Help with wireless

Discussion in 'Tech Talk - Gadgets, Gizmos and Technology' started by goughl, May 1, 2005.

  1. May 1, 2005 #1 of 27
    goughl

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    I am purchasing a new computer (second), would like to network the old one and the new one. I have DSL connection now. What do I need other than a router and wireless PCI card?
     
  2. May 1, 2005 #2 of 27
    JohnGfun

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    You will need a "Wireless" Router. I don't know you setup you your house, but I think that is it.
     
  3. May 1, 2005 #3 of 27
    BuckeyeChris

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    Are both computers going to connect wirelessly or just one? One computer will need a wireless adapter and the other one would be be best to have an ethernet card. You'll also need two standard ethernet cables (CAT5 with RJ45 connectors), one from the DSL modem to the router and one from the router to the hard wired PC's ethernet card.

    There are lots of wireless adapters from internal internal Mini PCI cards, PCMIA cards, PCI cards and USB types. Then there are various 802.11 standards like B, G, and A which are most common. Trying to cover an entire house with one wireless router, or commonly called an access point (AP), can be a stretch at best. 802.11 A has the worst range of 25' to 75', while G and B have a range of 100' to 150'; however, each wall that the signal has to pass through cuts that range, plus different construction materials like metal beams can degrade a signal. Some people, including yours truly, employs a second AP setup in a repeater mode to extend the signal of the wireless router; however, when you do this, you cut your thoroughput in half. But that's no big deal when using a G router where maximum speed is 54 MBPS; even at 20 - 25 MBPS is only useful when doing file transfers between PCs.

    Linksys just came out with a wireless router that claims its signal can travel up to 3 times the range of a conventional G router. Then there are the so called "hack" software you can download like Sveasoft and WiFi that are pretty reliable and can increase your signal strength. Plus there are aftermarket antennas that increase your range a little bit.

    Just make sure you turn on the security settings once your get your system setup! Check out http://www.linksys.com/edu/ for basic and important info on wireless.

    I highly recommend Linksys brands because they are wildly popular and there is plenty of good support from knowledgeable users out there like the Linksys board on DSLReports.com at http://www.broadbandreports.com/forum/linksys .
     
  4. lee635

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    Apr 17, 2002
    There are deals at Frys (outpost.com on the web) on the Airlink and Dlink line of products. I'm looking at last week's color ad from the Oregonian, and there is an airlink 108Mbps wireless g router for $27.99, a dlink 54 Mbps wireless router for $13.99 after rebate and dlink wireless usb, pci or pc card adapters for $9.99 each after rebate. You could set up your network for less than $35. Fry's advertises the linksys 54 Mbps router for $19.99 after rebate.

    I picked up an airlink 54 Mbps router for 14.99 and a couple usb adapters for $9.99 a couple months ago, and they have worked fine since.

    The only problem I've run into is some neighbor (probably a teen) has tried to hack in a couple of times, then I must unplug the router for a sec to get it reset. I have encryption turned off, but hardcoded the mac addresses into the router, so only they can talk. He hasn't yet figured out why he can't get in since WAP isn't on. I figure if he's diligent enough to figure out the mac address trick, I'll let him have some free internet access, so long as he doesn't hack into my system or use it for spam. Heck, I'd add his mac address if he'd drop by and knock on our door....
     
  5. BuckeyeChris

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    That's very generous of you! Be careful about inviting strangers to share your Internet connection. If they were ever to do something illegal while sharing your connection, you are going to be held responsible. It all gets traced back to your IP address.

    Also, if he can figure out your router's MAC address, he could spoof your MAC address. With his own router or by putting his PC's wireless adapter in Ad Hoc mode (PC to PC wireless connection), he could trick your PC into thinking it's connecting to your router, when in reality it's connecting with his. That could open up your PC to disaster.
     
  6. lee635

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    I hear ya. He doesn't seem all that sophisticated, probably just looking to see what's out there. I thought about opening it up one day for say an hour or so, then put the mac control back on....just to tease him a bit ;)

    If we lived in the big city, I'd likely open up a freenet node. But here, there's just the two of us on the block, so it seems a bit pointless.
     
  7. RandallA

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    Feb 4, 2005
    I would turn the encryption on ASAP. There are ways to get in if you are only using the MAC address filters. Now, if you want him in then that's fine but there will be more people using Wireless Networks and some might have bad intentions.
    Just my 2 cents.
     
  8. Bogy

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    Just a thought, but there is the chance the kid doesn't even know his computer is trying to access your network. I recently bought a new laptop, with centrino chip, b/g. I had an older Linksys router and Linksys wireless access point. I was not able to change the SSID, so it had to remain Linksys. During the process of trying to get it to work I realized I my laptop was picking up 2 networks with the SSID of Linksys. One of them was still there even when my router and access point were completely unplugged. I went and bought a new wireless Linksys router yesterday, and now my SSID is Bogy. There is still another network coming in almost as strong as mine, named Linksys. As I type this I am only 20-30 feet from my neighbor's house. I forgot to ask him when we were talking, but I have a suspicion they have an unsecured network next door. With 2 systems with the same name, of virtually the same strength, I could very well have been trying to access his network over the past week. Now if you have a distinctive SSID for your network this is probably not the case, but it may depend on whether he really knows what he is doing or not.
     
  9. DonLandis

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    Bogy- I believe the Linksys will lock onto the first SSID in a list and will stay locked until signal goes away, or you power down and back up and manually direct to the second linksys SSID on the list. I tried this here once with two WAP's, both named "Linksys" I had the mistaken idea that the roving laptop would work like a cell phone and roam and switch to the stronger signal automatically. No deal! I had to disconnect the laptop and then power back up and it would then find the stronger Linksys that it was closest to at the moment. To fix this, I decided to increase my signal with a better antenna system from one router/WAP.
     
  10. Bogy

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    And that was part of my problem. I realized I did not know for sure which signal I was locking onto.
     
  11. BuckeyeChris

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    Whether you use the Linksys software or Windows to manage your wireless connection, you can setup a preferred network name (SSID). Your adapter will always try to connect to your preferred network first before all others. (I use the Linksys WRT54G wireless router with the Linksys WAP54 wireless Access Point (AP) as a repeater in my setup.)

    At least that's how it's supposed to work. Sometimes, I will loose connection when a neighbor's signal first wanders into the mix. As far as I can determine, this neighbor must not keep his AP turned on 24 x 7 because I can only detect his signal some of the time. However, my connection is restored quickly and automatically.

    This neighbor also leaves his network unsecured, but has changed the default SSID name from Linksys. I am certain that his network is not encrypted because I use Network Stumbler software to scan for APs around me. I once connected to this network to see if I could truly access an Internet connection. Although I had a low signal, I could not connect to the Internet.
     
  12. DonLandis

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    Buckeye-

    Maybe he was not using DHCP. If he was then you should have either gotten a request for a key or be connected to the Internet, well, maybe if he had that feature turned on. Could be he was using a wireless router for LAN services that was never used for internet access or at the time his internet modem was locked up and needed reset. All possibilities, you know.

    When I'm out and about with my wifi PDA I see lots of open access SSID that I can never connect to the internet and do not get a request for a key. I've been told that many of these private wireless networks have all computers assigned an IP and unless you have an IP assignment in the table at the router, you will never gain connection. All this is out of my area of expertise so I just believe that as it sounds logical to me. Most of us are using DHCP and assume everyone else uses DHCP as well but that is not the case. I understand the process to gain access is as follows:

    In order:
    1. See RF signal
    2. Get IP assignment either DHCP or recognize a static IP assignment
    3. Ask for and approve a Key if encryption is enabled.
    4. Your in!

    Some commercial accounts may interject a password/userID for key assignment that is "supplied automatically" at step 3. eg. T-Zones hot spot.

    This is what I was told is the protocol order for connection.
     
  13. Bogy

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    I can't remember exactly where I saw it, whether it was on the Linksys site or in the documentation on the installation CD that with the router/wireless access I had I could only change the SSID if I had a Linksys card.

    I did talk with my neighbor, and it is his unsecured wireless network I was picking up. We talked about what he needed to do. There are three computers in his house, one that is his work computer, one for his wife and one for his kids. His is the only one working because his kids download all kinds of spyware and viruses. He is only home on the weekends right now, and doesn't really want to spend half a day every weekend cleaning up computers. I tried to give him some suggestions on what to do to keep the crap off the computers in the first place.
     
  14. DonLandis

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    "I tried to give him some suggestions on what to do to keep the crap off the computers in the first place."

    And the bubble above his head was stating- "Why does this guy think I care?" Or worse yet, "Hmmm... why doesn't this guy just stick to sermons on Sunday morning."
     
  15. SimpleSimon

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    False.

    Linksys (and most other) WAPs are totally configurable via their web interface.
     
  16. BuckeyeChris

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    I can confirm this. I have a Dell TrueMobile 1300 (Broadcom chip) Mini-PCI wireless adapter that connects to and configures just fine both my Linksys' APs.
     
  17. Bogy

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    Actually, his attitude was, "I don't care anymore, as long as they leave my computer alone." :lol:
     
  18. Bogy

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    Sure, make me read through everything again just to find this. It wasn't the SSID like I was remembering, it was the passphrase. Although I could not make it recognize a new SSID either. :D
    ftp://ftp.linksys.com/pdf/wap11ug.pdf
    It did not work with mine. Every time I tried to add a passphrase it refused to work. Even without any encription it would work fine for a while and then suddenly stop working. I don't seem to have the same problem with the new wireless router. It is also 4 to 5 times faster. :)
     
  19. SimpleSimon

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    Ah. You're talking about the Linksys "shortcut" to avoid typing in the actual WEP string.

    That's nothing to do with configuring the router.
     
  20. Bogy

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    I also tried typing in the string and that didn't work either. None of the 73 times I tried it. :lol: I also configured the router about that many times. In a number of different configurations. Strangely enough, once I got the wireless router certified to work with XP, Centrino, etc., I could make it work. My old router was a little long in the tooth. In fact, I bought it used from someone here about 2 years from someone here, although right now I don't remember who.
     

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