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May 16, 2011

How to make a wireless home network

How to make a wireless home network

It is very convenient when you have a home wireless network used to surf the Internet when you are sitting comfortably in the armchair, lie in the bed or even when  you are in the yard of your house. The creation of such a network is easier than you think.
There are few basic steps to create a wireless network:
1. Choose your wireless equipment
The first thing you have to do before you build your wireless network is to make sure you have the necessary equipment. Looking at the shops in search of the right devices you will notice that you can find devices that support multiple network technologies. These are the 802.11, 802.11b, 802.11g and 802.11n. 802.11n is becoming increasingly popular but on the other hand the 802.11b / g is the most commonly used and is compatible with almost every wireless device.
More info about the different standards can be found here.
The basic things you need for your wireless network are:  Internet connection ,Wireless router and of course a Computer equipped with wireless network adapter.
What is wireless router?
This is a device that converts your Internet connection, which comes on cable and  into a wireless signal. It is commonly used to allow access to the Internet or a computer network without the need for a cabled connection. When buying a router make sure that you buy a wireless router, not wireless Access Point because these devices have different functionality.
What is Wireless network adapter?
The function of these devices is to connect your computer to your wireless router using microwave radio signals. A Wireless adapter in a desktop computer is usually connected through the PCI bus while most laptops are equipped with PCMCIA , Mini PCI , Mini PCI express or Express Card slots accepting wireless adapters intended to be compatible with these standards. Also note that most of the newer laptops come with built-in wireless adapters so if your computer is new it is more likely to have a built-in adapter for maintaining a wireless connection.
Check your PC user manual to be sure whether you have such device. If so and it is already installed on your computer, you have no need of a new network adapter. But if you are unsure of the existence of such adapter or if you don’t know what slots your computer has it’s recommended to buy an USB wireless device because every computer has an USB port and it’s also the easiest to install.
2. Connect your Wireless router.
Find your modem and turn it off but leave the internet cable connected.  Then attach your wireless router to the modem as you follow the istructions below.
If  your computer is connected directly to the modem, disconnect the network cable from your computer and attach it to the port , which says Internet or WAN  on the back of your router.
If your computer is connected to cable router disconnect the cable (maybe  this cable is coming from the modem) that is connected to the Internet or WAN port on your cable router and attach that end to the Internet or WAN  port on your wireless router. Then disconnect all network cables and attach them to the free ports on your wireless router. In other words  your old router will be replaced by the wireless one.
wireless-router-ports
Then  turn on your  modem. Wait for a few minutes to allow it to be connected to the Internet and then turn on your wireless router. After several minutes the light that says Internet, WAN will start blinking, which will indicate the successful connection of your modem.
home-wireless-network1
3. Configure your wireless router
Connect your computer to one of the free ports on your wireless router,using the cable that comes with it (this cable is only required for initial setup of the router and later if you do not intend to use the wire connection you won’t needed it anymore). These ports are usually marked with numbers  1 to 4.
Now when everything is connected open the Internet Explorer and enter the IP address of the router to configure it. You may be asked for a password.  The default IP address and password may be different depending on what router you have, so make sure to read the instructions that come with your particular model. If you have problems with the connection read this post.
If connection is successful Internet Explorer will display the admin page of your router. Most of the settings should be fine by default and there is no need to change them, but there are several things that you need to pay attention to.
1. The name of your wireless network that is currently SSID. With this name your network currently distinguish itself from the other wireless networks. It is recommended to select some name not used by any neighboring network.
2. Enable the Wireless Security. It is strongly recommended that you enable the wireless security function to encrypt your wireless connection. It helps you to protect your wireless network from unauthorized access.This can be done by entering a protective passphrase or shared key. The procedure of entering depends on the model of the used router.
Do not worry, because you will not have to remember the passphrase. It could be always seen through the admin panel.
3. Another way to limit the unauthorized access is the use of  MAC  filtering. –źlmost every router has this option. The Wireless MAC Address Filtering feature allows you to control the access of the wireless stations to the router, which depends on the station’s MAC addresses.
Each network device has a unique Mac address that distinguishes it from the other devices in the network. You can use these addresses to create a list of the devices (e.g. desktop computers or laptops)  that can access your network. When new computer is trying to connect, the router checks whether its MAC address is specified in the list. If not, the access is denied.
4.Change your administrator password.
Just like any other password, it should be a phrase that is not easy to guess. It is recommended to select a combination of letters and numbers. Be sure to remember this password because you will need it later when you want change the settings of your router.
Note: These configuration steps may be different depending on the brand of router, which you have.
Now when your wireless router is connected and working it is time to remove the cable and setup the wireless connection.
Attach the wireless adapter to your computer. Windows XP, will detect it automatically, and you may be asked to insert the  CD, which goes with it in order to install the drivers. When the CD is started just follow the wizard which will guide you through the installation process. When it’s completed Windows XP will show an icon in the lower right corner of the monitor to indicate that  a new wireless network is found.
wireless-network-connection-in-tray3
If your drivers are properly installed Windows  will place an icon for a new connection in the Network connections folder. You can see it in Start > Control panel > Network and Internet connections > Network connections. Missing of these icons means that your adapter isn’t working properly. If  so,then try to repeat the installation process or consult with the instructions of your network adapter.
new-wireless-connectionNote: In order to work properly, some wireless adapters require not only drivers to be installed, but also wireless networking software, provided by the device’s  manufacturer. Unfortunately both the manufacturer’s software and the Windows wireless network manager don’t work together and you can use only one of them at a time. On the picture below you can see the icon of the Intel PRO/Wireless manager.  My laptop’s wireless card doesn’t work without this utility installed.intel-pro-wireless-in-tray
Follow the steps below to connect your computer to your wireless network:
Note: You can manage your wireless network connection using the Windows wireless network manager or the wireless networking software that comes with your particular wireless adapter. Here I will use the Windows manager,because of the wide variety of devices, each having its own software. That makes their  description almost impossible in a single post.
1. Click with the right button on the icon for the wireless network located in the lower right corner of your monitor. Then select View Available Wireless Networks.
Note: If you see window with a message that Windows cannot configure this wireless connection, then your wireless adapter is managed  by another networking software. If so, just perform the following steps:
  • The solution is simple. As you can see on the window above, there is an option Change advanced settings. Click on it.
  • In the following window click on the “Wireless Networks” tab.
  • Click the checkbox next to  “Use Windows to configure my wireless network settings”.
  • Click OK.
The above steps may not work if  if the message says, that you have to start the Wireless Zero Configuration (WZC) service. In such case read this post.
2. Windows XP will open a window (Wireless Network Connection) and you will be able to see your network name, which you have chosen earlyer. If it hasn’t yet appeared, click on Refresh network list, which is located in the upper left corner of the open window. If it still doesn’t appears in the list, then make sure that you have enabled the wireless radio of your router.
view-available-networks
3. In case you have activated a security password for you wireless network,Windows XP will ask you to enter it. This will be the password that you’ve previously entered in the wireless security section of your router’s admin panel.Enter the password and confirm it, then click Connect.
network-key-entering1
4. The next window you will see will be a window that shows the process of connecting to your network.
wireless-network-connecting
Note: In case you are unable to connect and the network manager is still saying “Acquiring Network Address”, then most likely you have entered wrong “key”. If so, then  go back and fill all the fields correctly.
wireless-network-acquiring-network-address
Once the connection process is completed and you are connected,you can see the status of the connection.
wireless-network-status1
That’s all. Now your network is functioning properly.

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