Wireless networks for beginners.
For some the thought of setting up a wireless network is a daunting task. Secured, unsecured, g, b, a, what does it all mean? How far will it go? How fast is it? These are all valid questions and the answers aren't too difficult to understand, so to start with this article will focus on the basic concept of wireless computing.
As so far as home computing, networking had not really been an affordable option. The last ten years has gradually witnessed the technology that allows us to connect computers together become available at reasonable cost. Soon everyone was sharing a printer at home and had more than one computer connected to their home internet connection.
Sending information wirelessly over the air is not new, we have been watching TV and listening to radio for more than 50 years, this medium sends information via radio waves and your radio or TV set decodes the signal back into something that we recognise as sound or pictures.
Mobile phones have been sending data over the packet radio service (GPRS) long before we started to see wireless routers. As with anything where there is a reasonable demand the technology soon follows, of course where possible. Networking computers using cables is fine but there are occasions when it would be extremely expensive to run cables. That cost rises even more if you need to connect two physically separate buildings.
The advent of wireless computing equipment solved a lot of issues for example, providing internet access to computers in a listed building where you are simply not allowed to drill though walls in order to feed cables to the next room or even across two buildings.
The cost of wireless is now comparatively inexpensive when compared to cables and certainly easier to set up. Now we can send data around our home using a wireless connection. You may have heard of the wireless that your computer or laptop and now even some mobiles use as WI-FI or Wi-Fi 802.11. The 802.11 comes from the IEEE. The IEEE set standards for technological protocols covering more than just IT.
So now that we know that 802.11 is the identification for wireless what about the letters?
b -: The slowest connection. Transmits at 2.4 GHz and can handle 11 megabits.
g -: Transmits on the same frequency as b, but it uses a different method to encode the signal and can achieve up to 54 megabits, though in reality because of network congestion it only manages about 20-26 megabits of data throughput.
a -: a can send up to 54 megabits and transmits at 5 GHz. a uses the same encoding as g.
Connecting to a wireless router.
Connecting a computer or device to a wireless access point or wireless router is easier than you might think. You only need a few pieces of information and you're done.
You need the SSID.
Security Key (if set, and you should set one)
Wireless compatible network card or usb adaptor if it is not already built into your system.
The Chanel Number
About 10 minutes.
Most wireless products come with software that will launch a wizard that will help you to connect to your wireless router.**
However here is the basic process explained. For this we are assuming that your computer has a wireless device installed and is using windows XP service pack 2. The wireless router when you purchase is usually set on channel 6 and the SSID (service set identifier) is normally the make of the wireless router: For example Netgear or Linksys. It is a good idea to change this. I would not suggest changing it to one that gives away your family name as any one that lives within range will then know that you are using a wireless connection. Doing this also helps you to identify your wireless network from others.
When using the windows wireless connection process it is simple to get connected. You need to make sure that windows is set as the default for wireless connections. If you have software for wireless connectivity that came with your system or wireless card or USB key, use that.
To check that windows is the default: *(Only for use if you are not using third party software)
1. Click start then left click on run and type services.msc.
2. in the services window scroll down to Wireless Zero Configuration.
3. Ensure that it is started and set to automatic. Once this is done you can close down the window
Now to get connected
1. Go to control panel and open network connections.
2. In the network connections window you will see a list of network devices.
3. Right click on your wireless connection and select view available wireless networks. (It will also display the type of security the network uses)
4. You will see a list of wireless networks; you should see your network. (This is the SSID so if you changed it will be whatever you changed it to)
5. Left click on your network and then click on the connect button.
6. You will now be prompted for your network key. This is the security key for your network *** enter it here.
Your network should now say connected.
There are different types of wireless security. Here is a brief explanation.
WEP = wired equivalent privacy. This was once the standard for wireless security but it easy to find software that can hack WEP.
WPA = Wi-Fi protected access. This is more secure than WEP and uses (TKIP) temporal Key Interchange protocol to encode the passphrase that you use to connect to the wireless network. You should use this instead of WEP.
MAC = Media Access Code. Every network device has a unique physical address, referred to as the MAC address. You can set the wireless router to allow or disallow certain mac addresses. A mac address could be copied by a hacker that knows what they are doing.
Mohammad Honarkar is the President at 4G Wireless, a Premium Retailer for Verizon Wireless, has continually endeavored to be a driving force in the wireless industry. Today, 4G Wireless continues to grow throughout the Western United States with more than 110 locations open in California and Nevada. Under the leadership of Mohammad Honarkar the 4G team and their combined communications knowledge and experience, 4G Wireless successfully strives in today's ever-changing wireless industry.