Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.

It's not quite "wireless networking for dummies" but here you'll find a wide range of questions and answers covering things from setting up a home wireless network to wireless routers, what to do at free wifi locations and everything in between.

Can I get WiFi from my ISP's DSL connection?

To broadcast your DSL wirelessly, you will need to add the right equipment to your network.

Can I use a second wireless access point to extend my wireless network?

Depending on what you're planning, you can use a second wireless point to extend your wireless network.

Can hackers sniff my cellphone internet connection?

Using your cell phone as a mobile hotspot is convenient and powerful - and easy to be unsecured. I'll look at what it means to set that up securely.

Can my guests still access my wifi hotspot after they leave?

Wireless routers have an effective range of around 100 meters. Beyond that, nobody is going to be able to access your connection.

Can my landlord see the websites I go to?

A landlord could conceivably see the websites you go to if you use a shared internet connection. But there are ways to stay safe.

Can my neighbor view and monitor my browsing if I use his wireless connection?

Using any shared internet by definition "shares" it: other users on the service will be able to see what you are doing on the connection. Extra security steps may be necessary.

Can my neighbors see my WiFi if I can see theirs?

If you're close enough to see someone else's wireless network chances are they can see yours. There's one step you must take to stay secure.

Can you list some good alternative DSL modem/routers?

DSL routers and modems can fail, or drop connections, for many reasons. The best solution is to talk to your ISP.

Do all wireless routers require a cable connection to a modem for internet service?

Do you have to have wires to get the internet? Or more commonly: can you just get the internet from the air? With new services, it may be possible.

Does changing or disabling the broadcast of my wireless SSID make me more secure?

The SSID identifies your wireless access point to any computers in range. Having a unique one is helpful, but hiding it is only marginally more secure.

Does having a publicly visible Wi-Fi password add security compared to an open Wi-Fi hotspot?

Using a password protected WPA2 is a minor inconvenience for a very significant level of additional security. I'll explain...

How can I block neighboring wireless networks?

Accidentally connecting to someone's nearby wireless network can be a serious security risk. We'll look at some steps to prevent it.

How can I hook up my desktop computer in my basement wirelessly to a router on a floor above?

Hooking into a wireless from a basement apartment can be tricky, depending on construction of the house and distance from the router. You also need the right equipment.

How can I tell what kind of WiFi encryption I'm using?

It's easy to tell what kind of encryption is being used on available networks. Changing it, however, requires access to the wireless router.

How do I determine the capabilities of my wireless network adapter?

Figuring out the speed capability of your wireless network card may not be obvious. Using Windows you can examine the wireless card's properties.

How do I extend my network wirelessly?

Extending your network using wireless technology holds both promise and complexity. Here are some ideas to extend a network using wireless networking.

How do I get my wireless to run faster?

A wireless connection should be capable of the same speeds as a wired connection. I look at both distance and hardware as possible culprits in slowing down a system.

How do I know if I have WPA or WEP I can use when traveling?

Wireless encryption hardware support is actually only half the battle. Knowing whether or not it will be used is the other. And it likely will not.

How do I pick a wireless USB adapter?

Picking a wireless USB adapter is fortunately not a huge problem. It is often good to go with a recommended solution, so you know you'll be able to get support.

How do I properly secure a mobile broadband hotspot?

Mobile security is important. There are several things you'll want to do to secure your hotspot.

How do I set up access for my iPad or laptop if there's no WiFi where I'm visiting?

Setting up a Wi-Fi connection while traveling requires some equipment. I walk through a few options for staying connected in a remote area.

How do you remove wireless connections in Vista?

It's possible to accidentally connect to wireless networks you didn't expect. We'll look at how to make sure you get the connection you expect.

How should I stay connected while traveling?

Fortunately for the wired traveler, mobile connectivity options have improved dramatically. We'll look at some of the many ways to stay connected while travelling.

Is cellular broadband more secure than WiFi?

Cellular is a popular internet connection alternative. As with any connection it's important to understand the security ramifications and tradeoffs.

Is initiating a WiFi connection more sensitive than simply keeping an existing connection running?

Connecting to Wi-Fi is easier the closer you are to the access point. That's another reason to not use someone else's connection in the neighborhood.

Is it OK to use this random wireless network that I just found?

When scanning for wireless connections you may find several that are unknown yet and appear open and available. Using them is risky. Very risky.

Is the WiFi connection provided by my landlord safe, and if not, how should I protect myself?

Connectivity is becoming an added "perk" in some housing situations. Make sure you know the risks when someone else provides your internet connection.

Just how easy is it to sniff network traffic?

We often hear that we need to protect ourselves from data sniffing, particularly at open WiFi hotspots. I'll look at what and how easy sniffing is.

My laptop only seems to support WEP encryption, how do I get WPA2?

Selecting WPA or WPA2 encryption is important, but not all hardware supports it. We'll look at what to do if your computer doesn't support WPA2.

What do I need to get a wireless internet connection in my remote location?

A good internet connection is often difficult to find in a remote area. Your cell phone company might have a solution for you.

What happens if I am connected to my neighbor's wireless and my USB modem at the same time?

Don't let your computer randomly make the choice of which connection to use. I'll show you how to manually determine which connection is active on your laptop.

What kind of router do I need?

A router is a router is ... actually, there are several different kinds of routers that are used in different situations. I'll review the most common.

What's the difference between a router, a wireless router and a wireless access point?

Unfortunately, terminology has become quite confused around routers and access points, I'll describe each, how they relate, and why differences matter.

Why am I not getting 4G speeds on my 4G wireless modem?

4G internet connection speeds could suffer from signal strength issues or interference. Windows settings won't be an issue.

Why can't I get two access points to work at the same time?

Adding a second access point to your network is a great way to extend your range. But you'll need to take care to avoid configuration conflicts.

Why does answering cordless phones cause some wireless connections to drop?

Occasionally, answering or using a cordless phone can cause computer wireless or WiFi connections to drop. We'll look at why, and what to do.

Why does my laptop WiFi sometimes drop and then work well when I manually reconnect?

Dropped WiFi connections are a pain, and hard to diagnose. I look at a few steps to take to solve the problem.

Why is my WiFi signal stronger and weaker at different times?

Two factors affecting Wi-Fi strength could be the amount of metal construction or the number of electronic devices between the antenna and the computer.

Why isn't my wireless operating at full speed?

Wireless equipment is advertised as carrying data at a particular speed, but the part that's not highlighted is that the conditions must be right.

Wireless Encryption: do I need it?

Wireless Encryption is somewhat mysterious. Wireless encryption is something you likely need to keep your network, and your data, secure.