Switching to Wi-Fi has so many benefits, including the ability to use your laptop, tablet and other wireless-enabled devices from anywhere in your home. "Nowadays, lots of devices connect to your home Wi-Fi, such as TVs, gaming consoles, baby monitors, even your thermostat and washing machine, so home Wi-Fi networks are becoming more and more important," Geek Squad Agent Derek Meister says.
Read on for Agent Meister's step-by-step on how to set up your home wireless network yourself, as quickly and painlessly as possible.
Step 1: Get a Router
Right now, you use a cable to connect your computer to your modem, which translates the data signal coming in from your Internet provider. To go wireless, you'll need to get a router, which will connect to the modem instead of your computer, then broadcast, or route, the modem's signal throughout your home.
You can get a standalone router or a combination modem/router, which is a single unit that would then take the place of your existing modem. Either of these things can typically be rented from your Internet provider or purchased yourself.
Step 2: Connect the Router
If you're adding a standalone router to your existing modem, unplug the cable running between your modem and computer from your computer. Plug it into the router instead. Then connect your computer to the router with the extra cable that is generally provided with the router. (Just for now -- of course, the cord won't be necessary once your wireless network is up and running!)
If you're adding a modem-router-in-one, connect it the same way your modem was connected -- plug it into the wall and connect it to your Internet cable, then connect it to your computer with the same cord that used to run between your computer and your modem. (Again, this last hard connection is just until the wireless network is set up.)
Step 3: Configure Your Network
What you do now will vary depending upon the type of router you have, so consult its manual. The configuration process might start automatically once the router connects to your computer, or you might need to run a CD that came with the router.
During the configuration process, you'll be asked to pick a network name and password. Choose a network name that's memorable, such as a favorite food or inside joke, yet won't reveal your identity, like your last name or address.
Step 4: Connect
Power up your Wi-Fi-enabled devices. Each should automatically find your new wireless network and prompt you to enter its password. Typically, you only have to do this once, and the device will default to it in the future. Now, unplug your computer. You're wireless!
If you encounter problems along the way, contact the router's manufacturer, your Internet service provider (if they supplied the router), or an independent tech support service, such as the Geek Squad.