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Choosing the Right Wireless for Your Network

Setting up wireless network can be fairly easy, but considering the wide variety of wireless technologies on the market, choosing the right product for your network needs can be daunting.

In its most basic form, a wireless network consists, the base station can be a router that acts as a Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) server, provides security and contains port for wired clients; it can also be an access point that allows wireless connectivity to an existing wired network, the client is typically a laptop with an integrated Wi-Fi adapter or a wireless PC Card adapter, many desktop motherboards now features integrated Wi-Fi components as well, but older PCs may require a wireless USB adapter or an internal wireless networking card, you’ll need broadband connection such as DSL or cable and the appropriate modem to share internet connectivity throughout your home of office.

Choosing a Standard
With the 802.11n specification about to become an official standard, it just doesn’t make sense to invest in the older 802.11b product anymore, however tempting it may be take advantage of their low price points, these devices top out at 11Mbps, which won’t cut it when it comes to streaming video, online gaming and accessing large files wireless, even web surfing can be brutally slow on an 802.11b network.

If you‘re still no ready to embrace the latest 802.11n technology, however, your best bet is to go with an 802.11g network, this standard delivers much faster transmissions than 802.11b, especially if the 802.11g equipment user MIMO technology and is now much more affordable, it’s also backward compatible with existing 802.11b devices, a typical 802.11g four port router/access point will $60, depending on the manufacture.

But if it’s speed and range you’re after, 802.11n is the way to go, event though it’s a draft specification, it’s still your best bet in terms of performance and the router and can be update with firmware flash once the spec is made final.

Not all wireless routers are created equal and like anything else, you’ll pay more extra features, if you plan on running a network using only 802.11n components, make sure your router has the ability to lock out system using 802.11b devices, which can impede your networks overall performance, ideally, your router will provide severally choices for a mixed network if you have some legacy hardware.

Nearly all routers come with built-in security these days, look for a model that can do both wired equivalent privacy (WEP) and wi-fi protected access (WPA) and WPA-2 encryption, in addition, make sure your router support network address translation (NAT) for firewall protection.

Finally look for the wi-fi protected setup (WPS) sticker, which indicates that the router conforms to wi-fi alliance standard that make installation and security configuration easy, you can add extra security if the router support MAC address filtering and allows you to hide your SSID (Service Set Identifier) from the public.

Setting it All Up
Once you’ve selected your wireless gear, pick a central location for the router and your modem, and place the antennas in an unobstructed are, most routers comes with a CD that provides setup instructions and wizards to quickly get you up and running, finally be sure to change the routers default password to prevent unauthorized access to your network.

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