If you hate having to turn on a modem every time you use another computer on your wireless network, get ready to be happy. There is a way to resolve this problem, and it's called a wireless router. A wireless router is a small, low-power computer that does nothing but provide Internet access to your wireless network. When you use a wireless router, any computer on your network can be connected to the Internet at any time, regardless of whatever other computers are turned on.
This is possible because a wireless router does only one thing, but it does it very well. The router does not even need to be configured before its initial operation in most cases. When you go looking for a wireless router, there are several things to consider. As with any other wireless equipment, you must think about the router's range, speed, and standards. Speed is the top issue for a router, since it may have to provide Internet access to more than one computer at a time. This means that it has to be fast enough to handle this.
As far as standards and range go, it is probably silly to buy capabilities beyond what your current wireless set-up has. You won't get any improvements by obtaining a more sophisticated router. We should note that the Linksys WRT54G router is the most popular router currently available. It is also the easiest router to use.
It is more expensive than some other routers, however, so you should always shop around to find the best deal. Also, you should make it a point to read reviews about any product you're considering. Installing your wireless router is easy, since most work right out of the box. You should just have to plug it in to the power supply and connect your modem. In most cases, that's all you need to do to begin accessing the Internet wirelessly. In some cases, you might have to perform a few other tasks.
The most common issue involves an ISP that uses special software to authenticate your identity before you can get on the Internet. This Point-to-Point Protocol over Ethernet, or PPPoE, basically allows you to have broadband access while still requiring that you to input a username and password first. Most wireless routers support PPPoE, but you will have to get into the manual and perform some adjustments. You may also need to download an update for the firmware, or on-board software, from the router manufacturer's website.
Some of the problems that may arise when using a wireless router involve programs that require a direct connection to the Internet to perform some functions. These programs can be used with wireless routers, but configuring them to do so can be a painful process. Wireless routers may also have built-in firewalls that permit data to come through certain ports only, while keeping other ports closed. Programs that require this opening of ports have become relatively rare, but you may have to make this adjustment at some point. The router's manual will tell you how to handle this if the need arises.
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