I would prefer to buy a WIRED router, but the wired routers I see are Fast ethernet (i.e. 10/100 Mbps)... my preference is for a completely wired network, but could I use one of these wireless routers and shut off the wireless function, or is this not possible?
A modern "wireless router" includes a wired router, a switch for wired connections, and a wireless access point for wireless connections. A comparable "wired router" includes the same router and switch as the wireless one, but leaves out the wireless access point. Because wireless routers are so much more popular than ones without wireless, it is actually less expensive to buy wireless routers even if you don't need the wireless functionality, especially since the wireless access point component can be turned off. Bottom line: you will want a "wireless router", and you will want one with a gigabit switch as well as a gigabit WAN port (connection to your modem). Considering cost and performance it no longer makes sense to purchase new 100Mbit hardware. I suppose you could enconomize by purchasing one with a wireless-G access point instead of wireless-N, however once you do start using wireless capability you will probably wish you had the wireless-N.
I would think that the only slow-down to the network would occur anytime two or more computers were trying to get to the Internet, but communication between the computers would be much faster. Is this correct?
Your internet connection speed is limited by your ISP connection rate, which is shared among all simultaneous users. The more simultaneous users downloading or uploading, the slower it gets. On the other hand, with modern switches connections between systems is point to point and not actually shared. Of course accessing a single shared resource will slow down as more users are simultaneously accessing it.
Is there anything I should be aware of before purchasing a print server for the network?
Stand-alone print servers work well with standard printers, but not so well with multifunction (i.e. scanner, copier) printers. Most of the time I recommend setting up one of the PCs as a print and file server, since that functionality is both useful and already built-in. If the PC in question has a modem you could also use it to send and receive faxes, even from other PCs on the network (using remote desktop connection). Many if not most new printers have built-in print server functionality (meaning a shared network connection).
In terms of security, do I need to have antivirus software for each computer on the network?
In general for most users I don't recommend anti-malware software that runs in the background, as I have found that the "cure" is worse than the disease
. I do install Malwarebytes Free
on all of the systems I build and/or maintain, however that software runs only when you ask it to (it does not run in the background). For users who insist on trying to infect their systems at every opportunity, and who really need to have something constantly watching over them, I recommend Microsoft Security Essentials
Do all routers have firewalls?
Yes, routers provide NAT (Network Address Translation
), which provides firewall functionality.
Is it better to use the hardware-based firewall rather than a software-based firewall?
Yes, and a router is considered a hardware-based firewall.
Do any routers also have antivirus software incorporated in them?Yes
, but they can be expensive and designed more for business than home use.
I really do not know anything about IPV6 (nor IPV4, for that matter), but as it is the new up-and-coming network addressing standard, should I implement it on my network? How... i.e. is this covered in your Network book?
IPv6 is covered in URNetworks
5th edition. You will not need or want to implement it on your home network. Scott.