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Planning Wireless LAN

Discussion in 'Laptops' started by Scott, May 12, 2004.

  1. Scott

    Scott Guest

    I have a desktop and am getting a wireless ready notebook and want to
    setup a wireless LAN. Before I do, I need to get a few things
    straight...Firstly, why would I ever want an access point? Connecting
    it ad hoc seems so much simpler and saves me $100 right there. Are
    there any disadvantages to this? Is it correct that the only thing I
    need to do is purchase a wireless card for the desktop so the desktop
    has two, with the wireless card transmitting the signal to the laptop
    and the other one gets the internet through the cable modem? Do I
    want a card with a wire on it so that I can position the antenna best?
    Is this all fairly simple to do with a windows xp machine and limited
    cisco networking knowledge? I was looking at the internet sharing
    features, and it looks like I didn't make any changes, but I suppose
    that could be because it doesn't have a wireless card installed.
    Thanks for any help.


    PS, would it make sense to skip the desktop's wireless nic and just
    get the access point? If that plugs directly into the computer and
    the cable modem into it, that would be the only thing I need right?
    Cost effective?
    Scott, May 12, 2004
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  2. I have a desktop and am getting a wireless ready notebook and
    Go to www.amazon.com and enter this in the search box:

    linksys wireless router

    $49 ($39 after rebate) for an 802.11b router. A wireless card or USB adapter
    for your desktop will cost about the same. Look farther down in the search
    list to get some prices.

    The wireless router will let you use your notebook even if the desktop is
    turned off. It will also give you some protection by putting both your
    machines on NAT (Network Address Translation). It's a much better way to go,
    for about the same money.
    I couldn't have said it better. :)

    Michael Geary, May 13, 2004
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  3. Scott

    Yousuf Khan Guest

    How does going Ad Hoc save you any money? You still have to buy an expensive
    wireless NIC for your Internet access desktop -- the wireless NIC will cost
    almost as much as a full blown wireless router. Then you have to also leave
    the desktop running all of the time just so that the other computers can
    access the Internet.

    Yousuf Khan
    Yousuf Khan, May 13, 2004
  4. Scott

    Scott Guest

    If I do go the way of a wireless router, do I want to get the b or the
    g? I know that I won't see any difference in internet speed between
    the g and the b, but is the additional signal strength worth twice the
    cost? What brand is preferred? I was thinking linksys but read some
    bad things about their products, but netgear seems to share similar
    problems. What about the microsoft brand? Although I think of their
    brand stuff as almost generic the b and g routers are dirt cheap and
    have a big name behind them. What do you think?
    Scott, May 14, 2004
  5. Scott

    hawk Guest

    Will your laptop have b or g? Or can you make that decision when you
    buy? I have had both, and I can't tell any difference in signal
    strength or speed. Linksys, Netgear or D-Link all seem to be
    comparable. You will find people who like/hate each of them.

    I have used the D-Link 614+ (b) with wireless (b) cards in two laptops
    and I recently went to D-link 624 (g) with wireless (g) cards in the
    same two laptops. I can't tell any difference. D-Link was having a
    rebate deal that made the g lower cost than the b. You might as well
    hard wire the desktop. Almost all routers have at least two wired
    ports in addition to the WAN port. The ethernet card for the desktop
    will probably cost about $15 and it will probably come with a cable.
    The router will also come with a cable.

    Regards, hawk
    hawk, May 14, 2004
  6. Scott

    Yousuf Khan Guest

    Again, it comes down to a matter of economics. If the G can be had for not
    much more than a B then go for it. You set the criteria yourself for what is
    defined as "not much more".

    I recently went looking for a replacement for my laptop's B card, which had
    become bent in a fall. I couldn't find a single store that still held the B
    cards anymore. One store said that the manufacturer (Dlink) had even
    recalled all of their B cards, probably because the profit margins had
    plummetted on them, so that they could sell only the G cards. So I went and
    bought a G card, but before I opened it, I managed to unbend the old B card,
    so I returned the new G card.

    If you can buy a B card and router, and it's half the price of a G card and
    router, then go for that one. But that's subject to whether B hardware is
    still availalble. There are versions of B hardware that give you nearly the
    same throughput as G hardware. For example Dlink sells hardware which it
    calls "B Plus", which originally was upto twice as fast as a regular B (22
    vs. 11 Mbps), then with a driver update one day they doubled it one more
    time with what they called "4X technology" to 44 Mbps. 44 Mbps is a stones
    throw away from a standard G card at 52 Mbps. Of course all of this
    proprietary "Plus technology" and "4X technology" can also be applied to G
    hardware so G can be made upto 200 Mbps in certain circumstances.

    You obviously won't notice a difference when surfing the Internet. But the
    extra speed is noticeable if you do anything locally on your network like
    sharing drives between your desktop and laptop or printing remotely between
    laptop and desktop.

    Yousuf Khan
    Yousuf Khan, May 14, 2004
    Richard Johnson, May 14, 2004
  8. Oops, hit send instead of close. Sorry about that.

    In any case here is my opinion (and it echo's others):

    Things you have to ask yourself before designing a wireless network. First
    what use do you intend to put the network to. If it is Internet surfing and
    occasional sharing of files and resources then an 802.11b will do. If you
    intend to play games on your local network -between machines or do extensive
    file serving with large files on one machine that another uses then 802.11g
    would be better. You asked, why use a wireless access point? If you go on
    the internet it will act as a Network Address Translation Server (NAT) with
    firewall properties. It will also act as a Dynamic Host Control Protocol
    (DHCP) server so you can set the network so it will automatically assign
    your network address and Internet access information on your computer.
    Another reason to have a WAP is that you can get a print server(s) that
    connect directly to your printer(s). That way you do not need to have any
    specific computer on to share print services across your network. I do
    suggest that you use encryption and if possible MAC address locking as well.
    (Much better security than adhoc.)

    Richard Johnson, May 14, 2004
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