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drewel
Jul 27, 2004, 08:19 AM
I'm in the market for a wireless network for my home. I just got connected to a friends wireless at his house to try it out. He uses a Linksys router & it seems to work great with my Mac. Is there a reason to spend more money though, & buy an Apple base station? Like I said, Linksys seems to work wonderfully & it would save me a lot of money. It's also 802.11g like the Apple base station.

What do ya think?

tomf87
Jul 27, 2004, 08:25 AM
I'd get the Linksys WRT54G, as it is Linux based. Then you can use a custom firmware, such as Sveasoft's.

http://www.sveasoft.com/modules/phpBB2/index.php

It's rock solid and plus has greater coverage than the stock Linksys firmware.

EDIT: I'd also check to make sure you are getting a WRT54G v2.0. I would assume you would be since the v1.0's are older now. I got mine from J&R Computer World (www.jandr.com).

garybUK
Jul 27, 2004, 08:34 AM
i have used several linksys products and found them to be the spawn of satan most manufacturers will work with apple's networking, look into netgear, dlink etc.. etc.. also.

Earl Urly
Jul 27, 2004, 08:53 AM
They claim (Sveasoft) that their firmware will work on an Airport Extreme.. and that they can adjust the transmitter output all the way up to 84 mW.. if someone were to noodle in Apple's firmware and figure out a way to peek/poke or overdrive the AEBS's output that would be a godsend for many people.. AEBS's are not known for good range, with or without an antenna.. and 32 mW is only going to get you so far..

Brother Michael
Jul 27, 2004, 08:56 AM
oops..sorry didnt seem to notice the router talk here...

Mike

Brother Michael
Jul 27, 2004, 09:00 AM
Gah...

Celeron
Jul 27, 2004, 09:00 AM
Another vote here for the WRT54G. I've been using one now for several months with my 12'' PB with the Airport Extreme. It works great, not one problem to speak of. I'm using WPA security without a problem. I just use the stock firmware as I have no need for a majority of the features offered in the customs firmwares.

I say go with Linksys and avoid airport extreme base station. You could buy 3 WRT54Gs for the price of one AEBS. I got mine from Amazon.com, but Newegg.com is also a good place to shop for them.

Just as a side note, I've had a Linksys router for the last 5 years. My original 4port BEFSR41 was still going strong when I replaced it with the WRT54G. Of all the people I know with Linksys routers, none of them have had a problem.

Applespider
Jul 27, 2004, 09:21 AM
How many computers are you going to want to hook into the wireless network at home? If you're only going to be hooking one or two Macs with extreme cards, then why not consider just buying the Express rather than a full basestation?

Do you want to be able to print wirelessly? That was the biggest reason for me getting an Apple base station when I set up my network.

drewel
Jul 27, 2004, 09:51 AM
How many computers are you going to want to hook into the wireless network at home? If you're only going to be hooking one or two Macs with extreme cards, then why not consider just buying the Express rather than a full basestation?

Do you want to be able to print wirelessly? That was the biggest reason for me getting an Apple base station when I set up my network.

2 at home. That brings me to the questions I have about Express. Is this like a base station? I would like to print wireless, but it's not a big desire of mine- I would take it only as a bonus.

Celeron
Jul 27, 2004, 10:00 AM
Is wireless printing worth an extra $150? I can't comment on the express, its still too expensive to be worth my consideration.

crackrock
Jul 28, 2004, 03:43 PM
I've got a 12" alum powerbook and have had the chance to use both the airport extreme with airport express as a bridge, and a Linksys WRT54G router.

I own a WRT54G with one factory and one omnidirectional antenna and use the hacked firmware Alchemy-pre5.1 2.07 with it and the range is amazing, great speeds at 200 feet away. Do a google search for "WRT54G hacked firmware" and you'll find a few different packages. Basically, it lets you output 900X the power than the factory settings. Instead of outputting only 28mw of power it lets you output 251mw of power, at least tripling your range. I can be anywhere in the house and far in the back yard (half an acre) and still get a great reception. The factory settings are terrrible, but if you use the hacked firmware you'll see your distance at least triple.

I've also used an airport extreme with an airport express briging the connection, and the range of those two put together is equally impressive. Easily a 300 foot range, slightly farther than the Linksys. The airport base station and airport express was easier to set up, although I have no complaints about the linksys.

The difference is the price, you can get a WRT54G for about $75 and an omnidirectional antenna for about $30, but you'll pay well over $300 for the airport extreme and express combo.

If you need a print server and airtunes, then get the airport extreme and express combo. If you just need wireless internet get the WRT54G. If you want your internet to go far but don't need it in every direction, get an unidirectional antenna.

If you have a WRT54G and want to dramatically increase your range, go here

http://wrt54g.streamfire.net/

and download the new firmware, go to your router settings (usually at http://192.168.1.1) and go to Administration, Firmware Upgrade. It takes about a minute to install and you may have to grab the original CD and run the setup to get the internet connection working - but basically it unlocks all sorts of settings that you normally don't have access to. Under the "wireless/advanced settings" tab you'll see a new drop down menu called Xmit power, which lets you give out 900 times more power than usual. It gives you an incredible amount of range... There are other settings to that i'm sure you can mess with, but if you just increase the power you'll see a huge increase if your distance.

My only issue with my Linksys is that whenever anyone calls and I pick up using the cordless phone the internet connection falls out. I don't know if this does it with the airport base station, but it does on the linksys. I'm using channel 6 on the router and channel 11 on the phone, so they shouldn't interfere - but they do.


crackrock

Celeron
Jul 28, 2004, 08:46 PM
Instead of outputting only 28mw of power it lets you output 251mw of power, at least tripling your range.

You should NEVER configure your WRT54G to run at 251mW. That will bake your router. If it hasn't cooked yet, it will, just give it time. The reason it runs at 25mW is because that is all its little internals can reliably take. Cisco's high-end 350 access point only has power output options up to 100mW. Maybe that should tell you something.

You will bake your router setting it to 251mW.

xov
Jul 29, 2004, 08:03 AM
If you go with the linksys, be sure to enable WPA. Though I've never used a linksys router, I suspect the default setup is WPA disabled, as I've seen several cases of wide open linksys networks. In fact, I can use my next door neighbor's internet connection through his linksys router. I consider it my emergency backup in case my cable modem connection goes down. :)

tomf87
Jul 29, 2004, 08:50 AM
<SNIP>My only issue with my Linksys is that whenever anyone calls and I pick up using the cordless phone the internet connection falls out. I don't know if this does it with the airport base station, but it does on the linksys. I'm using channel 6 on the router and channel 11 on the phone, so they shouldn't interfere - but they do.


crackrock

The 2.4Ghz band is just crammed and any AP may have issues. Microwaves and cordless phones are notorious for this; that's why I switched to a 900Mhz phone.. Never had a problem since, and to be honest, i didn't notice any change in clarity either.

Also, how do you know channel 11 on your phone doesn't refer to the same frequency as channel 6 on your router? I know some phones don't put their channels in order of frequency. Some put them in order of the likelihood of interfering.

crackrock
Jul 29, 2004, 09:01 AM
Hmm… I’ve been running it for a while at 251 with no problems at all, just my distance increase. It feels a little warm, but it always did. The things not melting or anything.

And absolutely NEVER, EVER turn on WPA! The greatest thing about wifi is that you can hop around onto different connections and still be online. I went for an entire year without having to pay for internet thanks to my neighbor’s connection, and me and my neighbor were friends the whole year. Currently I have my wifi free and open to all, so any of my friends can come over, open their PowerBooks and be online with no configuration or inputting of passwords. It works.

It’s great when it “just works” and nobody has to ask “hey man what’s your password for the network?”

Turning on WPA is very uncool. Change your password from the default username:admin, password:password so nobody can mess with your router – but never, ever turn on WPA. It’s great when you live in an apartment complex and there are internet connections everywhere, you can just wander and… be online. It’s great. Change the name of your router to your apartment number – you’ll meet people that way.

When you are on your computer and see “Apartment 29” in your wireless network list, click on it, and see that they want a password, it makes you realize that the people living in #29 are a bunch of arrogant *******s who you don’t even want to meet because they are stuck up and don’t want to share their connection. But when you see “Apartment 31” on your wireless network list and can instantly connect to the internet with it, #31 sounds like a bunch of pretty cool people, neighbors that you want to meet and smoke a fat spliff with. Even cooler is when you open up iTunes and see that they have some pretty cool music shared. It’s friendly and welcoming to have open networks.

Turning on WPA makes people want to figure out and cause damage to your configuration. If you leave it off and share your connection then you make friends.

I would never really trust anyone who used WPA.

-crackrock

Celeron
Jul 29, 2004, 09:10 AM
Hmm… I’ve been running it for a while at 251 with no problems at all, just my distance increase. It feels a little warm, but it always did. The things not melting or anything.

And absolutely NEVER, EVER turn on WPA! The greatest thing about wifi is that you can hop around onto different connections and still be online. I went for an entire year without having to pay for internet thanks to my neighbor’s connection, and me and my neighbor were friends the whole year. Currently I have my wifi free and open to all, so any of my friends can come over, open their PowerBooks and be online with no configuration or inputting of passwords. It works.

It’s great when it “just works” and nobody has to ask “hey man what’s your password for the network?”

Turning on WPA is very uncool. Change your password from the default username:admin, password:password so nobody can mess with your router – but never, ever turn on WPA. It’s great when you live in an apartment complex and there are internet connections everywhere, you can just wander and… be online. It’s great. Change the name of your router to your apartment number – you’ll meet people that way.

When you are on your computer and see “Apartment 29” in your wireless network list, click on it, and see that they want a password, it makes you realize that the people living in #29 are a bunch of arrogant *******s who you don’t even want to meet because they are stuck up and don’t want to share their connection. But when you see “Apartment 31” on your wireless network list and can instantly connect to the internet with it, #31 sounds like a bunch of pretty cool people, neighbors that you want to meet and smoke a fat spliff with. Even cooler is when you open up iTunes and see that they have some pretty cool music shared. It’s friendly and welcoming to have open networks.

Turning on WPA makes people want to figure out and cause damage to your configuration. If you leave it off and share your connection then you make friends.

I would never really trust anyone who used WPA.

-crackrock

You sir, are quite a dope. The reason for turning on WPA is security. What if one of those people who you happily let jump on your wireless networks downloads a bunch of mp3s, thousands, and then you get a letter from the RIAA? Maybe instead of mp3s they download a crap load of kiddie porn? Then the FBI comes knocking on YOUR door. Calling people who use security stuckup and arrogant is quite possibly the stupidest thing I've ever heard. Maybe you should consider all aspects of leaving your connection wide open.

jsw
Jul 29, 2004, 09:18 AM
And absolutely NEVER, EVER turn on WPA! ...

It’s great when it “just works” and nobody has to ask “hey man what’s your password for the network?” ...

Turning on WPA makes people want to figure out and cause damage to your configuration. If you leave it off and share your connection then you make friends. ...

-crackrock
As noted by Celeron, you leave yourself vulnerable. Perhaps, crackrock, you'll let everyone know where you live, so the pedophiles can cruise your area instead of ours looking for a free signal?

Look man, it's like leaving your house unlocked and like letting people make calls from your phone. If you're cool with that, fine. But don't call everyone else arrogant just because they lock their doors.

superfunkomatic
Jul 29, 2004, 09:55 AM
i've been using the wireless 'G' router from linksys, works great. it was more affordable than the airport, was just as easy to set up and had more administrative functions in the software than the airport - great if you want to run servers or close ports, forward ports, etc.

the bonus of apple's airport/express is that it's designed to be dead easy to set up. so if you're not a techie the airport involves less work. but you don't have to be a genius to set up the linksys router either.

crackrock
Jul 29, 2004, 10:24 AM
I genuinely feel that WAP security ruins networks. It ruins the principle of a network, which is being able to connect to each other and share things easily. It ruins the convenience of a network by requiring that a username and password be put in for each new machine on the network. It makes for a weird social situation where people ask for, and discuss your username and password.

The greatest feature about airport extreme is the “automatic” setting under the location menu. I love it because it takes care of all the configuration without having to adjust any settings. It just works. And when you turn on WAP it doesn’t “just work”.

Here is the social moment that happens when you have an open network a new hot lady friend comes over.

You: So this is my apartment, feel free to use the internet, check your email or whatever.
Friend: Ok, cool. (flips open computer)… wow, four bars. Fast too. Nice. Like the songs you are sharing on iTunes… very cool. Hey you’ve got the new Velvet Revolver, I wanted to listen to that – can you put it in my drop box?
You: Yeah sure, it’ll take but a few seconds.
Friend: And it’s there…. Awesome. Your fast internet connection is so hot… would you mind if I took my clothes off? Can you give me a backrub while I check my email?

Now here is the same moment, but when the router is set to WAP instead of being an open network.

You: So this is my apartment, feel free to use the internet, check your email or whatever.
Friend: Ok, cool. (flips open computer) ummm…. It says I need a password. hey what’s your username and password?
You: The username is crackrock and the password is lp12$77g.
Friend: Crack rock is one word or two?
You: One word…
Friend: And the password is lp12$7g?
You: No, it’s lp12$77g.
Friend: 77b?
You: No, 77g.
Friend: Ok, so I input these and I should be online?
You: Should be… .
Friend: *Frustrated* …damn. It’s not working. …eeerrrr…. ok… let me input it again.
You: Crackrock, and lp12$77g.
Friend: Ok, got it this time… authenticating…. Authenticating…. Ok, I’m online. That was annoying… I was kind of in the mood, but not anymore. I’m leaving you – and I’m buying a Dell.

See, now weren’t your chances of scoring so much better without WAP? It’s great opening up your computer and being online without any configuration. I will never use WAP because it’s easier. And so should you.

Celeron
Jul 29, 2004, 10:32 AM
I can't believe what I just read. It seems you truely believe that not running WPA is the best way to do it because it will help you score with a hot girl that comes over to your apartment. You didn't even bother to address to potential for illegal activity to be done over your connection because I assume you know you are completely wrong and don't feel like admitting it.

Configuring WPA on OS X is a quick 30 second job. You input the name of your network, select WPA Personal, and then put in the password. Thats it. You only need to do it once, and you can easily roam to and from networks that require security without a problem.

Saying that WPA is stupid to run because it is easier is so completely misguided its not even funny. Please, post back to this thread when the RIAA is now suing you, or the FBI is investigating you because you've downloaded gigs of kiddie porn on your wireless network.

tomf87
Jul 29, 2004, 11:02 AM
Celeron, you might as well give up. Anyone who thinks that hot women run around with a laptop looking for open wireless networks, just so they can go inside that person's apartment, and take their clothes off to check email is obviously a lost cause. I can't believe people would actually want to drag their laptop across the complex to compute somewhere... I'd rather be on the patio and enjoy it there.

EDIT: crackrock, if you would, go ahead and leave the keys in your apartment door and car, as I like to have free roaming capabilities on another's expense. The apartment door is for when I get hungry too. I don't like to pay for food. Leave some money on the table too so I can catch a movie for free.

crackrock
Jul 29, 2004, 11:07 AM
Getting a high speed internet connection with a wireless router is like giving a gift to the world. Refusing not to share it is just selfish. “noooooo! It’s miiiiinnnnnneee!!! Myyyyyyy internet, nobody can use it be meeeeeeeee”… sheesh…. grow up people.

If there were free wireless internet signals that were open to the world everywhere you went it would be so convenient. Imagine if you could open up your PowerBooks anywhere and just be online, automatically. Well, if every home had an open network that’s how it would be. But if everyone had WAP enabled then the whole network would be pretty useless….

The linksys router gives you the option to log all web activity, so if I looked at the log and found out that some sick old man was downloading kiddie porn from my connection I’d find out who they were and punch them in the face myself knowing that they were within 200 feet of me.

Plus, since all network adapters have a unique MAC address it would be easy to prove that I did not access that sort of material just by looking at the logs of the activity. It would get thrown out in court if you had a reasonably decent lawyer.

Please share your wireless routers people, I share mine.

IronHorseTamer
Jul 29, 2004, 01:45 PM
I see both sides.

Somehow, all the coffee shops in KC, MO have no problem leaving their connections wide open, free to all. Same with the university, Panera Bread and more.

In Chicago, everybody charges for it.

In my apartment complex several people have wireless, but unfortunately do not name their routers with their apartment numbers. I would gladly kick in some bucks to connect but I don't know who they are.

The reason I don't have interet at home is becuase SWB has contractually elliminated my options. And since I don't have a home phone they won't sell service to me either. Already looked into a class-action suit however, they are now protected by statute. Gotta love it when big business and big government team up!

IHT

crackrock
Jul 29, 2004, 02:19 PM
The Apple stores all have wireless internet without WAP enabled. You just walk up, open up, and you're on.

Last time I was there I didn't see any old men creeping around the eMacs scoping out the kids...

-crackrock