Educate me about wireless

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by riker1384, Mar 26, 2008.

  1. riker1384 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2007
    Location:
    West Coast
    #1
    I have an Emac and I'm thinking of getting something for wireless. An Airport card costs $50, but I don't want to put more money into this old computer. Is there something I could get that would plug into a USB port or something, that would work as well? That way I could use it with another computer. (Or do they all have wireless now? Maybe I could use it with my Tivo later?)

    My house is undergoing renovation and I was thinking of putting some cable in the walls, but I think it might not be worth it now that wireless is so common.

    How fast are wireless connections compared to an Ethernet cable, and are they generally reliable throughout an average house?
     
  2. TEG macrumors 604

    TEG

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2002
    Location:
    Langley, Washington
    #2
    You should be able to get the card for the later eMac for about $30. Rarely do the USB sticks work with OSX.

    Just get the card, it is easier than any of the other suggestions or solutions, and much cheaper.

    TEG
     
  3. Scarlet Fever macrumors 68040

    Scarlet Fever

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2005
    Location:
    Bookshop!
    #3
    I'm not sure about USB dongles, but I recommend staying with a wired connection.

    1. You aren't going to move the computer around, which is the primary benefit of WiFi
    2. You're renovating, so it's easy to put a cable in now.
    3. Your eMac will support either 10/100 BaseT ethernet (100 mb/s) or 802.11g (54mb/s), and the ethernet will be able to support a much higher sustained rate than WiFi. If you plan on shifting files around, ethernet is the way to go.
    4. Ethernet is more secure; people can't crack into your hardware network
    5. Ethernet cables are cheaper than a WiFi card anyway.

    I love my wireless connection (I'm using it right now, actually), but if I got myself a desktop computer, I'd join it to the network with ethernet.
     
  4. Say What?? macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2008
    #4
    If you want wireless only in your house you can just buy a wireless router. there easy to set up and don't cost too much more than regular routers. They work great.
     
  5. scienide09 macrumors 65816

    scienide09

    Joined:
    May 5, 2007
    Location:
    Canada
    #5
    True. But this entirely misses the point of the OP's question.

    He or she doesn't have a wireless card in the computer to connect to a wireless network, and is unsure if it's worth investing in one for an older system.

    To the OP: I say stick with a wired connection. Since you aren't moving that eMac around, investing in a wireless card isn't going to get you anything you don't have already.

    When you upgrade your computer, only then it will be time to start worrying about wireless options.
     
  6. riker1384 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2007
    Location:
    West Coast
    #6
    Where? I see them new for $50, and I don't see any on Ebay.

    Someone on Amazon says the Airport only works with an Apple wireless router. That isn't true is it?
     
  7. brop52 macrumors 68000

    brop52

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2007
    Location:
    Michigan
    #7
    Not true. An airport (extreme) card will work with any wireless router.

    Here's a bunch for sale on ebay: http://computers.search.ebay.com/ai...trksidZm37QQcatrefZC12QQfromZR40QQsacatZ80060

    Though if you are going for a new one I'd go with amazon.
     
  8. eXan macrumors 601

    eXan

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2005
    Location:
    Russia
    #8
    What eMac do you have? Does it support g networks or only b?
     
  9. riker1384 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2007
    Location:
    West Coast
    #9
    I'm not sure. It's a 1 ghz from late 2003.
     
  10. happylau macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2008
    #10
    Stay wired

    I'd say stay with the wired connection.
    If you get a new computer you'll be able to use it anyway, the rates are faster. If you then decide to go wireless you'll just need the WiFi router.
     
  11. albusseverus macrumors 6502a

    albusseverus

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2007
    #11
    Stick to Wired Networking

    Think of wireless as a last resort or an additional service - for things that come and go or move around a lot (notebook, Touch or iPhone).

    I was in the same position as you. Perfectly good eMac, no home network yet. I tried a USB, which wasn't very successful and bought the wireless card which worked better, but it wasn't reliable enough - it seemed every time I needed to do something urgently, the wireless signal was no good.

    There were plenty of times the wireless worked well, but it let me down too often, so I drilled a couple of holes and ran some cable. My cousin was building an enormous house and he wanted EVERYTHING wireless, even the speakers in the home theatre room... but he was advised to wire the whole place, and when I saw all the wiring, I commented GOOD MOVE. Frankly, in my experience, wireless just doesn't work !

    Everybody's full of advice as to what might be interfering - the cordless phone was a major contributor, but not the only thing, in my case. I've heard all sorts of stories about microwaves and fridge motors, but what all this tells me & my experience confirms it... wireless just doesn't work!

    Interestingly (if you listen to the shows very carefully), the MacBreak Tech episode about Wireless had a sequel... the beautiful multi-standard network described (b, g, n) - was replaced by wires. And the customer was adamant, they did not want wires!

    If it's just a random thing and you don't care if it works or not... wireless. If you're going to rely on the network in any way (skype, iTunes downloading etc.), stick to wires.

    I believe the wireless card works well in the eMac, certainly better than the USB stick I had... but frankly, run wires - EVERYWHERE.
     
  12. Hawkeye411 macrumors 68000

    Hawkeye411

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2007
    Location:
    Canada EH!!!
    #12
    You could use a Powerline Ethernet connection. Then you could purchase an extra connection to hook up your Tivo as well. I have Tivo with wireless and transferring files to my Mac via wireless is really slow. I'm thinking about purchasing a Powerline Ethernet system so that I can also hook up my kids old iMac's to the internet (they didn't come with wireless).
    http://www.netgear.com/Products/PowerlineNetworking/PowerlineEthernetAdapters/HDX101.aspx

    Cheers.
     
  13. brop52 macrumors 68000

    brop52

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2007
    Location:
    Michigan
    #13
    My aluminum iMac is on g wireless. It works great and I'm not seeing a problem with wireless.

    However, I don't think it really makes sense for you to be buying a router and wireless card unless you are planning on expanding your network.
     

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