The Book of Wireless: A Painless Guide to Wi-Fi and Broadband Wireless
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Wireless Broadband Options in the UK
Broadband is constantly growing in the UK, with nearly 18 million households signed up to a high speed connection. Wireless broadband, as technology and a broadband connection type, is growing in tandem with all broadband technologies. Most people will experience wireless broadband thanks to a wireless router in their own home. This will allow them to convert their fixed line ADSL or Cable broadband connection into a wireless signal that multiple users can share. The other wireless broadband option in the UK is Mobile Broadband, accessed either via a USB dongle connected to a laptop or by using a mobile phone with 3G network connectivity. Mobile broadband use is expected to boom, with 43 million UK users going online completely wirelessly in 2010.
In order to access wireless broadband from a fixed line connection in your own home you just need one device; a wireless router. This will create a Wi-Fi network to which you can connect laptops, mobile devices and desktop PCs with built in wireless connectivity. You should also be able to connect several computers via Ethernet cable to a wireless router and it will become the main internet hub of your home. Most broadband providers will give new customers a free wireless router when they sign up for a new contract.
There are many providers who offer wireless broadband. In order to stay competitive each must give their customers the chance to connect wirelessly and new wireless technologies are emerging all the time. At the moment BT offer one of the best free wireless routers on the market. The BT home hub, which features Wireless N technology, has one of the widest ranges and fastest network transfer speeds of any wireless router provided free. Orange also have their own wireless router with Wireless N technology, called the LiveBox, but this is only available on the more expensive packages. A more basic wireless router is supplied for those who want to pay less monthly.
Some providers, including O2 and T-Mobile, will give their customers access to a set number of free wireless minutes, which they can use when they are out and about. This gives them access to wireless hotspots around the UK and enhances the portability of their broadband service.
Wireless broadband should be relatively easy to set up, even for someone with a lack of technological experience. You will need to connect your wireless router to your phone socket via a microfilter if you have ADSL broadband. This will separate the digital broadband signal from the analogue signal used by your home phone. Different providers will use different makes and models of router, so you will need to refer to the included instructions for detailed help. However, most routers will not automatically have wireless connectivity enabled and you will need to connect via an Ethernet cable in order to perform the initial setup. You will then need to adjust the settings of the router via your preferred internet browser and then turn on the wireless capabilities. Make sure you set a password for your wireless network to make sure only people in your household are able to enjoy your wireless connection.
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