Wireless Networking For Dummies

  anniel 19:46 26 Jan 2004

The more I trawl through articles on wireless networking, the more confused I get.

I cannot work out exactly what we have to buy and need to get step by step instructions on how to do the job.

We have:

2 PCs on Windows XP home in separate rooms, which are about 20 ft. apart with intervening walls.The second PC will be here next week, so I am trying to get ready in advance.

My PC is connected to the internet with an ADSL
VNL USB modem. The ISP is London based Homechoice(if that is helpful) I have a 1MB connection

We would like wireless because we would prefer not to have trailing cables everywhere.

We are willing to pay extra for kit that is quality and easy to install.

Neither of us is particularly skilled and I am wondering whether we will have to get an expert in to do the job....naturally we would prefer to do it ourselves but if it is going to end up in a shouting match and lots of stress, I am not sure it is worth it.

If it is so easy can someone write out the steps for us or tell us where we can find the required. info. in simple straightforward English.

I would be grateful.

  mgmcc 20:55 26 Jan 2004

The first decision you need to make is how you are going to connect to the internet and there are two options.

1) You continue to connect with your existing PC and USB modem and set up "Internet Connection Sharing" to allow the second PC ('client') to share the 'host' PC's connection. The 'client’ PC can only access the internet if the 'host' PC is running and online.

2) You buy a "Router" with built-in ADSL modem and dispense with your existing USB modem. This will allow either PC to be online independently from the other. With ADSL, you normally require either a router with built-in ADSL modem or a stand-alone modem that can connect by ethernet, but not USB.

This router is an exception and does support a USB modem click here

In terms of wireless hardware:

With option (1) you can either install a “Wireless Network Adapter” in each PC and set up an Ad Hoc wireless network, or connect a “Wireless Access Point” to an existing network adapter in the ‘host’ PC and a “Wireless Network Adapter” in the ‘client’ PC and set up an Infrastructure wireless network. These are the two basic types of wireless network and the “Wireless Network Adapters” are configured to seek available networks of the appropriate type – Ad Hoc or Infrastructure.

With option (2) you would use a Wireless Broadband router bearing in mind the modem requirements (usually built-in or connected by Ethernet, not USB). The PCs then connect to the router either wirelessly with a “Wireless Network Adapter” or the PC nearer to the router could connect with a normal Ethernet cable and only the remote computer connects wirelessly. It is the router which actually connects to the ADSL service, not either of the PCs.

  LeadingMNMs 21:40 26 Jan 2004

I would recommend option 2. Its going to be more expensive but it is certainly better. The Wireless Network adapters can be either PCI (for desktop)PCMCIA (for laptops) or USB (for either). Again prices will vary depending on the speed you go for. 802.11b works at 11Mbps and has the greatest range whereas 802.11g works at 54Mbps with a more limited range (though should easily be sufficient at 20m). The faster technology is obviously more expensive although if you buy from some online stores then they will seem quite cheap (compared to PC world and others).

The majority of equipment should be easy to install, and if you do have any problems then theres always the helproom or other support available.

  anniel 21:41 26 Jan 2004

I have printed off your advice and it would seem easier to go down route 1 if that would work.

My husband only needs an internet connection..we do not need to share files, printer etc.

In option 1,which of the two alternatives would be the easier and more reliable..if there are differences.Would I already have a network adapter in my PC as it is nearly brand new and how do I find out if I have one?

Will we notice a difference in speed using this option..will my PC be slower?

You can see I am a slow learner. Do hope you do not mind these questions.

  LeadingMNMs 21:48 26 Jan 2004

If you only want two computers to use the connection (the host and one other) then it is simpler to use a peer-to-peer (Ad-hoc) system where you just need to install wireless network adapters in each computer. If you have more than two or may want to add another machine at some point then a wireless access point is probably the best option.

  Snakey 21:52 26 Jan 2004

I have a Laptop and a PC Setup as Adhoc and works fine. When I enable WEP it doesn't work.
The PC has a Netgear PCI Card and supports 64 or 128 bit encryption.
The Laptop has an integrated Broadcom adaptor and supports 40 or 101 bit encryption.

Does any one know how to get this working?

  accord 21:57 26 Jan 2004

if you have a look round the back of your pc, you should see what looks like a normal modem socket but with two LEDs immediately next to it. this will be your 10/100 ethernet connection. mine is next to my usb sockets about half way down.

if you havent got these, then its either the usb adaptor type or a dedicated ethernet card (approx £7) which plugs directly into your motherboard.

your pc shouldnt suffer from any loss in performance.

  accord 21:58 26 Jan 2004


i would recommend that you put your question on the helproom in its own thread. you will get more feedback this way.

  mgmcc 22:25 26 Jan 2004

<<<I have a Laptop and a PC Setup as Adhoc and works fine. When I enable WEP it doesn't work. The PC has a Netgear PCI Card and supports 64 or 128 bit encryption. The Laptop has an integrated Broadcom adaptor and supports 40 or 101 bit encryption.>>>

I seem to remember when I set up the WEP encryption, it sorted itelf out. I set up 64 bit encryption in the PC with a 10 character hexadecimal string.

In the laptop, the "40 bit" setting is actually a 10 character string and the "101 bit" setting is a 26 character string. It's not (as I understand it) 40 bit or 101 bit encryption. I think I just entered the 10 character string and clicked connect (though I may have had to select hexadecimal and 40 bit as well).

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