I will be building my own computer here in the next month and am looking to become quite informed about building my own wireless network. Trouble is, I'm a bit out of touch with what I need and what is good. I'm also officially tired of renting a modem from Comcast (bastards keep bumping my monthly rate up).
So what pieces of equipment do I need to build a simple quality wireless network for my home? I would like the network to support two laptops, one desktop, and an Xbox plugged into a LAN line.
Well you will need to supply a bit more info to get a decent answer to your question. Like what is the format of your home? Is there one floor or more? Where is your hardware in respect to the router you will be installing? Is it all near the router? Will you be able to get a cable to the xbox?
As for the hardware, if the size of your home is not too big you may be able to pull it off with a single wireless modem router. You can start off by getting just the router and later install an Access Point or Repeater to better the coverage. When choosing the router you will buy it would be best to get a Wireless N model which will offer better range and speed. There is really no need to spend outrageous amounts of money on high end hardware, you can find decent routers for under 50$.
From the info avalable the best suggestion I can give you now is to place the router(modem) near your xbox so that you can plug that directly into one of the lan ports. Then you could connect the 2 laptops over wifi.
Our home is two stories with the modem living downstairs in the living room. It's almost dead center of the house. I do have a cable for the Xbox as well. Not sure what an Access point or repeater are though...
So it sounds like I could just purchase a modem with a built in wireless router. Would that be the best bet for consistent high quality signal, or should I look into buying a separate modem and a separate wireless router?
Also, what suggestions do you have for both? The only brand I am familiar with is Netgear.
If your knowledge on networking is limited my opinion is that it would be easier for you to limit the number of devices you would need to manage. That is why I would suggest using a wireless modem-router. The type of modem router you choose to buy will ultimately give you the quality and consistancy you need in your home.
As I said a Wireless N class device offers better range and speed so it will surely increase the internet access quality.
A repeater and access poit do more or less the same thing, they extend the signal range to areas where your router can't 'reach'. The differece between them is that an access point must be connected to the router via cable, while a repeater can connect to the router via wireless. But they both have their own antenae and broadcast the wireless signal.
A few brands I suggest to you are:
D-Link, Belkin, Linksys, Netgear, TP Link, Asus.