How to Set Up and Configure a Wireless Network
WAN = WIDE AREA NETWORK, for example the Internet is a wide area network
LAN = LOCAL AREA NETWORK, a home network or a small business network is a local area network.
RJ45 = the type of cable that you use to connect your phone line to your router and your router to your PC.
I.E.E.E = Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers who provide the standards for electrical devices.
What is a Wireless Network
A network is a way of linking two or more computers together so that they can share folders and documents, printers/scanners, and more importantly Internet access.
A wireless network is a network that allows you to do all of these things wirelessly through a router, avoiding the need for miles and miles of cables.
It can seem a bit daunting when you have bought all of the equipment needed to set up your network, you open up the box and find the manufacturers instruction manual to find it is full of jargon and computer terminology that even people with a lot of computer knowledge would find difficult to understand, at this time a lot of people decide to call in a professional to set up and configure their network for them.
You don't really need to know what the correct terminology is for setting up your network, (I have a DVD player connected to my TV at home I didn't need to know the terminology or the international standard codes to set it up or even to watch a DVD, all I needed to know was where to connect the cables in the player and on the television and how to tune the player to a TV channel), you just need to know the hardware that you need, and the software CD that will do most of the set up for you.
You don't need to know that the cable you are using is RJ45 or the I.E.E.E Standard number, because all of that is supplied with the equipment that you purchase.
Network CardClick thumbnail to view full-size
Tools and Equipment
Equipment You Will Need
1. A wireless router
2. One wireless network adaptor for each computer or device that you wish to connect to the router/access point.
These days a lot of computers come with a network card built into them and all that you need to do is buy your router with which you should also receive your cabling and the software required to get it up and running.
You will need a wireless network adaptor for each computer or device that you wish to connect to the router/access point.
If your computers that you wish to network don't have a network card, there is no need to panic; it is easy to install one into your computer. When you purchase your card or cards you will find a software CD with them.
To fit the Network card into your computer, you will need a screwdriver and an anti static wristband.
Take a look at the picture of the motherboard (right) the network card will slot into any of the White connectors, then it is just a matter of securing it to your PC casing replacing the cover and running the software driver CD on your computer following the on screen instructions as you go.
Your computer should now be ready for you to start setting up your Wireless network.
Setting up Your Wireless Network
Plug one end of a network cable (included with your router) into your modem, and plug the other end of the network cable into the Internet, WAN, or WLAN port on your wireless router.
Using the network cable that came with your wireless router, you should temporarily connect your computer to one of the open network ports on your wireless router (any port that isn't labelled Internet, WAN, or WLAN). If you need to, turn your computer on. It should automatically connect to your router.
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:
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.
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.
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.
Connect your computers
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.
Follow these steps to connect your computer to your wireless network
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.
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.
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.
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.
Your network should now be up and running, all you need to do now is to add your printers and any other hardware that you wish to your network for each you should always follo the Manufacturers instructions.
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