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- How Do I Make My Internet Access Wireless?
March 9, 2005, 5:01 pm
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How do I make this wireless?
My understanding is I buy a network card (and this will slide into an
external slot on my notebook and a little antenna will stick out -
correct?) and then I have a wireless router that I connect to my cable
modem (like I would attach to my laptop normally). Is this all I need
to buy? I suspect the card will come with some software to install as
After I get all of this set up, I have two concerns:
1. How will my internet speed be affected - going from straight
connection to wireless? Is there problems with distance from the
router, interference, ect? My cable modem is very fast right now.
2. How will my computer's security be affected? I run Norton
Antivirus and have the basic windows firewall...will this suffice?
Does the card come with some extra security?
Anything else I should be aware of before I go out to buy my wireless
Thanks very much!
Re: How Do I Make My Internet Access Wireless?
Yes on both.
Even if you get an older 802.11b wireless setup (11Mbps, compared to
54Mbps for 802.11g), 11Mbps is far faster than any cable modem that
I've ever heard of (most are in the 3-4Mbps range). As long as you
do not stray very far from your router, you will experience no
speed decrease. However, distance affects signal strength, and
signal strength affects speed. This is a built-in feature of the
802.11 spec. Inside most houses, you won't have to worry. And
if you buy 802.11g equipment, you'll have to worry even less.
You might find that a little experimentation will be necessary to
get optimal signal strength. Moving your laptop (or router) just
6 inches can make the difference between a good signal and a poor
one, if there happens to be a thick metal pipe or something in the
wall. If your router has two antennae, you can 'point' it in the
direction where you anticipate using your laptop.
Actually, by inserting the router into your connection, you're
adding much more security than you already have. You're inserting
another piece of hardware between the Internet and your computer --
hardware which is designed to allow certain things to pass through,
and certain things not to. This will not affect e-mail viruses
and the like, but it will stop other types of infections.
There are things that you can do to make your setup more secure than
it is by default. The first one is MAC Address Filtering. Your
wireless card will have a MAC address that is unique in the world.
It should be printed somewhere on the outside of the card. Your router
will have an interface that will allow you to limit connection to
specified MAC addresses. In other words, you can set it up so that
*only* your laptop can use your wireless connection. The second thing
is WEP, or Wired Equivalent Privacy. This is rather more complicated
to set up and will depend on the brand of equipment you buy. If you
make sure to only use secure (https://) websites when you conduct
sensitive business, this probably isn't worth the hassle, but you
should know that just about everything you do on the Internet will be
flying through the air unencrypted. It's like having a cordless phone
-- your neighbors can eavesdrop on you. (Again, secure websites are
already encrypted, so no need to worry there.) If this potential
for eavesdropping worries you, you should follow your equipment's
instructions on how to set up WEP.
Lastly, certain software might require extra configuration in your
router to work properly. For example, AIM (AOL Instant Messenger)
often requires a particular setting in order to receive files sent
from another person. Such things are well-documented, and most
routers even come with pre-sets for popular programs and games.