I’ll assume that if you are reading this that you have some sort of high speed internet (DSL, Cable, etc…) so I will go ahead and tell those users still on dial up that this article will not apply to them. A lot of people will have their ISP come and set up their internet for them at home. The only downside to that is they only install the modem and no router to go along with it. A lot of modems now have some built in security but not the amount of security that most professionals would suggest. Nowadays everyone that connects to the internet needs some sort of firewall between their computer and the outside internet.
The best and easiest way to accomplish this is to purchase router. Routers have a built in firewall that will protect you against hackers. Here are a few routers I would recommend:
BELKIN F5D7234-4 G Wireless Router
ASUS WL-520gC Wireless Router
D-Link WBR-1310 Wireless Router (My recommendation)
Once you have purchased your router and taken it out of the box do not throw away the box with the instructions inside them! Those instructions are usually easy to follow (depending on the brand) and are necessary for setting up a secure home wireless connection. If you can find it in your directions you should set up WPA-PSK encryption because it is currently one of the most secure type of wireless encryption out of the box. You should also make a strong password. Go to this website to test your password for strength: http://www.securitystats.com/tools/password.php
Now that you have set up your secure wireless router you are now ready to configure your laptops and desktops to connect to the router. Most laptops come with built in wireless connecting software, but for the beginning to standard PC user I suggest just stick with the Windows Wireless utility. Microsoft has gone with Zero config wireless setup so all you need is the wireless key and you are ready to connect!