WLANs: wireless networks for maximum freedom
Wireless local area networks (WLANs) are generally seen as an advancement on “hard-wired” (using cables) local area networks (LANs). A “network”, in computer terms, refers to the connecting together of a series of computers and sharing certain functions across them, such as a broadband Internet connection or a printer or scanner.
A wireless LAN is extremely handy if you want to share a broadband connection in your home, and it definitely cuts down on wire clutter. It’s also very handy for laptop users, who can walk freely about the home remaining connected to the Internet constantly (in theory). This is naturally a big selling point of wireless Internet. You can even get your Internet Service Provider (ISP) to set it up for you (for an additional fee) if you’re having problems.
Simple WLAN set-up
If you’re setting up a wireless network, first port of call is acquiring a router. A router is a device that broadcasts your Internet signal from your modem (sometimes the modem and router are available as one combined device), which in turn receives the Internet connection from the telephone point in the wall. Routers generally cost between AU$60 and AU$200 for home use, but can cost more for increased security or broadcast power. The standard router should suffice for the average home however, in terms of distance, but you may wish to consider a router at the higher end of the price range if you require your router to competently handle the fastest broadband service, ADSL 2+.
Next, you need to ensure that each computer connecting to the network has a wireless card installed. If not, you can purchase one to be installed within your computer’s casing, in a free “PCI” slot. Alternatively you can purchase an external wireless-enabling device, which attaches to the computer via any free USB port. This device, known as a “wireless USB pen” or “wireless dongle”, works like an aerial, using the wire-free system for short-ranges called “Bluetooth”. This allows the Internet signal to transmit through the air (in a similar way to radio waves), from the router to the USB dongle and to your laptop or desktop computer. Nearly all new laptops now come with a wireless network interface card built-in, removing the need to install one or enlist an external USB wireless aerial.
Whilst wireless networks are swiftly taking over as the solution for more highly-populated homes, they are not only for families or large shared houses, being useful for those with more than one computer (perhaps a fixed desktop in addition to a “roaming” laptop). Where wireless networks really come into their own is with high-usage Internet savvy households, for example allowing parents to e-mail or surf the Net on their laptops whilst the kids and teens download their favourite music and movies on the desktop computer elsewhere in the house; or perhaps permitting all users in a shared rented property to do their banking, surfing, downloading and gaming simultaneously. Offering such convenience, if Internet-surfing is most important to you, a wireless network will probably make your life a lot easier.
You can shortlist broadband plans here & email them later.
No products currently shortlisted.