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 Wireless router noob

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Roycropper
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2007 12:18 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I put a post up recently asking about a PSU for my ageing router, now I'm thinking of getting a wireless one to replace it, there seem lots of cheap ones on eBay.

My question is, if I buy one, do I need to replace the Ethernet card on my PC with a card that will communicate with the router? What about my laptop? Can I get a plug on card for that?

Obvious to anyone whos got one I suppose, but there's always help on Eater before I go and buy the wrong thing.

PS I know others can use your link, I've seen it done in an office block with horrifying ease. How do I keep them out? Will my neighbours, wife downstairs on the laptop (and iMike) be able to monitor my internet , er, 'research'?

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thud419
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2007 12:30 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I have a DG834GT, which is the one that my ISP tech support said they have the most knowledge of. Wireless routers come with wired ports too. My main PC is wired and the various laptops that float in and out of the house go through wireless connections.

With ADSL rates increasing all the time, they are getting close to the speed of a wireless connection, so you may find a wired connection is a little faster. Nothing to get worried about though.

If you get a wireless router you do need to spend a little time setting up encryption, otherwise anyone parked outside can access your network.

If radio is your thing, then the accepted wisdom is that wireless connections cause less interference than wired connections, but you'd only care about that if you are into ham radio or shortwave listening.

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Roycropper
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2007 1:51 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Quote:
Wireless routers come with wired ports too. My main PC is wired


So, I'd be able to use my ethernet card to talk to the router from the PC, and need a wireless add on card for my laptop.

The encryption will be ok if there's decent instructions.

Funnily enough I am a lapsed radio ham, but my Hf set is up in the attic somewhere. Sad One day I'll make time for it.

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Seven of Nine
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2007 3:40 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

thud419 wrote:
...<snip>...If radio is your thing, then the accepted wisdom is that wireless connections cause less interference than wired connections, but you'd only care about that if you are into ham radio or shortwave listening....


Which is probably the reason for odd noises I hear on some HF that I really did not notice before.

@RC, my HF gear is neatly plonked on my dining room table atm. Just don't really have the time and inclination to CQ atm Embarassed

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2007 3:45 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Bought one of these last weekend. Existing machines just plugged straight in at the back (4 x ethernet connectors) & the laptop & pda operate wirelessly. Bottom of the range model, but it works fine.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2007 4:13 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I've got a Linksys (forgot the model #), but it has 4 hard ports and wireless 'G' and it works great. I have it set up in the basement and can get a good wireless connection on my 2nd floor.

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Roycropper
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2007 4:50 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

So how do I stop bandwidth thieves (and iMike as he sits on the loo with his laptop) from logging into my network?

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COULD YOU IMAGINE WHAT HAPPENED WHEN I WENT TO THE BANK
our Agent is Completely broke, pocketless and stranded
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You go die like bird
i started shouting HALLELUJAGOBBLE but none of them notice me immediately police arrested me due to the shouting
f*ck u asshole ur damn mother will loose ur fcuking skull brain ur brain is nothing to compare with rat f*ck ur u
MY FRIEND ALEX WAS DETAINED IN POLICE STATION
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2007 4:52 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

If your laptop doesn't come with a built-in wifi card you need a PCMCIA card. There are also plug in PCI boards for desktops that accept a PCMCIA card also if you don't want to hardwire it. Otherwise you don't need to change anything you already have if you get a wireless router with LAN connections. You can get a wireless access point that adds on to an existing regular router.

Microwave ovens can interfere with the wifi frequencies. Not stop access but slow it down. They just add some extra noise to the band. If so try a different channel.

Besides encryption you can limit the MAC addresses you allow access to the router as well as the IP address you allow in if you set up the router to run static IPs only. Much safer and you have control over just allowing the router to assign an IP to any computer that asks.

I would recommend Linksys also. Their interface/control panel is very easy to use, you have a lot of control in setting up the router and they are open source so 3rd party developers write add-ons for extra functions.

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iMike
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2007 5:29 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

@Roy, no,no,no - I use the pda on the bog - the laptop slides off my knees. Very Happy

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thud419
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2007 7:27 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

My router came with a free USB WiFi stick. Probably not the best solution, but good enough for the amount I use it - only for my work laptop on the odd occasion.

Setting up WEP encryption is pretty easy. You just need to invent a pass-phrase and share it with anyone you want to give access to. DrWho's suggestion about using static IPs is also a good one, so long as your set-up is fairly unchanging.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2007 9:03 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

In addition to running static IP's you could also disable SSID broadcast. That will make it harder for eavesdroppers to log into your network.

Unless you do a lot of downloading I'd just get the cheapest one you can.

Of the four or so Linksys WRT54GX4 routers that I put in this year two have burned out. I'd stay away from that model for now.
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2007 9:52 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Roy

All the advice so far is spot on. I am running an ebuyer "special" which i bought as the cheapest thing available at the time. Its a Safecom SWAMRU ****- two years old and its been rebooted once in that time. Have a look at http://www.ebuyer.com/product/90975/show_product_reviews for a good modem/router.

Do not be tempted by the D-link G604T-POS with crap support (no matter how cheap it is)

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2007 11:03 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I use WPA2, no SSID broadcast and unless I am using the Wii, I generally turn off the radio completely. A few years back I had WEP and found my bandwidth leached by some guy waiting for his soccer kid.

My luggable and tablet computers have wireless built in but I get better performance with USB receivers. One has a USB to USB adapter that allows it to stand up in the air. The other looks like a steroid infused memory stick with an LCD screen that allows me to scan for hotspots in cafes without having to launch the computer. It shows the name and signal strength of the connection.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2007 11:42 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Also make sure to change the password for the router. Sounds obvious, but reading articles, they say it doesn't happen the majority of the time. As others have said, use WPA2 (but make sure the router AND the wireless card both support it), don't broadcast your SSID (network name).

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 27, 2007 12:27 am Reply with quoteBack to top

I have used Netgear, Dlink, and Linksys.

My current setup is a router with a seperate WAP (wireless access point). I am running WPA-PSK encryption, and I have had no problems with leaching. You can use either a USB or PCMCIA card interface, whichever suits you. The USB devices typically don't allow as much range.

The reason that I use a seperate WAP device is that most wireless routers divide the wired from the wireless sides, and won't let them talk to each other.

My DLink is one of their business-grade VPN routers, so its interface may be quite different from the consumer-grade models. I like its capabilities and web UI far better than the Linksys model.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 27, 2007 8:52 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Roycropper wrote:
So how do I stop bandwidth thieves (and iMike as he sits on the loo with his laptop) from logging into my network?


You should only need to enter your ISP details (just as you would for any router) as your main gateway when setting it up.

The wireless stuff more or less takes care of itself since the main connection is done. You will have a couple of options in the routers wireless section, just select one of the secure methods.

Your hardly going to have the router sitting on top of your tv so you can have next to your system and use a cable connection and thats one system taken care of without any expense.

If you have any other systems and are wireless enabled then the software /drivers will find all wireless networks in range and you can view/select them. You will then be able to see if your network is secure as it show as secured and be prompted for a password which you set on the router

Once that is done then your laptop/whatever will likely attempt to find a wireless network and connect to the router automatically. Quite often I find unsecured ones but signal is crap.

If you want to go further with security then you can set options on the router to restrict as much as you think is necessary, just as you would with a firewall.

Linksys are known to be shit.. I have seen a number of these in the bin and I also have one myself which I have a couple of issues with.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 27, 2007 10:38 am Reply with quoteBack to top

We have a lynksys at work and it is crap. The signal is weak.

I have a 2WIRE at home that I love. It does not have a lot of security features though. It has WEP and that is about it. Also I can stop it from broadcasting the SSID. It only has one port for a hard wire connection, but if I really needed more I could buy a cheap hub and plug in to that.

Most wireless routers have all security features DISABLED as a default so make sure to log into the router and enable SOMETHING by the way of security. You would be surprised at the number of unsecured home networks out there.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2007 4:04 am Reply with quoteBack to top

I've used Airport and Linksys--both work fine....Linksys is probably more versatile for open source add-ons.

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