Q

Setting up a simple network using Wi-Fi

I would like to connect two computers through a router. One of them is a laptop, and both are Windows XP. I would like to connect them Wi-Fi. Could you please tell me what hardware I need and how to define the software (IP, etc.)?
My philosophy on these issues is to keep it simple. For a simple network, consider using a combination Wi-Fi router/firewall that has at least a 4 port switch built in. Configure the router to handle all IP addresses using DHCP and to pass the DNS information on from your ISP. Connect the WAN connection on the router to your ISP's network device (for example your ISPs cable modem). Ensure that the router is functioning as a firewall. For the wireless settings, configure either WEP or WPA (preferred), and make sure you implement MAC Address filters and don't broadcast your SSID for security (this won't stop a dedicated hacker, but the casual observer/script kiddie will typically be stumped). Finally, simply plug your hard wired computer into one of the switch ports on the router.

For router recommendations, consider Linksys, D-Link or Dell. Personally, I recommend the D-Link or Dell as I have found them to be more reliable.
This was first published in June 2005

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