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How to Set Up a Wireless Network

First you must "get connected" to the Internet. The five primary connection types are Dial-up, DSL, Cable, Satellite and Wireless. The following chart lists the advantages and disadvantages of each to help you decide which option best suits your needs.

1. Get High-Speed Internet Access

Advantages

Disadvantages

Dial-Up

Low cost is probably the biggest advantage of a dial-up internet connection. However, increased competition in the high-speed internet market has driven broadband prices down making high-speed pricing more comparable to dial-up.

Dial-up is the slowest internet connection available with connection speeds maxing out at 56 Kbps (Kilobits Per Second). Slow connections are limited in that you may not be able to access some content intended for faster connections. For example, our WiFi Internet Radios will not work well with a dial-up connection since streaming audio (and video) require a large amount of bandwidth (data sent and received per second).

Unlike broadband which is always connected and ready, dial-up connections usually take a few minutes to dial-up and establish a connection with your internet service provider before you are able to connect to the internet.

Dial-up requires that you tie up a phone line when connected to the internet. You can add an additional phone line dedicated to internet access, but you'll most likely have to pay your phone provider for the second line.

DSL (Digital Subscriber Line)

Like dial-up, DSL connects you to the internet through your existing phone line. However, contrary to dial-up connections, DSL is always on, it does not require you to dial-up in order to establish a connection, and it does not tie up your phone line, meaning you can take phone calls while surfing the internet.

With average speeds around 5 Mbps (Megabits Per Second) DSL offers high connection speeds.

The farther away you are from the switching site, the slower your connections speeds.

May not be the best option for rural areas.

Cable

With speeds up to 10 Mbps Cable offers high connection speeds. Always on (no waiting for connection)

Connections (like cable) which are always on and connected to the internet may be more vulnerable to internet security threats.

Cable internet connections are shared with other users, so you may experience slower speeds due to congestion during peak hours.

Satellite

With up to 1.5 Mbps download speeds, satellite internet connections are noticeably faster than dial-up connections.

Because satellite internet connections don't require a hard wired connection to the provider, satellite access is available almost anywhere. This is a great alternative for users off the grid in rural areas.

With up to 128 Kbps, the upload speed is not nearly as good as the download speed.

Satellite Connections are occasionally affected by inclement weather.

Internet provider satelites orbit about 23,000 miles above the equator. When you request information from the internet using a satellite connection, the request travels 23,000 to the satellite, then 23,000 miles back down to your service provider. Then the information you requested has to make the 46,000 mile return trip back to your computer for a total round trip of about 92,000 miles. Even though the signal travels near the speed of light, this does cause a minor delay known as latency. Latency causes problems when playing games over the internet or when using VOIP technology to make internet phone calls.

Fixed Wireless

With speeds up to 10 Mbps, fixed wireless internet connections are capable of extremely high speeds.

Set-up costs may be expensive depending on the hardware required by your wireless Internet service provider.

2. Add a Wireless Router

Once you have your high speed Internet connection up and running, you'll want to add a wireless router. A wireless router will allow you to access your internet connection without the wires. A wireless router will also open up a whole new world of amazing products (like our WiFi Radios) that require a wireless network.

While shopping for a wireless router, you'll probably notice there are three primary wireless networking technologies. They are 802.11a, 802.11b, and 802.11g . We recommend 802.11g since it seems to offer excellent performance and is compatible with almost everything. However, we put the following chart together to list the advantages and disadvantages of each to help you better determine which option best suits your needs.

Advantages

Disadvantages

802.11a

With speeds up to 54Mbps, 802.11a operates in the 5.8GHz frequency range so it is less susceptible to interference caused by devices such as microwave ovens, 2.4 GHz cordless phones, baby monitors, etc.

802.11a is not as common as 802.11g, which dramatically limits the number of wireless networks (hotspots) you'll be able to access.

With only about 100 foot range, 802.11a is limited when compared to the 150-300 foot range of the other types.

Products that operate on the 5GHz frequency range require more power which means your portable gear will drain batteries faster than technology operating on the 2.4GHz frequency range.

This technology operates on the 5.8GHz frequency, so it will not work with WiFi Radios that operates on the 2.4GHz frequency. 802.11b and 802.11g are compatible with the WiFi Radio since they also operate on the 2.4GHz frequency.

802.11b

Up to 150 foot indoor range.

Products are usually inexpensive.

802.11b products are sometimes hard to find.

WIth speeds up to 11Mbps, 802.11b is the slowest wireless technology available.

802.11b operates on the 2.4GHz frequency making it highly susceptible to interference from other devices like 2.4 GHz cordless phones, baby monitors, microwave ovens etc.

802.11g

802.11g is the most commonly used technology, so buying 802.11g products will increase the number of wireless networks (hotspots) you'll be able to access.

With data transfer speeds of up to 54Mbps and a range of about 150 feet indoors, 802.11g is recommended for most home and small-office networks.

802.11g products are not only compatible with each other, but they are also backwards compatible with 802.11b products.

Relatively inexpensive.

Like 802.11b, 802.11g operates in the 2.4GHz frequency range, so it is also susceptible to interference caused by other electronic devices that operate within the same frequency range.

802.11n

802.11n is faster and can broadcast further then previous WiFi standards.

It can use both the 2.4 GHz and the 5 GHz radio bands and can pass data at a maximum speed of 600 Mbps. Maximum speed is better achieved by using the 5 GHz band only.

Typical data throughput is 75 Mbps depending on the signal quality. Many 802.11n routers can simultaneously broadcast 802.11b, 802.11g, and 802.11n giving the client WiFi user more compatibility with older technology.

Because 802.11n uses multiple channels to send and receive data, the equipment requires multiple radios which raises the cost for the consumer. Wireless "N" routers can have up to four antennas to send and receive faster, but this speed is "bottle necked" by the number of antennas that the client WiFi device is equipped with.

Typical indoor range is about 200 feet. Typical outdoor range is about 800 feet.

3. Connect Your Gear

You may want to consider protecting your wireless network from unauthorized users through one of the wireless network security encryption methods. The two most common are WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) and WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access). WEP was the first method developed, but it is now widely known that WEP encryption can be easily compromised. Because of this, we recommend using WPA encryption to secure a wireless network.

Now that you have your wireless router hooked up to your internet connection (usually through a modem provided by your service provider) your wireless network is ready to use!

Tip 1: Increase your wireless range with one of our WiFi Antennas.

Tip 2: Linksys has good wireless broadband routers, and they offer free technical support if you need help with set up and troubleshooting.

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