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Do I need a Router?

I want to network my Desktop (host) to a laptop.  I had been doing this with phoneline network cards without using a router.  My card went bad & phoneline cards are no longer available (sadly, since they worked great).  So, I now have to do the network via wireless.
The 2 computers are at opposite ends of a long ranch house.  Years ago I tried wireless & it did not work because of the distance involved.  I know there are now wireless solutions (MIMO) with far greater distance.  My questions are:

1.  My desktop does not have wireless capability & it runs XP Pro.  The laptop has wireless & runs XP Pro.  Do I absolutely have to use a router?  I'm only interested in sharing my Internet connection (COMCAST CABLE).  Or, will wireless work if I install only a wireless card in my desktop without using a router?
2.  Is a MIMO router together with a MIMO card the best solution for long distances (assuming I need the router)?

Thanks for help.
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heat_doctor
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heat_doctor
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ChrisMacleodCommented:
1:  You can setup a adhoc wifi network (computer => computer) this will work just like your previous setup only the connection method has changed.

2: Yes to take full advantage you will require MIMO cards + MIMO router.  Although just purchasing a MIMO router will increase coverage using MIMO cards will increase it further.
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ChrisMacleodCommented:
Checkout these also http://www.homeplugs.com/

Powerline networking may be a better solution.
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heat_doctorAuthor Commented:
I would be content with the powerline option since we do not need the "mobility" factor.  When I asked about that at MicroCenter computer store, they told me that the 2 powerline products needed to be plugged in to the same "line" (circuit?).  I'm not convinced that this is correct information.  If it is, I would doubt that the same "line" is present at extreme ends of our house.  Can you address this issue?
Thanks.
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ChrisMacleodCommented:
In the UK we have a ring main which connects every socket in the house.  Like this diagram

http://www.ultimatehandyman.co.uk/spur and fcu.jpg

I would imagine all your sockets are connected to some form of main ring in your house.  

Any electricians here to comment?
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heat_doctorAuthor Commented:
Funny you should point this out.  Earlier today I called a neighbor who is an electrician & asked him whether there was a "ring" type installation typically (I am in the USA).  His answer was NO!  However, I do not trust his answer.  So I will make more calls.

By the way, if I go the powerline route, do I still need to get a router of some sort for the host PC?  
Also, I noticed that the speed for powerline is typically 14 MBPS.  How does that compare with wireless?

Thanks for your help.  Will get back as soon as I have more info.
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ChrisMacleodCommented:
You don't need to buy a router the home plugs can be used to create a computer  => computer network.

MIMO or Pre N equipment max speed 108Mb
802.11G equipment max speed 54Mb
802.11B equipment max speed 11Mb


Max speeds can only be achieved under the best conditions ie. no obstructions such as walls.  As the wifi signal decreases due to distance from router or interference the speed will step down to keep the connection stable.

I have seen home plugs that go up to 85Mb.  A company called Devolo make such home plugs see below.

http://www.devolo.com
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heat_doctorAuthor Commented:
I have found a Netgear (USA) 85 MBPS unit which gets good reviews.  FRom what I now understand, this should do the job for me.  Thanks.
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