Calling all home Wi-Fi networkers: Case studies

  PC Advisor. 17:49 27 Oct 03
Locked

Hi folks,

I'm looking for some case studies for an upcoming special on wireless networking.

I'm hoping for answers to the following questions:

What kind of Wi-Fi networking kit did you go for and why?

How straight forward was the setup procedure?

Has anyone tried mixing g Wi-Fi kit with b Wi-Fi kit? Has anyone tried mixing brands - a Linksys access point with a Belkin Wi-Fi card for example?

Has anyone experienced interference problems from other consumer electronic devices such as DECT phones and microwaves?

Is anyone out there actually doing anything other than traditional networking with their wireless networks i.e. pulling music, graphics or even video off some kind of home media server?

Has anyone out there like me had persistent signal strength problems?

Has anyone had any security scares, specifically related to Wi-Fi?

Anything else that you'd like add of a Wi-Fi nature?

AS EVER, PLEASE INDICATE IF YOU DON'T WANT TO BE QUOTED BY YOUR REAL NAME.

Best regards

Guy (Online Ed)

  Forum Editor 18:48 27 Oct 03

about wireless networking that have appeared in the Helproom recently we must have a sizeable pool of experiences out there.

I've used a wireless hotspot at an airport, and it worked well, but I foresee problems for home users ahead. Wireless networks are sprouting up all over the place, and I think we'll soon see threads from people who have 'channel clashed' with their neighbours on either side.

It would be fascinating to hear from anyone who has experienced this, or has had the person next door poaching bandwidth.

  chrishillcoat 20:32 27 Oct 03

We've had wi-fi at home for about 6 months.

The WAP is connected to a BT-branded 4 port ADSL router

All our kit is Belkin .11b, to avoid incompatabilities, and it's worked well except the WAP which threw a wobbly a month ago then decided to work again...

Setting up was a doddle, as we have XP on the family machine and my brother's laptop, and 2000 on my dad's machine. All just popped up. The only problem is that we can't get WEP to work! We live at the end of a close though, so nobody's going to stumble on it.

We haven't had any interference that we're aware of, but the distances involved are relatively short (<5m) so maybe that's not an issue.

There's only straight networking going on at the moment, my plans for a media server as you suggested have been quashed for the moment :-(

A friend of mine was having signal problems, which were solved when he put the WAP inside a Pringles tube! (So it does work.)

Chris Hillcoat

  bfoc 23:06 27 Oct 03

Is fairly simple.

I had NTL broadband connected by cable via the set-top box to my main machine. My wife had a laptop and my elder daughter at University also had her laptop. My younger daughter starting at Uni had her own desktop. When we were all around the demand for internet access was getting pretty difficult to police.

I saw an Actiontec NTL broadband bundle (router and USB .11b adapter) on auction at Dabsxpress. I got the bundle for around £60. It came with a 'dedicated' setup CD for NTL. So I plugged the set-top box into the router and used the existing wire to connect my main machine. But it was a nightmare to get the box and my computer to talk. I needed to make extensive use of the Actiontec helpline. Eventually what solved the problem was reversing and swopping one cable! I still don't understand that. I then setup file and printer sharing for my wife's laptop. And have used the supplied setup cd to install the usb adapter on the other 2 machines, with no problems and persuaded my daughters wi-fi enabled laptop to recognise the network.

Generally the system works well. Every so often the cabled connection 'goes to sleep' and I have to reset the router to wake it up, and sometimes my wifes laptop doesn't find the network for file sharing/printing and I have to shut down and restart the main machine for the network to appear again. But no major problems.

I'm afraid there is nothing esoteric being done here either. Just e-mail and web-browsing, with my wife using the network to print to the laser printer.

We only have signal problems if we go the 50ft to the bottom of the garden, which is also appreciable lower than the router.

I've no complaints and for the money it has proved excellent. Now my elder daughter is getting BB in her student house and is looking at a wireless network there. I'll let her sort that one out though. (Some hope!)

  expertec 09:38 28 Oct 03

I've got everything I need for a wireless network, I'll post back when I've got it set up.

PS, I didn't choose it, somebody gave it to me ;-)

  PC Advisor. 13:27 28 Oct 03

That's great. Thanks for the feedback. Any more for any more?

  bebobaloobop 13:51 28 Oct 03

had a network set up since last month.
Ntl broadband modem.
Using linksys wireless access point router 802.11b with netgear 802.11b wireless adapters (as they were cheaper and good experience with netgear wired cards).
1 pc using PCI adapter - useless signal.
2 laptops using PCMCIA adapters - excellent signal.
2 pc's using usb adapters - pretty good signal.
1 tinky toy mac using built-in airport - excellent signal.
Using WEP but only 1 of the 4 hexadecimal keys, created from the passcode, is needed to access the network. The point of having 4 keys seems a little pointless.
Using netgear software rather than windows. Fairly easy to setup considering I didn't have a clue what I was doing.
Using Windows 98 on 1 machine and XP on the others. File and printer sharing works fine expect can't work out how to access files on computer using 98.

  bebobaloobop 13:54 28 Oct 03

had a network set up since last month.
Ntl broadband modem.

Using linksys wireless access point router 802.11b with netgear 802.11b wireless adapters (as they were cheaper and good experience with netgear wired cards).

1 pc using PCI adapter - useless signal.
2 laptops using PCMCIA adapters - excellent signal.
2 pc's using usb adapters - pretty good signal. 1 tinky toy mac using built-in airport - excellent signal.

Using WEP but only 1 of the 4 hexadecimal keys, created from the passcode, is needed to access the network. The point of having 4 keys seems a little pointless.
Using netgear software rather than windows.

Fairly easy to setup considering I didn't have a clue what I was doing. Using Windows 98 on 1 machine and XP on the others. File and printer sharing works fine expect can't work out how to access files on computer using 98.

  IanNiblock 14:05 28 Oct 03

I have had a wireless setup for a good few months. Ntl broadband cable modem plugged into a D-Link wireless router (802.11b).

I have 2 Desktops with standard PCI network cards connected to the router using ethernet connections.

There is also a laptop in the house with the new Intel Centrino setup which has excellent connectivity (even in friends houses 60/70m up the road).

I will shortly be setting up a slightly larger network using 2 wireless laptops, 5 wired desktops, an ADSL modem/router a switch and a wireless access point - will let you know how that goes.

  IanNiblock 14:07 28 Oct 03

PS. Forgot to mention - the setup was incredibly simple - easy to follow instructions included with the router, windows 2000 on the desktops and XP on the laptop - all equally simple to set up.

  davidg_richmond 23:22 30 Oct 03

I use a desktop with the Belkin 802.11b USB adapter, and an Advent Centrino laptop using the Intel Pro/Wireless 2100 PCI card.

I've used it for the usual internet pass-through without much bother. Setting it all up was problematic at first as Win98 isn't the easiest operating system to set up a network on. I found it much easier to get all the wireless gear in the Dixons branch I work in talking to each other as they are all on XP.

The most fancy thing I've used the network for was when I taped The Premiership using a tuner card on my desktop, then later watched it back on my laptop from two floors down, accessing the file directly. I also keep only one copy of my MP3 collection - on my laptop so that I can take it all with me - and access it from my desktop so that I can take advantage of the better speakers. I've also printed using the desktop's printer from the laptop.

I've also had difficulty using WEP, but that's through lack of effort really (haven't read the manuals on that). Must sort that out sometime...

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