How to Configure a Wireless Network
Level of difficulty:
Regardless of the underlying Operating System platform, wireless networking is steadily gaining ground in the computer industry and is slowly establishing itself as a vital component even of home networks primarily due not only in the advancements in software but also in the introduction of more affordable devices which support the technology. Although regarded as a more vulnerable version of an Ethernet-based network environment, many developers are spending countless hours in ensuring that these wireless network environments remain secured and stable. One of the most desired advantages that can be gained from implementing wireless networks is the wider coverage area that the signal can reach compared to a wired network which is limited by the length of the cable connected to the machine. It is also a great boost to mobile computing including providing an important support to the advancements in mobile phone technology allowing for access to the Internet and exchange of data based on wireless networking theory.
- Broadband Internet connection
- wireless router
- wireless network adapter or built-in wireless networking support
- Operating System with wireless networking support
To deploy a wireless network, make sure that both the wireless router and the modem are turned off.
The modem should already be connected to the Internet. Plug in the modem into the correct port at the back panel of the network router.
Power on the DSL modem and wait for it to acquire the signal from the ISP. Proceed by powering on the wireless router. The indicator lights should be able to detect the connection to the DSL modem as well as the signal coming from the ISP.
Using an Ethernet cable, connect a computer to a vacant port at the back panel of the wireless router. This is done to configure the device settings.
Turn on the computer system. The cable connection to the wireless router should be automatically detected by the Network Interface Card.
Open the Web browser and type in the address bar the IP address assigned to the wireless router. This should be found in the documentation of the hardware.
Once correctly entered, a login screen will be displayed prompting for a username and password. Normally, the username remains blank while the password is either administrator or admin. Check the router documentation for verification.
The browser window will now display the configuration page. Majority of these settings are in their default state. This is fine with the exception of three things that should be edited. Change the SSID which is the name of the wireless network that will be deployed. This should be unique and not easily identified by other computer users.
Define an authentication method based either on WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) or WEP (Wireless Encryption) algorithms. This protects the wireless network from unauthorized access.
The last important attribute to edit is the administrative password for the configuration page of the wireless router. This will prevent other users from accessing this sensitive page and implementing their own changes to the wireless network.
Click on the 'Save Settings' button to make the changes permanent. Close the Web browser and unplug the Ethernet cable that connects the computer to the wireless router.
Reboot the computer and turn on the wireless network card to check if it can identify the newly created wireless network. Double click on the wireless connection and provide the network key when prompted to do so. Simply repeat this step to allow other computers to log into the wireless network.