Wireless Home Network Setup Expand Your Home Office Into Your Living Room
Do you have too many wires behind your computer collecting dust and creating a tangled mess?
If you’re like me, the answer (was) yes. That is until I set up a
wireless network in my home office.
The advantage to having a wireless home network is the ability to add or remove any number of
computers and wireless devices without drilling holes or running cable from room to room. After
just one day of wireless home network set up, you can network desktop computers in different rooms
and carry your laptop computer from room to room or even outside. Setting up a wireless network is
much easier now that stores are flooded with name-brand products at very affordable prices. Here is
an overview of what you need to set up your wireless home network.
Checklist For Setting Up A Wireless Home Network
Setting up a wireless home network does require that you purchase some hardware. The computer
hardware you will need is similar in function to the existing computer hardware creating your wired
jungle. Each desktop computer on your wireless home network will need a wireless network adaptor,
and assuming you’re already connected to the Internet, you’ll need a central processing point like
a Linksys or Belkin wireless router to manage data transfer between each computer, printer and the
Before running out to Circuit City or Best Buy, check and see if your desktop computer has a
wireless network adaptor pre-installed. If you don’t have your purchase receipt handy, simply look
in the back or your computer for a thick plastic wireless antenna. If you only see large telephone
input connections (called RJ-45 ports), then your desktop computer is probably not set up for a
wireless network. If no wireless network adaptor is pre-installed, there are a couple of things
you can do.
If your desktop computer has a free PCI (Peripheral Component Interconnect) slot, you can purchase
and install an internal wireless network adapter. If you don’t see PCI listed on your computer purchase
receipt and you’re not comfortable fumbling around inside your computer, don’t worry. It’s probably
easier to buy an external wireless g USB network adapter. USB means you can just plug it in like any
other USB device, "g" we will discuss shortly. Have comfort in knowing that Windows XP will
do most of the wireless network adapter installation for you thanks to something called "Plug and
Today, most laptop computers are already geared for a wireless home network. To see if your laptop
computer has an internal wireless network adaptor, Windows XP users can click ‘Start’ and select
‘Settings’ then go into ‘Control Panel.’ In the Control Panel, click the icon called ‘System’ to
open the System folder and click the ‘Hardware’ tab. Look for a button called ‘Device Manager.’ After you
select the Device Manager you will see a list of hardware installed on your computer, scroll down to
‘Network Adaptors’ and open the sub-folder by clicking on the ‘plus’ sign. If one of the adaptors is
wireless, then you’re good-to-go. If your laptop computer doesn’t have a wireless network adaptor
pre-installed, don’t worry. You can easily install a PC-Card wireless network adaptor, or the same
external wireless g USB network adapter that a desktop computer would use.
Purchase A Wireless Home Network Router And Adapter
As I mentioned in the introduction, stores are flooded with wireless home network products. The
high number of wireless networking products and features can be overwhelming at first. Don’t be discouraged,
simply compare brand names and features side-by-side as you would any store purchase. Large retail stores
usually have knowledgeable staff (geeks) ready to field your questions. A few of the top selling brand
names in wireless networking are Belkin, Netgear, D-Link and Linksys.
First, you will need to purchase a wireless router. The wireless router will connect to your existing
cable, DSL or Satellite broadband internet modem. This
connection will be made through one RJ-45 port with
a Cat-5 or Cat-6 cable, or a printer style USB cable connection. Purchase price range for a wireless router
is about $40 to $200. Most often a home wireless network setup only needs the $40 model, because the
additional features such as 108 Mbps speeds become meaningless on today’s 2 Mbps broadband internet
connections. In other words, the latest features are well beyond existing computer and broadband internet
connection processing speeds. I recommend that you look for a top brand name, signal distance, value added
security features, and four or more RJ-45 ports to allow for wired computer, printer and future adapter
Second, you’ll need a wireless network adaptor for each computer that will become part of your
wireless home network. While shopping for your wireless network router, you will see wireless adapters
in the same isle. It makes sense to purchase like brand names which tends to make installation easier.
For example, if you purchase a Netgear wireless router consider purchasing a Netgear wireless adapter.
Imagine the technical support nightmare you would have calling two companies instead of just one if you
run into an installation problem!
While making your wireless network adaptor purchase, you’re likely to run into such computer terms as
dual-mode, multi-mode and tri-mode. Dual-mode and multi-mode equipment generally refers to wireless network
adapters that support both 802.11b and g standards. Briefly, 802.11b is older than the g standard and
wireless g routers provide farther reaching signals. Tri-mode equipment is compatible with all three
commonly used 802.11a, 802.11b and g standards. Your primary concern should be to match wireless router
specifications with wireless network adapter specifications. Again, I recommend that you chose the same
brand name for product purchases when setting up a wireless network at home.
Broadband Wireless Network Installation
Wireless home network router and wireless adapter manufacturers boast about signal range. While it
might be true that wireless network products function in a range exceeding 150 or 300 feet, this range
assumes no walls or interference. Plan on putting your home network wireless router in a location within
the room you will work most often. My wireless router is set up in my home office upstairs against an
exterior wall, for example. This way my wireless network signal is strong enough for me to connect down
stairs in my living room directly below the router, and outside on my patio. The closer your laptop and
desktop computers are to the wireless network router, the better performance you will realize.
Expanding your home office with a wireless network is now as simple as purchasing a wireless router and
USB wireless adapter. Thanks to Windows XP and simplified wireless router installation instructions, your
home wireless network can be installed in just one day. Enjoy your wireless expanded home office work
space – and don’t forget to keep your feet off the couch!
— Internet Service Deals