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How To Set Up a Wireless Computer Network for a Home or Small Business

  1. Obtain the necessary equipment to create a computer network. A cable or DSL Internet connection and a modem will be required to set up the computer network. A wireless router also will be required.
    • Obtain the router’s default user name (SSID) and password information, along with the Web address for the router’s configuration page prior to setting up the network. This information is normally provided in the documentation included with the device at the time of purchase.
    • Confirm that each computer or device to be connected to the network has a wireless network adapter installed. Many computers and devices now include a network adapter installed by the manufacturer. Refer to the operation instructions or contact customer support to determine if a wireless network adapter is installed.
  2. Connect a cable modem to a live cable jack. A cable modem will connect to a short length of coax cable protruding from a wall (cable) jack. An account with a local cable Internet service provider will be required.
  3. Connect a DSL modem to a live phone line. DSL modems will connect through a telephone jack using a standard telephone cable, usually included with the modem at the time of purchase. An account with a local service provider will be required.
  4. Connect the wireless router to the modem. Using the network cable (typically Ethernet), included with the purchase of the wireless router, plug 1 end into the modem and the other end into the first empty port, going from left to right, on the back of the wireless router. The first port is typically assigned a different color than the other Ethernet ports on the router.
    • Plug the other end of the Ethernet cable into the Ethernet port on the DSL or cable modem.
  5. Connect the host computer to the wireless router. Using a network USB or Ethernet cable, plug 1 end into the network adapter on the computer and the other end into the next open port on the wireless router.
    • Plug in the power source for the modem, then plug in the power source for the wireless router. Wait a few moments for the devices to boot up.
  6. Configure the wireless modem. Power on the computer and log in to the desktop.
    • Open your Web browser, type in the URL or IP address into the address bar and press enter to be directed to the wireless router’s configuration page. The configuration process will vary from device to device, however the differences will be subtle in most cases.
    • Follow the instructions for configuration provided in the router’s operation manual. Although the configuration process is mostly automated, the network name or SSID, the password, and the security settings should be changed from the default settings.
    • Create a name for the network and enter it into the SSID field, typically found in the “Advanced settings” section of the router’s configuration page.
    • Create a password for the network that you will remember. Enter the new password into the “Security Key,” or “Network Password” field, also normally located in the “Advanced settings” section of the router’s configuration page.
    • Select a security setting for the network. The options typically will be limited to “none,” “WPA” or “WPA 2.” WPA 2 is the option most often recommended because it offers stronger encryption and therefore greater security than WPA. Save the router settings when prompted. The wireless network will now appear in the list of available networks on the host computer.
  7. Connect other computers or devices to the new network by selecting “Connect to” from the Start menu and then selecting the newly created network from the list of available options in the “Connect to a network” dialog box. Enter the network name and password assigned in the previous steps. The computer network is complete.

See Also

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How To Set Up an Ad-hoc Network Between 2 PC-Based Computers

How To Set up a Mac-Based Ad-hoc Computer Network

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How Set up a Mac-Based Computer Network

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