The truth be told, both NWLink and NetBEUI are easier to configure than TCP/IP. Just because they’re easier to get up and running, that doesn’t make them better. Since TCP/IP is the protocol used on the Internet, it best to take the time to properly configure your home network to use TCP/IP rather than the other two. In fact, for almost all home or small networks, you’re almost better offer pretending that TCP/IP is the only protocol that exists.
One of the reasons that users have commonly avoided TCP/IP back when home networks first came on the scene was that it takes a little more understanding to install and configure correctly. Instead of just “turning it on”, you need to configure systems with settings like IP addresses, subnet masks, default gateways, and DNS server settings. While it is possible to make your computers acquire or generate this information automatically, those methods can involve additional configuration or be subject to limitations. The main focus of this article is to help you understand how TCP/IP works, and how to manually configure the correct settings for your network. The “automatic” stuff will all be looked at later in the series, once you understand how to make it all work manually.