The Best Way to Go About Setting up Your Wireless Network is by Using WLAN
The easiest way to go about setting up your own wireless network is by creating a wireless local area network or WLAN. This is achieved by using an IEEE 802.11g standard router. This will not cause you a lot of concern as just about all modern routers are of this standard. You aren't restricted in where you place your router as you can place it anywhere you feel you'll be able to get the widest distribution of its signal. The latest routers are able to boost speeds to around 300Mbps with a wider coverage area than previously. Installation is also easier than it has ever been.
This particular guide to setting up wireless network will help you in setting up any make of router. If it gets confusing at any stage simply refer back to your manufacturer’s instructions as they all work on the same principle. If you haven't got any such instruction manual you will find that the general concept explained here will apply if you use a little poetic imagination along the way. Here are the appropriate steps to take.
- Installing your WLAN access point (AP). It makes sense that before you do anything at all, that you should actually physically check out what you have currently got set up to see how everything can be integrated and the best place to start is by installing your WLAN AP right at the beginning. The reason for doing this is that it will place an authentication chain between your computers and your internet service provider (ISP). In order to be able to achieve this however you may have to transfer the configuration information you presently have on your computer to the AP. To do this you will first have to find out whether your computer has a fixed IP address or not. Most home computers don't. To find out you will have to open the 'Control Panel' of your computer and then open 'Network Connections.' From here you further open 'Local Area Connection' by double clicking on it. Make sure it says 'connected'. You then select the 'Support' tab. If you read the words 'Assigned by DHCP' you can skip the rest of this section and go straight to the second step. If those words are not showing Windows will automatically ask WLAN AP to give it your IP address. As you have a fixed IP address you can now click open the 'General' tab and click on 'Properties.' From here you click on 'Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) and open 'Properties.' This is where you have to record on a piece of paper the IP address, the Default Gateway and the Subnet Mask values. After you have done this select 'Obtain an IP address automatically' and click on 'OK.'
- You are now ready to install your AP (access point). To do this you will first have to unplug the Ethernet connection cable from the rear of your computer. After you have done this plug the cable into the internet port behind the router access point. Make certain the router is plugged into power. You then have to take hold of the Ethernet cable that was supplied with your router into the back of your computer and plug the other end into any one of the four switched ports at the back of the WLAN AP. Any one of these ports will do the job. It is all plugged in now so it is time to check things. You can check your internet connection by opening a web browser on your computer. If it loads everything is working good and you move straight to the next step. If it doesn't you go through all the connections again. If all looks to be correct unplug the power to your modem as well as your WLAN AP. And shut your computer down. Power up your modem again and wait for at least 20 seconds before plugging in your WLAN AP. Turn your computer back on and have another go at opening up the internet. This should make all the devices reconnect with each other and get you online. If it still doesn't work and you are connected to the internet with ADSL you will most likely have to set up a new PPoE to authorise your access point to the ISP network.
- You are now ready to log onto your WLAN AP. You do this by opening up a web browser and type into the URL bar the numbers 192.168.1.1. If this doesn't work try 192.168.0.1. Enter the router’s default user name and password. You will find this information in the router's user manual. You should now be logged onto the WLAN AP and see a basic set up screen for configuration purposes. If this is what is appearing you can skip the rest of this step and go straight to the next. If not stay with us a bit longer here and carry out the following:
- If you recorded your IP address as asked to do in the last step this is where you type in the details where appropriate.
- If you are using ADSL and didn't manage to get online previously you must now change your internet connection type field to PPPoE. You can do this by following the steps outlined in your user manual. When you have done this you then enter the user name and password to log onto your ISP. If you are unsure of what to do your ISP should be able to assist as it could happen that you will have to uninstall any PPPoE software that was originated with your ISP.
- Once these changes have been completed go to the bottom of your screen and save your settings. Close off all open browser windows and open up a new one. If you still can't get online repeat step two cycle power procedure. If all fails again contact your ISP for support and get their help in going through all the settings with you one by one. There could be some of their specific configurations that are required.
- There is the time zone to configure. To do this you will have to log onto the WLAN AP as you did previously. When you have the basic set up screen showing go down to where you will see 'Adjust time zone to GMT+10 (this is the time zone of the east coast of Australia). Of course if you are not in this time zone find the one appropriate for your location. Once adjusted go to the bottom and save your changes.
- Naming your access point.. All wireless LAN APs have their own SSID or Service Set Identifier. This is a name used to ensure the connection is made to the correct wireless LAN. There will be a default name here but you can change it if you want to something more appropriate for yourself. You then go to the WRT54G setting on the Wireless/Basic Wireless Settings page. It is here where you type in your new SSID and make a choice whether you want to broadcast the fact or not. If you choose to broadcast it all your devices and anybody within range will recognise it is your network. If you disable it your network will that much more private. If you choose not to though, you will have to specifically type the ID into every device you want to have connect with the WLAN.
- Choosing your specific channel. You will find there are 13 channels (frequencies) the WLAN will be able to operate in. The default channel is number 11 and this could suit you fine but if you occasion interference from any source this is where you should be able to remedy it by changing to another channel.
- Your set up screen. Your WLAN AP will have a DHCP server that has the job of choosing and revoking IP addresses to any device it connects with. If you are using this feature you may want to limit the number of devices you want to be able to connect with. To be able to do this you simply change the number to a smaller one. Once again save changes when you are finished.
- Changing your WLAN AP password. You can do this while here if you wish. All you need do is to open the 'Administration' tab and enter your new password twice. If you don't do this the whole world could, in theory, find your default password.
- By now everything is working OK and it is time to get your other devices up and running as well. In most situations your notebook and laptop will have an inbuilt wireless modem but this probably won't be the case with a desktop computer. You can connect your desktop computer by using an internal PCI or an external USB WLAN special adaptor. You are able to know whether your laptop or notebook has an inbuilt system to connect wirelessly, because if it can it will have a sticker on it stating it has Intel Centrino inside. If this is so all you need do is to turn your computer on, Windows XP will do the rest for you. Some computers will have their own way of making the connection but this will be explained by the computer itself when it locates a wireless signal nearby. If it happens there are other WLANs in the same locality and your computer chooses one of those instead of your own all you need do is to double click on the wireless icon choose 'View Wireless Networks', refresh your network list and choose your own WLAN that you want to connect with. Windows will automatically do the rest for you. Older devices will need the appropriate software downloaded.
- Encrypting your network for security purposes. WLAN is very easy to find. This is good if you are willing to share your broadband with anybody who happens to pass by. Some might sit within range and download movies. To prevent this from happening you can password protect access to your network. To do this all you need do is to log onto WLAN AP and choose the Wireless/Wireless Security page. Your best choices here are either WEP, WPA or WPA2. WLAN AP supports either WPA and WPA2. WEP is the easiest to crack of the three. After you make your choice save your changes. Other measures that you can use is the Media Access Control (MAC) security. This restricts WLAN from accessing certain devices. All computers that are able to access a network are equipped with their own MAC address. To find out what it is you first open your 'Control Panel', then 'Network Connections', here you double click on 'Wireless Network Connection' click on 'Support' then finally 'Details'. Here you will find your MAC address. You will also need the MAC addresses of any other wireless devices you will be connecting to. You will have to refer to these devices own instructions to obtain this information. When you have all this information you go into your Wireless/Wireless MAC Filter and click on enable and type each address into the list. Save your changes and before leaving open the 'Permit Only' option. This MAC option is cumbersome however if a friend visits and wants to go online with their computer. In this case you will have to go through all of the above. It is here where password security is much easier to use.
- You must know how to plug in other devices. In all probability you will also have a VoIP phone (Voice Over Internet Protocol) to plug in so that you can take advantage of cheap phone calls. This being the case you should look to see if you have an Ethernet hub or switch installed. If you have, all you need do is to unplug the devices from the hub or switch and plug them into other ports on the back of your WLAN AP. You will have no further use for the old hub or switch unless you have over four devices. This being the case you can plug the old hub or switch into an unused port on the WLAN AP.
- How to set up a Quality of Service. The final configuration you will need to take into account is the Quality of Service (QoS). You can liken this step to adding a bus only lane on a free-way. It has the job of telling the WLAN AP to prioritise certain kinds of traffic and allows all other data to make use of what bandwidth is left over. If you will only be using your network for web browsing you don't have to worry about this step. However, if you are into something far more sensitive such as online gambling you may need to give your VoIP or computer a higher priority. You can do this by logging into the 'Management Console', from there go to 'Applications & Gaming/QoS'. You then click 'Enable' to turn the QoS on and from there all you have to do is to make up your mind about the type of configuration you are looking for. Such as:
- 'Device Priority'. This lets you choose a specific device and to give it the highest priority, a high priority, a medium priority or a low priority
- Upstream bandwidth. This is where you reserve a particular amount of bandwidth for the purpose of sending information. This is useful if you make a lot of internet phone calls and require a large upstream channel.
- Ethernet Port Priority. An important tool to help manage a standalone VoIP phone device. If you have a look on the back of the WRT54G and note the number of the Ethernet jack you have the VoIP device plugged into. Find that corresponding jack number on the configuration screen and give it a higher priority. This will make a big difference to the quality of your calls. It can also enhance your online gaming performances.
- Optimise Gaming Applications. It is here where you can prioritise your games. This is achieved by your WLAN AP identifying the TCP/IP port used by the game operator.
- Click on 'Start' - 'Control Panel'- 'Network Connections'.
- In Network Connections click on 'Set up a home or small office network'. You let the Wizard take over from here and in doing so tick the box 'Ignore disconnected hardware' if you find it necessary to do so.
- When asked to do so select 'This computer connects to the Internet through a residential gateway or through another computer on my network.'
- When you get to 'Give this computer a description and a name' set the Computer Name and a description describing what each computer is primarily used for. Make sure you give a different description and name to each separate device.
- When you get to 'Name your network' either accept the default name or choose one of your own making. It is important to make sure the same network name is given to all computers otherwise they won't be able to make contact with each other.
- If you want to share a common printer select 'Turn on file and printer sharing'. Then click on 'Next' and wait for a few moments while the computer configures the network.
- when this is done click on 'Just finish the wizard. I don't need to run the wizard on other computers.' Once you've done all this on each computer click on 'start' then 'my network places' and you should then notice one or more SharedDocs directories. These directories can now be used to move documents from one computer to another within the network.