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Smartphone, Wireless, and Mobile Technologies Forum

Wireless Networking
A few questions

 10:21 pm on Apr 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

I should be getting DSL within the next couple of months, but I am trying to decide between the wired and wireless network. At the moment wireless is looking the best, because I don't feel like running all that cable and setting up outlets.

I have some questions for any of you that may have experience with this:

1. Have you had problems with interference/dropped signal with wireless?
2. Is 802.11g a must, or will 802.11b suffice (it's much cheaper)?
3. Will different brands work together? i.e. A Linksys router and D-Link cards.




 3:30 pm on Apr 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

1. Not interference. Just shorter range than I would have hoped with 802.11b.
2. 802.11b is fine if the range works for you. Depending on the configuration, you might need two access points.
3. Yes.

If you want to go wired, though, you might be able to do what I did. My house is wired with Cat 3 6-wire telephone cord. I co-oped four wires of the telephone line to use for ethernet, leaving two for telephone. Cat 3 is substandard for ethernet (not enough twists per foot), but it works fine. The ethernet spec says that you need eight wires, but four of the wires are not used.

Some day I'll pull some Cat 5/Cat 6 into the rooms, but this scheme is working for me.

Another issue you need to worry about with 802.11b is security of the network.


 6:04 pm on Apr 28, 2004 (gmt 0)


Can you elaborate on #2 please?



 6:15 pm on Apr 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

802.llb works fine in most normal sized homes. Some people have problems because they have their AP set to the same channel as their neighbors. My parents have a big house so I had to use 2 access points. Make sure you change the default channel when you get it at home (1,6,11 only.) Also set up the MAC filter so that only your card can get in. Also turn off broadcast on the SSID. Also change the default password on the AP. This is all the security you need.


 6:41 pm on Apr 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

Good call ogletree... I just bought a 802.11g wireless router & card for my girlfriend's laptop. So far, the connection has been off/on. The router is on the 3rd floor, and the connection is great when I'm on the first floor. But when I'm on the 2nd floor, at the other end of the house, it stalls out every once in a while. Probably just some interference along the way.

I chose G over B, because the cost was only about $40 difference between the 2, and G offers 5x the pipe. Was a no-brainer for me. I'm happy so far, hopefully it stays that way.



 7:39 pm on May 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

A few tips...

Watch the placement of cordless telephones. I've found that when talking on mine, it seems overpower the signal (when far away from the WAP) and the connection gets sketchy. Also, I have a wireless keyboard in my office and if I lay my wireless PDA right next to it, it causes strange behavior. Bottom line, separate dissimilar wireless devices.

Also, according to my research, there are only 2 companies that make the actual "radio" part of the wireless devices. Each manufacturer takes a "radio" and then makes the software / firewall / case, and most importantly, the antenna. A certain company that starts with a D- seems to have the best combination out there now.

There is software out there that will monitor your connection and tell you if another device connects to your WLAN. If unauth'd you can pull the plug on it and start with a new security strategy. You can find it for around $40.00 US.

Good luck. The flexibility of wireless is DEFINATELY worth the price. Especially if you are a gamer and don't want to run wires to your Xbox / PS2 etc. You can DEFINATELY tell the difference between b and g in this application!


 7:45 pm on May 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

Make sure that you upgrade the firmware after installing the wireless. I find that some manufacturers (like D-link) don't send the hardware with the latest firmware.


 4:08 am on May 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

I would recommend wired for the computers that are pretty stationary.

Don't forget you can mix them. Set up your wired network and then put an access point in for your wireless.

Security is still an issue with wireless networks


 2:30 am on May 12, 2004 (gmt 0)

Security is not that big of a deal unless you have some big secret. It would be esaiser to break into your house than to break into your wireless computer. Unless you got some high tech people going after you or somebody is willing to pay somebody a lot of money for a hacker don't worry about it. It's funny how I know tech guys that are so paranoid about wireless but only have one lock on their house and no alarm. Any idiot can break into your house when you are out.


 3:54 pm on May 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

We can really only talk about our own experiences with wireless - might has not been good.

When I was up in Iowa, where it was a good mile between me and the next wireless network

>decide between the wired and wireless network.

I tried and tried to go completely wireless around the office. I've spent about a thousand on routers and cards over the last two years.
I just finished ripping out the cards last week and going back to a full wired system.

> Is 802.11g a must,

a) speed.
b) security.
c) future expansion.
d) better signal to noise ratio (if you are in the states make sure to get 5.8ghz cordless phones instead of those in the 2ghz band). Hawkgirl can't use her phone and the internet at the same time. The phone knocks her wireless offline ever time. Leaving in an apt complex where there are alot of 2mhz range phones means alot of head aches for her.

Don't mess with B any more.

> A Linksys router and D-Link cards.

Yes, but they don't always play nicely.

> interference/dropped signal with wireless?

Tons. Things you are in for going wireless.

Lots of reboots. If you drop wireless carrier, windows doesn't always ack that you have picked it back up. Instead, you end up doing alot of rebooting to solve problems.
If you turn on/off alot of equipment, half your network will often drop those.
Bascially, the only solution is to leave all machines on all the time.

Are you in a "noisy" area? Like an apt complex? I leave in a dense neighborhood. I am picking up 5 other wireless networks right now. I am to the point of almost giving up my interent connection and just using my neighbors - lol. All that noise can cause drops and reconnects.

Speed. You will certainly notice a difference in speed between a 10/100 hardwire and a wireless. There is a lag time to every click with wireless. It makes no difference if that wireless router is within inches of you machine - there is always overhead with any request. (noticeable overhead). Once it starts - it isn't too bad, but you will notice the lag.

Security - although it is a pain, don't skimp - go for it. I can browse some of my neighbors computers at will if I wanted.

> I co-oped four wires of the telephone line to use for ethernet,

Thanks - that is an EXCELLENT suggestion, that might just solve part of my own wiring problem.


 4:25 pm on May 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

Using existing telephone cable - brilliant idea.

The ethernet spec says that you need eight wires, but four of the wires are not used.

Which 4 are not used?




 10:30 pm on May 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

Ethernet cable spec [cisco.com] shows a wiring diagram.

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