Wi-Fi or Network Cable
With most Modem Routers you will have the option to use a network cable to connect the modem to the computer or you can use Wi-Fi which is wireless.
The advantages of connecting via a network cable is that the Internet connection from the Modem Router to the computer is usually faster and more stable. Wi-Fi has the advantage of not having any wires which is very useful when using a Laptop as well as other mobile devices.
A Network Cable can be used to connect a Modem Router to a computer. The cable used is called Cat 5 (Category 5), Cat 5e, or Cat 6 depending on the level of performance required. Cat 5 provides performance up to 100Mb/s while Cat 5e (Category 5 enhanced) is used for 1000Mb/s (1Gb/s). Cat 6 provides performance up to 10Gb/s and is backwards compatible with Cat 5. The maximum length of cable that can be used from the Modem Router to the computer is 100 metres.
The connectors are called RJ-45 (Registered Jack-45) which look similar to the smaller RJ-11 telephone connectors. The RJ-45 connector plugs into the back of your computer. The computer motherboard may provide an RJ-45 socket or you may have a Network Interface Card plugged into one of the expansion ports of your computer.
You can make your own Network Cables which is useful in that you can cut the cable to the desired length. Details can be found here
In order to access the Internet via Wi-Fi you will need a Wireless Modem Router or you can add a Wireless Access Point to a Modem Router that does not have Wi-Fi. Your computer will also need to include Wi-Fi. Modern Laptop computers are usually Wi-Fi capable, and Desktop computers can easily be upgraded with a PCI or USB Wi-Fi adaptor.
If your Internet Service Provider (ISP) included a Wireless Modem Router then they will supply you with instructions such as the SSID and Wireless key so that you can set up your Wi-Fi connection. SSID (Service Set Identifier) is the name given to your Wi-Fi connection and the Wireless key is a password that is used to encrypt the Wi-Fi signal so that it is secure.
Modem Router's Wi-Fi settings:
You should be able to access your Modem Router's Wi-Fi settings by connecting your computer to it via a Network Cable and then opening a web browser. You should type in the address supplied with the Modem Router (such as http://192.168.1.254) into the browser and should then have access to your Modem Router's settings.
SSID, Wireless Key & Wireless Encryption:
If you look at the Wi-Fi (wireless) settings then you will see the SSID which you have the option to change, and the Wireless key which can also be changed. The type of wireless security is usually WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) or WPA2 which are much more secure than WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy). Your computer's Wi-Fi adaptor should also be set the same type of wireless security (preferably WPA2).
You can also change the channel in your Modem Router's wireless settings. Usually you not need to do this as it is set automatically, however if all your neighbours Wi-Fi is also operating on the same channel as yours then it is possible that they could affect your Wi-Fi causing it to have a poor performance. A useful tool for determining which channel your neighbours Wi-Fi is set to as well as other wireless details is inSSIDer
and is freely available from www.inssider.com
. You should select a channel that is different from your neighbours Wi-Fi and preferably either channel 1,6,or 11.
When researching Wireless Modem Routers you may come across the phrase: - 'Wireless-G' or 'Wireless-N' for example. These are terms referring to IEEE 802.11g and IEEE 802.11n wireless networking standards set by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. 802.11a, 802.11b, and 802.11g are older standards, while today you will probably be using 802.11n or the new 802.11ac standards which allow for faster and longer ranging Wi-Fi. Below is a list of the more common standards along with the frequency, range and speed of the Wi-Fi:
These are theoretical speeds and ranges only
Computer's Wi-Fi settings:
|IEEE Standard||Frequency||Speed||Range indoors|
Your ISP may have supplied a disk to help you set up your Wi-Fi on your computer or you may have bought a Wi-Fi adaptor for your computer which will also come with a disk containing a driver and software for setting up your Wi-Fi connection.
Alternatively, you should see a Wi-Fi icon in the notification area (bottom-right of taskbar) which when clicked will show you a selection of wireless networks in your area. You should select your wireless network name (SSID) and click on 'Connect'. It will then ask you for a security key which will be your wireless key (password). Enter your wireless key and click 'OK' and it will then connect your computer to the Internet.
How do i know if my computer has a Wireless adaptor built in?:
To determine if your computer has a Wireless adaptor then go to the 'Device Manager'
and click on the arrow next to 'Network Adaptors'
. If you have a Wireless adaptor then it will be listed here.