Add Wireless connection to current wired router

  Guady 17:59 09 Jun 2010

I hope someone can help with this. I currently have a broadband connection via a router to my desktop PC. I am planning to buy a Laptop and would like to be able to use just the Laptop wirelessly. So, basically, what I hope to do is:
Keep the PC as it is in the study with the wired connection via router.
Add something to enable me to use a laptop wirelessly in another room or outside.
Does this sound possible? In the future, when I need a new printer, I might consider using that wirelessly too, but certainly not at present. In the meantime, presumably I could connect the Laptop to the printer using a wire? As you can probably tell from the questions, I've no experience of Wireless or Networking, so please try to explain it simply for me! Many thanks.

  BurrWalnut 08:35 10 Jun 2010

1. On the desktop computer you need to access the router’s set up details. This is done in a home network by typing 192.168.x.y into a browser address bar window. The values of x and y depend upon the make of router. If you don’t know the values, open a Run window (Windows key+R), type cmd /k ipconfig (note the two spaces) and press Enter. Make a note of the Default Gateway address and enter its value into the browser window. When asked for the username and password, type the default values (if they are not known, look in the router’s user manual). Go through the sections until you find one where you can enter your ISP details, i.e. the username and password given to you by your ISP.
2. To set up wireless access, look for a section named wireless or similar wording and find an SSID (Network Name) and a Security key. Perhaps change the SSID to something more meaningful to you but don‘t use obvious names, like your name. Also, if the key type is set to WEP, change it to one of the more secure WPA settings, unless there are computers with older WEP-type adapters that need to connect. Now change the Security key and make a note of it and the SSID. Save the changes and exit.
3. Your router may have a section that allows you to backup and restore its configuration details. If so, make a backup to enable you to easily restore the set up in the event of having to reset the router to factory settings.
4. The SSID and Security key are needed for any wireless computer to connect to a router. The software varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, but generally it involves right-clicking the wireless network adapter’s icon in the Notification Area (bottom right of screen) and following the prompts to create the connection.
5. Post back here when you have decided whether to buy a wireless printer or a printer connected to the desktop computer.

  BurrWalnut 08:37 10 Jun 2010

Whoops, forget the bit in 1) above about entering your ISP details as I've just noticed you have a router and don't need to set up internet access.

  mgmcc 12:41 10 Jun 2010

Is your current router a *WIRELESS* one? If so, you won't require any additional hardware to connect a new Laptop "wirelessly" to it, as Laptops are now almost universally wireless-enabled out-of-the-box.

If it is a "wired-only" router, the options are (a) to get a stand-alone Wireless Access Point and plug that into the router or (b) replace the wired router with a wireless model.

Stand-alone Wireless Access Points tend to be expensive and it is often cheaper to buy a wireless router which, of course, has a Wireless Access Point built in.

  Guady 07:37 11 Jun 2010

Thanks for the info. As far as I know my current router is not wireless (it doesn't have a little antenna) so would that mean I need to get a different router? It wouldn't be a problem - but will I be able to use it with a wire to connect to my desktop? Presumably I'll also have to pay my ISP for a Wireless service? If so, will that also mean that I should be able to use the proposed new laptop in Internet cafes etc?

  mgmcc 07:59 11 Jun 2010

A "wireless" router is simply a router with a built-in Wireless Access Point, so that computers which have a Wireless Network Adapter installed can connect wirelessly.

Conventional wireless routers still have the four ethernet ports to connect computers by cable, as you are doing at present with your desktop PC.

The connection to your ISP will be no different from what you have at the moment, you're simply connecting a computer to the router "wirelessly" instead of using a cable. The ISP isn't providing you with a wireless service, the router is providing a wireless connection.

You will be able to use a wireless Laptop with public WiFi points, but that has nothing to do with your ISP's service. You would be connecting to the WiFi "hotspot" provider's Wireless Access Point instead of your own router's.

  onthelimit 09:02 11 Jun 2010

Sky wireless router do not have an antenna. Google the name/number of the beast and it should tell you.

  Guady 16:35 12 Jun 2010

Very many thanks for all the assistance - I think I have it a bit clearer in my mind now! It sounds as though I can just go ahead and get a new wireless router and use that for the new laptop and keep on using the cable to connect to my desktop PC - which is exactly what I want to do! The advice has been really helpful - thanks.

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