How to Purchase a Home Wireless Internet Serviceby Michael Dance
Purchasing wireless Internet at your home is actually a multi-step process. Internet providers -- Time Warner Cable, Comcast, and all the rest -- install high-speed Internet in your home that has wireless capability, but is usually not wireless by default. To set up a wireless connection, you need to buy a wireless router. Using the router, you can set up a wireless network, which your computers' wireless cards then recognize and connect to.
Make sure the computers in your home have wireless cards installed in them. Wireless cards are what find signals that your wireless network sends out so that you can connect to the Internet. The vast majority of computers and laptops on the market today have built-in wireless cards. If yours doesn't, you can buy an individual wireless card. To check, click on the Start Menu and select the Control Panel. In Vista, select "Hardware," then "Device Manager." In XP, select "Switch to classic view," then "System," then "Hardware," then "Device Manager." A list of types of hardware will appear. Press the plus sign next to "Network adapters." If one of the devices that appears has "wireless," "WLAN," or "Wi-Fi" in the title, you're in luck.
Buy an Internet plan from an Internet service provider. The type of plan you choose is up to you; many come in bundles with phone and cable television service. Aside from broadband Internet, you could also choose DSL, which is less expensive but slower, or a new technology like the fiber-optic connections of Verizon FiOS. A company technician will come to your home and install whatever service you buy; usually it involves setting up a modem, a small machine which connects to your cable or phone line that you then plug into to connect to the Internet.
Buy a wireless router. Routers are manufactured by many companies including Linksys, Belkin, D-Link, or Netgear, and are available in tech stores such as Best Buy or department stores such as Target. There's usually no need for a high-end router; something in the $40 to $50 range will work well for home use. A router plugs into your modem where your computer would normally plug in; the router then creates the network that computers can connect to wirelessly.
Set up the wireless network using the instructions and setup CD that come with your router.