WiFi - I need some advice

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WiFi - I need some advice

Postby filecore » Tue Jul 27, 2004 3:10 am

Okay I've been searching Google for information on wireless networking as I have come to the conclusion that this is the best for my home. Now what I need to know is, does anyone have any experience on wireless networks and can answer the following:

Are data transfer speeds comparable to cabled networking?
Am I better with WiFi PCI cards or external devices?
Is there a good and simple guide somewhere to setting up WiFi networks (WinXP)?

Thanks for any help. I'm looking into all sorts of networking options.
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Postby Hardware Junkie » Tue Jul 27, 2004 1:52 pm

I've got a good deal experience.

Are data transfer speeds comparable to cabled networking?


Depends on the equipement.
Most cabled LANS are either 10MBPS or 10/100MBPS. But it is possible, though costly, to run true 100MBPS networks.

There are a few wireless technologies out there. Really you'll only be dealing with 2 main ones.

802.11B and 802.11G

802.11B is 11MBPS hardware. Theoredically, it runs faster then 10MBPS networks.
802.11G is 54MBPS hardware. It runs around the same as 10/100MBPS hardware. However, this is not always true. It depends on the quality of network card in your network setup. Some 10/100 network cards run faster then others.

Am I better with WiFi PCI cards or external devices?

Depends again. If you want your network to be modular, then go with external USB WIFI devices. But USB is not the greatest to have. It can be affected by magnetic sources and software problems. PCI is probably the best way to go for reliablility, but you lose the hot plugability of USB.

Is there a good and simple guide somewhere to setting up WiFi networks (WinXP)?


Haven't found one yet. Basically your network should work right out of the box, but at that point it is insecure. The tutorial included with the router should help you secure the network from outsiders.
If you buy a LINKSYS or DLINK, tech support should be able to help aswell.
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Postby dgeffs » Fri Jul 30, 2004 11:03 am

I've had really good luck with the Linksys products including their technical support. The wireless stuff is very easy to configure. I had mine working within about 10 minutes including setting up 128bit encryption. A friend who has virtually no hardware expertise had his running in around 30 minutes. The Linksys works pretty much first time right out of the box. I'd suggest using encryption of some sort but the instructions outline how to do that and it is very easy. It may sound difficult but it in practice it is a piece of cake. Things get a little more complicated if you need fixed IP addresses but most folks don't need this.

Even a "G" system doesn't always run at 54mbps and I've found them far slower than a hardwired 100mbps connection in my network. This isn't an issue for internet access since it is faster than your broadband connection. For transferring large files or accessing massive amounts of data a hardwired connection will run circles around WIFI.
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Postby filecore » Mon Aug 02, 2004 1:39 am

Well I think I'm going to get a router thingy with 802.11g anyway because I need a router for new place, and the wireless is just an added bonus. It also means I can wireless serve the printer so it's independent of any of the machines being on or off. For large transfers I can fall back on the 10/100 cards which the machines already have and just cable the place up, and it also means I can have high-speed LAN parties/gaming sessions with my friends with laptops :D shhh don't tell the other half. I got her convinced of wireless (or at least networking the place) with the whole internet sharing/hardware firewall/data sharing spiel. If she thinks I'll just use it for "silly computer games with your friends" it'll be quickly vetoed :? women and computers...

Anyway just a little advice then - I'm a little confused by terms and nothing I read seems to make it any clearer. Í will have broadband installed in a few months (I don't know any details really) but it's the always-on sort and you can still use a landline phone although we won't have one anyway. Being fairly new to networking of this sort I'm not really sure of what I need - for instance, the LinkSys website offers me (after filtering out what I know I don't need):

- Wireless-G Access Point
- WCG200 Wireless-G Cable Gateway
- WET54GS5 Wireless-G Ethernet Bridge with 5-port Switch
- WRT54G Wireless-G Broadband Router
- WRT54GS Wireless-G Broadband Router with SpeedBooster
- WRV54G Wireless-G VPN Broadband Router

I'm assuming what I'm after is either the Broadband router or the SpeedBooster variant (a gimmick, most likely, which can be done without), and if I'm correct, the Cable Gateway is for dialup modems (?) of some type and the first and third are expanders for the network. I'm not really sure what the last one would be for 8O

These are from: http://www.linksys.com/products/group.a ... 33&scid=35

On a completely unrelated topic, I'm wondering how much it would cost for this: http://www.linksys.com/products/product ... 8&prid=631 as does this http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll? ... eName=WDVW :D christmas presents, anyone?
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Postby dgeffs » Mon Aug 02, 2004 6:15 am

I would probably recommend the Wireless G Broadband router. That's what my friend bought although I think he got the one with the speedbooster thingy. He seems to think it is faster but we really don't know. I ended up with a normal broadband router and a wireless G access point because they were purchased a year or so apart and when I bought the router I had no plans for wireless. The Wireless G mentioned above combines both of my items into one and makes setup very easy.

Don't really know what the other things are but if you use DSL or cable modem the Wireless G Broadband router is the way to go.

One of the best things about the router is the hardware firewall. Sell it to your wife based on that. Remember to enable encryption on the wireless. I've seen situations in office buildings where people install these things with no encryption. It's easy to look at their files and of course do much worse if so inclined. Your neighbors will be watching so take precautions.

One other little note - be careful when setting up the wireless encryption key. The boob who programmed the Linksys interface made a huge error. When creating an encryption key one enters a normal ASCII string that gets converted to an encryption key. When you write down this key, so you can enter it into your other PC's, the screen display doesn't show the entire key. You must place your cursor in the generated key field and scroll to the right to see the remaining 4 characters of the key. I know this occurs for 128 bit encryption and I'm not sure whether the same issue applies for 64 bit. Hopefully they will correct this in future releases.

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Postby filecore » Mon Aug 02, 2004 7:01 am

Okay, the purchasing decisions are just about made - if anybody has any comments, let me know. Otherwise I've heard nothing really bad...

Also there were some things I would have gotten for preference over these, but it's a case of technology/desire vs budget:

Belkin 802.11g Wireless DSL/Cable Gateway Router - 82 euros locally
http://catalog.belkin.com/IWCatProductP ... _Id=136493

Unbranded generic 802.11g wireless PCI card - £23.80 (I'm going over to the UK soon so delivery is no problem)
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll? ... 5111438583

I have some Cat5 cable already for the connection to the gateway machine, and I don't think I need anything else. I'm a little concerned about the PCI card but when it's so cheap, I'm willing to take the risk. Yay! In another week or two I could be wirelessly networked!
Home server: Asus P5Q Pro, Core2Quad, 8GB DDR2, ENGTX260 876MB, Zalman 800w, Antec P180 case, 2x1TB and 2x2TB Samsung Spinpoint F1, Windows 7 64-bit, etc

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Postby Tau » Mon Aug 02, 2004 1:23 pm

Personally I hate the PCI card adaptors, I have found them a pain in the ass to set up.
I use a Sitecom 802 11g+ wireless router and a USB wireless adapter this connects instantly with the router within seconds.
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Postby filecore » Wed Aug 04, 2004 4:15 am

Okay I've heard bad things about the USB adapters with the exception being that their range is better, not being stuck behind the machine and all.

Anyhow, the Belkin was out of stock so I've now got to decide between a Buffalo AirStation or a LinkSys device, both 11g with 4 ethernet ports, practically identical with each other and the Belkin.

One question though - none of these appear to have a DSL modem built in. I can't seem to find many all-in-one solutions. Can anybody point me in the direction of a fairly cheap answer to this? I might consider it instead of just a router and seperate modem.

Also I was under the impression that those listed above (Belkin, LinkSys and Buffalo) could act together with the modem as an internet server for the network - ie I wouldn't have to go through one particular computer, but rather the device would allow any of the machines to connect to it wirelessly, thence to the internet? Would I have to have a dedicated gateway computer? I must admit I'm still a little unclear on some of these issues and most of the sites out there seem to focus on details. Ah where's motherboards.org IRC when you need it?
Home server: Asus P5Q Pro, Core2Quad, 8GB DDR2, ENGTX260 876MB, Zalman 800w, Antec P180 case, 2x1TB and 2x2TB Samsung Spinpoint F1, Windows 7 64-bit, etc

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Postby Tau » Wed Aug 04, 2004 7:48 am

Take a look here.

http://www.sitecom.com/

This is what I am using and the prices seem pretty good. They are also available in Europe.
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Postby Flyin » Thu Aug 12, 2004 3:19 pm

Perhaps you should be concerned with the negative effects of a wireless LAN in regards to gaming. Can someone give him a link with specs? This one is pretty general:

http://compnetworking.about.com/cs/homenetworking/a/homewiredless.htm
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