If you’re running a small home-based business, or even just a family comprised of two or more people, a wireless router is an indispensable addition to your computer network. The information transfer abilities allow multiple computer internet access, printers, and other devices – without being directly connected to them with Ethernet cables – a hassle for distances greater than about ten feet. All you need in addition to the router should already be present with the computer you have now: a cable or DSL connection, a modem and a computer. There are other considerations to be made, however, before you simply go out and purchase a router – such as the kind of wireless networking platform you will be running on.
Wireless Networking Technologies
A wireless router effectively grabs the signal from your main computer-modem connection, and extends the network wireless range throughout your house, where any other computing devices can then latch onto to it using in-built (usually) wireless cards to access the internet. In addition to strengthening the signal, this means you don’t have to keep every single device in the same room connected to separate modems, or a laptop connected directly to a single printer, or even digital television restricted to single-room access – a particularly useful feature today, when most competitive digital television packages come with internet and phone access.
With that said, there are different network technologies for you to be aware of, so that you can select a wireless router that’s compatible with your home setup. The 802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11n and more – with hybrids of each for a greater range of performance. All you really need to know is that these are frequency-dependent, and there are trade-offs between signal strength and range. More important than knowing which each one means specifically, is picking one, and then getting matching wireless network adapters/cards for each device you want on your wireless network.
Step-by-Step: Wireless Router Setup
Depending on the operating system you’re using, the specific directions in a wireless router setup can have slight modifications; but the general will always be the same. One of the most common today is Windows 7, which has been configured at the factory to be especially easy to set up wireless networking:
- After taking the wireless router out of the packaging, connect it to the cable modem with an Ethernet cable (fastest speeds currently, because of the direct connection).
- After plugging your wireless router into an available outlet, locate your preexisting wireless network from the notification region of your Windows-based computer.If these steps fail to connect you to the internet wireless network, then you might need to get a bit more technical – starting with possibly updating the software. The step-by-step continues from where it left off, because you should have tried the previous methods first – they work for the majority of modern routers and computer setups, most of which are configured to find wireless area networks automatically.
- Your router should come with specific setup instructions, in case the general ones failed to make it work. First; disconnect it from everything (the router), so you can be sure of the reset..
- Put the compact installation disc into your computer’s disc drive and wait for the setup windows to pop up; this is very important to follow the directions in the exact order they appear. Much like when trying to connect a wireless printer to a PC, you will probably have to use the Ethernet cable to help your computers recognize the wireless network first – you’ll be able to remove them after the recognition process kicks in and completes.
- This next step is rare; if all the above still doesn’t work, a manual connection will have to be implemented. After disconnecting everything once again, reconnect the power source, modem and router (give it a minute to lose the memory of the previous session).
- Bring up a web browser – preferably Internet Explorer but others work most of the time too – and type in the router IP address, which should be somewhere in the paperwork that came with it.
- After successfully logging the IP address, setup a username and password (the request should pop up when you try to access the IP address). Make sure your network is password protected from freeloaders, who would otherwise slow it down with their additional use.
Lastly, you should be able to disconnect the Ethernet cable and everything should work with the wireless signal. It is uncommon to have to call customer support after this final step, unless the wireless router is faulty and can’t catch a signal. Usually, however, if the power source works, then everything detailed here should work.