Setting up a Home Network

Some people see the task of setting up a wireless network within their home as a daunting task but it really does not need to be. In our present generation we are surrounded by many wireless possibilities. This is ok as long as we protect ourselves and familiarize ourselves with how it all works.

First of all you need to decide how you want your network setup and what you will need to accomplish this. In most cases a home will have one desktop computer and then one or more other computers located elsewhere within the house. These other computers may be other desktops or mobile laptops which doesn’t really matter except that you will need to find the appropriate wireless adapter for these computers. A desktop will need either a wireless PCI adapter or USB adapter while a laptop can use a PCMCIA adapter card or USB adapter. Most new laptops come with wireless already built into the system so you may want to verify that before buying an adapter. Then you need to also get a wireless router. It is preferrable if you purchase the router and the adapter from the same manufacturer but it is not a necessity. As long as they are both the same technology they should work together. 802.11g is the most commonly used signal. The wireless router works as a base station that transmits your internet signal wirelessly. Your wireless adapters connect your computers to the router with that signal.

First of all you should unplug your broadband modem. This may be DSL, Cable or FIOS. Also your router should be unplugged. Now connect a network cable from the modem to the Internet, WAN or WLAN port on the back of the router. Plug in the modem and turn it on. Wait a few minutes to make sure that it is connected with the internet. Then plug in and turn on the router. The lights on the front of the router should come on after about a minute indicating that the modem is connected. Now turn on the computer if it is not already turned on.

Most people will plug the main computer directly into the router and make the others wireless thus eliminating an unneeded wireless adapter.

So now you will plug a network cable from one of the LAN ports on the router directly to the LAN port on the main computer. Windows XP will recognize an internet connection and give you a popup message with this indication. Next you will open your internet browser ( Internet Explorer or Firefox ) and type in the address that came with the documentation with your router. You may be prompted for the default password. The page will show your router’s configuration. From here you can enter in a Wireless Network Name which is called the SSID. Make sure that this name is unique for your own protection. Also set the WPA or WEP which should also be a unique type of word.

This is a passphrase protection which you will not have to remember. Then finally an administrators password. Make sure that you do not forget this password because you will need it if you ever want to change anything. Now that the router is setup we will move on to the adapters. Plug in the adapter appropriately on your other computer or computers and Windows will recognize it and show that there is a wireless connection device. Note that a desktop must be shut off when installing a PCI adapter. At this time Windows may prompt you to install any software that came with the adapter. Once that has been done, right click on the Wireless Network Icon in the bottom right hand corner of your Windows screen. It will say View Available Wireless Networks. Locate your wireless network name and click connect. Your wireless network should now be setup.

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