To many, the idea of a home network may be something that they would never consider. I suppose you may at first just need to understand what a network even is. Well, in my mind a network is nothing more than a number of interconnected computers which each have a specific task. According to Wikipedia:
A computer network or data network is a telecommunications network which allows computers to exchange data. In computer networks, networked computing devices exchange data with each other along network links (data connections). The connections between nodes are established using either cable media or wireless media. The best-known computer network is the Internet.
Now, you might next think, “…he just said a number of interconnected computers. I don’t have a bunch of computers laying around!” Well, you really do not need a bunch of computers to create your home network. You could create the entire network with just one computer.
I myself have access to several computing devices. Tower PCs, tablets, laptops, and smart phones. All of these can become part of your home network. Since we are in a wireless age and most homes have wireless routers, these devices all become interconnected. They may not share data between each other but they do connect to the same home network to access the global network called the internet.
So why a home network? For me I wanted to have access to various tools I use in my software engineering practices:
- Project Management Tool
- Continuous Integration Tool
- Version Control Tool
- Blogging Tool
To make all of the above things possible I wanted to create a computer for each, and as I mentioned above I don’t have a lot of computers lying around to put all of this together. So, I decided to go the route of a physical host computer and then create the individual virtual machines (VMs) that I would need to make all of this happen.
The physical host is an actual computer and the VMs are computers which only exist within the physical device. Essentially a software computer. Another aspect of this is which operating system (OS) you should use. Microsoft products, unfortunately, require costly product licenses to use. Therefore, I chose to implement all of these “computers” using free open source software. All of the software tools I chose to use are in fact free.
There are several different ways you could implement your home network. The way I chose is just one option. It does function for me and it has been relatively low cost to put together. In future posts, I will describe the components used to create my home network. Many of these I will bet you already have in your home and with a little bit of work they can be put to work to satisfy your home networking needs.