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Which is the least expensive Wireless NIC?


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#1 acklan

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Posted 25 September 2005 - 12:13 AM

Hi all. I have the urge to rearrange my computer room. Right now I have 13 computer networked with cable/router/hub/print server/SCSI scanner. I would like to move to a mixed wire, wireless network.
I want to put 12 of my computers wireless to eliminate the yards of Cat5 cable strung thru the house. The computers are used for net surfing, mild gaming, and the kids school work. The internet is 4000kbs/768kbs. I work on friends and family's computer and reinstall OS and software(freeware), but I will have a Cat5 at my work bench to connect them. I would like to keep my Linksys NR401 router if possible.
Questions:

1) Can I use an access point on my wired router?

2) Will there be a big difference between 802.11b or 802.11g?

3) Does anyone know where to get inexpensive wireless NICs (Not cheap. There is a difference)?

4) I need 12 of them.

5) Is this a waste of time and I should stick with hard wire?

I have seen the cheap NICs for $15 to $20 and I suspect I would get what I pay for with the no name route. All opinion are valid and I want yours...all of yours. What is your advice.
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#2 wannabeadmin141

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Posted 25 September 2005 - 10:37 AM

1.) Yes, attach the Wireless access point to one of the ports on the wired router and you can have the wireless machines use the router.

2.)Wikipedia definitions

3.)"inexpensive" not "cheap"

4.)not really a question but good to know..i guess. :thumbsup:

5.)Depending on your situation:
-size of house
-how many family members
-how much CA$H
-amount of TIME you have

"As it was in the beginning, it will be in the end "

#3 acklan

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Posted 25 September 2005 - 12:16 PM

Thanks for the reply. I have read quite a bit on the two standards but what I was hoping for was someone who had real world experince with a mixed b and g system. Sometimes the lab and real world don't sync up.
All except for two computers will be with in 30 ft and in eye sight of each other. I have the dining room and living room setup as one big computer lab. The other to are in the kitchen and a server in a closest. If I don't go wireless I will put the wire in the walls in recepticale boxes. Right now I have a wire bus looping the rooms.
Not sure what you mean by family members. If you mean how many it's the wife, 3 kids, me, and the friends and family that seem to always over and playing on the internet. I have several games setup for the kids to LAN. Domom, Quake, Swat 3. I'm a fire fighter/house dad so i really have the time to do what I need.
As far as money I was going to spend about $100/mo til I got the project done. I estimate about $70 on the access point then $25 to $35 per wifi NIC. The size of the house is not as much of an issue as runnig the Cat5 thru the walls and install boxes for the ports.
This is a hobby me and toy for the kids. It's our 52" TV so it not so important. I built it on the cheap but for me it's more about playing and learning.
Attaching the access point. Will I need to use a crossover cable if the uplink port is occupied?
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#4 wannabeadmin141

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Posted 26 September 2005 - 09:05 AM

wow sounds like you've got quite a game room setup..and yes you'll need a crossover for connecting the access point to your router if the uplink port is occupied.

"As it was in the beginning, it will be in the end "

#5 acklan

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Posted 26 September 2005 - 09:12 AM

I was lucky that a local recycler was letting P-III 500s go for less than $20. Then I just started beefing them up as I could afford it. After this I want to upgrade the last computers to PowerLeap 1.2ghz celerons. Sorta piecemeal but cost effective.
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#6 wannabeadmin141

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Posted 26 September 2005 - 02:44 PM

not too shabby, enjoy!

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#7 Snapper

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Posted 27 September 2005 - 06:32 PM

that is quite an expense you are going in for! if you wanted my opinion, (some do some dont) i would get a wireless access point (another 802.11g router) and set up what i could wired, the rest i would consider wireless. as you know there are a variety of things that can affect wireless transmision, stacks of paper,microwaves,cordless phones (2.4ghz) and so on. on top of that there lies the security issues, which most people do completely wrong and leave their AP and shared folders out in the breeze for someone (who has no life) to access. i am sure judging from your replies in the forums that you are also aware of that too. i guess my point would be , the option of wireless is great , but 12 of them! another interesting tidbit you asked about, b and g isues. i have had ;at the shop; some issues with different standards and some routers. now mind you there has been numerous different cards in accessing our 802.11g routers, but the only router i have yet to have any issues regarding that would be linksys. wrt54g. anyway have a blast setting thsat up, and check out this article on wireless collision domains that may pertain to you in your situation.
www.ljudmila.org/matej/arppoison.pdf
Google...Google.....browse..read

#8 acklan

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Posted 27 September 2005 - 08:48 PM

Thanks. Like I said I wanted all opinions. Those are good thoughts. I think I may pickup a AP and just one or two wifi NICs. I pickup a freebie of 500' of Cat5 at a going out of business sale, and a case of wall boxes. I 'll kepp looking into it but you are right on most points. If the AP and 2 NICs work out I could always nickle and dime it.
I did find a Encore g NIC for $15 in Ebay, but I'm going to research it before shelling out the bucks. Never heard of Encore. I am sure I will have question when I start implementing this project.

Thanks all. :thumbsup:
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#9 acklan

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Posted 06 October 2005 - 09:21 AM

I found DLink Airplus DWL-520+ 802.11b PCI cards for $12, shipping included. I ordered 6. Now to find and Access Point the is suitable.
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