No more Tangles
Tired of heading to the computer room every time you want to look something up? A wireless network can offer a solution. Even if you’re not fluent in tech-speak, setting up a network is easy. If your computer isn’t already outfitted with wireless capabilities (most newer models are), there’s an easy fix: desktops need a USB wireless adapter; laptops need a wireless card. If your desktop is already using all of its available USB ports, you can buy a hub that plugs into the computer, leaving open ports on the hub that are still connected.
Once you begin to set up the network, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, it’s best to purchase a wireless router versus a wireless access point. Access points let one user access a single network, while routers allow for more than one computer to access the same network using one IP address that is provided to connected computers. Another key difference between a router and an access point is that routers include firewall technology for better network security.
When choosing a router, pay attention to the letter after the speed (it’ll be “a,” “b,” “g,” or “n,” in order alphabetically from oldest to newest). Though “n” is the newest choice, the better choice may be “g” if you don’t have the latest computer model. If not fully compatible, you might experience a lag in service.
If you live in a large home rather than an apartment, you may want to purchase a signal booster. It will increase the strength of the base station, improving wireless connections throughout the home. If you choose to go without a signal booster, choose a central location for the router, such as the living room or den, where you would most likely use your computer.
Be sure to secure your network with passwords and network names that are difficult to guess. If possible, enable settings to WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) encryption versus WEP (Wired Equivalency Privacy), which offers better protection from would-be hackers.