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Setting up a wireless home network with Windows 7

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With the advent of Windows 7 setting up a home network (or an intranet) is easier then ever. To achieve this goal we'll have to make some assumptions about what kind of network we want, about hardware and software requirements we'll need.

Planning the network
So, we'll assume that we'll set a wireless network.
Other option will be wired network but wireless mode offers much more mobility and an easier way to connect.
Wireless connections give you this mobility since they use radio waves to send information between computers. And speaking about connection we'll have to have an ISP (Internet Service Provider) to give our network access to the Internet.

Hardware requirements
First we'll need a router. A router is the equipment that connects your home network to Internet. Basically the router will translate the internet IP address that's coming from your ISP to local IPs from your network. Router has to be installed and configured, but this will go somehow in sync with setting up your computer wirless adapter.

So the steps are:
  1. Connect the router to the ISP (plug the cable from ISP to the 'internet' or 'uplink' connection)
  2. Start the router.
  3. On your computer install your wireless adapter if there is none. The installation process will result in building the appropriate Internet connection to link your computer with the router. At this point your computer (desktop or laptop) should pe connected on local intranet
  4. Configure the router software. To do that you'll just have to access local address http://192.168.1.1 from your default browser. This address can be found with router documentation and sometimes may be different. (like 192.168.1.254, or something).
    When asked for name and password just type 'admin' for both, this will work for all routers I've worked with until now.
  5. Configure router software.
    • First build settings for your Internet Provider: most likely static IP, dynamic IP, PPPoE;
    • Enable DHCP server over the router in order to dynamically assign IPs over your network; or alternative set up static IP for each computer from your network;
    • Set up security settings (disable SSID broadcast, enable wireless security, WEP, WPAL, etc)
  6. On the top of this process, from Windows 7 you will create a homegroup, because this is the most easy and reliable way to share files, printers and other resources over your network. To be remembered that homegroup concept works only with Windows 7, so all your computers from the network should run this operating system.
You're done.


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