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help with wireless- for a dunce

By rob_serve ·
i'll level with you- im a complete idiot when it comes to the network side of things. I really want to have wireless in my home. I have a laptop with a wireless g card, and a simple DSL modem with one USB going to a PC USB and a phone line going to the phone jack. Now, my sisters both have wireless cards on their laptops, so i want them to be able to get on it, so what do i need to get wireless internet around my house - in SIMPLE terms please, and is the DSL modem ive got enough. thanks.

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A wireless router to start with...

by Honu425 In reply to help with wireless- for a ...

Obtain a wireless Access Point Router from <insert vendor of choice here>. Linksys, Netgear, Microsoft, dLink, to name a few. My Linksys has 4 wired points as well. Setup is via web wizards out of the box and is fairly straightforward.

You could muck about with adhoc connection (device to device), but since you indicated you were pretty much a novice, I would discourage the attempt.

In plugging in a wireless router, you would connect the dsl device to the router, connect each each wired device to the router, and allow the wireless devices to discover the router. You "g" cards will work against either a "b" or a "g" router.

Additionally, as soon as you have established connectivity, be SURE to enable WEP. Otherwise you will have everyone in the neighborhood using your connection. WEP is the Wireless Encryption Protocol. You'll add a key to each LAN connection that is decrypted by the router. YOu only give the key to those you want to have it.

Hope this helps.

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re: wireless

by afram In reply to A wireless router to star ...

I like the Linksys wireless products because they are easy to use.

I suggest placing the wireless router as close to the center of your work area as possible and away from outside walls or windows. This will decrease the radius of usability outside of your home.

Change the admin password once you set up the wireless router. Manufacturers have default passwords for devices.

Enable WEP in the wireless router setup.

Change the SSID in the router setup. The SSID is the "Service Set IDentifier". This is a name that differentiates your wireless network from someone else's. Give it a unique name but don't use any personal information like your phone number or SSN.

Make sure all of the machines that use your wireless network have a good firewall program and antivirus.

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still slightly confused

by rob_serve In reply to help with wireless- for a ...

does the dsl modem usb go into router thing, and then the router connects to the computer? Im using a Zyxel 600 dsl modem by the way.

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re: wireless

by afram In reply to still slightly confused

I don't think the wireless router will accept a USB connection.

Two ways to do this:

If you buy a wireless router, it will replace your existing DSL router. Make sure the store confirms that the model you get will act as a DSL wireless router. Then the phone line connects to the wireless router and the computers connect via wireless cards.

The other possiblity (and probably cheaper) is just to buy a wireless access point (WAP). The phone line plugs into the DSL router as it is now. The DSL router connects to the WAP with a network cable (cat-5 patch cable).

When you buy the wireless device, there are almost always diagrams on how to set it up. If the network patch cable doesn't come with the wireless device, you can get one for $6-$10.

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How to connect it up

by gralfus In reply to help with wireless- for a ...

You didn't say if you have a wireless router or a wireless "access point", or if your DSL modem has wireless built-in, but here goes based on a regular DSL modem and a wireless router:

1. Connect DSL modem to wireless router's WAN port.

2. Use router's setup software and directions for setting up the router. Typically, this means setting up the router with a new password and wireless key (using either WEP or WPA. WPA is more secure). You have to make up the key from your imagination, and then *write it down*. I like to make keys like "GHR782JT109BNMW" because they are harder to crack.

3. Usually the router will be able to get an "IP address" via the DSL connection without any changes from you. If not, you may have to add it manually based on the numbers given to you by your service provider. There is no easy way to explain this, but the directions with your router may explain it.

4. Each of the laptops will need to be configured to use the key you created in step 3. The wireless cards usually have a utility to help configure them. They usually see the wireless link, but then you need to type in the key so they have permission to access the router.

After that, if there are no error messages, they should be able to connect to the internet.

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An easy way to configure each wireless device

by Honu425 In reply to How to connect it up

is to connect them "wired" at least one time. The wireless card will still "discover" the wireless network. Then you can cut and paste the wep or wpa key into the wireless device without having to key it in. Saves time and errors.

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3 steps...

by uofM In reply to help with wireless- for a ...

There are basically 3 steps:

and security.

The last two sort of overlaps.


You say your current configuration is:
phone jack --> DSL Modem ---> Computer.

and the DSL to computer is USB. Does the DSL Modem have a ethernet jack as well? If it does, you'll use this. If not, you may need something to convert between USB to Ethernet, or a wireless router that accepts USB interface.

As for the wireless router. You'll need one (obviously). Do a bit of researh on what you like to have - most will have linksys or netgear. Most all will have firewall features too (this is good). When you get it, it will simply go after the DSL Modem:

Phone Jack --> DSL Modem --> Wireless router --> computers.

I would opt for a router that have a few ethernet ports as well to connect to wireless-less computers.


The router will come with instructions on how to configure it. Most will be pretty easy to do. But you'll need to obtain an IP from the ISP (most likely done automatically). On your LAN side, it should also be setup for DHCP, already. So you'll simply need to just plug (or seek out) the network.


This is where things get tricky - if you're reading this before you get the router, you can use this to decide which features you want to have:

Change the admin password. Most of them default to the manufactures name (i.e. linksys). Change this so you don't lose your network the the 12 year old neighbor.

Turn WEP/WPA on - Wired Equivlancy Protocol/wi-fi protected access. It encrypts your wireless traffic. It's by no means highly secure. But its better than nothing. and it may be one up on your neighbors. This works on a key that you create. This key is then required for any computer that needs to connect to your network. Change this frequently - like weekly. There are tools out there than can break this pretty quick (as in a few seconds).

SSID - this is the ID/name of your wireless network. You give it a name, and it get broadcasted out for everyoen to see. If you can (router feature), turn this off so it doesn't broadcast it. Makes it harder to break your wep key if I don't know you're there.

MAC filtering - use it. When you turn it on, it will only allow those computer with the MAC address that you allow onto your network (more info should be provided with the documentation).

Bridging: Some routers will allow you to seperate the bridge between the wireless and wired networks. Thus, someone on the wireless side can't see somone on the wired side and vice versa. If you can, seperate the two. This will provide yet, another barrier.

Hope this helps.

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doesnt have ethernet out

by rob_serve In reply to 3 steps...

my modem doesnt have an ethernet out, just a usb. Does anyone know of any wireless access points which will accept usb?

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Are you sure?

by dafe2 In reply to doesnt have ethernet out

From what I understand, your saying that your phone cable comes from the phone Jack then plugs into your Zyxel 600 DSL Modem.

Then your DSL Modem via USB connection plugs directly into your Laptop.

I suppose it's possible, but out of curiosity, .....does the 'USB' connector on the DSL modem look anything like a 'phone jack'....... only larger?

For example, the Zyxel 600 Series 645 DSL Modem can be configured with the Linksys Befsr 41 Router via RJ45 cables.

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by sablake234 In reply to Are you sure?

Hi, Routers come with instructions, If you are currently using your USB port for your connection, then your laptop is configured to accept this type of connection, I have a Netgear which doesn't have a USB port for connection, it uses RJ45 only. This link will bring you to an adaptor you can use for USB connection But it's just another piece of equipment to find a space for. Good Luck

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