Going Wireless

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CheekyChops | 21:54 Thu 06th Oct 2005 | Technology
5 Answers

I currently have a home PC, using Tiscali Broadband via a modem at the end of a long cable.

I am looking to buy a laptop and would like to move my PC upstairs (it is currently downstairs, near the phone socket so the cable will reach).  To do this, I would like to go wireless as there is no phone socket upstairs.  I would also like my laptop to be able to connect to the same broadband connection, again wirelessly.

I know I need to buy a laptop with WiFi but other than this I am clueless.  Can anyone tell me what kit I need to do this and how much it is likely to cost.  Also is it possible to set up a network so that stuff I do on my laptop can be saved/downloaded to my PC?

In simple terms please, I'm no computer expert!  Thanks.


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What you need is something called a ROUTER. Using one creates a local area network (or LAN).

A router has one socket IN from the internet and a number of sockets OUT (4 or 8 usually) to your PC/laptops.

To the Router socket IN you plug your cable from the modem (this probably currently goes to the back of your PC).

To the router sockets OUT you plug each PC or Laptop you want to use the network.

So in effect the ROUTER splits the single internet connection to multiple PCs/laptops.

You need an ADSL router rather than a cable router used by those who have NTL/Telewest cable connections.

You can buy a WIRED router, where every PC has to connect to the ROUTER by a wire (called an ethernet cable or CAT5 cable).

You can also buy a WIRELESS router, where a PC / Laptop can connect to the ROUTER without a wire.

Most WIRELESS routers also offer a chance for wired connection if you want as well.

For a PC or laptop to use a router it has to either have a NIC (Network Interface Card) or a Wireless NIC. Most modern PC/laptops come with a WIRED connection built in.    

If you have a modern laptop it may have a wireless conection already built in. If not you need to buy a wireless NIC card.

Once you have all this hardware you need to configure Windows networking, which is not that easy, particularly if you are not a computer expert.

But if you ask here people will help. 

Forgot some of your questions.

A router is about �50 (give or take), if you need to buy a wired NIC they are cheap (�15), a wired NIC is a bit more (�25).  

Once you have your network any PC or laptop on the network will be able to 'see' the other PCs/laptops (once you have the security sorted out).

So you can move or copy files between the two PCs, print on a printer attached to the other PC, play MP3s on another PC, even use a CD drive from another PC. 

Once you have a network you will wonder how you ever managed without one.  

Sorry....slight typo 

meant to say a WIRELESS NIC is a bit more (�25)

Note that Windows XP has some good help on networking. Open Windows Help and type "Home Networking"

Question Author

vehelpfulguy - your name is very appropriate - you have been very helpful!  At least I won't sound like a complete idiot when I go to buy the gear - cheers!


A little bit more info (without trying to confuse you).

There are boxes similar to routers called HUBS or SWITCHES (they are similar).

You do NOT want one of these, you want a router.

A hub or switch can be used on a network to split a single LAN cable so two or more PCs can use the one LAN cable.

BUT a switch or hub are not able to split an internet connection so you must have a router.

For example, I have a wired router downstairs that has two wires into it. One wire serves the PC downstairs, the other wire comes up to my office. 

But in my office I want to use 2 PCs, so I have a SWITCH (or I could use a hub) in my office and both PCs plugged into that. Both are able to use the internet. 

They then share the single wire down to the router.

So in my network I have one Router AND one Switch. 

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