Before you start: To decide what type of network to set up or to find out what hardware and cables you need, see What you need to set up a home network. That topic has information about the different types of networks (also known as network technologies), as well as hardware requirements for each type.
Once you know what type of network you want, and you have the necessary hardware, there are four steps you might need to take:
Install any necessary hardware.
Set up an Internet connection (optional).
Connect the computers.
Run the Set Up a Network wizard (for wireless networks only).
Each of these steps is described in detail later in this article.
Start by setting up just one computer to make sure the network is working before you try to add additional computers or devices.
The information in this article is written for people who have a broadband connection—usually DSL, cable, or Fiber Optic Service (FiOS)—to the Internet rather than a dial-up connection. However, you don't need an Internet connection to set up a network.