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Definitions/Description

Cable Modem

A cable modem is a piece of equipment that connects your computer to the Internet via Charter's network. A cable modem has connections that lead to the cable lines outside your home and either an Ethernet or USB connection, which leads to the computer(s) inside your home.

A cable modem will have 3 connections:

  • The power cable - the cable from an electrical outlet to the modem.

    Power Cable

  • The Ethernet cable - the cable from the modem running to the computer; the clips on the ends look the same as a telephone cable.

    NOTE: Some cable modems also have a USB connection, but it is not recommended for use.

    Ethernet cable

  • The coaxial cable - the only cable that screws into the modem.

    coaxial cable

Wireless Router

Most of the routers for wireless networking available today allow up to 4 computers to be connected to the router using Ethernet cables AND allow multiple computers to be connected to the router using a wireless adapter at the same time. The cable modem connects to the router and the router manages the sharing of the cable modem connection between the computers.

There are many different types of wireless routers available today that operate on different communication bands. You may have heard the terminology Wireless-B, Wireless-G, and Wireless-N; these are different radio wave spectrums that wireless routers and adapters use to communicate to each other.

Each spectrum has a maximum limit that it can transmit data. Wireless-N can transmit data faster than Wireless-G. Wireless-G can transmit data fast than Wireless-B. Also, the range at which a wireless router can transmit data differs based on the spectrums. Wireless-N can transmit signal farther than Wireless-G, on so on.

Most wireless routers and adapters are backwards compatible with each other to transmit data. A router using the Wireless-N spectrum can transmit data to a Wireless-B, G, or N adapter. Transversely, a Wireless-G adapter can transmit data to a wireless router using the Wireless B, G, and N spectrum.

However, a network is only as fast as its slowest component. For example, if a network uses a Wireless-N router and a computer uses a Wireless-G adapter, data will only be transmitted at Wireless-G speeds.

As you consider using a wireless network, you may want to take advantage of which spectrum the router uses coupled with a wireless adapter that supports that particular spectrum to maximize the benefit of faster transfer speeds and a larger range of coverage.

Although the following images of the router's connection ports will be unique to this particular model, most routers will use the same type of configuration and terminology.

A wireless router will basically have 4 primary connections, with more Ethernet AND wireless connections depending on the total number of computers connected to the router:

  • The power cable - the cable from an electrical outlet to the router.

    power
    cable Router Description


  • WAN or Internet - the Ethernet cable from the cable modem will plug into the port designated as WAN or Internet.

    WAN or Internet Router Description


  • LAN or PC - the Ethernet cable(s) from your computer(s) will plug into the port(s) designated as LAN, PC or are numbered 1-4.

    LAN or PC Router Description


  • Wireless - the wireless antenna will communicate with the wireless adapter of your computer.

    Wireless

Wireless Adapter

A wireless adapter is connected to your computer and is used to communicate with a wireless router. Different types of wireless adapters are available for both desktop and laptop computers.

  • USB Wireless Adapter – this type of adapter is used with laptop or desktop computers to connect with a wireless router. It requires an open USB port (not a hub), but does not require the opening of the computer to be installed.

    USB Wireless Adapter


  • PCMCIA Wireless Adapter – this type of adapter is used with a laptop computer to connect with a wireless router. It requires an open PCMCIA slot, but does not require the opening of the computer to be installed.

    PCMCIA Wireless
    Adapter

  • Centrino – some laptop computers have Centrino Mobile Technology that provides wireless connection to a wireless router pre-built into the computer. No other wireless adapter is necessary.

  • PCI Wireless Adapter – this type of adapter is used within desktop computers to connect with a wireless router. It requires opening of the computer to be installed.

     PCI
    Wireless Adapter

Wired Router

Although the following images of the router's connection ports will be unique to this particular model, most routers will use the same type of configuration and terminology.

A router will basically have 3 primary connections, with more Ethernet connections depending on the total number of computers connected to the router:

  • The power cable - the cable from an electrical outlet to the router.

    power cable from Electrical
    Outlet

  • WAN or Internet- the Ethernet cable from the cable modem will plug into the port designated as WAN or Internet.

    power cable from
    Electrical Outlet

  • LAN or PC - the Ethernet cable(s) from your computer(s) will plug into the port(s) designated as LAN, PC or are numbered 1-4.

    LAN or PC

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Installation/Configuration

Wireless Router Installation

Most wireless routers are provided with software on a CD that the manufacturer suggests you install before connecting the router to your cable modem and computer. The software usually installs a wizard that guides you through the installation process and helps detect an Internet connection after completing the installation.

If you do not wish to install the software, please follow these steps:

  1. Turn off your computer and unplug the power cable from your cable modem. Do not plug the power cable into the router.

  2. Unplug the Ethernet cable that is connected into the computer. To make sure you are disconnecting the correct cable, it may be helpful to trace the Ethernet cord starting from the cable modem to the computer.

  3. Securely insert the Ethernet cable you just disconnected into the port labeled "WAN" or "Internet" on the back of the router. The ends of the Ethernet cable have clips that you should feel or hear "click" when inserted. This helps verify that the Ethernet cable is securely fastened. Verify that the other end of the Ethernet cable is still securely fastened into the cable modem as well.
    “WAN” or “Internet”

  4. Securely insert one end of a second Ethernet cable into any of the remaining open ports on the router. Securely insert the other end of the Ethernet cable into the Ethernet port of your computer; this is the same port you disconnected the Ethernet cable from in step 2. The ends of the Ethernet cable have clips that you should feel or hear "click" when inserted. This helps verify that the Ethernet cable is securely fastened.

  5. Restart your network in this correct sequence:
    1. Plug the power cable into the cable modem and wait 2 minutes.
    2. Plug the power cable into the router.
    3. Turn on your computer.

  6. Launch your Internet browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Netscape, etc). Your homepage should appear. Try surfing to a different website to verify good connectivity to the Internet. If there is no connectivity to the Internet, please refer to the information that was provided with the router or visit the router manufacturer's website for additional support.

  7. If there is good connectivity to the Internet, perform the following steps outlined in Configuring the Security Settings of a Wireless Router.

Wireless Router Security Configuration

A Netgear Wireless Router will be used as an example for the instructions on configuring the security of the wireless router. Although the images of the router's internal pages will be unique to this particular model, the terminology is consistent throughout different brands and models of wireless routers.

  1. Within the Address Line of your Internet browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Netscape, etc), enter the IP address that will access the internal webpage of the wireless router and press Enter on the keyboard.

    The IP address can also be found in the User/Reference Manual on the CD that came with your wireless router.

    Explorer Browser


  2. New, unused routers have factory settings that use a generic user name and password. Enter the user name and password that will access the internal webpage of the wireless router and click OK.

    To reset the router back to factory settings, use a pen or paperclip to depress the Reset button located on the back of the router for 1 minute.

    Login Screen


  3. The image of this router's internal pages is unique to this particular model; however, the terminology bulleted below is consistent throughout different brands and models of wireless routers.

    As you access the internal page of your router, look for links referencing Wireless/Security Settings and enter the following information:

    • SSID – This is the name you give your wireless network so that a computer using a wireless adapter can "see" the network. Most wireless routers will display a factory default SSID. It is strongly recommended that you change the SSID from the factory default setting. The SSID can be a maximum length of 32 alphanumeric characters. Also within some routers, the SSID field is case-sensitive. For example, NETWORK is not the same as NeTwOrk.

      After you have typed a new SSID, write it down to reference later when connecting a computer using a wireless adapter.

    • Broadcast SSID – As an added security step, it is not recommended to enable the broadcasting of the SSID. When enabled, the wireless router will broadcast the SSID, allowing any computer using a wireless adapter to receive the signal. Disabling this feature adds the security that an unwanted computer will connect to your network.

    • WEP Encryption – By default, most wireless routers will have the security encryption turned off. It is strongly recommended that you enable security encryption when using a wireless network, particularly WEP.

      There are 2 types of WEP encryption: 64-bit and 128-bit. Both encrypt the data being transferred wirelessly between the router and the wireless adapter in a computer to prevent someone from intercepting your transmission. The type of WEP encryption you choose to use will affect the length of the WEP key.


    • WEP Key – A WEP key is needed for a computer using a wireless adapter to connect to a wireless router when WEP encryption security is enabled. WEP keys, being hexadecimal, can only be comprised of any combination of letters A-F and numbers 0-9.

      When using 64-bit WEP encryption, the WEP key has to be any combination of exactly 10 hexadecimal digits (0-9, A-F).


      When using 128-bit WEP encryption, the WEP key has to be any combination of exactly 26 hexadecimal digits (0-9, A-F).

      It is recommended you manually create a WEP key that you can easily remember. Once created, write it down to reference later when connecting a computer using a wireless adapter.

    • Apply/Save – After you have made all the changes on the screen, be sure to click "Apply" or "Save."

      Wireless Setting



  4. The next internal page to search for allows you to change to administration password when accessing the router's internal pages. It is strongly recommended that you change the password (and user name, if available) from the factory default setting. After changing the password, be sure to click "Apply" or "Save."

  5. Congratulations, you have created and secured your wireless network. Perform the following steps outlined in Connecting a Computer to a Wireless Network.

    For additional support of the other features your router provides, please refer to the information that was provided with the router or visit the router manufacturer's website.

Wired Router Installation

Most of the routers for wired networking available today allow up to 4 computers to be connected to the router using Ethernet cables. The cable modem connects to the router and the router manages the sharing of the cable modem connection among the computers.

Some wired routers are provided with software on a CD that the manufacturer suggests you install before connecting the router to your cable modem and computer. The software usually installs a wizard that guides you through the installation process and helps detect an Internet connection after completing the installation.

If you do not wish to install the software, please follow these steps:

  1. Turn off your computer and unplug the power cable from your cable modem. Do not plug the power cable into the router.

  2. Unplug the Ethernet cable that is connected into the computer. To make sure you are disconnecting the correct cable, it may be helpful to trace the Ethernet cord starting from the cable modem to the computer.

  3. Securely insert the Ethernet cable you just disconnected into the port labeled "WAN" or "Internet" on the back of the router. The ends of the Ethernet cable have clips that you should feel or hear "click" when inserted. This helps verify that the Ethernet cable is securely fastened. Verify that the other end of the Ethernet cable is still securely fastened into the cable modem as well.

    WAN or
    Internet


  4. Securely insert one end of a second Ethernet cable into any of the remaining open ports on the router. Securely insert the other end of the Ethernet cable into the Ethernet port of your computer; this is the same port you disconnected the Ethernet cable from in step 2. The ends of the Ethernet cable have clips that you should feel or hear "click" when inserted. This helps verify that the Ethernet cable is securely fastened.

    WAN” or “Internet"

    You can repeat step 4 when connecting other computers to the router, up until all open ports on the router are being used. 

  5. Restart your network in this correct sequence:
    1. Plug the power cable into the cable modem and wait 2 minutes.
    2. Plug the power cable into the router.
    3. Turn on your computer.
  6. Launch your Internet browser (Internet Explorer, FireFox, Netscape, etc). Your homepage should appear. Try surfing to a different website to verify good connectivity to the Internet.

For further help, please refer to the information that was provided with the router or visit the router manufacturer's website for support.

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Connecting a Computer

Windows XP

Follow these steps to connect a Windows XP computer to your wireless home network.

  1. Based on your version of XP, access the Control Panel from the Start menu.

    Windows XP Control Panel



  2. Double click on Network Connections. If your screen does not look like the following image, click Switch to Classic View near the upper left.

  3. Right click on the Wireless Network Connection, then left click on Properties.

    Wireless Network Connection


  4. Click the Wireless Networks tab, then click Add.

    Wireless Network Connection Properties

    NOTE: Some wireless adapters do not use Windows for configuration. If you do not see the Wireless Networks tab, check the System Tray next to the clock for a different program used to configure wireless adapters as shown in this example: Windows XP Shortcut
    icons.



  5. Complete the following (see Step 3 of Configuring the Security Settings of a Wireless Router for more information):

    1. Enter the SSID
    2. Uncheck the box next to The key is provided for me automatically

    3. Enter and confirm the WEP Key

      TIP: Windows will mask the Network key as it is entered. You may want to use Notepad to type a Network key, then copy and paste the key into both fields. This insures that the Network key matches exactly within both fields.

    4. Click OK

  6. Click OK on the Wireless Network Connection Properties screen and then close all remaining open screens.

  7. Launch your Internet browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Netscape, etc). Your homepage should appear. Try surfing to a different website to verify good connectivity to the Internet. If there is no connectivity to the Internet, please refer to the information that was provided with the router or visit the router manufacturer's website for additional support.

Windows Vista

Follow these steps to connect a Windows Vista computer to your wireless home network.

  1. Click Start. Select Connect To.

    Connect To


  2. Select your network name (SSID). Then click on the Connect button on the bottom of the page

    SSID

  3. Enter the Security Key and then click Connect

Vista will connect to the secure network and show that there is a connection.

You can then open Internet Explorer and verify a successful connection.

Windows 7

Follow these steps to connect a Windows 7 computer to your wireless home network

  1. Click on Start. Select Control Panel.

find control panel

  1. Click the Network icon to proceed.

click on Network

  1. From this screen, a new wireless connection can be setup by clicking Set up a new connection or network.

setup new connection

  1. Select Connect to the Internet and click Next to setup a wireless connection.

connect to internet

  1. Select Wireless.

select wireless
If you already have a wireless adapter or network card installed, you will be presented with a list of available networks to connect. This list appears in the bottom right corner of your desktop, just above the system clock.

  1. Select the network to which you wish to connect. If prompted, you may need to enter a network Security Key.

choose network

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