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Computer networking is a great way to collaborate with other computer users in your home or office. While it is becoming increasingly easy for the basic computer user, it can still be a difficult, frustrating experience for many people.
Before you begin
Understand the difference between town-wide wireless broadband (IEEE 802.16/WiMAX) and a home wireless network (IEEE 802.11). This article deals only with the latter generally known as WiFi (which requires no subscription, no roof aerial, no roof mounted dish). Wireless routers are variously known as gateways, access points, transmitters, hubs and switches. They are generally external and will be known as routers for this article. Wireless adapters are also known as modems or receivers and can be internal or external.
- If buying router and adapter separately, ensure your wireless router is at least as new as your wireless adapter so that they use compatible standards (known as 802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g and 802.11n). For maximum compatibility choose Tri-mode or dual-mode 802.11b/g standards.
- If you are not using Windows XP, check that drivers are available for the chipset of the wireless adapter for your operating system before you buy.
Set up your new router
- If you want to share a broadband connection via a wireless router, plug the new wireless router into your internet connection point (filter/splitter if ADSL, directly into phone socket if DSL)
- If you have one, turn on your broadband connection and existing external modem FIRST (wait for all lights to return to normal).
- Plug your router into your PC with an ethernet cable
- Turn on your new wireless router SECOND (wait for it to start up fully).
- Go to your internet browser and type http://192.168.0.1 (Belkin), http://192.168.1.1 (Linksys), http://192.168.2.1 (Others) and enter your username and password for your router (often this is "admin" for username and "admin" or "password" for password)
- Enable wireless capability (SSID) and enter your username and password given to you by your internet service provider.
- Choose WPA (or WEP if your card cannot handle WPA) security and enter a passkey and write it down.
Detecting your wireless adapter
- Note the manufacturer and model of your wireless adapter then plug it into your PC.
- If your operating system does not recognise the wireless adapter then get drivers from any discs that came with the adapter or, failing that, from the internet.
- In Windows XP, either right click on the .inf file and click install, or enter Device Manager and Update Drivers on the Unknown Device.
- Once Windows XP recognises your wireless device it should appear in Network Connections and offer you a choice of routers to connect to within range.
Connecting to a network
- Choose your router (usually the manufacturer name aka SSID), the security method and enter the passkey in order to connect to it. Use Auto DHCP unless otherwise instructed.
- This should find the wireless router (click refresh until it does) and connect to the network through the new router.
- Sharing files (or ensuring that your computers are really networked) and/or a printer in Windows XP, requires Print and File Sharing enabled on all computers.
- In Windows XP or Vista, go to Start > Control Panel > Network Connections (click "Switch to Classic View" if you cannot see the Network Connections icon) > right click on your Local Area Connection ethernet adapter > Properties > check File and Printer Sharing for Microsoft Networks > Click "OK"
- In Mac OS X, click on the Apple menu on the Menu Bar and click on "System Preferences...". Then, click on "Sharing". Then you may select which service that you want to be shared on your wireless network. For further support, click on the Apple Support Page link for sharing on your wireless network. Apple Sharing Support
- A passkey is not the same as a HEX key
- Turning on your equipment in the wrong order could cause your new setup to not work! Be sure to power on each item in order. It really does matter.
- Remember to set up your security settings to prevent unauthorized access to your network. WPA encryption is much more secure than WEP.
- Also remember to change the default passwords and usernames on your wireless router. Many wardrivers will travel around finding hotspots and then trying the default codes for that type of access point. This could result in you getting locked out of your own router and having to manualy reset your network.
Things You'll Need
- 1 Wireless adapter/modem/receiver (internal or external)
- 1 Wireless access point/router/transmitter/hub/switch (always external) only necessary if you need to do more than communicate between two PCs in your house.
- Paper to write down your passwords (pens too)
- How to Secure Your Wireless Home Network
- How to Take the First Steps in Home Networking
- How to Add an HP Printer to a Wireless Network
- How to Make a Network Cable
- How to Choose Your First Computer
Sources and Citations
- Puppy Linux Guide
- Wireless Networks related help
- Detailed Wireless Network Setup Tutorial
- Ways to improve your Wireless Network
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