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Discovering computer networks: hands on in the Open Networking Lab
Discovering computer networks: hands on in the Open Networking Lab

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1.1 Devices on a home network

In this part you will look at some of the devices in a typical home network. There are three short videos to watch and some activities. When you have completed this part you should be able to identify typical home network devices and the connections between them. In particular you should be able to identify a home gateway and understand some of its functions and connections.

Watch the video below, which is about 2 minutes long. It explains what we mean when we talk about a home network.

Devices on a home network

Download this video clip.Video player: 01_devices_on_a_home_network.mp4
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Activity 1 Think about

5 minutes

  • List all the devices that are connected to your home network.

  • Identify whether they use a wired or a wireless connection – or both.

Discussion

Did you remember to include devices like a games console, Kindle and smart TV?

Watch the video below, which is about 4 minutes long. This video looks at the network connections in a laptop and a home gateway.

A closer look at network connections

Download this video clip.Video player: 02_a_closer_look_at_network_connections.mp4
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Activity 2 Think about

5 minutes

  • If you can, have a look at your own home gateway. Try to identify some of the common features that were discussed in the video. Go online and search for images of home gateways. (Hint: use ‘home router’ as your search term.) Again, try to identify some of the common features that were discussed in the video.

  • The home gateway images I found online showed many different form factors. Most of them had external antennae – some as many as four. I found a number of images showing the Ethernet and ADSL ports at the back.

  • Go online and search for images of home gateway labels. (Hint: use ‘home router label’ as your search term.) What are the most common features that you saw?

  • Most of the home gateway label images I found showed a set of bar codes, one or more of which had the word MAC by one of them; about half of them showed the SSID.

Watch the video below, which is about 1 minute long. It shows how drawing a diagram of a network helps to visualise how the different network devices are connected together.

Network diagram

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Activity 3 Try it out

5 minutes

Draw a diagram of your own home network.

Discussion

Your network diagram probably showed more wireless connections than wired connections.