Wireless Networking Advice Please

Discussion in 'Mac Help/Tips' started by macktheknife, Nov 3, 2002.

  1. macktheknife macrumors 6502a

    macktheknife

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2002
    #1
    I am trying to asess what I need to create a wireless network at home. Here is my situation:
    • I am connected to the internet through a cable modem and a Linksys router that I share with three other roommates.

      I have a TiBook, and another roommate is planning to get a PC laptop, although he is eyeing an iBook. We would both like to surf the internet around the apartment without being chained by a cable.

      My two other roommates have desktops, so they won't need wireless connection.
    Here are my questions: Given my situation where two of my roommates need to keep their standard cable connection, how can I set up a wireless network? Do I just get something like a wireless network access point and bridge? Did any Macusers here go with a Linksys wireless hub vs. Apple's Airport?
     
  2. benjaminpg macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2002
    Location:
    Salt Lake City, UT
    #2
    Your best bet is to buy an apple airport CARD, and stick with the Linksys router. It is a little bit harder to set up than the Apple Base Station, but once it's set up it's fine. The Linksys router has some html burned into it, that can be accessed by any web browser. This html is a web page form that is used to set it up. So the router could be hooked up to a PC or Mac to set it up. When you are connecting your TiBook, you will have to insert a $ sign before the WEP key, which took us a long time to figure out.
     
  3. buffsldr macrumors 6502a

    buffsldr

    Joined:
    May 7, 2001
    #3
    Two points...

    first, benjiaminpg, he wants to have a wireless network, so sticking with the Linksys router will not be much help.

    second, this has been discussed on this site many times. perform a search and read all the relevant previous posts. if you still need help i will be happy to clarify what i can.
     
  4. Falleron macrumors 68000

    Falleron

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2001
    Location:
    UK
    #4
    You could connect a apple base station to your cable modem. Make sure all relevant computers have a compatible wireless card (Airport or pc equivalent). Then any desktops can connect to router, which in turn can connect to the base station using its LAN port.

    As someone else suggested I am sure there are other threads that will discuss it in more detail.
     
  5. benjaminpg macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2002
    Location:
    Salt Lake City, UT
    #5
    My reason is simply that he'll save abouty 200 bucks, which seems reason enough to use the Linksys router. Granted it is a little harder to set up than the Airport Base Station, but I think it is well worth it. In addition, at least the model we have has four ethernet ports versus the Airport's two.
     
  6. Tiauguinho macrumors 6502a

    Tiauguinho

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2002
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    #6
    I'm doing myself the exact same question for my Home Network. Do I buy the Airport Base Station or the Linksys Wireless router? I've been thinking of this a lot and I may opt to buy the Airport Base Station and a Cisco Wireless Card ( since I dont want to have any problems with the range of my powerbook...) I find the Linksys solution much cheaper ( the Linksys router+Linksys PMCIA wireless card costs here €389 Vs Airport Base Station is €415 without the card... the card will be around €150 more...), but I'm a little affraid of the configuration process that I may find. That way, i think that the Airport Base Station, besides of being beatiful, will be a more easy solution for my home network. I even found this External antenna for the Airport base Station!
    http://www.orinocowireless.com/template.html?section=m57&page=110&envelope=93
    ( Just punch a hole in it and you're done!)

    Choosing between the 2 is a nightmare!

    Good Luck with your buy!

    P.S. If you guys could share some experience with the Linksys router it would be great. Thanks in advance
     
  7. benjaminpg macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2002
    Location:
    Salt Lake City, UT
    #7
    We just got a Linksys router. There was a deal at CompUSA for 99 dollars (200 bucks less than the Apple). I don't know if it is still running.

    If you don't mind the money, by all means go for the Apple base station. The software looks slightly easier to setup, and it has Mac specific documentation. As I said earlier the Linksys router is fairly easy to setup. It involves entering some information in a local html form. It was very easy to setup without encryption. It's a little confusing setting up with encryption (WEP). I would still highly recommend doing it. The trick was to enter a dollar sign before the key on the iBook with an apple airport card.

    The connection seems to be very good. I have no clue how it compares against apple's or any other brands. It seems perfectly adequate with a cable modem.

    The only advantage I can think of of the Linksys router, other than the price is that it has four ethernet jacks.

    By the way, if you have a cable connection with AT&T, they make it sound like you have to pay an extra fee to share the connection. This is not true. It works perfectly fine without paying this fee. Both machines can be used at the same time without any trouble.
     
  8. TheJ macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2002
    Location:
    Central Coast, CA
    #8
    Don't buy the Airport basestation. All it is is a $70 Orinoco WiFi PC Card in a pretty plastic dome. No specialized antenna of any kind. I guess the extra $230 is for the 56k modem? :D

    You will get better range with a Linksys AP, they have 2 3db antennas controlled by a DSP chip. Plus it costs 1/3 what the Airport AP costs.

    With my Linksys AP & iBook, I get 11 mbps sitting 200+ feet outside my house... but YMMV.
     
  9. macktheknife thread starter macrumors 6502a

    macktheknife

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2002
    #9
    Thanks for the advice. I basically plan to keep my Linksys router operating as it is with direct cable connection, but I want to add a network basestation in addition to my current router.

    As for AT&T's claims, I feel sorry for customers who actually believed the propaganda and are paying extra.
     
  10. peterjhill macrumors 65816

    peterjhill

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2002
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    #10
    If you already have a router, then any old 802.11b access point will do fine. Just make sure that you can bridge the wired and wireless networks and MOST IMPORTANTLY make sure that there is only one DHCP server on you network. By default, I believe the Airport will hand out IP addresses. If your Linksys is doing the same you will have MAJOR problems. Pick whichever one is easier to administer. You DO want to use DHCP though, as it will make your life easier. You probably want to use the Linksys that you have.

    The Airport is very nice, but is also expensive. I have one, only because it belongs to my employer, and they loaned it to me until I no longer work for them.

    Unless your house is huge, one AP in the center of the house should do fine. I live in an Apartment building, and the basement is three floors below me, and I can get coverage with my Ti800 off a snow base station. So, most people would say that they only thing worse than that, would be two Tibooks trying to ad hoc connect to each other. Remember that they have a theoritical limit of 150 feet.

    About the Cisco card. It is pretty nice. The Cisco drivers for the Mac are incredible. You can set the cards power output anywhere from 1mWatt to 100mWatts. Great way to save on you battery. The Airport card is fixed at 30mWatts, I believe, as are most others. You can't go wrong with the Cisco card.

    Let me know if you have any problems. PM me if you would like.
     
  11. buffsldr macrumors 6502a

    buffsldr

    Joined:
    May 7, 2001
    #11
    you missed my point. nowhere did he say that his router was a wireless router. so my original point stands. sticking with his router (it is not wireless) wont help him.
     
  12. peterjhill macrumors 65816

    peterjhill

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2002
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    #12
    Sure, his original router will help him. You can purchase wireless access points that do not have included routers. Looking at Amazon.com, it seems that the price difference is not that great between those with routers and those without. If it were me, who had the thread starters problem, I would buy a device that was a router, an access point, and had a built in 4 port 10/100 switch. Then I would sell their existing router for $50 in the paper or on ebay. Just make sure that your reset the passwords before you hand it over to someone.
     
  13. Tiauguinho macrumors 6502a

    Tiauguinho

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2002
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    #13
    peterjhill,


    So you think that it's a good solution to go with a Airport Base Station and a Cisco Card? I think that I may opt for this solution, since the Apple Airport Card in Portugal is almost the same price as the the Cisco one.

    just one more thing, the Cisco Card that you are refering to is the one in the far right of this picture isn't it?
     

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  14. peterjhill macrumors 65816

    peterjhill

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2002
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    #14
    I really like the Airport, but I did not have to pay for mine. My employeer did. I would consider Netgear and Linksys products. I like going to amazon.com and reading the buyers reviews. Even if you don't buy from there, I think it is a good comparison shopping resource.

    The card on the right is the 802.11b card that Cisco has. I think it is the Aironet 352. It should cost somewhere around USD 120. It is definitely the Lexus of wireless cards. The radio is capable of putting out over 3 times the power compared to the Apple and Lucent cards.

    Good luck!
     
  15. markeleven macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2002
    Location:
    NJ
    #15
    Solution is easy, I have had this going for 2 1/2 years. I have a DR bott router connected to my DSL modem. I have a convenient base station mount the holds my airport base station and sits right on top of my router. Airport is connected to the router by ethernet. I chose to have the router handle the dhcp work and so it is turned off in the airport set up tab. I have 2 computers access internet via ethernet to the router and 2 computers access via airport and a wireless printer. It's like plumbing, basically invisible and it works. My building is 4 floors and 140 years old with thick brick walls and I have good service all the way on the top floor, while the base station is in the bottom floor. Clearly there are cheaper wireless solutions these days, but the one I have has been working for a couple of years, saved me endless hours of running ethernet cable through a difficult building and has been so cheap in the long run that I can't even think of why I thought I would run cable in the first place.
     
  16. Tiauguinho macrumors 6502a

    Tiauguinho

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2002
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    #16
    Thanks peterjhill!

    I'll go with the Apple Airport Base station instead of the other offers, due to two reasons: The first one is easy of use and apple support in Portugal, because that way if something goes wrong I know the right people to solve my problem here. The second one is easy of use again!

    Thanks for you quick and specific reply, you helped me a lot trying to figure which one should I buy.

    I'm going with the Cisco Card as well. But one more question... you mentioned that we could set the Power output of the Card, can you explain what benefits does this brings, besides saving battery power? Does it slightly increase the range of the Card?
     
  17. buffsldr macrumors 6502a

    buffsldr

    Joined:
    May 7, 2001
    #17
    You are absolutely right, if he buys new hardware to work with his present hardware, he can have a wireless network. This was never the question.

    I was responding to someone who failed to realize his present hardware alone is insufficient.
     

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