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How to set up a wireless network

Many people are installing wireless networks as they enjoy the freedom to surf the net, send e-mail all while walking around the house. Laptops and other devices can connect to the network and people are no longer confined to one room. Wi-Fi network hubs range between 150 feet and 300 feet.

How do I set it up?
Make sure all your devices are able to talk to each other. Networking a Mac and a PC can be linked together with the proper equipment. Having a wireless access point and cable/DSL router is the starting point. You can usually find one devices that plugs into you cable or DSL modem. You can purchase devices from Linksys, D-Link, Netgear and others, starting at about $100; they often throw in a few Ethernet ports too, so you can connect a nearby printer or PC using a standard Ethernet cable.

Connecting a wireless connection to a desktop PC and a wireless router requires a PCI card that slides into a free slot in the computer tower. There are also wireless USB network adapter that don't need to be placed inside the computer. You can purchase these devices for $40 on up.

If you a using a laptop or notebook PC, you will need a wireless PC card. Most laptops come with a standard card installed, but you may have to purchase one and install it. They range around $50 on up.

Once you have all the equipment, it's time to install it. Most software will take you through the installation process. You will need to have some information ready when beginning installation. You will need your broadband connection's IP address, subnet mask, default gateway and DNS IP addresses. If you don't know where to find this, you can find them from your Internet provider and the services reps can find it for you.

If you have done all the above steps and the network is still not working. You may want to try calling tech support, if that doesn't help, you will probably want to call someone who knows what to do.

If you are new with networking and not sure how to set it up, you probably want to find someone who can help.

Once you are all set up, you better make sure you have a wireless network protection on your computer network. Microsoft Windows typically comes with a basic network protection. Microsoft has implemented several features. Windows does have a basic default setting that blocks certain cookies and other things from installing on your computer. You can always up the default settings if you feel they are not meeting your security needs.

Another popular tool is WPA or Wi-Fi Protected Access. WPA provides a strong encryption where the encryption keys are automatically changed and authenticated between devices after a specified period of time. This re-keying provides a stronger protection for your computer. You will need to purchase a wireless network router that supports WPA.

Reasons for setting up protection

Are you helping criminals? Criminals typically look for unprotected Wi-Fi networks in order to do something illegal and have it tracked to you. Police have tracked numerous cases involving serious crimes from identity theft to sexual solicitation of children.

Data Breech. If you have one small poorly protected access point, a hacker will find it. Credit card information has been stolen before from large retail stores and if your company isn't protected, you could be paying quite a lot of money after the fact.

The Recording Industry. By now, you have probably heard the government and recording industry is cracking down on illegal copyrighted downloads. If someone has illegally downloaded files and set it up as stolen from your network, you will be answering to the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America).

Bandwidth. If someone is piggybacking on your network, it's most likely bogging down your download speeds. You don't want to wait 5 hours for a download that should take less than 5 minutes.

Protect your privacy. Do you want the world knowing all your personal information? The answer is most likely no. If you store any personal or financial records on a PC, they are at risk for being stolen and someone charging up a bunch of money to your credit cards.

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