Wireless networking at home

Wireless networking allows you to access the web anywhere in the home.
Learn more
  • Updated:7 May 2009

03.What to buy

Most laptop computers have some sort of wireless connectivity, usually 802.11b or g. However, if you have an older laptop without this feature you can buy either a wireless PC card for about $100 or a USB wireless adapter. Once you have your wireless router connected to the internet, your home is transformed into a wireless hub for a wide variety of devices.

The following are examples of wireless activity that can be performed throughout different rooms without turning on a PC, as the house is constantly connected to the web through your wireless router.

  • Bedroom The Logitech Squeezebox Boom turns on at a set time and plays your favourite internet radio station, and also allows you to listen to your music stored somewhere in the house on a network-attached storage device (NAS), which is essentially a hard drive connected to your home network. Before heading into the ensuite, you can quickly check your iPod Touch or iPhone to check the weather and any emails that have come through overnight.
  • Lounge room The latest YouTube video can be streamed wirelessly to your TV via a media player. Some of the latest TVs even allow you to send HD video wirelessly from a Blu-ray player or PVR to the TV mounted on a wall, meaning no AV cable clutter. Meanwhile, the kids can play games on the Nintendo Wii console. Its wireless controllers use Bluetooth technology, while the Sony PS3 uses Wi-Fi connectivity to help bring online games to life.
  • Backyard Do your banking online or make that final bid on eBay while watching the kids play in the backyard. Most laptops support Wi-Fi and the latest models support the faster 802.11n protocol. Some wireless routers feature USB ports for connecting devices such as a printer or hard drive, allowing you to share the device and print a document from either a desktop PC connected via Ethernet or wirelessly from your laptop.


  • Wi-Fi sounds like an abbreviated word to describe wireless fidelity, however it is in fact just an invented word meaning nothing in particular. The wireless alliance decided to use the term as it sounded a lot catchier than IEEE802.11a.
  • ADSL Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line – a technology for transmitting compressed digital video and audio over regular (twisted pair) telephone lines with the use of special modems.
  • Ethernet Networking using special cabling (usually Cat5 or Cat6) to connect two or more computers.
  • Firewall A software program and/or hardware device that limits outside network access to a computer or local network by blocking or restricting access to your computer.
  • IP address The number uniquely identifying a node or device on a network using Internet Protocol (IP).
  • SSID Service Set IDentifier, also known as the network name as this is the name a user sees when trying to connect to a network.

Sign up to our free

Receive FREE email updates of our latest tests, consumer news and CHOICE marketing promotions.