getting wireless internet first time, setting up wireless router

 

Overview

this is for getting started with internet service, or getting

step 1: getting Internet Service from an ISP

  1. turn on windows firewall on all your connection. if you have a better firewall, such as mcafee, norton 360, or something provided by your antivirus, use that instead and configure it so you can use wireless printers or other network printers and such. find out from the printer vendor what TCP/IP ports the printer uses. the tech support these days may not know the difference between a TCP port number (0-65535) or UDP port number (0-65535) which is what you want, an IP address (listed under "Ports" in windows printer config so their thinking may be messed up and they might argue for hours - an IP address is not a port) and a USB port number (0-127).
  2. unless you know you are going to be using File and Printer Sharing to share files between computers or printers (use a print server instead, it's safer), turn File and Printer Sharing OFF on all your network connections. it's Conficker worm bait.
  3. buy a router. maybe a modem if you don't want to rent one.
  4. buy a surge protector for the modem and router.
  5. buy any PCI/USB wireless cards you need. I suggest Linksys WMP600N and AE1000. don't bother with the software, it's a pain and you don't need it.

step 2: turn on firewall.

you will be writing a bunch of router settings down on paper so you can file it. or you can just print the screens. maybe use a labeler to affix to your router so you always have it around (not on the ventilation holes please).

see my ISP page if you need an ISP. there are many more out there. check your local listings. this is just a liting of technologies and what kiinds of speeds they offer, and what the technology is like. This might help you make an informed decision.

contact an ISP and get internet service, and have them install it.

The ISP may require installation. it usually helps to get the installation help, because there is usually something that goes wrong that needs to be handled. unless it's cable and you have already had service before, but getting the correct line in the correct room is the hard part, DIY you may not get the correct line in the room you want. so you end up with another $85 service call anyway...

So have them get it right the first time in the rooms you want the kinds of service you want.

install a gateway or router so you can have multiple computers (and maybe wireless)

a gateway or router provides the ability to service multiple computers off of one IP address given by the ISP. they also can (if you buy it with wireless) provide wireless for your wireless devices like laptops, xbox, wii, other gaming devices, HDTV, blu-ray boxes. routers can additionally do smartphones, iphones, ipods, streaming media. but gateways MAY be able to do those, 50% chance. read the manual first.

  1. use an ethernet cable to plug in the router to your PC. this step may not be necessary, because most routers can connect wirelessly (an unlocked/unencrypted connection).
  2. login to router. I usually forgo the router's software, most of the time the software just doesn't work. with linksys routers the password is admin. the address is http://192.168.1.1 or if you have different router it could be http://192.168.0.1 or http://192.168.2.1
  3. for Belkin routers, set ISP to your ISP
  4. set your timezone and the time. click both save and after screen refreshes, apply if such buttons exist.
  5. Administration. set the router's access password. write it down on paper. click both save and after screen refreshes, apply if such buttons exist. this will cause a router reboot and your signal will be disconnected.
  6. after 5 minutes, go to the ip address again and login with new password.
  7. wireless, manual.
  8. SSID broadcast enabled on both, set an ssid name for both, each different (write it down on paper), 5GHz on 40MHz only, 2.4GHz on 20MHz only, 5GHz on channel 161, 2.4GHz on channels 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, something that isn't used by another router (you can tell when your signal goes out or flaky). use the Hotspotter HS-20 or network mapping/discovery software to figure out which channels are open. it doesn't do 5GHz.
  9. wireless, security.
  10. WPA2 Personal, AES encryption, set passkeys and write this stuff down.
  11. Security, firewall.
  12. ipv6, ipv4 SPI firewall enabled, filter anonymous on, filter multicast off, filter nat off, filter ident on, proxy off, activex off, java off, cookies off. click both save and after screen refreshes, apply if such buttons exist.
  13. if you want guest access, enable it if you want.
  14. file your paper or label your router well

step 3: connect your devices.

login with your devices using your wireless ssid and passkey. you can also use WPS, but it's like old sneakernet in the floppies days, except you're running back and forth to the router.

lose a connection?

right click on connection, repair. if that doesn't work, power-cycle modem and router, let them boot for 5 minutes, then right click on connection, repair.

cable modems
you don't have to rent the modem you know. you can buy one of these. (although it is nice when you can have comcast replace the modem for you if they think it's the modem resetting on you).
cable modem, available from newegg.com $
more secure. best use is with a router.
cable modem wireless n gateway, available from newegg.com $
not as safe as a router. gives you basic wireless on the cheap.
DSL modems
you don't have to rent the modem you know. you can buy one of these. usually has terrible upload rate (896kbps).
[A]DSL modems, available from newegg.com $
Routers
Linksys E4200 dual-band 802.11b/g/a/n router 300+450Mbps, available from newegg.com $159.99
firmware seems solid as a rock.
Linksys E4200V2 dual-band 802.11b/g/a/n router 450Mbps+450Mbps, available from newegg.com $199.99
Linksys WRTZ54GL wireless 802.11b/g, available from newegg.com $
can take dd-wrt firmware to make it enterprise-class, makes it very nice.
apple airport extreme dual-band 802.11b/g/a/n router, available from newegg.com $179.99
weak signal. needs external triband antenna installation. works with both mac and pc. solid as a rock. pc doesn't need software unless you are going to connect to time capcule hard drive or to usb drives or to usb/apple printer.
external tri-band antenna for apple airport extreme, available from powerbookmedic.com $124.95
external tri-band antenna for apple airport extreme, available from quickertek.com about $129.95 DIY, quickertek install $179.95, buy router with ext antenna already installed $349.95