We each have different Internet connections. Personally I have a 15/MBit connection to the Internet but some of my friends had slow DSL hookups and one of them was even on dial-up! Can you imagine that people are still using dial-up where broadband is available? Talk about a blast from the past!
So connecting over the Internet to play was just out of the question. We needed a faster connection!
The next step was to figure out a way to connect all of them to the same network without running cables from apartment to apartment. We decided to use Wi-Fi. Most of the apartments were close together. They would be able to access a central wireless router in an apartment near the middle. But we had one apartment that was not getting a very good signal two floors up.
In determining how to set up this WiFi network, I could have upgraded to a Wireless N router from the wireless G router I was using but all of the machines except one only had 802.11G adapters. So to keep things simple and cheap we stuck with the 802.11G. Then I was able to throw a Range Extender into the mix and boost his connection and after a few hours of trial and error we were able to get our game going from the comfort of each of our respective homes.
I will walk you through how how to set up this WiFi network.
Your first job will be to find the central point between all of the houses or apartments. Take an educated guess and try it out. We want a central point so all the machines will get the best wireless signal possible. We will then put a wireless router in that central location. You want both antennas on your router pointing in different directions and away from walls or other obstructions.
Remember this has nothing to do with your Internet connection so this will be a totally separate network. We will set up the wireless router to broadcast a SSID (Service Set Identifier). Name it something that you will easily be able to recognize. Then set up any security protocol of your choice like WPA or WPA2 to protect your network from outsiders.
After setting up the wireless router, turn on the other computers that will want to connect to your wireless LAN to play. If they do not have wireless cards in them you will need to purchase or acquire one for each machine. Scan for wireless networks and see what kind of signal you are getting from the router. If you have more than 3 bars you are golden.
You can see an example of the wireless network selection box below. The first network listed is my Internet connection and the one at the bottom with the 3 bars is the router that was set up four doors down. I have three bars to connect to it and it works wonderfully.
If you do not have at least 3 bars you can try moving the router to another location or adding a range extender. You can follow this post on how to set up a range extender. What that will do is take the weakest point of your new network and boost it. The extender will be broadcasting for your wireless router and relaying the information back to it seamlessly.
You can still connect to a network with one or two bars but you might experience a lag. This means while people are shooting at you – you are a sitting duck waiting for your screen to refresh!
If you already have a wireless connection to the Internet you will need to disconnect from it and connect to your new gaming network (at least while you want to play). If you have a wired Internet connection you should be able to run both connections simultaneously.
When you are all on the same network you will be able to play any type of network game with each other and transfer files as an added bonus! Back when Internet connections were expensive (more so then now anyway) we used this to share not only a network but also Internet access!
How do you set up your WiFi network? Do you do something similar? We would love to hear about it in the comments!