What is a Wireless Network?
A wireless or Wi-Fi network is a way to send and receive data on the air without a need to use cable. Although wireless communications is not a new technology, but its use for networking specially in home and office is relatively new. Almost all the modern computing and communication devices such as laptops, notepads and smart phones have wireless networking capabilities. Note that a although Wi-Fi is a sub-group of wireless networking technologies, however Wi-Fi networks and wireless networks usually are used interchangeably.
Why use a wireless network?
There are some advantages in using a wireless network instead of a wired network. Some of the main advantages are:
- There is no need for wiring in the places that do not have any type of cable installed. Installing new cable takes time, is costly and if not done carefully can damage the home or office walls and appearance.
- It is easy to move the devices that are connected to the network wirelessly, so it provides more freedom and mobility.
- It is easy to share the network by many users, and there is no physical limit of cable connectors.
- Modern home W-Fi networks are faster. Some of today’s wireless routers can support data transfer speeds up to 3 times that of their wired counterparts.
Also many of modern mobile computing devices, such as tablets and smart phone, can only be connected to a Wi-Fi network, and there is no port on them to be connected to cables.
What is needed to set up a wireless network?
In order to connect to the high-speed Internet, one needs to subscribe to an Internet service provider (ISP). The two main type of high-speed Internet services providers are cable companies and phone companies. Cable companies can offer Internet to home and office using either the exciting cable that also provides TV service, or using faster connection based on fiber optic. Phone companies can offer Internet either using the same cables that are installed to provide phone service to a home or office or using new fiber optic cables as well. The high technology that provides Internet on the existing phone cables is called ADSL.
No matter what type of high-speed Internet you get, you need a cable modem that brings Internet from outside of your home or office inside. The cable model is often provided by the Internet service provider. If you don’t have a Wi-Fi network, then you must connect your computer, or any other device such as a networked printer to the cable modem. The cable that connects a computer or a printer to the modem is called Cat3 or Cat5 Ethernet cable.To have a Wi-Fi network, we need to have a box that can transmit data wirelessly. This box is called wireless router and is available in different brands with different capabilities and price ranges. The price range of a wireless router for typical home/office use is from around $20 for a basic router, to around $200 with much more advanced capabilities. For typical home/office usage, something around $50 is good enough. Your wireless router will ship with a power adapter as well as a network cable (a.k.a Ethernet cable) so you can connect it to the modem that was provided by your Internet service provider (ISP).
How to set it up?
In this section we assume that your operating system is Windows. If you have any other operating system the steps should be similar but not exact. Before starting to set up your wireless network, be sure that your Internet connection is hooked up and ready to go. Also since during the setup you may lose your Internet connection temporarily print these instructions or copy them in a file so you can read them even if you lose Internet connection.
- Power down your ADSL modem or cable modem.
- If your computer is connected to the cable/ADSL modem using an Ethernet cable, disconnect the computer end of the cable. Then connect that end to a port labeled WLAN, or Internet on your router. So now the cable/ADSL modem is connected to the router via Ethernet cable.
- Turn on the ADSL or cable modem and wait for a few minutes (2 minutes should be good enough in most cases) to make sure the connection to the Internet is established.
- Turn on your wireless router and wait for a few minutes, when the lights close to the WLAN or Internet label light up (or become green) the wireless router has been successfully connected to the ADSL/cable modem.
- Connect your computer using a second Ethernet cable to an open port on the wireless router.
- Open a web-browser on your computer; for example Internet explorer or Chrome; and type the address that is provided in the user manual of your wireless router in the address bar.
- When asked for user name and password use what is provided in the wireless router user manual. For some of the more popular router brands we have provided the address, and user name and password in the Table 1.
- Now you are in the routers configuration page, first change your network name. This should be a unique name that when you look at the list of available wireless networks you are able to recognize it. Network name sometime is called SSID.
- Secure your network by setting up a security key, so others cannot access your network without your permission. The preferred security method is WPA or WPA2. Make sure you keep a copy of the password that you choose somewhere safe.
- Also choose a password for administrating your wireless network.
- Disconnect the wireless router from your computer
- To connect your computer to the wireless router (this is an example for Windows 7):
- Click on the network icon in the notification area, and see the list of available Wi-Fi networks. The name that you chose for you network should be among them.
- Click on the name of your network and then click connect.
- Enter the network security key that you chose.
- After a few seconds you should be connected to the Internet.
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- How Wi-Fi Works (mycricket.com)