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Wireless Home Networking for Dummies - Danny Briere, Walter R.Bruce, ....pdf
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100 Part II: Making Plans

You might feel that frequent firmware updates are evidence of faulty product design. Acknowledging that wireless technology will continue to be improved, buying a product that can be upgraded to keep pace with these changes without the need to purchase new equipment can save you money in the long run.


Although we can’t say much directly about price (except that the least expensive item is rarely the one that you want), we should mention other things that can add to the price of an item. Check out which cables are provided (yes, wireless devices need cables, too!). In an effort to trim costs, some (not many) companies don’t provide an Ethernet cable for your AP (which you need for initial setup).

Also, before you buy, check out some of the online price comparison sites, like CNET (shopper.cnet.com) or Yahoo! Shopping (shopping.yahoo.com). Internet specials pop up all the time.


There’s nothing worse than a device that dies one day after the warranty expires. The good news is that because most of these devices are solid state, they work for a long time unless you abuse them by dropping them on the floor or something drastic. In our experience, if your device is going to fail for build reasons, it will do so within the first 30 days or so.

You’ll encounter a rather large variance among vendors of warranty schedules. Some are only one-year long, but some are lifetime in length. Most are limited in some fashion, like covering parts and labor but not shipping.

When purchasing from a store, be sure to ask about its return policy for the first month or so. A lot of stores give you 14 days to return items, and after that, purchases have to be returned to the manufacturer directly, which is a huge pain in the rumpus, as Pat would say. If you only have 14 days, get the device installed quickly so that you can find any problems right away.

Extended service warranties are also often available through computer retailers. (We never buy these because by the time that the period of the extended warranty expires, they’re simply not worth their price given the plummeting cost of the items.) If you purchase one of these warranties, however, make sure that you have a clear understanding of the types of problems covered as

Chapter 5: Choosing Wireless Home Networking Equipment 101

well as how and when you can contact the service provider if problems arise. As we mention above, if you don’t purchase a warranty, you’ll probably need to contact the product manufacturer for support and warranty service instead of the store or online outlet where you purchased the product.

Customer and Technical Support

Good technical support is one of those things that you don’t appreciate until you can’t get it. For support, check whether the manufacturer has toll-free or direct dial numbers for support as well as its hours of availability. Ticklish technical problems seem to occur at the most inopportune times — nights, weekends, holidays. If you’re like us, you usually install this stuff late at night and on weekends. (We refuse to buy anything from anyone with only 9 a.m.–5 p.m., M–F hours for technical support.) Traditionally, only the high-end (that is to say, expensive) hardware products came with 24x7 technical support; however, an increasing number of consumer-priced computer products, including wireless home networking products, offer toll-free, around-the-clock, technical phone support.

102 Part II: Making Plans

Part III

Installing a

Wireless Network

In this part . . .

Now comes the work: installing a wireless network in your home and getting it up and running. Whether you’re a Mac OS 9 or X user or have PCs running a Windows 95 or later operating system, this part of the book explains how to install and configure your wireless networking equipment. No doubt you’re also interested in sharing a single Internet connection and, of course, making your home network as secure as possible. This part covers these topics as well.