question re: wireless setup

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by c23roo, May 29, 2004.

  1. c23roo macrumors regular

    May 29, 2004
    Forgive me, maybe this is a dumb question, but here goes anyway... I'm an old-time apple user (last machine was my macintosh in college (late '80s) - and I'm still deciding between iBook and PB but buying by the end of the week. My question is this:

    I have a Dell desktop (wife's machine - I love her dearly but here's where we part ways). Pretty recent, useable despite the crashes... :p Here goes:

    We have cable internet access - comes in the wall, right to the cable modem, straight into the Dell. It's our only computer other than a crappy PC laptop I use to keep the door open.

    How do I configure my new setup so I can use my internet access? I assume I need the Airport card, but do I need a base station? Here's where I'm confused... Somebody please take pity on me and help!!!

    Signed me,
    Coming back from the dark side
  2. Horrortaxi macrumors 68020


    Jul 6, 2003
    Los Angeles
    You'll need something.

    If you don't mind wires then you can get a router or hub that plugs into the cable modem. You can then plug both computers into the router and you're all good. If you want to connect the laptop wirelessly then you need a wireless router (but not necessarily AirPort Extreme) and an AirPort Extreme card in your Mac. The wireless router will plug into he cable modem and most have a wired port so you can plug the desktop into it as well. Setup in all models is pretty easy.
  3. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    To try to clarify a little more...sorry if I'm dumbing this down too much.

    What you need to buy if you want to hook up the 2nd computer with *wires*:

    - A router / switch -- this is a box with an input and several outputs on the back. The cable modem plugs into the router and all of the computers plug into the router. Besides cables, that's it. Routers are available from companies like Netgear, Linksys, 3Com, etc. This is an example of a router, and it should cost $20-50.

    What you need to buy if you want to hook up the 2nd computer wirelessly:

    - The wireless computer will need some kind of wireless adaptor. Probably the best bet is to go with the Airport Extreme card. I think for the bigger PBs (15/17") you may have the option of using a PC card, which may be marginally cheaper. AE uses 802.11g, so it is inter-compatible with most any other 802.11b or -g device.

    - You will need some sort of base station / gateway. Like Horrortaxi said, most of them come with a wired access point so you will not need an additional router. The Airport Extreme one is a pretty good one. The only feature it really has that is rare in other base stations is the USB printer port. If you think you will use this feature, then its probably actually worth the money, because a multi-component solution from Linksys, etc, which supports wireless printing will probably be just as expensive. Otherwise, an option would be something like this:

    You can then plug the desktop into one of the ports on the back and use the laptop wirelessly. A wireless router (g) without a wireless printing gateway should cost about $50-120 depending on brand, rebates, etc.
  4. c23roo thread starter macrumors regular

    May 29, 2004

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