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Turn your cheap laptop into a wireless internet laptop

It's easy... but first let's see what wireless technology can do for you. Having a wireless internet laptop can be to your advantage in many ways... After setting up your first wireless internet laptop you can connect it to several other laptops and PCs and they will have one common wireless network to share and copy files, use printers and play music and multi-player games. Other than this you simply get wireless access to the internet. You can take your laptops up to 300 feet away from your router and still have great internet connection.

 

What you need to set up a wireless Internet laptop

 

In order to go wireless internet you need to have high speed internet connection. Wireless internet equipment does not work on dial-up 56k modems, you need to have a high-speed Cable or DSL Internet connection.

 

Why does Internet connection matter?

 

Setting up Wireless Internet laptop & Home Wireless NetworkBecause... the easiest way to set-up a wireless internet laptop at home is to create a home wireless network. Now if you're wondering how a home wireless network is established, it's simple: you use your existing high speed Internet connection in combination with a wireless router. A router connects directly to the Cable modem or DSL modem.

 

What is a wireless router?

 

A router does two things: first it provides a wireless network, and second it makes internet available to that same wireless network. A router becomes an access point that transmits wired internet through radio waves, kind of like a tower transmits to your cell phone.

 

Becoming a wireless laptop with a wireless network card

 

In order for your laptop to recognize the radio waves transmitted by the router you need to install a wireless network card (also called NIC card, PCMCIA card, PC card, Bus card LAN card or Internet card) in each laptop your planning to be part of your wireless network. Installing  Wireless NIC Cardthe wireless card is easy and when installing it Windows will ask you to set up a unique id for each laptop. This way each laptop will recognize each other on your wireless network and you'll be able copy files between laptops and share Internet connection, printer and other peripherals. That's all there is to it... now you have a wireless internet laptop. Wireless NIC card - a credit card-size object that fits into the network card slot, commonly located on the side of a laptop, the NIC receives and transmits signals from/to a wireless network.

 

The location of the router or access point is somewhat important

 

Depending on your router, up to 32 computers can be connected to the same home wireless network ... so the location of the router should not be clogged with other electronic equipment that transmits radio waves on the same frequency (2.4 GHz). Place your wireless router away from computers, televisions, microwaves and cordless phones etc. Note: when you have a wireless connection a wired one can still be used. They do not interfere with one another so you can leave your wired connection in place. Wireless connection is not slow! While wireless products cannot equal the speed of a wired Ethernet connection, many allow users to transmit information at an average transfer rate up to 11 Mbits/sec (1.375 MB/sec), or nearly 25 times faster than a 56K dial-up connection.

 

What is Wi-Fi or what do you need to know about the wireless standard?

 

Currently there are several wireless standards offered, and they differ in transfer speed, frequency and distance range. The Wi-Fi is one of the standards that tends to be less expensive and is currently the most widely used. And for it's low price it delivers the best connection range (approximately 1000 ft in open areas, up to 400 ft in closed areas). Often Wi-Fi is referred to as 2.4GHz IEEE 802.11(b), and it transfers data at up to 22 Mbits/sec (2.75 MBytes/sec) on a frequency of 2.4 GHz. When shopping for wireless routers and NIC cards make sure they are of the same Wi-Fi standard, though, they can be bought from different manufacturers. Note: products won't be compatible across standards (a Wi-Fi router will not work with a Wi-Fi5 NIC). Here's some Wi-Fi compliant routers and NIC cards that you will need to purchase to set up your wireless laptop and establish your home wireless network...

 

I found these best deals on www.tigerdirect.com:

 

If your laptop doesn't have wireless NIC card built-in then get it here. Before you buy, make sure that your laptop has one NIC card slot available (this slot may be already taken by the 10/100 Ethernet card that you use for your wired connection - wired and wireless NIC cards look a like and fit into the same slots - then in the worth case you could change them as you need them - NIC cards are easy to put in or take out by pushing a button next to the slot.)

 

Trendware 11Mbps Wireless CardBus PCMCIA Network Adapter

 

Low interference and high susceptibility guarantee reliable performance

 

PCMCIA CardBus interface; supports hot swap and true plug-and-play.

 

Built-in Diversity Antenna with LEDs indicating Link status

 

Uses 2.4 GHz frequency band

 

Provides drivers for Windows 98/ME/2000/XP

 

Distance coverage 30 to 100 meters indoors, 100 to 300 meters outdoors

 

... and here's a bit more expensive but faster card

 

U.S. Robotics 22Mbps Wireless PC Card

 

Faster speed, greater range, better coverage!

 

Built-in security protects against hackers

 

Simple 1-2-3 Installation

 

Compatible with all 11 Mbps 802.11b wireless standard products - automatically adjusts to the fastest rate possible: 22 Mbps or 11 Mbps

 

Greater range - better area coverage than conventional 11 Mbps wireless products

 

Superior security: 64/128/256-bit WEP encryption provides improved protection over 11 Mbps wireless products

 

The second thing you would have to purchase is the wireless router that you will connect directly to your high speed internet port - this would be your DSL or Cable modem.

 

TRENDnet TEW-311BRP IEEE 802.11b 22Mbps Wireless Access Point

 

Provides up to 22Mbps data speed. Also functions as a firewall, protecting your network from hackers. Surf and share the Internet with TRENDnet’s TEW-311BRP with the ease of knowing that your computers and information are safely protected.

 

IEEE 802.11b Wireless Standard

 

Fixed 2dBi Antennas

 

Supports Cable Modem/xDSL Modem with Dynamic/Static IP

 

Channels: 11 Channels (US & Canada)

 

Wireless Data Rate: 22Mbps, 11Mbps, 5.5Mbps, 2Mbps, and 1Mbps

 

Frequency Range: 2.4GHz

 

Distance coverage 30 to 100 meters indoors, 100 to 300 meters outdoors

 

Provides drivers supporting Windows 98 (SE)/ME/2000/XP

 

If you're only planning to have one wireless laptop now and in the nearest future than you will save money by buying a Wireless Kit that is a router and a card sold in a bundle:

 

TRENDnet TEW-311BRP IEEE 802.11b - 22Mbps Wireless Network Kit

 

Router

 

Same as above

 

NIC card

 

Extended PCMCIA Type II

 

Internal Patch Antenna

 

LED Indicator: Link

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