DIY Network

Installing a Wireless Home Network

This DIY Basic will provide tips on installing a wireless home network.

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Step 1: Watch an Overview Video

Step 2: Install a GFCI Outlet

A wireless network is called a wireless local area network (WLAN).

Start by installing a ground fault circuit interrupter outlet (GFCI). You’ll need GFCI outlet, circuit tester, needle-nose pliers, flat-head screwdriver.

Turn off power to circuit and tape DO NOT TURN BACK ON sign to breaker. If circuits are not labeled, plug radio into existing outlet; when circuit goes out radio will go off.

Remove cover plate and screws holding outlet in box.

Check wires with circuit tester to be sure power is off. Disconnect wires.

Separate wires into 'line' or power supply and 'load,' which carries power to additional outlets on circuit.Make sure two sets of wires are not touching.

Turn power back on. With circuit tester, determine which set of wires carries power.

Turn power back off. Connect power-supply wires to terminals marked 'line;' connect load wires to terminals marked 'load.'

White wires go on silver screws; black wires go on brass or gold screws.

Connect bare ground wire to green screw.

Step 3: Test the Outlet

Replace outlet in box, screw in place, and replace cover.

Turn power back on. Plug radio into outlet.

Press black button on outlet: if radio goes off, outlet is working. Press red button to reset.

Step 4: Install a Wireless Router

For one WLAN, you’ll need one wireless router. Install router in central location. Computers closer to router will have faster connections than computers farther away.

Tip: Heavy wood and plaster walls can weaken signal.

Connect router to power outlet and broadband modem.

Tip: For dial-up support, buy router with RS-232 serial port.

Choose network name (SSID). Router and all computers on network must have same SSID.

Turn on router’s firewall and other security features.

Enable wired equivalent privacy (WEP) at access point to guard against casual eavesdropping.

Step 5: Program the Adapters

Set adapters for infrastructure mode. In infrastructure mode, adapters automatically detect and set WLAN channel number to match router.

Insert adapter into each computer.

Tip: WI-FI adapters require internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) in host computer. All adapters must have same parameter settings.