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Turning Your Home into a Wi-Fi Network

Step 1 - Before Beginning

Creating a customized home Wi-Fi network is a great weekend project that you can accomplish with some patience and the proper tools. Before you dive into the wireless world, make sure you know what lies ahead of you. Make a thorough analysis of your networking needs, what you need to accomplish, and what you expect to receive as a reasonable return on your investment. Assess your networking needs; determine how many workstations you'll need to connect and where you can best utilize them. We recommend that you have the following equipment and information:

  • A Wireless Router
    Wireless Router

  • Wireless adapters and/or a wireless-enabled system or laptop
    Wireless Adapters

  • A broadband connection to the Internet (typically via cable or DSL modem)
  • An Ethernet cable
    Ethernet Cable
  • Pen and paper to write down current network settings, such as IP and MAC addresses
    Write down current network settings
  • The IP address assigned to your system by your ISP if you use a static IP address
  • If you use DSL, the username and password assigned to you by your ISP
  • The MAC address for all wireless network adapters

The core of any Wi-Fi network is a wireless router or gateway. For our demonstration, we are using the D-Link DI-624 AirPlus Xtreme G 802.11g router. The Airplus Xtreme G DI-624 delivers transfer rates up to 108Mbps in the 2.4GHz frequency and offers enhanced security to protect wireless communications. You'll also need a wireless adapter for each system that's connecting to the network.

We installed two D-Link AirPlus Xtreme G 802.11g wireless adapters: a DWL-G650 PC Card adapter for a Windows 2000 notebook PC and a DWL-G520 PCI adapter for a secondary desktop running Windows XP Home Edition. Plus, the DWL-G650 and DWL-G520 also include a configuration utility to discover available wireless networks and create and save detailed connectivity profiles for those networks most often accessed. The primary PC, connected to the router via Ethernet cable, was running Windows XP Professional.

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