Step 3: Setting Up the Network
Once you have purchased and installed the hardware, your final step is setting up the wireless network.
Most wireless routers default to an unsecure connection when you boot them up. This unsecure connection is usually given the same name as the brand of router you purchased. To finish setting up your network you will want to change the network name and then apply wireless security.
Wireless security is encryption that prevents strangers from acquiring information that you send wirelessly. Remember, a wireless signal is essentially a radio signal that is sent out in all directions. If that signal is unencryptied it can be picked up and read rather easily, which poses an obvious security risk. You don't want your neighbors reading your emails, and encryption will help ensure that doesn't happen.
There are a few different types of security available, but the most common and best available will be WPA or a variation of that. You'll also be given the option to use WEP encryption - avoid this. It is an older method of encryption that is easily cracked using modern techniques.
The exact method of applying security will depend on your router, so you'll have to refer to your router manual. This will tell you what you need to do to log in to your router and change the security settings. During the process of setting up your wireless security you will be asked to set up a security passphrase. Be sure to remember this, because you're going to need to have it when you try to connect your computers to your wireless network.
While you're at it, look up how to change your router's login and password. Routers ship with default information that is commonly known. Although it is unlikely that someone would be able to gain access to your router if you are using a secured wireless network it is better to be safe than sorry.
Once security is applied, you will need to connect each computer to your network. Connect to your network and, when prompted, enter the passphrase you set up while your were configuring your router's security. If correct, your computer will connect wirelessly to the network and remain connected.