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I Need Wireless Router Help!


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3 replies to this topic

#1 Woody

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Posted 24 July 2005 - 09:25 PM

Well, a lightning strike close to my house the other day fried my cable modem and D-Link DI-704UP wired router (thank God it didn't take out the computer as well!). So I need a new router. I'm going to go the wireless route this time, since my Dell work laptop has an Intel PRO/Wireless LAN 2100 3A Mini PCI Adapter and I'd really like to be able to use the laptop untethered in the house.

I have a few questions:

1. How do I find out if my laptop's card uses 802.11a, 802.11b, or 802.11g?

2. Are there any wireless routers out there that come with a print server built in?

3. If I forget about the print server thing for a moment, what do you think is the best brand and model out there currently?

Thanks in advance for your help.

Jason

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#2 pchartwell

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Posted 25 July 2005 - 10:53 AM

2100 is 802.11b only it looks like. You'll probably want to go ahead and get a wireless router with B&G capability because they don't cost much more and you may upgrade your laptop down the road.

Yes, routers (wireless and otherwise) with print servers are becoming more prevalent. Also, you can get just a print server piece to plug into a router that didn't come with a print server native to it. Probably getting them together is a cost savings but I'm not sure. And I don't have any models off hand to recommend, sorry. What I do know about these home print server devices is that they are not well suited for sharing an "All-in-One" type combination printer/scanner/fax/copy device so be advised.

#3 Woody

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Posted 25 July 2005 - 03:54 PM

Thanks for the reply. I will probably pass on the print server thing for now. I don't want to buy a router and then a separate print server right now. I'll just not print anything from my work laptop while at home...

802.11b I have read may have interference issues with my 2.4GHz wireless home phone... how bad is the interference?

#4 Snapper

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Posted 25 July 2005 - 09:33 PM

Phone MAY or may not interfere much, d-link is a solid home dsl router and many models have a print server built into them. linksys is my preferred router however. Mind the fact that they come in either usb or parallel, not both, so look at your printer. If you are going wireless, here is a bit of advise for connection issues that may save you a service technician bill for a 5 minute job.

Going wireless is an exciting milestone. Whether you're in the process of setting up your network or you've already been working happily without wires, you're probably familiar with Public Enemy Number One in the wireless world: interference.
If you've experienced interference, you know how annoying it can be: now you have a signal; now you don't. It's like hide-and-seek.without the fun. But wait! Don't throw your hands (or your laptop) in the air. We'll tell you how to determine what might be affecting your signal, and how to get back to being your old productive self.
What is it?
Think of a time when your favorite radio or television station wouldn't come in due to bad weather. When the storm passed, the signal became clear again. Similarly, because your wireless network relies on radio waves traveling through your home, your signal may waver for a variety of reasons. How will you know if you're experiencing interference in the first place? We'll help you identify and solve potential problems.
Check your signal
Thankfully, the client software that comes with almost all wireless network adapters can help you monitor your network's performance. With most systems, there will be a signal-strength meter in the Windows system tray (usually found in the bottom right corner of your screen).
In addition, the client software itself probably has a more in-depth system for testing signal strength. This feature is commonly called a link test function, although it may be called something else (depending on the manufacturer). Check your manual or the online help system, which usually measures:
Signal strength: Measured in decibels compared to one milliwatt (or dBm), the signal strength is sometimes referred to as signal level. The higher this number is, the better chance you have for a full-speed connection between your access point and your PC.
Noise level: Ideally, you want the noise level (also measured in dBm) to be as low as possible. Cordless phones and microwaves are common culprits for increasing the noise level.
Signal-to-noise ratio (SNR): This is the most telling of the numbers because it compares the strength of the signal with the noise that is interfering. SNR is measured in decibels (dB), and a higher number is good news.
Placing your access point
The location of your access point (AP) is key. With a little planning, you can avoid potential interference and save yourself time, money, and frustration.

Here are some pointers:
Pick a place near the center of your home.
Avoid mounting your AP on the wall. The best place is six or more inches from the wall.
Keep the AP out of the line of sight of microwaves, cordless phones, refrigerators, and other appliances that contain metal.
Your computer can cause interference, so try keeping the AP separate.
Avoid putting the AP low to the ground. Instead, keep it on a table or a shelf.
If your house is large, you may need two access points.
Troubleshooting tips
If your wireless network is all set up and you're experiencing interference, here are some ideas for improving the signal:
Move the access point. See the above section for pointers, and if all else fails, walk around with the AP while someone else monitors your signal strength.
Change channels. If you've got a neighbor with a wireless network, you may be operating on the same channel. You can change the channel in the software that came with your wireless access point.
Move the antenna. Not all antennas have the same range of coverage, so finding the best position is a matter of trial-and-error. Try moving yours around and changing the angle.
Change phones. If you have an 802.11b or g network, consider one of the newer 5GHz cordless phones. If you have an 802.11a, try a 2.4GHz phone. Better yet, an older 900MHz phone won't interfere with either type of network.
Check other network obstructions. Other network obstructions include ceramic tile, concrete, and even stacks of newspapers, as well as Bluetooth-enabled devices such as laptops and PDAs.
Consider an upgrade. If you're using 802.11b, you might have better luck with the newer 802.11g devices that have more non-overlapping channels and less interference. Plus, they're almost five times as fast!
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