Lots of people no longer use a desktop computer. Instead they have a laptop computer, because they have come down a great deal in cost and, being portable, they can be used anywhere in the house or garden. Kids also take their computers to school and bring them home again as do numerous office workers and sales representatives.
The fall in cost of laptop computers means that it is occasionally hardly worth buying a desktop computer. Other households have both laptop and desktop computers in them. In the past, these all had to be coupled by co-axial cable and Ethernet cards.
This was the cheapest and fastest manner of linking computers to a network yet it produced the fastest connection - a standard that is still used 100 megabits per second (mbps).
Wireless transmission units called residential gateways or routers worked at 54 mbps or half speed but at a much higher price. Now we have the third generation of wireless router. The first was 802.11b technology, the second 802.11g and the latest is 802.11n. B and G worked at 54 mbps, but N transmits at 300 mbps, so it is similar in speed to Ethernet and there are no wires to install.
Therefore, wireless routers or Wi-Fi technology has become a popular manner of connecting SOHO networks, although there are still those who do not realize how much the apparatus has come down in cost. Connecting computers in a house with a Wi-Fi router is quite straight forward.
The first thing that you will need in order to connect your equipment without wires is at least one Internet enabled computer that also has wireless capability. All laptops are enabled, but most desktops are not. This can easily be fixed by inserting a wireless card or wireless unit.
Let's say that you want to connect your laptop to the Net using wireless (WI-FI) technology. You will require a connection from an Internet Service Provider (an ISP) and a router or residential gateway. Normally, you would plug the line from the ISP directly into your computer, but in this instance, you plug it into the wireless router.
Then you turn your laptop on and wait for it to find the Wi-Fi links available to it. Yours will be on that list as will the Wi-Fi connections of all your neighbours. Decide on your Wi-Fi network and that is all there is to it.
You can plug desktop computers directly into the router or you can plug a wireless card into the desktop and hey presto! Both your computers are networked and on line. Would you like to add a third or fourth? No problem! Either plug them in or enable them to transmit wirelessly.
Modern 802.11g routers will transmit and receive for 400 metres (1,400 feet) at up to 300 mpbs, so if you leave it like this, all the kids on the block will be able to make use of your connection. To avoid that, read your router's handbook and define a password, so that your neighbours can not log in and appropriate your bandwidth.
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