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Old 10-08-2003, 06:16 PM   #1 (permalink)
B3yond!
 
Location: MI
Wireless AP

I am considering going wireless between two buildings but have never actually played with wireless before.

Can anyone here share their experiences or preferences on which equipment I should buy?

I'm not looking to set up anything large but something that will work between two buildings across a street.

Thanks.
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Old 10-08-2003, 06:34 PM   #2 (permalink)
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For starters, check out the thread "Wireless 101" I posted a few weeks back. http://www.tfproject.org/tfp/showthr...t=wireless+101

A couple of questions will help us give you the best advice.

1) Do you have 'line of sight' between the two buildings?
2) How far apart are the buildings?
3) Do you want to connect two seperate LANs, or create one "wireless network" between the buildings?
4) Are you going to use the WLAN for gaming, broadband internet, simple file sharing etc?
5) What is your budget?

My personal recommendation is for Linksys, if for no other reason that it is highly rated, supports WPA (the latest and currently unbroken wireless security standard) and is very easy to setup.

Of course, if you have the cash, go out and buy some Cisco Aironet stuff instead!

Mr Mephisto
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Old 10-08-2003, 06:48 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Location: Winston-Salem, NC
Wireless in general works much better than it did say 3-5 years ago, but it still has issues. It's incredibly sensitive to equipment on the same frequency (phones, microwaves) and sometimes you just get a plain shitty connection. But overall, it's simply amazing when you get it working. I've found that Linksys products work the best, even better than Netgear. Netgear is still the best for wired, though.

My girlfriend has her laptop connected to the wireless network at her house and maintains a damn good connection through their DSL router downstairs. She can download at 150 kilobytes per second over wireless. Like I said, if you can get a clear path without a lot of frequency bombardments, then it's as simple as choosing 802.11a/b/g, depending on the length of the connection, and what it will be used for.

-Lasereth
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Old 10-08-2003, 07:45 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Line of sight is tricky during the fall and winter months... sometimes the foliage comes back and it kills your connection.

there's lots of solutions for wireless between buildings,If it's just a few machines that have to log on then an access point will do. But if you are talking about real networking usage, subnets and all, then the real solutions like microwave, laser, radio, are all available, just expensive.

If you are talking about just trying to share bandwidth from one friend to another you may want to try using something like a www.cantenna.com to focus the signal and get further distances.

IMHO, wire is usually the cheapest and best way, if you can just run CAT5 over to the other house, going across the street is going to be a problem.
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Old 10-08-2003, 08:20 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Well, speaking from extensive personal and professional experience (I lead a global wireless architecture team for a very large IT multi-national), I would say that wireless is perfect for certain situations.

I think it's patently obvious that you can't simply string CAT5 cable across the street! Otherwise, our esteemed colleage would no doubt have thought of this.

Setting up a WLAN to cover two houses is both cheap and easy. It just takes a little thought.

And, for the record, trees & foilage will not adversely affect a "normal" WLAN to any significant degree. This only really happens when you start getting physical obstructions in the "fresnel zone" of a point to point wireless link. Quite a different thing from a wireless LAN.

Mr Mephisto

Last edited by Mephisto2; 10-08-2003 at 08:22 PM..
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Old 10-08-2003, 11:59 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Mr Mephisto
For starters, check out the thread "Wireless 101" I posted a few weeks back. http://www.tfproject.org/tfp/showthr...t=wireless+101

A couple of questions will help us give you the best advice.

1) Do you have 'line of sight' between the two buildings?
2) How far apart are the buildings?
3) Do you want to connect two seperate LANs, or create one "wireless network" between the buildings?
4) Are you going to use the WLAN for gaming, broadband internet, simple file sharing etc?
5) What is your budget?

My personal recommendation is for Linksys, if for no other reason that it is highly rated, supports WPA (the latest and currently unbroken wireless security standard) and is very easy to setup.

Of course, if you have the cash, go out and buy some Cisco Aironet stuff instead!

Mr Mephisto
Linksys is utter CRAP. Many linksys drivers are broken, and crash when you try to install them. Thier APs cannot handle any sort of load and there are MANY memory leaks and bugs in the firmware. I do not know what you sohuld use, but stay the hell away from linksys. I know that Proxim/Orinoco PCMCIA cards are good, so you may have luck with thier access points, but I have not used them. I've found D-Link's access points are decent, but still have load problems, as many of them are the same hardware as linksys products with diffren firmware.

I share wireless access with the people next door with a D-Link DWL-900AP+ and a Linksys WAP11 v2.2 running firmware from D-Link for the DWL-900AP+. It works ok, but the Linksys unit next door has problems, and will stop working after a few days if not rebooted nightly. My D-Link AP only needs a reboot every few months.

Some of D-Links PCMCIA cards are crap, in particular, stay away from the DWL-650+. It has SERIOUS range issues.

You will need external antennas to cross the street, most likely. Shop around, the ones that the vendor offers are usualy a ripoff.
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Old 10-09-2003, 05:23 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by yotta
Linksys is utter CRAP. Many linksys drivers are broken, and crash when you try to install them. Thier APs cannot handle any sort of load and there are MANY memory leaks and bugs in the firmware. I do not know what you sohuld use, but stay the hell away from linksys.
Well, I'm afraid I couldn't disagree with you more.

Linksys are the world's number 1 brand for wireless equipment (SoHo market). They've won numerous awards.

I've used them extensively. I continue to use them extensively. It's also my job to design, deploy and support wireless networks, so I suspect I probably have a bit more experience in this area that the typical board-member.

Furthermore, with their recent purchase by Cisco, you can only look forward to even more features etc.

You're honestly the first person I have ever come across that has had such bad experience with Linksys. Their support, documentation etc is superb.

Anyway, different people, different opinions.


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Old 10-09-2003, 06:28 AM   #8 (permalink)
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i'm with meph on the linksys... i have a linksys cable router and an SMC Barricade... and I've switched back and forth between the two. the linksys by far is much more flexible in it's configuration and ease of use.
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Old 10-09-2003, 07:29 AM   #9 (permalink)
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i'm with meph too. linksys rocks. their tech support guys are a bit dumb, but i'm with linksys all the way. i set up networks for small businesses and all we use are linksys. never had a problem with firmware or anything.

plus like meph stated, cisco just bought them, that's great, even better quality now

only thing i don't like about them is the fact that they are built so much for just placing on top of a desk and stacking them, that you can't mount them if your life depended on it. unless you drill a hole through the four legs of course, but i think that would void the warranty.
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Old 10-10-2003, 09:08 AM   #10 (permalink)
B3yond!
 
Location: MI
I put my reply inside of the quote so hopefully my responces are readable.

Thanks for all of the responces so far.

Also sorry for not getting back to everybody else's repsonces right away. I have to go across the street to check email and I don't get a chance to do that every day

Quote:
Originally posted by Mr Mephisto

For starters, check out the thread "Wireless 101" I posted a few weeks back. http://www.tfproject.org/tfp/showthr...t=wireless+101

I had read through that posting the other night....very good stuff but nothing regarding one brand over another.

A couple of questions will help us give you the best advice.

1) Do you have 'line of sight' between the two buildings?

Yes

2) How far apart are the buildings?
Approximately 150-200 feet apart.

3) Do you want to connect two seperate LANs, or create one "wireless network" between the buildings?
4) Are you going to use the WLAN for gaming, broadband internet, simple file sharing etc?

Connect two small LANs for a little bit of all three in #4.

5) What is your budget?
Depends....would I be better off going with .g over .b due to the distance between the two buildings. Personally I want to go with g but the other party involved seems to be content with b. I'm just concerned that by going with b our transfer rate isn't going to be as good as using g.

My personal recommendation is for Linksys, if for no other reason that it is highly rated, supports WPA (the latest and currently unbroken wireless security standard) and is very easy to setup.

Of course, if you have the cash, go out and buy some Cisco Aironet stuff instead!

Mr Mephisto
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Last edited by Bonesaw; 10-10-2003 at 09:13 AM..
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Old 10-10-2003, 09:19 AM   #11 (permalink)
B3yond!
 
Location: MI
Quote:
Originally posted by Mr Mephisto
I think it's patently obvious that you can't simply string CAT5 cable across the street! Otherwise, our esteemed colleage would no doubt have thought of this.

Mr Mephisto
Actually if I was going to string anything across the street I would prefer to run Fiber but something tells me that the city I live in wouldn't allow me to dig a trench across the street

I'm certified in fiber installation and that would be a fun exercise, however highly impractical.
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Old 10-22-2003, 05:59 PM   #12 (permalink)
B3yond!
 
Location: MI
In case anyone is interested. I ended up getting a pair of Linksys WAP54G access points. Setup was smooth. The only snag was reconfiguring our two networks to work seemlessly together.

Download speeds are acceptable!
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Old 10-23-2003, 02:56 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Mr Mephisto
Well, I'm afraid I couldn't disagree with you more.

Linksys are the world's number 1 brand for wireless equipment (SoHo market). They've won numerous awards.

I've used them extensively. I continue to use them extensively. It's also my job to design, deploy and support wireless networks, so I suspect I probably have a bit more experience in this area that the typical board-member.

Furthermore, with their recent purchase by Cisco, you can only look forward to even more features etc.

You're honestly the first person I have ever come across that has had such bad experience with Linksys. Their support, documentation etc is superb.

Anyway, different people, different opinions.


Mr Mephisto
I work for a wireless ISP. The managemnet decided we could offer internet service at an apartment complex with linksys gear.... Big freaking mistake.

Heres just a few problems with linksys stuff I've had.... WAP11 v1.1 bridging crashed frequently, had to be rebooted every day. WAP11 v2.2 Flat out crashes under extened heavy use. Only the AP mode really works properly. Problems were reduced by loading D-Link firmware on it. Some Linksys AP/Router combos, forget the model number... More load related crashes. I've even had one of thier switches crash.

There have been several driver releases for thier WUSB11 that crash or don't work, wehn installed on a clean windows XP system that is patched up to date. Even if the driver installed, the management software crashed when you tried to open it. This happened on several computers.

Thier WAP11 v2.6 has about half the output power of older WAP11s, but costs the same. They now sell a "Siganal Booster" for those access points. Hmmmmmm....

Linksys wireless gear is consumer grade, and is mostly fine for home users, but you will regret it if you use it for a mission critical applications.

You should also know that most SoHo hardware is just Rebranded from OEM hardware, with customized firmware and drivers.

I can give examples, if anyone is interested.

Thier quality may have improved, I don't know.

If i sound bitter, it's because I am. Thier crappy access points have given me a lot of head aches.

Look on the DSLreports fourms to read more about linksys problems.
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Old 10-23-2003, 04:37 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Well, with all due respect, if you're an ISP (ie a commerical business) running a wireless solution on equipment that is BRANDED, MARKETED and SOLD as home wireless gear, then I have very little sympathy for you.

You shouldn't run a business reselling services on equipment meant for home networks.

Buy Cisco for that (and yes, I am biased).


Mr Mephisto
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Old 10-23-2003, 06:56 PM   #15 (permalink)
B3yond!
 
Location: MI
Quote:
Originally posted by Mr Mephisto
Well, with all due respect, if you're an ISP (ie a commerical business) running a wireless solution on equipment that is BRANDED, MARKETED and SOLD as home wireless gear, then I have very little sympathy for you.
What's the company name? "Hey buddy, wanna surf the net?"
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Old 10-26-2003, 02:32 PM   #16 (permalink)
Junkie
 
Erm...

What?
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Old 10-26-2003, 06:32 PM   #17 (permalink)
B3yond!
 
Location: MI
stupid joke.

Kinda like when you go by a car or truck you don't just go down to Bob's, "Hey you wanna buy a truck?" Emporium

Nevermind
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Old 10-26-2003, 10:46 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Mr Mephisto
Well, with all due respect, if you're an ISP (ie a commerical business) running a wireless solution on equipment that is BRANDED, MARKETED and SOLD as home wireless gear, then I have very little sympathy for you.
Wasn't my idea to use it.

Quote:

You shouldn't run a business reselling services on equipment meant for home networks.
I aggree 100%. This is why I spoke up. I somehow got the idea in my head that he was going to be using it for a commercial application. Someone must have slipped something weird in my water....

Quote:

Buy Cisco for that (and yes, I am biased).


Mr Mephisto
We are using Cisco gear now (Cisco Aironet 1220s). We can pretty much leave it alone, and it works great. Does not crash. I don't run the business, and I am not responsible for the decision to try using consumer grade stuff. I'm just pissed off at linksys because I had to maintain the linksys gear for a few months untill I managed to convince my boss to get cisco gear.
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Last edited by yotta; 10-26-2003 at 10:50 PM..
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Old 10-27-2003, 08:55 PM   #19 (permalink)
Junkie
 
Did you know that Cisco own Linksys now?



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Old 10-28-2003, 08:46 PM   #20 (permalink)
B3yond!
 
Location: MI
Quote:
Originally posted by Mr Mephisto
Did you know that Cisco own Linksys now?



Mr Mephisto
it's funny that you mention that....i was aware of it from their website before i purchased anything and when i was buying the WAP54G one box (using firmware 1.08) showed that Linksys was owned by Cisco and the second box (firmware 1.06) didn't.
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Old 10-28-2003, 11:11 PM   #21 (permalink)
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heres a good idea.

buy a linksys wireless access point and a linksys wireless signal booster. it works great and can go through walls. its great.
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Old 10-29-2003, 09:04 PM   #22 (permalink)
Junkie
 
Quote:
Originally posted by Bonesaw
it's funny that you mention that....i was aware of it from their website before i purchased anything and when i was buying the WAP54G one box (using firmware 1.08) showed that Linksys was owned by Cisco and the second box (firmware 1.06) didn't.
That's probably due to stock manufactured before the purchase.

I've never had any problems with Linksys equipment or support. But if anything, it should be improving from now on.

Mr Mephisto
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Old 10-31-2003, 12:28 PM   #23 (permalink)
Irresponsible
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by Mr Mephisto
Did you know that Cisco own Linksys now?



Mr Mephisto
Yes, I knew that.

BTW, I wanted to apoligize to you guys for using this thread to vent some work-related rage.
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Last edited by yotta; 10-31-2003 at 12:31 PM..
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Old 11-02-2003, 04:35 PM   #24 (permalink)
Junkie
 
Heh...

No problem. If you're still have difficulty getting some help on Linksys kit, drop me a line. I just might be able to help you out...

Mr Mephisto
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Old 11-03-2003, 11:07 PM   #25 (permalink)
Insane
 
Location: SLC, UT
it's all about cisco aironet ap's

i have used them before and they have by far the best range. i have a linksys 802.11b router and it does the job. range is kinda poop but you can have it forward port ranges unlike some soho routers. woot
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Old 11-04-2003, 12:58 AM   #26 (permalink)
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Location: Vancouver, Canada
Hey... new here.

While this isn't 100% ontopic, iI just wanted to mention a few things related to security.

1. The linksys default login/password to the router is Admin/Admin - make sure to change it, or you're going to have wardrivers stealing bandwidth from your connection.

2. Use at least a 128-bit WEP, same use as above.

3. Password any shared folders - they're the #1 access point of hackers into anything, especially WLANs.

Guess that's about it.

- Shadow
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Old 11-04-2003, 08:18 PM   #27 (permalink)
Junkie
 
Shadowz,

All good advice.

You should also do the following:

1) Enable WPA (WiFi Protected Access) if your AP supports it. I know Linksys do with their .11g products and it will be coming out soon for their .11b products.

2) Change the default SSID

3) Turn off SSID broadcast

4) Enable MAC address filtering

5) Turn down transmit power to that required only to cover your room/apartment


Mr Mephisto
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