Thursday, May 26, 2011

A solution for too many computers- Wireless routers!

My dad has many computers in his house- I wouldn’t be surprised if he still had the first computer the family bought in 1990. In a world where computers become obsolete in two years, he has computers that are old enough to rent cars.

All of these computers are still being used and they need to be connected to the internet. Since dad’s computers are all over the place, the best way to connect them is through a wireless router.

Wireless routers use radio frequencies to transmit signals to computers; then there is no need to have Cat 5 cables all over the house hooked from computer to router. The client computers that are receiving the signal either have a network adapter installed(either internally or externally) or built in, such as in netbooks.

There are standards for the different strengths and speeds of the different types of wireless signals. Here is a chart that details the differences between the standards:

Standard Name
Maximum Speed
5 GHz
54 Megabits per second
2.4 GHz
11 Megabits per second
2.4 GHz
54 Megabits per second
5 GHz
100 Megabits per second

Since my dad’s computers were slow and running into interference from the cordless phones he has all over the house (cordless phones are in the 2.4 GHz band and can make wireless internet connection in both the 802.11b and 802.11g bands weaken), he decided to upgrade his current router to the Linksys N Dual Band router- it’s a dual band router that can run internet connections on both the 2.4 GHz band and the 5 GHz band. He asked me to help set up the router with him. Setting up new routers isn’t difficult, but it’s also not simply just plug and play, so I will go over the steps here in order to give an idea on how it is done.  We did this using an XP operating system.

1.       The first step is to unplug in the old router and plug in the new one. Once it is set, the router should start blinking.

2.       Go to the Control Panel and click on Network Connections. The different internet connection icons should appear, including one with an icon that says that it is the LAN connection and that it is disabled. Click on it to enable it.

3.       If a firewall pops up, depending on the firewall, choose the option that indicates a “Trusted Zone” instead of an “Internet Zone”.

4.       If using DSL (as opposed to a cable modem) then at this point a logon and password is needed. The ISP providing the DSL service should have provided it when signing up.

5.       Open a web browser and type in the IP address. Generally, it should be A pop up asking for a user ID and password will come up at his point; this is from the router. This should also be provided in the router packaging, but if it is lost try Just put in the make of the router and it should provide a default user id/password. Make sure to change this as soon as possible.

6.       Once that is typed in, the router’s manufacturer webpage will appear. Since we used Linksys, the Cisco page came up and there were several tabs to select to configure the router

Some of the configuration options include naming each band of the frequency with an SSID, choosing the right wireless security (WPA2 is currently the most secure option out there).  Go ahead and check the other tabs to determine how the router should work, and save the settings.

Open up a new browser and type in a new link. If the router is working like it should be, the browser will work and the internet is working again. If there are issues, check to make sure that all the cables are plugged in (yes, this is a clichĂ©, but it did happen to us early on during this router installation) and the directions were followed, including the manufacturer directions. If that doesn’t work, technical support from the manufacturer or technical message boards should be another option for help.

Tomsho, G., Tittel, E., & Johnson, D. (2007). Guide to Networking Essentials. Boston: Thomson Course Technology.

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