Wireless set-ups

I posted this in this section because one of the things that I’m interested in is multiplayer gaming performance…

Here’s the question: I have a Netgear router, two desktops, and a notebook. The router currently runs to my main desktop and there are two lines I have running (upstairs and downstairs) to which I connect my notebook system.

My other desktop system is currently Internet-less; due to its location it would be hard to run a cable to it in a way that is transparent enough to meet my wife’s requirements (long story.) I would also like to be able to take my notebook system outside and work on the back deck or the front porch.

A while back I looked at installing a wireless access point and a connector for the notebook and another for the downstairs desktop. At the time, the state of wireless (the a, b, g, etc. variants of 811) was in enough flux that I held off. My question: is wireless a more viable option today? Much of what I’ll be doing will be working on the Internet, downloading, etc., but some of it will also be gaming.

Anyone have any experiences and/or caveats to share?


My recommendation: definitely replace your router with one which has a built in wireless access point.

I’ll let others speak on the merits of b (stable/mature, but slower) versus g (risky/new, but faster).

Well, I’d like to keep the router, and just add an access point. My router is upstairs, so I’d like to attach the access point to a cable downstairs (to get the access point closer to where I’ll be using it.)

You have to hook your access point to your router.


You get an access point, a good one is from Linksys. I’d recommend either an 80211.B or G. Do not get the 802.11a. I tend to think that realistically, the 80211.b will be fine for 99% of people.

I have (well had see the RoN discussion for detials) a Netgear RT314 router that my Linksys access point is hooked up to. It broadcasts throughout the house and outside so I can be on the computer on the deck and such with my laptop.

Adding more connections to it is just a matter of having a computer with XP and putting in the card and presto. It’ll automatically take care of itself.

I’d go ahead and get “g” cards. The hesitation is that the standard hasn’t passed IEEE yet, so there could be minor changes. But hey, chances are really good that there will be a firmware update for full “g” complaince. And even if there isn’t, “g” cards also support “b.”

Last time I checked the price delta was extremely minor between 802.11b and 802.11g. So why not spend a few extra bucks? You don’t really get double the speed, but every little bit is nice. And even if “g” suddenly died, you’d still have “b” support to fall back on.

Any tips on brands? I’ve got a Netgear FR114p router that I’ve been real happy with. Netgear has a “g” access point that seems pretty inexpensive wireless 802.11g access point (about $100), but they don’t seem to offer a wireless card for my desktop (they do have a PC card) I seem to recall that some PC cards (for my notebook, where I need the range) offer superior range, but don’t know what’s “best” today.


I’m happy with D-Link. They do a pretty good job updating drivers and supporting older products, and the performance of their cards is good.

I’ve had more problems with Linksys stuff.

Netgear hasn’t been very good with driver updates – within the first year of XP’s release, they never released official XP drivers for my old 802.11b PC card.

D-Link. They’ve definitely outpaced Linksys in terms of features and performance, at least on the consumer router products I’ve used, anyway.

Also, I really wouldn’t bother adding an external access point to your existing setup. When standalone access points go for $90, it doesn’t make sense to do so*. It’s cheaper and more efficient to get a router with a wireless AP built in. Been there, done that.

  • although this kind of external AP approach is required to get standalone consumer devices like, say a Tivo, or an Xbox, on your wireless network

Why would you get a router/access point if you already have a router and just need an access point?

I had a typical home LAN setup and wanted to go wireless with my laptop, picked up a Linksys 802.11a/g access point and an 802.11g card and it works fairly well, though the signal strength tends to fluctuate given the distance between where my laptop usually rests and and the router where it’s hooked into (Linksys 100 mb), and the amount of solid objects in the way.

Seems to work pretty well, though I haven’t gotten around to encrypting the wi-fi network yet. I took it up to work and surfed the web on another floor’s 802.11b network the other day.

— Alan

D-Link routers have range issues (intermittent signal loss) beyond 35 feet. D-Link wireless in general is a bit flaky… I prefer any of the other brands (Netgear, Cisco, Microsoft, Linksys).

Why would you get a router/access point if you already have a router and just need an access point?

I had this exact same question, and I think the answer is that the cost of a router/access point combo is either the same or cheaper than an access point alone. Best Buy has a D-Link 4-port router/WAP for $50!

One n00b question I have though: how many wireless clients can you connect to an access point? The Best Buy lackey, whom I deeply distrust, said that you can only connect 4 clients - and only if you don’t use any of the 4 wired ports. Is this right?

best buy is lying to you. i’d guess 250ish.

p.s. i am completely unqualified and uninformed :wink:

We need to make a rule about using lackey as an adjective in any posts where mr. lackey is posting.

[color=red]Generalization alert.[/color] No such problems encountered with D-Link equipment here – router, access point, PC card.

I’m still not convinced Brian Koontz is an actual person, and that post gives me considerable evidence that he isn’t.

It’s possible, Netgear is the worst major brand that has yet to be conceived by the hardware market.

— Alan

How’s security on these things? I’d like to put together a wireless setup so I can rot flax on my balcony, but the prospect of some kid a floor up or down hopping onto my LAN = no fun.

On the one topic, the reason to keep my router and get a separate access point - my router is upstairs, I assume I can attach the access point to the router via a cable and thus place the access point closer to the downstairs locations of the computers with which I will be using access.

Is there any concensus on a USB wireless antenna vs. a PCI card wireless antenna for the desktop?

It is always interesting to see people’s experiences with equipment: when discussing Netgear, Linksys, and D-Link I seem to see equal numbers of people claiming that each works well and that each is a POS. It would be nice to see come kind of concensus - the disparity may speak more to the vendors’ lack of consistency than anything else.

Well security should be tight if you’re using 802.11g and moderately okay if you use b, if I understand the varying standards correctly (I could be wrong). You generate an x-bit key with the access point/router and then copy this key over to each network card that will connect to the network – anyone trying to use the network can connect but can’t do anything because they don’t have the key.

Typically the default is that you have an open network, meaning anyone within range can connect to it then access your network and any shared object (drives, printers, etc.) within it, as well as the gateway.

As far as quality… mine is from primary experience, which means that a) I’ve used netgear routers and cards, all of which I’ve had bad experiences with one way or another. We’ve totally gone to Linksys and have never really had any major issues. The hardware hasn’t crapped out, generic drivers work, and generally they have better features than netgear. I cannot say about others.

Antennae… I don’t understand why anyone would want to use one connected to USB at all, unless you didn’t have any expansion slots and access to the machine was severely limited (like a workstation) or a card antennae is surrounded in a metal box for some reason. PCI is the way to go.

— Alan

I’ve used D-link for along time. They’re cheap. They work. And there wireless router saved me forty bucks! There documnetation sucks though, what else do you need but just the essentials when you’re a gamer?

What I want now is a wireless transmission for the tv cable! Amybody know how to do this?