Sunday, April 16, 2006

11. The Simplified Wireless Networking Guide

From NotebookReview
by Lowlymarine

People have frequently asked me, "I have a wired desktop PC and a wireless notebook. How do I network them?" While setting up a home network may sound daunting, it's really probably one of the easiest things you'll do with your new laptop. Certainly less of a hassle than getting through that packing tape!

Getting Router:
To begin, you'll actually have to spend a little bit of moeny, unless you for some reason have a Wireless-G router laying around. I use a D-Link DI524, mainly because it was cheap ($20 after MIR, Best Buy), but they're all pretty much the same, so get whatever floats your boat. A long-range router isn't really necessary unless you have a mansion or plan to acess your network at your neighbors' mansion. Or, well, if you plan to sit outside or some such nonsnese (fresh air, gaah). Long range routers are more expensive (some cost up to $100!), so be sure you really need it. I'm currently sitting on the far side of my humble abode (or about 40 meters) from my router and get 2-3 bars of signal strength.

Installation of Router:
Next you need to install your router. This consists of: a) taking it out of the box; b) situating it near the computer in your household that is both closest to the high-speed modem and the one you're least likely to be moving around much (most likely a desktop); and c) plugging it in (the router...and, I suppose, the computer and/or modem, if you haven't yet). Now, connect the CAT/5 (ethernet) cable leading from the cable/DSL modem to the "WAN" port (usually the farthest one to the right or left, seperate from the rest) on the router. Now, connect another CAT/5 cable from the computer you won't be moving around (this will be the computer used to set up the network) to the "Computer 1" port on the router (usually nearest the "WAN" port). Now, flip on the router and the computer attached to it. You may have to configure the router before you can acess the internet from it. The instructions for doing this vary depending on the brand of router, but should be included on a small card or booklet in the box.

Once everything is setup correctly, you should be able to connect to the wireless network with your notebook PC!

But if you want to share files, printers, etc., you're not quite done yet. You'll need to set up the network on each PC in your household. Go to Start->My Netork Places and click on "Set up a home or small office network" in the menu to the top left. Simply follow the instructions in the following dialogues. Now repeat this process on every computer you intend to network (that is connected to the router, eaither wired or wirelessly).

You're almost done. To share a fle, folder, printer, drive, etc. on the network, simply right-click its icon, go to the "Sharing" tab, and check "share this folder on the network." You'll need to enter a name for the folder on the network. Whether you wish for network users to able to alter the file(s) is up to you.

A Job Well Done:
Now you're done! If you still have questions, don't hesitate to ask!

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