As we mention above, if you donā™t purchase a warranty, youā™ll probably need
to contact the product manufacturer for support and warranty service
instead of the store or online outlet where you purchased the product.
Customer and Technical Support
Good technical support is one of those things that you donā™t appreciate until
you canā™t get it. For support, check whether the manufacturer has toll-free or
direct dial numbers for support as well as its hours of availability. Ticklish tech-
nical problems seem to occur at the most inopportune times ā” nights, week-
ends, holidays. If youā™re like us, you usually install this stuff late at night and
on weekends. (We refuse to buy anything from anyone with only 9 a.m.ā“5 p.m.,
Mā“F hours for technical support.) Traditionally, only the high-end (that is to
say, expensive) hardware products came with 24x7 technical support; however,
an increasing number of consumer-priced computer products, including wire-
less home networking products, offer toll-free, around-the-clock, technical
102 Part II: Making Plans
In this part . . .
Now comes the work: installing a wireless network in your
home and getting it up and running. Whether youā™re a Mac
OS 9 or X user or have PCs running a Windows 95 or later
operating system, this part of the book explains how to
install and conļ¬gure your wireless networking equipment.
No doubt youā™re also interested in sharing a single
Internet connection and, of course, making your home
network as secure as possible. This part covers these
topics as well.
Installing Wireless Access Points
In This Chapter
Installing a wireless network access point (AP)
Modifying AP configuration
I n this chapter, we describe the installation and configuration of your wire-
less home networkā™s access point. We explain how to set up and configure
the access point so that itā™s ready to communicate with any and all wireless
devices in your home network. In Chapter 7, we describe the process for
installing and configuring wireless network adapters.
Note: Chapters 6 and 7 deal solely with Windows-based PCs. For specifics on
setting up and installing wireless home networking devices on a Mac, see
Before Getting Started, Get Prepared
Setting up an AP does have some complicated steps where things can go
wrong. You want to reduce the variables to as few as possible to make debug-
ging any problems as easy as possible. So donā™t try to do lots of different
things all at once, like buy a new PC, install XP, add a router, add an AP, and
wireless clients . . . all at the same time. (Go ahead and laugh, but a lot of
people try this.) We recommend that you do the following:
1. Get your PC set up first on a standalone basis.
If you have a new computer system, you probably shouldnā™t need much
setup because it should be preconfigured when you buy it. If you have an
older system, make sure that no major software problems exist before
106 Part III: Installing a Wireless Network
you begin. If you have to install a new operating system (OS), do it now.
Bottom line: Get the PC working on its own fine so that you have no prob-
lems when you add on functionality.
2. Add in your dialup or broadband Internet connection for that one PC.
Ensure that everything is working on your wired connection first. If you
have a broadband modem, get it working on a direct connect to your PC
first. If youā™re using a dialup connection, again ā” get that tested from
your PC so you know that the account is active and works. Make sure
that you can surf the Web (go to a number of sites that you know work)
to ascertain that the information is current (as opposed to coming from
your cache memory storage from prior visits to the site).
3. Choose (and do) which of the following makes sense for your
a. If youā™re sharing a broadband or dialup connection with a
router, add in your home network routing option.
This will entail shifting your connection from your PC to your
router, and your router will have instructions for doing that. After
that is working, make sure that you can add another PC or other
device, if you have one. Make sure that it can connect to the
Internet, as well, and that the two devices can see each other on
the local area network. This establishes that your logical connec-
tivity among all your devices and the Internet is working. Because
many of you reading this book are going to be installing an AP on
an existing broadband or dialup network, weā™re covering the AP
installation first; we cover the installation of the router and your
Internet sharing in Chapter 9.
b. If you plan to use this machine as the gateway to the Internet (as
opposed to a router), turn on Internet sharing on your host PC.
Get that going and working, testing that with other connected
devices. Again, check out Chapter 9 for info on this.
4. Now try adding wireless to the equation: Install your wireless AP and
wireless NICs and disconnect the wired cable from each to see
whether they work ā” one at a time is always simpler.
By now, any problems that occur can be isolated to your wireless connec-
tion. If you need to fall back on dialing into or logging onto your manufac-
turerā™s Web site, you can always plug the wired connection in and do so.
If your AP is in an all-in-one cable modem/router/AP combo, thatā™s okay.
Think about turning on the elements one at a time. If a wizard forces you to
do it all at once, go ahead and follow the wizardā™s steps; just recognize that if
all goes wrong, you can reset the device to the factory settings and start over
(extreme, but usually saves time).
Chapter 6: Installing Wireless Access Points in Windows
Setting Up the Access Point
Before you install and set up a wireless network interface adapter in one of
your computers, you should first set up the wireless access point (also some-
times called a base station) that will facilitate communication between the
various wireless devices in your network. In this section, we describe how to
set up a typical AP.
Preparing to install a wireless AP
The procedure for installing and configuring most wireless APs is similar from
one manufacturer to the next . . . but not exactly the same. Youā™re most likely to
be successful if you locate the documentation for the AP that you have chosen
and follow its installation and configuration instructions carefully.
Because having a network makes it easy to share an Internet connection,
the best time to set up the AP for that purpose is during initial setup (but
we give you the details for setting up Internet sharing in Chapter 9). In terms
of setting up a shared Internet connection, youā™ll already have a wired com-
puter on your broadband (cable or digital subscriber line [DSL]) or dialup
Internet connection. This is very helpful as a starting place for most AP
installations because most of the information that you need to set up your AP
is already available on your computer. If you donā™t have a wired computer on
your Internet connection ā” that is, this is the first computer that youā™re
connecting ā” first collect any information (special log-in information, such
as username or password) that your Internet service provider (ISP) has given
you regarding using its services.
Ensure that your computer has a standard wired Ethernet connection.
Most AP configurations require wired access for their initial setup. An
Ethernet port is normally found on the back of your computer; this port
looks like a typical telephone jack, only a little bit wider. If you donā™t
have an Ethernet adapter, you should buy one and install it in your com-
puter. Alternatively, if your computer does have a Universal Serial Bus
(USB) port (preferably USB 2.0, also known as USB High Speed), you can
purchase an AP that connects to the USB port.
Collect your ISPā™s network information. You need to know the follow-
ing. If you donā™t already know this stuff, ask the tech support folks at
ā¢ Your Internet protocol (IP) address: This is the equivalent of your
networkā™s phone number. Your IP address identifies your network
on the Internet and enables communications.
108 Part III: Installing a Wireless Network
ā¢ Your gateway address: This is the IP address of the networking
device that connects the devices attached to your home network
to the Internet.
ā¢ Your subnet mask: Your local area network (LAN) ā” your home
network ā” uses this to define the location of the computers within
the network and allows them to connect to Internet.
ā¢ Your Domain Name System (DNS) server: This is a special com-
puter within your ISPā™s network that translates IP addresses into
host names. Host names are the (relatively) plain English names for
computers attached to the Internet. For example, the wiley.com
part of www.wiley.com is the host name of the Web server com-
puters of our publisher.
ā¢ Whether your ISP is delivering all this to you via Dynamic Host
Configuration Protocol (DHCP): In almost all cases, the Internet
service that you get at home uses DHCP, which means that a server
(or computer) at your ISPā™s network center automatically provides
all the information listed in the bullets above, without you needing
to enter anything manually. Itā™s a great thing!
Collect the physical address of the network card used in your com-
puter only if you are already connected. Many ISPs use the physical
address as a security check to ensure that the computer connecting to
its network is the one paying for the service. Many of the AP and Internet
access devices available today permit you to change their physical
address (Media Access Control [MAC] address) to match the physical
address of your existing network card, eliminating the need for you to
get your service provider to adjust your account ā” or in many cases,
charge you more.
Installing the AP
If youā™re connecting your first computer with your ISP, the ISP should have
supplied you with all the information that we list in the preceding section
except for the physical address of the network card (which isnā™t needed if
you arenā™t already connected).
Before you install your wireless gear, buy a 100-foot Ethernet cable. If you are
installing your AP at a distance farther than that away from your router or
Internet-sharing PC, you might get a longer cable. Trust us . . . this is one of
those things that comes with having done this a lot. You need a wired backup
to your system to test devices and debug problems. And to do that (unless you
want to keep moving your gear around, which we donā™t recommend), you need
a long cable. Or two. Anyone with a home network should have extra cables,
Chapter 6: Installing Wireless Access Points in Windows
just like you have electrical extension cords around the house. You can get
good quality 100-foot cables online at RadioShack (www.radioshack.com) or
Fryā™s (www.frys.com) for around $25.
1. Gather the necessary information for installing the AP (see the pre-
If youā™re using Windows 95/98/Me, do the following:
a. Choose StartāŖRun, type winipcfg in the Run dialog box that
appears, and then click OK.
This brings up the Windows IP configuration tool.
b. Select the network adapter that you are connecting to your phys-
ical network and then click the More Info button.
c. Copy all the networking information from the screen and save it
for later use in configuring the AP in Step 4.
The information that you need to know includes the physical
address, IP address, default gateway, subnet mask, DNS server(s),
and whether DHCP is enabled.
Note that if your network adapter has more than one DNS server
assigned, you will see a square button with three dots on it to the right
of the DNS servers box. Clicking this button will cycle through the avail-
able DNS servers that you have access to. In most cases, you will have at
If youā™re using Windows NT/2000/XP, do the following:
a. Choose StartāŖProgramsāŖAccessoriesāŖCommand Prompt.
This will bring up the command prompt window thatā™s similar to a
b. Type IPCONFIG /ALL and then press Enter.
The information that you receive will scroll down the screen. Use
the scroll bar to slide up to the top and write down the networking
information that we listed earlier (physical address, IP address,
default gateway, subnet mask, DNS server(s), and whether DHCP is
enabled). You will use this information to configure the AP in Step 4.
2. Run the setup software that accompanies the AP or device containing
your AP like a wireless or Internet gateway.
The software will probably start when you insert its CD-ROM into the CD
drive. In many cases, this software will detect your Internet settings,
which makes it much easier to configure the AP for Internet sharing and
to configure the first computer on the network. For example, Figure 6-1
shows the Microsoft Broadband Networking Setup utility that accompa-
nies the Microsoft Wireless Base Station, which is a wireless gateway
110 Part III: Installing a Wireless Network
3. When prompted by the setup software to connect the AP (see
Figure 6-2), unplug the network cable that connects the broadband
modem to your computer from the computerā™s Ethernet port and plug
this cable into the Ethernet port thatā™s marked WAN or Modem on
your networkā™s cable/DSL router or Internet gateway.
If youā™re using an Internet or wireless gateway, run a Cat 5e cable from
one of its Ethernet ports to the computer on which you are running the