View Full Version : Wireless Network

10th June 2003, 12:52
I have 3 machines at home and would like to connect them together using a wireless network. Can anyone tell me exactly what I need. As far as I am aware I need an access point and some PCI cards. But do I need 3 PCI cards (one per machine) or does the access point sort out the network from the perspective of one of the machines?

Can anyone recommend a reliable brand too. I've bought D-Link kit in the past and had little trouble with it.

Can anyone point me to an 'idiots guide' to wireless networking that may help me.


10th June 2003, 14:29
well, you need wireless router - access point has to be plugged into it (this is my setup), you will need PCI cards for each PC as well. i must say that wifi is very sweet -- I enjoy being able to roam around the house with my laptop while still being connected tothe network, so here is what you need:

WiFi router - avoid 54mbig G type - access point (netgear) cost me £120 and for this price you can get decent router,

PCI WiFi card for each PC or USB connected client thingy - i have got both and I would not recommend USB unless you have a good reason for it.

10th June 2003, 15:32
Thanks for that info AtW

Been reading about an AdHoc network using no Access Point. I'm aiming to start this on the cheap. Anyone any experience of such a setup?

Would it work with 'el cheapo' 11MB wireless cards from eBuyer?

Mark Snowdon
10th June 2003, 16:32

you can use ad-hoc without an access point between two machines - I have never tried between more than that.

an access point is in effect a bridge between the wireless network and your cabled network as well as being a hub for the wireless. will typically have an rj45 and a usb connector.

a wireless router is an access point and router combined.

If you run linux there is some code that will allow any pc with a wireless card to act as an access point - not used it myself but supposed to be good

75% of wireless cards are based on the same chipset (prism) so even the real cheapies should be OK.

the standards are 802.11b - 11mbs
802.11a - 22 mbs (not compatible with b, although many products implement a and b)
802.11g - 55 mbs BUT lots of stuff floating about that doesnt work (they all tried to jump the gun before the standard wasset) and speed drops to 11 if a single b card is present.

11b cards are cheap.

for desktops you either put a pci card in that holds the pcmcia card or buy a usb device (better range because the card isnt under your desk blocked in by metal boxes, and the aerials are usually better)

I have heard that dlink recently changed to another chipset and some people have had problems.

I run an access point (connected into a switch - also connects to my isdn router) and laptops with 11b cards. works fine. my only issue is that my router wont propogate dns servers over dhcp so I have to hard code the dns server entries on my machines, not sure if the access point will do that for me

11th June 2003, 21:14
it should be possible to ad hoc network among more than 2 nodes, in fact it is certainly possible, jsut the question whether windows supports more than 2 nodes (I think XP does). linux rocks in this respect- check out site: locustworld.com/index.php (http://locustworld.com/index.php)

check some laptop card prices: www.expansys.com/d_wireless.asp (http://www.expansys.com/d_wireless.asp)

protocol wise I would not go for anything apart from 802.11b (11mbs - effective less than 5mbs)

15th June 2003, 21:44
I do just the ad-hoc thing but with only two machines.

Problems I get - if you have a 2GHz TV sender on it screws up the WiFi - possibly if a neighbour did it might too - certainly they carry far enough for you to watch whatever TV station they do.

This house has 2 foot thick stone walls and the signal won't go through them - ok upstairs to room below through the floor but won't work in the kitchen where the signal has to go through one of the thick internal walls.

Don't forget to turn on encryption or your neighbours get free access to your entire network.

18th June 2003, 11:55
All this talk about acess points is b*ll*cks. Just sticka PCI card in each PC and use peer to peer networking. I've been doing this with Proxim Symphony for about 5 years, with modem and printer sharing as well.

18th June 2003, 20:42
no its not bollox - my access point connects to router and it allows me to access internet via wifi without having to run PC with PCI card at all times. With broadband you need a router anyway, so router with build in WiFi makes sense, especially as it gives you chance to share internet access with your neighbours to cover price of broadband :D

19th June 2003, 23:23
:) my local exchange is going ADSL (from 29 Aug it says) and I may well be getting a wireless router but before I do can somebody confirm that simple old ICS won't work with ADSL connections (if they know why not too I'd find it interesting)

19th June 2003, 23:43
get non-USB ADSL modem/router - Ethernet. ICS should work just fine, cant see reason why not, but then again I use cable not ADSL.

22nd June 2003, 10:05
Internet connectivity via the ADSL service can be routed over ICS - there are no unusual issues whatsoever in this context.

Wifi network cards provide exactly the same connectivity as any other NIC.

22nd June 2003, 17:44
So - given I currently use only 2 wi-fi adaptors ad-hoc networking and ICS to share the current dialup link -

I could just get a USB ADSL modem and share that the same way (£50 ish)

What benefit would a wireless router + ethernet modem bring (£100 + £50) ? I know they usually do nice firewall stuff but currenty I use the XP built in firewall for dummies. I could use one of the multitude of freebie software firewalls if any of them are better but the probes at www.grc.com give me a clean bill of health already. I don't intend to run a server on the connection.

22nd June 2003, 20:50
benefits of dedicated routers are:
1) no need to keep your main ICS PC running
2) better configurability - these devices were created for that purpose
3) AFAIK ad-hoc networking is only good for few PCs - some people who do meshes would probably disagree, to be honest I don't know details since I just gone "routers" approach which works nicely and not that expensive.

22nd June 2003, 22:27
Thanks - nothing new to me there - I was wondering if there was anything concrete to justify the extra £100 (other than an additional box to prat around with and curse over)

I use my laptop as my main web browsing machine and usb is far handier than ethernet for that so I'd be tempted to get a usb modem - do any routers that you know of accept a usb modem should I decide later on a router or is usb a dead-end move?

22nd June 2003, 23:08
Or rather not curse over - I've had a cheap 4 port ADSL router (£47) running for over a year without a single problem as far as it is concerned.

Other equipment, costing thousands of pounds - now thats another matter - but this £47 beauty just sits there - working. Best £50 I ever spent (if you include the consumed electricity since then).

Of course it's not WiFi, but I'm making a point about routers in general. If your PC goes belly up (which is more likely) the other kit on your network will be unaffected.

PCs consume a lot more power too.

My only problem is that next week I have to move - and the place I have chosen doesnt have ADSL :rolleyes

23rd June 2003, 00:50
yeah that has to be said that routers are either ADSL or proper Ethernet - think there are combos but they are well expensive, crap innit!

24th June 2003, 12:35
I've decide to buy one anyway - should get it Friday. I'll just use it as a wireless access point and buy an ADSL modem nearer the great day when the exchange is upgraded (29 August no doubt slipping to January)

25th June 2003, 13:57
yeah that has to be said that routers are either ADSL or proper Ethernet - think there are combos but they are well expensive, crap innit!

Sorry I should have elucidated - my £47 router is also a four port Ethernet switch - so can easily support a good sized LAN as long as you restrict internet access.

It will also support the new 2mb business ADSL links.

I think they're a bit more expensive now - at about £75, but still extremely good value for money.