More and more people are willing to assemble their own wireless network. With a wireless network set at your home or office, you will be able to share files, use the printer and access the Internet without the need of connecting a network cable to your computers. This is great if you have desktop computers located in places where is hard to install a network cable or if you want to have the freedom to access your network and the Internet using your laptop anywhere inside your home or office: you can carry your laptop from your bedroom or office to your living room and it will still be connected with no cables attached.
The best way to build your own network nowadays is using a broadband router. This device will connect all computers present in your network and also automatically share your broadband Internet connection. You will also be able to share files and printers among your PCs. This device can have wireless capability, allowing you to connect the PCs not using cables.
We have already posted three other tutorials on this subject, so it is good to make a clear distinction between them, so you can follow the best tutorial depending on what you are willing to do:
- How to Build a Small Network Using a Broadband Router: In this tutorial you will find detailed instructions on how to build your own network using a broadband router without wireless capability. If you don’t want to build a wireless network that is the tutorial you should read. Important: if you won’t be building a wireless network but your broadband router has built-in wireless capability (i.e., it has antennas) you will need to disable the wireless portion of your broadband router, otherwise your network will be openened to hackers. In our tutorial Basic Security in Wireless Networks we show you exactly how to disable the wireless portion of your broadband router.
- How to Build a Wireless Network Without Using a Broadband Router: In this tutorial we explain how you can build your own wireless network without using a broadband router, allowing you to save some bucks. This kind of wireless network is called ad-hoc and has some drawbacks we will explain below. If you don’t want these drawbacks on your network, then you need to use a wireless broadband router to build your network, which is exactly the subject of the present tutorial.
- How to Share Folders and Printers on Your Network: After building your own network that is the tutorial you need to read if you want to share files and printers among your PCs.
To build your wireless network a wireless broadband router is optional, however if you don’t use this equipment you will face these main disadvantages:
- The computer that has the broadband Internet connection will need to be always turned on. If you turn it off the other computers will lose their connection to the Internet.
- Your network will be less safe, as broadband routers integrate a hardware-based firewall.
- The encryption used by an ad-hoc connection is “weaker” than the encryption provided by wireless broadband routers, so it is easier for a hacker with plenty of time to break the password (it is still safe enough for home users that their only concern is avoiding people on the neighborhood from stealing their signal and surfing the web for free, but we don’t recommend this solution for people transferring top secret data; in this case it is more advisable to buy a router).
- Your network speed will be limited to 11 Mbps, even if you only use 54 Mbps or faster cards on your network.
If these problems do not worry you, then you can read our How to Build a Wireless Network Without Using a Broadband Router tutorial and save some bucks. On the other hand, if you want to use a wireless broadband router (and, honestly, that’s the recommended way to build a wireless network), then keep reading the present tutorial.
In order to build your own wireless network you will need the following:
- A broadband Internet connection;
- A wireless network card installed on each computer that you want to connect to your wireless network;
- A wireless broadband router.
Let’s talk about the router first.