If you subscribe to an Internet service at your residence, setting up a wireless home network is a must to truly get the most out of your monthly bill. With computers, printers, smartphones, video game systems, smart televisions, Blu-ray players, and even new stereo systems all able to access the Internet, you’ll be able to easily stream content — music, movies, TV shows, and more — to all those devices using a wireless network.
Since the vast majority of wired Internet service providers offer unlimited data, you’ll end up saving money compared to using your smartphone’s Internet access and its limited data allowance. So let’s take a look at how to set up a home network so you can share your Internet access at your residence.
Get the Best Deal on Internet Service
First off, you need to actually get Internet service. Check out our convenient page to get the best deals in your area on Internet, and even digital TV and phone. Bundling services together gives you the best chance to save money, but make sure you read the fine print on your contract, so you don’t get slapped with any early termination fees if you choose another provider after a year.
Most ISPs also give you the option of adding a wireless home network as part of their service package. They will provide a wireless router and set everything up for you. If you aren’t a technical person, this may be a good option, but you will probably pay an extra $15 to $20 per month to rent the router. In short, setting up your own wireless network saves you money in the long run.
Setting up your Own Wireless Router
The two most important components in any home Internet network are a modem and a router. Even if you don’t use your ISP’s home network service, they do provide the modem at a minimum. At this point, you need to purchase a router from any local office, electronics, or budget retail store. You can expect to pay anywhere from $50 to $200 for a wireless router, with the more expensive models offering better performance, which is helpful when streaming HD video.
A centralized location for your router helps optimize network performance, but remember it needs to also connect to your modem using the included cable. Talk to the installer from your ISP when they set up your Internet and modem. If you have a large house, keeping it somewhere in the kitchen might work best, especially if centrally located. Smaller apartments aren’t as affected by router placement.
Most wireless routers provide easy setup; you simply access an administration page in a web browser where you are able to give your network a name and password. Take care to create a unique password, as it makes it harder for hackers to break into your network, especially if you live in an apartment complex where your wireless network is more “visible.” There are more advanced settings with many routers, but for most users, the name and password are all you need to set — the defaults work fine for the other settings.
Accessing your New Wireless Network
Keep your network password written down in a secure place, as you will need it every time a new device wants to access your network. When using your computer, smartphone or tablet to get on the network, you will see its name in the list of available networks. You will be prompted for the password after selecting the network. Simply type it in, and you should be good to go.
Other devices with Internet capability, like your smart TV or Blu-ray player, follow a similar process when accessing your network. The same goes for a wireless printer.
The Internet is now such an important part of daily home life, setting up a home network is no longer the domain of someone who works in an IT department. All you need to do is follow a few simple instructions and soon you will be streaming Internet video or music all over your house.