How Should I Set Up My Home Network?

Let’s say you just bought your second computer. Perhaps you purchased a new laptop, tablet, new machine for your spouse, or another machine for yourself. Maybe you want to connect your smartphone via Wi-Fi when you’re at home, to reduce the usage of your mobile data plan. Perhaps you got a smart TV, light switch, video-streaming box, or Echo or Echo-like device.

Whatever the device, you want to connect it to the internet. It would also be nice to share things, like printers or extra disk space, among compatible devices.

You, my friend, need a LAN, or Local Area Network. There are lots of ways to set one up; I’ll review the basic setup for the most common case.

Already have a network, but not sure how to grow it? I’ll look at that, too.

First, let’s look at the two types of networks: wired and wireless.

Read moreHow Should I Set Up My Home Network?

Will buying a new modem/router increase my internet speed?

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I run a laptop with Vista SP2, Home Premium, with IE 9 on a wireless home network. I contract with my ISP for a DSL throughput of 1.2 to 1.5 megabits per second. We live in a rural area and that’s the fastest service available. Recently, using various speed tests, my speed has been falling below 1.2 megabits for considerable periods of time.

Monitoring my modem/router, the connect speed that it displays varies: 640/640, 1024/640, 1596/800. In addressing my slow speeds, my ISP insists that my three-year old modem/router needs replacement. I’m willing to do it if that will correct the problem, but my thinking is there’s nothing wrong with my existing modem/router. Aren’t the connection speeds that it displays a result of the line configuration settings originating with my ISP? Am I going to the expense of buying a newer modem/router they recommend only to end up with the situation unchanged?

Unfortunately, there’s no way to confirm what is happening. It could be the router, the line configuration, or other things like wire deterioration (which actually happened to me).

Let’s begin by looking at a few things.

Read moreWill buying a new modem/router increase my internet speed?