How to Build a Wireless LAN Workgroup using a WiFi Network

In Computer Networking Skills, Computer Skills
A Tutorial on How to Build a Wireless LAN Workgroup

This post will help you to build a wireless LAN workgroup using a WiFi Network. Your environment may surround with radio communication waves such as cellular networks, call radios, WiFi or networks. Using a WiFi network, a data communication can pass through the air without using network cables.

How to Build a Wireless Network

A large-scale computer network such as a wireless local workgroup LAN network in a corporate must be designed and managed by IT experts. They work to build and maintain the local workgroup LAN network and set up the security. However, you can build a wireless LAN workgroup network in a small networking such as at home or small office with some sub-topics below.

  • The advantages of a wireless network
  • The needs to build a WLAN
  • Networking devices, and
  • WLAN setup and configuration.

You can follow this guide as your reference to understand computer network and how to build a wireless LAN network at home or small office. Surely, this will not further discuss up to a complex network model like OSI.

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The Advantages of Wireless Networking

In our real daily activities, there are a lot of advantages of wireless networking. As you know that a wireless network makes it possible for you to communicate and share data without wire. The following are the advantages of using wireless networking.

  • Allows you to share internet connection with multiple computers in your local area without cables.
  • Sharing devices such as printer, scanner, and fax to be accessed by the local computers without having to queue. This way you only send the data to print or fax and the system will set the queue.
  • Using a wireless network you can browse the internet from anywhere in your home or small office environment without cable.
  • You can make free Skype phone calls to all around the world without having to start your computer.
  • You can play online multiplayer games.

Wireless LAN Workgroup Building Preparation

This article is good for you to do a practical wireless computer networking building at home or small office. So, here we are not going to discuss in detail about technical background issues. But a basic preparation and guide on how to build a wireless LAN workgroup using a WiFi network.

The common reason people need a home WiFi network is to share the internet connection from a broadband internet connection either DSL or Cable. If you want two computers at your home to communicate with each other, all you need is a connecting medium. So, they can connect to each other and eventually be able to communicate with each other.

Physical and Wireless Network Infrastructure

When it comes to connecting two computers to communicate with each other, basically you need only a network cable. Then, connect those two computers via their NIC adapter port (LAN Card) using the network cable. Furthermore, if there are more than two computers, you need a LAN Switch with 8 or 24 ports. The LAN Switch works as the concentrator where you can connect all of the computers to the Switch through a network cable. Using this basic concept you can create a local LAN workgroup network using a physical connector.

Recommended reading: Types of Computer Ports

However, what about the internet connection? If your home has a broadband internet network using Cable or ADSL, certainly, there is a modem that was connected directly to a single computer through a USB cable connected to the computer’s USB port or UTP cable to the computer’s NIC adapter port. Almost all ADSL modems have an Ethernet port for a LAN connection. To allow all computers at your home to connect to the Internet, you need to make a UTP cable connection from modem Ethernet port to the Switch.

The following picture is a diagram of a physical infrastructure of a LAN connection that connects all computers at your home to the Switch and how the modem connects to the Switch as well.

Modem and Switch AP in Wireless LAN Workgroup

Now, we straight to the main point. What about a wireless LAN workgroup network? To build a wireless LAN workgroup, you need to add or create an extension wirelessly from your LAN connection. To build a wireless LAN workgroup extension, you need a Wireless Access Point. This type of access point serves as a bridge that allows the occurrence of communication between computers and network devices in a wireless network. Sometimes with other network devices that exist on the wired network. So, the basic principles of physical network infrastructure and a wireless LAN workgroup connection have been explained here. Knowing the basic concept of the physical and wireless would help you to know how to troubleshoot home network problems.

Networking Devices to Build a Wireless LAN Workgroup

To build a wireless LAN workgroup, the first thing you need to do is to identify the features and facilities of the modem. Find out whether or not the modem has firewall or router, DHCP server, and Ethernet port. It means to determine your wireless access point necessity or what wireless router you need to buy.

If the current modem is a pure modem that does not have firewall/router features and DHCP server, then you need a wireless router. Wireless routers have full features including firewall/router features, DHCP services, Switch LAN and wireless access point.

If your current modem has no firewall and DHCP server, all you need then is a wireless access point that serves to build your wireless network. Find out also the benefits of using DHCP server.

To recognize it, open the manual book of your modem. Or, you can ask your ISP or search the information on the internet after knowing the type of your modem.

After identifying that you need a wireless access point or wireless router, know which wireless AP/Router you should have. I suggest buying a wireless access point or router with the latest technology of features. This will protect your investment in the future. The following specifications are all you need to consider when buying a wireless access point.

  1. The standard wireless today is at least 802.11n or better known as wireless -n. This type of wireless is the fourth generation WiFi technology. While the fifth WiFi technology is 802.11ac or commonly known as wireless ac. The speed of wireless routers using the fifth WiFi technology is around 1300Mbps. Furthermore, the latest variant can provide up to 3200Mbps of speed which you can get from Netgear X6 and TP-link Archer C3200. But now you can also get a variant with aggregation speed up to 5300Mbps. It’s all depends on your budget and your home networking needs.
  2. You should get a wireless access point that supports dual-band at 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz both selectable and simultaneous. The 5GHz frequency is more clear and very good for streaming video and gaming.
  3. Make sure it supports WPA/WPA2. It’s the most recent wireless security industry standard. All wireless devices with wireless -n standard support WPA/WPA2. But you can also find WPA/WPA2 standard in wireless -g.
  4. MIMO intelligent antenna technology (multiple in multiple out) or similar technology that can provide better wireless speed and coverage. you can get this technology on a wireless ac router that uses beamforming antenna technology. Beamforming antenna locks the client with a strong signal.

There are many manufacturers that produce sort of network devices with those four basic features. Surely, the price would slightly more expensive than a standard one. But it worth the network quality you will have.

If you have an adapter device (on laptops, computers, smartphones) with wireless -b/g standard would be compatible with a wireless -n /AP router. Almost all /AP routers with wireless -n standard ensure backward compatible with loser wireless standard (wireless -b/g). They are usually marked with Wi-Fi Certified b/g/n label.

Note

A radio wave signal transmission would certainly be blocked by some obstacles such as walls, trees, or other obstructing objects. Such obstacles reduce or affect reception level on the recipient’s side. Try to put your wireless /AP router in a low barrier level are between the router and the receivers (computers and other devices). Try to line straight with the /AP router to get an optimal connection. Metals, aluminum, glass, and walls will have a negative effect on the wireless signal quality. Not to mention the interference from generators’ waves, microwave oven, etc., and also affect a 2.4 GHz wave.

Wireless LAN Workgroup Configuration and Setup

Firstly, you need to identify all ports on your modem. The following is a picture of a common DSL modem on the market.

Modem ADSL SETUP and Configuration

A USB port is commonly used for a direct connection from modem to one computer. However, to build a wireless LAN workgroup network, you don’t need a USB port. But you need an RJ-45 Ethernet port that will connect to your AP wireless or router on a port with a WAN label (or WLAN port, or the Internet). You can also directly connect an RJ-45 to a Switch if you don’t want to use a wireless network.

While an RJ-11 port is a port which you can connect to a phone line. Usually, your telephone service provider gives you a splitter that breaks your phone line into two. One cable for a modem and one cable to your phone handset. Both can run without interrupting each other as DSL internet and telephone voice frequencies are different.

The following picture shows how you connect those ports to your AP wireless or router. Use a cross cable to connect from modem to the wireless router. The default cable of a modem that is a cross type.

But before, you need to do an initial configuration on the router. Use a network cable (usually bundled with the router) and connect one of the Ethernet (Switch) ports from the router to the NIC port of one of the computers. Run the installation CD-ROM and follow the installation wizard. Then, connect your router to the modem as shown in the picture above.

Furthermore, if you need a more advanced configuration, you can do it through a web-based utility such as providing the internet IP address (with the help of your ISP via phone call) and the IP address to your router as well as DHCP services configuration. The default DHCP services of a router are usually have been enabled. DHCP is really important for your wireless LAN workgroup network as it will serve as a supplier of IP address configuration to all computers (clients) on your network automatically.

How Does Each of the Client Computers Obtain an IP Address?

You need to configure the TCP/IP on each client computer to get an IP address automatically. However, how to connect from the wireless adapter on your computer depending on your wireless router features. There is a wireless router that uses a wizard configuration to connect to the router by using a security feature it supports. Such security feature is commonly called as a Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS).

If the router’s security system is not enabled, you usually only need to search the wireless network name (SSID) of your computer. If it recognizes the existing wireless network with the name of the existing SSID, you can connect to the network automatically. Definitely, if your computer has no an installed WiFi adapter, you need to add it.

However, if the security system is set up using WPA or WEP wireless security, you then must enter the account and the password as an authentication. Both sides between the computer and the wireless router must be the same setting for WPA or WEP. The rest you can already connect and be able to share files, documents, digital media, printer, other network devices, and play online multiplayer games together.

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