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DPChallenge Forums >> Hardware and Software >> Wireless home network help...
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01/04/2006 10:29:18 AM · #1
My laptop will be coming in about 10 days. My cable company (my ISP) said they want $80 installation plus $5 a month to set up a wireless home network for me. I said no way, I think I can do it myself, and not have to pay the monthly maintenance fee.

So, can I do it myself? I have a regular cable internet setup right now, using a regular desktop computer. Do I need any equipment besides just a wireless router? (Obviously, my computer currently has one ethernet NIC, and my laptop will have integrated wireless 802.11 a/b/g.) What's the basic procedure?
01/04/2006 10:31:31 AM · #2
I use a Linksys wireless router. Works well, no addition charge from the cable company.
01/04/2006 10:32:14 AM · #3
You can definitely do it yourself. I'm partial to Linksys routers myself and the setup is really simple. You essentially just plug it in, change some settings through your computer and tada. (Granted, there can always be problems/errors.) It's definitely not worth $80 to have it done.
01/04/2006 10:32:26 AM · #4
Just the wireless router.

You'll plug the cable modem to the router. They'll give you some basic setup. I know with DSL you need account log-on info. But your cable company should provide any necessary account info.

Two thinks,

a) first change the name of the wireless network. So many leave it as "linksys". This causes connection problems and conflicts between neighbors wireless networks and is less secure.

b) add a WEP key, etc. unless you're choosing to share your connection.

Message edited by author 2006-01-04 10:33:32.
01/04/2006 10:39:00 AM · #5
I installed my linksys wireless router without too much hassle. Follow theSaj's advice and save yourself $80.
01/04/2006 10:42:04 AM · #6
setup is usually pretty simple. i'd go with setting it up yourself.
01/04/2006 10:43:10 AM · #7
I hear so often about people who just open up their laptops, find someone's wireless network in the airwaves, and surf the net on someone else's dime (and bandwidth). Does the router have what it takes to only allow my own computer, and nothing else, to connect to the internet through my connection? I'd hate to have my internet connection be slow because my neighbor is using it to download hi-resolution pr0n.
01/04/2006 10:43:40 AM · #8
if I was in cali I would install it for you an maintain it for a one off fee of $20:) but hey im a bit far away

Message edited by author 2006-01-04 10:43:53.
01/04/2006 10:48:56 AM · #9
Ditto on what others have said. I installed one myself and even when I ran into a little trouble a single phone call to the router help desk walked me through it and have had no other problems.

I did have lots of problems with dropped connections on my laptop and was concerned since I am in a brand new house, a friend reminded me that the cordless phones (forgot the mhz's that cause the most issues I think 900mhz) cause problems with wireless router connections so I upgraded phones and moved the wireless router to the upstairs office, no dropped connections anymore.

Good luck
01/04/2006 10:49:26 AM · #10
Originally posted by StevePax:

Does the router have what it takes to only allow my own computer, and nothing else, to connect to the internet through my connection?


Yes. There is an option when you are setting up your wireless router to make it password protected. Therefore, you'll need to make a password, which you can save as a cookie on your computer, to sign in over the router.
01/04/2006 10:53:39 AM · #11
Originally posted by StevePax:

I hear so often about people who just open up their laptops, find someone's wireless network in the airwaves, and surf the net on someone else's dime (and bandwidth). Does the router have what it takes to only allow my own computer, and nothing else, to connect to the internet through my connection? I'd hate to have my internet connection be slow because my neighbor is using it to download hi-resolution pr0n.


The suggested use of a WEP key (software setting) should take care of that.
And change the password for the settings manager.



Message edited by author 2006-01-04 10:54:34.
01/04/2006 11:03:00 AM · #12
I agree with everyone else that said Lynksis router, they are very easy to setup, some of the new ones now have a one button setup, I have a cable broadband service and I have 2 macs and a pc and the wireless setup using a Lynksys router is simple. I just plugged it up and it worked right away, its very simple just read the directions that come with the router also there customer service is fine never had a problem with them. Just remember to set it up so that no one else like a next door neighbor or anything can just login and have free internet using your wireless router

Message edited by author 2006-01-04 11:03:32.
01/04/2006 11:10:47 AM · #13
Get this...

Linksys

$69 Canadian at my supplier, $79 Canadian at Future Shop. Easy to set up. There, you're done.

Set up your WEP.

My brother has my WEP info saved as a profile on his laptop's wireless card, so he can have access when he comes to visit.

Also, you can set up a share on your PC and map a drive to it from your laptop. Makes it easy to back stuff up. I use it to move photos from my laptop. One of my PC's is plugged into our 52" TV so we can have slide shows. If your PC has XP Pro or Win2K Pro, I'd password the share for another layer of security, but I don't think it's that big a deal with WEP on the router, especially in a home.

What do you guys have to say about the "Speedboost" option?
01/04/2006 11:17:33 AM · #14
Simple setup! Wireless Router is basically all you need. I like LinkSys.
01/04/2006 11:24:31 AM · #15
Oh yeah, my router SSID is ROTOROUTER, but it's hidden anyway. Some of my neighbors have wireless, which I can see, so I should probably unhide my SSID and change the name to PORNOGRAPHY or something. Could be good for a laugh.

You could set up your router without any WEP and hope your neighbors use your connection to do some online banking... ;-)
01/04/2006 11:25:21 AM · #16
Originally posted by Azrifel:

Originally posted by StevePax:

I'd hate to have my internet connection be slow because my neighbor is using it to download hi-resolution pr0n.


The suggested use of a WEP key (software setting) should take care of that.


Actually, WEP is easily broken. WPA encryption--especially with a long key--is much more secure.
01/04/2006 11:32:47 AM · #17
Originally posted by Strikeslip:

Oh yeah, my router SSID is ROTOROUTER, but it's hidden anyway. Some of my neighbors have wireless, which I can see, so I should probably unhide my SSID and change the name to PORNOGRAPHY or something. Could be good for a laugh.


There's a site that I read where people write in with any kind of questions and the readers answer - kind of like a modern day Dear Abby. One of the questions was about someone who'd discovered that one of the other people living in his apartment building had named their network "F*$K OFF" or something and he wanted to know if he couldn't say something to this person or ask them to change it. To spare the grandmas or something like that. It was pretty funny.
01/04/2006 12:37:08 PM · #18
What about printers? My desktop currently has a printer attached via USB. Using the printer from my laptop is definitely not a priority, but it would be nice. Would I be able to access that printer through my PC as long as it is turned on? I know, in order to use it when the PC is off, I'd have to get a printer server, right?

Again, this part is not a priority, just a curiosity.
01/04/2006 01:05:20 PM · #19
Originally posted by StevePax:

What about printers? My desktop currently has a printer attached via USB. Using the printer from my laptop is definitely not a priority, but it would be nice. Would I be able to access that printer through my PC as long as it is turned on? I know, in order to use it when the PC is off, I'd have to get a printer server, right?

Again, this part is not a priority, just a curiosity.


Easy peasy, just Share the printer on your PC (right-click on the printer in your Printers & Faxes window & select Share). Then you can add it to your laptop and print across your wireless connection to it.

If you fly me down to S. Cali I'll set it all up for you for free. ;-)
01/04/2006 01:50:18 PM · #20
Originally posted by riolobo:

Originally posted by Azrifel:

Originally posted by StevePax:

I'd hate to have my internet connection be slow because my neighbor is using it to download hi-resolution pr0n.


The suggested use of a WEP key (software setting) should take care of that.


Actually, WEP is easily broken. WPA encryption--especially with a long key--is much more secure.

I think the Linksys I linked to above is capable of WPA, though I just use WEP at home. I guess I should change that as there are a fair number of teens in my hood.
01/04/2006 02:24:41 PM · #21
Linksys rocks. Very simple. Friendly, easy to reach help desk. I wouldn't be surprised if they'd walk you thru it.
01/05/2006 12:18:40 AM · #22
You should also change your default channel. So many people leave their equipment on defaults, if you have a lot of them around you the one channel gets crowded. Just changing that can improve things greatly if there are other APs around.

WPA is better obviously, but there is a catch...you will likely not be able to use the pretty wireless utility your wireless NIC came with, at least not if you are on XP. Most(if not all) vendors depend on a network shim in XP to support WPA, which in English means you have to use the built in Windows wireless management tools.
01/05/2006 12:50:44 AM · #23
Originally posted by sabphoto:


I did have lots of problems with dropped connections on my laptop and was concerned since I am in a brand new house, a friend reminded me that the cordless phones (forgot the mhz's that cause the most issues I think 900mhz) cause problems with wireless


802.11b/g (what almost everybody uses) operates at 2.4GHz [2400MHz] (802.11a at 5GHz). If you have phones that operate in this part of the spectrum, you might have problems (the simplest solution is not to use cordless phones that operate in the same part of the spectrum). 900MHz should *NOT* be a problem.


Message edited by author 2006-01-05 00:52:22.
01/05/2006 02:43:58 AM · #24
I was a Linksys Technical Support Rep. for a good 9 months and I thoroughly recommend it. Though I dont know which new products they might have launched recently but the G band router (think its Model no. WRT54G) really sold like hot cakes. Ofcourse being the pro active company that it is, it improved the hot seller even more and got some really awesome features like extended range and speed.(dont remember the model no. of that one). You will have to see how big your house is and what all you might need.

From what I have read I say if you're not printing often enough then keep the printer wired. It will be even better if your printer is capable of being networked (i.e. get yourself a print server and attach to printer and then to router). So in that way your desktop doesent have to be ON all the time you wanna print using the laptop.

As for the setup, just go to their website and follow the instructions for setting up your own network. Around the time I was there they had developed this really awesome automatic tool for setting up wireless network. It's basically a small piece of code that downloads itself on your laptop and then sets up your router (incl. configuration to your ISP). If that doesent work then just call them. I have walked millions of people through installation.

Wish Linksys paid me for this :-)

I'd reccommend changing your SSID (or the Network name). Personalise it.
Also activate the WEP on your network. Very important.
Thirdly, change the channel to channels 1,6,9,11. Seem to work best in America (as tested). But dont change channels for the fun of it. If it works great then let it be. A good way to test them is change a channel and then wait for a good half an hour and test the speeds. you'll find yours soon. :-)

There are some other measures but nothing I can tell you that the Tech. Help wont. So bug them I say!

Cheers!
01/05/2006 06:38:44 AM · #25
Originally posted by theSaj:

b) add a WEP key, etc. unless you're choosing to share your connection.


Ahh come on... spread the love. Visitors to my home have been using my neighbor's wireless connection for over two years. It's been so reliable and fast at times I thought of giving up my DSL all together. :)
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