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Answer from our Guest Expert John Klinger of Call A Techie - page 3

Choose Your Protocol

After the physical connection between the computers is established, the next step is to select a common network protocol. Since I'm Microsoft-trained, I'll use Microsoft protocols as examples.

The simplest protocol is called Netbeui. This protocol is very fast, and you don't have to configure anything on it. The problem, however, is that it won't work for the Internet. The most common protocol is called TCP/IP; this is the protocol that runs the Internet. If your network will in any way access the Internet or other networks, you'll have to install and configure TCP/IP.

Security and User Accounts

After you have your physical connection and protocol set up, you'll then have to decide on security and user accounts. In a peer-to-peer network, each machine acts as both a client and server. Each individual machine handles security and user accounts. This means that the machine owners decide what folders or resources they want to share and with whom.

For example, if I had a printer on my machine, I'd have to manually set my printer to allow sharing, I then would have the option of using schemes -- such as password protection or account restrictions -- to dictate who can use it and who cannot access it. This scheme is fine for small companies with a few computers, but obviously, you'd want central control for companies with many computers.

I'd love to be able to tell you exactly how to turn on file/printer sharing, install networking components and set up Internet connections, but each operating system does it a bit differently. This means that if I were to write out instructions for Windows 95 clients, they wouldn't work for Windows 98 or NT.

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