Wireless Internet – Wi-Fi Hardware and Services
Setting up a household Wi-Fi network has befuddled many a non-reader of freaking manuals. Here is a practical guide to the tools and Internet service you'll need 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 slightly more detailed look at the best and most popular routers and network cards. But for now we'll just cover what each term means.
Remember; generally, you want to look for hardware that uses 802.11g Wi-Fi. There are two others, namely 802.11a and 802.11b, but 802.11g is simply most compatible with other technologies, and it offers top-notch performance.
In addition, 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 service. The cost will largely depend on the speed you desire; most ISPs offer about four price-point levels. More or less, they include:
· About $20 a month, basic ISP service is meant for a minimal amount of surfing with almost no downloads. This is for Grandma to check her e-mail -- she'll have plenty of time for loading times since, well, she's retired.
· The next step up will 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.
· 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 millisecond. It's meant for those who constantly download, constantly message and constantly "frag." Most people won't need something this extensive, and shouldn't let the ISP sell them something so elaborate since they're only using the network for surfing and e-mail. For example, those who have no idea what we meant by "frag."
What comes next
Next, you'll need a Wi-Fi router and a Wi-Fi Network Interface Card. For specific recommendations on the very best equipment when installing a Wi-Fi network in your home or small business, you'll want to come back again soon and look for our router guide that will be followed soon after by our Wi-Fi network card guide.