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wireless network

 
Trailboss
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I was thinking that it might be fun in the next six months to pick up one of these new wireless network things.
I have a box that acts as my firewall, it seems it would be cool to replace that big box wiht one of those little contraptions that is a hub, gateway, NAT, and a wireless hub all in one. Then I could take my laptop outside and do stuff.
How much range do these things have?
How fast do they go?
What are some things to watch out for?
 
Ranch Hand
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This is a place you might consider to post all your questions, or to acquire them to JavaRanch.
http://www.computing.net/
 
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Check out : http://www.howstuffworks.com/wireless-network1.htm
 
Author
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I've got a wireless network in my home, and had one at work, too. The ones for home use vary from 100-300 feet in range. Then, the actualy range depends on what objects are between you and the access point, as you get towards the edge of the effective range, the transmission rate drops.
Personally, I found it invaluable, so I'm not teathered to a wall. I bougth the LinkSys Wireless AP + Hub ($200) and a LinkSys 802.11 card ($100). The AP (Access Point) also includes a wirefall. It was easy to hook up, and is easy to administer. Note that not all 802.11 cards work with all access points.
--Mark
 
Shriram Shivakumar
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Mark,
How high was the bps? I read that they are usually close to 1Mbps. Was it better for you. Also, do we need to worry a lot about security, as the wireless networks are vulnerable to eavesdropping.
Thanks,
Shriram Shivakumar
 
Sheriff
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I also have a wireless network at home, although it's not currently working as I dropped the access point and broke its wired ethernet connection
When it was working I loved it. I have a laptop with a wireless PCMCIA card in it and it works a treat. Basic speed measurements doing things like large FTP transfers show I got close to the rated 11Mbps if the laptop is in the same room as the access point, dropping off a little as I wander down the garden. Still full-rate most of the time at about 100 feet (and two brick walls). That's as far as I needed to go, so I have never used the supplied extension antenna.
The main benefit I've found is not so much in the distance I can travel from the server, as the freedom to set up in any room of the house. Using this system I can do my work while keeping an eye on the children, whatever they are up to (and they don't get to mess in my office!).
I already have a combined firewall/gateway/fileserver used by all my hard-wired machines*, so I just connected the access point to the switch which serves all the machines "inside" the firewall. Any mobile machines are then first-class citizens of my LAN. As for security, I'm not really worried, I'm not in a business area of town, and I know most of my neighbors, and drive-by network piracy doesn't seem very likely or very profitable round here.
Access point have recently plummeted in price, so I can't think of many reasons not to get one.
* a generic PC using the e-smith gateway and server distribution from Mitel Networks ( http://www.e-smith.org )
 
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