What goes where?
Last week we looked at some of the benefits of home networking and key points that you need to remember as you introduce a wireless environment in your home.
Let's start by taking a look at routers. Routers can be wired or wireless and allow you connect multiple devices in your home network.
Generally, most homes tend to connect to using basic configurations for their network — determine what it is you want out of yours and make a list of those requirements before you get started.
The two primary devices we commonly reference when talking about home networks are modems and routers. Modems provide the link/connection to the internet and routers allow you to connect multiple devices within your home network.
When we talk about wireless routers we need to know which Wi-Fi technology they come equipped with.
There are three wireless technologies currently in use today:
— 802.11b is now obsolete but still supported by some systems
— 802.11g range approximately 150 feet
— 802.11n is the newest technology and its range and speed is typically three times faster than its predecessor
When setting up our networks, we need to ensure all of our devices are compatible and those selected will provide us with the results we have envisioned. The WLAN (wireless) in your PC determines which router is suitable and you should try and ensure the wireless capacity of your existing devices is equal to that of your router for optimum performance.
Things you need to know about routers:
Routers, just like PCs sometimes require updates which are called firmware upgrades (similar to those we perform on our PCs). Failure to carry out these updates will ultimately result in less than favourable performance.
Routers are intelligent and can lose their configurations; this can occur when we experience power outages/surges and also when we depress the rest button on the device. When a routers configuration has been wiped, it will not work and will require reconfiguration.
Location is everything!
There are certain elements you need to consider when deciding upon router placement.
Wireless routers emit signals therefore good line of sight is required. Walls, surrounding metal, obstructions in line of sight will result in decreased signal strength.
Remember that wireless devices can often conflict with the frequencies of others within range such as microwaves and other appliances, so in the event this happens it is recommended the frequency of the router be adjusted.
Wireless signals resemble a net therefore higher placement in house generally yields better results as the signal radiates downwards.
Next week we'll take a look at range extenders and how they can enhance a wireless network.