How to Install a WiFi Network

Install WiFi laptopYou can super-accelerate your Internet connection with a broadband connection and get access to it via all your computers (and even outside -without cords!) if you install a wireless or WiFi network. The wireless networking options available today make it easy to share the internet in a way that is not only affordable but secure too. This article will provide you with step-by-step instructions on how to distribute broadband access among multiple notebook or desktop computers and keep your network protected at the same time. It’s fairly simple to install a WiFi network if you keep your wits about you and follow all the instructions provided.

To install a WiFi network you will need:

1. A wireless router or gateway

2. A wireless adapter for each system that connects to the network. (One or more wireless adapters: PC Card adapter for a notebook PC and a PCI or USB adapter for a secondary desktop.)

3. A broadband connection to the Internet (typically via cable or DSL modem).

4. An Ethernet cable The IP address assigned to your system by your ISP if you use a static IP address.

5. If you use DSL, you will need the username and password assigned to you by your Internet Service Provider (ISP).

6. The MAC address for all wireless network adapters.

7. Pen and paper to write down network settings (IP and MAC addresses.)

Install the Wireless Adapters

1. Install a WiFi network adapter in all systems you want to connect wirelessly to the router.

2. If using D-Link PC Card and PCI adapters, install the software from the CD before installing the hardware. Shut down your system, install the adapter, and reboot your computer.

Once the computer has restarted, the ‘Found New Hardware Wizard’ should appear and initiate the driver installation.

Select “Install the software automatically” and click Next. If you see a message warning that the driver has not passed Windows logo testing, click ‘Continue Anyway’.

Configure (Part 1)

If your WiFi system can’t connect to the internet yet, you may need to complete a few more steps.

1. To install a WiFi network, if you are running Windows, you may need to disable the Windows wireless-configuration feature. You will also need to do this if you intend using the bundled utilities. To disable it:

-Click the Windows Networking icon in the system tray.
-When the Wireless Network Connection dialog box appears, click ‘advanced’ and select the Wireless Networks tab.
-Uncheck ‘Use Windows to configure my wireless network settings’ and ‘ok’
-Restart your system.

2. Other operating systems may just need a reboot to get your WiFi adapter to run correctly once the drivers are installed.

If you still can’t connect carry on with the next few steps and they should solve your problem.

Set Security

1. Access your wireless router’s configuration utility again by entering its IP address in your browser.

2. Use the router documentation or built-in help to find the option that allows changes to your default password. (With the DI-624, this option is found on the ‘Tools’ page).

3. Change the password but leave the configuration routine open.

Set the SSID

Now you need to change the name of your network. This is referred to as the ‘service set identifier’ or SSID. With some wireless adapters you access this setting by clicking the ‘Wireless’ button.

Change the default SSID to anything you prefer but don’t choose a value that anybody might guess like your name, birthday or surname. Don’t exit after the changes. When you install a WiFi network you want it to be a secure as possible to protect yourself from hijackers.

Note that your router may also allow you to disable SSID broadcasting. This feature keeps potential intruders from seeing your wireless network among THEIR connection choices.

Enable encryption on your WiFi network

Enable encryption. If your router and all of your wireless adapters support WiFi Protected Access (WPA) encryption with a pre-shared key, use it. This feature will provide adequate security for most home users. Where your hardware doesn’t support WPA, enable Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) encryption.

Most routers let you create WEP or WPA keys by entering a pass-phrase. Make it one that would be hard to guess. Enter it twice for verification. Don’t exit after the changes.

Filter MAC addresses

You may want to provide extra safety by limiting access to network adapters with specific MAC addresses. To use MAC address filtering, enable it in your router’s configuration routine. Search for a filtering button or option on the menu.

Enter the MAC addresses you recorded earlier in the WiFi adapters. Apply the changes and exit.

To boost performance on 802.11g or 802.11n devices for all of your wireless systems, choose the same mode.

Configure (Part 2)

By now you should be unable to connect to the router via your wireless systems. If you want to establish the connection again change the SSID within the wireless-configuration utility for each wireless adapter to match the value you entered for the router.

In addition you will need to enable the same type of encryption you enabled in the router and provide the same pass-phrase. Once the changes have been applied it should connect to the router and the Internet with out any problems.

And there you go! Your WiFi Network is installed! The process really isn’t that difficult and can be achieved in a day or a weekend. You don’t need to be a technician or a specialist to install a WiFi network in your home. All you need to do is follow the above instructions to the letter and you will be ‘wireless’. It’s as easy as 123. Well maybe not THAT easy (!) but you can install a WiFi Network, make it work and make it safe without fear that it will fail or paying somebody a ridiculous fee to do it. Now that is something to smile about! Happy surfing!