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We have 7 laptops and 4 pc's what do we need to set up a wireless network?

Posted on 2005-03-09
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Last Modified: 2013-11-09
We have a couple of offices and want to setup a wireless network with 7 laptops and 4 pcs what hardware do we need.

We would also like to share documents and internet,  is this the same as a wired network regarding the share facility?

Cheers

mat
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Question by:auraorange
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Assisted Solution

by:amuto
amuto earned 200 total points
ID: 13497019
Depending on how big your company is and if you allready have internet access,  you might look into using a Linksys wrt54gs router/switch.  This device not only supports wireless but will also give access to your wired users.  It has 4 RJ45 connections.  And yes you can use file shares the same way as on a wired network.
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by:Barthax
Barthax earned 400 total points
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The process of sharing is exactly the same once the wireless/wired network is in place.  Are the offices seperate or next door to each other?

If they are next door to each other then you can probably grab a router capable of doing the wireless and internet for you.  Draytek routers are well known for having good all round capabilities in this regard, and you can get models that perform wireless & wired with ADSL & ISDN backup.

In addition to the router, each workstation will need a wireless NIC of some kind - most likely a PCI card for the PCs and a PCMCIA card for the laptops.  Ensure you get cards that have the same protocol capability.  802.11g is currently popular and will give you a 54mbps bandwidth - but this is shared between all devices connected therefore the more devices, the less speed.

Securing the wireless network is going to be of paramount importance, so be sure you read up on how to do this with the equipment you get.  http://insight.zdnet.co.uk/hardware/servers/0,39020445,2127233,00.htm has a good brief overview of what would need to be covered.  As a quick guide you will need an SSID, 128-bit WEP key and an access list.  The SSID should be a phrase or lengthy set of characters without spacing of your own choice.  The 128-bit WEP should be 13 characters of your own choice.  The access list will be based upon the MAC addresses of the machines involved - you will only be able to get the correct MAC addresses when the machines have their wireless NICs installed - see http://support.comtrol.com/NIC.asp for an example on how to do this.

If your offices are completely seperate, then I would advise treating each office as a seperate entity and repeating the above at each site.  Once you have a broadband internet link at two or more offices you will be able to connect them through VPN tunnels.  Again, the Drayteks have this capability - many other routers may fit the bill also...
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d0ughb0y earned 400 total points
ID: 13498240
1. I would not use 128-bit WEP. The newer devices typically have WPA capability, which is much better than WEP. In fact, 128-bit WEP is really no stronger than 64-bit WEP, due to the inherent vulnerability in the WEP protocol. Also, 128-bit WEP is non-Standard, which means than some wireless devices will not talk to others using it. WPA is Standards-based.

2. For your purposes, you don't really need a router - unless you don't already have one for your Internet access. In that case, a WAP (Wireless Access Point) is all you really need. Linksys' WAP54G should be sufficient.

Good luck,

D0ughb0y
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by:Barthax
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Hehe, I need to read up on WPA - I knew WEP was poorly, thanks d0ughb0y. :)
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Author Comment

by:auraorange
ID: 13500097
I have setup very basic PCI desktop to usb toggle, Ive heard of wireless access point, but what is is and what does it do?

Mat
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Expert Comment

by:Barthax
ID: 13500510
A wireless access point is basically a bridge between the wireless network it is configured to use and the wired network that it is plugged into.  It's primary use is to make the wired network available to wireless devices.
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Expert Comment

by:d0ughb0y
ID: 13501587
WAPs do exactly what Barthax described above.They're really not very expensive, and I'd highly recommend you get one. Check out http://www.linksys.com/products/product.asp?grid=33&scid=35&prid=608 for information on the Linksys I described.

Now, once you put the WAP in, you're going to need to make sure that your wifi cards are all in "Infrastructure mode" and not in "Ad-Hoc mode" - that way they can talk to the WAP, instead of to the other cards on the network. Don't worry - through the WAP they'll be able to talk to all the other workstations on the network.

Oh, and you're welcome, Barthax. :)

D0ughb0y
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Expert Comment

by:Barthax
ID: 13504038
If I can't learn from a gap in my knowledge that is obvious to someone else, I'd be pretty stupid to continue answering questions and staying in my job!. :)
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Author Comment

by:auraorange
ID: 13620349
To confirm, thank you for the feedback I used

PCMCIA for laptop
4 * PCI cards for PC's
2 * USB dongles for laptops without the PCMCIA slots
1 * WAP

You were damn right, from what you all said I more or less set up the whole lot, not bad for my very first Wireless network!

:-)

MAT
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Expert Comment

by:Barthax
ID: 13624256
Good news. :)
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