If you have already got a broadband router, chances are it has got wireless built-in, and if you do not have one they are pretty cheap to buy these days.
It is possible to set up wireless, whatever your home
Simply turning on the wireless feature of your router will broadcast your internet connection locally using radio waves.
This means that if you are in range of the "hotspot" you can browse on your wi-fi-enabled laptop, PDA or other wireless device.
The router's range is often quoted as up to several dozen metres, but in practice it is a fraction of that. Placing it high, away from walls, and clear of obstacles will improve coverage.
SELECT YOUR SPEED
Consider what speed of wireless you are going to buy into.
"b" is slow and short-range, 11Mbps per second
"g" is more current and offers four times the speed, 54Mbps, and greater range
"n" standard routers offer almost four times again, 200Mbps, and even greater range.
Faster is obviously great if you need to stream or transfer files quickly between your desktop and laptop device.
But if you are just after web browsing, a high speed connection is not as important, as your broadband speed is likely to be less than your network speed anyway.
PROTECT YOUR BANDWIDTH
Now that your network's available to any wi-fi capable device within range, any Tom, Dick or Harry with a laptop can also connect and pinch your precious bandwidth.
Protect yourself by setting a password or "KEY" on your router which will be demanded each time an unknown device tries to connect. WEP is the simplest type of encryption, but if you want rock-solid security then plump for WPA.
If the signal from your router does not quite reach every corner of your home, you have a few options. You can add more access points to cover a larger area, though this can be a bit techy to set-up.
Instead consider going back to wires - "homeplugs" make use of the wiring that's already inside your walls. Simply stick one in the mains socket in, say, the study and connect up a short cable to the router. Plug another into a mains socket in the living room and, as if by magic, your data will fly through the electrical cabling.
More recently homeplugs have started appearing with a wireless access point on one end, giving you a ready-made wireless hotspot anywhere you choose to plug one in around the home.
NETWORK ATTACHED STORAGE
Apple TV allows you to stream films from your computer to your TV
Your network is not just for surfing the web, you know. There is a multitude of devices waiting to take advantage of being connected.
How about sharing an external storage drive between all your various computers? NAS (Network Attached Storage) is all the rage for now.
Essentially it is a hard drive sitting in stand alone box which you connect to your network. That means all network computers and other network devices can access what is on it.
If you are running Windows Media Centre on your main computer you can connect an Xbox 360 or a standalone Windows Media Centre extender set top box to stream photos, music and even video to your TV screen.
Apple TV does the same for Mac users by streaming music and movies from iTunes, and even YouTube.
Finally, do not worry if your devices are not wirelessly networked natively.
A network USB hub will give a new lease of life to your peripherals. Plug a printer, external hard drive or digital camera into the hub, then connect it to the router and everyone connected will be able to use them.