Help me go wireless
March 1, 2010 10:22 AM   Subscribe

Click here for some (probably) very basic wireless home networking questions!

I have Comcast high-speed internet and tv. Just ordered an LG network blu-ray player, and I need to hook it up to the internet, via a router as I understand it. Comcast advised me to get a wireless router and that it would work even though the blu-ray is a couple rooms away from where the router will be. I've never had wireless service (our computer is a desktop), so this is all a mystery to me.

Does this sound right? Any wireless router recommendations? Anything else I need to know? My computer is an iMac, if that makes any difference at all...
posted by missuswayne to Computers & Internet (15 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
What is the specific model of LG blu-ray player? My first instinct would be to make absolutely certain that IT supports wireless networking. If it doesn't, then a wireless router will do you no good. Assuming the blu-ray player does support wireless, then yes, a few rooms away should be fine (about 200 feet is a safe guess for range usually). I'd recommend a linksys router - they're pretty dependable... I use a few Linksys WRT-160n's at home, and have had no issues.
posted by frwagon at 10:31 AM on March 1, 2010

A good wireless router is a Linksys WRT54GL. Make sure to setup wireless security (WPA2 if possible, WPA otherwise). Wireless can be tricky to get working so don't get discouraged if it doesn't work at first.
posted by jockc at 10:34 AM on March 1, 2010

Response by poster: Ah! I just looked, it's an LG BD370, and it does NOT support wireless. I'm glad you asked.

OK, so I just need to get a router and run a broadband line over to the blu-ray player?
posted by missuswayne at 10:38 AM on March 1, 2010

Well, first you have to look at how your internet is currently configured. You say you have comcast high speed, so probably somewhere in your house, there's a little box that connects to a cable line (like what goes in your cable box), and then has what looks like a thick phone cord going to your computer. That little box is called a cable modem. (Sorry if this is basic knowledge, i'd rather go into too much detail than not enough.)

The "thick phone cord" from your cable modem (that cord is called an ethernet cable) either goes to another little box (called a router), or straight to your computer. If it goes to a router, you'll see a few more plugs on the back of that router where you can plug in more ethernet cords. If this is the case, you just have to buy a long enough ethernet cord to get to your blu-ray player.

If you don't have a router, then you might have a few extra ethernet plugs on the back of your cable modem. If this is the case, there's a router built in to your modem, and you can just run an ethernet cable from there.

If neither of these are the case, then, yes, you need to go get a router, and run an ethernet cable to the blu-ray player. Setting up a new router can be a bit tricky, so you might want to find someone to help you put it in place.
posted by frwagon at 10:45 AM on March 1, 2010

Response by poster: OK, I get that. My modem is just a modem, but I dug around in the basement and have a Speedstream router from about 5 or 6 years ago. It's got a wan port on the back and a 2 ethernet ports on the front. I'm going to give that a try.
posted by missuswayne at 11:18 AM on March 1, 2010

You can buy an Ethernet-to-wireless bridge which allows you to connect a device (like your BD player) to a wireless network, when the device requires a wired (Ethernet) connection.

You already own a wireless router: Your iMac. Here are some instructions for Mac OS X 10.5. Older versions of OS X will also support Internet Sharing. The only caveat is that your iMac has to up and running for the wireless network to be available.

You can also get a dedicated wireless router if you don't want to tie up the iMac.

First you set up your wireless network through the iMac or through a router, and then set up the Ethernet-to-wireless bridge for the Blu-Ray player. Plug the bridge into the player and you're basically done at that point.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:24 AM on March 1, 2010

Response by poster: Old router seems to be hooked up correctly, but would it be ungodly slow if it's from '05? Maybe I just need a new router.
posted by missuswayne at 11:24 AM on March 1, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks, Blaze. I'm going to check that out.
posted by missuswayne at 11:25 AM on March 1, 2010

I realize I'm assuming your iMac is relatively new-ish and will have an Airport (wireless) card built-in. If you have an older iMac, you might not have one with a wireless card installed. But a dedicated wireless router can be used instead, to create the wireless network.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:38 AM on March 1, 2010

Response by poster: Yes, I'm actually running OS X 10.4, but I do have Airport.

OK, just so I'm clear: I just have to turn on Airport, set up an ethernet to wireless bridge (which will sit near the blu-ray?), have the iMac up and running, and it should work? Anything that helps me avoid having to get into the crawlspace and drilling another hole in the floor to run a cable from the computer!

I wonder if it makes more sense to get the wireless version of the blu-ray? It's about $100 more, which is what it'll cost to get the bridge anyway. If I turn airport on and have a wireless capable blu-ray, will that be all I need?
posted by missuswayne at 11:54 AM on March 1, 2010

Set up Internet Sharing for 10.4 (instructions).

Set up the bridge per instructions.

The bridge will either have a male Ethernet plug that you connect to your player's network port, or you just buy a very short length of Ethernet cable (also called "CAT5" cable) to run between the bridge and the player.

Or you can buy a wireless player, which will be one less device to set up.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:00 PM on March 1, 2010

Response by poster: Awesome. Thank you for your help! I think I'm just going to get the wireless blu-ray to make it simpler.
posted by missuswayne at 12:23 PM on March 1, 2010

Response by poster: I don't know if anyone's still checking this thread, but I got the wireless blu-ray player and I'm having a tough time getting it set up. The model is LG BD570.

I used the Internet Sharing instructions (link above). When I set up the network settings through the blu-ray, it recognizes my network, but it can't connect to it. Can I not use the iMac as a wireless router? The blu-ray is a couple rooms away from the computer, I don't know if that's too far.
posted by missuswayne at 12:56 PM on March 2, 2010

When setting up the Internet Sharing, click on "Airport Options" to configure the wireless network. When configuring it for the first time, don't set up WPA or WPA2, just use a wireless network without any security. Then try to connect your player to the wireless network. Add security settings only after you have the wireless part set up and working.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:47 PM on March 2, 2010

Also, if you have a wireless laptop or can borrow one, you can use that to test your wireless connectivity in various places in the house. If the signal is weak, you could either reposition the iMac or look into a dedicated wireless router.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:51 PM on March 2, 2010

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