Questions about networking and what hubs/switches are exactly.

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Mookout, Sep 19, 2007.

  1. Mookout macrumors newbie

    Mar 9, 2007

    I´ve got a new apartment where I can see a wireless network with my iMac, but it drops out every now and then. For 10 euros a month this could be my internet but I´m not too impressed. The router is in a room one floor below on the other side. We have a courtyard square running through the center of the building, so I could theoretically run a cable from her room to mine.

    It would be great if the signal was stronger through my room and the room right next door to me, on OUR floor (one up from the router).
    I don´t know alot about wireless but i´m well versed enough on networking to get me by. HOWEVER.

    questions are
    1. Could I enhance the signal somehow? I´m not sure exactly what the difference is between a switch and a hub, but provided she had a spare port on the router, could we run a cord into our apartment and connect it to a wireless hub, thus amplifying the signal throughout OUR rooms on OUR floor?
    2. is there any other way of doing that?

    Another thing that is really pressing to me.
    I have an intel imac which means my airport built in does not support packet injection.
    I want to get a USB wireless card which would

    A - Be stronger (ie get more signal strength)
    B - Would support packet injection
    C - Wouldnt cost too much.
    Does such a thing exist? I feel this would be good for me.

  2. odinsride macrumors 65816


    Apr 11, 2007
    You could get a wireless router of your own, run a cable from her router to yours, and disable DHCP on your router. That way you pull an IP from her router, but have a wireless signal originating in your own apartment. Even better, you can plug in to the wired ports of your router if you can place it near your which case you wouldn't need a router at all, rather a wired switch. Don't buy a hub.
  3. Mumford macrumors regular


    Oct 8, 2006
    Altadena, CA
    Depending on what kind of wireless router is involved, you can fiddle with the antennas to extend the range. You can buy high-gain antennas for the Linksys WRT54* series stuff (and others), and it's also possible to build a shabby aluminum-foil based parabolic "dish" for each antenna to increase the range as well (I've done both at one point).

    What I do now though is I have an Airport Extreme (primary base station) and an Airport Express operating together in WDS mode. The Extreme is in the far front of the house & covers those rooms + the front porch. The Express is in the fark back, covering those rooms and the back yard.
  4. Mookout thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 9, 2007
    considering I wont really have access to the router once everything is setup, I´m thinking that wiring a switch upstairs to our place, and then running a cable to my room and my flatmates room might be the best option.

    So if I get a switch, is it reletively easy to setup if I won´t actually have access to the router after first setting it up?

    I think it´s probably a good idea to get a switch that is both wireless and has ports. Would something like this be what I should be looking at getting?
    (says its a 4-port Switch, and 54Mbps Wireless-G (802.11g) Access Point)

    Is 802.11g the best out right now?

  5. vanmacguy macrumors 6502a

    Aug 13, 2007
    Not where you live.
    Basically a switch is dumb, while a router has intelligence.

    The link you supplied is for a router, not a switch.

    If you had a four port wireless router, this would have 4 network jacks on it. If you wanted to connect more than 4 computers via network cables, you would take one of the 4 cables from the router that goes into a computer, plug it into a switch and then plug the computer into the switch. That would do nothing but increase the number of network jacks you had.

    There is nothing to set up on a switch. it just works or not.

    A router normally has stuff running on it. A firewall for one and DHCP for another and intelligent routing for a third. The firewall blocks ports, DHCP assigns you an IP address and the routing sets up where traffic for a particular port is supposed to go (if you ran a web server for example, you'd set your router up so that all incoming traffic for the web server went to the web server machine).

    That's the difference between a switch and a router. It goes much deeper than that but that's all you really need to know.

    802.11N is the best that's around right now.

    Depending on what the wireless router is, you can get an extender (I have one running on my Dlink), this is a device that you set up from the wireless router. It has it's own IP address and you connect to that device, not to the 'parent' router. Not all wireless routers have one available but you should check.

    Good luck.
  6. Mookout thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 9, 2007

    Wow, thanks alot vanmacguy. You´ve actually explained alot.

    But what about a switch that is both wireless and has ports? So that myself and the girl in the room next to me could have wired internet, while the rest of my apartment picks up signal from the switch (in our apartment) which is wired to the router which is downstairs? Any recommendations on a switch like that?
  7. odinsride macrumors 65816


    Apr 11, 2007
    You just need a wireless router. They all have wired ports in addition to the wireless. Just disable the DHCP and Firewall/other stuff to operate it "like a switch". I don't think they make "wireless switches".
  8. Mechcozmo macrumors 603


    Jul 17, 2004
    Not quite. A switch knows where to send the packets; a hub just rebroadcasts the packet in all directions.

    If a high-gain antennae did not work, then get an Airport Express and plug it in somewhere where the signal hits 50% and then use WDS to 'bridge' the gap between the original signal and the Airport Express. Instant better-signal all over the place.

    Some other routers have this ability as well-- the WRT54G series I think does-- but I'm not sure.
  9. Mookout thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 9, 2007

    airport base stations are expensive. What is WDS sorry?

    Would getting a wireless router and disabling DHCP and firewall be the simplest option?

    Also can someone please recommend me a USB wireless adaptor that supports packet injection unlike my imacs built in airport, and gets better signal? cheers
  10. vanmacguy macrumors 6502a

    Aug 13, 2007
    Not where you live.
    Thanks Mechcozmo, you're right, sorry.


  11. Mechcozmo macrumors 603


    Jul 17, 2004
    Airport Express != Airport Extreme. It's the plug-into-wall one.
    WDS is Wireless Distribution System. Basically, it's how you bridge two or more wireless networks.

    1. Why do you need packet injection? That only helps if you're using software like KisMAC.
    2. Linkety

    No problem, you hub. :p
  12. Mookout thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 9, 2007
    Yes I do need to use kismac.
    That adaptor looks quite dated isnt it? it´s 802.11b so isnt that a bit older? When looking at stats of wireless adaptors, what tells me if it supports packet injection?

    And which wireless router would people recommend for not too much cash


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