View Full Version : What do I need for wireless internet at home?

09-06-2004, 06:09 PM
I am kinda new to computers so I'll do my best to describe what I want to do.
I have a desktop pc and I just ordered a laptop. I want to be able to connect to the internet on my laptop without having a cable running from my laptop to my DSL gateway. My DSL Gateway is wireless ready. What do I need to buy to make this happen?

I also want to setup a network between my laptop and desktop pc.

If anyone can help me out please do I have no idea what I need to do.

09-06-2004, 09:31 PM
You need a wireless access point, which your DSL gateway will provide.
You can stay wired to the gateway for your desktop.
What OS is on the desktop? What OS is on the new laptop?

09-07-2004, 10:53 AM
Both have windows XP home addition.

09-07-2004, 11:26 AM
Windoze XP has a wireless configuration utility built in, and it's pretty stable, so it shouldn't be too tough to get going. Without knowing the details of your equipment, we can't go through the exact procedures for setting up or securing (which you need to do) but general rules of thumb are:

Stick with one manufacturer - they don't always play nice otherwise:D
You can check out compatible cards from different manufacturers at http://www.wi-fi.org/
Once you have all your equipment: READ the manual - something which is overlooked, but can save a lot of headaches!
Once you're up and running:
Use encryption - the strongest you can (WPA should be the minimum)
Change the default settings including the SSID (the name of the wireless network), password and administrator name if possible.
There are other points, like switching off the SSID broadcast, using MAC address filtering, disabling the ability to configure the access point from wireless cards etc, but you need to sit down with a cup of tea and digest the manual before going in here;)

09-07-2004, 09:01 PM
Thanks for your advice. I am starting to get an idea of how to do it. But I'm not sure exactly what equipment I need to buy.

Below is a link to what I think I need to buy. But I don't no if this is just for the wireless internet access or wireless internet access and home network or just the wireless home network or am I way off track.


I also used the network wizzard at tigerdirect.com and this is what it said I needed.

DI-624 802.11g 4-port router, DUB-E100 10/100usb 2.0 adapter,
DWL-G650 802.11g cardbus adapter.

Here's a what I want to do.

I really only want to be able to wirelessly connect to the internet with my laptop. I plan to keep my desktop pc connected to the DSL gateway with the ethernet cable. And I want to be able to connect my laptop to my desktop pc just so my friends and I can play the same pc game together at home without going online to play.

09-07-2004, 10:24 PM
My DSL Gateway is wireless ready
If this is a wireless router you don't need another router, and if the new laptop is wireless-enabled (Centrino), you won't need that cardbus adapter either as it would only be used for the desktop you are keeping wired with ethernet.
What laptop are you getting (make/model)?
What make/model is your DSL gateway?

09-07-2004, 11:32 PM
The laptop I ordered is a Dell Inspiron 1000. Which will be shipped out to me thursday. So I probally want get it until next week. Below is a link to it. I bought the Expanded Capacity one in the middle for $829.00.


I also found this site that tells more about the spec's. I believe it's that same laptop.

My DSL Gateway was provided by my internet provider when I switched to DSL. It's an Actiontec Wireless-Ready DSL Gateway, I believe the model # is R1520SU.

The DSL gateway has 4 ethernet ports.
A USB port.
And a slot on the side which looks like were a card or something would slide into it.

The installation manual that came with it says it has the following advanced features. Which I know nothing about.

1. DMZ
2. Port Forwarding
3. Services Blocking
4. USB Port Connectivity
5. VPN Pass Through
6. Web Site Blocking
7. Wireless Connectivity

09-07-2004, 11:42 PM
The notebook is a Celeron without wireless so you will need a wireless PMCIA card to go wireless with it.
I will look at the gateway in a few second.

Edit: specs for gateway:

*Interface Ports ADSL Features

Internet (WAN): (1)ADSL RJ-11, (1) Phone Port with filter
Network (LAN): 4-Port 10/100 Mbps Auto-sensing
Ethernet switch, USB
PC Card: Two PCMCIA expansion slots
Top slot for wireless 802.11b PC Card*
Bottom slot for PC Expansion cards
exclusively from Actiontec*

*ATM and AAL Support

Embedded full-rate ADSLModem
Compliant with T1.413, G.dmt and G.lite
G.dmt full-rate connectivity at up to 8 Mbps
downstream, 1 Mbps upstream
Up to 18,000 feet loop reach (over standard

*ATM and AAL Support

ATM Transmission Convergence (TC) layer
Support for full range of PVC settings
Hardware SAR

*Standards Compliance

ADSL G.dmt (ITU G.992.1, ANSI TI.413)
ADSL G.lite (ITU G.992.2)
Bridge/Routed RFC 1483 (2684), RFC 2364, RFC 2516
IEEE 802.3 10 Base-T Ethernet
IEEE 802.3u 100 Base-Tx Fast Ethernet

*VPN Support

PPTP, L2TP, IPSec (all pass-through)***

*Set up and Manage


*Optional Router Feature

RFC 2516 (PPPoE), 2364 (PPPoA) clients

*Protocols Supported

DHCP (client, server)
DNS (client)
TFTP (client, server)

*Visual Indicators

WAN Link, LAN Link/Traffic, PC Card, Power

You will have to come up with a wireless card for the router also,
I would get a Linksys one that is actually wireless ready and ditch this one.

09-08-2004, 12:08 AM
So you're saying I should buy a new wireless ready DSL gateway or router. And a wireless PMCIA card for my laptop. Is this correct?

Also would the wirless card for the router come with it. Or would I have to buy it separate?

If I am correct so far. I found the following items. Would this be what I need to buy?


By the way Thanks for helping me out with this.

09-08-2004, 12:39 AM
Right idea,
I would go with a g speed pair though, it will connect faster(54Mbs)for game sharing but has no benefit over the b speed(11Mbs) items you posted for internet connection. I would expect price about $10 higher for each item for g speed version, no need for "speedbooster" version though (even more $$).

Also would the wirless card for the router come with it. Or would I have to buy it separate?
It will be wireless without the need for a card already.

09-08-2004, 01:08 AM
Thanks I searched walmarts website and found the following. The reason I'm trying to find the products I need at Walmart is, Because I only live 2 miles away. So I wouldn't have to go far to get what I need.

I couldn't find a linksys g speed router or PMCIA card so do you think
this would be the wireless router I should get?

And for the PMCIA card this?

Or if I can find a Linksys g router. Would a g speed PMCIA card of a different brand work with it? Or should I stick with the same brand for both?

I hate to ask you so many questions. I just want to make sure I get it right and buy something that's going to work.

Thanks again for all your help.

09-08-2004, 01:17 AM
Members here on the forums have found the same brand makes the process easier with less of the "unexpected results" that can result from mismatched components. It is easier getting support if you have to call their support lines if it is the same brand also.
I mentioned Linksys because it is good quality hardware and I have personally had some very good experience with their products, some here like Netgear too.
Just be aware you should get matched speeds, otherwise you connect at the slower of the device speeds. The Netgear router you posted is a b speed, the PCMCIA card is a g, so it will connect at b speeds.

09-08-2004, 01:23 AM
Ok. I get it now. Thanks a lot for your help.

I'm glad I found a place to go to when I need help with all this computer stuff. :)

Here's what I have decided to get from tigerdirect.com.

Linksys / WRT54G / 54Mbps / 802.11g / 4-Port / Cable/DSL / Wireless Router $62.99

Linksys - WPC54G - 54Mbps 802.11g Wireless PCMCIA Adapter $45.99

09-08-2004, 01:56 AM
Just review any online vendors' resellers ratings for their customer satisfaction ratings, it sometimes indicates if they have a problem.
Newegg is also popular here on the forums with some members.

I see what you mean about travel, a little town indeed!
Population (year 2000): 204, Est. population in July 2002: 201 (-1.5% change)
Males: 87 (42.6%), Females: 117 (57.4%)

09-08-2004, 08:14 PM
Yes. I live in a very small town. The population for the town of Hyden, KY is small. Because most people live outside of the city limits. But the population for the county. Which is Leslie County. Is a little bigger, but still very small compared to the surrounding counties.

I spend most of my time at the computer, recording my songs or hanging out with my buddies. I bought a telescope a couple months ago so I've been really getting into astronomy. Which is one of the main reasons I wanted to buy a laptop. So I could install my astronomy software on it and take it with me. When I go out to look at the stars.

There's also a couple famous people from Hyden, KY. Which is kinda cool.
The Osbourne Brothers a bluegrass band and Tim Couch. #1 draft pick for the Browns a few years ago.

I lived in Hamilton Ohio when I was younger. But then we moved to Hyden a few years ago. I have to say I like it here better. The only thing I liked about living in Ohio. Was there were more places to go and more things to do. But after living here for a few years I found theres actually a lot more to do then I first thought. It's also a lot quieter here.

09-09-2004, 12:51 AM
Left that Ohio area in '83 myself.

09-09-2004, 01:37 AM
Hello KYRocker22.

I am not very good with the whole networking setup either and had a very similar question here (http://www.pcguide.com/vb/showthread.php?s=&threadid=26633&highlight=Actiontec+gateway) a while back. If I looked at the correct model, yours is the same as mine is, just one model earlier (I have the Actiontec 1524). I dont know if you have qwest/msn as your ISP, but that is where I got my Modem/Router from. From what I understand is that you may have to keep the original Actiontec 1520 to act as your DSL modem (if not, then the rest of this post should be unneeded), and as in my other thread you may need to try a patch or crossover cable to connect to your new router (still not sure, I went with the hardwire connection in the end :rolleyes: )

You can actually look around here (http://www.actiontec.com/) at the FAQ's for your Actiontec. They have a card that you have to buy for the side port in your Gateway that will send the data to another card that you have to purchase for your PC (laptop in your case). This is also what I was trying to avoid since it seems alot more proprietary, and older technology than if you used a Linksys type router. I know this may add more confusion to your setup, but this is not what I am trying to do. I just want you to have all the information possible to be able to get all the right parts to start (even though Wal-mart has the easiest return policy I have ever seen). I hope this information is needed, if not, I tried. :)

09-10-2004, 09:26 PM
I recieved my laptop yesterday and bought the Linksys G broadband router and the Linksys wireless g notebook adapter at Walmart.

I have it all connected and I'm online now with my laptop. :)


The instructions that came with my router said I had to connect it to my DSL gateway like you said. I had to connect my desktop pc to the linksys router,connect my actiontec gateway to the linksys router. Then run the setup cd. Then I ran the setup cd for the card in my laptop. Now everything works perfect.

Thanks any way for letting me know.

09-11-2004, 03:11 PM
Good to hear KyRocker22,

I hope to add a wireless setup here in the future, I hope I get the same good results as you did. Enjoy!

09-11-2004, 07:09 PM
I have one last question to ask.

I would like to be able to share a couple folders and a printer between my laptop and desktop pc. Here's what I have done.

I ran the windows network setup wizzard on both pc's.
I choose which folders I wanted to share on each pc and the printer I want to share which is connected to my desktop pc.
Made sure the setting on both pc's matched.

And here's what I have got so far.

When I go to my network places on my laptop and click on view workgroup computers it shows my laptop pc, But not my desktop. When I do the same on my desktop pc. It shows both pc's. But when I click on the laptop pc icon.

I get the message \\"computername" is not accessible. You might not have permission to use this network resource. Contact the adminisrator of this server to find out if you have access permissions.
The network path was not found.

But when I click on my desktop pc's icon. It shows the folders shared along with the printer.

What am I doing wrong? Or is it even possible to do this with my current setup?

09-12-2004, 01:09 AM
Try this link for practically networked simple file sharing (http://www.practicallynetworked.com/sharing/xp/filesharing.htm) , it will take you through XP Home sharing step by step.
I am assuming both PCs are named distinct names and are on the same workgroup.
If you are running software firewalls, be certain to add each of the computers to your Trusted zone in the software firewall on all connected PCs.
You are trying to connect the same version of OS so the connection should be possible, just have to get the details right. Post back if you have problems.

09-12-2004, 06:36 PM
I finally got it to work. But now I can't get on the internet while connected to the network group.
I configured TCP/IP for both machines like this.

PC #1
Switched the obtain an IP address automatically to. Use the following Ip address.
IP Address-
Subnet Mask-

Then did the same for PC #2. But change the IP Address on it to.

I can now access the shared folders and printer from pc #1. But now I can't get on the internet with either computer. Unless I change the TCP/IP settings back to. Obtain an IP address automatically.

Is there a way I can access the shared folders and printer from PC#2 and still be able to get on the internet or can I only do one at a time?

Also I noticed in the TCP/IP Configuration. Below the Subnet Mask. It says Defualt Gateway. Then below it. It has obtain DNS server address automatically. Which switches to. Use the following DNS server address. When I manually enter the IP Address and Subnet Mask. It has a place to put Preferred DNS server & Alternate DNS server. I left all of this blank, Because I didn't know what to put there.

Would I need to configure this area in order to share the folders and printer. While still being able to get on the internet?

09-14-2004, 10:11 AM
It is best to leave DNS blank since you don't have a DNS server on your network.
Have you looked at ixl"s The TCP/IP Guide (http://www.tcpipguide.com/free/)? It is best practice to use one of the three private IP ranges for your LAN to prevent possible interference with someone's WAN address.

09-14-2004, 05:04 PM
Thanks I'll check out the link. When I get off work today.

09-16-2004, 11:03 AM
Hi Ky!

I expect you'll find that the reason you can't connect to the 'Net after you have specified your IP address is that you haven't specified a default gateway. The Default Gateway is the IP address your PC will use when connecting to the Internet. If you set windows to assign your IP info automatically, your router will be automatically giving you this information... as you are supplying the info yourself the router isn't able to send you what you need.

You can easily overcome this by putting the IP address of your router into the "Default Gateway" field. If you don't know the default IP address of the router it will definitely be in the documentation you got with the router. In my experience (in the UK) it's usually but you never can tell!

Once you have the IP address of the router, just pop it into the default gateway field and make sure that the IP addresses you assign your computers are on the same network.

Router IP Details
IP address -

Laptop IP Details
IP address -
Subnet mask -
Default Gateway - (Router IP address)

PC IP Details
IP address -
Subnet mask -
Default Gateway - (Router IP address)

You should also just set the DNS address for the computers to be the router IP as well, I won't bother going in to the ins and outs of DNS, but suffice to say your router will be providing this service via your ISP.

If your router IP address is TOTALLY different, like simply enter the PC IPs as the same details but change the last number ( but do not use a number higher than 255.

Post again if you have problems!

Take care.

(PS: If you can't find your router IP address in the manual, simply switch your IP settings to automatic again, go to a dos box and type ipconfig and hit enter. A load of IP addresses should list out - take note of what is labelled "Default Gateway" as this WILL be your Router IP address)

09-20-2004, 07:04 PM
Thanks Alot.

I can now access the internet on both pc's. And play games on my local network. But there is one thing that isn't working right. But it's not really a problem. When I go to view network groups it doesn't show the other pc. But as long as I can still use the printer from desktop pc and play games on my local network I'm not going to complain. I tried to search for it but it can't find it.

I would have posted back sooner but, My actiontec DSL gateway quit working friday and I had to wait to go get a new one today. It turns out they quit using the model I had and now I have the Actiontec GT704WG model. Which really is wireless. So if I had only waited a couple weeks. I could have saved a little money. By only having to buy the PMCIA for my laptop.

But I have found the linksys router has a farther range than the actiontec. I don't no if it's because the actiontec only has one antenna. While the linksys has 2. Or if there's some other reason.

Thanks again.

09-22-2004, 08:20 AM
Hi Rocker,

I expect the reason the new router has a better range is indeed the dual antennas. I'd be surprised if you couldn't get pretty much 100% excellent signal throughout your entire house. Although you often get 'black spots' directly above and beneath a wireless router - usually not too much of an issue.

If you are having trouble seeing the other PCs on the workgroup, please can you confirm whether NetBios (over TCP/IP) is turned on?

To check this, go to Network Properties on each machine, then go into the TCP/IP properties, on the General tab, click advanced. Go to the WINS tab and ensure NetBios is enabled.


09-24-2004, 02:43 AM
The Default is checked.

Use use NETBIOS setting from the DHCP server. If static IP address is used or the DHCP server does not provide NETBIOS setting. Enable NETBIOS over TCP/IP.

So should I leave this or switch it to just. Enable NetBIOS over TCP/IP?