Routers are essentially switchboard operators.  They take a single internet connection and allow more than one computer to use it.  A wireless router will let you to connect computers ie: a notebook without needing a cable to access the internet from anywhere in the house.

While wireless can be very convenient, it often can cause issues with accesiblity and security.  We suggest using an internet cable to connect a computer to the internet where possible, using wireless only when necessary.  For instance, if you have two desktops and a notebook, we suggest using a cable for both desktops and wireless for the notebook.  That way, if there is a problem with your wireless, your desktops are still able to use the internet.  This applies to printers as well, some printers let you connect them wirelessly, but it’s easier to plug it into the network with an internet cable.

Most new routers come with a CD that will walk you through the process of setting up your router.  You should use the CD instead of this document - this document assumes the CD is not available. 

These reference materials were developed using a Linksys WRT54G router.  Other brands and models of router will differ but should be similar enough for this document to assist you.  If you are unable to find the settings discussed here, please check the manufacturer's website or contact them directly.