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Brain freeze trying to set up my first home wi-fi. Too many choices


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#1 brian2009

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Posted 06 June 2013 - 05:20 PM

I am new to wi-fi and just bought a new wi-fi printer. I would like to be able to use it with a desktop and a notebook.

 

So, I'm trying to figure out exactly what to shop for..especially because it will be such a simple setup. There seem to be a mind boggling number of choices of routers with such a wide range of features I seem to be stuck.

 

This is my situation. I don't want to buy more than I need.

 

1...No high speed internet for the forseeable future. Due to rural location. Possibly satellite in the future though. No web capable TV's in near future either.

 

2...Primarily using a wi-fi enabled XP notebook. No N protocol, just b/g.

 

3...Seldom used desktop using Win 8-64.

 

4...One wi-fi laser printer.

 

So far I know I need a network adapter for the desktop.

 

As far as the router, I really have no idea of what features, inputs, outputs, wan, lan ports..I actually need. It can't be much.

 

The only additional connection to the network would possibly be using it for wi-fi use of my dial up internet by the notebook around the house. I realize this isn't easy anymore given the lack of rs-232 capable routers. It's probably so difficult to do I might as well just settle for a basic non-internet network right now to use the printer in wi-fi. (Just in case, I think I would want a router that would accept a future satellite internet connection)

 

Any advise about which equipment I need to start shopping for would be much appreciated. Do I only need a router? How can I tell how many lan wan ports I need? The only other piece of equipment I rarely use is a non wi-fi scanner.

 

Thanks.

 

 

 

 



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#2 smax013

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Posted 06 June 2013 - 05:52 PM

I am new to wi-fi and just bought a new wi-fi printer. I would like to be able to use it with a desktop and a notebook.
 
So, I'm trying to figure out exactly what to shop for..especially because it will be such a simple setup. There seem to be a mind boggling number of choices of routers with such a wide range of features I seem to be stuck.
 
This is my situation. I don't want to buy more than I need.
 
1...No high speed internet for the forseeable future. Due to rural location. Possibly satellite in the future though. No web capable TV's in near future either.
 
2...Primarily using a wi-fi enabled XP notebook. No N protocol, just b/g.
 
3...Seldom used desktop using Win 8-64.
 
4...One wi-fi laser printer.
 
So far I know I need a network adapter for the desktop.
 
As far as the router, I really have no idea of what features, inputs, outputs, wan, lan ports..I actually need. It can't be much.
 
The only additional connection to the network would possibly be using it for wi-fi use of my dial up internet by the notebook around the house. I realize this isn't easy anymore given the lack of rs-232 capable routers. It's probably so difficult to do I might as well just settle for a basic non-internet network right now to use the printer in wi-fi. (Just in case, I think I would want a router that would accept a future satellite internet connection)
 
Any advise about which equipment I need to start shopping for would be much appreciated. Do I only need a router? How can I tell how many lan wan ports I need? The only other piece of equipment I rarely use is a non wi-fi scanner.
 
Thanks.


Overall, for your current purposes (i.e. just creating a local network), any router with WiFi will do.

As far as features, number of LAN ports should not really matter that much as you can always add more LAN ports by way of adding a network switch to your network. So, I would not worry too much about that.

Since the notebook is only 802.11b/g, you only really need a router that supports 802.11b/g. But, since 802.11n is backward compatible with 802.11b/g, an 802.11n router is fine as well. I don't know how many 802.11g routers you will find anyways. Most will likely be 802.11n.

You don't really need a dual band router (i.e. supports 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequencies for WiFi) as your current WiFi adapter for the laptop will only be 2.4 GHz (802.11b/g is only 2.4GHz).

Beyond that, the primary other features out there on routers are guest networks, USB ports for printers and/or hard drives, and parental controls.

You don't need a guest network or parental controls at this point since you will not have an Internet connection for the router.

The USB port could be useful if you have a "regular" USB printer you want both computers to be able to use or if you want to connect an external USB drive to the router to be accessible to both computers. Keep in mind that you would need to verify that the router would actually support a printer or hard drive...sometimes they might support one but not the other (although most with USB port will typically support a printer...it is usually the hard drive they may not support if they don't support both).

About the only other potentially significant feature out there would be Gigabit LAN ports. The only reason to want Gigabit LAN ports is if you do end using a NAS (network attached storage) or want to use Windows file sharing to share files between the two computer. Gigabit would make file transfers across the network faster. Of course, to make use of the Gigabit, all the computers would need Gigabit ethernet ports themselves and be connected by ethernet (or to a lesser degree 802.11n WiFi).

The only other consideration would be what types of WiFi protection/encryption the router supports. Most current routers will support WPA2, which is basically what you generally will want. You might, however, be limited by what the laptop will support. If the WiFi adapter for the laptop is old enough, it might only support WEP. OTOH, since you said you are in a rural location with only dial-up, that kind of suggests that maybe your closet neighbor might not be close enough to really worry about protecting your WiFi connection.

The end result is that unless you want to buy feature for possible future use, you only need a very basic router.

As to the desktop, it almost definitely has an ethernet port on it. If so, then you could put the router in the same room as the desktop and connect the desktop to one of the LAN ports on the router with an ethernet cable. This would save you the need of getting a WiFi adapter for the desktop. If it is not convenient to do this (i.e. maybe it makes the WiFi coverage in other parts of the house too weak), then you could get a WiFi adapter. I do tend to suggest that you get the same brand for WiFi adapter as you get for the router. On occasion, different brand WiFi equip does not play nice with each other.

As to hooking up your dial up, I believe you are correct that you are not going to find too many current routers that offer dial up connectivity. You might be able to find an older used router that will support it through a site like eBay. The other option, however, might be to use Internet Connection Sharing to "share" the dial-up connection across the network from one computer to another. I honestly don't recall if this would work...and even if you did, it is probably more hassle than it is worth.

The other overall possible option might be mobile broadband. Do you have cell phone service where you live that offers 3G data (I rather doubt you would have 4G data)? If so, then you could look at routers that can make use of mobile broadband (i.e. CradlePoint routers). Just be aware that significant data use on a mobile broadband connection can usually hit your wallet pretty hard.

#3 brian2009

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Posted 06 June 2013 - 07:35 PM

smax.

 

I couldn't imagine getting a better reply than your posting. Great info.

 

Just what I was looking for. After I posted my question I started looking at "Router Buying Guides" instead of "How Routers Work"...what a difference. So much easier to comprehend. I agree, it looks like even the most basic of routers will fit my needs.

 

That's a relief.

 

The desktop will be in the same space as the router so your advise about using a Lan port sounds like the way to go. I already have a cable to use for that.

 

In the quick shopping I've done so far, even the most basic of routers seem to have everything I need and more in protocol and security so I won't be shortchanged there. I'll probably just get a basic model for now and if I need more features later I'll just shop for a better one then.

 

I checked into ICS as well. Seems like a possibility. I think the range might be a limitation though. It might be interesting to try, even if it's just to see how to set it up. There's some good tutorials out there.

 

Thanks again.



#4 smax013

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Posted 06 June 2013 - 08:20 PM

Glad to help.

FWIW, if you do consider satellite, keep in mind that they may have daily limits as to how much data you can download. I have a friend on another computer forum that is kind of in the same boat as you...no DSL or cable service, so he has satellite. He has mentioned the daily limits for downloads. Mainly has to be careful with downloading Windows updates, etc.

I would definitely also look into mobile broadband. 3G data is fairly widespread these days, unless you are truly in "the boonies" rather than just "rural". As I said, there are routers that work with mobile broadband:

http://www.cradlepoint.com/products/small-business-home-office-routers

#5 Sneakycyber

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Posted 07 June 2013 - 02:15 AM

I personally would reccomend a Liksys Wrt54GL. The Wrt54g series have been around since 2002 and are very reliable (the primary reason Linksys still makes them) They are less then 50 bucks depending on where you purchase it from and you can find deals and used ones. Avoid the Wrt54gs series unless you find a used one that is v3.0 or lower (linksys changed firmware to vxworks and it can be buggy). The Wrt54gl also supports 3rd party Firmware based on Linux.

Edit: or just about any router you find on clearance for 20 bucks will accomplish you goal. :)

Edited by Sneakycyber, 07 June 2013 - 02:16 AM.

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#6 brian2009

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Posted 07 June 2013 - 03:51 PM

According to the coverage maps I've seen the 'not so great' service reaches to about a thousand feet away from the house. I check every few months when I hear about a new provider. I'm not sure, but it seems like the signal wouldn't change unless a new tower would be built in the area.

 

I was thinking about calling a savvy real estate agent. You'd think they might be aware of the wireless ranges in the area.



#7 smax013

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Posted 07 June 2013 - 03:54 PM

According to the coverage maps I've seen the 'not so great' service reaches to about a thousand feet away from the house. I check every few months when I hear about a new provider. I'm not sure, but it seems like the signal wouldn't change unless a new tower would be built in the area.
 
I was thinking about calling a savvy real estate agent. You'd think they might be aware of the wireless ranges in the area.


I believe that they can also just "upgrade" a tower to boost the signal, but yes, generally extended coverage is usually due to a new tower.

Regardless, it sounds like it is either dial up or satellite for you for the time being. :(

#8 brian2009

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Posted 07 June 2013 - 04:04 PM

Good tip about getting the same brand Wi-Fi adapter and router. I was looking at getting a USB adapter thinking I could also use it to beef-up my notebook when I use it at hot spots. I honestly thought it was N capable all this time. I bought it as a Dell business refurb.



#9 brian2009

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Posted 11 June 2013 - 09:11 PM

 

I am new to wi-fi and just bought a new wi-fi printer. I would like to be able to use it with a desktop and a notebook.
 


As to hooking up your dial up, I believe you are correct that you are not going to find too many current routers that offer dial up connectivity. You might be able to find an older used router that will support it through a site like eBay. The other option, however, might be to use Internet Connection Sharing to "share" the dial-up connection across the network from one computer to another. I honestly don't recall if this would work...and even if you did, it is probably more hassle than it is worth.

 

 

Just in case anyone else might be interested in trying wi-fi dial-up, this link discusses the ICS method in depth:

 

http://www.notebookforums.com/t/113829/how-to-wireless-dial-up






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