Wireless Network Questions

Discussion in 'General Mac Discussion' started by VirtualInsanity, Mar 4, 2004.

  1. VirtualInsanity macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2003
    Location:
    Canada
    #1
    Our family has an iMac, a sony VAIO notebook, and an IBM notebook, and we would like to set up a wireless network not to share files but just to all share the same Bell Sympatico high speed internet connection. The imac does not have an airport extreme card, and we would rather not get one as destops dont have to be portable. The ibm has centrino technology with wireless capabilities up to 54 mbps. My sony vaio does not yet have a card. We are wondering, would it be best to get an airport xtreme base station (we would like the speed of 54 mbps) and then connect it to the imac by a cable and use the wireless signal for the notebooks? what wireless card would be the best for the sony vaio, should i stick with sony or buy a third party; which one would have the best performance? What sort of router should I use? Will there be compatibility issues, or lots of slowdown? Essentially, I know nothing about wireless networking, and any information would be gladly appreciated :)
    Thanks guys :D
     
  2. iostream.h macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2004
    Location:
    Albuquerque, NM
    #2
    There is a port on the side of the AirPort Extreme that will allow you to connect your iMac directly to it. Any 3rd party card will work fine, but if you want to make sure it can handle the 54Mbps speed, make sure it is 802.11g. And as for the router, my personal favorite is Belkin.
     
  3. tomf87 macrumors 65816

    tomf87

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2003
    #3
    I thought the AEBS had a firewall built-in so you wouldn't need an additional router.
     
  4. pepeleuepe macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles, California
    #4
    You might want to look into something like this LinkSys. A device like this will be your 802.11g access point and a 4-port router for wired computers. This will share your internet connection between your wired and wireless computers all in one box and it's cheaper than the Airport Extreme basestation. I have a 802.11b router just like this and it was a cinch to setup. Basically plug it in follow simple configuration instructions that take about 10 minutes, and you're good to go.

    As for a card for your Sony. Two of my roommates bought cheap generic 802.11b cards to work on our network. One of them works flawlessly but the other randomly drops connections all the time. This could also be a driver or operating system fault, so take that advice with a grain of salt.

    Anyway, here are some links to prices, hope this helped.

    Linksys router
    XTERASY card
    Linksys card


    Edit: Just an addition, the Airport Extreme Base Station can easily do everything you want it to do. My suggestions are just to save you some cash.
     
  5. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2003
    Location:
    The soggy side of the Pacific NW
    #5
    The only problem with Linksys - and perhaps this has been addressed in a firmware update - is they don't do MAC filtering (MAC addresses are hardware identifiers that are, in theory, unique for each network card in the world) in a way that makes sense from a security standpoint. On my D-Link router I can specify a list of MAC addresses, and only those specific cards are allowed to connect to it. With Linksys you can exclude by Mac address, but you can't say "allow only these MAC addresses".

    In any case whether you go with Belkin, D-Link, Linksys, or another vendor - be sure that the cards and the router support WPA security and not just the older flawed WEP protocol. WEP has some fatal flaws that WPA fixes.
     
  6. pepeleuepe macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles, California
    #6
    My Linksys has full MAC address filtering capabilities, allowing and disallowing. Actually, it's the only type of security I use on the network.
     
  7. ftaok macrumors 601

    ftaok

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2002
    Location:
    East Coast
    #7
    Virtual,

    Unless you need/want to use a compatible USB printer, I would say to save the money and go with a regular 802.11g router. Go for whatever model is the cheapest.

    I went with the Netgear 614 router. It goes for about $50 at Amazon after rebates. And there's no tax and free shipping. The Netgear 511 card goes with it nicely. This router has 4 ports so you can connect your iMac and any ethernet printers you may have.

    There is very little reason to go with the $200 Apple Extreme Base Station. You can pay a quarter of the price and get more features (i.e. 4-ports vs. 1-port).

    Oh yeah, in regards to your Sony laptop. If you go with a 3rd party card, you'll have an antenna sticking out of your PC Card slot. I'm not sure if the Vaio has an internal slot for their own card (a la iBooks and PowerBooks), but if it does, I would go this route. The dangling antenna is a hassle as you need to be careful to not damage the card or your laptop.
     
  8. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2003
    Location:
    The soggy side of the Pacific NW
    #8
    That's good to know. My recollection was from a couple years back, when we bought some linksys APs for work. We were a bit surprised to find (at the time) that they didn't do "allow only" MAC filtering.
     
  9. VirtualInsanity thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2003
    Location:
    Canada
    #9
    Thanks for the info guys,
    ftaok: I have no need for a usb port on the router/base station like the airportextreme because our household does not share printers, so thanks for your advice.
    So would any 802.11g router be fine, or is there a marked difference in quaility across different makes?
    Unfortunately I dont think sony built the wireless antenna into the computer, I do know that their card does not have an antenna sticking out, and would slide into my pci slot and not stick out; they advertise this on their site, i would link it but i dont know how :confused: . If this is the case though, wont the reception be poor since there is no antenna, or the antenna is built to be unobtrusive and therefore is too small to recive a clear signal? Naturally I would rather keep my computer without awkward bits sticking out all over the place, but I also want good functionality.....
     
  10. ftaok macrumors 601

    ftaok

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2002
    Location:
    East Coast
    #10
    I think any make of 11g router would be fine. Just stick with the big names and you'll be OK. A lot of people at Macrumors use the Linksys or the Netgear. Some use the SMC and Belkin. I've heard some poor opinions on the D-Link. If you stick with the more popular ones, there will be more people that can help if problems arrise.

    Regarding the Sony card, are you referring to THIS ? If so, it looks kinda pricey. At $119, that's more than Apple's prices. But it does give you a nice, unobtrusive antenna. Plus you get 802.11a, b, and g compatibility. I've never needed 11a, but you never know where you might run into an 11a network.

    You'll have to make that decision yourself.

    EDIT - I just found THIS ONE on the Sony website. It's a 11g card and sells for $99. While it's kinda pricey still, it does have a convient antenna.
     
  11. VirtualInsanity thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2003
    Location:
    Canada
    #11
    Thanks ftaok, thats the card i meant, the second one in the edit. Do you think becasue the antenna is so small that performance will be an issue? also, what is an 802.11a network? (ive never heard of one :( ) I found out today that bell sympatico offers a wireless router/high speed modem for free with those who subscribe allreday to their high speed internet s our family does, so the router issues are solved, i guess i just have to orderthe card now from the sony store. thanks for all the help.
     
  12. ftaok macrumors 601

    ftaok

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2002
    Location:
    East Coast
    #12
    I would tend to think the Sony card would be OK. Sony usually makes nice items and I don't think this would be an exception. I'm sure they've tested out the antenna and it passed their tests. I guess you could use the money you saved in not having to buy a router and put it towards the Sony card.

    As for 802.11a networks. It's basically a 54Mbps protocol like 11g, but not backwards compatible with 11b. It pre-dates 11g and some places do use it, although I've never run into one (how would I know though???). Chances are 11b and 11g will be OK for you.

    Also, what kind of router/cable modem do they give you? 11b or 11g?

    EDIT - I deleted some erroneous info.
     
  13. VirtualInsanity thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2003
    Location:
    Canada
    #13
    Well if its not that widespread like you say (ive never run across them using centrino notebooks or even heard of them...but im no expert) then i guess i wont buy the more expensive card. I live in canada so everything is more expensive, the wireless card will cost me at least 150 dollars CAD for the less expensive one which is more than 99 US although im not quite sure of the exchange rate.
    The card is backwards compatible with 802.11b networks and is optimised for 802.11g so it is perfect. And i made sure that the bell wireless router was 802.11g before we ordered it. So i guess everything will work fine, thanks for all the help :)
     
  14. VirtualInsanity thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2003
    Location:
    Canada
    #14
    The wireless card from sony inexplicably disappeared from sonystyle.ca the day before I tried to order it, and sonystyle USA of course has it but can't ship to canada.

    Does anyone know if there are any wireless cards for a notebook other than the one manufactured by Sony one that DONT have a hideous chunk of LED-blinking plastic protruding awkwardly and obtrusively from the side of the computer?
     
  15. Horrortaxi macrumors 68020

    Horrortaxi

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2003
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #15
    I agree with the suggestions given so far. But we've glossed over something important--that 54mbps. Using the internet you'll never use that--your internet connection doesn't even come close to that speed. The only time you'd appreciate that speed is sharing files on your own local network. So save some money and get a b router.
     

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