With the NIC installed and functioning, the next step is to connect the PC to the network via network media. This can be simple or complicated, depending on the type of network you are using. The following are some of the factors you should consider when connecting a new system to an existing network:

  • Connecting to a coaxial network The biggest considerationwhen connecting to a coaxial network is that it might be necessary to break the coaxial segment to insert a Bayonet Neill Concelman (BNC) T-connector to physically connect the PC. Unfortunately, breaking a coaxial cable segment prevents any device connected to it from working. This means that if you are adding a computer to a coaxial segment and you need to add a length of cable and a connector, you need to either arrange with network users for a few minutes when the network will be unavailable or add the cable and connector before or after working hours. The good news is that you can leave spare BNC T-connectors in the coaxial cable segment as a just-in-case precaution. Doing so can mean that you can add a system to the coaxial segment without affecting users other than the one whose system you are connecting.

  • Connecting to a twisted-pair network Twisted pair is the easiest of all the network types to connect to. All you need to connect is a cable (referred to as a patch cable that connects the system to a hub or switch. In environments that use a structured cable system, the cable can be connected to a wall jack or a jack in a floor box. In a less structured environment, the cable can be run directly between the system and the hub or switch. One item worthy of note is that if you are using a Token Ring network, you must configure the NIC to work at the correct speed. Twisted-pair Ethernet networks can accommodate different speeds if the networking hardware supports a speed higher than the base 10Mbps. Token Ring networks do not offer this function; all devices on the ring must operate at the same speed (4Mbps or 16Mbps). Connecting a system to the network with a NIC configured for the wrong speed prevents the system from communicating on the network, and it might even cause problems with other devices on the segment.

  • Connecting to a wireless network Wireless network connections use radio frequency instead of traditional wire. Connecting a wireless client requires a wireless access point, which provides a bridge between a wired network and the wireless network segment. Wireless standards use RF frequencies of 2.4GHz for 802.11b/g and 5GHz for 802.11a. The wireless client also requires the SSID of the wireless access point and the security settings to connect. Once connected, the wireless client can access the wired network through the AP.

After the physical connection to the network has been established, you need to consider the network protocols to use.