Start wireless networking with making sure that your computer has the right device for wireless internet connections. Most of the new models out in the market today have built-in wireless transmitters but older models need a wireless adapter plugged into a USB port or PC card slot to make it Wi-Fi capable. New wireless adapter models are compatible with the different 802.11 standards.
Upon installation of the wireless adapter, drivers should be installed to enable the computer or laptop to detect existing Wi-Fi networks in the vicinity and then be prompt for connection. Older computers may need a special program to detect and connect to existing Wi-Fi networks.
An existing home network can be converted into a wireless networking access point. On the other hand, if there is wireless networking unavailable for the computers or if the user wants to switch from an Ethernet network to a wireless one, a wireless router with a wireless access point, firewall, Ethernet hub and a port to the DSL modem can be used.
Using a wireless router, you can either connect computers and printers in your network using Ethernet cables or wireless signals. Wireless routers typically provide 30 meter coverage in all directions. Of course, walls and doors can affect the router's coverage area. To extend the coverage or range of the wireless router, you can use repeaters or extenders.
Default Settings and User Options
The router will run at its default settings upon activation. The user, however, can change these settings depending on his or her preferences using the web interface. The settings that the user can change are the default setting of the service set identifier or SSID which is the manufacturer's name, the default channel of the router which is channel 6 most of the time and used to minimize or eliminate interference with a neighbor's wireless router operating at the same channel, and the router's security options which has a user name and password option.
Wireless Networking Security Options
The last setting is important to people who would like to limit access to wireless networking. For this, you can use any of the three wireless network security options available. WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) for example, uses a 64- or 124-bit encryption method that prompts user to provide a password prior to access. The WPA or the Wi-Fi Protected Access on the other hand is an upgrade of WEP included in the 802.11i protocol.
WPA differs from WEP for instead of the bit encryption method, it utilizes TKIP (Temporal Key Integrity Protocol) encryption to safeguard the network data. As with WEP, all users need to provide a password in order to log in to the network. Finally, the Media Access Control or the MAC eliminates the need for passwords and user names in providing wireless network security. The MAC utilizes the unique MAC address of every computer to determine who is or who is not allowed into the network.