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Simplest Overview Required for Wifi

Posted on 2004-10-01
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Last Modified: 2013-11-30
Hi Folks,

When it comes to networking I'm a bit of a dummy I admit.  But it doesn't help that I seem to get contradictory information left, right and centre about the basic set up of a wireless network.  I'm hoping someone can spell it out for me in simple words made up of big letters.

My current inventory is this:-
Two desktop PCs;
A wireless router;
A cable modem;
Two wireless network cards;
An ethernet card;
A wire ;0)

My router is connected to my modem - that much I know to be correct.

This leaves me with two options:
a)  I insert the wireless cards into the two PCs and connect the router with both PCs wirelessly;
b)  I need to have one of the PCs connected with a wire to the router in order for any other PCs to connect wirelessly.

I've gone for option b at the moment and that works, but is there a way for option a to work?  How do people with a single laptop, for example, use wireless in their houses without a wired connection somewhere?

Can someone please explain, in crayon, what the correct situation is.

Thanks,

Jes
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Question by:SoggyP
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RLGSC earned 125 total points
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Jes,

Generally, the wireless Router connects to the cable modem using the port marked WAN. Your systems connect to the router EITHER through installing Wiireless cards in the systems OR (and yes, I do mean OR) the wire into one of the ports marked LAN.

In my experience with working with a fairly wide range of such routers, there is no need (after the initial setup) for any local system to be connected via a hardwired connection. Initial setup often requires at least one wired connection. Many such routers ship with the wireless section disabled in the setup to avoid security issues during setup. Setting encryption keys and passwords over an unencrypted wireless link is a poor idea.

Schematically, normal operation is:

       ISP
        |
    Wired/Wireless Router
        |
        ------------------------------------------------
        |                                                          |
Wired Users                                           Wireless Users
   (optional)                                                 (optional)

The number of wired users is limited by the number of ports (or you need to purchase a freestanding switch). Generally, the number of wireless users is limited by the router-firewalls capacity, or the number of local addresses available through DHCP.  At any given isntant, the number of wired or wireless users may be zero, there is no interaction between their counts, other than the total number of connections.

I hope that the above is helpful.

- Bob (aka RLGSC)
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by:Psyclones
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HI there if I read your question correctly?

I would connect to the router and ensure its configuration is correct setting up a dhcp if available on the router.

Then install the network cards into you pc`s and allow them to obtain ip and dns servers within the confiuration.

You should also ensure you have a passphrase enabled on the wireless router side and configure the same passphrase on your wireless pc`s.

The basic setup to any network is

IP Address of 192.168.0.xxx   xxx=1 to 254  different address for each component.

ie   router could be 192.168.0.1
     pc1  192.168.0.2
     pc2  192.168.0.3

primary and sec dns as per your isp`s settings

you should then setup pc1 to have

ip addr 192.168.0.2
subnet  255.255.255.0
gateway 192.168.0.1

pri dns   xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx
sec dns  xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx

pc 2 should have the same as above but with an ip addr of 192.168.0.3

if setup correctly this should enable you to connect to the router and use the cable modem to access the net from any pc configure wirelessly or using a lan cat 5 cable.

as long as you configure them this way it should work.

hope this helps
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by:cagri
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Dear Jes,

Excuse me if I am missing some point, but, in the setup you mentioned, there are absolutely not reason to not to choose the first option. I mean the access point does not require a wired PC to work.

Regards,
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by:lrmoore
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Agree that option a) will work perfectly fine for you. You do not have to have any PC wired to it.

HOWEVER, having said that, if you ever want to update the firmware of the router (most of them will need an update at some point), then you MUST connect to the router from a wired PC. Trying to perform an upgrade to the router over wireless is verboten.

Other than that one small detail, no wires necessary anywhere.

happy, happy, joy, joy...

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Author Comment

by:SoggyP
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Hi Folks,

Good stuff so far, please keep it coming.

The impression I'm getting so far is :-

1)  Set up the PC to the router with a wired connection;
2)  Remove the wire ;0)

As I said, crayon.

Later,

Jes
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