Newbie wants to set up wireless

Hello everyone,

I'm pretty good with computers generally, but I'm a total newbie when it comes to setting up a wireless network.

Here's what's going on:

I have Verizon DSL. The modem they gave me is several years old, and only supports a very old (and apparently totally unreliable) form of encryption/security.

What I want to do is replace this old DSL modem with a new one that supports the newest encryption/security measures (I know someone whose wireless network was hacked into, they did some really bad stuff, so I'm kinda paranoid).

I have my desktop hooked up to the modem and would like to have it also be wireless so I can use the internet on my laptop throughout my apartment.

Does anyone recommend a particular modem? If I want the newest form of wireless security, do I have to worry about any compatibility issues (my laptop is about 2.5 years old)? I'd appreciate any feedback.

ps. I feel embarrassed asking this question- but is a DSL router simply the same thing as a DSL modem?


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ZyXel makes several excellent products. Embarq uses them, in other words telcos want a low maintenance product.

ZyXel website for DSL customer side products.

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P660M is your basic DSL modem with an embedded router. P660H is DSL modem with an embedded router and 4 port hub. P660HW is the P660H with wireless G.

Yes and no.

No - A DSL modem is only a device that that converts the analog DSL signal to ethernet. A router creates additional network addresses.

Yes - Almost all customer sided DSL modems have an embedded router. Some have a built in hub, others need to be connected to a separate hub.

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johnnypod hath wroth:

Any particular maker and model DSL modem? As I recall, Verizon was using Westel DSL modems.

DSL modems do not have encryption or security. That's a router feature.

Fine. When you get your wireless router, setup:

  1. A login password.
  2. A unique SSID
  3. WPA-PSK or WPA2-PSK encryption with a long (>25 chars) and messy encryption key.

That's it. You're done with security.

Any particular range (in ft or meters)? How many walls are you going through? What is the general construction of the walls? If foil backed insulation in the walls, give up now.

You already have a DSL modem that works.

Yes. The "newest" form of security that you can actually purchase is WPA2-AES. There's no problem at the router if it supports WPA2. However, the wireless client radio for your unspecified model laptop running an unspecified operating system might be a problem. If you buy an older wireless card or device, or don't bother to update the drivers, it may not support WPA2. Also, I've had some compatibility issues with WPA2-AES encryption and had to go down a notch to WPA-TKIP. There's a slight reduction in security level, but not much.

No. A DSL modem just converts the data on the DSL line into ethernet. To lay on the buzzwords, it's an ATM to ethernet bridge, that bridges encapsulated 802.3 ethernet packets inside ATM packets. It does no filtering, routing, switching, or juggling of these packets.

A "DSL router" is a DSL modem, an ethernet router, and usually a 4 port ethernet switch, inside one package. These functions can also be done with a seperate DSL modem, seperate ethernet router, and seperate

4 port ethernet switch.

If you throw in wireless into the puzzle, you have a "wireless DSL router", which has the DSL modem, ethernet router, wireless access point, and 4 port ethernet switch, all in one conglomeration.

There are benefits to doing this in 2 or 3 packages. Wireless standards are changing and improving constantly. Anything you buy has a good chance of being obsolete in a year or two. That's not true for the DSL modem, ethernet router, or 4 port switch. The technology for those are fairly mature. So, when the latest wireless acronyms arrive, your only choice is to toss the whole box and start over again. With seperate boxes, you can just replace the wireles section.

Start reading here:

See the tutorials and HowTo's.

Also, the FAQ:

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