Wireless Internet is growing in popularity and affordability. But navigating the world of wireless Internet can be a little overwhelming to a novice. Knowing some of the basics prior to installation can help you make informed choices about your wireless Internet.
- To obtain wireless Internet you must purchase and establish service from your local Internet service provider. Depending on where you live and what companies are in your area, you may choose cable or DSL (digital subscriber line) Internet. Cable Internet is delivered through your cable TV system. DSL uses your phone line to transmit data. Unlike a modem, DSL won't tie up your phone while in use. Both technologies require a special modem to work properly--this can be obtained from your cable or phone company when you purchase service.
- To install wireless Internet, you need to purchase a wireless router. A router essentially splits the main Internet signal into multiple signals, allowing many computers to share one Internet connection. Wireless routers take this one step further: they broadcast the Internet signal via radio waves, allowing those nearby to connect without plugging in a cable.
Wireless routers can be purchased (or rented) directly from your cable or phone provider. A cheaper route is to purchase one online or at your favorite computer store.
- Once you've purchased your router, install it. Insert the AC adapter and install an Ethernet cable (usually supplied with the router or with your modem) in the "WAN" port. This cable runs to your modem, which is in turn plugged into either your cable or phone line. Once the router detects a valid Internet signal, it will begin broadcasting it wirelessly.
Next, enter the router setup. This is usually achieved by typing an address in your browser--consult the manual for the specific address. Then establish a name for your Internet connection, security settings and password.
Unfortunately, you can't use a USB (Universal Serial Bus) connection with most routers, so remove the USB cable if you were using it previously.