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How to set up a Home Wireless Lan

There are a few different setup scenarios for wireless home networks, depending on whether you already have a modem and a wired router. In this step-by-step tutorial we'll assume that you already have a broadband connection with a cable or DSL modem but don't yet have a router, and that your computer is currently plugged directly into your modem. We will also assume you want to keep a desktop PC wired to the network and to set up either a notebook or a second desktop PC for wireless access. (It's a good idea to keep one of your PCs wired during configuration, in case security settings are lost in the process and you can't get back on the network.) You'll need to buy a wireless router, a wireless PCI card for your desktop PC, and a wireless PCMCIA card (also known as a PC Card) for your notebook.

1. Connect Your Wireless Router

a. Turn off your cable modem and your wired PC.

b. Unplug the Ethernet cable from your cable modem and plug it into one of the four LAN ports on the back of the wireless router. The other end of the cable should remain connected to your PC.

c. Connect a second Ethernet cable between your modem's Ethernet port and the wireless router's WAN port. (The WAN port is separate from the four grouped LAN ports.)

d. Turn on the modem and wait for the status lights to indicate that it's connected to your service provider. This may take up to a minute.

e. Plug in the router. The status lights will blink as it goes through its own diagnostics; this may also take up to a minute.

f. Boot up your wired PC.

2. Configure Your Router

a. Refer to the router's printed quick-start guide, launch your Web browser, and type in the address indicated in the guide.

b. Follow the on-screen setup wizard, which should guide you step by step through the process.

c. Enable your router's security functions. The options will be WEP and WPA. (See page 88 for more information on enabling WPA.) Both will ask you to enter a key. Depending on your router's manufacturer, you may need to go to Advanced Settings to handle this step and the next two.

d. Change the default administrator's password, which is often known to hackers.

e. Change the SSID´┐ŻXthe name you give your wireless network. Again, hackers know many of the default SSIDs and can use them to join your network.

3. Install a Wireless PCI Card in a Desktop PC

a. Refer to the card manufacturer's quick-start guide. If necessary, run the software installation program.

b. Shut down the PC.

c. Remove the cover.

d. Locate an available PCI slot and remove the corresponding slot cover from the back of the PC.

e. Carefully route the antenna through the open slot in the back of the PC, insert the card in the slot, and secure it. Replace the cover.

f. Power up the PC. It should recognize and enable the new hardware.

g. Go to the Control Panel, select Network, select Wireless Networking connection. Click on Properties. Click on Wireless Networking tab. Select the wireless networking name (see step 2e above). Click on Configure. Adjust your security settings to match those on your wireless router.

4. Install a Wireless PC Card in a Notebook PC

Many notebooks have built-in wireless cards. If yours doesn't, follow these instructions.

a. Follow steps "a" and "b" in number 3.

b. Plug your wireless PC Card into an available slot on the side of your notebook.

c. Follow steps "f" and "g" in number 3

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