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How to Set Up and Configure a Wireless Network

Updated on October 3, 2008

Wireless Networking


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 Card

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Network Card for a DesktopNetwork Adaptors for a Laptop
Network Card for a Desktop
Network Card for a Desktop
Network Adaptors for a Laptop
Network Adaptors for a Laptop


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.

good luck

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    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Thanks a lot for sharing this, it is helpful, i always have problem setting up wireless network.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Good information about the wireless network.

    • profile image

      Network management tools 

      9 years ago

      My computer had no wireless support built in and i had no idea how to connect it otherwise. Thanks for covering all the possible point in one article.

      I appreciate your efforts a lot!

    • shrikrishna profile image


      9 years ago

      well good article ,

      but i want to ask one question ?

      please answer ,

      it is possible that , i can connect to internet with router (high speed or any) ,

      for this , if i wan't to subscribe to any isp,

      according to speed what will be cost of buying that router,

      thank you

    • zach808 profile image


      10 years ago from Southern California

      I wish I would have read this hub weeks ago when I tried setting up my network. It was such a headache and I eventually gave up. Networking is not for the faint of heart that's for sure.

    • PCaholicDotCom profile image


      10 years ago from USA

      Wow! Simple no-nonsense step by step guide... Excellent :-) ~ Peter

    • Tiersha profile image


      10 years ago

      Thanx. I just setup wireless in my house, ended up with tech questions and a techie who couldn't answer them, thankx for the answers

    • caspar profile image


      10 years ago from UK

      Setting up a wireless network can be frustrating, not to mention making you want to tear your hair out. But it's brilliant when it finally all works.

    • mallu profile image


      10 years ago

      really useful

    • MrMarmalade profile image


      10 years ago from Sydney

      I read you hubs with pleasure as there is always something to learn

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image

      Zsuzsy Bee 

      10 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Info Galore! I think I'll need to re-read all this teck mambo jumbo a few times before it will sink in. Better yet I'll just mark your site for future reference.

      Thanks for your great informative HUB

      regards Zsuzsy

    • jimmythejock profile imageAUTHOR

      James Paterson 

      10 years ago from Scotland

      Thanks Paul, I did it at last lol a Hub on Hubs .........jimmy

    • Paul Edmondson profile image

      Paul Edmondson 

      10 years ago from Burlingame, CA

      Glad you posted this. I now have a place to send people for this info:)


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