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How easy is it to set up a wireless internet connection at home?

Discussion in 'Tech Talk' started by chisler, Oct 30, 2004.

  1. Hi folks- more noob questions..
    I'm totally new to the wireless connection concept. I have a new Dell laptop that came with a built-in wireless card for "a, b, & g" connections. I already have high speed cable internet for a desktop PC at home and didn't expect to really need to use the laptop wireless capability at home. It turns out that I may soon need to use the wireless feature on the laptop to download business software updates occasionally and allow the company's support people to have "access to my laptop" through the internet so they can help configure the business software features to what I need.
    Anybody know if I need to do get anything more than a wireless router at a retail store and follow whatever directions are in the box? I suppose I will want to leave the desktop PC hardwired somehow to the internet connection, with the wireless router attached to the the cable modem for wireless use with my laptop.
    Also, is it usually explained in the wireless router instructions how to configure the router/laptop so that noone can "invade" my computer or internet connection? I've already noticed a few times in my home that a little icon pops up sometimes on the laptop: "A wireless internet connection is available, would you like to connect now?" I've never messed with that, it must be a nearby neighbor, but I would like to avoid causing a similar situation if I get my own wireless router.
  2. 0100010

    0100010 Millennium Member

    Sep 15, 1999
    Go with a B or G wireless router, A hardware is hard to find and costs more. Yes - I would leave the desktop connected via ethernet, only now it will be connected to the router instead of your cable modem, so you will need to pick up an extra ethernet cable along with the router - length depends on where you want the router to be placed.

    As far configuring the router so you are protected - you want to do several things.

    1 - Enable a wireless access list based on MAC address and only include your dekstop and laptop MAC addresses on it.
    2 - Enable WEP protection @ 128bits, you type a word into the router and it hashes that word into a 30 character key - this key gets entered into the wireless setup on the laptop.
    3 - Once you have established the laptops wireless connection and the SSID is stored, then disable SSID broadcsting on the router - this will "hide" the router from your neighbors and such.

    Thats all I can think of right now...

  3. metallic


    Jul 20, 2004
    All you really need is a wireless router. Most of the wireless routers I have seen include ethernet ports on the back of it also so that would take care of your desktop.

    For security, wireless routers allow you to require a password to connect to your wireless networks and also support encrypting data transmitted over the network. Setting it up should be relatively painless, especially with the instructions that come with the router.
  4. BikerGoddess

    BikerGoddess Got hairspray?

    Mar 8, 2002
    Dallas, TX
    Unless work is offering to pay for the AP and/or you just really want to surf from the front room, I'd just plug in the laptop when you need to do work stuff.

    Chances are there's port on your laptop for the ethernet cable (line with a box above it and two below) and you can just unplug your desktop and move that cable over.

    If you do want wireless, then wait until there's a sale and get G if it's the same price or cheaper than B. (FYI, 802.11 is the number of the standard and a/b/g are different versions. G is 'faster' than either A or B.)

    Hooking it up is very simple and the instructions are adequate to get you running. However, there are a few security things you'll want to do. Change default passwords, change the SSID, enable WEP and use a hard to guess key, set your DHCP pool to how many ever computers you have, and set the transmission power to whatever allows it to work inside your house, but not much further outside.

    The AP should come with a cable, so you shouldn't need to buy anything else. You'll want the patch cable that now runs from your modem to the PC to now go to the wireless AP. Take a new cable, and run that from a LAN port on the AP to the desktop. You will have to configure your laptop with the wireless stuff you set up, but if you have Windows, just wait until the new connection thingie pops up, then fill in your WEP key.

    They've made things pretty user friendly these days.

  5. Like above. I had no problem. EZ
  6. Thanks for the replies! Doesn't sound too difficult.
  7. beachside39


    Jul 20, 2004
    I've been a computer programmer since 1968 but setting up my home wireless system was very frustrating. I think it comes down to how good the auto-install software is or how slow the installer is.

    I bought a $200 Linksys wireless router & card via eBay and never got it to work. After hours on the phone (mostly on hold) over six weeks with their tech support, the return period had lapsed. So, I sent it back to the manufacturer and they returned another one but it never came out of the box. No more Linksys products for me. Then, I bought a Netgear. It installed without a hitch but was 802.11b. I bought a 802.11G D-LINK and it, too installed without a problem. So, I have three routers with only the D-LINK in operation.

    Although a "programmer", I found the networking terminology and settings to be too obscure for me to work with. For me, if it's automatic, it works great. If you have a wireless expert available, s/he can be a great asset.

    I love my D-LINK wireless network now but dread the day when I ever make a change to it. I have three computers & a wireless printer along with a 802.11b Pocket PC and they all work great.