Setting up a Wireless Network

  bsp41f 12:52 29 Apr 03

Hi there,

I work in a secondary school and have a resonable knowledge of computers.
My boss has asked me to look into what is required to set up a wireless network between his desktop PC and my laptop so that I can utilise the broadband access his computer has. This is a trial setup which may lead to all the teachers with laptops in the department also getting their laptops connected.
Cable networks I'm fine with but wireless is new to me!
Security is not an issue as the school is in the middle of nowhere with grounds all around.

Costs obviously need to be kept low!



  Morpheus © 13:06 29 Apr 03

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  TimC 13:12 29 Apr 03

Without knowing more details it is not possible to give you a definitive solution. There are lots of how to guides on the web - search google for "setting up wireless network"!

Things to consider:
Your first scenario, of just two PCs is relatively simple, but a single Access Point is unlikely to be sufficient for a whole school.
Make your bosses connection wireless as well!
Security - disregard at your peril - a lot of the hacking activity is being carried out by young people/students, you could confine your network only to WLAN cards (NICs) that you have identified.
Don't worry it need not be expensive.
Do consider a combined cable/adsl modem and router, meaning you are not reliant on your boss's PC being switched on for broadband being available - an ethernet access point will just plug into it.

  John-259217 16:48 29 Apr 03

As you ask about a trial setup I would suggest that you purchase a wireless PCMCIA card for the laptop and a wireless USB adapter (or access point, see below) for your bosses computer. This will allow you to try out the system for the lowest cost.

The PCMCIA card will be required whatever setup you eventually decide upon and a use can always be found for the "spare" USB adapter somewhere.

As TimC says a wireless router, possibly combined with a BB modem depending on what you have already, is the way to go for a permanent wireless LAN. One thing you do need to consider is the distance between your bosses PC and your laptop. I find the claimed range of this kit to be a touch optimistic! The above setup works fine in an average house where the distance is unlikely to be more than 50` but if you were hoping to see one side of the school to the other its unlikely!
This is where access points come in. They work as booster stations for the network, independant of the PC`s, unless your school is a very small one you would need these to ensure coverage everywhere. If you have an ethernet LAN already then an access point will add wireless capability to it and make a better trial purchase than the USB adapter mentioned above, although they are more expensive.

Again as TimC says ignore security at your peril!
Its ok just to trial setups without any, but for a serious, constantly on, WLAN setup you must make full use of every possible method. Its possible to use handhelds (Palms etc.) with wireless, so one rogue student could make some very interesting use of the schools BB access or cause havoc with files on other computers. Other hackers also target likely places such as, schools or companies which may use this technology without being aware of all the security implications. It can be as simple as parking a car on the road outside.

  John-259217 16:56 29 Apr 03

Whoops! A rogue comma sneaked in there before "schools or companies". I`d better apologise otherwise graham√ will be after me ;-)

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