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    7. Building your Network - Wireless add ons

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    • Time to Experience Wireless Freedom 
      It's all been leading up to this! You've got the know-how, you've done your shopping and now you're ready to put all your new knowledge into practice to set up your wireless network.

      There's no one single, right way to set up your network. As we go through the steps, remember that you can and should feel free to adjust as you need to. Your network has to work in your real-life world. Don't be afraid to experiment!

      Okay, are you ready? Let's get started.



      If you skipped right to this page, it's definitely a good idea to check out some of the lessons leading up to it, including:

      Shop Networking Supplies
      Step-by-Step Setup
         1.Place your router: location, location, location. Planning where you'll put your wireless router is extremely important, since the router is the central nervous system of your network. Aim for a spot that's central and located as high as possible. For example, in a two-story house, you'd want to try and put the router upstairs in a study or game room.
         2.Install your wireless router. Routers for home users usually have comprehensive instructions. Take some time to read over them before you dive in, and consider visiting the manufacturer's website to see if there are any known issues you need to watch out for. Most systems have you turn on the router and THEN connect it to your modem with an Ethernet cable. If your Internet connection is currently connected to your computer, disconnect that cable and attach it to your router.
         3.Set up your computers and other equipment. Add wireless adapters to each device you wish to connect to the network (if they are not already built into your laptop, desktop or other devices). It may sound basic, but read the instructions. Some devices require you to install the software and drivers first, and others have you install the device first. Some come with all the required software and drivers in place so that everything loads automatically. Just take it one device at a time and you'll be done sooner than you think.
         4.Configure your router. This is not anywhere near as scary as it sounds! Most routers are functional as soon as you turn them on. In many cases you will get basic wired Internet access as soon as you connect the router to your modem and the computer. This will enable you to access the web-based setup that allows you to configure your wireless router. Web-based setups usually have you connect to a specific I.P. (internet protocol) address. This is as simple as typing the numbers in your web browser where you'd usually type a URL. 

      Once you're inside the web-based setup utility, there are a couple of tasks you’ll need to perform:
      1. Name your wireless network with an SSID (Service Set Identifier). You can pick any name, but it should be something that you can remember. Just don't give away too much with your SSID—use your initials but not your full name, for instance. You will use the SSID to identify your network when you set up your other devices.
      2. Turn on your wireless security. This is very important! If your router and devices support WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) then you should use it. You’ll just need a password that serves as a “shared secret” among the devices in your home. If any of your devices do not support WPA, then you’ll need to use WEP security. This also provides a secure connection but it can be more difficult to use because you have to type in a lengthy hexadecimal key into every device.
         5.Set up the networking functions on your computers. Once your network is configured and your individual computers are configured to connect to the router, you can use their networking functions to share folders, files and printer connections. Setting up the networking function is a little different depending on which hardware and operating system you have, so again, read the instructions. There might be a wizard that walks you through the process, or you might need to change settings in your computers’ control panels.
         6.Set up the networking functions on your computers. Once your network is configured and your individual computers are configured to connect to the router, you can use their networking functions to share folders, files and printer connections. Setting up the networking function is a little different depending on which hardware and operating system you have, so again, read the instructions. There might be a wizard that walks you through the process, or you might need to change settings in your computers’ control panels.
         7.Connect your printers and other peripheral devices. In order to connect any wireless peripheral device to your network, the first thing you need to do is set it up to access the network using the parameters that you established when you configured the router. This includes the name of the network (SSID) and the wireless security password or key (WPA or WEP). 

      Printers can be connected in two different ways:
      • If you have a Wi-Fi equipped printer you can configure its wireless settings to access the home network directly.
      • Or, you can simply connect a printer to a computer on the network and allow the computer to do the sharing for you.
      Keep in mind that a shared printer connected to a computer must have the computer turned on to access that printer via the wireless connection.A third option is to use a wireless print server to turn wired printers into wireless ones. If you go this route, you can easily connect your computers and printer over the network.


      Click Tip
      New in Windows 7® : HomeGroup HomeGroup is a new feature in Windows 7 that makes it easy to automatically start sharing your music, picture, video, and document libraries with other PCs running Windows 7 on your home network. HomeGroup is password-protected, and you decide what libraries, files and printers are shared— and what stays private.

      Getting started: 
      All computers must be running Windows 7 to be part of a homegroup. Follow these steps to create your homegroup:
      1. Verify your current network location is set to “Home network” by going to the Network and Sharing Center in your Control Panel.
      2. To create your homegroup, open HomeGroup in your Control Panel, then click "Create a homegroup".
      3. Any other PC running Windows 7 on your home network can easily join the homegroup by opening HomeGroup in the Control Panel and clicking "Join now".
      4. To access different PCs, printers or libraries in the homegroup, go to the Libraries folder, which you can access through the Start button.
      Learn more about HomeGroup


      Extend Your Network with Powerline Adapters

      A Typical Powerline Bridge
      Powerline Adapters Let You Extend Your Network 
      Many homes have places where even the best-positioned wireless router cannot reach. If you have a dead spot in your wireless network, or even if you just want speed for demanding applications like gaming and video streaming, a powerline bridge (bridge is just a technical term for a connection between two devices) can be the ideal solution.

      Powerline adapters use your existing electrical wiring to transmit signals between your router and the device you want to connect. They're the ultimate in plug-and-play, making them a simple solution.

      Quick Tip: 
      There are different powerline technologies out there. Some of the fastest and most current adapters are labeled "Homeplug AV." Make sure when you buy powerline adapters you're buying all the same kind, or they will not work together. 

      Shop Powerline Adapters
      Powerline Bridge: Step-by-Step Setup
         1.Plug the first adapter into an electrical outlet close to your router. Don’t use a power strip — it will degrade the signal.
         2.Connect the adapter to the Ethernet port on the router. You’ll need an Ethernet cable for this.
         3.Plug the second adapter into an electrical outlet near your device. Again, avoid power strips.
         4.Connect the second adapter to the device with an Ethernet cable.
         5.Configure the remote device or computer. You’ll use the same protocols as you would for any wired network connection. In many cases, you'll find your device goes online with no configuration required.
         6.Some adapters recommend configuring optional security parameters. Read the instructions that come with your bridge and decide if you need to do so.


      Don't want to do it yourself? Dell's expert technicians can help you set up your wireless home network and make sure all your devices work together. Find out more.



      Now that you have your home network set up and running, let’s look at how to help keep your data and computers safe and secure from the outside world.

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    • View Answer at http://www.dell.com/content/topics/topic.aspx/global/learn/network/build_wireless?c=us&cs=19&l=en&s=dhs
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