Forums > Help! > Wireless network question

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nearly_all_gone
nearly_all_gone

Pooh-Bah
Location: Southampton
Member Since: 3rd Aug 2004
Total posts: 1626
Posted:This may be a silly question, but is there some specification I should look out for when buying a router which will mean that 4 people can be connected (and the connection be stable) at the same time? I've set one up before, but trying to plan my girlfriends for her is befuzzling me.

Also, anyone have any experience of USB wireless thingies? I've only ever used the PCMCIA ones before, but the USB one is cheap and looks like a good idea... Plus it has "3 times" the range of a conventional PCMCIA card (supposedly). If the range thing is true I'll have to get one!

Thanks for any help/links/products you can point me towards!


What a wonderful miracle if only we could look through each other's eyes for an instant.
Thoreau

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UCOF
UCOF

Carpal \'Tunnel

Member Since: 17th Apr 2002
Total posts: 15414
Posted:What ive done is gotten a wired broad band router, then added a wireless access point to it just through a cat5 cable.
Works fine smile

with wireless, I think you can have upto 128 people connected to one access point simultaeneously.

Nother question for someone:
Which way should I point the two aereals on the AP?
Both vertical, both horizontal, one of each? both at +/- 45degrees tot he vertical?

Any ideas?


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marco
enthusiast
Location: uk
Member Since: 27th May 2004
Total posts: 328
Posted:Arial orientation will, in effect polarize the rf radiation pattern, broadly you have either vertical or horizontal polarisation, although by the time the signals been bounced around the typical accomodation, then polarisation is less well defined.

Anyway, arial placement on you AP should reflect the placement of the arials upon your client base, you can effectively half the working range by mixing polarisations, your going to find that most pcmcia devices are horizontally polarised, where as laptops with built in support for 80211b-g have often have the arials placed in the cavity bhind the screen, and thus are typically more vertically pol,

vertical tends to be more omnidirectional where as horizontal tends to be more directional,

hope this helps

mark


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UCOF
UCOF

Carpal \'Tunnel

Member Since: 17th Apr 2002
Total posts: 15414
Posted:Ta.
kiss


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nearly_all_gone
nearly_all_gone

Pooh-Bah
Location: Southampton
Member Since: 3rd Aug 2004
Total posts: 1626
Posted:One more thing - if one person has a mac and wants to connect to the wireless network, can they use the same router? And do they need a different device plugged into the computer (ie other than a USB reciever)? An extremely stupid question but I have to check before buying..

What a wonderful miracle if only we could look through each other's eyes for an instant.
Thoreau

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Imbalance
Imbalance

not different, just not the same
Location: Charlotte, NC
Member Since: 9th Sep 2005
Total posts: 263
Posted:ah, well now, being that i used to sell the things at my last job i may have some insight eh?

Deffinently get a G router and G receivers. it will not increase your internet speed at all but WILL allow for more room for people to be connected. 802.11G transfers data at up to 54 Mbps and 802.11B at up to 11Mbps. G is also backwards compatable to B so if you have B devices and a G router, there shouldn't be much of a problem (though you must set the router t oaccept B cards and it WILL slow your overall network speed to that of a B router for the time the B deivce is connected)

As for the USB attachment, I don't like em. I have had several and some work, others dont, sometimes it works for a while and sometimes it wont. All in all, its not really worth the trouble. Not to mention, if you have only USB 1.1 you are SEVERELY handicaping your usb ports. USB has a maximum bandwidth of 12 Mbps for 1.1 and 480Mbps for 2.0. so if you have 1.1 and a B card (which goes at up to 11Mbps) you only have 1 Mbps left over for other devices. (of course this is assuming a full network load, which may not ever happen, but why take chances eh?). So all in all, i always say PCMCIA or for desktops INTERNAL cards (PCI).

Also, if the laptop you are using is rather recent, it PROBABLY already has wifi built in, probably a G card. Check on that before ya buy anything.

I personally like linksys brand devices as they are functional and controlable. D-link sucks as they have many many problems, and the ones that don't have problems typically are made SOOOO "dummy friendly" that if you want to do some more advanced settings... you can't. Netgear is descent, they are kind of hit or miss depending on the model you get. Belkin has SOME good ones. If you were more of a nerd about these things I would say go with them since they are typically cheaper. There are other brands out there but those are the main ones (unless ya wanna get some cisco stuff which i can garuntee is out of your league at the moment as they are much more complicated and nerdish).

Some other stuff to remember when setting up the network:

CUT ON SECURITY.CUT ON SECURITY.CUT ON SECURITY.CUT ON SECURITY.CUT ON SECURITY.CUT ON SECURITY.CUT ON SECURITY.CUT ON SECURITY.CUT ON SECURITY.CUT ON SECURITY.CUT ON SECURITY.CUT ON SECURITY.CUT ON SECURITY.CUT ON SECURITY.CUT ON SECURITY.CUT ON SECURITY.CUT ON SECURITY.CUT ON SECURITY.CUT ON SECURITY.
and just in case you missed it

CUT ON SECURITY.

i can NOT stress this enough. there are many reasons why you should enable WEP or WPA but simple and short: So no one Fooks with your Shizzle. Period.

As for which way to go, well WEP is easy (though somewhat time consuming) to crack, most people won't bother unless they have either A) a reason to hate you and want to break your network or B) feel like pulling a prank or C) REALLY wana get on your network for some reason. WEP comes in 2 versions 64bit and 128bit. 128 being the more secure.

WPA is more secure but in my opinion more of a pain to deal with.

another suggestion is to change your SSID to NOT broadcast (make sure you know what it is though) this will keep some of the stupider hackers out there from seeing your network as there won't be a visible network name to latch on to.

also, you might find changing your network channel to something besides 6 to be advantagious. 6 is the default. you can choose from 1 -> 11. Typically when I set up a customets stuff I choose chanel 1, set it up, see how it is working, and if network speeds are not optimal I try 11 then 6 then 3 then 4 then 8 and 9. Though usually 1 or 11 work just fine. The reason i say change it, is because 6 is the default, and most people just leave it on that, so why crowd it more eh?

now if you wanna get even more secure, most routers allow you to set only certain IPs to be able to access it. If you set up static IPs on your PCs then this is easy enough to do. This helps keep unwanted compuers off your network.

And the final and MOST IMPORTANT THING you can do is to CHANGE THE DEFAULT ROUTER LOGIN AND PASSWORD.

EVERYONE knows the linksys login and pass (admin/admin) and dlink and netgear also have defaults. Change em. make it something only you will know.

If you follow all those steps you really shouldn't run into any problems.

If you have further concerns or questions, feel free to e-mail or PM me.


I once learned every move that there was,
Every style, Every technique.
Then I woke up, and forgot it all,
So now I struggle to dream.

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newgabe
newgabe

what goes around comes around. unless you're into stalls.
Location: Bali
Member Since: 3rd Mar 2005
Total posts: 4030
Posted:Written by: nearly_all_gone


One more thing - if one person has a mac and wants to connect to the wireless network, can they use the same router? And do they need a different device plugged into the computer (ie other than a USB reciever)? An extremely stupid question but I have to check before buying..





We use a cheapo D-Link 802.11g router that includes 4 USB ports and a wireless 'transmitter. My Mac iBook (current standard: G4 OSX.3 with Airport) and Kyle's PC laptop work perfectly on wireless from it in all parts of the (large) house. Wireless rocks, very liberating...



My daughter's crap PC runs off it via a very long USB cable. No problems, everyting worked fine from day one using the default settings. I have used a USB cable from my iBook just to see and it also worked fine.



(D-Link's 'dumminess' works fine for me cos I don't need or want to do anything 'advanced', I just want things to work.. )


.....Can't juggle balls but I sure as hell can juggle details....

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TinklePants
TinklePants

Clique Infiltrator, Cunning Linguist and Master Debator
Location: Edinburgh burgh burrrrrr
Member Since: 3rd Jul 2005
Total posts: 4217
Posted:wireless sucks lol i dont think its very reliable

Always use "so's your face" and "only on Tuesdays" in as many conversations possible

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Fine_Rabid_Dog
Internet Hate Machine
Location: They seek him here, they seek ...
Member Since: 26th May 2004
Total posts: 10530
Posted:rolleyes



Helpful comment tongue



I've heard bad things about wireless, but if you get it set up right, you have the major conveniance of not having wires bloody everywhere! smile

EDITED_BY: Fine_Rabid_Dog (1128783673)


The existance of flamethrowers says that someone, somewhere, at sometime said "I need to set that thing on fire, but it's too far away."

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TinklePants
TinklePants

Clique Infiltrator, Cunning Linguist and Master Debator
Location: Edinburgh burgh burrrrrr
Member Since: 3rd Jul 2005
Total posts: 4217
Posted:my router is only in the next room and is roughly 5meters away from the coffee table i use my vaio on and still it cuts off now and then grrrr

(very frustrating when in msn messenger!)


Always use "so's your face" and "only on Tuesdays" in as many conversations possible

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pricklyleaf
pricklyleaf

with added berries
Location: Manchester
Member Since: 7th Mar 2005
Total posts: 1365
Posted:Grr, just been trying to set this up today, spent all day doing it, just to finally discover that our modem isn't compatible with our router, and we now have to return it (hopefully I can get a refund) and get a new one with the modem built in. Very fustrating, how are you meant to know these things if you're not a computer wizz?!

Live like there is no tomorrow,
dance like nobody is watching
and hula hoop like wiggling will save the world.

What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

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thelost
thelost

mmm...i feel all warm and fuzzy... 'no dude, that's your hair on fire'
Location: Birmingham
Member Since: 20th Aug 2005
Total posts: 355
Posted:You'd be amazed at how many sales assistants who sell you these products have no idea how they're actually supposed to work...

me: Hi, do you know what the difference between ... and ... is?
assistant: Well, to be honest, I don't know, I just sell things here... umm

Sorry for off-topic-ness.

I have absolutely no clue how wireless routers work as i've never set one up, but this is pretty useful for the future in case i ever do need one smile

How isn't the modem compatible with the router by the way? I thought that the modem connects from wall to computer, then a network cable/USB to the router which connects to other computers?...


It's better to burn out than to fade away

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Fine_Rabid_Dog
Internet Hate Machine
Location: They seek him here, they seek ...
Member Since: 26th May 2004
Total posts: 10530
Posted:Customer Service is a bitch anyway.

To be honest, chewing on glass sounds like more fun that CS.


The existance of flamethrowers says that someone, somewhere, at sometime said "I need to set that thing on fire, but it's too far away."

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Imbalance
Imbalance

not different, just not the same
Location: Charlotte, NC
Member Since: 9th Sep 2005
Total posts: 263
Posted:welp, i actually love customer service. I dunno maybe its the ego boost i always got from everyone telling me its nice to finally meet someone who knows what the heck they are talkin about (since mose sales guys dont) and I've never really had a problem with customers since i'm good at defusing most situtations. Worked at Office Depot for 5 years. Always loved my actual job, always hated the management/corporate. Just got fired in August. Fired for having my own business on the side. Apparently they think that I was soliciting customers for myself (which i wasn't) and the yfired me since soliciting is against company policy. Thought about sueing em and stuff, but hell, i've been getting underpaid for ages so screw it, find a new job. Only problem is, havin a hard time finding a new job since no one around here is hiring that much. *oye*

anwyays, to the questions at hand.

Modem Compatability. This is actually a rather rare problem. I have heard of SOME modems being incompatable completely but the USUAL cause of the percieved problem isn't that the modem won't work with the router, but that the modem is probably already a router of sorts. For instance, around here the local DSL company uses "Westell" modems. These modems are typically routers as well as modems. Meaning they assign IP addresses and use dhcp and such. This is usually not a big deal as it is a simple matter to turn this feature off. However, it isn't all that hard to simply get a switch and plug in a wireless access point (turns the signal wireless without the routing part built in) thought the WAPs are typically MORE expensive than a regular router these days.

I recommend turning off the routing features of your modem anyways since its better to have YOUR OWN router do all the work and control things. Also this helps keep things "in house" so to speak as the ISP has no access to your internal network if you have your own router, where as if THEIR modem does the routing they can see all your network settings and such (and report them if necessary to other companies....say... the RIAA if you share music...etc)

As for wireless not working properly (Tinklepants) its not the "wireless" thats the problem its the DEVICES. now your signal issue could be caused by several factors.
A) Something in your walls causing a load of interference
B) The channel you are using being to crowded (log in to the router and change the channel to something besides 6)
C) a crappy router
D) a crappy receiver
E) ISP issues, for instance if you are on a cable modem there could be consistent signal drops causing this issue

and there are other much less common things. I personally have a Microsoft Router (not available anymore) and have 3 computers in my house that are wireless and one wired. Absolutely no problems what so ever as long as the cats don't knock the modem and or router off onto the ground or cut off the surge strip when running around behind the couch.

And a final note, TO ALL CABLE MODEM USERS (in the USA at least) Check with your cable company. Ask them if they charge a MODEM RENTAL fee. Every company here that I know of does, about $5 or so a month. And they charge you this for as long as you use their service. A typical cable modem costs around $99 or less. soooo why pay this rental fee forever? Because you don't know that they are charging you. One easy sollution is to BUY YOUR OWN cable modem and make the company give you the settings to set it up (fairly simple process). But the sollution I usually recommend is to go out and buy a "Cable Gateway" this is a router/cable modem/switch all in one. These retail around $149 which is a bit more than the average router ($69-$99) but you will pay NO rental fees. Say you have Cable modem service for 2 years, at $5 a month thats $120 right there. so well worth buying your own modem in my opinion since most people stay with the same service now-a-days for 3 or more years. Also, doing this allows you to tweak your network the way YOU want it to help avoid lag and connection issues.

so, thats my piece about all this.

any questions, let me know.


I once learned every move that there was,
Every style, Every technique.
Then I woke up, and forgot it all,
So now I struggle to dream.

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newgabe
newgabe

what goes around comes around. unless you're into stalls.
Location: Bali
Member Since: 3rd Mar 2005
Total posts: 4030
Posted:Written by: thelost_seraph

I thought that the modem connects from wall to computer, then a network cable/USB to the router which connects to other computers?...



Modem (ours:Motorola, bought from service provider) assigns the IP address) connects straight to router, which 'splits' the signal and makes it available to computers (in our case by both USB and/or) wireless. We have broadband and there is no discernable loss of speed; we have never had a connection break or any other problem.

One interesting side effect is that Kyle and I can now 'share' our iTunes libraries.. which pops up by spontaneously on each others machines. Perhaps we can share other files as well though we have never tried.

Once upon a time we had a PC we used as a router.. that did cause problems.


.....Can't juggle balls but I sure as hell can juggle details....

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polarity
polarity

veteran
Location: on the wrong planet
Member Since: 16th May 2005
Total posts: 1228
Posted:A big problem I've seen with wireless is where you tell windows to do everything automatically, and it puts the wireless adapter in a bridge with all the other network adapters in the computer, and then goes FUBAR.



Simply put the network bridge code in windows is a load of crap (much like the rest of windows), and it was written before wireless cards became common.



Set up each adapter manually, and make sure there are no network bridges in your list of network connections. If you want to hook up a wired to a wireless network that's what a router is for, and having to have a PC on all the time to do that job is annoying when it crashes, eats more electricity, and is noisy.


You aren't thinking or really existing unless you're willing to risk even your own sanity in the judgment of your existence.

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