How to Connect a Laptop to a Local Network

What is all about?

Every modern computer can connect to a network using Internet Protocol (IP). There are other protocols and connection types, but I will use IP because it has become so popular that you’ll have one at home in your wireless router.

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Every device today that is connected to a network has an IP address. In the beginning the IP address was a 16-digit number. Now it has numbers and letters. 

Here is a typical IP address: - we will use it to access our router. 

To make the simplest home or office network you would need a network device and computers. One network device is a wireless router and another possible one is a switch. Actually, wireless routers have a switch built in so we can make a network using it. 

Here I will be using a wireless router TP-Link and make a network using its wireless connection and wired connection. After that I will connect my laptops to it. 

Wireless routers have the wireless network name and password printed on a label underneath. I will use those to connect to the router.

I also need to log in to the router and make sure everything is ready. What I need is an SSID to set a name I want and that should be easy to remember as a password. 

How to Log In to a Router?

The first and easiest way is to use a wireless network. The name your wireless router has is usually printed on a label. 

If your router is not wireless or the wireless network password does not work you can access the router by a wired connection. You will need a so-called LAN cable (Local Area Network). Also, you need to make sure your laptop can obtain an IP address automatically. On Windows 10 go to Start, Settings, Network and Internet, Ethernet, Change Adapter Options, again click Ethernet, go to Internet Protocol version 4, tick Obtain an IP address automatically and also tick Obtain DNS server address automatically. 

Older laptops also have a LAN (Local Area Network) port that you can use to connect it to a router.

Newer laptops like my Asus E403S do not have a LAN port, so you need to use a USB to LAN adapter.

If your printer has a LAN or wireless connection you can connect it to this network. It will have an IP address too. 

How to Check That Your Laptop is Connected

There is one program that all Windows operating systems have - ipconfig. Please go to Start, type CMD and hit enter. It will start on a black screen. 

Type here ipconfig and hit enter. It will show the data that it has about network devices on the laptop.

The Default Gateway is the IP address of your router. Type it into the web browser address bar and hit enter. It will show you the router’s welcome screen with username and password entry form. Usually the username and password are defaults that you can find on the internet if you know what your internet provider is or the make of the router. 

The number marked in green is the IP address that your laptop has on Remus network. 

I will also connect a printer to this network. 

Wireless printers have a utility that helps to connect them to a wireless network that you want. Mine is HP iP7250 and it uses IJ Network Tool to connect to wireless networks. 

It is not necessary to connect this Remus network to the Internet to make wireless printers work. Actually, you need to connect it to a Homegroup to make file sharing possible. 

How to Share Files?

To be able to share files the laptop needs to join a network group. In Windows 10 this is Homegroup, while in the earlier Windows Vista and Windows XP it is Workgroup. 

Homegroup can be accessed from any computer that joined it. 

You can choose what to share on your laptop. If you choose not to share a particular folder, others will not see it. 

If you have joined a Homegroup other users have full control over the folders that are public.

How to create or join a Homegroup?

Click Start, Settings, Network and Internet. Go to Homegroup. If there is no Homegroup created it will suggest you create one. Or, if you just want to join a Homegroup you can click Join.

Enter the password. It will ask what to share. You can choose what to share and later add a folder that is not listed here. 

If you want to add an additional folder to share right click on that folder.

Click Share with and Homegroup (view) or Homegroup (view and edit).

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