What Do I Need to Hook Up a Wireless Router

Wondering "what do I need to hook up a wireless router?" Setting up a wireless network is a simple process, but you do need the right equipment to make it function properly.

Wireless Router
Obviously, the first piece of equipment you need to hook up a wireless router is the wireless router itself. Plan carefully when selecting the wireless router for your home network. Make sure it's compatible with any existing wireless network adaptors, or upgrade your network adaptors to utilize faster speeds or advanced technology.

802.11n is the newest, fastest wireless protocol, but 802.11n wireless routers are expensive, and the protocol isn't yet finalized. 802.11g wireless routers are the most common home network routers. They provide a good blend of performance and price with few interference problems.

Internet Connection
You don't need a modem to establish a wireless computer network, but you will need one if you want to share an Internet connection among your devices. Ask your Internet provider if you can get a modem with a built-in wireless router; this saves you the cost of a separate device and is simple to install. If your provider doesn't offer wireless routers, you'll need a modem with an Ethernet connection to make everything work. 

Ethernet Cables
To connect a modem to your wireless router, you need an Ethernet cable. You'll also need an Ethernet cable to make a wired connection to at least one computer in order to set up your wireless network. Wired network devices also require Ethernet cables, such as printers, external hard drives and scanners.

In order to set up a wireless router for the first time, you need at least one wired connection. You can do this by connecting a computer to the router with an Ethernet cable. Once the network is running, you can remove the cable and connect to your network wirelessly. As a rule, it's a good idea to keep a desktop computer connected to the router with a wire and to use this computer for network maintenance. If this proves impractical, keep an Ethernet cable handy so that you can configure your router through a wired connection when necessary.

Software Drivers
Wireless routers come with installation software. Without the installation software, you can hook up the wireless router, but chances are good that it won't work. If you don't have installation software, you may be able to download it from the manufacturer's Web site.

Be sure to check the manufacturer's Web site for any software updates before you begin installation. A new version of the installer package or the drivers could be available. These software patches address common installation and security problems; using them can save you a lot of trouble.

Wireless Network Adapters
You don't need network adaptors to set up a wireless router, but you do need them if you want to establish a wireless network. The wireless router broadcasts a wireless signal, and wireless network adaptors receive that signal and enable your devices to connect to the network. Without wireless network adaptors in your devices, a wireless network is useless.

Some devices, like video game systems and wireless printers, will have wireless network adapters already installed. Laptops and computers may need wireless network cards or external USB adapters to send and receive wireless signals.

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