The advent of wireless routers have enabled homes to have multiple simultaneous Internet connections. So what exactly is a router?, it works the same way as your cable modem, but instead of allowing just one input they can allow multiple inputs. Routers can be cable enabled, or can transmit a wireless signal via radio waves.
If you view an image of a Netgear router from it's rear, you will see six different inputs. One input is for the power supply , another is for the telephone line, and the other four are ethernet inputs. If the router is just cable enabled, then it can support four simultaneous connections via ethernet cables.
For wireless routers they can support many more. A signal is sent via radio waves, and anyone with a wireless enabled PC can communicate with the router and receive an Internet connection. The wireless router will need to be connected to a host PC, then all the other PC's will 'borrow' it's connection.
The host computer will have the option to select the settings for the router. The first option will be to enter a username and password for an ISP. Without the login information the router will not be able to connect to the Internet.
An error many unaware users make is to stop editing the settings at this stage. Without selecting any wireless settings they are potentially allowing any computer from their neighbourhood use their router.
To begin with, you should think about the physical location of a Router. This can optimise wireless connectivity. The physical placement of a router will significantly effect the length of the wireless signal.
For optimal distance, the router should be placed on a high shelf away from equipment that also emit radio or micro waves. The antenna of the router needs to be placed in a vertical position.
You will first need to select the name of your network, called a 'SSID'. The name can contain 32 characters. The 'SSID' will be transmitted by the router, and this is how users will know which network to connect to. If your wishing to keep your wireless network secure, you may wish not to name the network after yourself or something which can identify you.
The next option will be to select who can access your network. At this point you can select whether to enable or disable wireless connections to your router. If you enable wireless connections, then you be asked whether or not you wish to broadcast your 'SSID'.
If you enable broadcasting of your 'SSID', then any wireless enabled computers locally will see your network. They can then attempt to connect to your server. Whether they can will depend on the security options selected. For increased security, you can restrict access to your wireless network.
Wireless routers allow for an access list of trusted computers. Only
the computers on the list will be allowed to connect to your router /
network. You will have to enter each computer's 'Device Name' and 'MAC
A final security option will be to encrypt all data transmitted by the network. This will increase privacy by making it difficult for anyone locally to snoop on your network. Different routers offer various encryption techniques. Some common encryption options for netgear routers are WEP, WPA-PSK and WPA-802.1x.