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How to set up your wireless network
with WindowsXP

This guide is designed to be as easy-to-understand as possible in order to know what a wireless network is and how you can set one up yourself. You will also know how to secure your wireless network so that neighbors and “passer-bys” cannot access your network. How To Set Up Your Wireless Network

The first thing you should know about hooking up your wireless network is this - if your wireless router came with a disk, then use it. It will be easier than the way I am going to show you, but this is the way that you can do it manually without a disk and you will also have a slightly better understanding of how your wireless network works.

YOU CAN DO THIS! Just know that you will have a general understanding on how your wireless network works, and everything will work out. Take a deep breath and let’s get started.



Getting the Right Equipment

Wireless Network Equipment

1. You’re going to need to have a high-speed internet service also known as broadband. These types of internet services are Cable internet services and DSL internet services. Dial-up internet providers will not work with wireless routers. If you are in an area where you cannot get cable high-speed internet or DSL internet service, you can get HughesNet® Satellite internet service. A satellite service is usually a little more expensive than the other two types and allegedly a little slower on average also, so use it as a last resort.

2. You’re going to need a wireless router. I could get into a lot of useless mumbo jumbo here, but why bother. The simple description of a wireless router is a device that can take the internet signal coming into your home and split it to more than one computer. A wireless router can do this by broadcasting a radio signal through the air to a piece on or in the computer that receives that signal. A computer can be physically connected to a wireless router also. Most wireless routers have four “Lan Ports”. We’ll show you how to find them don’t worry. As of this writing, the most reliable type of wireless router is one that says 802.11g and 802.11n is one that is emerging as a better alternative. Just make sure that whatever router you choose, upgrade the router's firmware. Firmware is a kind of program that usually improves performance of the router and fixes bugs that may have been found after the release of the router to the public so it is highly suggested to upgrade your firmware with any router. Instructions on how to do this are located in your router manual and are downloaded from the manufacturer's website.

Here are some great routers to choose from:

3. You’re going to need a wireless adapter. A wireless adapter is a device that you connect to your computer so that it can send and receive the wireless signals from the wireless router. If you have a laptop that was manufactured within the last three years, you may have a wireless adapter built-in to it. There are different type of wireless adapters:

  • USB Wireless adapters. If you need to install a wireless adapter into a desktop computer, this is the easiest one to install.
  • Notebook wireless adapter. If you have a newer laptop, you shouldn't need this, but older laptops sometimes didn't come with a built-in wireless adapter. This is the ideal adapter for most people who use a laptop (or notebook) computer in the home. Just a flat looking card that fits on the side of a laptop.
  • Wireless Mobile Broadband Cards. These wireless adapters are pretty versatile because they can act like a notebook card, but with the added benefit of also being able to receive and internet signals anywhere there is a cell phone signal. Whenever it has to switch over to a cell phone signal, your internet-surfing speed slows down quite a bit from a broadband Cable or DSL internet connection. You can check with your mobile phone service provider to see if they offer one of these.
  • PCI Desktop Wireless Adapter. This is a card that you have to install inside a desktop computer into a slot called a PCI slot. If you are not comfortable with opening your computer case and installing this hardware, I suggest you use a USB wireless adapter instead.
Note: Make sure you’re wireless adapter is compatible with 802.11g

4 . You're going to need an ethernet cable (or LAN cable). This cable will connect your cable modem or DSL modem to your wireless router. This is the only cable you need. If you have problems finding this cable anywhere, you're just not looking hard enough.


Configuring Your Router

Configuring Your Router

First you have to find out what to type in the address bar of your Internet Explorer browser. The address bar is the area you type in the website you want to visit. Depending on the brand of your router, you will type in one of the following:

Router Manufacturer IP Address User Name Password

admin password
Linksys® <blank> admin
D-Link® admin <blank>
Belkin® Click "Submit" and leave blank
Buffalo™ root <blank>
Note:Some DSL companies will use an ip address that uses the same first three numbers..., i.e. 192.168.1..... and you will need to change the LAN IP address of your router. Please refer to your router's manual for this. Also, some DSL companies in rural areas use Static IP addresses. I know what you're thinking - how that heck am I supposed to know this? Call your DSL provider and ask them for the settings that you need.

Router Setup Menu  Access IP Address

After you type this in, there should be a box that pops up and asks you for a username and password. If the router you are using has been used before, these may have been changed. If that is the case and you don’t know the username and password, then consult your user manual on how to totally reset everything to factory default in your router. This is usually done by holding a reset button down for about a minute somewhere on the router.

Now that you’re seeing your router’s settings in the browser (yes, it looks like you are on the internet, but you’re not – yet), adjust the time to your time zone in the router first and hit Apply or Save depending on the choice the router’s manufacturer has given you.

Next, find the wireless settings (yes, I know that there are a lot of things to look at and you may be intimidated, but keep going) and look for the box that says SSID:

That box probably is filled in with the name of the manufacturer of your wireless router. It is highly suggested to change the name of this to anything you like. You can put your family name in here or anything else that may be to your liking. This SSID is the name of your network. It is the name your laptop will be searching for to connect to when we configure it later. I don’t want to get you overloaded by telling you what SSID because it really doesn’t matter. Just know it’s the name that your wireless router is broadcasting throughout your house and possibly your neighborhood to identify itself.

Now that you have a name of your network, we need to secure it so your neighbors cannot use your bandwidth and slow down your internet, or even worse, hack into all of your computers connected to your network in your house. This is easy to do also and just takes a second.

Look for the Security Settings in your wireless router setup menu. There will be different options but lets just do this the easy way and select WPA Personal TKIP. It may also read WPA PSK or WPA PSK TKIP.

When you select this choice, it will ask for a passphrase. It is very important to remember this passphrase for just a minute because this is what you’ll have to type in when you connect to your wireless network for the first time. If there is an Apply or Save button, press it after you have typed your passphrase.

Now that you have this passphrase and have saved it, click the X in the upper right-hand corner close the screen.

You are almost finished! We have to do a couple of things before we connect the PC to the internet.



Connecting Your Modem to the Router

Connect Your Modem To Your Router

Take the Ethernet cable out of your PC and the LAN port of the router. Now connect the Ethernet cable to the cable modem or DSL modem. There is only one spot it will fit so you’ll know you have it in the right spot. Connect the other end of the Ethernet cable to the WAN port of the router.

Router Connecting To Modem

The next steps are crucial yet very easy:
• Unplug the AC power from the modem and the wireless router
• Plug in just the AC power to the modem and wait until there are 2-3 lights on the modem lit up
• Plug in the AC power to the wireless router and wait about 30 seconds
These steps are very important! They reset everything in the right order to get the information to the correct places at the correct time. Occasionally there will be a power outage and it may mess up your internet connection. These steps will get you back up and running.


And now the final part –



Connecting Your Computer to the Wireless Network

Connecting to the Wireless Network

In the bottom right-hand corner of your computer desktop screen there is a toolbar with a little computer monitor with waves to the right of it and should have a red x on it.

Place your mouse arrow over the icon and Right Click on the mouse. There should be a choice of View Available Wireless Networks. Left Click that.

View Available Wireless Networks


A box will come up with the available wireless networks in your area. If your network is not there (this is where you would see what you typed in the SSID box), then click the Refresh network list option in the upper left-hand corner of the window.

Choose Your Wireless Network



Double-click on your network and another box comes up. This is where you type in the passphrase you came up with. You’ll have to type it twice.

Enter Your Network Key

Wait a few seconds and…….your connected!

Confirm Your Connection

Click on the Internet Explorer button and see the internet.

There are many different probable outcomes at this point and with this easy guide I could not possibly come up with every possible solution for every problem. If you're not on the internet after reading this guide, I suggest calling a professional and let them get it going. There are two companies here that may be able to help you over the phone:

I hope this helps!