buying gear for wireless NTL b/b sharing

  Rodders 10:33 22 Mar 2006


I've got 2 PCs and want to share my NTL b/b connection between them. Here's the setup currently:

PC 1 - WinME connected to NTL b/b via set-top box modem - lives in outbuilding about 20 metres from PC 2, separated by 1 external wall and 2 internal walls.

PC 2 - WinXP Home not connected to internet and is too far from PC 1 to make wired connection sensible.

So, what I'm looking to do is get a wireless router (Netgear WGT624/WGU624) in the outbuilding. Then unplug the NTL b/b from PC 1 (currently uses a USB/ethernet adapter) and plug that into the router. Then I can use an ethernet cable from PC 1 into the router.

PC 2 then needs some kind of wireless connection to the router. I don't want to open the PC as it still has warranty, so I'm looking at USB adapters (Netgear WG111U or TP-LINK Super G). This combination would give me potentially 108Mbps.

I plan to setup the router using PC 1 first, then to setup PC 2 with the router second.

Here's my queries:
1) Do those products sound suitable?
2) Is it wise to use a USB wireless adapter?
3) Any issues with using WinME other than what I already experience with it !!?
4) Should I bother with the 108Mbps, afterall my internet is only 1Mbps ??
5) Any tips on how to do the setting up.

Thanks in advance


  Danoh 11:04 22 Mar 2006

.. is a major consideration, as well as wireless range if you are broadcasting from an external outbuilding 70 feet away.

Wireless security is extensively covered in other threads on this forum; i.e. look for kit that supports WPA encryption, MAC address filtering, etc.

I went with kit using the same MIMO pre-N technology base. Its multiple-path method helps to ensure _better_ wireless connectivity, but usually with walls to reflect signals off ~ yours are in 2 separate buildings.

So I personally would look at kit which will enable you to attach separate directional aerials which can "point" at each other ~ even for PC2 in the house which also has to transmit back to the router in the outbuilding.

The extra bandwidth will not be necessary if you definitely will only be looking for internet access, no file nor printer sharing, etc.

  Danoh 11:13 22 Mar 2006

Even Windows XP required the SP2 updates to be installed to work better with wireless networks.
But I see you intend to side-step that by adding an Ethernet card and using a wired connection to the router instead.

Check with your PC vendor if the warranty is still ok with you adding a PCI card, which allows its aerial to be swapped for an external aerial with a directional design.
USB wireless adapters can work well but are omni-directional and can not take a different directional aerial.

  Rodders 21:04 22 Mar 2006

So, from that I take it that there may be some problems with the PCs being in separate buildings. Would it make any difference if there were windows "inline" with the ideal signal path?

Also, are ALL PCI wireless cards "directional" or is this an extra specification?

I will be printer sharing and file sharing but probably not more than about 5MB files. At 54Mbps I could transfer a 5MB file in under 1 second......if it worked at full speed!

Danoh - are you saying that you don't envisage any problems with WinME being "wired" into this router? However if it were "wireless" then it may be more problematic?

  Danoh 21:24 22 Mar 2006

Windows would present much less obstacle to 2.4Ghz radio wave transmission, so that is a big help.
Unless they have any special coatings such as the Pilkington heat reflective type on double-glazing which are a serious obstacle.

All consumer wireless transmitters including PCI wireless cards are not directional, but are omni-directional.
If there is an aerial which can be unscrewed, a directional aerial with a cable can then be connected.
There are a few directional designs; forward and backwards, forward direction only as well as different tightness of the beam (90 - 20 degrees)

I can't think of the major brand who makes and sells aerials but will post back later (if someone else does not, of course! :-)

  Rodders 21:30 22 Mar 2006

Nice info thanks. And my query about WinME, have I got it right?

  Danoh 21:50 22 Mar 2006

802.11g has a theoretical maximum bandwidth of 54Mbps.
In practice, this will probably be 50% less even with an "excellent" signal path, based on "usable" data (i.e. excluding all the protocol overheads of synch and control data with each IP data packet.)
In addition, even with clear air separation, the strength of the signal drops off in a greater-then-linear fashion with distance.

It all sounds alarming, but even a 24Mbps real throughput would be acceptable for domestic usage i.e. you don't mind the delay for very occasional small file transfers and printing.
If it was consistent and reliable, of course.
Often, that would drop or the connection is lost altogether. After a few repeats of that on a bad day, you will join the ranks of many who wishes to blast the stuff or throw it out of the window!

Its just worth mentioning as so many are caught up in the glossy marketing and think there are no considerations; just buy, install and away your go at lighting speeds.

Thick or damp walls and especially any metal objects such as RSJs, reinforced concrete, etc., are serious barriers to radio waves.

The problem I faced with these inescapable constraints of pure physics, was exactly what I would get without having any kit to test it out in situ.

So I've bought and found MIMO (pre-802.11n) technology to exceed my expectations despite the above mentioned physics.

The combination of 2 802.11g signals and collation of their reflected multi-path components has pushed up real usable-data transmission to 80+%, based only on crude data packet counts and manual stop watch timings of very large (6-7 Gb) data transfers.
With the router effectively on the outside of the rear house window on the ground, diagonally across to an upstairs corner bedroom.

More normal file and even small folder transfers takes less then a minute.
How I would have fared with normal 802.11g, with careful router and standard omini-directional aerial, I can't say as I did not take the risk of buying those.

Perhaps others with 802.11g who have successful 2 building installations can post their own experiences.

  Danoh 21:55 22 Mar 2006

I know that ME has serious USB issues, which may or may not be overcome.
As even vanilla XP, even after SP1 installs, still gave wireless installation heartaches, I would expect ME to be unable to cope at all.
Others may have real experiences that disproves this and I hope they have and will post to disagree.

Wired Ethernet LAN cards have been installed successfully in PCs running ME, 98SE, 98, 95, etc.
That wired heritage is much more tried and tested. Hence my full expectations of no issues there.

  Danoh 22:02 22 Mar 2006

The router is with the main computing hub in a rear extension.
My grand plan is to have a large outbuilding at the bottom of the garden which is > 100 ft away, able to receive WiFi so the main computing hub can be distributed out there.

  Rodders 22:19 22 Mar 2006

Big garden!

I'll look into MIMO or 802.11n (they're similar animals right?) before I take the plunge. If you do find the name of the people that make directional aerials then it would be much appreciated.

For the moment, I think I am armed with enough info to make an informed choice. It's time to check the bank balance!!

  Danoh 23:53 22 Mar 2006

Hawking is the name!!
click here
click here

Other bits'n'pieces from my own earlier research;

Supplier of WiFi Antenna’s click here

There’re some pretty hideous, industrial designs but also a domestic décor friendly one.
There is also a cheap and good idea, though less pretty is something called “Flatenna”
A google search will also find quite a few entries.

Another interesting, real D-I-Y site I found (Finland) click here

Netgear (pricey but nice looking) click here

Found on Misco (not recommending the supplier, just to illustrate what is available)

Buffalo click here#

US Robotics (expensive) click here#

(Phew!! Enough choices?!!}

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