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3/31/06 How does the wireless network thingy work?

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / March 30, 2006 2:35 AM PST

I've heard a lot lately about using wireless routers to connect multiple computers at home. I want to connect my son's computer with my two others so that we can share a printer and Internet access. Can this be done? The three computers run Windows XP Home Edition. Two have 512MB of RAM and one has 256MB. We already have DSL hooked up to one system. How does the wireless thingy work, and where do I begin? How much can I expect to spend? Thanks.

Submitted by: Anne B. of Boulder, Colorado



Home wireless networks are a great way to connect multiple computers to each other to share Internet connections, printers, and files. In many cases you can install and set up a simple working wireless network in about 30 minutes. As soon as you add file and print sharing, you could be at it for an hour or two, and longer if you run into problems. Since you have all Windows XP computers, you should be in good shape to get this up and running without too many problems. I am also assuming that all of your computers are in good working order and not infected with viruses and spyware. You hear many horror stories of wireless problems, most of which could have been prevented with a little planning and forethought. Since you neglected to tell us whether these are desktop or laptop computers, I will assume you have all desktop computers.

All three of your computers sound like they meet the minimum requirements for setting up a network, however you might want to keep your eyes open for a good sale on memory and upgrade the one with 256MB to some point. Although the basic cost of setting up 3 computers and a wireless router can start at under $200 (less if you find a good sale), there are many factors that must first be considered and the cost could rise depending on the distance between computers as well as other wants and needs that you may have. Since you will now be connecting additional computers to the internet, you may need to install additional Antivirus, Firewall and AntiSpyware software on these newly connected computers.

Although most of today?s wireless network products work very well straight out of the box in small homes or apartments, it is best to plan ahead to avoid many of the problems that can arise due to interference, distance between all the computers and the router, and lack of signal due to various types of house construction. This is especially true if you live in a larger home, multi-level apartment or condo. In general, even though most all wireless networking products are designed to work together, I highly recommend purchasing all from the same manufacturer. This way, you only have to call one company for technical support.

The heart of a basic wireless network with internet access consists of a Wireless Router that is connected to your current DSL or Cable Modem and one Wireless Adapter for each computer on the network. This router generally manages the communications between all your computers as well as controls the sharing of your internet connection. Each computer on your network needs a way to connect to this router and it can be either with a wire or wirelessly. It is generally recommended to have at least one computer physically wired to the router, but always keep in mind that hard wiring network computers is always more reliable than wireless. So if it is practical to run wires to some of your computers, do so whenever possible. In your case you will probably want to make the computer that is currently wired to your DSL modem as your one wired computer. Each additional computer that you are planning to run wirelessly will need a wireless network adapter. These wireless adapters come in many forms depending on the type of computer they are going into as well as your ability and knowledge when it comes to installing hardware.
Wireless Adapters For Desktop computers - I generally recommend installing a Wireless PCI card adapter inside the computer. If you do not feel comfortable with opening up your computer, you can purchase a wireless adapter that simply plugs into any available USB port. Since so many devices such as printers, scanners, Ipod?s and external hard drives use USB ports, I prefer to install internal network adapters.
Wireless Adapters For Laptops - Most all modern laptops come with built-in wireless networking but if yours does not have this feature you can also use the USB type adapter, but I recommend using PCMCIA type card adapters that plug into the PCMCIA slot.
Wired Network Adapters - Only computers that are connected to the router with a wire (not wirelessly) require a Network Adapter (NIC). Most modern computers come with this built-in and it looks like a regular telephone jack, but a little larger. If your computer does not have one, you can purchase these network cards for about $10.

Where Do I Start?

Access your Home for possible interference
- Many wireless networks fail due to interference from other wireless and cordless devices commonly found around the average home. In some cases, interference can even come from a close neighbor or attached apartment. The most common culprit is 2.4ghz cordless phones. These phones operate on the same frequency as most wireless networks and can reduce the effective range of your network or even prevent it from working altogether. Even though it is possible to get these two devices to play together, I recommend replacing any cordless phone systems with either the newer 5.8ghz models or the older 900mhz type. There are also many other wireless devices and appliances found around the home that you must take into account: Wireless alarms systems, Microwave Ovens, Wireless Video and Audio systems and baby monitors or intercoms. Typically only the items that use the 2.4ghz band will cause problems, but you should try to avoid placing all electrical devices too close to your router or wireless computers.

Placement of the Wireless Router
I am sure you have heard the expression ?Location, Location, Location?; well, this holds true for wireless networks. Location is everything. The exact location of your Wireless router in relation to the other computers can determine whether or not you have a wireless network that will give you years of trouble-free service or one that you are fighting with on a daily basis. The Wireless Router should be place at the most central location possible in relation to the computers that you want to connect. Avoid placing the router next to large metal objects or other electrical devices. Placing the router in the highest location you can find will generally prove most effective. In other words, a router placed high on a shelf away from any other electrical devices will generally outperform a router sitting on the floor behind your big metal computer wrapped in a maze of wires and cables. Another common reason for wireless problems is the type of construction used in your home. I have run into some older homes that use plaster and wire mesh in the walls and the wireless signal would not even reach the next room. Surveying your home as I suggest below with a laptop can uncover many of these problems.

Since the Wireless router needs to be connected to your DSL or Cable modem with a wire, this will generally limit your choices for router placement. With Cable Modems, you normally can not move the modem to any other location in the home other than the one where the cable company originally installed it without some cable wiring changes, so this means that you are pretty much limited to where you can place the wireless router. But with DSL, you can generally move the modem to any other phone jack in the home that uses the same phone line.

Survey the Area with a Wireless Laptop
If you have or can borrow a wireless laptop, this can be used as a tool to evaluate your entire home before you even start setting up your network. Most all wireless laptops have a wireless utility that will show you the signal strength of all nearby networks. Without installing or even connecting your router to your modem, simply plug the router into any outlet. It will start transmitting within a few minutes and you can walk around the house with your laptop to evaluate the signal strength in various locations throughout the house. Try moving the router to different locations and test again. Once you find the ideal location, you can then run the wires and install the modem. Your laptop may find other networks in the area, so be careful to make sure you are checking your router and not the signal strength of someone else?s network.

What type of Wireless Router and Adapters should you buy?
There are many manufacturers and models of wireless routers to choose from and in a very small home or apartment, pretty much any model will usually do just fine for simple internet sharing. If you are new to setting up and installing these types of devices, I would suggest sticking with the better known brands such as Linksys or Netgear because you will normally be able to find more online help with these brands, should you need it. However, if you have any special needs other than just internet sharing, you may need to look into some of the higher end systems. Reasons you may need one of the higher end systems:
1. A large home or Multiple Floors or Walls to pass through
2. The distance between the router and any of the computers is greater than 30 feet.
3. You need extra speed for file sharing or streaming video or audio.
4. You have a large number of Wireless Computers Connected at once.
At the time of this writing, I have found that I am getting the best performance and range using the Belkin Pre-N Router and Adapter. However, I am starting to see an alarming rate of router failures after about a year of operation. It is still too early to tell if this is going to be a common problem. However, I must add that I have found that many retail routers and modems fail after a year or two.

What is 802.11A, B, G, N all about?
These are the different Wireless specifications that are currently available. I will try to explain the differences without getting into all the specific details. If you want to learn more there are plenty of places to look such as or

802.11B ? 2.4ghz Band - 11mbs - Older, slower technology - Fine for simple internet sharing if you can still find any.
802.11G ? 2.4ghz Band ? 54mbs ? Most Common ? Faster than 802.11b ? backwards compatible with b
802.11A ? 5.8ghz ? 54mbs ? Not compatible with b or g ? Used in heavy 2.4ghz interference areas, typically offices.
802.11A+G ? 2.4&5.8ghz- Compatible with a, b and g systems ? not very common and expensive.
802.11 super G ? 2.4ghz ? 108mbs (must be used with same brand adapters to achieve this speed) compatible with b and g
802.11N ? 2.4ghz ? 108mbs - Not actually approved yet, but in use ? This is the fastest and longest range of them all. Also known as Pre-N or MIMO.- Most expensive.

What does all this mean?
If you are simply interested in sharing your internet connection and some light file and print sharing and you have a small house or apartment then I would go with the standard 802.11g router and adapters. However, if your needs require moving large quantities of data between computers, I would suggest going with one of the super G or Pre-N models. To give you an idea of the speed difference, I ran a few tests last year. The speed difference may not look like much but if you are moving a lot of data or have several computers running wirelessly, it could make a big difference. For example: I have all my computers in the house performing a full backing up to my server in the basement each night and an incremental backup during the day. This is moving a tremendous amount of data over the network. At the same time, I have 3 Replay TV recorders (like TiVo), often streaming video across the network. Keep in mind that all the wireless computers in the house will be sharing the wireless bandwidth and if someone in the house is a heavy network user such as playing online games, this will reduce the performance for everyone.

I ran the tests by transferring a 28MB folder (about 10 medium quality digital photographs) from one computer to my server with an excellent signal and the router only 10 feet away. Individual results will vary depending on router settings, the distance to the wireless router and the number of wireless computers using the network. The speed of your connection drops as the distance between the router and the computer increases. With a poor wireless connection, these times could increase by a factor of 10.

Wireless 802.11B took 70 seconds to transfer the folder
Wireless 802.11G took 36 seconds
Wireless Pre-N took 12 seconds
Hard Wired 10/100 (100) took 4 seconds

By the way, downloading a 9.15MB file from the Internet was the same with all the above tests.

Setting this all up
Once you have selected a router and wireless adapters for each computer and have a plan as to where you are going to set this up, you are ready to start. All the Wireless Routers and Adapters now come with an installation CD that will walk you through a fairly easy installation process. I don?t have room here to get into the all the details of setting up each and every type of network, but basically, the rough steps are as follows:
1. Insert the Setup CD for the router into your computer that is currently connected to the internet.
2. Follow the CD instructions to connect your computer to your new Wireless Router and to your current Broadband Modem.
a. For DSL setups you will need your original DSL username and password. If you don?t remember it, you will have to call your internet provider to reset your password.
3. The Router CD will walk you through the basic router setup.
4. Next, insert the setup CD that came with your Wireless Adapters into one of the computers that you plan to run wirelessly and follow the instructions.
5. Do the same for all other wireless computers.
6. Once you have all the computers connected and have verified Internet access on all, you can start setting up Print and File sharing and adding some extra security.
7. Now that all your computers are connected to the Internet, you will need to make sure that each and every computer has some form of antivirus software running and updated. The computers that were never connected to the Internet, probably came with some antivirus software but would need to be updated, activated or re-subscribed. You should also plan on installing spyware and firewall protection on each.

Change the Default SSID
? The SSID is the network name that is sent out by your router and identifies who?s network you are on. For Example: The default name for all LinkSys routers is linksys. If you leave the default name and someone else in the neighborhood has a linksys router, you will not be able to tell which is yours. You can use any name you want but I recommend not using anything that identifies to outsiders that it belongs to you. So don?t use your own name or address.

Turn on Security ? Wireless Security is turned off by default on most all routers. You should at the very least use WEP security to prevent the casual neighbor from accessing your network. If you have sensitive data, I would recommend paying attention to all the optional security settings available on your router. There are too many ways to secure your Wireless network to discuss here, but make sure you have some protection.

Your basic wireless network should be up and running with Internet access on all computers. Now if you want to share files or a printer you may need to check or change some basic settings.

For Print and File Sharing
1. Set Firewall to allow print and file sharing

a. If you have a separate firewall program such as ZoneAlarm, Black Ice, Norton or McAfee, you will need to change the firewall setting to allow print and file sharing.
b. If you are using the Windows Firewall go to START > CONTROL PANEL > WINDOWS FIREWALL > CLICK on EXCEPTIONS tab > make sure the FILE and PRINT SHARING box is checked.
2. Make sure all computers are on the same Workgroup

a. RIGHT CLICK on MY COMPUTER > Select PROPERTIES > Select COMPUTER NAME Tab > Verify WORKGROUP is the same for all computers. Click on CHANGE if you need to change the Workgroup.
3. Each computer must have a different Name

a. RIGHT CLICK on MY COMPUTER > Select PROPERTIES > Select COMPUTER NAME Tab > Verify FULL COMPUTER NAME is different for all computers. Click on CHANGE if you need to change the name.
4. Share a folder or file

a. RIGHT CLICK the name of the file or folder that you want to share > Click on Sharing and Security > Use the sharing wizard if available to share a file, if no wizard simply click on share this folder on the network > Check box if you want users to be able to change or edit this file > Click APPLY > Click OK.
5. Share a printer

a. From the computer with the printer attached to it, click on START > CONTROL PANEL > PRINTERS AND FAXES > RIGHT Click the printer you want to share > Select Sharing > Check the box SHARE THIS PRINTER > Enter any name you want to use or accept the default name > Click APPLY > Click OK. A hand should appear under that printer
6. Install the shared printer onto another computer

a. From any of the wireless computers, click on START > CONTROL PANEL > PRINTERS AND FAXES > Select FILE > ADD PRINTER > NEXT > Check NETWORK PRINTER > Click on BROWSE > Select the printer you want to install > Follow remaining instructions.

Ok, if everything went as expected, you should be all set now with a working wireless network. However things don?t always go as planned and there are a million and one reasons that you are very likely to run into some problems. If you need additional assistance I suggest you log onto the manufacturers website for the router that you have and check out their troubleshooting or FAQ section. There are also some good websites that have a lot of information such as:

Good Luck and Happy Networking!

Submitted by: Dana H. of Wayland, Massachusetts
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by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / March 30, 2006 2:36 AM PST


This used to be rocket science, now it's simply science.

1.) Buy a wireless router.

Wireless networking uses a standard referred to as either 802.11a, 802.11b or 802.11g. There is also a new standard just passing through the final qualifications known as 802.11n.

So, what are the differences and which one should you get? Well, 802.11b was the first standard to appear. I know, you'd think 802.11a would have been the first but, the IEEE seems to have forgotten how to count alphabetically. Anyway, from here out we'll just refer to the three standards as "A", "B", "G"
and "N". So,

"B" was the first and it transmits and receives information on 2.4 gigahertz. It's the slowest. The maximum data rate for "B" is 11 megabits per second. In reality you won't see much above 5 or 6 mbits/sec.

"A" was second out of the gate and it transmits and receives on 5 gigahertz. Its data rate is a maximum of 54 megabits per second. Again, real world usually sees a substantial slowing of this speed.

"G" was the third standard adopted in the 802.11 world. It transmits on the same frequencies as "B" (2.4 gigahertz). However its data rate is equal to "A", 54 megabits/sec.

"N" is the latest standard. It continues to operate in the 2.4 gigahertz band. Speeds for "N" are said to be at a minimum of 111 megabits per second but much higher rates may be possible too. "N" uses some new technology that not only increases speed but also increases range and works better in places where older tech may have problems. Sounds GREAT, I'll take "N"!! But wait, "N" is currently going through final approval process and so is NOT A STANDARDIZED wireless mode. So, for the purposes of this "tutorial", "N" is out. That is too bad too because it is going to be a substantial step forward in wireless networking. But, for the sake of interoperability of all your computers I think we better skip it for now.

So, my recommendation on your router... Notice that "B", "G" both use the same general frequencies to transmit and receive data? This means that wireless router builders can include a transceiver system to cover only one band and they can operate on both specs. All they need to do is have separate data systems to operate the two specifications. So, buy a router that works with both "B" and "G".

Ok, so now what. You've gotten your router and plugged it's wall wart in and it sits there glowing. What do you do with it? Well, nothing yet. You still need rush back to the computer store to get wireless adaptors for your PCs so they can connect to it.

My recommendation here is unimpeachable, sort of. Stick with the brand you purchased for your router. If you get a Linksys router then get Linksys PC cards for your notebooks and perhaps USB 802.11 adaptors for other desktop PCs. In my opinion, USB adaptors are better than PCI cards for 802.11 in a desktop. PCI card adaptors usually have the antenna sticking out of the back end of your PC. You can't move the antenna so you are stuck with whatever orientation you must maintain for your PC. A USB adaptor, on the other hand, can be moved around to "search" for the best hotspot where it works best in your home at that location. Be sure the cards and USB adaptors are both "B"
and "G" compatible. For the USB adaptors, your computer will need to have USB 2.0 or it won't be able to utilize the full speed capabilities of the "G" standard (54 mbps).

You said you had one computer set up to connect to the Internet via a DSL "modem". Off the top of my head I'd make the recommendation to place your router in that room. However, that may not actually be the best location. Remember, this is a wireless device. The best place for it to be installed when the primary consideration is its wireless ability is a central location.

Ideally, if you can move your DSL modem to that same central location so it can connect via a cable to the router this may be the best place to install a wireless router. So, what should you really do? Well, it all depends on your home but, I would first try installing the router in the room with the computer hooked up to DSL. In my home, the computer room is at one end of a ranch house. I can easily connect wirelessly at full speed at the far end of the house in the master bedroom. How far you can go and maintain a reasonably good connection is totally dependent on the materials and construction methods used in your home. But this is the easiest way to setup and will probably be just fine.

2.) Connect the router.

Plug the router's wall wart (DC adaptor) in and connect it to the router. Unplug the DSL modem's data cable from your computer and plug it into the router. There will usually be a port marked WAN (wide area network) where the Internet connection is supposed to be made.

Using CAT5 or CAT6 Ethernet cable (networking cable) connect the router to the network card in your PC (where your DSL used to connect).

Open up Internet Explorer, select Tools/Internet Options from the menu. Select the connections tab and ensure that "Never dial a connection" is selected. Next click on "Start/Connect To" and select "Show all Connections". Right click on "Local Area Connection" and pick Properties from the context sensitive menu. When the properties dialog box appears, single click on "Internet Protocol (TCP/IP)" and push the properties button. On the next screen under the "General" tab click "Obtain an IP address automatically".

Click OKs on the dialog boxes that opened up for Properties of your local area connection. Now you're almost set. You computer should send out a request for an IP address and something called a DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) server will give it one. The DHCP server is built into the router and it is what makes most of this setup much easier than it was in the past.

Now, your Internet connection is hard wired to your router and your computer is hard wired to your router so, you should be able to connect to the web right? NO! Now quite yet.

In the old days, that was 30 minutes ago when the DSL modem was directly connected to your computer, you used to have to click on an icon that would "dial" or establish your Internet connection. Or perhaps that was configured to happen automatically. Regardless, now that you have that nifty router, your computer doesn't handle the Internet connection any longer. That all happens inside the router. What you need to do is teach the router how to "dial" your DSL Internet connection.

You need to "chat" with your router and teach it some things that are unique to you and your home network. The way all routers now accomplish this is to use a web based interface to show you their current configuration and allow you to make changes. You reach this interface by using your own computer's web browser (Firefox, Internet Explorer). Each router company configures the base IP addressing structure slightly differently. Read the manual if you must but generally, you open up your browser and type in one of these addresses:

If the first doesn't work try the second, etc. until you see a web page. You will be connected to your router's web based setup.

The first thing you should do is go to the page where you can change the router's password. Change it to anything. "RED" is a better password than the default. Why? Well if you leave the password as the default, often "admin", then anyone driving by your house can theoretically enter your router and mess with it and the rest of your home network. This can be a problem of total insignificance or great import. It all depends on where you live. If you are setting up a router in a college dorm room to support two computers then I'd lock that thing down with the maximum level of security. If you live out in the country, your nearest neighbor is a mile away and there is no traffic on the "roads" around your home, then realistically you have nothing to worry about. I'm guessing 95% of the population falls somewhere in between. But really, regardless of where you live, setting this password is the most basic security step you should take and I would recommend it strongly. Also don't use "RED" pick something that will at least give a tiny bit of a challenge to a hacker.

Ok, now on a scale of 1 to 100 you are secure to a degree of 10. That's a start. Now lets get going on the Internet connection. Your router will have a page that says something like "Connection Type". When you go there you should see several options. On my router they are:

Telestra BigPond

Forget all the others, on DSL you should only be interested in PPPoE (generally). Select it and you should be taken to another page, or perhaps options will appear on that same page where you can enter in your DSL username and password. Enter them! There will be other options available (maybe) but they should have default values in them and you can ignore them for now. Click Save or whatever option your router gives you to save your username and password.

Now, theoretically, you should be able to get online. Use your browser to visit a page you often go to. Does it work? It better because that's as far as I can go in this introductory explanation. Most likely all will work just fine.

So, you have installed the router, connected it to the DSL modem and your computer and taught them all how to behave with each other. Time to move on to the other computers.

3.) Install Wireless on remote computers

If any of the other computers are in the same room, I'd recommend you connect them via wires (Ethernet cat5 or cat6 cable). However, it isn't necessary just slightly desirable to lower the load on the wireless end of the router. If stringing a network cable around a big room looks to be expensive and ugly, go with wireless.

Regardless of where the other computers are, this is the general path to wirelessly connecting them.

Each type of adaptor probably comes with a CD with software that installs drivers and perhaps utilities to help manage the 802.11 connection. Read the manual and install this software. With USB devices, it's usually, install the software first, then plug in the USB device.

Ok, plug in the device, either a PC card in a notebook or a USB adaptor in a desktop. Now do exactly what you did on the wired machine.

Open up Internet Explorer, select Tools/Internet Options from the menu. Select the connections tab and ensure that "Never dial a connection" is selected. Next click on "Start/Connect To" and select "Show all Connections". Right click on "Wireless Local area Connection" and pick Properties from the context sensitive menu. When the properties dialog box appears, single click on "Internet Protocol (TCP/IP)" and push the properties button. On the next screen under the "General" tab click "Obtain an IP address automatically".

Click OKs on the dialog boxes that opened up for Properties of your local area connection. Now you're almost set. You computer should send out a request over the wireless network for an IP address and the DHCP server in the router will give it one.

This computer should now be able to connect to the Internet. Open your browser and pick a website to visit.

Repeat these steps for each computer that is connected wirelessly to the router.

Remember security? You changed your password to the router so others couldn't get into it and mess with your network. Well suppose you type all kinds of super secret stuff into your browser or you send email with the solution to world peace but you don't want anybody to see this stuff until you have it fully polished. If you do this from any of the wirelessly connected computers then you need to secure your network. For wired computers using Ethernet cable, security intrusions wirelessly are not much of an issue.

Since you are just now buying new routers and access cards they will all come with WPA encryption capabilities. WPA is very easy to use. Just go to your router's setup page, remember 192.168.something.1 and turn on WPA and enter a password. Any password protected WPA connection is much better than no WPA encryption. But, remember, if you do use a silly password like "RED", a real fiend who is purposely trying to hack into your network will crack that password in the first minute of his crack attempt. The first thing a cracking tool does is run through the dictionary attempting to find a "real word" that is posing as a password. So, do yourself a favor and think up at least a minimally secure password. Google "secure password" and follow some of the suggestions you will read on various pages. but know that "HPWVaJ3m" is going to take weeks more likely months to crack compared to minutes for "RED". Why, it's all random characters, they are in mixed case and numbers are included.

You might think this security thing is over rated but consider, most mail servers do not encrypt the username and password when you check your email. If I was your nemesis watching all your traffic by monitoring you from the street corner, I could conceivably catch your email id info and use it to pose as you to do whatever nefarious deeds I wanted to accomplish. At the least I could read all your mail and respond to any of it in a way that was undetectable by the recipients of my spoofed mail. They would believe it came from you.

So, we turned on WPA and your router is now using encrypted traffic which no one can read or intercept. That includes all of the computers in your house you just equipped with wireless cards. Hey, no problem. On each computer go into the wireless card's setup area and select WPA and turn it on and use the exact same password you did on the router. Your traffic will then be encrypted to the router and anything sent from the router will be decrypted by your computer. As far as you are concerned, it will all look transparent again and you will see everything normally. But to the eavesdropper on the street corner EVERYTHING will be gibberish and he or she won't be able to decipher anything on your network or be able to get into it to use the internet or sneak around your connected machines. The password will stick in both the router and all the remote access points so you only need to enter it once. You might consider changing it occasionally if you are really security conscious. And if you are a crazy person with security and want only the most secure connection possible you could visit:

This is Steve Gibson's site. He's a tech guru and he wrote a routine that will generate random strings of characters up to 64 characters in length. Using one of these really long passwords in any encryption scheme like WPA will likely result in essentially uncrackable connections. Got to throw in essentially as the NSA might be able to crack this password in a few thousand years using current technology and if quantum computers every appear around the corner, forget it, every type of encryption will become instantly breakable and a new method for hiding data will need to be devised.

OK, now we're 50% done. Your question asked "How do I connect multiple computers together to share a printer and access the Internet?" We've covered the Internet part. Now comes the printer part.

There are two basic ways to share a printer. One is to connect the printer to a networked computer and set that computer to share the printer. Yuck, I hate this method as it is reliant on having both the computer and the printer always on. The other way is to purchase a network print server.

In my opinion the best method is the second and really the best way to accomplish that is to buy a printer that is network aware, that is, it has a built in print server. But, buying a new printer is definitely NOT necessary. You have a printer that works fine, great just get a print server for it.

First, possibly the easiest and definitely the cheapest way to go is to share a printer already connected to a computer. Just remember, the computer is sharing the printer. Turn the computer off, the printer disappears even if it is left running. In Windows, click Start/Printers and Faxes. In the dialog box that opens you should see your computer's printer. Right click on the printer and select "Sharing". In the dialog box that opens click "Share this printer" and beside "Share name" enter something descriptive that you will recognize from another computer like "Laserjet" or "InkJet". Click OK to save this new sharing info and close all the dialog boxes. Now one more step in the process.

You need to install the printer driver for this shared printer on all the computers that will be using it. First, be sure that both the printer and the computer that is sharing it are turned on. Take either the CD with the drivers for the printer to all the computers and install it or, go online, visit the manufacturer's website and download the latest drivers and install them.

During the install process you should be able to specify the location of the printer on the network. Once you click network, a list of networked printers should appear. Most likely, your printer will be the only one available. At the end of the printer driver install you are offered the opportunity to print a test page. Do it. Then go back to the printer in the other room and see if a test page printed. If so you're all set. Next time you open Microsoft Word and print a document, the networked printer will appear in the list of available printers.

The more difficult but slightly more agile method is to buy a print server and install it on the network. You purchase a print server that accepts the type of connection your printer has. These days it is most likely USB but, if your printer is older it might be using a centronics parallel connection. Just buy the print server that matches your printer's connection.

Ok, now you need to get the printer onto the network. Physically you just run an Ethernet cable from the print server beside the printer over to the router and plug it in. Again, if wires are an issue you can purchase a wireless print server which will use the wireless capability of your router to make the network connection. Most print servers are now similar to routers in that they have a setup page that you can access via an IP address. Check the manual for your print server. What you need to do is match the network addressing the rest of your network uses and select a static IP that will NOT be issued by the DHCP server in the router. You want the IP to be static because you need to configure each computer to use that address to print. DHCP assigns IP addresses as devices come online. If you start up computers and printers in different sequence from day to day then each device will have a different IP address. For the computers this is generally not a problem (there are exceptions). But a printer changing IP addresses might pose issues. So check your router's DHCP address range. It's usually set to around 100 devices and starts at 1 but maybe not. What's important here is to set the router to skip a range of addresses. In my home I used overkill and allowed the router to address 30 different devices from:

That means I can assign a static IP address to a printer at and not worry about the router giving out that address to another device.

Again, you move around the house installing the driver software for the printer into each computer that will use it. And during the installation you will need to specify that the printer is on the network and probably/possibly enter in an IP to identify it. Each printer server handles this a little differently so I would just recommend you follow the directions. It isn't as simple as sharing a printer using the Windows sharing capabilities. But, you can power down everything but the printer and the network and still print from anywhere in the house without having to hike down to the computer room to get everything up and running. I like it better but it is more work.

Ok, that answers all your questions. Now I have one!!! Do you want to share files between computers? Maybe you would like to listen to some of those MP3s on your kids computer via the network.

That's all pretty simple and works just like Printer sharing. Actually there are two different methods of sharing. One is to designate a folder and all sub folders of that main folder or a drive to be shared, the second way is to drag files into the shared folder structure every Windows XP machine maintains. The shared folders are for use by all users. If you can get onto the machine in some user account, you can see and use the files in the shared folder area.

Dragging files into this folder will make them visible to anyone on the network or anyone logging into the computer using any user name (on a home network). My scheme is to share individual folders on my computer. Generally when you share a folder, a user from a remote computer must be able to log into that computer as the user who owns the folder. So, suppose user JOE has an account on an XP machine called, naturally, JOE. Joe has to log in with his username and a password. If Joe is using another machine on the network and he needs a file in his My Documents folder from his JOE account, he will have to log into that machine with his username and password to access the folder.

Around my computer farm, I just use the same username and password for each machine for myself. In this way, windows can automatically attempt to use the local username/password to log into the machine across the network. It works and bingo I'm connected to my remote My Documents folder. The advantage of this, if you set your kids XP machines up and are the admin for each of them, you can log into them and access any shared folder as an administrator. But, if you give your kids limited user accounts on your main computer, they won't be able to access your private data over the network. If you all put all your stuff in the Shared Folders instead, then everyone will be able to see everything. Yuck.

Well that's the quick overview of home networking. There are a million web sites but the first one I'd recommend for additional help is:

They offer help of use to the novice and to the expert, reviews of equipment and reviews of technology (think 802.11n).

Good luck in your home networking quest. After being networked for the past 10 years, I could simply NOT go back to the fragmented computer lifestyle I practiced in the past.

Submitted by: Rick vG. of Parker, CO



It can be done, and pretty easily too. Depending on your current setup you may walk out of the electronics store after spending less than $150. It's called Home Networking and while it might seem intimidating, it isn't hard to do if you plan your steps ahead of time.

First you should determine where the wireless router will live. Typically it lives close to your DSL or cable modem. You probably have at least one computer already connected to the internet with a cable (hardwired in), either directly to the modem or through a router or hub. If you have more than one computer already hardwired in, it will reduce the cost of setting up the wireless network, because you will not need to purchase additional hardware for those machines.

Next, you should determine how many NIC (network interface card) adapters you will need to purchase. As mentioned above, a computer is already connected so you don't have to buy new hardware unless you really want to.

Even if one of the computers isn't connected to the internet right now, if they are close by one another and you don't mind a network cable, it's usually more economical to hardwire in. Most computers these days come with a NIC already installed, so all you need is a network cable (also called Cat 5 or RJ-45 cable) to get it on a network. To be sure, look on the back of the computer for something that looks like a hole for a really fat phone cord, with some small lights (LEDs) immediately next to it. If you don't see one, you'll need to purchase a NIC for that computer. If you need to buy one, you get to decide whether or not you want to go wireless on that computer or not. Hardwired seems to be a touch more stable at my house, but you might want the convenience of wireless even from a close range. That's really up to you and your budget.

OK, so we know where the wireless router will live and how many NICs we need to purchase. (We are assuming one Wireless NIC for your son's computer.) So now we need to think about what kind of router to buy. If you have a long distance between the computer location and the router, or if you have lots of walls, a big house, or an upstairs, you should consider an extended range MIMO (Multiple In Multiple Out) router. It's a little more expensive, but it really does make a difference in your signal strength in some situations.

You may get a price break or a larger rebate for buying the same brand equipment, so keep that in mind. There is nothing wrong with having different brands of equipment, just so long as you get the same revision, which is the letter after the 802.11. Few people use A, and it's older and slow. Don't bother with B, get a G. Some brands have Super G or G Plus, and you have to keep in the same product family to see the increased speeds they talk about. For example, to get the 108Mbps transfer touted with the Linksys SRX router, you would need the SRX NIC in the computers you are networking wirelessly.

Check your sale papers or the websites for your local electronics stores to find the brand that you trust for the lowest price, or order it from a site you trust. You need a router, a PCI wireless network card, and possibly another network card and an appropriate length of Cat 5 cable. Check out the reviews on CNET if you aren't sure what brand to trust. I've used Netgear and D-Link equipment before and it was fine as long as it worked, but as soon as I needed warranty service, things went dicey. I now use Linksys gear exclusively, but that is just my opinion.

So after you have the items from your list in hand, it's time to start. We'll call the computer that was connected to the internet Computer 1, the other computer Computer 2, and your son's computer Computer 3.

First off, you want to open the router. Following the directions on the setup poster, plug it in and connect the DSL or cable modem to the WAN plug. Typically that is a plug that is slightly offset from the other 4 or 5 on the router. It should also be labeled WAN or Internet. Then connect Computer 1 to one of the LAN ports. Turn Computer 1 on and it should connect to the internet. For security reasons, you should follow the directions in the router documentation to change the username and password for the router setup utility. I like to do that first thing.

Depending on the connection you decided to use for Computer 2, either just plug in the network cable and check the internet connection, or follow the directions in the next section. If you need to install a wired NIC in that computer, follow the directions in the next section, but skip installing the antenna.

Computer 3 will be a little more tricky. You will have to turn off and unplug the computer, open the case and install the Wireless NIC. Look for the appropriate slot for the card; it should be fairly close to the bottom of the case. There may be a slot cover in place, and you should use a Philips-head screwdriver to remove it. Be sure that the antenna is not attached to the NIC at this point. Insert the card straight into the slot (it's called a PCI slot in case you're feeling geeky by now) until you hear a pop. Then use the Philips-head screw you removed from the slot cover to secure the card in place. Attach the antenna to the back of the card. Plug the computer back in and follow the directions supplied with the wireless NIC to load the drivers and utilities. Once the drivers and utilities are properly installed, you should be able to detect a wireless signal and connect to the internet.

To use the printer across the network, the easiest way is to enable Printer Sharing on the computer connected to the printer, then install that printer as a network printer on the other two computers. Enable Printer Sharing by going into the Printers Control Panel, right-click the printer, and chose Sharing. Chose 'Share this printer' and name your printer. If you have the driver disk handy, don't bother installing additional drivers and just use the disk when you install the printer as a network printer on the other two computers. To do that, you go into the Printers Control Panel, choose Add a Printer, and choose Add a Network Printer. Browse for the printer you just named, and use the disk to install the drivers if you need to.

In reality, the network and printer setup will likely be the most difficult part of this operation, and as long as you follow the Windows Networking directions, you'll be fine. There are tons of easy to follow articles already written on this topic, is a page I like, being both a geek and a girl, but not affiliated.

If you can work a screwdriver, you can set up your WiFi network in an afternoon. And you'll be proud of yourself when you accomplish it.

Best wishes.

Submitted by: Michelle H. of Casselberry, FL



Anne, what you want to do is straightforward and relatively inexpensive.

Basically, you will disconnect the DSL from your computer and connect it instead to a ?wireless router? (which is actually both a wired and wireless router). The wireless router will typically have about 4 wired Ethernet ports on it, plus the functionality of a device that is called a ?wireless access point? when it?s sold separately. This will give you a home computer network with both wired and wireless (aka ?Wi-Fi?) connection capability.

For each computer that you want to connect to the resulting network (including internet connection, printer sharing and sharing of disk drives and files), you can either connect that computer to one of the wireless router?s wired ports using a cable, or you can make an equivalent connection with no wires or cables using a wireless network card. If you have a choice, use the wired connection: it?s faster, cheaper, more secure, more reliable and requires no configuration (see below). But in many cases running an Ethernet cable from the router to at least some of the computers is just not a realistic option. Note that almost all newer computers (both laptop and desktop) have a built-in wired Ethernet port, and many newer laptops also have a built-in wireless adapter as well, so you may not need to buy anything at all for some of the computers that you want to connect.

?Wireless network cards? for the computers to be connected wirelessly come in several flavors. They are available as PCI cards (cards that go inside a desktop PC), laptop PC Cards (the correct name for what used to be called ?PCMCIA Cards?) and plug-in USB devices. I?d recommend as first choice a PCI card for desktops and a PC Card for laptops, but for desktops a USB device is much easier to install than a PCI card since it doesn?t require opening up the computer.

When you go to buy this stuff, you will find that there are several ?flavors? of wireless systems, known as ?A?, ?B? and ?G? (technically 802.11a, 802.11b and 802.11g). In the ?G? category, you will also find up to 3 different ?speed grades? as manufacturers have found ways to ?speed up? the ?basic? 802.11g. You only want the ?standard? (basic) ?G?. The more advanced flavors will not provide any perceived benefit, they are more expensive and they are more prone to interference (because they use multiple channels at once). Just go for the basic ?G? variety; since even the basic ?G? is 50 times faster than your DSL service, a faster wireless connection will provide no additional benefit anyway.

What is this going to cost you? A wireless router is going to be about $19 to $79. Wireless network cards will be $19 to $59 each, and a wired Ethernet card (if you need one for a wired connection) is $5 to $20. The price depends more on what?s on sale and what rebates are available than on what you get. On several occasions, I?ve gotten a wireless router and a wireless network card both for a total of $19 when they were on sale (after rebates, of course). The total cost for 3 computers could range from under $40 to as much as $150 depending on what you get and where you get it. The top brands for these items are LinkSys and D-Link, and I?d recommend you stay with one of those, although Netgear, Belkin and a number of other firms also make equivalent products.

Wireless networks can be setup either encrypted or unencrypted. It is VERY important that you do an encrypted setup if you don?t want your neighbors able to look at and possibly even modify files on your computer, and also able to use (steal) your internet connection. For someone who is not a computer professional, setting up and configuring such a system can be challenging, and an encrypted configuration is more difficult to setup than a non-encrypted configuration (which is why a large number of residential wireless network installations are foolishly non-encrypted). What I usually advise people to do is to try it themselves, and then if they are not successful to get a computer technician to come out to their house and do the configuration for them (for 3 computers, it will typically take 1 to 3 hours to install and configure the wireless router, all of the computers and the wireless network cards). The hardware makers have tried to make this as easy as possible, but you are going to be making a lot of configuration settings (that you absolutely will not understand) on the router, on each computer and on the wireless network cards for each computer. Unfortunately, many people will require some assistance, especially for an encrypted configuration. There are also multiple encryption standards, and the one that you want is WPA, although WEP, while weaker, is still much better than nothing at all.

VERY IMPORTANT: Whether you do it yourself of have it done, when the configuration is complete be sure to save and print out all of the various settings that you have made: The SSID, the encryption keys, and the IP addresses, username and passwords used to access the router. You might need this months or years from now, and if there?s no record of it the entire network might have to be reconfigured from scratch.

The results of setup up such a network are well worth it, and if it?s done right you will just love the capabilities that it gives you for sharing your internet connection, files on your computers and your printers.

For more detailed information than I can provide here, check out and other similar web sites.

Good luck!

Submitted by: Barry W. of North Canton, OH



Setting up home wireless netework is relatively simple process. There was (is?) also a free course offered on this very topic as well.

You can setup wireless network as either ad-hoc mode or infrastructure mode. Even though infrastructure sounds more formidable, its actually easier and better.

Here is what you need in a nutshell.

First, you need a broadband modem. It has power connection, a DSL or cable connection, and a Ethernet connection wires attached. Sounds like you already have DSL broadband modem connected to one of your computer. The wire that connects this DSL modem to the computer is the ethernet wire.

Second, you need a wireless router. There are a plethora of wireless/wifi routers on the market. Prices ranges anywhere from $35 to several hundred dollars. Just buy one that?s reasonably within your budget. They all work very well for small home networking. Buy the router that says something like "DSL" or "Broadband" router with the words "wireless" or "wifi". These normally comes with 3 or 4 ethernet ports as well so that you can connect directly.

Of course, you will also need computer(s). And you will need to buy and install wifi cards for your computer. You should follow the manufacturer's instructions to install wifi card, but a generic procedure is to (1) install driver software, (2) install the hardware, and (3) power up / reboot computer to finish the new hardware install. Most of the recent laptops already has wifi built-in. Otherwise, you could buy PCMCI card or a USB wifi. Both costs around $50 to $100. For desktop, the USB model will also work, but you could also get PCI wifi card. You need to open up your computer case to install them, but its usually cheaper and better (IMO).

Once that?s set up, the network setup is fairly simple. With everything powered off, connect your DSL or cable to the modem. Connect the modem to the router's WAN connection. Connect your computer to any one of the router's LAN port. Now, power on the modem. Give it time to establish connection (blinking lights settles down to a steady blinking patterns - depending on the model, and depending on the broadband service provider). Next, power on the router.

Depending on the model, the router will power up within a few seconds. Next turn on your computer. You should have internet connection on that one computer now. Use your wifi router setup software to setup your network. By default, everything should be setup, but you should at least give your network a name.

The wifi network name, referred to as the SSID needs to match up between the router and any computer that you wish to connect using wifi. In addition, you can setup securities by setting password on your router and setting up encryption. In addition, I would highly suggest anti-virus software and a firewall software installed on each of your computer.

You now should have internet access from all your computers.

You also said you wanted to share printers. Depending on the level of security you have setup, you may need to do some configuration on your router and also on your firewall to let other computers on your wifi local area network see each other. You also need to enable file and printer sharing on your computers. You should now be able to see all the shared resources (files, printers) from any machines on your local network.

Please be on alert for security. You may want to share resources between your own computers, but you don't want that sharing to extend to hackers parked just outside of your home, or even from far away internet. Protect your wifi network with encryption, and protect your shared resources using good firewall software.

BTW, in my home, I have 7 computers, some on ethernet, some on wifi. The wifi is protected by disabling SSID broadcase, disabling remote admin, and using PSK encryption. Each computer is protected using McAfee anti-virus (thank you comcast). And I use zonealarm firewall. One computer stays on 24hr, and shares out a shared hard drive space and a printer. Works great!!

Submitted by: Marcus Y.



A wireless router sits between your DSL modem and all computers that want to connect. You connect an ethernet cable from the DSL modem into the WAN port on the router and your router should now allow access from all computers connected to it. The wireless connection works by using a radio frequency of 2.4GHz to transmit data. Therefore, the signal strength becomes weaker the further away you are from the router, or if there is something metal obstructing the signal. Be careful about choosing between a router and an access point. I made the mistake of buying an access point when I actually needed a wireless router, and so I had to buy a normal wired router as well for it to work properly.

Each computer that you want to share internet across should have a wireless network card, these can be bought from Netgear, Belkin, D-Link, Linksys and usually cost about
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by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / March 30, 2006 2:36 AM PST

Hi Anne,

In answer to your question, here is how wireless works. Most access points (the little wireless box) support NAT (Network Address Translation). Many also provide DHCP (a server that distributes and manages IP addresses on your network). Windows XP SP2 offers wireless auto-configuration. By simply installing the Wireless Network Adapters in the PCs and placing the Wireless access point on the inside (private Ethernet) interface of your DSL router/modem, the system should work.

Here?s the caveats:

1. The Wireless Access Point must be configured to logon to your ISP and your workstation needs to have this function (PPPoE) disabled. In many cases, it is recommended you uninstall the ISP application that is providing network logon. This may or may not be simple. Sometimes uninstalling add-ons can create Explorer issues and failures.

2. The Wireless Access point may or may not come with the latest firmware (the program in the hardware). The latest firmware is recommended to insure that the connection is reliable. (See next item)

3. Most access points require that the user logon to their machine AFTER the DSL session is initiated. This is because the Access Point provides the IP address to the user?s machine and builds the NAT translation to connect to the internet. If the DSL connection drops, the user is required to log off and then log on to reinitiate the Internet connectivity ? unfortunately, the user may not be aware that this has happened, which can be confusing.

4. Most Access points also provide some security like WEP which prevents everyone in the neighborhood from sharing your DSL connection. An alarming number of users do not set up security. It?s not difficult to do, but may be confusing if you aren?t familiar with the technologies.

5. If you haven?t already, EVERY PC on your wireless network should be protected by a firewall. There are bad people and bad things on the Internet. PROTECT YOURSELF!

Easiest Solution ? Ask your favorite geek for help. It?s an afternoon project. Many would help you for a burger and a few chips. Getting it right can be a little tricky, but once it?s set up it?s remarkably reliable and easy. Just remember ? if you can?t attach to the Internet ? reboot.

Submitted by: Daniel K. of West Bend, WI



In setting up your wireless connection you first have to choice which router you want to use. I recent went thru? the same thing. I start with a D-link wireless router but it kept dropping the connection, so on the advice of a friend that use to work for D-link suggested that I switch to Linksys. So this is the order of setup.

1. Choice the router and wireless cards for your computers, suggestion that they all are from the same company.
2. Connect your router to your DSL modem in the wired configuration so that your can load the software.
3. Once this is done, put your wireless NIC into your computers, loading the software for each NIC.
4. Now run the router software on the other computer.

Each computer needs it?s own name, such as Eugene?s computer, kids? computer, etc. Then you can decide what you will or will not share, such as files, printers and such.

Submitted by: Eugene H.



I run a training school, downsized recently and moved the school back home, installed ASDL service, a wireless router so I can use my laptop elsewhere in the house, the other systems are wired into a switch that hooks to the wireless router. I was foolish not to have bought a faster router because my speedy laptop is quite slow over the internet and printer. thank God I wired the rest or the class would have my head while waiting..

I also find that I have to frequently disconnect the power from the router because it kicks out on me, aggravating more than anything. I am wondering if wireless is all it is said to be because it is slower. also, when you go wireless make sure you have a lock on it or you could be in for trouble with drive past cars and other neighbours. I will probably go and splurge on a faster D-link router and see how much better that is. other than that I love the wireless connection. Maybe someone has some good information for me? In this game we can never pretend to know it all. Good luck, and am happy to hear comments.

Submitted by: b_pap



So first you need to get a router. Because you have DSL you will need a cable router, like the one shown here: When you have the router set it up shown throughout the manual it will come with, you will need to go to a settings page most probably and input your details i.e. username, password that you use to connect to the internet. So during router set up you may need to phone your ISP.

Then you will need to get the PC, that doesn?t have the internet connection, wireless enabled. To do this you can do one of two things, first you can purchase a USB wireless adapter, shown here: This product will come with a CD for setup, it's pretty simple to set up and there is also a manual that comes with it giving you step by step instructions. Your second option could be to purchase a PCI Wireless Adapter Card, shown here:

I have used a similar item on a Windows 98 PC with 128MB RAM, all I did was plug it into a vacant PCI slot which can be found on the inside of your PC, open up your PC and look for a vacant one of these:

Straight away the PC picked up the new hardware and installed it automatically, all it took was a restart, then look to your icons in the bottom right hand corner of the desktop, look for a small PC shape, double click it and search for wireless signals in range, select you wireless network and then both PCs are connected.

To share a printer over the network, it is best to be shown with images and a step by step guide. Here you can find a very good guide on how to share a printer:

Submitted by: Nick L.



Wireless is good thinking. There are many different kinds of wireless (just to confuse you). The frequency for wireless communication between computers is 2.4 gigahertz. There is wireless g (fast) wireless g+ (faster) wireless a (not so common (not recommended)) and wireless b (SLOW). I recommend you go with a trusted brand, like Linksys, belkin, or d-link. ( all the tech by the same brand, and all on the same type of wireless) For your son?s computer, buy an adapter, which fits on your son?s Universal Serial Bus slot (USB). Expect those to cost around 50 bucks. To get the whole wireless network running, you need a wireless router. The wireless router must be connected to the DSL modem. Expect the wireless router to cost about 70 bucks. For setup, you must first connect the wireless router (follow their instructions and THEN connect the adapters to the computers. If you have a computer next to the wireless router, connect it by cable, for cables are more reliable.

I hope this helps you going wireless, to new limits!

Submitted by: Vikram R.



Hi Anne, the wireless system works really simple and here's how: What will be your master computer, yours, will be the one giving the signal thanks to a router box to the wireless modems that will give your kids machines their internet. All machines because of this will have the same IP address.

What a router box will do for you is act kind of like a tiny server you could say. It's not really a server, I'm just describing it the best I can. Because of the router box, each computer is then able to go into "my computer" and find where a public folder is going to be. It will let each machine share a folder. It's in this folder that everyone sharing the router box connection will have access to. Store files to be printed out in that folder, mp3's, whatever you want for them to open and use. Other than that there really is no long answer to your question and if they use my answer, I really hope it helps you.

You may want to check depending on where you live if Comcast is in your area. They have had the cheapest deals for home networking that I have seen. Plus a very good service. I don?t work for them, I'm just a very picky but also happy customer.

Submitted by: whereismike



Setting up a wireless network is fairly easy these days. You need a wireless router with multiple ports (@$75), the DSL modem gets connected to the router and a main computer can be wired with a cable to the router.

All of the other PC's can use a wireless connection. You can install a wireless card (@$50) into the remote PC's or you can select to use wireless network adapters that connect through the USB port. You can set up printer and file sharing so that the remote PC's can use the printer attached to the "main" computer, they can access the Internet through the router and DSL modem and they can transfer files between the different PC's.

Make sure that the router and wireless adapters are manufactured by the same company, for more reliable connections. Some manufacturers are Linksys, Netgear, D-Link, etc. You can do a quick search to see if anyone has a problem with a particular manufacturer and WinXP, or if one is more reliable than another.

Aside from that, they supply setup instructions to get your wireless network up and running.

Submitted by: Nick N.



The internet sharing can be done through a wired or wireless router. Wireless is much easier because there are no wires to run, but each computer will need a wireless card or adapter, if they are not wireless capable. If you go to a tech store such as BestBuy, CircuitCity, or CompUSA, they should be able to get you all squared away. As for the printer, you would probably need something called a wireless print server. What this would do is allow all the computers on the network to use the printer at any time, whether the computer nearby is on or off. If the computer near the printer is usually or always on, a simple print sharing can be done through My Network Places.

As for cost, wireless routers are constantly getting cheaper, if you keep your eyes open for sales and rebates, you can get a good quality Linksys for under $50. The cards however, may be more expensive.

If you go with the wireless option, make sure to get one that supports the protocol 802.11b/g. The g wireless is faster, but many products still use the b protocol, so to be safe, get one that supports both.

It's confusing, I know, but a technology store should be able to get you squared away. You may pay a bit more, but it eliminates the guess work if you're new to networking.
Hope this helps.

Submitted by: Sam



I have three computers in my house. I bought a Wireless Router ( to connect to de ADSL modem. My computer was connect directly to the router using cable, but for the two others, I bought two wireless Ethernet cards with directional antennas. The result: Excellent, I have Internet access all around the house. For the printer I recommend a Wireless Print Server to connect to printer, this way, anyone can use the printer without turn on the computer where it is connected. ( The use of directional antennas depends of distance).

Total cost approx. $200.00.

Submitted by: Joel M. of Guatemala



Hi! Ann,

Here is a brief description of my configuration before answering (or trying to answer) your question :

One Desktop (Dell dimension 8100 , 512 RAM, 1.5GHz Intel P4 ); a laptop (512RAM, I.8Ghz ) (brand not very well known ; special manufacturer and without impact on your problem ) I have asdl and a wifi connection between both computers .

OK , now the first thing to begin with is wether you have a modem which at the same time is a ROUTER ; if not you get a first choice : either you by a WIFI ROUTER (I strongly advise BELKIN), or you throw away your actual modem and buy a MODEM-ROUTER (again BELKIN is my best advice here) ; why do I advice the second choice ?; because incompatibilities might exist between your actual MODEM and the necessary wifi ROUTER ; if such incompatibilities are going to manifest themselves , you will get into trouble , because both tech services will play ping pong with you and you are going to loose a lot of time and money ; besides, techservice at BELKIN is permanent and EXTREMELY efficient insofar you are in trouble with BELKIN PRODUCTS .

So I will assume in what follows that you decided for the second solution ; now you have a MODEM ROUTER ; each of your to be builtWIFI NETWORK has to be equipped with a WIFI PCI (or in case of laptop PCMCIA card) . In this case it is absolutely recommended (in fact this time you do not have the choice!!!) to get cards OF THE SAME BRAND as the modem router . If you do'nt , you WILL EXPERIENCE a lot of trouble ; in case you get two other desktop pc's to connect to one other PC , you will have to call your favorite technician to open your Pc's ans plug -in the cards; in the case of a laptop you just INSERT the PCMCIA card .

A very important question here is the connection of your FATHER PC (terminology not canonical but supposedly more picturesque..) to the MODEM ROUTER : you might use both types : either you connect with an Ethernet cable your father PC to the MODEM ROUTER , or you equip your father PC with a wifi PCI card which will allow the reqired communications between the PC and the modem router; the first type corresponds to my own configuration . It works wonderfully well aside from some problems which I won't explain here so the wifi connection is really between the TWO NETWORKED PCs on one side and the LAPTOP Connected to the MODEM ROUTER wifi on the other , so that I cann have access to Internet from my laptop WITHOUT PASSING through my PC; it remains ONE PHYSICAL CONNECTION (ETHERNET ) between the FATHER PC and the modemrouter ;

Now , suppose you just bought two PC I cards and the brand new MODEM ROUTER ; how do you proceed ; first you will CONNECT the modem ROUTER to your PC and then INSTALL THE MODEM ROUTER , do do so my guess is that you need as a first step a WIRED CONNECTION between your PC and the modem router ; anyway you will get an instructions booklet which will tell you if you first INSTALL THE software and then plug-in the MODEM-ROUTER or the otherway round ; just follow carefully the instructions there ; when this is done , that is the connection between your PC and the modem Router ; assuming that the Modem-router is already connected to your phone line, you will get to use the INSIDE EXPLORER of your ROUTER ; to do this , the Installer should open it for you at the first install ; there you will have to enter some settings which are provided by your IAP in order to get the connection to INTERNET ; you may decide to securize your MODEM ROUTER IMMEDIATLY OR LATER but this is another topic ; so I won't enter into this ; provided you enetred the right settings , your connection to INTERNET is now OK ;

The next step is to open the WINDOWS XP NETWORK Wizzard ; this is done by openeing the Configuration panel and clicking the right icon ; you are prosed to GIVE A NAME FOR YOUR HOMENETWORK ; defaultname is MSHOME , but you may change it at will HERE (!!!!!!!!!)

Once this is done and you have followed the instructions of the wizzard the preparatory steps are done ; on each of your other PC , you will have to plug-in the PC I card and INSTALL IT ; repeat the the procedure relative to the NETWORK WIZZARD on each of your networked PC's ; in principle you are done .

There are other details more or less important but none of which are difficult PROVIDED the PCI cards are recognized and properly installed and of course the instructions relative to A COMMON NAME FOR THE HOME NETWORK IS respected ; if all your PC's run WinXP home there might be a small problem which I Do not know how to solve ; it is recommended that at least one of the Networked PC' run Win XP pro ; wether this is just a recommendation or a real MUST , I cannot tell .

Advantages of wireless solutions are tremendous ; first of all it is Wireless?.. So you do not have to transform your house into a HUGE cable factory ; using Wifi g (not b) allows you to transfer datas from one pc to another very quickly .

I would describe at length many other refinements but for the tiume beeing I will stop here ; I am sure that manyother contributors will help to get your instructions detailed and complete . Good Wifi.

Submitted by: Olivier G.



I have learned that with my first experience with a home network, it was in my best interest to call ?Geek Squad?. NO, I AM NOT AN EMPLOYEE! They told me about how much the price would be, asked questions about your computers and so on. I have had a couple network routers and found that ?D-Link DI-624? has so far been the best buy. If the Geek Squad is available to you, have them document the processes that they had to do and all of the settings for the network. Keep an eye on them to see what they are doing so you have some idea if something goes wrong or if you have a question. I hope this helps, even though I sound like a salesman. Good luck!

Submitted by: Tom J.



I purchased a linskys router with two computers connected, one running xp2000 the other xp2003 . I also have the linskys router for the dsl internet service. They were very easy to connect . You must have your password available to connect your router. The only problem encountered was that sound can only be heard from port 1. Other then that it's a go. this allows me to keep an eye on what the grandchildren are looking at on the computer.

Submitted by: Walter D.



The wireless network just about sets itself up. Normally, the default settings on the router (if wireless) broadcasts its network. Any computer with wireless installed is designed to look for a wireless network broadcast. Because both are turned on by default, your computer will detect the wireless signal. On the computers, the name of the computer and workgroup are already in place. The default name for a group of computers is either "home" or "workgroup". If the name of your workgroup is the same on all computers, they will be able to see each other. What is seen on any computer is any device that is shared. Printers and hard drives are easily shared on one computer so another can use it. So, if the other computers can already be seen on the wired part of your network, then you are pretty much done.

Submitted by: Anonymous



The simplest wireless setup is called ad hoc; if you get a couple of those lil USB wireless adapters on rebate for about $30, you won't even need a router right away. I find this very useful if there is an office machine involved as well, the nice thing about the USB system is that you can't instantly move it from computer to computer as needed.. One thing- XP has its own wireless handler, installing the manufacturers software will over ride it, so plan ahead...

Submitted by: Tom



While wireless networks are the most common form of networking computers, I had a problem with my wireless hookup (desktop with cable connection to Internet and notebook with PCMCIA wireless card) in that the signal would not carry from the room with the desktop to a room about 30 yards away with the notebook (admittedly some walls in between). My son solved the problem very simply (although more costly) by buying a NetComm system that works through the electrical power circuit. The router is connected with a network cable to one Netcomm unit which is plugged into a power point, and the second unit is plugged into another powerpoint in the room with the notebook and connected to the notebook through the ethernet connection.
The signal is excellent.

Submitted by: Robin S.



Ever since I bought wireless for my house, I?ve loved it and can?t live without it. I can access files and the internet from my laptop, which is great and definitely necessary for me. Since all computers are running Windows XP, this will help because Windows XP has a built-in wireless manager and an easy setup utility. First you need to purchase a wireless router. If you don?t need high bandwidth for your network and just need it to surf the internet and send small to medium size files, I would recommend a Linksys Wireless-G router. These start at around $50 and are great for what you need. If you need more bandwidth, or speed, I would look at either the ?Super-G? or MIMO routers. There are many reviews on to find the best router you need. Next you need to buy wireless adapters for your other computers to connect to the network. Once again, I would recommend either Linksys or Netgear Wireless-G adapters, and they start around $40. You have the option of hooking one computer, possibly the one that is hooked directly into the DSL router, into the router to save money and time. Altogether, you can get everything for around $100-140. I hope this helps.

Submitted by: Zach F. of Nashville, IL.



Hello Anne, and welcome to the wonderful wireless world!
Here's what I did, and I'm very happy with how it all worked out.
We got my wife a laptop, so that we could both be online at the same time and not fight over access to "my" computer!

My computer, a desktop, is connected directly to the internet via a DSL modem, which in turn goes to a hard-wired router. I got that to protect my computer from invasion by ne'er-do-wells out there, because the router has a firewall built into it. I found that a software firewall I had been using slowed down my system intolerably, and the router used none of my resources at all.

Then, with the arrival of the laptop, I got a wireless access point from Belkin for about $70, as I recall. My wife's Dell Inspiron is equipped with a wireless card, so that connecting her up to the router and the access point was no problem at all. Also, as long as my computer is turned on, she can access the printer as well, and finding out how to do that was a cinch, just following prompts from the Networking icon on her machine and mine.

I have another laptop which I rarely use, similarly equipped, and it also used the same wireless access point to get out to the internet and the printer.

By the way, the manual that came with my access point was very helpful, and the technical support people at Belkin were among the best I've ever encountered anywhere. Best of luck!

Submitted by: Peter S. of Oakland, CA



I have three laptops on a "Linksys" wireless router connection and a cable internet connection and it works great! Check out for more answers about cost. Also check out their "Learning Center" video. There they explain what you'll need and all the basics on planning and setting up your wireless network. And when you buy any devices from Linksys, they come with a cd with step by step instructions on how to set up each device. Good luck!

Submitted by: Mark N.



I currently use 5 computers in my house.
2 Mac's
3 Pc's
2 pocket pc's
They all need to connect to 1 wireless router. I have used several ways to do this the first and easiest way is to buy an apple airport express. This has a usb connector for printers. Simple plug in and you can set it up fast and easy . The instructions are included and are easy to follow. Using this way you don't need to have a computer connected to the printer on all the time. The price for this connector is 100 to 150 for the airport. And 20 to 50 for the wireless card if not already installed the computer. If you buy a usb wireless card for the computer simply insert a c.d. and follow the simple sep buy step instructions given on screen. Plug in the usb card when asked. And all is well. Most new routers come with a router wizard and this allows you to set up the wireless security.

Submitted by: Kenneth A.



I just did it. I have Verizon / Fios and wanted to use my laptop in the family room down stairs at the other end of the house. V/Fios recommended D-Link . I went to Tiger Direct an got the wireless router and 2 receivers 1for the lap top and 1 for the desk top which sits across the room from the other desk-top. Ran the provided cd and was up and running in less than 30 minutes on all 3 computers. The total cost was less than $150. Plus there is a $40. rebate from Tiger Direct. or you can get it from the D-Link web site. At 62 years old I wasn't sure if I knew what I was doing but its a breeze. Have Fun I hope this helps.

Submitted by: Dale T.



I run three computers on wireless now it is easy to do. You will need a router and two pci cards, here is what I use: D-link Wireless Cable/DSL Router,802.11g ,54mps #DI-524.Priced at $50.00 with a rebate of $25.00. D-Link Wireless PCI Adapter,802.11g, 54mph. #DWL-G510 Priced at $49.99 with a rebate of $15.00.They can be found at any computer store.

Submitted by: Philip T. of Orange City, FL



The wireless router about $50. Then you need 2 wireless recievers. One for each other computer. Wireless recievers cost about $40. The 3rd pc will be hardwired to the wireless router. It?s very simple and the speed you get through a wireless connection is amazing. All that information flying through the air in tiny pieces then put back together in just the right order. Be sure to get 802.11 g 54mbps router and recievers. Best Buy has them. I have the d-link brand. Link-sys is good also.

Submitted by: Anthony E.



You can get a wireless router with print server at Sam's Club for about $80.00 and you should be behind a router anyway because it's safer! You can find out how it functions while your installing it but don't worry how the thingy works so long as it does.

Submitted by: John K.



Linksys wireless B, worked real well for me, and cost about $90.00. Just follow the directions in the box it comes in. I got mine at Walmart.

Submitted by: Charles K.



You should go to and you need to get a wireless router and two wireless cards and that should get you a wireless network and it might be like $80.00

Submitted by: Nick
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Have another question
by Eddie_E / March 30, 2006 8:48 PM PST

I setup a wireless network in my house a couple of years ago and all works fine. I have a Linksys router and Linksys cable modem. My main system in my basement office is wired to the router. Two other computers belonging to other family members are connected via Linksys USB adapters. I just recently purchased a notebook computer with built in wireless connection. I want to be able to access files on my main system in the basement using my notebook but I do not want the 2 computers connected using USB adapter to access files on my main system. Is this possible and if so can someone point me to information that instructs how? Thanks. Eddie

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file sharing
by Howdy123 / March 30, 2006 9:35 PM PST
In reply to: Have another question

You should be able to file share, using a password.
As long as you are thonly one who knows the password, no one else should be able to get into your files.
Hope this helps.

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by YahooMarcus / March 31, 2006 4:10 AM PST
In reply to: Have another question

There are many ways to restrict shares.

1. Password protect your file. This is a good idea even without network sharing. If you are sending your document via email, if you let someone else use your computer, etc., a password protected document will give you some assurance that your files are safe from curious eyes.

2. Password protect your share. When you make a resource (folder, printer) on your system shared, there is option to restrict who can read or write to share, and whether a password is required to do so or not. This is basically a tradeoff between easier access and restricted access.

3. Multiple shares, with different level of share access for each share. You can have a "public" share, where you can put just about anything, and accept any files as "downloads". And you can also have a "private" share folder, which is password protected.

4. Firewall protection, IMO, is the best way (as the subject title of this message suggest), though firewall plus passwords works really well if you require that level of protection. If you don't need that level of protection, just setup different zones in your firewall. Its "setup once and forget it" type of issue. Setup your "zones" as trusted or internet zones using IP Address or MAC filtering, and make your resources visible only to your trusted zone.

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by Eddie_E / March 31, 2006 11:15 AM PST
In reply to: firewall

Thank you very much YahooMarcus. That's just what I was looking for.


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thanks, but
by elithea / March 30, 2006 9:20 PM PST

i was so excited to see this message as i've been trying to figure out how to secure my network for months. but all it says here is "Turn on WEP." um... how? i have not been able to find any way to accomplish this. Help?

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by krazyken44 / March 30, 2006 10:59 PM PST
In reply to: thanks, but

I could help you, but you need to understand it all depends on cards and your router as to how turn on WEP prodedure goes? They are different from one brand to another brand and if it's mixed brands sometimes it's a real problem.
I suggest reading the manual that came with your router and cards. If you don't have it then down load from the company who made it. Linksys has I learning center at this link. I'm not sure, but so do some of the other network hardware companys on their web sites.
If you still can't figure out how to do this, then post it in the in one of the help forums.

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WEP Encryption
by johnsjets / March 30, 2006 11:18 PM PST
In reply to: thanks, but

Generally, most wireless routers can be secured by logging on to them using their network address (http....). Once you have logged on to your router, you will get a menu which will allow you to set a number of operational parameters for your router and network. One of the settings on the menu will allow you to set up the security settings for the router. You must match these settings with all of your networked devices for them to able to communicate with each other. This is not a difficult process and should be explained in the manual that came with your router. If you no longer have manual, most manufactures will have it on their websites.

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by YahooMarcus / March 31, 2006 4:28 AM PST
In reply to: thanks, but

As suggested by others, turning "ON" the encryption involves steps that are different from product to product. But the general concept really remains the same.

You want to setup encryption from a computer that is hardwired through ethernet cable. Some router comes with a setup software. Others asks you to use your internet browser to connect to the router, in which case you need to connect to the router's IP address. You can lookup that address from the manual that came with the router. Some popular default addresses are

You may need to supply username/password.
Some default usernames are <blank>, "admin", or "Administrator". Common default passwords are "admin" or "administrator". Check with the manual that came with your router. You can also check the manufacturer's website for such information as well.

Once you are connected (via web or supply software), you need to browse through all the pages and look for such key words as "security", "encryption", "wireless", etc.

For encryption, the most basic one is WEP. That encryption gives you the minimal most basic protection, and will be compatible with almost any wifi products. BUT, its not all that secure. In fact, a basic WindowsXP operating system's wifi connection setting will automatically crack the WEP passphrase and connect to the wifi network... not much of a security.

If you have more recent hardware, you should go for WPA encryption. But the basic concept is the same.

In short, you really need to be reading through the router manual to set up the security correctly.

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WiFI Security
by idkayaker / April 6, 2006 7:07 AM PDT
In reply to: Encryption

If your interested there is an excellent free podcast called security Now. While there is already about 30 episodes some of the earlier ones specifically address WEP and WAP security. You can down load the podcasts from itunes or go directly to Steve Gibson is a computer security expert and his advices is invaluable. At the GRC website you can also obtain a completely random 256 bit password that can be used to make your WiFi install completely uncrackable. I?ve used the info to setup a completely secure VPN to remotely access and control my home PC from work. If you travel and use WiFi hot spots you definitely need to listen to these podcasts.

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Printer Resource Sharing
by jchavez903 / March 30, 2006 9:57 PM PST

I am running a Linksys wirless network, with a desktop (XP Home) sharing a parallel printer with two other laptop pc's. It seems that you have to be logged on the desktop in order for the other pc's to access the printer over the wirless. It is obvious that the wireless adapter driver runs as an application and has to be started by a user (startup) login.

If I hardware the puter sharing the printer to the router, would this eliminate the need for a login on the on the puter sharing the printer (I realize the computer needs to at least be turned on)?

Oh by the way...the laptops are running XP home and Windows 2000 pro and Advanced Server.

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by abiodunmi / April 1, 2006 12:14 PM PST

I am configuring a wireless network.My buddy whom iam helping bought Win XP media.I have been able to make all the computer get to the internet.They all connect reliably well with my router.Security is configured and one of the computers is wired to the router.

Inspite of the fact that i even shared the whole hard drive on some of the computers, i could not access the workgroup.I keep getting error message that i should contact the administrator.Occassionally , i see the nodes but they are not accessble after clicking on them.I used zero configuration to add the computers to the network but yet i could not access the printer that is attached to one of the computers as network printer.
Is there something i have not done.I am open to questions and i will be willing to give update.
Lest i forget to add that i was able to even access the router from any of the computers.I was able to log wirelessly to the router for administrative configuration.

God bless you as you give your opinion.As i said all the computers are win xp media

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Can not access shares
by waytron / April 1, 2006 8:01 PM PST
In reply to: HELP

There are several reasons you may not be able to access shared folders and printers.

1. Make sure all computers are using the same workgroup name and have unique computer names.

2. Firewall issues can often prevent access. To test, temporarily disable all firewalls. If it then works, you have to change your firewall settings to allow network computers by adding your network IP range to the list of allowed activity. If you are only using the Windows Firewall, you must have File and Print Sharing turned on.

3. It is most likely a username, password issue. Try using the same username and password to log into each computer on the network.

Good Luck!

Dana H.

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acquiring network address...
by / December 21, 2006 8:34 PM PST
In reply to: Can not access shares

Hi! Lee, I have 2 desktop pc's, one is connected wirelessly and the other is wired on a wireless router. The wired one takes only 2-3 seconds to connect to internet after startup but the other takes 2-3 minutes after startup before I can connect to the internet. It always acquires a network address that takes to much time. What can I do to fasten up these. Thanks for the help.

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Very Inexpensive Business-Grade wireless security and Mgt.
by N Krupa / March 30, 2006 11:17 PM PST

Check out secureMyWiFi service from

you can throw away most of your instructions too if you follow their setup guide. good tech support too. If you don't have a wlan yet, you can order one you just plug in that they setup for you.

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Some more info
by djeve / March 30, 2006 11:19 PM PST

Let me start that there is pretty much everything covered. I work with Dell for their installation team on the west coast. One thing I'd like to mention that the SSID is also a clue for hackers as how to log into your router (I use the term 'Hacker' lightly here, this could be someone next door or someone on the street corner in a car). So change that SSID! Also, each router has a username and password to go into the advanced settings. Changing this password will prevent anyone from being able to mess up your settings (like making your internet turn off at 5 pm and turn on at 8 am).

Seeing that you have children, through your advanced settings you can also set up filters to prevent them from going to web pages with inappropriate content (mind you that will block all sites for everyone all the time). You can also set up the router to turn off the connection at a certain time at night and turn on in the morning. Check your documentation to the router to see how to login to fix this. Usually you login through your browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Ect) using an IP address like this... then it prompts for a user name and password (in your router documentation as well).

As for routers themselves, there are some brands that are easier than others (same goes for wireless cards) For ease of setup try to get the same brand card as your router. I recommend for ease of setup the Linksys or the D-link. The 7 antenna is easier as well. For some reason the cheaper Netgear is problematic (many of my coworkers as well as myself have trouble with this for some reason)

If you have any questions regarding what I've told you just ask! Happy

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How much power does a wireless connection transmit?
by dddiam / March 31, 2006 12:02 AM PST

As one who is cautious even about over-use of cellphones, because of EMF radiation, I am interested in knowing the transmitter power output of wireless routers, laptops, and network adaptor cards.

I continue to wire my house with Cat5, but wireless is tempting.

- David

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by ronsherman / March 31, 2006 12:07 AM PST

Great article. I was especially interested in the section on interferance. My Linksys G router has been installed for a while and usually my Signal Quality is "Excellant" and my "Signal Strength is over 90%. But periodically - maybe one or twice day I get "blips" when my VPN loses its connection. I can immediately dial back into it. About twice a week, the whole connection from computer to Rouer vanishes and I can get it back only by rebooting both modem and router. What gives? The blips are not related to my telephone, though might be related to a neighbours, though know for sure. My house has concrete walls and floor, but the router and wireless computer are in adjoining rooms. How can I proceed to track this very annoying problem?

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Router periodically doesn't work
by henry_apple / March 31, 2006 12:32 AM PST
In reply to: Interferance

Have the same problem, but about once evey two weeks. I have a desktop, and two laptops. Sometimes the desktop won't work, but the laptops work. I can't even get through to the router with their IP. So, I either reboot or pull out power at router. Usually works. Linksys, via email from me, said to download new firmware. I haven't had time to do it yet, but maybe this would work. And, I forgot about using 2.4 Ghz. My telephone is right next to router and desktop! But, doesn't seem to be a major problem.

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Intermitent loss of connection
by waytron / March 31, 2006 7:15 PM PST

You say that your cordless phone is right next to your computer. How do you know that it is not a problem? I would remove or replace it completely. I have had times when everything seems to be working fine until the phone rings, or only when it is off the charger or only when it is on the charger. You never know when or how it will interact with your wireless connection. And in many cases it is not consistent due to the fact that both the wireless router and the phone system can often change transmitting channels on there own to try to get a better signal.

There can be many other factors that will cause an intermittent loss of connection.

1. I have seen many wireless routers and modems just simply start failing after a year or two and require constant rebooting. Routers are fairly cheap now and easy to replace.

2. Each Wireless adapter has two options for controlling the wireless connection, try switching between having Windows control the wireless or letting the program that came with the wireless adapter control it. Very often one way will work better then the other.

3. Try going into the router setup and manually change the channel to 11 or 1. See if that helps.


Dana H.

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sharing between a pc laptop and an apple laptop
by wuyunkai / March 31, 2006 12:12 AM PST

how to set up the file and printer sharing between them?

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pc and apple on network
by jcooch / April 6, 2006 3:37 AM PDT

Not sure about laptops, but I did this with a desktop pc and a g5, where the pc was the main server. I am no pro at this, but I did figure it out, so I hope it helps.
Once your router is setup, assuming the printer already works from the pc side, you will need to set which folders on your pc will be ''shared'', aside from the default ''shared documents'' folder. If you don't want to share other folders, then anything you want to access from the mac, will have to be moved/copied into your ''shared documents'' folder. (Sorry if this is redundant info. I'm new to homenetworking, but willing to help.)
Now on the mac: You will need to have administration rights as part of your logon, or the admin/pw for changes, depending on how your mac was setup. It's possible to have more than one logon account just like the pc, and different levels of admin control assigned to each ''account''.
Go into your System Preferences, find/click on ''printers/faxes''. From there you need to access the homenetwork you are on, and set the printer to be shared. Click on ''printer setup'' and it should list the available printers on the network, if it doesn't, look for either ''add printer'' or a PLUS sign, and click on that. There is a help button, if more detail is needed. Your available networks should show up, and from there you can choose and set the printer on the network to be the default. It's fairly intuitive, and the Help section is good, so I hope this was helpful.

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Wireless printer setup, help.
by Scheide / April 6, 2006 9:57 AM PDT

This is good information my friend but I am not using a mac. Somebody else sent me info similar. I am using Win 98 SE and when you tell me to click Start/Printers and Faxes, I can't find this location. I do find area about printers. So far I am unable to set up my printer so we can use it via our wireless system. Otherwise router seems ok but I do have to reboot it fairly often. I want to be able to print from laptop from another room. Any additional help would be apprectiated. Thanks, Dave

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share printer
by YahooMarcus / April 6, 2006 2:19 PM PDT

First, the printer must be properly installed on one computer. Lets say that this computer is named "computer-1".

Next, you have the computer from where you would like to send a print job to computer-1. Lets call this computer the "remote-one".

At "computer-1", goto the printer folder. Do this by either selecting "start" menu and selecting "printers" (or "printers and faxes") or open your control panel and select "printers" folder (or "printers and faxes" folder). Right click on the printer you want to share.
Select "share" and select Share This Printer.

If you don't see the "share" option when you right click on the printer, you need to goto your network properties and enable sharing of printers and files.

On "remote-one", goto the printer folder. Do this by either selecting "start" menu and selecting "printers" (or "printers and faxes") or open your control panel and select "printers" folder (or "printers and faxes" folder).

You then need to start (double click) the AddPrinter icon. In the following, I'm using WindowsXP example, but all flavors of Windows should behave about the same. (I'm also sitting in front of a foreign language version windows, so my translation might not be exact words, but it should be trivial to follow.)

Click Next at the intro page of the printer add wizard. Select "Network printer..." choice and click next. Select find printer option and click next. In the main window of the next screen, you should see "Microsoft Windows Network". Under that (you might have to double click to show sub-folder/node), you should see your domain or workgroup name (e.g., MSHome). Under that you should see list of machines on your network, including the "computer-1" that hosts the printer. Under that you should see the printer name. In some cases, the printer name might be listed one level above with the computer name (e.g., \\computer-1\printer-name). Select the printer name line and click Next. Select Yes (or No) to "use as default printer?" and click Next.

Depending on the exact OS on the two computers, and the printer type you have, you might have situation where the printer installs without any additional headaches, asks you if its okay to download printer driver from "computer-1" to "remote-one", or it will ask you to install driver (or select printer driver to use).

There, you should be done.

Possible trouble shooting.
If you have configured your firewall too strongly, you may need to loosen it up a bit so that "remote-one" can see the printer on "computer-1".

A bit longer than I initially thought...

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New Question.
by Scheide / April 7, 2006 2:41 AM PDT
In reply to: share printer

Yahoo Marcus: Very good detailed message and I thank you. New problem. You say, If you don't see the "Share" option when I right click the printer folder, then go to network properties to enable sharing of printers. Where is the "network properties"? I hate to show my stupidity but I'm still have troubles. Thanks again. Dave

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print sharing
by YahooMarcus / April 7, 2006 10:26 AM PDT

On Win98, 98SE, ME,

goto control panel, then networking.
on the first tab, about middle of the window, there is a button with text "share files and printers" or something to that affect - click it.
There should be two checkboxes - one to share files, and one to share printers. Check both (or at least check off to share your printer).

I also tried to see how I did this on WinXP... but I can't see where I enabled it. Sharing might be on permanently on XP (I'm not sure). But this isn't a problem for you if you have the printer hooked up to 98SE machine.

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Thanks Marcus!
by Scheide / April 8, 2006 12:43 AM PDT
In reply to: print sharing

Ok Marcus: Followed your directions and found the printer sharing area. I checked both squares and have rebooted. This should allow me to that my Win Me laptop or wife's XP into another room and print anything I want. I understand my main desktop computer must remain on. So now to try it out. Thank you very much, I'll get back with update from my end later. Sunshine and bright but cold in Michigan. Dave

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Gigabit wireless is coming
by dddiam / March 31, 2006 12:14 AM PST

Is 54 mbs and 108 mbs too slow for your? Gigabit wireless is coming.

My son sent me the following tidbit:

"Next year AMD will be launching a quad-core CPU with on chip L3 cache, integrated FBM-memory controller (for larger memory expansion) and a nice feature - integrated WiMax - the standard from Motorola that may get close to a gigabyte/second wireless communication."

It sounds like we might need to wait until 2008 until the technology finds its way into our computers. But it will be worth the wait.

- David

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Corrections regarding WiMax Gigabyte wireless
by dddiam / March 31, 2006 12:42 AM PST

I just did some preliminary web research on WiMAX (IEEE 802.16).

Firstly, I think that it is gigaBYTE rather than gigaBIT wireless technology.

It sounds to me as if it is more targeted for large Internet hot spots than home LANs (30-mile base-station range). I am not clear on how much bandwidth individual PCs will have.

It also seems that it is embroiled in some controversy, regulation and licensing issues. Europe will see it before the U.S.

If anyone can shed additional light on this subject, kindly post it here.


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