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:
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 192.168.0.130 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, http://www.geekgirls.com/windowsxp_home_network.htm#printer 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.
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 http://www.practicallynetworked.com/ and other similar web sites.
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