Today’s secret: Why big stores love home networks.More and more of us are adding devices to our home networks – an extra PC for the kids, Xbox or Wii, a media sever to store all our music and photos. The ability to share music, photos and videos across all the PCs in your house has never been easier.Yet with all this growth, a recent survey conducted by ABI Research showed one in three consumers reported difficulty in setting up and maintaining their home network. 25% of all wireless devices are returned to the store simply because it was too hard to setup and not a defective product. This notion is further enforced by Best Buy’s Geek Squad founder Robert Stephens who acknowledged that the complexity of installing a wireless network is evidenced by the fact that return rates on wireless networking devices drop to nearly zero when his installers do it. Really there are a lot of great network products out there, but unfortunately they do not always do a good job of explaining very simple to set up.This is one of the reasons that big stores love home networks, it seems complex and hard to set up. Its easy to get frustrated with it. So if you return a wireless router to the store how hard do they have to sell you on letting them ease your frustrations by having them install it for you.Another reason they love home networks is the time it can take to set up a network. Usually there’s software to install, the PC will need a reboot, add security passwords and need another reboot and we all know how long that can take. So if you have two PCs on your network the time needed is doubled, want to add a printer you can all use, time doubles again as more software is added to each pc and yet more reboots.Final reason is maintenance. Want to add a new pc or printer they will gladly come out and spend more time adding the new device. If the network stops working do you know where to start troubleshooting?Truth is home and small business networking is not that difficult if you have some technical knowledge. Setting up times and maintenance can be greatly reduced with the right software. With great software you do not even need the technical knowledge to get a multi-device network running.Whenever I go to someones home to set up a network I show them them Network Magic. This software is by Cisco, one of the leading companies in business high tech networking. I explain how by using this software their network can be set up quicker, be more secure and easier to maintainSetting UpSimply install Cisco Network Magic to each PC in your home. The Essentials version has licenses for up to 3 devices. The Pro version lets you connect up to 8 devices. Cisco Network Magic adds a level of simplicity to many of the most common setup problems encountered. These issues include enabling wireless security and discovering and adding each device to the network, whether wired or wireless. With Cisco Network Magic, you can instantly connect all of your devices to the network, without the usual difficulties.Once your network is up and running, Cisco Network Magic makes it easy to see what is happening on the network through a Network Map which is a visual representation of of all the devices that are connected to your home network, as well as possible intruders. The map also provides additional details about those devices, including IP addresses, connection status, alerts about software updates, as well as easy access to any tasks related to each device. By utilizing the features of the map, you can view and control many aspects of your networked devices, without having to go to each device individually so no more running back and forth.File and Printer SharingABI Research has also found that more than 33% of home network owners said they use their network for file sharing, and 40% share a printer among multiple computers. Cisco Network Magic helps make the process a snap, with built-in file and printer sharing tools.To share files with your other computers, simply click on “Share a Folder” and a software setup program known as a “wizard” walks you through the steps. If you want to see what folders are shared on one computer, or all of your networked computers, you can do that as well. Cisco Network Magic even puts a shortcut on your desktop, making it easy to access all the music, photos, videos and other files available on your networked computers. With multiple computers in a household, it becomes very cumbersome and expensive to outfit each one with its own printer. If you want to share a printer among multiple computers, Cisco Network Magic has an easy setup process. The program will make the printer available to all computers on the network, and will even automatically install the printer drivers on the different PCs for you.Parental ControlsIf you’re like millions of concerned parents, you worry about the content that your children are exposed to on the Internet. Perhaps you would also like to control when your children have access to the Internet. With the Internet Access Controls in Cisco Network Magic, you can do all of this and more.Cisco Network Magic offers controls that allow you to manage when and where your networked computers access the Internet. You can restrict Internet access to certain times of the day, making sure your kids are doing their homework and not surfing the web or chatting with their friends online. All of this can be done remotely, via a password-enabled tool so the controls you put in place stay there.Computer Reports and Network History The reports feature of Network Magic offers a convenient way to keep track of what sites have been visited on your connected computers. The program can be setup to email a link to a detailed report each day, showing when the computer was online, the programs that were used (and when they were used) computer health status, each website that was visited, and the Internet bandwidth consumed by each computer. Network history shows you which computers and other devices have connected to the network, along with any intruders that may have attempted to connect.TroubleshootingOne of the most frustrating aspects of managing a home network is troubleshooting when one of your devices gets disconnected. Your computer’s operating system offers limited solutions for fixing a problem with the PC, and no help for reconnecting other devices like game consoles or Internet-connected TVs. Network Magic offers a variety of troubleshooting solutions for your network connection, as well as file and printer sharing. When your connection is lost, the Network Map will clearly show you where the break is. Click on the “Repair Connection” button from the map to have the software walk you through a step-by-step guide to fix your network connection. The “Troubleshoot Sharing” task will do the same when you have file and printer sharing problems.If you’re still having trouble after using Network Magic then its worth having someone come in and help you. So why do I recommend Network Magic to my clients if it means less work and money? Because I would rather my clients only need to call on me as a last resort and to know that when I a working for them I’m not wasting their time and money on tasks that can be made simple and easy.Top 5 Home Network Problem Areas:1. Wireless Network Connection 2. Printer Sharing 3. Troubleshooting 4. Connecting New Devices 5. Wireless Network SecurityI’ll add a sixth to that.6. Cost. Network Magic reduces all of these. Its a great price and is a one off fee, no yearly subscriptions like some software.Bonus Secret: Most times when your network is down, a simple restart will get everything back; just follow this procedure.
Shut down all the pcs and network devices
Shut down your router
Shut down the box provided by your cable company or phone company for internet access
Wait 5 minutes and then start up the cable/phone box again
Wait five more minutes and start up your router
Wait 5 more minutes and startup your pcs one by one