Installation Walkthrough

Follow these steps to a Wi-Fi wonderland

Setting up a wireless network, although relatively easy, is not without its hurdles and annoyances. How could it be a modern and popular technology if it wasn't sometimes a frustrating setup experience? There's nothing to worry about, however, so long as you follow the steps below. You'll soon be clicking through football scores, updating your recipebook, and slaying dragons in World of Warcraft (if none of these online activities interest you, I'm told there are a few other things to do via the web).

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**Caption: If it hasn't become apparent yet, you'll need a router

Step 1: Wireless router

There are a few necessary physical steps to connecting your router [Router Guide]to your PC.

  • Shut off your computer and modem.
  • Disconnect the Ethernet cable from your PC and connect it to the router's WAN port (should be labeled). This way, the Ethernet connects the modem to the router.
  • Link a second Ethernet cable from your computer to the router.
  • Switch on the modem. When it connects, plug in and turn on the router. Also turn on your PC.
  • Once the system completely boots up, check your favorite site to see if the 'net is working.

Once that's done, you'll need to configure the device.

  • Launch your browser.
  • In the address slot, enter the IP address specified in the router's manual. For the D-Link DI-624, for example, the number is 192.168.0.1.
  • Register and/or enter a password with username.
  • Here, the setup wizard for most routers will ask you what kind of internet connection you're attempting to make. Just remember, CABLE = Dynamic IP Address and DSL = PPPoE
  • Leave your encryption and SSID settings at default (just for now). Does the 'net work? If so, move onto Step 2.

Step 2: Wireless adapter

Next, you'll need to set up the necessary internal card [Network Card Guide].

  • Most PCI adapters will ship with installation software, such as a CD. It's recommended that you upload this content to your computer before physically plugging in the hardware, so make this your first step. Once you've finished this, shut down the computer.

**Caption: The package should include software for properly installing your wireless card

  • Next, plug in your wireless adapter, which in most cases is a card. If you own a laptop, you can usually find access through one side. Most home desktops will require that you remove the outer casing. Make sure you're unplugging the network card and not a video or sound device. Just look for the card with Ethernet ports at one end. Turn on your computer once this is complete.
  • The Windows operating system will recognize your change, and should launch the "Found New Hardware Wizard". Unless you're an expert at this kind of thing (and if you were, it's unlikely you'd be reading this), trust the system's "Install software automatically" tool.

Step 3: Set your SSID

The Service Set Identifier is your name for the network you're now in the process of connecting.

  • You can put just about anything as the name of your network, but choose something that is neither:
  • Easily linked to you, such as your first or last name
  • Extremely generic, such as the name of your router. That way no one will leach off of you accidentally, and you won't do the same
  • On a sidenote, if you're router allows, consider disabling the SSID altogether. That will prevent those near you from jumping on your Wi-Fi bandwagon and sapping your speed (or worse, hacking your hard drive).