A guide to setting up your very own network through routers, data cards and tethering, which is bound to boost your standing among your peers

Using a router for your home
As we've already seen, routers connect networks. We told you in the preceding chapters, that if you want to give all of your computers access to ceding the internet using one modem, you need to use a router or a modem with a built-in router Routers have a very wide range -from your PC running the good ol’ internet sharing software to zillions of dollars' worth of systems of specialized hardware and software.
          The router is designed to act as an interface between your local network and the internet and take care of most of the more confusing networking options for you. This in itself is quite a headache-alleviator but routers even go a step further by providing firewall protection between the computers on your network and the rest of the internet.
          Physically, the router is situated between your laptop and the internet connection or broadband modem. All computers on the local network connect to this router and not directly to the modem. Routers are configured by logging into them. The router has an IP address, and you use your web browser software, to connect to the router, log in and set the configurations. We'll now give you a step-by-step guide to connecting and configuring your very own router:
Connecting your router
Although it may seem very daunting technically, setting up a router can be a piece of cake. In fact, after it's setup, you rarely, if ever, have to reconfigure or mess with the router.
          Let's take a look at the hardware side of the router. The only connections you have to worry about are situated on the rear. You may refer to the directions that came with the router for specifics on how things are set up, but generally the ethernet cables from your PCs hook into the LAN connectors. A single connector is designated for the broadband modem, which also plugs into the router by using an ethernet cable.
Some routers come with on/off switches. Now-a-days you just need to plug the router into the wallsocket to turn it on. There's no need to turn off the router unless you’re troubleshooting the network or you plan on not using the network for an extended period; most people just leave their broadband modems and routers on all the time. Another important item you need to locate on your router is its reset switch. It's probably located on the back of the router. The reset switch is most likely recessed.
The front of the router is far less interesting than the back. The front features a few lamps that flicker as traffic flows into and out of the router, plus perhaps a status light or three.
Setting up your router
Now you'll learn how to set up a Wi-Fi router to use with your laptop. In general, this process begins by connecting the router to the same computer      that is attached to your broadband modem (in this example, your laptop); this allows automated configuration software to obtain the information it needs without any intermediary devices along the way.
Here's a typical setup:
Ø  The first thing you need to do is turn off the power to your broadband modem. If your modem doesn't have an on/off switch, remove the power supply to the device.
Ø  Now, connect the power adapter to the back panel of the wireless router.
Ø  Plug this adapter into any AC outlet and make sure that the power LED illuminates.
Ø  Once you've ensured that the power LED is glowing, connect an ethernet cable to the broadband modem.
Ø  Restore power back to the modem.
Ø  Insert the other end of the ethernet cable into the WAN (wide area network) port on the back panel of the wireless router.
Ø  Insert another ethernet cable between LAN Port 1 (on the back panel of the wireless router) and any available ethernet port on the NIC (network interface card) of the laptop, which you're going to use to configure the Wi-Fl system.
Ø  Shut down the laptop connected to the Wi-Fi router and restart it.
Ø  Open your web browser and in the address bar of the browser, type the URL for the built-in setup screen of the wireless router.
Ø  For example, type for most D-Link routers.
Ø  Now you may need to log in to the router. The below table shows a list of the standard addresses for setup screens as well as default usernames and passwords from several major makers.
Once you're "in" the router, you'll see a web page which is basically the router's configuration program. You may now refer to the directions that came with the device for the basic configuration of the router. In addition to those directions, you can use your web browser to set a various options. Some of the most important ones are discussed below:
Ø  Change the router's administrator password:Pick a strong password. Especially for a wireless router, you don't want to pick something obvious or easy that your nosy next door neighbor or a novice hacker will guess. Note that Windows may not even connect to a wireless network that lacks a password.
Ø  Ensure that the router's firewall is active:The firewall most likely is active, but do check, just in case. Use the router's web-based interface in your PC's web browser to navigate to the firewall option screen.
Ø  Set a Service Set Identifier (SSID):This is the name by which the wireless network is known. Set the encryption for the network (Wired Equivalent Privacy). Make sure that you note down the password! It will be a long string of numbers and letters, and you must enter it exactly to access the network.
Ø  Selective Access:You can configure the base station to allow connections only from known computers. You specify this setting by listing the MAC address of the wireless ethernet adapter in each PC.
Ø  DHCP: Tell the wireless router to provide IP addresses dynamically for all computers on the network. This is also known as Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP).
          Congratulations! You've now successfully set up your very own Wi-Fi router. The router remembers its settings, so there's no need to reconfigure it after a power outage. After its setup, you'll probably never need to mess with it again.
Networks on the go
So a wireless modem is only good within a certain range. But what happen when you're on the go and you want to connect your laptop or tablet to the internet. You'll be lucky if you can find a Wi-Fi hot spot - but in India, you might be hard-pressed to find one. If you're traveling by car in unfamiliar territory, for example, Wi-Fi is a not-so-convenient option. So what do you do?
This is where wireless data cards come into the picture, if you're looking for flexibility, reliability and security, there's simply no substitute for a wireless data card. It provides access anytime and anywhere to anything you need on the web from your laptop.
What's a wireless data card?
A wireless data card makes use of cellular phone technology to connect your laptop to the internet. What it does is it dials into the wireless data network of your cellular carrier, and your laptop sees 'this as an always-on connection. This is very similar to your DSL or cable modem at home. Access to the internet is through the network coverage of the relevant telecommunication company provider via Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA), Evolution-Data Optimized (EVDO) or High-Speed Packet Access (HSPA) technologies. In India as well as abroad, all cellular carriers now, offer data cards to meet the ever-growing and ever-changing needs of its subscribers and the array of laptops, netbooks and now tablets.
Types of wireless cards
Ø  Plug-in models:You have to simply plug these data cards into your laptop. You get them as USB cards and Express Cards. These Express-Cards are like a smaller version of the older PCMCIA cards they've supplanted and have a much better battery life. You can move these USB wireless cards and Express Cards from one computer to another, assuming the computers can accept the card type. USB cards are usually recommended, however, because they can be shared between computers and they work on Macs, PCs and even Linux OS computers. Also, many small laptops don t have the room for an Express Card slot.
Ø  On-board wireless data cards:There are certain data cards which are built into the laptop. This makes them an excellent addition to the mobile gear of people-on-the-go. The only downside is that these cards are dedicated to the laptop on which they're installed, and so they cannot be shared between devices. They also can be tougher to troubleshoot and are recommended only for true road warriors.
Ø  Multi-device cards:The third and the last type of data card is one that can share the same connection to a cellular carrier among multiple devices at once. The pioneer of these devices is the MiFi, about the size of a credit card. You can use it in two ways:
1.   You can either connect it directly to your laptop with a USB cable, like the USB data cards mentioned above or,
2.   You can leave it disconnected and turned on. It will then act like a Wi-Fi hotspot for access by as many as five users (although three users is a practical maximum). Note that this use of MiFi cards can be confusing at times and is usually recommended for the computer savvy. Just make sure you remember to charge your MiFi card.
How does it work?
A USB broadband card interfaces with the connected computer using a Universal Serial Bus (USB) connector.
When the device is connected, the computer interprets the device as a network adapter and the machine's operating system begins sending network traffic to the device using standard networking protocols.
Ø  When the broadband card receives networking data from the computer, it converts the data into radio waves in order to interface with the wireless broadband carrier's point of presence or hub.
Ø  Depending on the card's vendor and the wireless broadband carrier, the frequency of radio waves may vary considerably: some carriers use the 800 megahertz (800MHz) frequency while some specialized carriers use frequencies reaching up to 38 gigahertz (38GHz).
Ø  Wireless broadband employs an advanced data encapsulation method known as Time Division Multiplexing which helps the broadband card balance upstream (upload) and downstream (download) data packet transfer for optimum network and frequency utilization.
How to set it up
Since many different cellular services offer their own data card, the installation procedure varies from one Data Card to the other. In this section we'll be describing the most generic way of setting up your own network. You should be able to getting yourself up and running with Wireless Broadband with very few deviations, from what is outlined below:
USB modem setup
1.   Connect your Wireless modem to an available USB port on your computer.
2.   Once connected, your USB modem will automatically check that the Proprietary Connection software has been installed onto your computer. The first time you connect the USB modem to your computer, the modem will automatically install all the necessary software.
3.   The setup wizard will guide you to install the software. Just follow the onscreen instructions to complete the software installation. Then click "Finish".
4.   Double-click on the Service Provider's Wireless Broadband Icon on your computer desktop or taskbar to launch the Connection software.
5.   The Wireless software will locate the Service Provider's network and will display the available network in the bottom left-hand corner.
6.   Once the modem has located the Service Provider's network, click on the CONNECT button.
7.   Congratulations, you're now connected to Wireless broadband. Open your internet browser and start surfing the internet!
Data card setup
1.    If your data card came with an installation CD, insert it into the CD drive of your computer.
2.    If your data card didn't come with an installation CD, insert the data card into a compatible PCMCIA port on your laptop.
3.    Your CD or data card will then install the Connection software-." onto your computer. When instructed, follow the onscreen instructions to install the connection software and complete the software installation.
4.    Once the software has been installed, double-click on the Service Provider's Wireless Broadband Icon.
5.    The Wireless software will locate the Service Provider's network and display the available network in the bottom left-hand corner.
6.    Once the modem has located the network, click on the Connect button.
7.    Now, open your browser and start surfing the internet!
Other uses
More advanced users can make use of wireless data cards along with a special router, to create their very own DSL-type connection - the data card, becomes their ISP. Plug as many as five cards into an 802.11b/g/n router to do this. For example, if you've a temporary research site, and you needed, to connect multiple computers to the internet; you can use the data card's internet connection and the router to set up the link.
We've made passing references to tethering before in this book. Let's take a closer look at what tethering is all about - iPhone tethering as well as Android tethering.
Tethering is a general technique available on many cell phones and' smartphones to access the internet. With the right software and data plan from a cellphone carrier, it allows users to connect their smartphone to a computer and use the phone's 3G internet connection to provide wireless, l always-on connectivity to the computer.
iPhone tethering
When you use an iPhone as a wireless modem to provide internet access to a computer or other Wi-Fi-enabled device, like an iPad or iPod Touch, it's called iPhone Tethering.
To use iPhone tethering, you must have an iPhone 3GS or higher, running iOS 4 or higher, with a data plan that supports tethering.
Tethering often requires a monthly data plan subscription in addition to the standard phone contract. Most major iPhone carriers offer data plans that include tethering.
Devices can connect to the iPhone when it's in tethering mode three ways, via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and USB. USB is the default method when using Personal Hotspot, but it is easy enough to enable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth sharing, too. We'll be telling you more about this shortly. Keep in mind that tethered connections are generally slower than broadband or Wi-Fi connections, even if they're more portable.
Personal hotspot
While tethering is the general name for this functionality, Apple's implementation of it and the way its onscreen iOS functions are labeled is called Personal hotspot.
Check if tethering is enabled
There are two ways to check if iPhone tethering is enabled on your account. First, you can log in to your wire less account online and check your plan. Tethering will appear if you've added it to your plan.
          Another way to go about it, is to check it on your iPhone itself. To find out, tap the Settings icon, then go to General > Network. Scroll down to the Personal hotspot button. If it reads "off or on", tethering is enabled. If it's not, the button will read "Set Up Personal Hotspot."
How to use tethering
1.  The first thing you need to do to begin setting up your Personal Hotspot is tap on the Settings icon on your home-screen. Then tap on "General". Then tap "Network".
2.  In the Network Setting screen, you’ll see a button labeled "Set Up Personal Hotspot" about halfway down the screen. Tap this button. You'll only read this before setting one up the first time. The next time you do it, it will simply read "Personal Hotspot".
3.  If a pop-up comes up like the one shown alongside, it means that you haven't' added the Personal Hotspot service to your iPhone's data plan, or don't already have tethering enabled. In order to use this option, you'll need to add tethering to your iPhone data plan, as it supplies both - tethering and the Personal Hotspot service. To do this, call your cell phone carrier or add it via your web based account.
4.  Once you've added the Personal Hotspot/tethering to your data plan, you'll see a screen like the one below when you tap on the Personal Hotspot menu on the Network screen.
5.  Now in order to start up your Personal Hotspot, slide the Personal Hotspot slider to "On". If you want to change the password, tap the password field and edit it on the next screen. Anyone wanting to connect to your hotspot via Wi-Fi will need to supply this password in order to gain access.
6.  As we told you before the default mode of connection to your Personal Hotspot is USB only. When you turn on your personal hotspot, you'll see this pop-up asking if you'd like to turn on Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to allow for wireless connections. Tap the Turn on Wi-Fi and Bluetooth button, as you see fit.
Congratulations! You're done setting up your Personal Hotspot and are ready to let others connect to it.
          When other devices are connected to your Personal Hotspot, you'll see a message in blue at the top of the screen or on the lock screen indicating that the Personal Hotspot is active and the number of users connected to it.
Now that your Personal Hotspot has been set up, when you want to turn it on in the future, simply tap the Settings icon and you lI find a new Personal Hotspot menu item at the top of the screen, just under Airplane Mode and Wi-Fi.
Android devices: Tethering and portable Wi-Fi hotspots
Just like in the case of iPhone, Android phones also give you the option of sharing your Google Android device's mobile data connection with a single computer via a USB cable or via Bluetooth. This may, however, depend on your model of Android device and your carrier. You may also be able to share your Android device's data connection with up to five devices at once, by turning your phone into a portable Wi-Fi hotspot.
We've already shown you how to share a connection from your Android Mobile to a laptop or tablet, by creating a Wi-Fi Hotspot or tethering via USB or Bluetooth. However there is a small catch - it only works on Windows 7. If you want to tether your Android device via USB to a computer running Windows XP, you must prepare your computer as described:
1.  Download the configuration file "tetherxp.inf" to your Windows computer from
2.  Use the USB cable that came with your phone to connect your phone to your computer.
3.  On the Android phone, press Home, press Menu, and touch Settings to open the Settings application.
4.  Touch Wireless & networks > Tethering & portable hotspot.
5.  Check USB tethering.
6.  When Windows's New Hardware Wizard opens, select "No", not at this is time and click "Next".
7.  Select "Install from a list or specific location" and click "Next".
8.  Click "Browse" to browse to the directory where you installed the configuration file you downloaded in Step 1 and click "Next". Windows uses the configuration file to configure itself to support USB tethering with the Android phone.
9.  When Windows finishes installing the software for Android USB Ethernet/RNDIS, click "Finish".
          You can now use the new Windows local area network connection provided by your phone via USB tethering.
Pocket router
We've all been in situations when we felt the urgent need to access internet on multiple devices like laptops, tablets and mobiles. Sometimes a data card is, not enough for your networking needs; maybe because you can't connect it to your phone or your tab. A pocket router is your solution to this problem.
With a pocket router, you can create a secure Wi-Fi hotspot anywhere almost instantly. Weighing around 80gm with a size that can fit in your pocket (hence, the name), these routers offer speeds up to 3.1 mbps. You can get a pocket router with a Tata Photon or an MTS connection at around Rs.5000. Or you can buy D-link DIR-457 pocket router for Rs.10,000 and use any UMTS/HSDPA SIM card. Completely portable and with a battery life of about four hours, you can connect five devices (16 for Dlink) to the pocket router.
          Let's look at how to set up a pocket router. Here we’ll be taking a look at the Tata Photon D-link DIR-457 pocket router.
1.    First, open the back cover and insert the battery and the SIM card.
2.    There are two modes of connection: USB and Wi-Fi
3.    You can switch the mode using the selection switch. Once in USB mode, you can connect your router to your computer with the USB cable provided and power on the device. The Connection Manager should start up automatically.
          Now, let's configure the 3G connection.
          Go to Settings > Switch to USB Modem ConnMgr
          You'll have to 'set up a new profile. Click on the Profile button.
          Click on the New button to create a new profile.
        Select your profile type. You can choose Preconfigured settings or create your own User Defined Profile.
          If your service provider isn't listed in the preconfigured list, choose User Defined Profile and click on "Next". Fill in your profile name, phone number, APN, user name, password and authorisation type. You can get these details from your service provider.
          Click "Finish" and you're ready to connect.
          You can now connect to the internet by clicking on the black connect button, once connected, it will turn green. To disconnect, click on the green disconnect button.
To configure your Wi-Fi settings:
1.    Go to Settings > Switch to Wi-Fi and Basic Settings and select "Wi-Fi settings".
2.    Here you can manually choose your SSID and select the security mode.
3.    Click on the Security mode dropdown box and select WPA2 security.
4.    Enter your desired password.
5.    To check your usage, go to View > Usage and select the Current Month tab or the Previous Month tab. You can also control usage using the connection manager.
6.    Open the connection manager.
7.    Select Tools> Preference and select the usage tab.
8.    After checking the “Limit by Data” checkbox, you can put in a limit on your use. Once you’ve exhausted this limit, you’ll be disconnected automatically.
Additional features
Now that you know how to connect to the internet, let's look at how you can use this pocket router to send text messages to other phones. The D-link router can be used to perform all the text messaging functions that can be done on a mobile phone such as sending, receiving, replying, forwarding and deleting.
1.    To start messaging, click on the SMS tab in the connection manager.
2.    Click on "New message" to compose a new message. Enter the recipient's phone number or select it from your contacts stored on your SIM card. Type in your message and click "send".
3.    To reply or forward a message, select and click on "Reply/Forward". You don't need your mobile handy whenever you want to send a message because the router has its own contact manager which can be used to add, edit or delete contacts.
Ø  To add a contact, click the Contacts button. Now, select Add" and enter the contact name and the phone number. Click "OK" and the contact will be saved on your SIM card.
Ø  To edit a contact, click the Contacts button and select "Edit". Make the necessary changes and click "OK" to save your changes.
Ø  To delete a contact, select the contact and click on the delete button. To delete all contacts, click "Select All" and hit the Delete button.
If you already have your contacts in vCards, you can import them here in just a few clicks. Go to Contacts and click the Import button. Select the vCards you want to import and click Open. After the import, a message will display the important contact information. You can also export your existing contacts by clicking the Export button and selecting the destination to save the vCards. Click "OK" to export the cards. A message will be displayed after the transfer is complete.