The problem – you want to get broadband and you want to share this connection with other machines in the house as easily as possible. (Even if you don’t currently want to share the connection it makes sense to buy the correct kit as its not very much more expensive.)
(ADSL / DSL, its all the same for the sake of this article.)
You need a few bits of hardware to get you connected. These are:
An ADSL modem – dials up to the net
A firewall – stops nasties breaking into your machine(s)
A router – lets you share your connection physically (ie. with wires)
A wireless gateway – lets you share your connection wirelessly
Luckily, most manufacturers make 1 device that does all of the above. I recommend the Netgear DG834G which is on Dabs for just under £70 at the time of writing. This device out-of-the-box works very easily, you just enter your broadband username and password and voila, you’re up and running. I recommend physically locating this device next to a computer (if theres a phone socket nearby), just in case you need to ever kick it. Generally, you’ll want to leave this device switched on 24×7 – i.e. always connected – it doesn’t cost any more.
At this point you have ADSL coming into your house so you now have to connect your computer(s) to it. You can either connect your computer with, or without wires. Your choice will depend on the location of your computer in relation to broadband modem, whether you want wires trailing around your house between any additional computers, and what existing hardware you might have.
Install the hardware in your machine and connect any necessary wires.
I’ve always used Eclipse Internet and i’ve never had a problem with them. The best value service they offer is the Connect 500 Lite. They don’t require a minimum term and they’re reasonably priced at about £20 a month.
When you sign up to broadband you have to wait for BT to enable broadband on your phone line so its best to get the broadband ordered and then order the hardware. BT will take 2 weeks, Dabs are never that slow.
The only part of the setup you’ll want to configure is the Wireless router. Out-of-the-box it will work fine, but it won’t be secured. This means that anybody in the area with a wireless card will be able to piggyback your broadband connection. This may or may not bother you.
To secure your connection, you’ll need to enable WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy). This will normally be done by connecting to your router using a web browser. Choose WEP Security and enter a passphrase. This passphrase is used to automatically generate a security key behind the scenes. Click apply. Detailed overview of the DG834G settings – but IGNORE what it says about WPA.
You now have your wireless router encrypted. If you have any wireless clients then you need to go into the configuration options for those and enter the same WEP passphrase.
That should be it. To summarise you’ll need (approx costs):
ADSL modem/router/firewall/wireless – £70
Network card for each computer – £10 wired, £40 wireless
Broadband account – £20 pcm, plus £50 setup