Setting up a secure, personal wireless (Wi-Fi) zone at home gives you direct access to the Internet from wherever you are at home.
Whether you’re viewing videos off YouTube or accessing digital music downloads from your favourite online music store, your Wi-Fi capable ADSL router makes it possible to do it from multiple devices across your home.
This means there no longer has to be a fight over who uses the computer. The children can use the PC for research on a school project, while Mom looks up a recipe on her smartphone in the kitchen and Dad can check email on his iPad – all at the same time.
“The gaming console is perhaps one of the most under utilised devices when it comes to home entertainment. The PlayStation 3 (PS3) and Xbox 360 are both phenomenal media centres, allowing you to watch movies, listen to music, look at photos and surf the Internet," says Carolyn Holgate, MWEB Connect GM.
“The PS3 also connects to the Playstation Network, while the Xbox 360 connects to Xbox Live, allowing you to download the latest games or play against other people online. Both consoles can do this wirelessly so you don’t have to run Internet cables to them,” she says.
Having a Wi-Fi zone at home also means you can chat to friends or family on VoIP programmes from your laptop, tablet or smartphone.
Synchronise your content
And if you’re using a product like Apple’s iCloud, then you can synchronise content across your Apple devices using the Internet – all wirelessly.
“An uncapped, unthrottled ADSL account means you don’t have to worry about the data cap when gaming online, listening to music or watching videos. You simply consume the multimedia at your leisure,” says Holgate.
A personal Wi-Fi zone can even save you money. By setting all your devices that use 3G networks, like your smartphone, to connect to your Wi-Fi zone when you’re home, you pay ADSL pricing and not expensive 3G pricing. Wi-Fi connections are generally also faster and more stable than 3G, depending on how far away your home is from a cellular tower.
The router facilitates file sharing across the network and the home computer or an external hard drive can be designated as the backup drive. Free synchronisation software can then be used to back up information across the network in the event of a device failure.
Printers and other devices can also be shared on the network, allowing you to print from wherever you are in the house.
Setting up your home Wi-Fi zone
A home Wi-Fi zone can be easily secured in the set-up process. Once your Wi-Fi zone is protected with a password you choose in the set-up process and you change this password regularly, your neighbours won’t be able to access and use your Internet without your permission.
Setting up a wireless network is a simple five-step process:
1. Enable the wireless option on your router through an Internet browser (if you struggle or can’t remember the website or IP address, call your ISP for assistance).
2. Simply click on the wireless network tab, set the encryption on your router by selecting WPA2-PSk as the security option and add a password for your network (also called a pre-shared key). For the strongest password, make sure it is at least eight characters long, does not include any dictionary words and is a mix of upper and lower case letters and symbols. For example, "my daughter's birthday is July 7, 1987" could become the password "MDBi7787."
3. Enable wireless on your devices and search for Wi-Fi networks.
4. When viewing networks, you should see your router's name. Select it and press connect.
5. Type in the password and the device will connect.
“Depending on the size of your house, you might need to invest in a stronger wireless router if your standard Wi-Fi capable ADSL router doesn’t have a strong enough wireless signal. Many people also install Wi-Fi repeaters to boost the Wi-Fi signal throughout the house,” says Holgate.
Placement of a Wi-Fi router can also be hugely important in getting a strong signal. “The router should be centralised in the house for the greatest area of coverage and it should be raised up around waist high,” she says.
Did you know you can also access Wi-Fi outside your home? Click here to find out where the hotspots are available.