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Using a wireless network in your home or office is more convenient than using a lan cable connected to a router or a switches. You can do all what a wired network can do such as sharing internet access, files sharing, printer sharing, online games, browse computers connected to your network and some other stuff what a wired network can do. A wired network cable can run up to hundred meters before signal is lost and requires a repeater while a wireless network will depend on the technology the router is using such as Multiple-Input and Multiple-Output or “MIMO” and Wireless-A / B/ G and N technology.
MIMO is a WIFI technology that uses multiple transmitter and reciever to create a robust signal that travels farther, MIMO uses multipath where signals bounces off walls and ceiling so it reduces dead spots on your home network, so with this technology on your router you’ll always have a good signal within your home network, so check the router you’ll be buying to have this technology.
After you have setup your wireless network you can now sit anywhere in your home using your wireless capable device such as your laptop browsing the internet or accessing your files on the other computer within your network, it is much convenient than a cable plugged into your laptop.
What you need to setup your home wireless network.
Wireless Router: Your wireless router will be responsible for transmitting the signal coming from your internet connection or whatever you’re accessing from other computer and broadcast it over the air, it’s also within the router where you will setup your internet connection, DHCP connection for automatic IP configuration on client computers, set your WIFI access key or “Passphrase” and other configuration required to have a WIFI connection. Some popular wireless router brands are Linksys, D-link, TP-Link, Netgear.
There are four different wireless networking technologies: 802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g, and 802.11n while wireless G (802.11g) and Wireless N (802.11n) are the most common router technology, they offer excellent performance and are backward compatible with older WIFI devices.
Note: Some wireless router this days don’t show their wireless antenna because they use internal antenna.
2. Your operating System that Support Wireless networking.
Windows operating Systems such as Windows xp, Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8 fully support wireless networking. It is always recommended to update your windows operating system to the latest Windows update for security reasons although you still can setup your wireless connection even you don’t update your windows. Updating windows will secure you from hackers and viruses since you will be exposing your computer to the network or to the World Wide Web, also always update your antivirus definition and be sure to activate your windows firewall for maximum security. Remember that when you connect to the network or to the internet you will be exposing your computer to the people within your network or to the world wide web.
3.A broadband or DSL modem: Usually this is not required if you plan for a home network only and don’t want to be connected to the internet, but if you require an internet connection then a modem is required. Broadband or DSL modem are usually supplied by the Internet Service Provider and are not readily available to purchase in a typical computer shop. Many internet service providers this days offer wireless router/modem this means that a router and a modem in one device, in this case you don’t need to buy a separate wireless router.
4.Your Desktop computer with Wireless adapter and or Laptop computer.
Newer desktop computers specially branded ones are usually equipped with wireless adapter card and they are wireless ready PC’s, if your desktop computer is not equipped with wireless card then you have to buy a wireless adapter card in the form of PCI card or a USB, I suggest buying a USB wireless network adapter since you don’t have to open your computer to install the device, all you have to do is plug-in the USB to a USB port and you’re done.
It is easy to distinguish a PC with wireless card by just looking at the back of your computer if you see an antenna just like the antenna of a wireless router then it has a wireless adapter card. A laptop computer is usually equipped with a wireless adapter card and all you have to do is switch on the wireless adapter card on your laptop.
5. Router Wireless User Manual.
Familiarize your router by reading your router user manual.
If all of the required to build a Home Wireless Network are available, then you can now continue in setting up your wireless network, follow the steps below in configuring your wireless network.
1. If you are connected to the internet disconnect your modem so that you are able to use the LAN port on your computer, skip this step if you don’t have internet connection.
2. Connect to your router by connecting the RJ45 connector of your LAN cable to the LAN port on your router and the other end to the LAN port on your desktop computer you should see the LED light up at the front panel of your router corresponding to the port number where you plug in the cable.
3. Connect your modem cable to the WAN or Internet port of your router and wait for a while, when your router is connected to the internet the WAN or the Internet LED at the front panel of your router should light up.
4.Connect to your router setting by opening your favorite internet browser and typing http:// and the ip address of the router at the address bar and typing the username and password. See list below for default username and password for different router brand name.
5. I will be using Linksys router as a guide, what you see on your router could be similar with mine, almost all router have almost the same setup.
Click on the Basic Setup under the Setup Tab, refer to your router user manual if you have different router , in this tab you can setup your internet connection, if you use DSL to connect to the internet then select PPPOE or ask your Internet Service Provider what credential you should put in the box.
Router Basic Setup
The IP address and Subnet Mask will be for the router IP address, if you want to change the default IP address then you can change it here.
DHCP Server : Set this to Enable to set the router as DHCP server it will be the router which give an IP address, subnet mask and Gateway to the Client PC connected to the router. Setting this to enable will spare you the hassle of setting each individual client pc I.P address.
Save your settings when your done
6. After setting the Basic Setup you now have to setup the wireless setting of your router, look for Wireless Tab on the router and select basic wireless settings.
Router Wireless setting
Network Mode : Select the wireless standard to use for your network on the dropdown box such as Wireless-A / B /G or N. Select Wireless N or the default setting on your router.
Network Name (SSID) : The SSID is the network name shared among all points in a wireless network. The SSID must be identical for all devices in the wireless network. It is case-sensitive and must not exceed 32 characters you can use any of the characters on the keyboard. The SSID name is what you see when you scan for available wireless network.
SSID Broadcast : When scanning for available wireless network you’ll see the SSID of your network if the SSID broadcast is enable else set to disable if you don’t want to broadcast your router SSID.
Save your settings when your done
7. After you have setup the basic wireless settings, click the wireless security tab, in here you will be able to setup wireless security mode and passphrase.
Router security setting
Security Mode : Select the type of security for your Wifi such as WEP, WPA-Personal, WPA Enterprise, WPA2 Personal or WPA2 Enterprise. Select WPA2 personal for your wifi since WPA2 have the strongest encryption method.
Encryption : Select the wifi encryption type default encryption will do the job. The value for this could be TKIP or AES.
Passphrase: When someone detect your wifi and wanted to connect to your wireless LAN, they have to know the passphrase of your wifi in other word this will serve as the password for your network so that no unauthorized user will be able to join your network.
When you have finished setting up your router save your setting and restart your router. Disconnect the LAN cable to your desktop or laptop same with the router , on your Wireless enable devices such as your laptop or desktop try to scan your network by clicking wireless icon on the taskbar
In Windows 7 or whatever operating system you’re using, scan for wireless network, all available wireless network will be shown including those wireless network that don’t broadcast there SSID. Other network are those wireless network that don’t broadcast there SSID while those wireless network that broadcast there SSID are shown with the SSID name such as PHA-NET as shown in the Image.
Click on the wireless network that you want to connect to, click on connect and type the passphrase same as what you have type in the passphrase box in the security tab on your router, remember that it is case sensitive.
When you have successfully connected to your wireless router you will then be able to browse your network and browse the internet if you have connected a modem on your router and set the settings properly.
When you are unable to browse a particular network pc but you can see the name of the PC in your network neigborhood then the cause could be that the firewall on that pc is enabled or an antivirus software is preventing you from accessing this pc. This is for security reason but if you really need to access such pc you can disable the firewall or add your IP address on the security rules for allowed inbound and ourbound connection.