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Questions about wireless networking

Old 12-27-03, 11:25 AM
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Questions about wireless networking

I was recently given a Dell Inspiron 300m notebook at work. It came with a built-in 802.11b wireless modem. I wasn't really thinking about purchasing a router (I have DSL at home), but when I saw one for 29.99 (after rebate) at best buy, I picked it up. (It's the 802.11b D-Link Air 2.4GHz Wireless Router Model: DI-514.)

I had no trouble setting it up, and the performance is pretty decent. But, before I send in my rebates, I was thinking about upgrading to a better model--if it's worth it. Questions:

(1) What, if anything makes one 802.11 router better than another? I compared some statistics, but couldn't really tell.

(2) What about Extreme G, which advertises "up to 54 Mbps data transfer rates almost 5 times that of standard 802.11b rates.?"

(3) Although the model I'm looking at (the D-Link AirPlus 2.4GHz Xtreme G Wireless Router with 4-Port Switch Model: DI-624) is 802.11b compatible, am I correct in assuming that I can't take advantage of the increased speed unless I upgrade to a 802.11g card in my laptop.

Thanks for any help you can offer.
Old 12-27-03, 12:57 PM
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Re: Questions about wireless networking

First, congratulations on the 300m. I got a 600m (for the larger screen) and couldn't be happier. To answer your questions:

1. There used to be differences with stability, ease of set up and compatibility, and security protection, but I don't think they are issues anymore, especially in the 801.11b market which is very mature by now.

2. I thought ExtremeG was 108 Mbps while basic g is 54 Mbps, but I could be wrong. It doesn't matter anyhow. The limiter is still your line, even if it's DSL. 801.11b or g makes no difference at home in terms of speed (maybe distance but I'm not sure of that). That said, I went out and got myself 802.11g because the cost difference is getting so small anyway. Plus, it's a guy thing. You just want more and better because it's there.

3. Yes in theory. In practice, your DSL limits you.
Old 12-27-03, 03:26 PM
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Just to add a little to what kuroiinu said,

What are you using in your 300m for wireless? I'm 99% sure that to get the "tubo" or "extreme" of these you units, you have to use that brand (and specific models) in each of your pieces. While the turbo or extreme stuff is "compatible" with others, it will not be turbo or extreme.

If you are mainly using this wireless set up for net surfing, then b is more then enough. You will never "go faster" then what your cable or DSL will allow (which is generally in the 1-2mps range). So with b being 11mps, even accounting for distance, walls, you will likely be going faster then DSL can deliver the information.

If you do a lot of transfer of large files from computer to computer wirelessly, then g or one of the other options may be worth while.

Oh, I also have a 600m which I love. And I didn't bother with the upgrade to a g card as I knew most of my stuff would be net surfing. Very happy with the b card.
Old 12-29-03, 08:56 AM
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Thanks for the (money saving) responses.

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