Wireless and Networking Support

You can use a wireless network (WLAN) to share Internet access, files, printers, game consoles, and other devices among all the computers in your home. After you’ve completed the initial wireless router setup and added your computers and devices to the network, you can use your home network to surf the web or to play online games—whether you’re sitting in your living room or relaxing in your backyard.

It’s easier than ever to set up a wireless network, especially now that Internet access and routers (like Linksys wireless routers and D-link wireless routers) have become widely available.

Man with a laptop in a hammock

What you’ll need to set up your wireless network

  • An operating system that supports wireless networking
    The Windows 7 operating system fully supports wireless networking. For Windows Vista users, we recommend installing Windows Vista Service Pack 2 before setting up your wireless network. For Windows XP users, we recommend installing Windows XP Service Pack 3. Use Windows Update to check whether you need the service pack and to install it. Click the Start button, click All Programs, click Windows Update, and then click Check for updates. Although the service packs for Windows Vista and Windows XP are not required for wireless networking, they can make things much easier and can help protect you against hackers, worms, and other Internet intruders.
  • A broadband (DSL or cable) Internet connection
    To set up a wireless network, you need a broadband or high-speed Internet connection (not a dial-up connection) provided by an Internet service provider (ISP), usually for a monthly fee. Two common broadband technologies are Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) and cable technology. These require a DSL modem or a cable modem (often provided by your ISP). After you have an ISP and a modem, you’re ready to connect to the Internet.

    Set up a new connection to the Internet:

     

  • A wireless router, a DSL modem, or a cable modem with built-in wireless networking support
    The router converts the signals coming across your Internet connection into a wireless broadcast, sort of like a cordless phone base station. Newer DSL and cable modems come with integrated wireless networking capability and are called modem routers. If the modem router you received or purchased from your ISP already has wireless capability built in, you do not need to purchase a separate wireless router. Just follow the instructions provided by your ISP for activating your wireless connection.

    If you do need to purchase a wireless router, be sure that you buy a wireless router and not a wireless access point. The Linksys router is a popular router for wireless networks because it’s simple to set up. There are many routers to choose from, for example:

           
    Picture of a Linksys wireless router Picture of a D-Link wireless router Picture of a Cisco wireless router Picture of an ASUS wireless router
    Linksys wireless routers D-Link wireless routers Cisco wireless routers ASUS wireless routers

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