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I need an idiot's guide to wireless networking
Thread poster: Joanne Parker

Joanne Parker  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:08
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
Aug 31, 2003


After fighting over our high-speed Internet connection for the past few months, it's time my boyfriend and I set up a wireless LAN so we can both work at the same time. The thing is - we don't have a clue where to start - we aren't even sure what equipment we need.

Please let me know if you need any other info in order to answer my question.

Many thanks in advance,


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Ruben Berrozpe  Identity Verified
English to Spanish
What's your wonderful workstations like? Aug 31, 2003

Tell us Joanne, two PCs? 2 Desktop? 2 Laptop? A mixture? Macs?

Do you have Ethernet ports in your PCs? Slots for wireless cards?

This should be rather easy, I should say. I use two computers with just one DSL connection, just using a DSL router, an Ethernet connection in my desktop Mac and a wireless LAN card in my PC laptop. It works great, and it is not so expensive, I think (I got it from free but...)



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Alexander Chisholm  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:08
Italian to English
+ ...
With or without router Aug 31, 2003

I recently set up a VERY FAST wireless system at home. I have 1 main desktop PC and several laptops.

Experts will tell you you need a router (this is debatable). You should purchase:-
- ADSL (or whatever type of connection you have) router
- Fast ethernet card for your "main" PC
- Wirelass access point
- Wireless cards for your other PCs (PCMCIA cards if they are laptops).

I decided (at least to start with) to not use a router. I installed the Ethernet card in my "main" PC and connected that to the wireless access point (using a CROSSOVER ethernet cable (this is V.V. Impt.) and then installed the device as per the manufacturers instructions. Then I installed the PCMCIA cards in all the laptops (again as per instructions).

Once this was done, all devoces were registering the presence of the network radio signal. You then need to set the names of the computers so that they are part of the same workgroup but with individual names (i.e. laptop1, homenetwork).

Next, if you're using Win XP it's very easy. Start with the "main" PC and choose the "install a domestic or small office network" from your "network connections" window (I'm translating roughly from my Italian OS). Follow the instructions, choosing the option that this is the computer that will be connecting to the internet. At the end of this procedure it will ask you if you want to create a network installation disk. Click yes and follow the instructions. Then, using this disk, install the program on the disk onto all the computers that are going to be networked (remember that if it asks you, the other machine is the one that is going to be connected to the net).

After that and rebooting all machines, you should then be connected.

You may have to fine tune some settings to get all the options you want running on the "other" computers. And if you want to swap or access files on the other computers you will have to set file/folder sharing options etc.

If you want to use a router, then the router is connected to your "main" PC and the wireless access point is connected to the router.

One tip I have repeatedly heard, is to use equipment from a single manufacturer if possible. I use NETGEAR 802.11g equipment and have connections at speeds of 54 Mbps (about 5 times faster than 802.11b - 11 Mbps). The wireless acces point cost me about € 160, the PCMCIA cards are about € 80 each, the Ethernet card will cost you about € 10 to € 20 and the router if you decide to use one may cost about € 250 or so.

You can get lots of good advice and ask questions at:-



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