The Equipment

Tools for the job

There are a few key tools necessary when setting up a home wireless network. You see, just because the wires have been removed, that doesn't mean there's nothing going on under the surface. No sir.

Indeed, you'll still require two very important pieces of hardware. Over the next few pages we'll take a good look at the best and most popular devices in the following key categories:

  • Router [Router Guide]
  • Wireless Network Card [Network Card Guide]
  • **Caption: First you'll need a router and card…

    Since you're going to want the very best equipment when installing a Wi-Fi network in your home or small business, you'll want to click on over to the sections designated for each.

    Advertiser Links for Equipment

    Before you go hopping off to those sections, however, remember that, generally, you want to look for hardware that utilizes 802.11g Wi-Fi. There are two others, including 802.11a and 802.11b, but 802.11g is simply most compatible with other technologies, and offers top-notch performance.

    Service

    In addition, remember that – unless you plan on stealing your neighbor's internet, which we don't recommend – you'll need to contact your local ISP (Internet Service Provider) about, well, providing you service. The cost will largely depend on the speed you desire; most ISPs offer about four levels. Some examples include:

    **Caption: …then you'll need to pick your poison at the buffet of possible provider packages

    Basic

    • About $20 a month, it's meant for a minimal amount of surfing with almost no downloads. This is for Grandma to check her email, and she'll have plenty of time for loading times since, well, she's retired.

    Junior

  • It'll get you slightly faster service, meaning you can actually watch a video online and download something from iTunes. This will usually cost about $30 a month.
  • Express

  • This might be the sweet spot for anyone who has some experience in technology and plans to use the web fairly often. For about $40 a month, you won't notice a difference between the speedy Wi-Fi at work and the one at home.
  • Super or Atomic or Xtreme

  • Marketed for hardcore fans of World of Warcraft, Counterstrike or other online games, this level, which is about $50-60 a month, will never slow down for a second. It's meant for those who constantly download, constantly message, and constantly "frag". Most people won't need something this extensive, and don't let the ISP sell you something so elaborate if you're only using the network for surfing and email. For example, for those who have no idea what we meant by "frag".
  • Okay, now that you're familiar with the basis for a Wi-Fi connection, click on our guide to routers and network cards.