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Some Points To Consider Before Buying Wireless Connection Equipment

May 12, 2008
When you buy wireless equipment, you want to make sure that everything you buy will work in your house with the computer(s) you already have and over the distances required. Before you spend any money on equipment, consider the following issues.

Find out about the construction of your walls. In theory, wireless technology is capable of passing through walls and other obstacles relatively easily. However, in reality, some walls are of a thicker or more solid construction than others and may block some of your wireless signals. You only need to consider the interior walls, of course, and you will need to consider floor construction if you want to use your wireless network on different levels. Materials such as drywall, plywood, other kinds of wood including doors, and glass can be easily penetrated by wireless signals. You could run into trouble with brick, plaster, cement, metal, stone, and double-glazed glass, but it really depends on how porous a material is. If your walls are made of the more difficult materials, your wireless connection may have a shorter range or a slower speed. This means you may have to spend more than you expected to get the kind of equipment that will overcome the structural barriers in your home.

Another thing to check for is potential interference with the wireless networks frequency range. Interference can slow down a network significantly and reduce its range as well. If there is interference, you will know about it because your connection will stop working. The two most common sources of wireless network interference are wireless telephones and microwave ovens. The most common wireless network frequency, 2.4Ghz, is also a popular wireless phone frequency, although you can find phones that operate on other frequencies. Microwaves, however, always operate at about 2.4 Ghz. It is okay to have these devices in your house, but they should not be in the same room with any computer hooked to your wireless connection.

You should begin your equipment search by determining what you need to create an effective network. You should think about the distances you need to cover and whether you have to go through any stone or brick walls. You can then determine how much you want to spend. If you live in a small house that is made of wood, you can probably buy the least expensive equipment you can find. Remember, the more problems that potentially exist in your network, the more power you need to overcome them, and the more the equipment will cost.

Reading reviews written by experts and other wireless network users can be a big help in selecting equipment. It is always good to get several opinions about a product, particularly if you are buying it online. If you can see some wireless equipment actually in operation, that is even better.

If you are a Windows user, you will have a much easier time implementing your wireless network if you install and/or update to the latest version of Windows. Wireless was not a common technology when previous Windows versions were released, so they do not have built-in support for it. A wireless network will be much easier to set up if you have the Windows XP Service Pack 2 version. It has lots of tools for configuring and using wireless technology that are lacking in other versions.
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