Networking doesn’t happen without hardware. First comes the networking adapter, hardware required in order to interface the PC with the network. Wire-based networks need wire, obviously. And all networks, wired or wireless, need hardware that makes up a central location, or hub, where all the wires are connected or wireless signals go to complete the network.

This figure illustrates a typical network layout. At the center of the network is a combination wireless base station and router. The router is connected to a broadband modem that’s connected to the Internet. The router is also wired into one PC and a printer. Two additional PCs access the base station by using wireless Internet.

using wireless Internet.

A typical network layout.
The network setup illustrated in this figure is typical but not standard. The network you create may look similar, be all wireless, be all wired, or have more or fewer components. This is all good news because the network can be configured to your needs. It’s very flexible.