Can you set up a home network using a wireless internet modem/router?

by samstephens 30 replies
Hi hardware gurus,

I'm looking at setting up wireless internet in my home office so that my son doesn't hang himself on the cable (he's got a facination with phone cords).

I'm looking at something like this:

Billion Products for SSL VPN, ADSL Modem/Router, Wireless ADSL Router, Powerline ADSL Router and Adapter, VoIP ADSL Modem/Router, Security Router, Broadband Router, SHDSL Bridge/Router, iBusiness Security, ISDN Product

or

Billion Products for SSL VPN, ADSL Modem/Router, Wireless ADSL Router, Powerline ADSL Router and Adapter, VoIP ADSL Modem/Router, Security Router, Broadband Router, SHDSL Bridge/Router, iBusiness Security, ISDN Product


...though I'm not sure what the difference is.

But what I want to do is still be able to access other computers on this network and share printers.


I'm quite new to wireless, so would love to hear your thoughts!

Thanks,
Sam
#main internet marketing discussion forum #home #internet #modem or router #network #set #wireless
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  • Profile picture of the author Dan Grossman
    You're wasting your money on either of them. All you need is a plain ol wireless router, $40 or so, from your local big box electronics store. Plug it into your current modem and you have a wireless network.
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    • Profile picture of the author zeurois
      Originally Posted by Dan Grossman View Post

      You're wasting your money on either of them. All you need is a plain ol wireless router, $40 or so, from your local big box electronics store. Plug it into your current modem and you have a wireless network.

      Agree. That's all you need. A basic router can connect to almost any kind of service.

      I had some problems with my own though ... it's an Edimax and my laptop is a Sony Vaio. Don't know where the problem is, but it seems to keep on disconnecting every 15-30 minutes or so.
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      • Profile picture of the author Richard Tunnah
        I use cable broadband so run a ethernet cable from the cable modem into my wireless router. Works fine. I also agree about Belkin routers. I had one but it kept dropping the signal so swutched to Linksys and works great.

        Rich
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  • Profile picture of the author Johnny Slater
    Sam,

    If your internet connection doesn't have a built in wireless router, just go grab one from whatever type of store is nearby that sells computer equipment for about $40 as stated above. You can then connect the feed from the internet directly into the rounter and can connect several computers directly into the router using standard ethernet cables or use the wireless to connect laptops.

    Once this is done it's pretty simple to get the computers talking to each other. As long as they are all connecting to the router and have the same network settings such as the network name then they should talk to each other.

    The one exception I know of is that XP computers and Vista computers don't automatically connect to each other. The older XP systems wont be able to see the Vista computers even though Vista can see the XP ones.

    There is a simple program you can find from a google search to fix this however. I don't remember the link off hand but a quick search on google should find it for you. I went through this process when I got my laptop about 8 months ago but now both the laptop running Vista and the older desktop running XP are internet connected and networked together using the wireless router.

    There is no need to get expensive hardware or software, and the process is pretty straightforward.
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  • Profile picture of the author GarrieWilson
    Dont get just any old router...

    While they will work, you need to make sure it will be fast enough and provide the security you need/want.

    I use a Linksys WRT110. It supporth N draft which is the fastest possible, consumer grade. It's also backwards compatible.

    Then on the other systems you can get a wireless card/usb OR build a bridge using a gaming box/adapter. I use both.

    If the wireless connection is poor, you can get an electric outlet connection.

    Garrie
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  • Profile picture of the author samstephens
    Thanks everyone!

    The routers I buy wholesale from my supplier, so they're only around $120 or so.

    But if I connect a wireless router into a say a 4port ADSL modem/router, is this just done through a network cable? I assume so, since there really isn't any other way...


    Thanks for the tip on the software to connect XP with Vista, Johnny! I did see this issue, but assumed it was a setup problem on my part. Good to knwo there's a solution


    Garrie, I was checking out USB adapters - I assume there is any speed issues using them? I guess USB is a lot faster than a wireless connection and broadbad connection anyway, so USB wouldn't be the bottleneck.


    cheers
    Sam
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    • Profile picture of the author Andy Fletcher
      Standard Cat5 Ethernet network cable to connect the wireless access point to the router.

      My only advice on make is don't buy Belkin. Pretty much everything they produce is cheap knock off stuff and a lot of the functionality it claims to have doesn't work. Eg a modem/router I had claimed to have MAC address filtering but all it did was store the MAC addresses you entered, it didn't actually apply them.

      I've always had great success with Netgear products personally.
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    • Profile picture of the author GarrieWilson
      Originally Posted by samstephens View Post

      Thanks everyone!
      Garrie, I was checking out USB adapters - I assume there is any speed issues using them? I guess USB is a lot faster than a wireless connection and broadbad connection anyway, so USB wouldn't be the bottleneck.
      If its USB 2.0, it wont be an issue but it uses the wireless part of the router. The connection is just USB. Its easier than installing a PCI card.
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    • Profile picture of the author Dan Grossman
      Originally Posted by samstephens View Post

      The routers I buy wholesale from my supplier, so they're only around $120 or so.
      That's still at least 3 times more than you should be paying to set up a wireless network. I'd also recommend an 802.11g router, not a draft-N. 802.11n is not a standard yet, and most of those "draft-N" products like you linked don't work with other brands of adapters for the computers and don't give any noticeable performance increase over G networks.

      If you find 54mbps too slow, wait until the N standard is finalized and hardware based on the standard becomes available.
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      • Profile picture of the author Karen Keyes
        lol I had a belkin router.. it just died on Friday and thank goodness it did! I went out and bought a Linksys N Ultra Range Plus ($79 Cdn) and a couple Linksys USB adapters and we're lovin' it... Belkin is where most lean to for cheaper price but I'll never go Belkin again.

        The the Linksys N I'm getting between 130-144mbps - not bad considering w/ the belkin I was getting between 5-18mbps!!

        The other thing going with N helps with is if you have to transfer files between computers often so I was told.

        And yes $120 is still way more money spent than is necessary. You could get Linksys G for $50 even... and that's still a great modem. Do some research online and you'll find that places like pcworld and other authority sites list Linksys as preferred/top of the line routers.

        Good luck!
        Karen
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        • Profile picture of the author Quentin
          Hi Sam

          I arrived from Thailand and the house I am in came with bigpond. I simply went out to Harvey Norman and bought a little Belkin wireless access point router with 4 ports. Pluged in the r45 cable from my bigpond modem and wireless access point for our 3 laptops and a hard wire for the desktopm.

          Throw in the dvd and it sets it all up for you.

          Plug the printer into the desktop and share then install on the laptops.

          Thatrs about it

          Quentin
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  • Profile picture of the author KimW
    Linksys (which is owned by Cisco) is the way to go. A wirelsss router, a few wireless usb adapters and ,depending how much you want to spend, a wirelss printer and you should be set for under a few hundred dollars.
    I myself don't have a wireless printer yet because the printers I have still work fine, but when I do need to replace them, I will go with a wireless one, they have gotten very inexpensive.
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    • Profile picture of the author GarrieWilson
      Originally Posted by Dan Grossman View Post

      That's still at least 3 times more than you should be paying to set up a wireless network. I'd also recommend an 802.11g router, not a draft-N. 802.11n is not a standard yet, and most of those "draft-N" products like you linked don't work with other brands of adapters for the computers and don't give any noticeable performance increase over G networks.

      If you find 54mbps too slow, wait until the N standard is finalized and hardware based on the standard becomes available.
      My "draft-N" is runs B and G at the same time as N. It also runs between 120mb and 140mg. Which is great for copying large files.
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      • Profile picture of the author Dan Grossman
        Originally Posted by GarrieWilson View Post

        My "draft-N" is runs B and G at the same time as N. It also runs between 120mb and 140mg. Which is great for copying large files.
        Only theoretically, only when not using WEP or WPA encryption on the network, only when the moon is full... with a router and a couple adapters, you're talking a $xxx premium over g/b. You could fill your gas tank a few times or buy a couple dozen WSOs for that.
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        • Profile picture of the author GarrieWilson
          Originally Posted by Dan Grossman View Post

          Only theoretically, only when not using WEP or WPA encryption on the network, only when the moon is full... with a router and a couple adapters, you're talking a premium over g/b. You could fill your gas tank a few times or buy a couple dozen WSOs for that.
          Would you like to come over and see the speeds? We can make a day of it. You bing the beer and I'll have the speed.

          Yes, the price is higher but worth the investment if you copy lots of big files.
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          • Profile picture of the author zenmn
            If you have a Mac buy "Airport"..... plug it into the wall socket and a couple clicks later --using set up wizard-- you are wireless. I had a Netgear super G before that--nothing but trouble!
            -zenmn
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  • Profile picture of the author Chris Lockwood
    Be sure to turn on the encryption to keep the riff raff off your network.
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  • Profile picture of the author Sami
    Sam

    Two things that hasn't been mentioned here, not much anyway, are:

    1- Range

    In my 18 years of networking and 10+ years of wireless networking, I have found Netgear equipment to have consistently the best and most reliable range. Netgear are a world class US company who are usually well ahead of the game.

    By best I mean longest distance coverage. And by reliability ... well, many vendors claim long distances but they only mean uninterrupted clear line of sight distances AND they only mean a (short term) connection over that distance.

    But they do suffer regular "drop out" as they can't maintain connection over those distances. Netgear has been superb in my experience.

    2- Support

    Many vendors have 9am - 6pm or similar support hours. Netgear have 24x7. And they will patiently guide you thru every little set up stage.

    That guidance is especially important if you're connecting multiple devices i.e. a wireless router to a gateway modem or wired router etc.

    It sounds like cost is not a major issue to you, so for reliability and simplicity I recommend a combo, broadband gateway/wireless router so you have less wiring and set up issues.

    AND YES, after 8 years of nothing but sterling service day and night from very polite and patient Netgear staff, I am a huge fan. I cannot say the same for many other companies.

    Sami
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  • Profile picture of the author samstephens
    Thanks for all the feedback - I used to be right into hardware, but it's all passed me by recently, as I've concentrated on software. I feel like a newbie all over again



    Hi Sami,

    It sounds like cost is not a major issue to you,
    I don't like to overpay, but I also don't like to underpay. I don't mind spending a couple of hundred dollars to set up something like this, since my whole business relies on it.


    I once bought an grill for $30, when the others were selling for around $100. I thought, bargain! I was so stoked with my purchase I also bought a bunch of things and made this really nice mint yougurt dipping sauce for it.

    I got the grill home, cranked it up, and it took about 45 minutes to cook some lamb chops to a nice chewy and rubbery consistancy. The grill had a thermostat, that even on the highest setting would get to a "cooking temperature", then switch itself off. When the grill was cool enough to freze liquid nitrogen, it'd switch itself on again.

    So while I don't mind rolling the dice when it comes to cheap cooking applicances, when it comes to setting up what amounts to the backbone of my business, I'd rather spend a bit extra and know that tomorrow it's going to still be working


    I've heard good things about NetGear. Billion seems to be an equal here in Aus, though I don't think Billion is sold much around the world - it's more Asian and Pacific areas, though I may be wrong.

    I'll check out some NetGear stuff, and see what I can find!


    Thanks again, everyone, I really appreciate your help!

    cheers
    Sam
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    • Profile picture of the author imvideos
      Just wanted to say about network security here....

      Please, please make sure the router you buy has either wpa or wpa2 encryption. I know for a fact that wep encryption is used alot in the states and it takes me about 5 seconds to crack a wep key, no matter how long it is or how hard to guess you try to make it. Wpa or wpa2 is so much harder to crack, even for hacking pro's. If you were to get a wep encrypted router, a hacker will be able to hack into your network, your printer and your computer to get sensitive data that you send over the newtork, like credit card and bank details.
      When you go to purchase your router, just ask the store person to recommend a good router that has either wpa or wpa2 encryption.
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    • Profile picture of the author Sami
      Originally Posted by samstephens View Post


      ...freeze liquid nitrogen...

      cheers
      Sam
      Big LOL Sam

      No I gave up going for "cheap" many years ago for similar reasons as you.

      Price is only a consideration once I am satisfied with all other key parameters.

      By the way the Netgear site has some fabulous diagrams to show various configurations for any application - domestic set up, office, various custom arrangements. Good for learning what's best for your requirements and then (of course) selecting the right device(s).

      Good luck
      Sami
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  • Profile picture of the author samstephens
    Hey thanks for the tip, imvideos!

    I've heard you can get software to break a WEP key (is it just bruteforce, or something trickier?)

    The modems/routers I've been looking at offer both WPA and WPA2, so that'll let me sleep better

    cheers
    Sam
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    • Profile picture of the author imvideos
      Originally Posted by samstephens View Post

      Hey thanks for the tip, imvideos!

      I've heard you can get software to break a WEP key (is it just bruteforce, or something trickier?)

      The modems/routers I've been looking at offer both WPA and WPA2, so that'll let me sleep better

      cheers
      Sam
      A simple piece of software does the trick, it is brute force attacks but done by guessing the hash key of the passphrase that is set up and not the passphrase itself, so it is so much faster. Anyways, glad to hear your getting the wpa router.

      Stevie
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  • Profile picture of the author Bishop81
    Here's my favorite router:
    Newegg.com - ASUS WL-520gU IEEE 802.3/3u/3x, IEEE 802.11b/g Wireless Router - Wireless Routers

    Runs like a champ, also has a USB port so you can plug in a printer and share it wirelessly. Much better than the comparable linksys that you'll find out there.
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  • Profile picture of the author samstephens
    Thanks everyone for your help!

    I just bought a 802.11b/g/n modem/router/firewall, so waiting patienly for the courier to drop it off.

    Just bought another 2 gig of ram while I was at it - prices on ram are CHEAP right now!


    Price is only a consideration once I am satisfied with all other key parameters.
    I agree, Sami! Especially when the product is so important to running a smooth business.

    When I was about 18ish I had a boss that tried to cut costs at every possible corner. He had us take standard telephone cable (that he bought for a bargain), add network connectors to the end of them, and make our own network cables.

    Suffice to say the network connections were slow, unreliable, and it cost him a fortune in man-hours to pay us to keep fixing them when they broke.

    He taught me a lot of good lessons...unfortunatly he didn't mean to



    Bishop, that USB is a brilliant idea! I wish I knew that existed a few hours ago

    cheers
    Sam
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    • Profile picture of the author seasoned
      Originally Posted by samstephens View Post

      When I was about 18ish I had a boss that tried to cut costs at every possible corner. He had us take standard telephone cable (that he bought for a bargain), add network connectors to the end of them, and make our own network cables.
      MAN, that was an OLD trick! The problem is the wire isn't the same quality, and the turns aren't as good, so you get a LOT of cross talk, which means a SLOW connection, erratic connection, etc.... It is like those that put pennies in the fuse box for fuses. Pennys "work", but allow your place to burn down, etc....

      Luckily, MOST cheap equipment today is still decent, and the price of most cables has dropped a LOT! CHEAP cables used to cost what the premium designer ones cost now! And TODAY it is driven mainly by name and type. It USED to be driven ONLY by LENGTH! One twice as long cost nearly twice as much.

      STEVE
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      • Profile picture of the author Karen Keyes
        Originally Posted by seasoned View Post

        MAN, that was an OLD trick! The problem is the wire isn't the same quality, and the turns aren't as good, so you get a LOT of cross talk, which means a SLOW connection, erratic connection, etc.... It is like those that put pennies in the fuse box for fuses. Pennys "work", but allow your place to burn down, etc....

        Luckily, MOST cheap equipment today is still decent, and the price of most cables has dropped a LOT! CHEAP cables used to cost what the premium designer ones cost now! And TODAY it is driven mainly by name and type. It USED to be driven ONLY by LENGTH! One twice as long cost nearly twice as much.

        STEVE
        Yep cables have definitely come down in price. Just bought a 50 foot one last night and paid $39.99 CDN. It's cat 6 w/ gold plated contacts. Pretty much typical run-of-the-mill cable.

        Karen
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  • Profile picture of the author GarrieWilson
    What brand did you get and did you forget the nic cards?
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  • Profile picture of the author samstephens
    What brand did you get and did you forget the nic cards?
    I ended up getting a Billion, which is the brand my wholesaler carries.

    I checked a bunch of local computer shops, but none of them had 11n, they were all 11g.

    I got USB adapters with them, which is all Billion sell. I'm a little nervous about their coverage, but apparently 11n has much better coverage anyway, so hopefully it won't be a problem.

    Fingers crossed.




    Hi Steve!

    Wow, I can't believe other people did it too! I thought it was just my boss

    We found a lot of that - really bad data rates due to dropped or corrupted packets.

    The biggest problem was actually a physical one - the shape of the phone cable (flat and quite hard) didn't crimpy properly, and so the connectors didn't fit terribly well.


    I remember when network cables cost a fortune. I'm sure before my IT days they were even more expensive.

    Now you can get something reasonable for a few bucks...

    cheers
    Sam
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