Wireless networks have given us the freedom to roam around our houses and offices, connected where-ever we go. We've detailed below a number of things you should think about when you're setting up wireless broadband.
Which Wireless Router?
Depending on the type of broadband you have, you will need one of three different types of wireless router. If you have your broadband supplied via your telephone line (from Eircom, BT etc) then you will need a "DSL router". If on the other hand, you get your broadband from a "fixed wireless provider" (from DigiWeb, Irish Broadband, Airwave etc), you will need what is commonly called a "cable router". There are also special solutions if you wish to share your 3G mobile broadband connection to multiple computers. In all cases there are a variety of different solutions depending on exactly what you need to do.
Connecting to your Wireless Router
If you have a fairly recent laptop, there is a reasonable chance that it will have a wireless networking receiver built in. Unfortunately there are a number of different wireless networking standards, not all of whi
ch will talk to each other. The standards are called by the numbers
- 802.11a (the oldest)
- 802.11n (the newest)
So it may be the case that you have a wireless router that is unable to connect to a laptop due to different standards. For example you may have a router that supports 802.11g and a laptop that only connects using the older standard 802.11a. For this reason it is important that you buy equipment that is compatible.
Wireless or Wired?
Wireless networking offers great freedom but nothing compares with a wired connection in terms of reliability. Wireless networks are radio based and as such are susceptible to radio interference in much the same way as a normal radio is. Because of this, there are often advantages to having desktop computers connected by wire and in having a place in your home or office where you can connect up your laptop in emergencies.
Wireless Distance - What range do you need to cover?
Newer standards are being developed in wireless networking all the time, with much attention being paid to improving network speed and the signal range. If you have a large property or if you live in a house with thick walls or other obstructions, it may be worth paying a little extra for the latest standards in wireless routers and adapters as these are less likely to struggle in a difficult environment.
Wireless Speed - What speed of connection do you need?
It's very likely that whatever router you buy will provide a faster connection inside your home or office than the speed that your broadband provides to the internet. However, if you intend to be copying large files inside your own network, then you may wish to consider buying equipment that supports the newer wireless standards. This will enable faster copying of files from computer to computer.
Wireless Security - What level of security and encryption to you require?
Wireless networks are incredibly useful but if they are not secured properly your neighbours can connect to your network without your permission. This potentially allows them to use your broadband bandwidth allowances, to snoop on what you are doing and to access your computers. As such, we at Home Helptech recommend that you secure your network. There are a number of ways to do this so that you can only access the network with a password. Some of the older security standards, such a the one known as "WEP" are now easily bypassed, so we would recommend that you use a stronger standard. The more important your privacy is, the more attention you should pay to security and encryption. The best current standard for home and home office wireless security is called WPA2. We recommend you use this standard if your router supports it.
Our experts at Home Helptech know just how to set up wireless broadband networks and how to make them secure from prying eyes.