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Pain-Free Steps For Setting Up A Wireless Network In Your Home

Aug 17, 2007
If you have multiple computers in your home - and multiple people who need internet access, for business, school, or social matters - you're probably tired of the hassle of sharing the one computer with internet or if you already have a wired network and are tired of dealing with wires running up and down the stairs, across the floor, and through the wall you're definitely a prime candidate for a wireless internet network in your home!

While it may sound like something complicated and difficult to set up, the truth is that is doesn't take years of technical expertise to get started. Here are four pain-free steps to follow to set up a wireless network in your home and then enjoy surfing the net on your laptop while relaxing on the couch!

1) Buy Equipment

You'll need a wireless router, a Broadband internet connection, and a computer that has either a wireless network adapter or an internal wireless card. Make sure the router box tells you there's a built-in firewall - you don't want neighbors stealing your internet, and a firewall also protects you from anyone else gaining access to your internet history or passwords.

2) Connect Your Router

Turn off your DSL or cable modem by unplugging it. Then, connect the wireless router to the modem.

Plug the modem back in, and turn it on. Walk around and do something else for a few minutes - the modem will need this time to reconnect to the internet - and then you can plug in and turn on the router. After another minute or two, you should see the WAN light come on, letting you know that the router has connected to the modem.

3) Configure Your Router

Your wireless router came with a networking cable, which you will need to use to connect your computer or laptop to an open network port located on the router. This is only temporary, so don't worry about seeing a wire!

The router and your computer should connect automatically, so open your internet browser - Internet Explorer seems to work best for many computers - and type in the web site address from your router's instructions or documentation. It will be a string of numbers, and you'll then be prompted for a password which will also be inside the router documentation or sometimes right on the router casing.

You'll then be shown a screen which is your router configuration page. You'll need to configure three things on here:

- Add your wireless name, the SSID. Choose a name that your neighbors wouldn't use, as this will be the identifier for your personal wireless network.

- Turn on WEP, wireless encryption that will protect your network. This is what keeps people outside the house from breaking into your internet history or hacking passwords to important sites. This needs a password or phrase.

- Add an administrative password. This should be a combination of numbers, letters, and symbols - you'll need to remember it, but it should be obscure and uncommon. If you have to change the router settings at any point, this is the password you'll need to get in.

Make sure you hit 'save- after you change the settings, or else the configuration will revert to the default settings. You can now remove the network cable from your computer.

4) Connect Your Computers

First, download and install Windows XP Service Pack 2. Then, head into your computer and select 'view available wireless networks- after selecting the wireless network icon at the bottom of your computer screen. You should then see your wireless network listed as an available network. You may have to hit refresh once or twice, but once it appears, you can select your network and hit 'connect'.

You'll be prompted to enter your encryption key/password from earlier, and then you can hit 'connect- again. Windows should show you that it is attempting to connect to your wireless network, and once you're connected - that's it! Enjoy your wireless internet access.
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