How to set up a secure home network

Boost your home broadband setup.

A wireless connection isn't just handy when you're out and about. There are more options for going wireless at home, whether it's so you can enjoy catch-up TV you've downloaded on your actual telly (rather than the PC screen) or so you can work in a peaceful corner of the house.

Faster Wi-Fi in the form of the 802.11n chipset is now available in the latest Vista and Mac-based laptops. Updating the backbone of your home Wi-Fi setup to match therefore makes sense.

It's easier than ever to set up a home network. The hope is that this will mean consumers end up with secured Wi-Fi, rather than skipping the encryption part of the installation process.

1. Setting up a wireless network involves choosing a suitable wireless router (with a built-in modem, if you're starting from scratch) and checking it will work with your existing Wi-Fi kit. If you're getting a draft-n router, this will work with b and g hardware, but 802.11a kit is now largely obsolete.

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2. Follow the instructions that came with your router to install the hardware. You may be prompted to check online for firmware updates that will boost performance and aid compatibility. These are issued extremely frequently, so this is worth doing. Once installed, the router will automatically change any settings it needs to.

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Rosemary Hattersley

PC Advisor (UK)

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