802.11b vs. 802.11a --- Is "a" worth the extra money?

By svtcobra
Mar 28, 2002
  1. I am finally going wireless after alot of talk about it and I need to know if its worth the extra $300 or so to go 802.11a instead of 802.11b. I am moving into a 3 floor house and I will need access from top to bottom. Im swaying towards "a" but I need to know if its worth the extra money..
  2. svtcobra

    svtcobra TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 761

    Well, I just ordered the complete Linksys setup with the 4 Port Wireless Router and the wireless pcmcia nic adapter. Its all 802.11b. Amazon had a sweet deal going..I paid 215.00 shipped for everything. About 4 months ago a friend of mine paid 299.00 for just the router!

    Prices are coming down quick on this stuff..802.11a is available but the only one I could find is the Proxim brand which is supposed to be really good. It would have cost me around 500.00 for the complete setup..Thanks anyways.
  3. Prelapsarian

    Prelapsarian TS Rookie

    I didn't know A was available yet. I'll likely be getting a wireless LAN at some point in the future and the faster A standard seems the way to go.

    I did install a LinkSys wireless LAN for someone. Laptop, desktop, and 4 port router attached to cable modem and main desktop. It's the B standard of course...

    I'm under the impression that A won't be commonly available 'til at least the summer, which might be why you only found one product at $500.
  4. svtcobra

    svtcobra TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 761

    How did the install go? What were your impressions of the setup?I really wanted to wait for A but Im to impatient. Im sick of being limited to the 15 foot Cable I have running from my router to my notebook...
  5. Elcarion

    Elcarion TechSpot Paladin Posts: 169

    I think you made a good choice going with B considering the price difference. Any wireless networking gear I buy today I consider temporary until a wireless standard with decent security comes out. Check out the following for more info on security: . The article entitled "Exploiting and Protecting 802.11b Wireless Networks" is a good starting point.
  6. Prelapsarian

    Prelapsarian TS Rookie

    The install was good and bad. Good that everything installed and most of the documentation was clear. The bad was that it was a pain in the arse to get the drivers installed on the laptop and desktop upstairs. For some reason the CD with everything on it was the one I had to use? Not the individual CDs that came with each NIC. Weird...

    Signal strength was good. It worked like a charm. I dunno how ready it is for home use yet though, some of the default settings aren't the best, and forcing to change the default password might be a good idea too.
  7. svtcobra

    svtcobra TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 761

    Thanks for the link is an issue with these wireless devices right now. I am glad I went with B for less money..I probably will be using A someday but it seems that B will be good enough for now.
  8. svtcobra

    svtcobra TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 761

    Thanks for the advice Prelapsarian, I think that a majority of the drivers have to be d'loaded from Linksys for Win XP unless they have changed the drivers cd to include the XP software. Thankfully, I am putting it on a laptop and a desktop so if I have to share a install CD it wont be that bad.
  9. svtcobra

    svtcobra TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 761

    Wow...this is awesome!!! I received everything today from All I had to do was install the nic card into the laptop and setup up the router and I was through..It literally took me 15 minutes.It took longer to place the router and run the wires then it did to configure everything.

    I have to say that I am very impressed but the range and signal quality. My whole apartment is covered 100% so I have free reign. I just hope that when I move into my new house in June, the signal strength is still strong in all rooms around the house.

    My preliminary opinion is that this is an excellent investment if you have a laptop..I would recommend it to anyone. The price is right to..

    Well, I just thought I'd let you know that everything has turned out well with my wireless endeavor.
  10. Prelapsarian

    Prelapsarian TS Rookie

    Theoretically, it's good for your whole house too... At the place I installed it, upstairs had a perfect signal from downstairs.

    I'd imagine your neighbor's in your building could hook up to you! :)
  11. svtcobra

    svtcobra TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 761

    Here is what I have realized after 24 hours or so of usage:

    Signal strength varies from floor to floor but never goes out completely. Also, it always stays at 11mbps transfer no matter how good/bad the signal is.

    I am still very impressed with the overall design and performance of the setup. I think that the 802.11a is a bit overkill if you dont need the 54mbps transfer but it may also be well worth the money if you are going to be far from the base alot because it runs at a much high frequency and is alot more powerful.
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