Most homes have computer and Internet. Are they contented with just that? The definite answer is no. This has created a need for home network. Setting up a home network eliminates the need for more than one internet connection. If you set up a home network, you needn’t have to wait for others to finish their work in order to start doing your work. Others’ priorities and schedules won’t affect you anymore.
A wireless network lets you share your internet connection on different devices at the same time. It can be established with or without using a router. If you want to avoid the cables, you can choose to set up a network without the wireless router. However, a wireless router acts as a hardware firewall defending your PC from hackers. Another drawback is, your connection can be shared only in thin streams on the client computers if you don’t use a router. In other words, you can get a speed of only up to 11 Mbps even if you have a 54 Mbps connection.
Most of the recent laptops and PCs have wireless cards which are needed to establish a wireless home network. If your PCs don’t have a wireless card, you will have to buy cards for the host and client computers. The minimum capacity should be 802.11b, which can transfer data at a speed of about 11 Mbps. There are wireless cards such as 802.11g, 802.11a and 802.11n with different capacities which transfer up to 54 Mbps. Again the card you need depends on your choice of speed. You can choose 802.11a to transfer up to 54 Mbps and 802.11n to transfer at a speed of 65 Mbps to 600 Mbps. However, the spectrum and the channel size of your connection determine the speed.
The encryption available for Windows XP is only WEP, which is highly vulnerable. Therefore, it is advisable to use Windows Vista on your host and Windows XP on the client computers. I will explain both, however, the decision is yours.
Configuring Host Computer (Windows Vista)
1. Open the Networking and Sharing Center from the Control Panel.
2. Select Manage Wireless Networks on the menu
3. Click on ADD button
4. Click on Create an “Ad Hoc Network” option
5. Nothing needs to be selected in the next dialog box. Just go to the next window
6. Define the network properties in the dialog box that appears next.
a. Type a Network Name
b. Choose a Security Type: WPA2 – Personal (WPA2 is more secured)
c. Security Key: This is like a password to access internet. Type an alphanumeric word of at least 50 characters. Though it is not required to be so long, it adds to the security.
7. Click on Display Characters. Copy the key on a piece of paper and save it for reference.
8. Ensure that ‘Save this Network’ box is checked and click Next.
9. Select the ‘Turn on Internet Connection Sharing’ in the window that appears next.
You have now configured your host.
Configuring Client PCs (Windows XP)
1. Find the Wireless Network Icon on the System Tray and click on it.
2. Select the desired network from the list. Look for the Network Name you’ve given.
3. Ensure that the encryption is WPA 2. It will appear within parentheses beside the network name.
4. Click on Connect
5. Enter the 50 character alphanumeric key twice. No, don’t stare angrily; you will have to type it only now. The PC will remember it from the next time.
Done! But not yet for those who have dared to run Windows XP on their host computers.
Configuring Host (Windows XP)
1. Click on the View Wireless Networks icon on the System Tray.
2. Remove all preferred access points. Don’t select any available networks.
3. Select “Computer to Computer Networks only” from the Advanced Tab.
4. Uncheck “Automatically connect to non-preferred networks” check box.
5. Go back to Wireless Networks tab and click on the Add button under the Preferred Networks tab. This will open a dialog box where you need to give the Network name. Once you save these settings, a PC card icon will appear on the system tray denoting that it is the host computer on the network.
6. Configure the client PCs as explained above.
DIY stuff is truly fun. Connect, share and enjoy surfing the Internet on your wireless network.
Author Bio: Heather Protz, a freelance writer for USAheadlines.com – offers full home security to help protect your family, assets from burglary and other crimes. ADT Security Services