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Bert Lutman


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Wireless Networking




The functionality described in this schematic can be obtained from single devices, 
e.g. Wireless router or
modem/wireless router. This is discussed further below


Before committing yourself to installing a wireless network consider the following:


Do I really need one ? 


If you have a single desktop PC then you're only likely to need a wireless network if it's a long way removed from your telecomms junction box (see below)


If you have a centrino laptop (or laptop with wireless capability) to be used in different locations in your home then a wireless network is useful but don't forget to consider issues like printing (consider a wireless print server)


If you have  more than one computer a wireless network may be appropriate but bear in mind that a wired network is always superior in terms of speed and reliability


Is my property suitable ?


Wireless networks work satisfactorily in a 'conventional' house but less well in larger houses. 


Contrary to expectations the new breed of 'fast' wireless devices do not provide wider coverage


Extending wireless coverage


Use 'paired' wireless access points (e.g. Linksys) to provide a 'bridge' capability


Fit an antenna to your WAP with a higher gain or signal quality (dBi). Decide whether you need a one-directional or omni-directional model


Use a free-standing repeater/booster antenna eg Buffalo repeater


Should I replace my existing broadband modem with a modem/router/WAP ?


This depends very much on the size and layout of your home and in particular the location of the telecomm provider's junction box. Since the junction box is usually located on the lower or upper 'edge' of the property it is not ideally placed for wireless networking. 


Consider buying a WAP which is then connected to the router by ethernet cable and located in the most favourable part of the building


Mixed mode


Routers usually have ports to which ethernet-compliant devices can be attached. This can be useful if your main PC is located close to the telecomms junction box. If it has a printer attached this can be used by a wirelessly connected laptop if file and printer-sharing has been enabled in the operating system. However, this may have security implications (see next paragraph). As stated above, look at the possibility of using a print-server (wired or wireless)


Security considerations


If you don't use WEP your wireless network can be used by neighbours or anyone with a wireless device within the coverage of your wireless access point. You may be prepared to share your broadband connection but if your provider imposes download restrictions and the neighbour is a music enthusiast  consider the consequences !


If you have file and printer sharing enabled this presents a real security threat (in fact you are well-advised to disable this anyway for an always-on broadband connection). There are many free FTP server and FTP client programs available on the net. Consider using these to move files around your private network. (This page discusses the technique with IIS being used as the FTP server). Use a print-server for network printing services


Requirements for connecting a computer to a wireless network


PC  a pci card or usb adapter


Laptop (without inbuilt capability) a pcmcia card or usb adapter


Network essentials


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Copyright 2008 [Fen Tyler]