Networking – Wireless

                   An Introduction to the Wireless Age – Updated


This is an updated article reflecting current changes affecting wireless routers. It was first written in 2007 and updated last May. Wireless in the home is now common with use of tablets, smartphones, laptops, and other Wi-Fi gadgets.


The two Internet providers in Hershey’s Mill are Comcast and Verizon. Either can connect you to the Internet. With Comcast you need to purchase or rent a cable modem. If you purchase a cable modem (a Motorola Surfboard SB5101 is recommended) the price is around $60 and is available at BestBuy stores. If you rent from Comcast the rental is $7/month.  In addition, for wireless operation, you must purchase a wireless router. Verizon offers a free wireless router with their plan. Only DSL Internet service is available in the Mill. I recommend Comcast as being the more reliable.


Many computer users in the Mill have more than one computer hooked up to the Internet. Dual computers are popular because both users can be on the Internet at the same time with no interference or drop in speed. The preferred way to do this is to run an Ethernet cable from both computers to a standard wired router which in turn is connected to your Cable or DSL modem. What is nice about this setup is that there is no software involved in the installation. The problem of course is fishing cable through walls or floors. Most of us don’t envy this task! You can leave this job to a professional.


An easier alternative for the home user is to add the second desktop computer to the Internet by installing a wireless router and adding a wireless adapter to this second desktop PC.  Some of these adapters can plug into the existing USB connectors in the front or rear of the PC. This makes it easy because you don’t have to open the PC. If your second PC is a laptop, you have the wireless adapter built in. Then all you need to install is a wireless router. You may have heard that networking computers is very difficult. Well, it’s not that hard but you do have to follow the directions exactly. There is some software to install and you have to proceed systematically. The results can add a huge convenience factor to your computing, particularly for those who have a desktop computer on one level of the home and use a laptop on another level.


The following diagram shows how a router can connect to different devices.




The price for the typical home wireless router is between $50 and $70. USB wireless adapters are around $30. Brand wise I prefer Linksys (Cisco). An E1200 model is a good choice. Netgear and D-Link are also good. There are many different “gadgets” and variations on how to connect everything when it comes to networking. Get more information by coming to our PC Club meeting. We meet the 2nd Tuesday of each month at 7:00 PM in the Ardmore room of the Community Center.

Don Trauger – Kennett