Wireless Routers and Access Points

Wireless Network Requirements

Range in the Home

* When buying a wireless router, remember that actual range will vary depending on where you use it. * Walls, pipes and other electronic devices can interfere with your router. * One advantage of 802.11a has over all other forms of wireless is that it operates at a much higher frequency (5 MHz) so there is a greatly reduced chance of interference. (Most devices operate at 2.4 MHz.)

Securing Your Network

* Protecting your network from unwanted visitors begins by using the security features built into your router. * Look for a NAT firewall support on your wireless router. NAT firewalls conceal your computer behind the router. * For wireless security, use encryption. Given the choice between WEP and WPA encryption, choose WPA it is more secure. * MAC address filtering allows you to choose which computers can access the network. But you have to set it up for every device you want to see the network. WPA and NAT should be enough; MAC filtering is probably overkill. * Don't forget to change the default password of the router. The default passwords allow neighbors or other nearby users log on to your network, leaving important files, data and personal information at risk to outsiders. * For more specifics on securing your wireless network, see this article relating to Windows XP and wireless security. Also check out this article on CNet.

New Products that Incorporate Safety

There are several new routers that include antiSecurity'>Eli Security all have new models that offer differing levels of security at varying prices.

A Wireless Hot Spot-Anywhere!

Details on Networking Standards * 802.11b was the first popular standard. ** It supports bandwidth of up to 11 Mbps (half that or less in practice often). ** Operates at 2.4 MHz, the same frequency used by cordless phones, baby monitors and microwaves, making it more susceptible to incurring interference. Manufacturers prefer using unregulated frequencies to lower their production costs. ** It has the lowest cost with signal range that is the best and is not easily obstructed. ** Compatible with 802.11g. ** However it has slowest maximum speed and supports fewer simultaneous users. * 802.11g is widely used in laptops. ** It combine the best of both wireless A and wireless B by supporting bandwidths of up to 54 Mbps (half that or less in practice often), and it uses the 2.4 Ghz frequency for greater range. ** Wireless G is backwards compatible with wireless B, meaning that wireless G access points will work with wireless B network adapters and vice versa. ** It has the fastest maximum speed and consequently supports more simultaneous users. ** Slightly more expensive than other standards * 802.11a was the first standard adopted, which is now slightly outdated. ** Due to its higher cost, wireless A fits predominately in the business market, whereas wireless B and G better serves the home market. ** It supports bandwidth up to 54 Mbps and signals in a regulated 5 GHz range. The higher frequency means wireless A signals have more difficulty penetrating walls and other obstructions. ** It can easily support more simultaneous users and the regulated frequencies prevent signal interference from other devices. ** Requires a lot of power and is expensive.

Related Products

International Resources

For this resource in your home country, please see: ! FR: Equipement Wifi