What technology & hardware best for home wireless network?

By macx
Mar 6, 2008
  1. My work takes me to a different apartment in a different town every year or so, and my family can't travel with me, so I just have the one computer.

    This job I'll be sharing a large apartment with a fellow worker who has already moved in. There is a cable jack in what will be my room and he says he has internet access, (don't know but he must have a cable modem in his room?) but what's my best solution?

    Being I keep changing cable providers, I don't suppose there's such a thing as a cable modem that I can buy and use irregardless of who the provider is instead of the hassle of getting it hooked up then unhooked time after time, and hassling with returning the cable co's modem, and in this case probly having to pay a monthly fee for an additional modem?

    Another thought was some type of wireless router, but after reading the stickies in this section and trying to understand what the different types of hardware and software are all about, I guess I'm behind the tech curve - again.

    I just bought a laptop that's got bluetooth which I use at work, but my desktop doesn't have it. I know there are adapters etc, but I don't know if the other guy's laptop has bluetooth built in or if I'd have to get him an adapter / receiver (whatever) to make bluetooth work on his.

    Sounds like now there are several different protocols for wireless encryption and different standards for wireless data transfer, with a wide assortment of hardware available.

    We're in a small town - a small very rural town, so don't know if we'd have to worry all that much about security. I don't do anything with any sensitive data like bank accounts over the internet, but do transmit a debit card number on occasion that we have setup with a totally separate account and use just for online purchases and in which we keep only a minimal amount of funds, transferring when we use the card. There are, however, a small number of close apartments in our little complex, so I guess it would be best to take at least reasonable security precautions if we go wireless.

    I'm t o t a l l y open to suggestions as to hardware, software, security, encryption, etc etc (whatever may be applicable) - and of course a good place to purchase. Not looking to spend a small fortune for "state of the art" just looking for an easy to setup reasonable cost & secure system.

    (Edit) Well, finally found cable modems for sale - i.e. a Motorola Surfboard for pretty reasonable.
    Question IS - can more than 1 cable modem be hooked up in the same house?

    Thanks much!!
  2. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 11,170   +989

    multiple solutions are available.

    Understand the environment you're in and the choices become more clear.

    The very basic connection:
    modem ---- one-system
    the modem can be DLS or Cable and it will control your system settings IF you set
    DHCP in the NIC (ie the wired connection)

    Second choice where you share with a friend
    modem---[COLOR="Blue"]router[/COLOR]--existing systems
    If the user has more than one system, then the router already exists and you just connect to it also

    Third choice; over loaded router
    modem---[COLOR="Blue"]router[/COLOR]---(4)wired systems already
    you get a cheap SWITCH and add it thusly
    modem---[COLOR="Blue"]router[/COLOR]---(3)wired systems already
               +---- switch -- other existing system PLUS your system

    Wireless will require either a wireless-router or Access Point.
    The wireless router would sit where the existing router is located and then
    introduce security issues for the original user.

    A better choice would be an Access Point
    modem---router---(3)wired systems already
               | ([COLOR="Gray"]if there's more than 3 systems
               +---- switch -- other existing system )[/COLOR]
                         +-- [COLOR="DarkOrange"]Access Point[/COLOR] ...(wireless) ... your system

    your question:
    Q1: more than one cable modem per house?
    A1: not without extra $$ and contract with the ISP. This is why we use routers :)

    Q2: Security
    A1: Your SSL session in the browser (ie https:// ...)
    protects your ISP connection to the end-point-website. The wireless encryption
    protects foreign users from connecting to your wireless-router or Access Point.
    If they were to connect, they could take all the time necessary to breach your Shared Folders and get access to your private information.

    Lesson: Wired systems are not exposed to foreign user connections :)
  3. macx

    macx TS Evangelist Topic Starter Posts: 718

    OK, to clarify

    The other fellow isn't hooked up yet, he says the cable outfit
    gave him a "box" (he's not overly computer savvy, even compared
    to me)

    So we apparently have a modem.

    Wired system not possible due to room layout.
    That's why I'm thinking some type of wireless from
    the modem. (wish we could just use a 2nd modem,
    would be so much simpler)

    There is NO system setup in the apartment as yet,
    nothing beyond the cable jacks in ea room.
    And there will be just the 2 computers in the apartment,
    so no complicated multi layer systems/switches etc needed.

    (BTW I have had wired system at home home for number
    of years - 3 computers, so am familiar with that.)

    I've not heard of an Access Point, guess I've got more
    research to do. I have an extra Linksys wired type router,
    now I've got to try to sort thru and uncomplicate all the
    layers and see where things would fit, and what pieces are

    (Edit) Found a Linksys combo router / access point with WGA
    encryption - sounds like that's what we need.

    His laptop is newer so should have wireless, I'll check.

    I've got a wireless card in my desktop that I got several years
    ago to hookup with typical motel wireless systems. It did seem
    pretty slow compared to direct cable hookup. Or was that the
    fault of the motel's equipment more so than my receiver?

    I don't have it in front of me so will have to try to see if it's llb or
    11g which is apparently faster(?) I do believe it's a Linksys.
    I don't have time to sit and wait for minutes for things like UTube
    video clips to open - I work 11 to 12 hours a day at least 6 days
    a week so time is precious to say the least.

    I've also seen Bluetooth wireless hardware - is that either faster
    or more secure than i.e. 11g wireless? The Bluetooth stuff I saw
    didn't seem any more expensive.
  4. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 11,170   +989

    I was attempting to give you background for various installations, as you said you
    travel which implied you will run into various situations.

    If you start with a naked environment, you get to choose what to install and you've
    indicated wireless is required.

    1- you have to get the modem conditioned by the ISP, so the first layout will be typical.
    Have the ISP tech complete the configuration and get your browser and email running
    BEFORE he/she leaves.

    2- Now you can add a wireless router; you will not need an Access Point.

    If you have some distance to transmit through, consider a MIMO class router -- has two transmitters.
    modem---wireless.router ---max(four) wired connections + wireless
    Setup the router using a wired system and then you can use it wirelessly
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