Most homes are not equipped with Ethernet cabling throughout the house. This is the type of cabling you need to connect your computer to your cable modem or to your DSL modem. In some cases consumers will also have a small router. They can connect to their high speed modem which will support up to four computers and a network printer. Running cables to 4 different computers and a printer spread throughout a house is a non starter for most people. They just do not want to clutter up their homes with all this cable laying along the floor.
There is another solution and that is adding wireless internet to your home using a wireless router. These devices are relatively inexpensive and also easy to install. You will need to have a wireless card in each computer that you want to connect to the router over a wireless connection. If you have printers with a wireless card you can also connect the printer to the wireless network allowing all computers to print from this network printer. The printer can also be connected to one of the computers or to the router via an Ethernet card. Most wireless routers will also support several wired connections as well.
With a wireless router, wireless internet @ home can be very convenient. the kids can connect their computers from anywhere in the house, the parents from the den or while watching TV. Basically anywhere in the home as well as within a short distance from the home outside. Even some of your neighbors may be able to access your wireless network from their homes if your wireless router is located properly.
A precaution that everyone should follow when they install wireless router is to password protect it to avoid unwanted people from accessing your network and using your service for free. The best case is that they will use your network for free and drive your traffic up to a point were your service provider decides that they need to charge you a higher fee. The worst case is that they download large files of questionable material or worse hack into your own computers and take a look around at your personal files. Right now out of four wireless networks that I can see, one is wide open and accessible. Always protect your wireless network with a password.
Sometimes when I am waiting for my wife to finish an appointment at the hospital, I drive into the nearby neighborhood and look for an open WiFi that I can use to read my mail and browse the internet. I usually have no problem finding one. Password protect your WiFi to stop people like me from using your WiFi for free.
Setting up wireless internet at home is pretty straight forward. Turn off your high speed modem, plug the Ethernet cable provided with your wireless router into the high speed modem and the wireless router. Plug both units in and turn on both units. Insert the CD that came with your wireless router and follow the instructions. Note you need to have a wireless modem installed in your computer and turned on for your wireless connection to work.
You will be prompted to add your name, password etc and then you should be ready to connect. Provide the password to other users in your home. This is actually the network key and is needed by everyone who will access your router.
Once you are connected you can move around the house or the office with your computer and always remain connected. Read your email, chat with other users and social networks, print using your wireless router, connect multiple computers, stream music or video. With all of these advantages you will wonder why you never moved to a wireless network sooner.
An additional advantage is that when you have visitors or the kids come home they can easily connect to the internet via your wireless router without having to dig out a cable or unhook your own. Guests can even connect from the comfort of their room without needing a cable to connect.
Routers come in various capacities in terms of being able to support multiple computers as well as maximum throughput. Before you decide on a wireless router , evaluate your needs and then decide on a router.
What is the speed of your cable connection or DSL connection? Will the router utilize this maximum capacity? What content will you be downloading from the internet? Will you just be doing email and internet browsing? Or will you be downloading movies and songs which take more bandwidth? Select the router that will give you the capacity that you need. Remember that other members of the family may be using the internet for other applications so check with them before you make a decision.
Select a practical location for the router that is easy to install and near where your high speed modem is located. If the router is located in the basement, there is a possibility that you will not have the best performance if you and your computer are on the top floor. Best location for a wireless router is in the middle of the house on the main floor, away from walls and other metallic obstructions. This is not always practical so try to locate your wireless router as close to the above suggestions to maximize your coverage and avoid poor performance.
Conversely , if you locate the router on the 2nd floor and your office is in the basement you could also have poor connection and poor service as a result.
In addition to setting up security on your wireless router, you should also set up appropriate security on your computer. This is like a 2nd line of defense. Protect your computer from viruses and hack attacks. Install a virus checking program. Close ports that are not needed. Set up your firewall on your computer as well as on your wireless router to maximize your security.
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