Wireless help and advice needed for the budget minded...

Discussion in 'Computers' started by Kevin Alexander, Jul 15, 2003.

  1. Kevin Alexander

    Kevin Alexander Screenwriter

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    I just got a new Dell Inspiron laptop and I want to waste no time going wireless. Mainly I will be surfing here around at my split-level house. I've been doing some research on the differences between 802.11 b/g and was wondering if the 802.11g standard is worth the extra money over 802.11b for sharing my DSL connection here at home. I want to be able to take my laptop downstairs and surf the net. Will the extra speed and supposed range of 802.11g benefit me, or will 802.11b gear work just as well for less $$$?

    Also, what gear do some of you recommend for the budget minded guy like myself?.....Belkin? Netgear? Linksys? I'm assuming that I only need a wireless router (preferably w/ printer support) and a laptop wireless card. I will spend a little extra for 802.11g if you guys think that it's worth it. Your thoughts please. Thanks to all in advance.
     
  2. Chris Hovanic

    Chris Hovanic Supporting Actor

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    Have not used g yet. Placement of your wireless access point (WAP) will be a big factor.

    If you can place an 802.11b WAP in the center of your house you could maximize your range around your house. Now if you have to keep the WAP in the Garage at a far extreem of the house you may run into problems at the other extreem areas of the house.

    Since you are only surfing the net the speed should not be an issue.

    Bilkin, Netgear and Linksys are all good choices and prices should be about the same.

    Find a local place that you can purchase the router and Wireless NIC that will accept returns. Try out 802.11b and see how it works. If you are unhappy with the performance return it and get the g. As for the NIC get one that supports a, b and g then you will never be without internet (like when you travel).

    Be warned that 2.4ghz phones will interfere with b. Play with the antenas and placement around the house. Sometimes moving it 2 and adjusting the antenas you will greatly increase distance.

    Make sure you lock down your router so that someone does not leach onto your network and steel your bandwidth.

    Good luck
     
  3. SteveA

    SteveA Supporting Actor

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    802.11g rocks! It's not that much more expensive than 802.11b, but it's 5 times faster and backward compatible. You might not benefit from the extra speed if all you do is surf the web, but if you ever do any network-intensive stuff between PCs within your house, you'll be glad you opted for the higher speed of 802.11g.
     
  4. Lee L

    Lee L Supporting Actor

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    The g technology should have an equivalent range to the b, although in theory the speed as you get further away will be higher. At any rate, the both the 802.11b and g are much faster than any DSL or cable connection so fr web surfing either will work. as SteveA mentioned, the g will allow much faster in-network transfers so if you are thinking of ever doing video over the network it never hurts to have more bandwidth than you need.
     
  5. Kevin Alexander

    Kevin Alexander Screenwriter

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    Well, I got a Siemens 802.11b wireless router and adapter and it is all the speed that I need, plus, it works all over the house! I'm so giddy....I got everything for $55 shipped to my house. OK, what security features do I need to know about and/or enable? Thanks everyone!!!!!!!!!!
     
  6. JamesHl

    JamesHl Supporting Actor

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    Make sure you enable wep, and also enable mac address filtering. Both can be broken, but it's really unlikely someone is going to hang around outside your house for a long enough time to break it just to use your internet connection.
     
  7. Steve_Ch

    Steve_Ch Supporting Actor

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    >>802.11g rocks! It's not that much more expensive than 802.11b
     
  8. Gabriel_Lam

    Gabriel_Lam Screenwriter

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    Watch out for panasonic's gigaset 2.4Ghz phones. They're very agressive. Had problems with them and all of the 802.11b stuff I've used.
     
  9. Chris Hovanic

    Chris Hovanic Supporting Actor

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    Steve_Ch - May would have been a better choince of wording. It all depends on location and well location.
    [​IMG]
     
  10. Kevin Alexander

    Kevin Alexander Screenwriter

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    I think all of my phones are 900Mhz.
     
  11. Todd L.

    Todd L. Auditioning

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    Be warned, if you turn on WEP, your range of how far you can roam around your house will be drastically reduced. WEP really isn't necessary if all you are doing is surfing the net, unless you are extremely worried about someone parking outside your house and attempting to "sniff" what your are surfing. Encrypted information is still encrypted so you don't have to worry about that anyway. Just my .02
     
  12. Lee L

    Lee L Supporting Actor

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    I have the same 11b and 900mhz phones setup and it works great. Also, you should be very careful with even the new 5.8Ghz phones as I have read that some (or all) of the current models use 5.8 one way and 2.4 the other so they can interfere with a wireless network.
     
  13. SteveA

    SteveA Supporting Actor

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  14. Kevin Alexander

    Kevin Alexander Screenwriter

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    One thing I have noticed so far w/ my new setup is that I haven't received any backdoor Trojan horse attacks. I have Norton Internet Security 2003, and I get notification literally every few hours telling me that someone is trying to break in. So far, I haven't received any since I setup up the wireless network. Is the security w/ a wireless router that much better than Norton? Is Norton even really handling my security, or are they both working together?

    Something else I noticed is that after setup, the network "assumed" an internet connection on its own when I powered everything up. IOW, when I clicked on the DSL icon, the connection process would time out, but when I opened my browser, lo and behold, I was already online!!! Not only that, but the task bar didn't have the little icon (2 connected squares w/ blinking lights) to let me know I was online. What's up w/ that???? Does anyone have an answer to these questions?....And thanks for the support so far.[​IMG]
     
  15. Todd L.

    Todd L. Auditioning

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    Hi Steve,

    I can't exactly explain it, I just know from experience that once WEP is turned on, the range is reduced. So far, it is the same in 6 different locations I've used wireless with. At first I thought maybe I was setting something up wrong, but the last two sites I had someone else setup for me, with the same results. I'm not wireless expert by any means, but I know when my laptop loses connection at the same spot where I had a great connection before. I take it you haven't expereienced this? I would be interested in seeing if anyone else see's this as a problem. Thanks,

    Todd
     
  16. Andrew Pratt

    Andrew Pratt Producer

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    Kevin leave the WEP and mac addressing turned on if at all possible. As for the connection to the web you have to realize what you just purchased isn't just a wireless link its a router which means that its job is to connect the inside PC's to each other and act as a single source out to the internet. The router will connect to your ISP (when you provide it with your user name and password) and then act as a go between you and the the ISP. More technically your ISP will provide you with an IP address. If you don't have a router that IP address will be link your computer to the internet so when someone sends you a trojan or tries to attack you it will hit against your PC. Now that you have the router though the router takes the IP address given by your ISP and it then assigns a new address to all the PC's connected to it. This is known as NAT (network address translation) and what it effectively does is make all the PC's behind the router invisible to the internet. So what happens now is your PC will request some info from the internet and it then gets passed from your PC to the router which then passes it on to the internet and waits for a response...when a response comes back it checks to see if it was requested from a PC inside the network...if it is it lets it though and passes it to that PC..if it wasn't requested it will ignor the incoming data...so what was happening before with norton was that someone was trying to get into your PC via your IP address and norton was telling you about the intrusion...now with the router no requests other then what you've asked for should come in. Note however that if your system already has a trojan inside the network any requests it makes will appear to be valid from the PC that sent it so the router will let it though which means you still need to run a current up todate virus scanner along with the router to keep everything clean.

    As far as brands go Netgear's are very highly rated and worth the price premium over Linksys and SMC.
     
  17. Chris Hovanic

    Chris Hovanic Supporting Actor

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    Router and Norton Internet Security 2003 (or other software firewall) is kinda like wearing suspenders and a belt at the same time. [​IMG]
     
  18. Steve_Ch

    Steve_Ch Supporting Actor

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    >>Is the security w/ a wireless router that much better than Norton?
     
  19. Kevin Alexander

    Kevin Alexander Screenwriter

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    Thanks Andrew and Steve for the explanation of things.
     

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