Wireless Installation Checklist

Wireless Installation Checklist
Buyer Beware - Ignorance can be a​ financial waste and​ a​ lot of​ hassals .​
Before you buy any wireless equipment, you need to​ be sure about what you're doing .​
There's nothing worse than having everything there and​ finding that it​ doesn't work in​ your house, or​ with your computers, or​ over the​ distances you need .​
Here's a​ handy checklist of​ the​ things that you really ought to​ do before you go out and​ spend any of​ your hard-earned cash on wireless networking equipment.
Interference Checks
While it​ won't stop a​ wireless network from working altogether, interference in​ its frequency range can slow it​ down significantly, as​ well as​ reducing its range .​
If something is​ causing interference, the​ first thing you'll know about it​ is​ when your connection stops working -- unless you know what to​ look for.
There are two very common causes of​ wireless interference: wireless phones and​ microwave ovens .​
2.4Ghz, the​ most common wireless networking frequency, is​ also a​ commonly-used wireless phone frequency .​
It is​ possible, though, to​ find phones that use other frequencies .​
Microwave ovens, on the​ other hand, operate at​ around 2.4Ghz by definition .​
It should be alright to​ have devices like these in​ your house, but certainly not in​ the​ same room as​ any computer that you plan to​ use a​ wireless connection with.
Wall Construction
Wireless can, in​ theory, pass through walls and​ other partitions easily .​
In practice, though, some walls are more solid than others, which means that they are more likely to​ block some of​ the​ signal .​
Note that it's only your interior partitions that matter, not the​ exterior ones .​
This does, however, include your floors, if​ you want the​ connection to​ work between levels.
Wireless does well with partitions made from: drywall, plywood, other wood (including doors), glass.
Wireless has trouble with: brick, plaster, cement, metal, stone, double-glazed glass.
Basically, it's all to​ do with how porous the​ materials are -- ones that let more of​ other things through also let more of​ your wireless signal through.
If you have a​ wall made of​ one of​ the​ 'bad' materials, it's not the​ end of​ the​ world .​
It just means that your wireless connection might have a​ slower speed or​ a​ shorter range .​
You may want to​ spend more than you otherwise would to​ get better equipment and​ overcome this problem.
Decide Your Budget.
You need to​ stand back, take a​ look at​ your needs, and​ decide how much you're going to​ spend .​
Do you have long distances to​ cover? Do you want your connection to​ go through stone walls? Each factor will help you decide how much you should be looking to​ spend -- remember that the​ more problems you have, the​ more power you will need .​
On the​ other hand, if​ you live in​ a​ small wooden house, you can probably just go for​ the​ cheapest thing you can find.
Read Reviews.
It's well worth searching a​ site like amazon.com for​ wireless equipment, and​ taking a​ look at​ people's reviews to​ see what the​ different brands out there are like, and​ what you can get for​ your money .​
It is​ always a​ very bad idea to​ buy something without getting a​ second, third and​ fourth opinion, especially if​ you're buying it​ online .​
If you can, try to​ get to​ a​ computer shop and​ see some wireless networking equipment in​ action before you commit yourself.
Install and​ Update Windows XP.
Finally, your wireless life will really be improved if​ you have the​ latest version of​ Windows .​
Because wireless is​ such a​ new technology, it​ wasn't really around in​ any significant way back when Windows 98, ME and​ 2000 were released, and​ support for​ them wasn't built in​ to​ the​ system .​
You'll have a​ lot more trouble getting wireless to​ work on systems like these than you would on Windows XP.
Even if​ you've got Windows XP, though, that doesn't solve the​ problem entirely .​
Windows XP Service Pack 2 (an updated version of​ Windows XP) contains much easier-to-use tools for​ configuring and​ using wireless than the​ un-updated versions do .​
If you've been using your copy of​ Windows for​ a​ while without updating it, you should really make sure you've got all the​ latest updates from windowsupdate.microsoft.com before you go any further.

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