Click below to view 3 Wireless Networking videos courtesy of TigerDirect.
Section 1 | Section 2 | Section 3
There are 4 steps to creating a wireless network:
First, you need to make sure you have the right equipment to set up your wireless network. The minimum you'll need to accomplish your networking project is a broadband Internet connection, a wireless router and a computer with built-in wireless support. If your computer doesn't have built-in wireless capability, you will need a wireless network adapter. Networking equipment supports three different wireless networking technologies: 802.11a, 802.11b, and 802.11g. We recommend 802.11g, because it offers excellent performance and is compatible with almost everything.Wireless Router
A wireless router converts the signals coming across your Internet connection into a wireless broadcast. Click here to choose from our excellent selection of superb wireless routers.Wireless Network Adapter
Network adapters wirelessly connect your computer to your wireless router. If you already have wireless capability built in to your computer, you won't need a network adapter. If you need to purchase an adapter for a desktop computer, buy a USB wireless network adapter. If you have a laptop, buy a PC card-based network adapter. Be sure that you have one adapter for every computer on your network. To choose from a selection of excellent wireless network adapters click here.
Next, connect your wireless router to your modem. Your modem should stay connected directly to the Internet. Later, after you've hooked everything up, your computer will wirelessly connect to your router, and the router will send communications through your modem to the Internet. Next, plug in and turn on your cable or DSL modem. Wait a few minutes to give it time to connect to the Internet, and then plug in and turn on your wireless router. After a minute, the Internet, WAN, or WLAN light on your wireless router should light up, indicating that it has successfully connected to your modem.
Next, open Internet Explorer and type in the address to configure your router.
You might be prompted for a password. The address and password you use will vary depending on what type of router you have, so refer to the instructions included with your router.
Internet Explorer will show your router's configuration page. Most of the default settings should be fine, but you should configure three things:
1. Your wireless network name, known as the SSID. This name identifies your network. You should choose something unique that none of your neighbors will be using.
2. Wireless encryption (WEP) or Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA), which help protect your wireless network. For most routers, you will provide a passphrase that your router uses to generate several keys. Make sure your passphrase is unique and long (you don't need to memorize it).
3. Your administrative password, which controls your wireless network. Just like any other password, it should not be a word that you can find in the dictionary, and it should be a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols. Be sure you can remember this password, because you'll need it if you ever have to change your router's settings.
The exact steps you follow to configure these settings will vary depending on the type of router you have. After each configuration setting, be sure to click Save Settings, Apply, or OK to save your changes.
Now, you should disconnect the network cable from your computer.
If your computer does not have wireless network support built in, plug your network adapter into your USB port, and place the antenna on top of your computer (in the case of a desktop computer), or insert the network adapter into an empty PC card slot (in the case of a laptop). Windows XP will automatically detect the new adapter, and may prompt you to insert the CD that came with your adapter. The on-screen instructions will guide you through the configuration process.
Note: The steps below only apply if you're using Windows XP Service Pack 2.
Windows XP should show an icon with a notification that says it has found a wireless network.
Follow these steps to connect your computer to your wireless network:
1. Right-click the wireless network icon in the lower-right corner of your screen, and then click View Available Wireless Networks. If you run into any problems, consult the documentation that came with your network adapter. Don't be afraid to call their tech support.
2. The Wireless Network Connection window should appear and you should see your wireless network listed with the network name you chose. If you don't see your network, click Refresh network list in the upper-left corner. Click your network, and then click Connect in the lower-right corner.
3. Windows XP prompts you to enter a key. Type the encryption key that you wrote down earlier in both the Network key and Confirm network key boxes, and then click Connect.
4. Windows XP will show its progress as it connects to your network. After you're connected, you can now close the Wireless Network Connection window. You're done.
Note: If the Wireless Network Connection window continues to show Acquiring Network Address, you may have mistyped the encryption key.
Although we're constantly hearing about the miracle of wireless technology, we're merely at the dawn of the Wireless Renaissance. From Auckland New Zealand to Mt. Everest, Internet cafes and other wireless hot spots dot our increasingly interconnected globe (yes, there really is an Internet Café at a Mt. Everest base camp), but the best and most ingenious use of this breakthrough innovation is yet to come. For now, the wireless gold standard is 802.11g - - the newest, fastest and most powerful 802.11 radio technology that broadens bandwidths to 125 Mbps within the 2.4 GHz band. Because of backward compatibility, older and slower 802.11b radio cards can interface directly with an 802.11g access point and vice versa at 11Mbps or lower, depending upon range.
It's time to join the wireless revolution! Tens of millions of homes and businesses have more than one computer one, and there are countless advantages to linking these PCs and laptops in a network. With your computers connected, you can:
Wireless networking is fast (data connects at speeds between 11 and 125MBps), reliable and has a long range (5,000 feet in open areas, 250 to 400 ft / 76 to 122 m in closed areas)
For businesses, the benefits of wireless technology are dramatic; we are not using hyperbole when we assure you that it will revolutionize your company. A wireless infrastructure makes it easier for you to adapt your office space as your company evolves. And the productivity gains you will reap dwarf the relatively inexpensive cost of setting up a wireless local area network (LAN). Here are the primary benefits your business will receive by going wireless:
Reduced Installation Costs - It's less expensive to install wireless access points than wiring your office with Ethernet capabilities. Plus, you will not have to knock holes in walls to set up your network.
Flexibility - If your company is growing rapidly and you need to constantly reorganize your space to accommodate ever-changing networking configurations, wireless networking provides rapid transition times, reduced down time and will not cost you as much as you would have to pay to rewire your office space. By setting up a network, you will be able to easily share devices, programs and technology with multiple computers. You can share peripheral devices, programs and technology to streamline your business and make it much more efficient.
Convenient Information Access and Increased Productivity - Wireless delivers information access to anyone on your staff, from anywhere in your office. Most offices that have made the transition from wired networks to wireless systems have experienced remarkable increases in productivity.
It's Not as Complicated as You Think!
Although you may assume that setting up a wireless network is too complex a task for you to attempt yourself, with some planning and preparation it is possible to set up your own wireless network of PCs and laptops. Our editors have provided three simple steps to help you plan, set up and implement your own wireless network.
1) Planning Your System
2) Setting Up Your System
Now it's time to build the wireless LAN! Again, don't panic - you will be amazed how simple it is. Here is what you have to do:
3) Securing Your Wireless Network
Remember, wireless communications transmit through the air rather than over a closed capable. Therefore, maintaining security over your system requires measures that are specific to wireless. Wireless security solutions include Media Access Control (MAC), WEP encryption and Traditional VPN (Virtual Private Network) securities controls. Following are brief summaries of these solutions:
MAC - Media Access Control restricts network access by unauthorized devices by assigning each network card a unique hardware identification number.
WEP Encryption - A software algorithm that scrambles outgoing data and unscrambles it when it is received, maintaining its integrity while en route.
Traditional VPN (Virtual Private Network) security controls - Allows users outside your system to gain access to your network. VPNs encrypt data prior to transmission over a wireless link, ensuring data security even if it is intercepted. VPNs are particularly critical when you are using a public hot spot.
Three simple steps - that's all it takes to join the wireless revolution - along with a relatively small investment in new technology that you will recoup many times with your exponentially improved efficiency and streamlined operation. We have the expertise, incomparable product line and unparalleled pricing to help you become experience all the advantages of benefits of wireless technology.