Wireless help

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by TrenchMouth, Apr 8, 2004.

  1. TrenchMouth macrumors 6502

    Nov 21, 2002
    I have what i think might be a simple question to answer, but any and all information will help.

    Next semester the college i got to is going to move a bunch of us off property to some nice new townhouses (when i say new, i mean new, they arent even finished yet). They are going to have built in wireless internet with a cable conection, which is nice.

    so here is the deal. i have an iBook and no wireless card. If i get an Airport card for this machine will it be compatible with the wireless network even though i dont have the station?

    i assume it would be simply because of wireless standards as a whole, but i would like to know as much about it before i move in as possible as i do not want to spend the first week working out all the bugs and stuff. So are there any disadvantages to not using the airport station? and how simple is it to locate and start using the wireless network? and how far from the base station can i expect to get with 2 year old iBook? thanks for the info.
  2. rueyeet macrumors 65816


    Jun 10, 2003
    Find out what wireless standard your school is installing in the townhouses. If it's 802.11b (regular WiFi) you're all set. If it's the newer, faster Wifi 802.11g, your iBook may be too old to be compatible, since then it would have to have AirPort Extreme.

    If the townhouse is built with a wireless router already installed, you don't need anything but the AirPort card. If they expect you to plug in a wireless router to the cable connection yourself, you can use either an Apple AirPort (or AirPort Extreme) base station, or just a Linksys or Netgear wireless router. Your iBook, once it has the AirPort/AP Extreme card, should work with any equipment that supports the same standard.

    And....nice setup. I graduated years before colleges started putting Internet access in all the dorms. *sigh*
  3. gbojim macrumors 6502

    Jan 30, 2002
    Not quite true. 802.11b interfaces work with 802.11g access points. As long as your dorm has 802.11b or 802.11g you should be fine.
  4. Jeewhizz macrumors regular

    Nov 30, 2003
    London, UK
    but they could enable wireless g band only, therefore disabling access via wireless b - it will most likely be wireless b anyways, i believe the range on wireless b is a lot further than wireless g - so they could possibly cut down on wireless routers.
  5. _pb_boi macrumors 6502

    Feb 25, 2004
    I doubt they'd only enable one band, leaving the other disabled. It doesn't make much sense to do that, especially since they'll end up sending someone out to "fix" the "problem" because a student can't access b when it's b&g.

    The range on 802.11g is greater than with 802.11b, also.

    That's my understanding, anyways.

  6. tomf87 macrumors 65816


    Sep 10, 2003
    According to my Linksys AP docs, enabling only 802.11g supposedly gives more usable bandwidth, but who knows.

    Also, the range is identical between 802.11g and 802.11b since they both run on the same frequency. 802.11a has a shorter overall range, but its signal does not deteriorate as badly as 802.11b/g.
  7. _pb_boi macrumors 6502

    Feb 25, 2004
    tomf87 - I stand corrected :)

    I'm not sure of the logic behind increasing bandwidth through utilising only one standard, instead of allowing both - if anyone can enlighten me, please do.

  8. tomf87 macrumors 65816


    Sep 10, 2003
    Yeah, I think it sounds weird too. The only thing I can think of is the speed at which the wireless packets are switched to the ethernet port. Maybe the chip that switches the packet to another port has to handle the packets differently for different speeds. No proof here, just my guess.

    The wireless frequency supports both b/g, so that speed shouldn't be influenced.
  9. plinden macrumors 68040


    Apr 8, 2004

    Wireless access points tend not to handle mixed protocols well, although I believe some do better than others. If you have one computer with a wireless b card on a wireless g network, it will usually reduce the transmission speed of the network to that of the slowest connection, i.e. wireless b.

    It's a moot point really, since wireless b is perfectly adequate for normal use even with multiple users - it's 8x faster than what I get with my DSL connection. The only reason I have a wireless g network at home is that it cost me only $20 more than wireless b.
  10. TrenchMouth thread starter macrumors 6502

    Nov 21, 2002
    alright, well that was a bunch of help, thanks much. i will find out tomorrow what standard (or lack there of) they are using and then make my move from there.

    thanks again.
  11. _pb_boi macrumors 6502

    Feb 25, 2004
    tomf87, plinden - thanks for your replies :)

    And yeah, g is usually not a lot dearer than b - so may as well go for g while your at it :)

    Good luck TrenchMouth :)


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