Thursday, August 30, 2007

What Is WiFi - What Do I Need To Get Started?

Getting a WiFi home connection started is actually easier than you'd think - the set up being simpler than setting up a wired internet connection. This is because you don't have to mess around with a bunch of phone cables - or Ethernet cables if you're planning on creating a wireless network in your home. As your computer will be connecting to the internet via radio signals it is really easy to set up multiple connections within your house so that everyone with a computer can connect to the internet and/or each other. For now, though, we'll just go into what you need to get started at home with one computer.

The most important piece of equipment you will need for your home WiFi connection (other than your computer, of course) is a wireless router. The wireless router is used to convert the digital signals that come in from your Internet connection (via a broadband modem) into a radio signal that is then broadcast to your computer. It is the hub of your wireless connection, and any computer within it's signal, carrying the correct hardware, will be able to log-in to the network. The wireless router plugs into your existing DSL or ADSL modem, which in turn plugs into the phone socket in your wall. So the set up looks like this:

Routers are pretty easy to set up (basically plug it in and away you go) but it is always recommended that you go through the instructions that come with your router, to be sure you are getting the best from your wireless connection.

Note: Wireless Routers are often confused with Wireless Access Points - and while both have pretty much the same job, a Wireless Router has added security features and is recommended for home or small business wireless connections. Wireless Access Points are generally used for larger offices with a large number (several hundreds) of network connections.

Okay, so you have your router. Next you will need something for your computer to interpret the signals sent out by the wireless router. This comes in the shape of a wireless network adapter. Most new computers have this technology built in, in which case you don't need anything extra, but if your computer is a little older you may have to purchase an adapter to install. The easiest of these for a desktop computer is a USB adapter, which simply plugs into an existing available USB port on your computer. Adapters also come as PCI cards, which slot directly into your motherboard, and are a little more work to install. For Notebook computers you can pick up a PC card network adapter, which slots into the back or side of your laptop. Again, internal cards are available but are more work to install. Actually, you'd need to have a pretty old laptop for it not to have some sort of inbuilt wireless technology already.

Wireless Network Adapter For Desktop

Wireless Network Adapter For Notebook

Once you have your router and your adapter you can set up your internet connection. For home networks you need only sign up to an ISP (Internet Service Provider) of your choice. You may already have a broadband internet account with an ISP, in which case you need do nothing more than connect everything up, switch it on and follow the installation instructions on screen. Otherwise, shop around for the best ISP for you.

And that's it, the basics of what you need to get started with a home WiFi internet connection.

1 comment:

EARL said...