the server. An indicator light on the router will indicate that the computer server is detected.
Step 3
Click on the 'My Computer' option to define what resources will be shared to other computers (Clients) that will connect to the server. To share the contents of the hard drive, right click on it and choose the Sharing and Security option of the context menu. Check the 'Share this folder' on the network option so that Client machines can access it. Also, indicate the Share name to be used to identify the device in the network.
Step 4
Launch the 'Control Panel' and choose the 'Performance and Maintenance' option. Click on the 'System' menu and choose the 'Computer Name' tab. Indicate a Computer Name along with clicking on the 'Workgroup' button. Replace the default WORKGROUP with any preferred name to identify your network. This is an added security measure that will ensure that only members of the same workgroup can share resources.
Step 5
On the 'Control Panel', select the 'Network Connections' option and right click on the 'Local Area Connection'. Select the 'Internet Protocol (IP)' option and click on the 'Properties' button. You can use any IP address for your internal network. The address of the server usually ends with the number one as in
Step 6
Check if the Client machine has an installed NIC. In case there is none, have a professional install it to avoid voiding the warranty and possibly damaging the computer hardware. If present, connect one end of another RJ45 Ethernet cable with the other end to any vacant port on the router. An indicator light should be lit to represent the connection.
Step 7
To share resources on the Client machine, repeat Step 3. Repeat Step 4 to make sure that it is in the same Workgroup as the Server machine. Repeat Step 5 making sure that only the last digit is different from the Server’s IP address.
Step 8
Restart the Server, the router, and the Client respectively. This will activate connection of the Client to the Server machine.
Step 9
Repeat Step 6 and Step 7 for any additional Client machine that will be connected to the Server.