Care and Feeding of Your Wireless Network

So you’ve decided that you want to set up your Internet connection to provide wireless Internet access. You might be switching from a wired network for the 1st time, or maybe this is your first experience dealing directly with an Internet service provider. Regardless of the reason, you’re going to want to take some time to set this up right, because although it can seem daunting at first to set up the wireless network, a little research ahead of time can save a lot of aggravation later.

Get a quality product

The 1st step, assuming that you’ve already secured Internet access, is to obtain a wireless router. It can seem common enough to just go to the store and get whichever router is cheapest, however much like tissues or kitchen knives you’ll notice a distinct difference in quality if you base your choice solely on the price point. A cheap router might from suffer performance issues or outdated security standards, and a venture outside the established brands (3Com, Belkin, and Linksys, among others) is a gamble when it comes to customer service and support.

When selecting a router, you should look for the following features:

* 802.11n wireless standard, also known as 11N or Wireless-N. This would be the current wireless standard, which uses multiple antennas to better handle traffic.

* Wi-Fi Protected Setup or WPS security. This is the latest in wireless security, created for its user-friendliness. Some devices even come with push-button configuration to make setup easy on the user.

Shop around a little 1st and get some feedback regarding your options. Don’t just depend on online reviews or the opinion of the sales staff; talk to your buddies, family members, and co-workers about their experiences with wireless routers. There really isn’t any substitute for hands-on experience with a product like this.

“Well, of course, you’re gonna get hop ons…”

If only one piece of advice could ever be given about wireless networking, it would be this: secure your wireless network. Some people deliberately leave their networks open to provide access to neighbors or visitors, while others simply never secure their networks in the 1st place. This really is probably the worst thing that you can do with a wireless network. If your buddies and neighbors really need access to your network, that you can provide them the key. Leaving your wireless network open entirely defeats the point of having security on your network.

Manage the Frequency

Aside from the standard “power-cycle the modem and router” advice, there are actually some basic steps you can take to keep your signal strong and your performance excellent. 1St, remember that wireless routers broadcast on certain frequencies (the 2.5 GHZ band, to be precise). If you’re certain that you really should be getting signal and instead you’re getting reduced signal or interference, try looking for additional devices in your home that might be broadcasting on exactly the same frequencies. Interference may also be caused by other nearby wireless networks using exactly the same specific channel as your router, usually because of default settings on the router.

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