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Broadband Wireless Exchange Magazine ................................................338
xvii
Table of Contents

80211b.weblogger.com ...............................................................................339
PC Magazine .................................................................................................339
Electronic House Magazine ........................................................................340
Home Automation Magazine ......................................................................340
Practically Networked ................................................................................341
ExtremeTech.com .......................................................................................341
Network World .............................................................................................341
Other Cool Sites ..........................................................................................342

Index........................................................................345
xviii Wireless Home Networking For Dummies
Introduction
W elcome to Wireless Home Networking For Dummies. Wireless network-
ing for personal computers is not really a new idea; it™s been around
for at least five years. The emergence of an industry standard, however, has
caused the use of wireless networking technology to explode.

One of the most appealing things about the current crop of wireless network-
ing equipment is the ease with which you can set up a home network, but its
reasonable price might be the most attractive aspect of all. Setting up a wire-
less home network can be both inexpensive and easy. In some cases, it™s
almost as simple as opening the box and plugging in the equipment; however,
you can avoid many gotchas by doing a little reading beforehand. That™s
where this book comes in handy.




About This Book
If you™re thinking of purchasing a wireless computer network and installing it
in your home, this is the book for you. Even if you™ve already purchased the
equipment for a wireless network, this book will help you install and config-
ure the network. What™s more, this book helps you get the most out of your
investment after it™s up and running.

With this book in hand, you™ll have all the information that you need to know
about the following topics (and more):

Planning your wireless home network
Evaluating and selecting wireless networking equipment for installation
in your home
Installing and configuring wireless networking equipment in your home
Sharing an Internet connection over your wireless network
Sharing files, printers, and other peripherals over your wireless network
Playing computer games over your wireless network
Connecting your audio-visual gear to your wireless network
Securing your wireless network against prying eyes
Discovering devices that you™ll be able to connect to your wireless home
network in the future
2 Wireless Home Networking For Dummies


System Requirements
Virtually any personal computer can be added to a wireless home network, but
some computers are easier to add than others. This book focuses on building
wireless networks that connect PCs running the Windows operating system
(Windows 95 or later) or the Mac OS (Mac OS 9 or later). Wireless networking
is also popular among Linux users, but we don™t cover Linux in this book.

Because wireless networking is a relatively new phenomenon, the newest ver-
sions of Windows and Mac OS do the best job of helping you quickly and
painlessly set up a wireless network. However, because the primary reason
for networking your home computers is to make it possible for all the com-
puters (and peripherals) in your house to communicate, this book gives you
information about connecting computers that run older versions of Windows
and the two most widely used versions of Mac OS, as well as connecting
those that run the newest versions of these two operating systems.




How This Book Is Organized
This book is organized into several chapters that are grouped into five parts.
The chapters are presented in a logical order ” flowing from planning to
installing to using your wireless home network ” but feel free to use the
book as a reference and read the chapters in any order that you want.



Part I: Wireless Networking Fundamentals
The first part of the book is a primer on networking and on wireless network-
ing. If you™ve never used a networked computer ” much less attempted to
install a network ” this part of the book provides background information
and techno-geek lingo that you need to feel comfortable. Chapter 1 presents
general networking concepts; Chapter 2 discusses the most popular wireless
networking technology and familiarizes you with wireless networking termi-
nology; and Chapter 3 introduces you to several popular alternatives to wire-
less networking.



Part II: Making Plans
The second part of the book helps you plan for installing your wireless home
network. Chapter 4 helps you decide what you will be connecting to the net-
work and where to install wireless networking equipment in your home, and
Chapter 5 provides guidance on making buying decisions.
3
Introduction


Part III: Installing a Wireless Network
Part III discusses how to install a wireless network in your home and get it up
and running. Whether your computers are Apple Macintosh running Mac OS 9
or X (Chapter 8) or are PCs running a Windows 95 or later operating system
(Chapters 6 and 7), this part of the book explains how to install and configure
your wireless networking equipment. In addition, this part includes a chapter
that explains how to use your wireless home network to share a single Internet
connection (Chapter 9). The last chapter in this part covers securing your wire-
less home network (Chapter 10).



Part IV: Using a Wireless Network
After you get your wireless home network installed and running, you™ll cer-
tainly want to use it. Part IV starts by showing you the basics of putting the
wireless network to good use: sharing files, folders, printers, and other periph-
erals (Chapter 11). We spend some time discussing other cool things that you
can do over a wireless network, including playing multi-user computer games
(Chapter 12), connecting your audio-visual equipment (Chapter 13), and oper-
ating various types of smart home conveniences (Chapter 14).

Bluetooth-enabled devices are becoming more prevalent these days, so
you won™t want to miss Chapter 15 or Chapter 16, for that matter, where we
describe how to use wireless networking to connect to the Internet through
wireless hot spots in coffee shops, hotels, airports, and other public places.
How cool is that?



Part V: The Part of Tens
Part V provides four top-ten lists that we think you™ll find interesting ” ten
frequently asked questions about wireless home networking (Chapter 17);
ten troubleshooting tips for improving your wireless home network™s perfor-
mance (Chapter 18); ten devices to connect to your wireless home network . . .
sometime in the future (Chapter 19); and the top ten sources for more informa-
tion about wireless networking (Chapter 20).




Icons Used in This Book
All of us these days are hyper-busy people, with no time to waste. To help
you find the especially useful nuggets of information in this book, we™ve
marked the information with little icons in the margin. The following icons
are used in this book:
4 Wireless Home Networking For Dummies

As you can probably guess, the Tip icon calls your attention to information
that will save you time or maybe even money. If your time is really crunched,
you might try just skimming through the book and reading the tips.


The little bomb in the margin should alert you to pay close attention and
tread softly. You don™t want to waste time or money fixing a problem that
could have been avoided in the first place.


This icon is your clue that you should take special note of the advice that you
find there . . . or that this paragraph reinforces information that has been pro-
vided elsewhere in the book. Bottom line: You will accomplish the task more
effectively if you remember this information.


Face it, computers and wireless networks are high-tech toys ” we mean
tools ” that make use of some pretty complicated technology. For the most
part, however, you don™t need to know how it all works. The Technical Stuff
icon identifies the paragraphs that you can simply skip if you™re in a hurry or
you just don™t care to know.




Where to Go from Here
Where you should go next in this book depends on where you are in the
process of planning, buying, installing, configuring, and/or using your wireless
home network. If networking in general and wireless networking in particular
are totally new to you, we recommend that you start at the beginning with Part
I. When you feel comfortable with networking terminology, or you just get
bored with the lingo, move on to the chapters about planning your network
and selecting equipment in Part II. If you already have your equipment in hand,
head to Part III to get it installed ” and secured (unless you like the idea of
your neighbor or even a hacker being able to access your network).

The wireless industry is changing fast. We™ll provide regular updates on this
book at www.dummies.com/extras so that you can see what changes, as it
changes, on a chapter by chapter basis.

Happy wireless networking!
Part I
Wireless
Networking
Fundamentals
In this part . . .
If you™ve never used a networked computer or you™re
installing a network in your home for the ¬rst time, this
part of the book provides all the background info and
down-and-dirty basics that will have you in the swing of
things in no time. Here you ¬nd general networking con-
cepts, the most popular wireless networking technology,
wireless networking terminology, and several popular
alternatives to wireless networking.
Chapter 1
Introducing Wireless Home
Networking
In This Chapter
Jump-starting your wireless revolution at home
Comparing wired and wireless networks ” and why wireless wins!
Planning for your home wireless network




W elcome to the Wireless Age! Nope, we™re not talking about your grand-
father™s radio ” we™re talking about just about everything under the
sun. Truly. What™s not going wireless? Wanna say your refrigerator? Wrong ”
it is. How about your stereo? Yup, that too. Watches, keychains, baby video
monitors, high-end projectors . . . even your thermometer is going wireless
and going digital. It™s not just about computers anymore! Your entire world is
going wireless, and in buying this book, you™re determined not to get left
behind. Kudos to you!

A driving force behind the growing popularity of wireless networking is its very
reasonable cost: You can save money by not running network wiring all over
your house, spending less on Internet connections, sharing peripherals such as
printers and scanners, and using your PC to drive other applications around
your home, like your home entertainment center. This book helps you spend
your money wisely by helping you decide what you need to buy and helping
you choose between the products that are on the market. Not only are wireless
networks less expensive than more traditional wired networks, but wireless
networks are also much easier to install. An important goal of this book is to
provide you the skinny on how to install a wireless network in your home.

Whether you™ve got one computer or several, there are several good reasons
to want a personal computer network that until recently just didn™t exist. The
plummeting cost of wireless technologies, combined with the fast-paced tech-
nical development, has meant that more and more manufacturers are getting
on the home networking bandwagon. That means that more applications
around your house are going to try to ride your wireless backbone ” talking
amongst themselves and to the Internet. So wireless is here to stay and is
critical for any future-proofed home.
8 Part I: Wireless Networking Fundamentals


Nothing but Net(work): Why You Need
(Or Want) One
Wireless home networking is not just about linking computers and the
Internet with each other. Although that is important ” nay, critical ” in
today™s network-focused environment, it™s not the whole enchilada. Of the
many benefits for wireless in the home, most have one thing in common:
sharing. When you connect the computers in your house through a network,
you can share files, printers, scanners, and high-speed Internet connections
between them. In addition, you can play multi-user games over your network,
access public wireless networks while away from home, check wireless cam-
eras, or even enjoy your MP3s in your stereo system from work (really!).

Reading Wireless Home Networking For Dummies will help you understand
how to create a whole home wireless network to reach the nooks and cran-
nies of your house. Wireless home networks don™t have to be all about your
PC. The big initial reason why people have wanted to put a wireless network
in their home has been to “unwire” the PC, especially laptops, to enable more
freedom of access in the home. But just about every major consumer goods
manufacturer is hard at work wirelessly enabling their devices so that they,
too, can talk to other devices in the home.

Along these lines, we encourage you to think of your home wireless network
as another utility network in your house. Just like electricity. Just like water.

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