Creating a Wireless Network (almost a HOWTO)

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Acquiring Apple's AirPort

Why an Apple product? Its one third the price of other Wireless Access Points and I've witnessed it in operation working with the Lucent Orinoco/WaveLan PC cards. It may not have the same range as the other offerings but 150 feet should cover most homes. Note that the 150 foot range is a maximum and that walls and floors will shorten the distance. Also the 150 foot range is the range past which no service is available. In between you can experience anywhere from 11mbs to 1mps as it gracefully degrades its speed in steps.

To buy an AirPort, start in the Apple Store. Click Accessories. Click AirPort, and you should be on the 'Step 2 Choose Your Accessory' page. The AirPort was $299 on May 28, 2000. You will need this bit of extra software to configure the AirPort - KarlNet Configurator (v 3.54) for administration and management of products based on KarlNet's software. The only required setup is to assign an IP address to the AirPort.

An alternate Wireless Network Access Point is available at PC Connection as the PC 178459 UNIVERSAL BUSLINK CORPORATION at $399.95. The advantage over the AirPort is that its stated range is 1000 feet, while Apple claims 150 feet.

Acquiring the Wireless PC Adapters

Here is a full listing of Orinoco (aka WaveLan) products.

Get 1 PC 158782 LUCENT TECHNOLOGIES Orinoco Turbo Silver 11Mbps Wireless PC Card Silver for each computer at $159.95.
The desktops will also each need a PC 172061 LUCENT TECHNOLOGIES PC ORINOCO PCI PC Card Adapter at $64.95 each.

Note: I'm pushing switches over hubs as they are pretty cheap now and will save many headaches because they isolate problems. I'm also pushing 10/100 devices because there are still devices that only interface at 10MBS such as Routers and this AirPort.

Backing off from an all wireless network (ie. save some cash)

You can save a little bit by connecting the AirPort (or alternate Access Point) to a switch or hub such as the LinkSys 10/100BaseTX EtherFast 8-Port Desktop Switch at 139.95, and then wire the nearby PCs to it.

Install in those PCs a LinkSys 10/100 Base T PCI card at $18.95.
I have used this card successfully in my NT, W98 and Linux boxes. It is very easy to set up.

IMPORTANT: If you only intend to connect one PC to the hub/switch, then you can skip the hub/switch and connect the PC to the AirPort using a CAT 5 crossover cable.

Other Sources

I use NecX Direct for most of my mail-order hardware purchases. I think their prices may beat PC Connection. They don't, however, list the wireless hardware yet.

Modem Sharing/Proxy functionality

You will need some sort of sharing software installed on the computer that hosts the modem.

Vicomsoft SurfDoubler at $39 for 3-user version seems to accomplish connection sharing while also supporting more than 1 modem to perform the connection. Windows 98 already supports this feature but perhaps the add-on software adds better control. I do not happen to use SurfDoubler. Referenced articles from PC Magazine and Windows Magazine(defunct) say it is a breeze to set up.

DslReports DslReports is a very useful site for DSL. The DslReports Sharing Software Page has links to Sharing Software. That page got me to "The NAT Page" which devotes itself to listing sources for this type of software.

I use Sybergen Sygate running on my NT4.0 Workstation (with ZoneLabs ZoneAlarm 2.1 for a little extra control -- warns me when internal programs start accessing the internet on their own) for my aDSL PPPoE setup. I suppose Sygate is fine for ordinary dial-up.

I've used Winproxy 3.0 for sharing on ordinary dial-ups (not DSL PPPOE) and static DSL and it was fairly simple.

Wingate seems to be another big player in this market but their current 3.0 product doesn't use Network Address Translation (NAT).

A note from the ZoneLabs website: ZoneAlarm now features MailSafe to stop email-borne Visual Basic Script worms, like the "Love Bug" virus, "dead-in-its-tracks", thwarting its spread, and preventing it from wreaking havoc on your PC.

Using two modems to increase internet access speed

The DIAMOND MULTIMEDIA COMMUNICATIONS DIVSN Supra Sonic II Dual Line Modem at $139.95 is interesting. I'd have to read a review comparing it to using two modems before I endorse it.

Linux as Server

from user submission on dslreports

brand: 2nic linux box 2.2.14 Kernel (mandrake 7) with RP-PPPOE v1.9 and IP MASQ (for forwarding) and IPCHAINS (for firewall). connected to hub and dsl modem.