Set Up a Wireless Router or Access Point

A wireless router or access point brings convenience because you’re not tethered to a wired connection. Setting up a wireless router or access point depends on the software that comes with the router or access point.

Wireless connections are more complicated to set up than wired connections. You’re basically setting up a radio transmitter that broadcasts to little radios attached to your PCs. You need to worry about signal strength, finding the right signal, and even entering passwords to keep outsiders from listening in.

Wireless transmitters, known as Wireless Access Points (WAPs), come either built into your router or plugged into one of your router’s ports. The setup software is different on every model, but it requires you to set up these three things:

  • Network name (SSID): Enter a short, easy-to-remember name here to identify your particular wireless network. Later, when connecting to the wireless network with your computer, you’ll select this same name to avoid accidentally connecting with your neighbor’s wireless network.

  • Infrastructure: Choose Infrastructure instead of the alternative, Ad Hoc.

  • Security: This option encrypts your data as it flies through the air. Turn it on using the recommended settings.

Some routers include an installation program for changing these settings; other routers contain built-in software that you access with Windows’ own Web browser.

As you enter settings for each of the three things, write them on a piece of paper: You need to enter these same three settings when setting up your PC’s wireless connection.

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