Wireless Kit recommendations please?

  Danoh 23:53 09 Feb 2006

I’ve browsed forum entries, read a few reviews but am still unclear what kit to short list and any recommendations would be much appreciated.

I have 3 desktops and 1 laptop which I’d like to have networked, ideally to be able to share a printer and scanner between all of them.

2 desktops and the laptop runs Windows XP home (SP2) with anti-virus and software firewalls.
1 desktop runs MS Media Centre 2005.

All except 1 desktop have Ethernet ports and the laptop is the only one with 802.11b/g.
There are definite plans to get the new Xbox 360; wireless and a partner to Media Centre pc.

Currently my cable modem is at the rear of the house (ground floor), connected to the old desktop via USB (no Ethernet card).
The other 2 desktops are in upstairs bedrooms, front and rear.
The front bedroom is diagonally across the house to ground floor old desktop.

I would like to be able to use the laptop in another front bedroom as well as the ground floor rooms.
I would also like to be able to use the laptop in the garden (as the weather will improve soon!).

My thoughts are to move the cable modem towards the middle of the house.
That would enable me to connect a wireless router in the middle of the house with minimal barriers to any rooms, apart from the garden.

It would also enable me to run Ethernet cables to the newer PCs upstairs.
As well as an Ethernet cable to the Xbox 360.

I have read that pre-N MIMO and other proprietary “boosted” 802.11g products do not necessarily provide any greater bandwidth in practice then standard 802.11g products. Does anyone have direct experience of greater bandwidth to contradict this? Or can provide a link to a relevant review?

Or would it be better to get standard 802.11g kit to cover the house only, with the ability to have a DMZ for the Xbox 360 or even a PC running an email server.
And be able to share files on all pcs, as well as the printer and scanner.

But with the ability to add an 802.11n MIMO repeater when they become available, to reach right out into the garden? (140 feet)

Which 802.11g kit would you recommend? (decent performance for video, DMZ, wireless extender functionality, print server functionality)

Many thanks in anticipation.

  keewaa 20:20 10 Feb 2006

I recommend Netgear for range. Hawking for range extender antennae.

  Danoh 21:39 10 Feb 2006

Thanks keewaa! Especially re: extender antennae.

  Danoh 23:29 10 Feb 2006

can act as a printer server for a USB printer, has WPA, provides a direct connection to a PC in a DMZ, etc.
click here

Does anyone own one or know of a review?

The specs doesn't say if you can change wireless channels to avoid picking up next door's wireless network instead.

Nor if the antenna is detachable or not; repositioning for best signal pickup with minimal visual clutter.

Netgear USB/PCI wireless adapters also do not seem to support WPA though.

  Danoh 17:34 12 Feb 2006

Guess my Q is a bit too long winded; will scour internet sites for more product info, even though those are marketing fluff rather then direct end-user experience based.

  keewaa 11:49 13 Feb 2006
  Danoh 13:54 13 Feb 2006

Called friends who have done wireless as well as BroadbandBuyer.com and NickKnows.com. Gots lots of info plus overall customers' issues. Concensus seems to be that standard 54mbps should work fine, as well as non-MIMO boosted 802.11g products. But when pushed for their personal preferences, all have gone for the Belkin pre-N MIMO, even with standard 802.11g receiving kit.

As I intend to run on WPA, I did have to check kit out as many only supports WEP.

Broandband.com guys helped me re-assess and drop my USB print server requirement (saving money in the process!). They also offer tech support for products bought from them, which is more then worth the total £14.14 premium to me!

So have just placed an order for Belkin pre-N MIMO router, pre-N PCI adapter, D-Link USB (54mbps only with WPA).

Much obliged.

  Danoh 14:17 20 Feb 2006

Have not been able to try pre-N range yet, but even on 802.11g, I'm getting a worst-case reading of 11mbps out at the bottom of my garden, 140 feet away from the house! Moving my laptop up to table-height, I get 24mbps. Amazed!

But not warm enough to do any more testing/typing ~ indoors beckons!

  keewaa 15:21 20 Feb 2006

Thats a decent range ... what are the model numbers of the kit you're using and are you using any extra antennae?

  Danoh 09:43 21 Feb 2006

Ignoring access riding on pre-N (my other post covers issues with card compatibility);


Belkin pre-N MIMO (F5D8230-4)
loaded up with WPA-PSK (TKIP encryption), but helped by my setting 802.11g & pre-N only, as I do not have any 802.11b kit.

Clients, all running on bog-standard 802.11g;

Desk-top using D-Link 802.11g USB-2.0 adapter(DWL-G122) ~ more expensive but one of the few which supports WPA rather then WEP.

Sony Vaio laptop's built-in 802.11b/g & supports WPA(VGN-FS315s).

No extra antennae, just careful and considered positioning of the router, allowing for known barriers to the microwaves; RSJs, underfloor wiring, thick exterior walls, angle of internal walls to transmission direction, extra reflective coated double-glazed glass, etc.

{I must sound like a real anorak.... !!} But I am impressed by the extra range the Belkin pre-N has provided to bog-standard 802.11g reception. If it wasn't for video/audio streaming needs, there would almost be no need for the pre-N adapters!

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