DSL Network Guide Chapter 19: Using A Router
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A router is a device that allows you to connect more than one computer to the internet through your DSL modem. A cable runs from the DSL modem to the router. The router is then programed with the necessary information to connect. Once the router has established a connection and has an IP address assigned by your ISP any computer plugged into that router will imediately have an inernet connection. You should not need any extra connection software. Your computer will not have a public IP address.
When buying a router you must determine what your needs are. If you are just setting one up in your house a medium quality $50 router should be suffice. If you are setting one up in your office you probably want to spend a little more money on a higher quality router. Talk to someone at your local computer store for advice.
There are many different ways your computer can plug into a router. The most popular is ethernet. On your computer you will need a NIC (Network Interface Card.) Most computer come with one already installed or built onto your computers motherboard. A cat5 cable runs from the ethernet port on your NIC to the ethernet port on your router. Ethernet chords look identical to a phone chord except they are noticeably larger. In most situations once your computer is plugged into your router via ethernet your computer is online.
Another way to connect to a router is through a USB port. If you router supports USB then your router should have a disk to install the USB drivers for it. Once the drivers are installed you simply plug a USB cable into your router and computer and you should be online. The disadvantage of USB is if your driver become currupt then your connection will no longer work until they are reinstalled.
A wireless connection allows you to hook up your computer to the router without running chords all over the place. Your computer must have a wireless NIC installed with all of it's software. Your NIC will need to be tuned to the same channel as your router. Once this is accomplished your computer is online. Your computer will need to be within the broadcast range of your router. If you are too far away or your going through too many walls then your connection will become unstable and eventually go away. Wireless routers are also usefull to people who have laptops in their house.
HPNA (Home Phoneline Networking Alliance) is a way of networking through the phone lines in your house. An HPNA NIC needs to be installed on your computer. The quality of the connection depends largely on the quality of the lines in your house. HPNA technology complies with FCC Part 68.
If you use a router make sure to keep your connection software stored on a computer that you can easily plug directly into your modem. Your ISP will usually not help you out very much if you have connection problems while using a router.
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