-= FAO Wireless Networking Gurus =-

Discussion in 'General Mac Discussion' started by rockport, Nov 13, 2003.

  1. rockport macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2003
    #1
    Hello everyone, im new to the forum… and also Macs come to think of it so please go easy on me boys & girls… :)

    I have a dilemma and could really do with your advice / opinions in helping me solve an issue im currently facing with a friends Mac (G4 Powerbook).

    The situation is like this :-

    A friend of mine has a PC with a DSL internet connection which goes into a router. From the router using RJ45 this connects to a NIC / Ethernet network card which works quite happily for browsing the net ect.

    Recently he went out and bought a brand new G4 Power book. However what he wants to do is setup a wireless network between the Mac and the router. Clearly I understand my friend will have to invest into some new hardware.. But was does this entail?

    Would this G4 come with a warless network card as standard? Can you buy wireless routers that are compatible with both Pcs and Macs without too much trouble? I’ve read all about this airport business – but I don’t fully understand it – is it a MAC only technology? :confused:

    Any advise guys I’d really appreciate…. As you can see im very confused. :confused:

    Thanks in advance for any replys / Info that can share to get us up and running.


    :)
     
  2. rockport thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2003
    #2
    Oh - and incase you didnt guess (becuase i didnt state the reason for the network) Its just to access the internet via both the PC and the Mac Power Book.
     
  3. patrick0brien macrumors 68040

    patrick0brien

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2002
    Location:
    The West Loop
    #3
    -rockport

    First off, "Airport" is simply an Apple Marketing label for the otherwise mouthfull IEEE 802.11b wireless protocol aka by it's industry slang: WiFi.

    That being said, an Airport-Equipped Mac, one that has the optional Airport Card, can access, any 802.11b access point (aka Base station). It is not proprietary - even though Apple was the first to mass market a WiFi client product. The reverse is also true: Your standard 802.11b client product like a PC laptop, can use an Airport Base Station.

    As of this year however, a new protocol was introduced - first marketed by Apple ironically: 802.11g, calls it "Airport Extreme", and has the industry slang: Wireless G.

    It behaves the same as WiFi, but is up to 5 times faster. This uses the same frequency as 802.11b so you can crosss-connect as well. A PC with a "b" card can connect with a "g" base station, as well as the reverse.

    There is another protocol - the original piloted by Intel called 802.11a. Watch out for this, the equipment averages twice the price, for 1/3 the range (~50 ft., and uses a different frequency than b/g, so it cannot cross-connect.

    That should leave your last question: What to buy.

    Well your friend will want to check to see if he has the optional Airport card for his PB. If not, find out which he needs the straight and original Airport, or the newer Airport Extreme. All late-modal Macs introduced this year should have Airport Extreme slots.

    Second piece is the access point, or Base station. You have many choices here. Linksys, D-Link, Netgear, and Apple itself to name a few.

    Buy one and hook it in, with NAT (what makes a router rout) off, to the wired router of the DSL connection with an RJ45 (CAT 5e) cable.

    That's pretty much all!

    My personal experiences with the base stations are:

    -Netgear: Never used, but reputable.
    -D-Link: Low cost, and generally effective. Have found range can be flakier than the others.
    -Linksys: Solid product - until you stress it with multiple clients pulling large bandwidths from the WAN (DSL) connection and LAN connection. If stressed, it tends to reset the transceiver and drop all wireless connections for a few minutes.
    -Apple Airport Extreme: Most expensive of the bunch - but also the most reliable (with the exception of my non-experience of the Netgear), and secure. It is more secure as it is the only one of these that the config utility and environment resides on the client computers and not within a web front-end in the firmware of the device itself. I have also noted that of all of these base stations I have used, the AEBS has the most spherical range bubble. I bought this one for my home myself - it is the one I trust.
     
  4. rockport thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2003
    #4
    Patrick -

    Thank you for taking the time to write the above, you have answered my query perfectly!

    I haven't seen the PB yet - so from what your saying im assuming he wont have a built in wireless adapter. I feel the Airport extreme maybe the better buy if not.

    Then its just a case of deciding which base station... From your advice i'm tempted by the Apple one - for the rest of mind & compatibility, security. (providing this can be used with the existing router?! as you say)


    Thanks once again Patrick..



    James. :)
     
  5. patrick0brien macrumors 68040

    patrick0brien

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2002
    Location:
    The West Loop
    #5
    -rockport

    Good! My pleasure.

    I haven't seen the PB yet - so from what your saying im assuming he wont have a built in wireless adapter. I feel the Airport extreme maybe the better buy if not.

    Ok, I think I need to clear up a few things. The Airport Extreme card is completely different physically from the original Airport card, so if you were to buy an Airport Extreme card for an older Mac like a Titanium PB, it physically wouldn't fit.

    Then its just a case of deciding which base station... From your advice i'm tempted by the Apple one - for the rest of mind & compatibility, security. (providing this can be used with the existing router?! as you say)

    I'm of the type of person who will spend the extra penny to the luxury of peace of mind, so I understand completely.

    Pretty much all Base Stations are routers as well - they have to be in order to support several computers accessing them with IP addresses, and this also makes these routers good wired ones as well. Well, the NAT (Network Address Translator) of the router is what doles out these IP addresses. If your friend already has a router doing this, it is important to turn off the NAT of the Base Station, otherwise he won't be able to network the two together as they would be on different subnets.

    Do that, and you're set.
     

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