WiFi Logo - Wireless Connectivity

Important Note: Using default settings, a wireless router allows anyone with any knowledge to easily connect to your network and use your internet connection and do what they will with your computers. But there are safe ways to use these devices. Enabling encryption, turning off ssid broadcasting, Mac address filtering, and changing your router's password are a must. High speed internet is a must. Buy the wireless router and any other necessary devices to connect to the router, such as pcmcia cards for laptops, usb devices, etc.

Steps

  1. Make sure your internet connection is working directly from your modem prior to connecting your router.
  2. Hook your router up as per instructions. Any wired computers will plug into the LAN connections and one cable will go to the modem.
  3. Log into the router using a wired computer with the ip address that is provided in the manual. Most are 192.168.0.1. Inputting this address in your browser's address window should get you there. Default login is "admin" , passwords vary, so check your book.
  4. Turn on WPA-PSK encryption so that the data from your computer is encrypted and not visible by your neighbor.
  5. Change the default router access password so that only you can logon.
  6. Turn off SSID broadcasting as this tells anyone passing by with a wireless device that you have a connection available; also name SSID what you want. You will use this name when connecting from your wireless device.
  7. Mac address filtering allows only your computer(s) to connect to your network so enable this as well. Finding your Mac address of your network device(s) is done by starting a command prompt window and typing "ipconfig/all" without the quotes. A typical Mac address is 00-06-5B-04-B4.
  8. Click enable Mac address filtering, then type your computer's Mac addresses in and save.
  9. WAN connection type will most likely be set to DHCP and should work fine at this setting for most applications.
  10. Fire up your computer with the wireless device installed. You did type the Mac address for this device, right?
  11. Start wireless setup wizard in WindowsXP and it will walk you through connecting to your router. Use manual settings and check the box for wpa at the bottom. Remember that wpa-psk key/password you made earlier? You will input it here. SSID name will also be entered here.
  12. If you have more than 1 computer and you would like to enable share files, click start>my network places then if you are using a Windows XP, on the side toolbar click "set up a home or small office network" and follow the steps with every computer.
  13. If all went smoothly you will now be able to safely connect wirelessly.

Tips

Don't ever connect a wireless router without doing the above safety settings. By default they are setup "loose" so that they get the fewest tech support calls. A central location of where you are most likely to use your wireless devices is desireable.

Warnings

If you don't do the MAC address filtering or put a encryption then you computer is vulnerable to hackers because they can put files into your shared documents, print out of your printer (if you shared the printer) or they can do illegal stuff and get you fined.