Please help me choose a wireless router/print server...

Discussion in 'Computers' started by jeff lam, May 30, 2004.

  1. jeff lam

    jeff lam Screenwriter

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    I'm going to get cable from comcast and I need a wireless router to connect one desktop hard wired and a notebook wireless. There are so many to choose from and I'm not familiar whith which ones are best. I need it to be good quality, secure, reliable, and have good performance. I was planning to just go with B but I think G may be best (mostly for the expanded range right now). I need suggestions on a good router that will be able to connect a printer as well so I can print from either computer.

    What does everyone suggest for a good router/wireless notebook adapter combo?

    Remember I need reliability(connection), security, and performance.

    I will spend a little extra money if it's worth doing.

    Any help would be appreciated... Thanks!
     
  2. SethH

    SethH Cinematographer

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    Definitely look at Linksys. They tend to be reliable and very user friendly. I have both Belkin and Linksys and perfer the Linksys. Also, G and B have about the same range, but G offers more security and future compatibility. Do you plan to leave the desktop on all the time? If so, just connect the printer to it and share it. Otherwise I would suggest a printer with built-in network support (HP has several) or a separate print server.

    As far as security goes, try to use WPA or WEP (preferably WPA), MAC Address filtering, and make sure to NOT broadcast the SSID. Your manual for the router should cover all this. If you have any questions just ask.
     
  3. Tony Whalen

    Tony Whalen Producer

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    I also prefer Linksys. Works like a charm...easy to configure. I have the BEFW11S4. Great little device... I highly recommend it...although it is 'B'.

    If you want 'G', you should consider the WRT54G. I believe that's the equivalent 'G' unit. It's also a four-port full duplex switch...which has come in handy for me. [​IMG]

    As Seth suggested, leave the printer attached to the desktop PC and share it. That works just great, unless you need to move the printer around.


    Exactly. When I first got wireless, I didn't do ANY of the above. Little did I know I was supplying wireless to half my neighbourhood. [​IMG] Either of the above-mentioned units will work nicely security-wise. Also, as Seth said...I don't think there is a range difference between 'B' and 'G'. However, if you can afford it, go with the 'G' router. If money is an issue, you can always get a 'B' card for your laptop, and upgrade later.

    Good luck and have fun! Wireless rocks! [​IMG]
     
  4. Arthur Legardo

    Arthur Legardo Second Unit

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    If I were in the market for a router (wired or wireless) I would definitely give Linksys a try. My previous go around with their single port wired router didn't go so well with constantly having to reboot the router an cable modem and some strange incompatibility with a Linksys 4 port switch. However, after being acquired by Cisco (or Linksys acquiring Linksys, I'm not sure which one), that can only mean good news for a new Linksys owner.

    Right now I have an SMC 7004 wired router (with parallel port print server), the afore mentioned Linksys 4 port switch and a new D-Link wireless access port (DWL-2100AP) for my laptop connectivity. After a few minutes of set up time all works well.

    I should point out that for some reason the print server on the router only works 80% of the time. It seems that the laser printer (Samsung SF-5800P) needs to be in a sense "awaken" from non-use before it can accept a print job (I usually just have to unplug it for a second). It's generally a good idea to get a dedicated print server. We have one here at work (a printer shared by three computers with a dedicated print server) and we've never encountered any problems.
     
  5. Tony Whalen

    Tony Whalen Producer

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    Dedicated print servers might be overkill for Jeff, Arthur. [​IMG] He's only hooking up his desktop, and wants a wireless laptop.

    Personally, I'd just hard-connect your printer to your desktop PC. Share the printer, and you can print from the laptop no problem. The only possible reason you might want a router with print-server functionality is if you wanted to locate the printer somewhere other than close to the desktop PC.

    I'm currently running the Linksys BEFW11S4 I mentioned above. I have two PC's (mine and my wife's work computer) hard-wired to that router. My laptop and XBox both access wirelessly. A color inkjet is connected to my desktop computer (USB cable), and I can print from any of the computers...wireless or not. (There is also a hard-connected laser in the mix, but it isn't shared...)

    Range is great, and hookup was dead simple. I just finished building a new deck in my backyard, so I'm looking forward to being able to take my laptop out there for creative writing whilst enjoying the sun. Like I said...wireless rocks! [​IMG]
     
  6. SethH

    SethH Cinematographer

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    Not necessarily. I probably wouldn't buy one, but if he doesn't want to leave his desktop turned on all the time then it's not unreasonable to buy a print server. If you want to go this route you could check out the HP 5850 printer with built-in print server or look on Ebay for print servers. There is actually a wireless print server on there now for about $40, so it's not too expensive to go that route.
     
  7. jeff lam

    jeff lam Screenwriter

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    I think sharing the printer with my desktop should be good enough. If I find the need for the server I can always get one later. I didn't know I could just share it like that. Anyway, thanks for the info. So I'll look at Linksys. Any particular model I should look at besides the ones Tony mentioned?

    So with all that stuff enabled on my router I shouldn't have problems with anyone stealing my bandwidth or snooping on the network right?
     
  8. SethH

    SethH Cinematographer

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    If you do everything I mentioned in my post above it would be very difficult for someone to suck up your bandwidth. Please note, however, that I didn't say impossible. If you use WEP there is an open-source program out there for Linux call AirSnort that can crack it in 30 minutes. Using MAC address filtering, there are plenty of software programs to spoof a MAC Address (but the person would have to know a MAC Address that was allowed on your network). And finally, disabling the broadcast of your SSID, the person would have to know the name of your network which would be very difficult (as long as you don't use the factory default). If you do all these things there is a very, very slim chance anyone would get it, but be warned that if you have some persistent people around you they may try.
     
  9. Tony Whalen

    Tony Whalen Producer

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    Again, Seth is right on the money regarding security Jeff. I don't think any security system will be bullet-proof, but with WEP, MAC filtering and the SSID not broadcasting, you should be fine. [​IMG]
     
  10. Joe Szott

    Joe Szott Screenwriter

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    Jeff, I have an extremely similar setup in our house. Comcast cable comes in to the modem, the modem goes to the wireless router, and the router either wirelessly serves wife's laptop and/or xbox, or services wired to my desktop PC, the laser printer, and the FAX/copier/printer.

    We use the D-link DI-713p, and it is a great little router/server. The new equivalent is the DI-714p, pretty much just a slight update but the same basic 802.11b. For a laptop card, we use the DWL-640 (I think?), it's just a basic 802.11b PCMIA card. D-link also has 802.11g equivalents, but we find the "b" level to work just fine for our needs.

    I would suggest you get a router with a printer port if it even occurs to you to question it. Your router will always be on, your PC may or may not. Just be sure to get a router that has the right port on the back (USB or Parallel), that's the one gotcha to picking these out.

    Good luck!
     
  11. Arthur Legardo

    Arthur Legardo Second Unit

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    What's funny is that print servers are so inexpensive in the US and quite hard to find up here in Canada. I don't mean the office use HP JetDirect ones either, I'm talking about the small "dongles" that have a USB connector on one end (for the printer) and an ethernet port on the other.
     
  12. jeff lam

    jeff lam Screenwriter

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    I picked up the WKPC54G kit today from fry's. It was $99 on sale.

    They also had the WRT54G for $59. Is the router in the combo the same as the stand alone one that you know of? It's $10 less to get the combo.

    The only thing that looks different to me is it only has one antenna and the WRT54G has two and the model number on it is different. Any other differences?
     
  13. Arthur Legardo

    Arthur Legardo Second Unit

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    Isn't that the router with the huge security flaw?
     
  14. Tony Whalen

    Tony Whalen Producer

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    Doesn't LOOK like the same router to me, but it sounds like it's still a wireless access-point with a 4-port switch on it. Sounds like the same capabilities. Outside of that, I couldn't tell you if there is any difference...
     
  15. jeff lam

    jeff lam Screenwriter

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    Got my cable connected today and it's very fast. Did tests at 2020kbps down on dslreports.com. I'm happy. The router is great but I could use just 50-100 more feet outdoors. Any good, cheap, fairly small antennas that will give me more range?

    Also, I need to share my printer but I don't know how to set it up to share. Can anyone help me out with that?

    Thanks!
     
  16. Arthur Legardo

    Arthur Legardo Second Unit

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    I believe in order to share the printer you'll have to install the printer's software on host and remote computers, turn on "File and Print Sharing" on the host (the computer that the printer is connected to) and input the host computer's IP address when entering the "printer port location" on the remote computer. Of course you'll also have to keep the host computer on all of the time in order to print from the remote computer. This is only speculation on my part because my wired router has a print server and is much simpler to configure.

    I entered "wireless antenna" in the search box at CompUSA and found several wireless antennas, many for under $50.
     
  17. jeff lam

    jeff lam Screenwriter

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    Installed software on the laptop too. Tried to set up the printer but I'm getting a message that says: "Access Denied"
    when I enter the \computer nameprinter name.

    I have admin rights on both pc's.

    I found a tutorial at MS site and followed the directions but no go.

    Can't get this printer to share to the laptop.
     
  18. Arthur Legardo

    Arthur Legardo Second Unit

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    Can you share/transfer files between the two computers? Are they in the same workgroup?
     
  19. jeff lam

    jeff lam Screenwriter

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    I can't even see any computers from my laptop. Sometimes It will see itself and other times it says network path not found.

    How do I check to see if they are on the same workgroup. I never created one or set up one but my desktop sees the laptop in "computers near me" but I can't access it, it says "network path not found".
     
  20. Arthur Legardo

    Arthur Legardo Second Unit

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    Start > Control Panel > System > Computer Name

    Make sure all computers are all in the same workgroup, if not click "Change".
     

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