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Wireless standards: 802.11b or 802.11a or 802.11g

Discussion in 'Tech Talk - Gadgets, Gizmos and Technology' started by Nick, Aug 6, 2004.

  1. Nick

    Nick Retired, part-time PITA DBSTalk Club

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    The...
    I'm in the process of planning for a switch from T-Mobile wireless Internet to broadband from Adelphia cable.
    At the same time, I expect to install a wireless LAN, a subject about which I know very little. This Linksys
    chart details the basic differences in the three wireless standards. I found it interesting and helpful
    for wireless LAN newbie numbnuts like me.

    http://www.linksys.com/edu/wirelessstandards.asp
     
  2. Mark Holtz

    Mark Holtz Day Sleeper DBSTalk Club

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    One thing to be aware of is security. My mom's computer is hooked up to my DSL gateway using a Wireless NIC card. After I verified the proper operation, I limited my router to just 802.11g standard (I believe the G standard range is shorter than B) and told my router that only my mom's MAC address is allowed connectivity.
     
  3. HappyGoLucky

    HappyGoLucky Banned User

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    802.11g and 801.11b have nearly identical range since they both use the same 2.4GHz base frequency. 802.11a uses a 5GHz frequency that does have a shorter range and is not as able to penetrate obstacles, thus the reason it is not as popular. As long as you enable the proper security, you should have no problems. I use WPA-PSK encryption on my 802.11g network and have had no problems at all. I turn off SSID broadcast, too. I don't do MAC filtering as I think that is simply overkill, but it doesn't hurt anything to do it if that makes you feel better.

    One of the Linksys 802.11g routers with corresponding Linksys 802.11g wireless adapters would be the ideal scenario as they could then use the "Turbo" feature that enables a proprietary speed increase that nearly doubles the effective speed between the router and the client. That won't make your internet browsing any faster, but it would greatly increase the speed for file and printer sharing between the wireless client and other clients.

    For the utmost range, look at getting an optional external antenna for the router. They can greatly improve range and speed over the dinky little antennas that typically come with the routers.
     
  4. HappyGoLucky

    HappyGoLucky Banned User

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    Oh, and I'm using a $29 (after rebates) D-Link DI-524 802.11g router and "no-name" 802.11g wireless adapters I paid $15 for on Ebay. I'm getting excellent results with exceptional range and speed. I don't get the "turbo" feature, but it's not really needed for me. My wireless clients get the same internet speed as the wired clients on my 3Mbps ADSL service.
     
  5. Nick

    Nick Retired, part-time PITA DBSTalk Club

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    According to the chart, both "b" and "g" operate at 2.4 mHz, therefor the range should be equivalent. The "a" protocol operates at 5 mHz, thus has a shorter range and is relatively more secure because of that. Blocking unauthorized connections should be straight-forward, but preventing 'sniffing' could be a more difficult problem.
     
  6. RichW

    RichW Hall Of Fame/Supporter DBSTalk Gold Club

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    Also be aware that a new standard, Wi-Max, is being implemented. Intel is already putting it in silicon. Initially it will be used for backbones and mesh networks, but nothing stops the standard from replacing Wi-Fi for workstation connections. Curretnly our testing here in Portland yields up to a 3 Mbps connection, great for video/voice over IP applications.
     
  7. DonLandis

    DonLandis Hall Of Fame

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    I agree with all HGL has stated. I can only add some personal experience here-

    I used b for over a year here with 128bit encryption active and have not had any proble. In June I upgraded to g to get some additional speed and to accomodate the fact that my newest laptop was G ready. Agter about 6 weeks of practical testing I observed many failures of the g connection. It would appear solid and then just lose connection for a few minutes. I was the only one home so none of my 2.4 Ghz phones I have could be held responsible. Anyway, one last time it burped during a serious data exchange and I got mad and ripped out the g WAP. I put my original b WAP back on line in it's place and the system fired up immediately and I have not lost connection since. -- about 3 weeks now. I can't explain why, I just know g was unreliable here.

    BTW- I also use T-Mobile on the road and asside from the fact that their East Indian tech support sucks, the service seems very reliable except in certain areas, like N Carolina along I-95. and SE Pennsylvania. I finally got with a US tech engineer and he said the reason is they are upgrading all the Cingular towers and soon that region will be the most reliable with the latest in GSM technology at the tower side. If I;m in a known GSM ready location, my T-MObile connection is typically 2x as fast as a 56K modem connect.

    Also, there is a free utility that you can run to display all who connect to your wireless. I think it is called airware or air snare or something like that. It allows you to identify who they are and even pop up a message on their screen telling them you caught them tapping into your wifi zone. Of course unless he is hacking your keys I doubt he'll get very far with 128bit security in place.
     

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