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Home networks are efficient and convenient, but the mess of wires and cables involved can hold you captive to a few locations in your home. Setting up a wireless network is easy and economical. Simply use these DYI tips and use your Windows Wireless Network Setup Wizard.
We will assume that you already have a small (wired) network set up or are at least familiar with the networking terms discussed in this article. We'll also assume you're running Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2) or higher. Begin building your wireless network with components below.
Wireless RouterA device that broadcasts high-speed internet access wirelessly throughout your home or office.Approximately $50-$100.
Wireless Network Adapter or CardThe means through which your computers connect to the router. They come in PCI format (desktops), PCMCIA format (laptops) and USB. You need one for each computer you wish to connect to the router.Most new computers have this built-in technology labeled Bluetooth or AirPort.Approximately $40-$100.
Cable or DSL ModemA broadband connection to the internet that is provided by your service provider.Approximately $60 to buy your own, not including monthly subscription cost
We assume you already have a broadband connection to the Internet (if you don't, you'll need to set one up). Also, keep in mind that most new laptops come with wireless network adapters, so check yours before making your shopping list.
This wizard also helps you secure your network so no one else can gain access to the private intelligence on your systems. Below are available security features to implement.
SSID (Service Set Identifier)All wireless devices in your network must specify a password or SSID. Our agents strongly recommend a unique, obscure combination of letters and numbers that you can recall easily.
WEP Security (Wired Equivalent Privacy)A security protocol for wireless networks designed to provide the same security as a wired network, WEP encrypts data as it’s transmitted radio waves.
WPA Security (Wireless Protected Access)A security protocol designed with stronger data encryption and user authentication, WPA is relatively new and more secure than WEP.
The next series of wizard screens helps you transfer your wireless network settings to the other computers and devices in your network. You can also configure your wireless network without a Flash drive by entering security values generated by the Wireless Network Setup Wizard into the other systems in your network and your router.
Agents recommend that you reconfigure your wireless network's strong key (WEP or WPA) every few months to keep out potential eavesdroppers. Simply run the wizard and it assigns a new set of strong keys automatically.
If this seems too complex for you or you just don’t have the time, Chat with an Agent to help you get everything going or make it extremely simple with our Home Networking Made Simple.