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Wireless Networking Routers


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#1 Shibi

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Posted 18 February 2006 - 05:52 PM

Hi. We use the SBC Yahoo! 2Wire Home Portal 1000 wireless broadband router for internet connectivity. Now, I would like to establish a wireless network in our 1-level, multi-room apt. (with 2 to 3 computers) to share data files, run music, print and if possible allow access to the primary laptop in this configuration from the other laptop(s) that I will run with around the apt.

We use Windows XP and 2000 (I'm converting to XP soon) OS and have Dell laptops.

I have been researching wireless routers (I heard that I would not be able to use a print server to connect our fax/scan/printer to the router due to compatibility issues). But, my real dilemma is this: I cannot find any information on whether I can actually set up a wireless network, post-wireless broadband router connection or if I will have unresolvable conflicts. Then of course, which router would be best for this arrangement of routers? I've looked and looked and frankly, I'm overwhelmed and confused :thumbsup: . Any advice is really appreciated.

Thanks!

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#2 acklan

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Posted 18 February 2006 - 07:52 PM

If you do not mind me asking why do you want to replace the current wireless router? If it is range that is the problem there are other solution, such and extenal antenna.

Example

I have a HP G85 All-in-one that I have networked thru my HP EX Plus3 3 port print server. It has a Lexmart Laser, HP All-in-One, and a Okidata dot matrix. All over ethernet. On the HP All-in-One I am only able to use the printer feature over the LAN, but you can use the stand alone FAX and copy feature. 3 out of 4 ain't bad.
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#3 Shibi

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Posted 18 February 2006 - 09:01 PM

Not at all. I thought that the 2Wire Home Portal was only a "modem" for internet connectivity (is that not the case? :thumbsup: ) -- the SBC/AT&T tech support reps. told us it was a "modem" (they were outsource from India and we were very confused). No manual came with the router, and I have to admit that I have not researched it beyond phoning SBC.

So... I thought that in addition to the 2Wire Home Portal, I needed something like a Linksys WRT54G wireless router to be able to do these things: print from the all-in-one printer (it's a Lexmark injet, similar to your HP G85), save to our external hard drive, access the primary laptop (to be able to work on a program in the primary laptop from a secondary laptop), and eventually stream or play music via the stereo receiver through another stationary laptop.

But, wow. Could I actually do all of that with the 2Wire? We were experiencing range and signal failure issues, until the SBC/AT&T phone company sent someone out to remove a metal piece from our telephone line source box. Now, we have no issues with signal and range (okay, it has been only 1 day - but I am hopeful!).

Will you tell me more about your print server? Three out of four functions is Great!!

#4 acklan

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Posted 18 February 2006 - 10:30 PM

Hi. We use the SBC Yahoo! 2Wire Home Portal 1000 wireless broadband router for internet connectivity.


This is what I was going on. This is correct?

Here are some examples of print servers...

Wired print server-Parallel

Wired print server-Parallel (Can be wireless with a PCMCIA NIC)

Wireless print server-Parallel

Wireless print server-USB

If at all possible stay away from USB devices. Use PCI, or for the notebooks PC-card (PCMCIA). I would recommend RealVNC to remotely control your second notebook over the LAN.
The external hard drive via the ethernet connection. You can buy hard drive that plug striaght into a port on your router/switch/hub. I have not as of yet found an adapter that will allow you to convert a USB HD for that purpose. I would recommend a second old computer (P-II 300mhz/128mb RAM) to act as a server and just not turn it off. That way your other computers or media center have access 24/7.
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#5 Snapper

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Posted 19 February 2006 - 07:31 AM

if you plan on doing any amount of networking, or downloading, i would certainly suggest a linksys, or d-link.
both make a router with a built in parellel port, or usb for use as a "print server" as well as an 802.11g router.if you keep your "router/modem", and you are doing alot of lan/wan info sharing, you will have buffer overun issues.
only stick to an entry level router if you are doing minimal services such as mail checking and surfing.not file serving /remote computer access/dl/up/print serving. puts too much strain on an entry level machine you see. like taking a 4 cylinder mustang out to a nascar race.lol

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#6 acklan

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Posted 19 February 2006 - 08:20 AM

What feature should be looked for went considering overrun? Which models do you recommend? The reason I ask is I am use a bare bones Linksys router NR041 wired. I am considing adding a access point. Should I consider a different router too? I have heauy LAN and have not had a problem yet but since the will benefit me and the member who start the topic I thought it would be a good time to ask.
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#7 Snapper

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Posted 19 February 2006 - 11:57 AM

its the buffer chips within. any linksys/dlink >brand name would be fine, other "cheap" routers i have dealt with have given me trouble
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#8 Shibi

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Posted 19 February 2006 - 01:03 PM

acklan: Great information, thanks for the guidance. I have a Toshiba mini-PCI internal wireless card -- is that what you were referring to (PCI vs. USB)? I am exploring those printer server options... I found a refurbished D-Link DP-311U wireless printer server that was super cheap ($37.95), too. But... what if... what if I connect the printer to the "server laptop?" Well, we can leave that one alone for right now.

Oh! RealVNC had not occurred to me *hits forehead* that's a great idea. I've used it at work, but had not considered it for home. They have a free edition, too. I will figure out which will be best for our set-up.

Hmmm, our Maxtor external HD is a few years old and is a USB HD -- will look into the other options there. I do have another old Dell (Latitude CPx - don't recall what's under the hood, it is several years old with some deep spyware issues, bleh), that I could clean up and run as a server. (So lazy to do it!)

But that brings me to Dan's point. Dan, so... would I use the Linksys or D-link router (not printer router, at this point) and um, then... well add the old Latitude to do the "talking" to each of our "active" networked computers? Do I need the old Dell to network these computers, or just the router? I completely understand... I actually had that 4-cylinder Mustang in high school. (People would try to race me, taking off in blue clouds of rubber smoke, as my old Mustang and I would putter on home!). Those buffer overrun issues were precisely what worried me. I do want to do the "file serving /remote computer access/dl/up/print serving" beyond the minimal services.

I guess my problem is with translation. *sighs* I envision a home network to achieve some good ol' connectivity and computing but I am stymied when I try to put it into words. Thanks for bringing me along, I'm learning super fast!

#9 Snapper

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Posted 19 February 2006 - 09:37 PM

im not sure what u mean, but the router acts as agateway to the internet, and a hub for each of your computers to communicate through. in no way is the router a server other than the way it serves out ip addresses. as i was also saying, you can buy a router with a built in print server, so you dont have to buy a print server and router seperately. lessens the expense of a SOHO network.
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#10 Shibi

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Posted 19 February 2006 - 11:14 PM

Okay, Dave. Let me see if I can explain what I meant. I was thinking... I've got that 2Wire Home Portal. We use it to connect to the internet, but that's the only thing we use it for (I'm not using it to have our computers talk to each other). (I will look up the 2Wire Home Portal online and see if I can find a manual for more uses). But, I assumed that I needed another router (Linksys, D-Link) to make our computers talk to each other (for file sharing, remote computer access, printing etc.).

Then, I thought: Wait a second. I will need the other Old Dell to act as a "server" (when acklan mentioned it) to make this all happen. Ugh.

OH! I did not understand that there are routers with built-in printer router. So, that's really something to know as I make my decisions -- thanks!! I guess I will have to make networking the printer a secondary goal because now, I'm all fired up to make our laptops connect with or without a wireless printer option.

You know... now that I think of it -- I wonder if (now, don't fall down laughing!) I wonder if I have the "router" and "server" definitions confused. I'm going to look those up! :thumbsup:
Thanks again,
Tara

#11 acklan

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Posted 20 February 2006 - 12:07 AM

If you are set on a new router you may want to consider one that allows you to connect your USB external hard drive to it. This would in effect make your USB hard drive a NAS (Network Attached Storage), allowing all computers and devices on your LAN access to it with out having to map to a computer.
Here is an option to add to your exsisting router...

http://www.compusa.com/products/product_in...4464&pfp=BROWSE
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#12 Snapper

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Posted 20 February 2006 - 06:33 AM

acklan gave you a good local storage idea. by definition, a server>is a computer that serves information>now, that could be anything, it is a broad topic, and mostlt logical by definition unless you have major big network. a server could serve either, and a combo of, dhcp addresses, dns addresses, proxy, data, mail, and of course the domain server.
in your case, BOTH your computers will be "servers", by popular definition. one laptop will have data the other will want, and the other will have data to give the first one. this is called (in a logical network topology) a P2P (peer to peer)network, while both computers exchanging data are actually serving info to each other, and henceforth, "servers". as opposed to a bigger network, where you have a NOS (Network Operating System), which can serve as data server , domain controller, active directory. dont get too confused. yours is sinmple. get a router, hook 'em both up, make some local changes on the computer, and voila! you have two computers that can exchange info! and throw in a router witth a print server installed, or a network data storage device port, and you have made it even more efficient for those purposes. the thing you have to do,, is answer what u want your network to do for you.
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#13 Shibi

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Posted 23 February 2006 - 12:31 AM

Thanks, acklan. Yes, I see the benefit in looking at those routers. I am now considering a new external hard drive, too. Well, that could be excessive... we've barely made a dent in our current one, but "new and shiny and empty" is so alluring.

Thanks, too, Dave -- for the education. I think that you pegged it for me: the router + hooking my computers up + making local changes to the computers + an extra router with print server and network data storage device port = ME! I should probably think it through another umpteenth time to make sure that it's what I want our network to do for me (and remind myself that it's really not a lifetime commitment!), but I sense that this is the set-up for me.

Unfortunately, I have to redirect my energies (and actually work, instead of improve my quality of life at home) for a few days but I will jump back into this before next week begins.

Thanks to you both for your help! I'll report back soon with an update!




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