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Wireless Networks/Broadband

Discussion in 'Networking & NAS' started by scrapbook, Mar 10, 2003.

  1. scrapbook

    scrapbook
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    I am just about to dabble with this.

    Has anyone got any views on weaknesses of a wireless network?

    I am particulary interested in hearing about signal strengths/consistancy etc. Any one had any problems in general of with any particular manufacturer?

    Thanks.

    looking forward to your comments!
     
  2. nutcase_1uk

    nutcase_1uk
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    Never used it myself, but I do know that it can be acomplete pain to get working with linux. Beyond that, don't know :)
     
  3. JohnS

    JohnS
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    I didn't have too many problems with getting mine running using xp pro but I know more than one person whos had problems with xp home edition.
     
  4. Gerbil

    Gerbil
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    Practically Networked tend to do some good reviews that focus on usability and signal strength so that's a good place to start.

    I started with the idea of running a wireless network in adhoc mode and bought a couple of Buffalo PCMCIA cards, one to go in a laptop and the other to stick in a PCI-PCMCIA adapter in a desktop to link into my wired network. The Buffalo cards seemd like a good purchase as they were rebadged Orinoco (Avaya) kit and had a connection for an external antenna. I soon gave up with this idea though. I just found the signal stength to be a lot more inconsistent than I was expecting between the wired LAN upstairs and the laptop downstairs. The laptop was running XP and often seemed to take a long time to establish a connection.

    I then bought a Linksys WAP-11 access point and things improved a lot. The laptop connects to the Wireless LAN within 5-10 seconds after XP has started and the signal stength seems a lot more consistent.

    I think whether you're happy with a wireless LAN depends on your expectations. For web browsing/downloading and even for playing MP3 files its fine and works with no dropouts. If you're hoping to transfer large files or have a PC in one room access another acting as a video server then forget it. Depending on the bit rate of the movie I can just about play a video file on the laptop from a network share on a PC upstairs, but the results are normally too jerky to make it a good idea. In short, for 802.11b (11Mbps) if you expect something like half the speed of a wired 10Mbps Ethernet LAN in terms of actual usable speed then you shouldn't be disappointed.
     
  5. HouseofMu

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    For LANs, if you can , use wire. Higher speed, no possibility of wireless interference.

    A wired LAN will give you 100Mbps as opposed to 11Mbps (802.11b) or 54Mbps (.802.11g)
    Cat5 cable is cheap, all thats required is a little effort in laying the cable.

    Also, if you wire to a multiport router you can always add on a wireless AccessPoint later.

    n.
     
  6. Adlopa

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    The Belkin Wireless Router & PC Cards I use seem to work well enough but I don't use them much beyond 10 metres apart (small flat). *All* WiFi kit is a pain in the backside to get working though, largely because of poor documentation and inconsistencies between drivers. You'll crack it with perseverence though, just be prepared for some cussin'. And pay attention to those SSIDs...
     
  7. scrapbook

    scrapbook
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    Thanks for your comments.

    I was looking at a wireless set up purely to share broadband between my laptop and the daughters PC.

    The Broadband router would be downstairs with the PC upstairs and the laptop floating around.

    I am currently considering one of the following solutions:
    Buffalo
    Belkin
    Linksys

    I assume from your comments that the wireless solution works ok for just sharing broadband as opposed to wanting to creat a fully spec'd LAN.
     
  8. Adlopa

    Adlopa
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    My Belkin kit works perfectly for broadband sharing, as well as sharing a printer and the odd bit of file sharing. The Belkin Router also has a built-in firewall and quite comprehensive controls -- such as limiting access to certain times of the day, etc.
     
  9. Rob.Screene

    Rob.Screene
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    I can recommend the Netgear components.

    I bought a Netgear ME102 Access Point and PCMCIA card in summer 2001 so I could use my Laptop for working in the garden! It was the cheapest ppairing I could find and I didn't want to risk mixing manufacturers.

    I was using Internet Connection Sharing and a USB connection to my broadband modem. It worked, and I uses a ZoneLab Pro software firewall, but was a pain when NTL bounced the service or renewed the DHCP IP address requiring a server reboot!

    I since added a RP114 Websafe router. This makes it all really simple. Plug broadband ethernet in to it's WAN port, plug the Access point and up to 3 other PC's in to it's 10/100 LAN ports.
    It includes a great web interface for modifying the it's integral firewall, DHCP and DNS servers. No pc needs to be running at all.

    They sell combined routers and wireless access points which work out cheaper. See dabs.com or pcwbd.com for the best prices I've seen. I'd say if you are combining wired LAN machines with wireless then the two are a must.

    I've never had to reboot anything since. Just plug in any pc and it gets an IP address from the pool, same as does any wireless devices. I've never had to use the 24/7 support, but that is apparently provided free too.

    Oh, and after a mate popped round with a tablet pc and got straight on to the LAN, I took the time to enable wired-equivalent-privacy(WEP) encryption on the Access Point so that any old Joe can't connect to my home LAN/broadband.

    The wireless network works anywhere in the house, is fine on the patio and stuggles a little at my Neighbours over the other side of the road!

    regards,
    Rob.
     
  10. General Skanky

    General Skanky
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    I've just ordered the new Buffalo 54Mbps bundle from www.microwarehouse.co.uk for £150 all in. It has a laptop card and router. Should do pretty well in the transfer rates. Won't stream DVD, but Divx is definately on! It's almost the same price as a 22Mbps bundle from the likes of D Link etc. Why go slower when the Buffalo kit is guaranteed to be replaced/upgraded if the g ratification should change?

    See the review at www.pcpro.co.uk for a full write up.
     

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