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Anyone using wireless networking?

Old 10-16-01, 04:37 PM
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Anyone using wireless networking?

The boss would like for me to find out the ins and outs of wireless networking... cost, range, stability. Anyone here familiar with the currently available products?
Old 10-16-01, 05:20 PM
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Yes.
Old 10-16-01, 05:23 PM
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Well, I've been using it for about two years now, but it's at home so it's not the most sophisticated setup. If you do searches using 802.11b, wireless ethernet, and WECA Wi-Fi as keywords, you should turn up lots of general information about the technology. There are some older and proprietary wireless technologies, but the standard that's really mainstream now is 802.11b.

It's sort of hard to comment on cost, range, and stability without knowing more specifics about your requirements. The technology is fairly mature now so that drivers are solid, interoperability within WECA certified products is excellent, and prices are very reasonable for products in the SOHO category.

There are lots of little issues that users need to be aware of before deploying a wireless network in a business environment. For example, one minor concern is that 802.11b shares the same 2.4 GHz unlicensed frequency range as many other wireless devices including BlueTooth. So, depending on what other wireless devices may be in use, you could experience interference problems.
Old 10-16-01, 06:08 PM
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Ask and ye shall receive.

Dave
Originally posted by X
Yes.
Old 10-16-01, 11:38 PM
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Originally posted by X
Yes.

With all the out of work comedians due to the poor economy, I get stuck with you!

Now, belboz has set a great example on how to help out an Otter in need... I would really appreciate it if you would do the same. And, hey, didn't I help you out by taking care of a little issue for you last week? This is the least you could do in return!
Old 10-16-01, 11:54 PM
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Originally posted by Dead

With all the out of work comedians due to the poor economy, I get stuck with you!

Now, belboz has set a great example on how to help out an Otter in need... I would really appreciate it if you would do the same. And, hey, didn't I help you out by taking care of a little issue for you last week? This is the least you could do in return!
Blah, blah, blah.

You hardly gave any information as to what you require. Range? Number of wireless computers? Security/encryption level? RF environment?

There are industrial strength solutions and consumer/small business type ones. Expensive ones, and cheap ones. Highly manageable ones, and ones that provide the bare minimum.

What are you looking for? If it's something mainstream, there have been several reviews by PC Magazine and eWeek.

I would suggest you check out Cisco's Aironet products as a general reference to a decent one. http://www.cisco.com/warp/public/44/jump/wireless.shtml
Old 10-17-01, 09:38 AM
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Originally posted by X
Blah, blah, blah.

You hardly gave any information as to what you require. Range? Number of wireless computers? Security/encryption level? RF environment?

There are industrial strength solutions and consumer/small business type ones. Expensive ones, and cheap ones. Highly manageable ones, and ones that provide the bare minimum.

What are you looking for? If it's something mainstream, there have been several reviews by PC Magazine and eWeek.

I would suggest you check out Cisco's Aironet products as a general reference to a decent one. http://www.cisco.com/warp/public/44/jump/wireless.shtml

The building is about 250' long and has a total of four floors, each with 15' ceilings... this is fairly hearty construction, wall range from 2' thick down to 6" (most all are brick/masonry). The boss thinks we can put a transmitter/reciever in a first floor corner office and handle connections to the opposite end of the building on the top floor.

At this point, we would only be dealing with a handfull of computers... the future would likely not go over 100.

Security concerns are always present, but in the anticipated environment not extreme... we ain't building top secret military devices. Right now, it's well within reality that most anyone could walk in and hijack a port in the building anyway. So, while we don't want to make things worse, I'm not sure that we could if we tried.

RF envirnoment... if you're asking about current use of RF equipment, I don't know of any right off.
Old 10-17-01, 06:57 PM
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Yo, X, I'm waiting for some help here!
Old 10-17-01, 07:31 PM
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Originally posted by Dead
Yo, X, I'm waiting for some help here!
Ok, ok, nag, nag, nag.

First, tell your boss he's an idiot!

You will probably need an access point on each floor and probably placed in the center of each floor because the range is only about 100' and maybe only 50' through floors and thick walls.. They can all hook into the same LAN so you'll need a connection in the center of each floor. You'll get 11 Mbps under ideal conditions, less (all the way down to 1 Mbps) the weaker the signal (farther away from the access point).

I'm not sure all brands can hand off to each other if a notebook user is on one floor and goes to another while using it. Cisco can handle this transparently to the user, but that probably won't happen much.

I think you're fine with the number of computers. You can always add more access points if necessary.

I like security. You can get 40, 64, or 128-bit encryption depending on the brand. Go for the higher level, the lower level is weak and has been compromised. However higher encryption cards cost a bit more and may be slower in performance due to the encryption overhead. Cisco's does not slow down due to the encryption level.

Your environment sounds fine. But you could run into trouble if you have many 2.4 GHz portable phones in the office.

Anything else I can do for you?
Old 10-17-01, 11:44 PM
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Originally posted by X
Ok, ok, nag, nag, nag.

First, tell your boss he's an idiot!
Well, that would be one way to get out of having to worry about this.


You will probably need an access point on each floor and probably placed in the center of each floor because the range is only about 100' and maybe only 50' through floors and thick walls.. They can all hook into the same LAN so you'll need a connection in the center of each floor. You'll get 11 Mbps under ideal conditions, less (all the way down to 1 Mbps) the weaker the signal (farther away from the access point).

Anything else I can do for you?
One more thing right off, you can tell me what constitutes an "access point"? I've seen the devices themselves, but I'm not sure if they just plug into the network or if they have to be connected to a computer. If the latter is the case are these dedicated systems or could I just throw them on users workstations. If it's the first, then it wouldn't be any problem... I could make the second work, but it would require more social engineering.
Old 10-18-01, 12:05 AM
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Originally posted by Dead

One more thing right off, you can tell me what constitutes an "access point"? I've seen the devices themselves, but I'm not sure if they just plug into the network or if they have to be connected to a computer. If the latter is the case are these dedicated systems or could I just throw them on users workstations. If it's the first, then it wouldn't be any problem... I could make the second work, but it would require more social engineering.
The access point is like a router with an antenna or two. It plugs right into the regular ethernet LAN and broadcasts out to multiple receiving cards in notebooks and desktops. It's just a box that you stick somewhere in the middle of all the users. If the range isn't good enough to reach all users you can get repeaters that work as receiver/transmitters.

Generally you have to get the same CardBus card for both types of computers and an additional PCI adapter card for the wireless card to plug into for the desktop. The desktop user pretty much doesn't know it's there 'cause it's sticking out the back of the computer. The notebook user will see maybe a 1" extension of the card sticking out. Some cards may have antennas, I haven't used any that do -- it's built into the card in the part that sticks out.
Old 10-18-01, 03:29 PM
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belboz & X... thanks for the assistance. I've passed on all of this and more to the boss and he's going to see about getting us some of the basics to start testing.
Old 10-18-01, 06:34 PM
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Tons of reviews of the consumer based stuff.
They also test speeds in different locations in different enviornments.

http://www.practicallynetworked.com/...t_wireless.htm

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