Basics of Computer Hardware and Networking

Hardware means all the physical components of the computer and Networking means communication between two or more computers via cable is known as networking. Computer hardware networking is a way to share resources such as data, files, programs and Internet connections. It is important to decide before you begin to install your network whether you want a wired or wireless network.

If you have a few computers in the same room as your router, for example, you may not need a wireless network. However, if you have more computers in different rooms, running wires to every room may be more trouble than setting up a wireless network. Much of the hardware and equipment will be the same, regardless of whether you want to set up a wired or wireless network.

Network Card

Each computer will require a network card in order to connect to the network. Most new computers will have a wired network card already installed by default. However, you may need to install a wireless card on a desktop computer if you wish to set up a wireless network. Most laptops come with both wired and wireless cards already installed.


You will need to have some kind of broadband modem if you want to use the network to share an Internet connection. Usually, the technician who sets up your broadband Internet connection will install the modem hardware. The modem will be responsible for carrying the Internet signal to your network.


The router is the main point of access for all computers connecting into a network. The modem will connect to the router and provide Internet to the network. All computers will connect to the router for Internet and file sharing either through a cable to the back of the router or through wireless signal. Most wireless routers offer both wireless and wired connections.


A hub is a small network box that can act as a splitter in a wired network. You can run one wire from the router into the hub and split the connection from there, rather than run multiple wires from the router to computers in a different room. Different hubs will support a different number of connections.


You will need at least one or two network cables even if you are setting up a primarily wireless network. Run a cable between the modem and the router for Internet sharing. Network cables can also be used to connect the router to a computer or a hub. These cables come in a variety of lengths, depending on your networking needs.