5 things to do with your network


Th­ese days, you’re miss­ing a trick if you’re only us­ing your home network to browse the web, send an email and per­haps share a file or two. Net­work­ing has an ever-grow­ing list of pos­si­bil­i­ties, and by choos­ing the right hard­ware you can save both money and space in your home, too.

Other network ad­di­tions can help im­prove the qual­ity of your life while mak­ing shar­ing that bit sim­pler and eas­ier, while a fea­ture that’s built in to macOS makes it easy to ac­cess your com­puter from wher­ever you are.

Here you’ll find five dif­fer­ent ways in which you can make even bet­ter use of your network.

Network stor­age

NAS drives give you net­worked stor­age, and many can do more, such as run a me­dia server or per­sonal cloud. Get one with mul­ti­ple bays so its ca­pac­ity can grow. Both Air­Port Ex­treme and Time Cap­sule al­low USB ex­pan­sion — see bit.ly/airdisk.

Serve your me­dia

Copy your mu­sic, movies and other me­dia to a cen­tral lo­ca­tion, then set up iTunes as a server us­ing Home Shar­ing (see bit.ly/hmshrng), or choose a third-party op­tion with broader sup­port, such as plex.tv, to stream over the in­ter­net.

Cen­tral shar­ing

Shared fold­ers on your Mac are only ac­ces­si­ble while your com­puter’s turned on. See if your router has a USB port that en­ables a hard drive to be shared so you can pro­vide a re­source that’s al­ways on and avail­able to your fam­ily.

Share pe­riph­er­als

Why buy print­ers for ev­ery­one when you can share one? If you don’t have one with Wi-Fi, Eth­er­net or AirPrint, see if you can con­nect a USB prin­ter to your router and share it through that. Ap­ple’s Air­Port de­vices al­low this — see bit.ly/ap­print.

Re­mote ac­cess

On a home-based Mac, turn on Back to My Mac in Sys­tem Pref­er­ences’ iCloud pane (see bit.ly/

bck­2­mac) and you can con­nect se­curely over the in­ter­net from your MacBook to grab files and even re­motely con­trol your Mac at home.

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