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Home Networking: The Missing Manual by Scott Lowe

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Setting Up a Basic Wireless Network

For many people, the main reason to install a home network is to share a cable or DSL Internet connection among a couple of computers. Maybe you've got a desktop computer that, all of a sudden, needs to share its broadband connection with a newly arrived WiFi-ready laptop. Or perhaps you've just signed up for broadband and want all your PCs to join in on the high-speed fun. Whatever the reason, you're in the right spot if you've got one or more computers and you want to get them set up on a WiFi network.

The setup instructions covered in the steps below should work for the vast majority of prospective home networkers. But since it's not practical to describe every possible computer and WiFi equipment combination, you're going to read about one particular setup: a desktop computer running Windows XP and a Windows XP laptop with a built-in 802.11g card. The router in the starring role for this network production is a Linksys WRT54G unit, which uses the 802.11g standard and includes a four-port Ethernet switch.

Of course, you might be running different operating systems at home, or have an additional computer you want to invite to the wireless party, or have some other slight variation. The cool thing about networking in the 21st century is that whichever company you buy your WiFi gear or your computers from, the setup has become a pretty uniform process. The smart engineers that created WiFi, and the related gadgets and software that make use of it, ...

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