Welcome back to our series on WiFi networks. First, we explained the difference between the two major types of WiFi. Now we'll explain how to get your wireless network... uh... wired up.
Setting Up A WiFi
Even though WiFi networks are “wireless,” at some point they must be plugged back into a wired, physical network. Normally this connection happens at your wireless access point, which may or may not also be your router. This type of unit is very common in big box electronic stores and sold as “Wireless Routers” by companies like Linksys and Belkin and many others. You may even already have such a unit installed and not even realize it.
The connection runs from this access point to the broadband modem via a physical cable. That cable is the bridge between the wireless and wired worlds, so the type of cable is very important.
Network cables classified as CAT 5 are rated for a maximum speed of 100 megabits per second. While this is fine for WiFi-G, it will become the bottle neck for WiFi-N networks. This is the dirty little wired secret of a WiFi network!
In order to get the most out of your WiFi-N investment you will have to make sure that all cables in your “wireless” network are rated as CAT 5e (enhanced CAT 5) or higher (CAT 6 or CAT 7). This category of cable will give you maximum transfers rates of 300 megabits per second and greater.
Stay tuned as we explore choosing a WiFi format, securing your network and other WiFi goodness that cutting the cable can bring you!
Author: Curt Moreno