Wireless Router Wranglin'

Anyone have any advice for a dummy about to set up his first network? I’m already a bit lost, with all this B and G standard stuff. Do I need the greater speed provided by the more expensive G hardware? I’m going to be hooking up two PCs, about 25 feet apart down a hallway, and would also like to connect my Xbox and PS2 downstairs. Want to go wireless because of the distance and the need to avoid cables that I’d undoubtedly break my neck on.

So, what do I need to get all this stuff up and running? Just a wireless router and a card? What do I need for the consoles downstairs? I’ll be sharing a DSL connection, maybe a printer. I’ve been looking at a few places online, like Newegg, and also eBay for bargains.

If you want a real “for dummies” setup, check out the new Microsoft 802.11g routers. You need a router, a PCI card for the second PC (or a PCMCIA card if it’s a laptop) and Xbox 802.11 G adapters.

Note that all of it’s getting easier to set up. I recently installed a D-Link 624, and it was quite a bit easier than the original 802.11b version.

Finally, Dave Salvator wrote about wireless LANs and consoles here:


For 25 feet though, It would be easy to run some Cat5 down a baseboard with little cable attachment points. If you have to cross a hallway, its a bitch, but don’t rules out cable just because it seems hard.

If you can hook up with your local IT networking geek friend, they can usually crimp you some cable for free, rather than going to CompUSA or Best Buy and getting screwed by Belkin.

It IS quite a bit cheaper.

For the consoles can’t he put them on a cheap switch and then plug a wireless access point, or bridge or something on it as well. 4 port switches are like $15 these days so it’d be cheaper to do that than try to make them independently wireless, no?

And the faster hardware will be most useful if you’re going to be transfering files across the network a lot. If you’re just sharing a net connection, you won’t need much.

I should’ve been a little clearer about the distance. I’m going 25-30 feet in a straight line. Add the four doorways and a hall closet I’ve got to go around and I’m looking more like 100 feet in the end. Plus I’ve got a wife to contend with, and she hates exposed cables… ;-) But thanks a lot for the suggestion, though – I’d love to go wired and save the money, but it’s just not feasible here.

As for the B/G thing, I won’t be transferring files much, if at all. I’ll just be sharing the DSL for basic net access, sharing a printer, and playing some games across the network. Also, I’ll be hooking up my PS2 and Xbox. Does the speed thing come into play in any of those applications? If not, I should probably pocket the cash and stick with B.

For example, would something like this do the trick? I could add the console stuff later on, couldn’t I? Though the MS Xbox adapter is something like $121, which seems pretty nuts to me.


I also just found these D-Link items at MWave. A little more than the MS kit, but there are some rebates offered and this is 802.11g. This is the same router you mentioned as being easy to set up, isn’t it, Loyd? How is D-Link equipment overall? Reliable? Idiot-proof? The latter’s especially important for me…


Thanks a lot for sharing your expertise, guys. Great article by Dave Salvator, too. I’m amazed that it’s so expensive to hook up your console to a wireless network. I figured it wouldn’t be any more than the cost of a PCI/PC card. Whoops.

To hook up your consoles you can either take a bath and buy 2 bridges, one for each, or you can get a super cheap wired 10/100 switch: http://www.mwave.com/mwave/doc2/437008.html.
Plug both the PS2 and the Xbox to the switch with cat 5 and then plug this: http://www.mwave.com/mwave/Spec1/1270451.html
into the switch as well.

Of course this assumes your PS2 and Xbox are in the same room…

I use the D-Link 624 router with two computers and setup was a snap. If you are using Windows XP, just run the network setup wizard on both computers and everything should work (takes less than two minutes per computer). Then just go into the D-Link setup screen and enable WEP or any other options you might want.

For sharing printers, just install the printer as a “network printer” on the computer not physically connected to it. The most important thing is making sure the workgroup names between the computers match otherwise you won’t be able to see the other computer, although you will still be able to share the internet connection.