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Old 02-08-2007, 09:25 AM   #1
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Default How to Build a Wireless Network Using a Broadband Router

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Title: How to Build a Wireless Network Using a Broadband Router
URL: http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/421

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"More and more people are willing to assemble their own wireless network. With a wireless network set at your home or office, you will be able to share files, use the printer and access the Internet wi..."

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Old 03-10-2007, 09:48 PM   #2
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I set up a wireless network for my dad today - he thought the old router didn't have enough oomph. I found this thread pretty helpful, mostly some of the generalized background information. It is always hard to tell what you actually need when the sales people are "helping" you pick out products. A lot of the security information here wasn't compatible with the encryption processes I had to go through, but that should be expected when using different brands, I suppose.
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Old 10-17-2008, 03:40 AM   #3
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Quote:
Please enable WEP encryption ...
Bad advice!
Recommending an encryption that any script kiddie can hack in 15 minutes isn't very nice.

Much better to use WPA or WPA2 with pre-shared (strong) key.

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Old 10-24-2008, 09:32 AM   #4
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Thanks, I will update these tutorials very soon.

Gabriel.
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Old 09-01-2009, 02:06 PM   #5
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Updated, sorry about the delay!

Cheers,
Gabriel.
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Old 09-26-2009, 09:34 PM   #6
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I liked this article.

Let's not forget that the majority of computers are compatible with the "have your cake and eat it too" compatibility and security of WPA + AES.

Problem:
The end user may attempt WPA2 + AES, fail to connect and/or receive unreliable connection. The consequences are worse because they will probably roll back to WPA + TKIP or less security. Therefore, instructionals should probably mention, "WPA2 with AES or WPA with AES," because the main point is "AES encryption for security," with whatever happens to transport it being merely along for the ride. In fact, WPA2 is for facilitating roaming and users often report disconnects as their laptops attempt to negotiate roaming with nearby open wireless networks.

Also in the article:
The majority of the wireless hardware shown is potentially difficult. . .

The D-link network card can be difficult for drivers and Vista. I don't know why. Its just a ralink. But you can do better. The ralink isn't fast, and its going to give the Mac and Linux people fits.
The very similar looking "Airlink 101" model AWLH4130, aka Airlink 101 Super G, has a reliable Atheros chip aboard for long range and considerable ease with driver availability. It costs less, it goes faster, its range is longer, and it works with a wider variety of computers.
Even Broadcomm hardware can turn in a similar performance to the Atheros PCI, but Ralink just can't do that sort of quality.
In the case of the D-Link re-branded Ralink pci card, that was a source of distraction.

The little black Zydas (now owned by Atheros) USB dongle shown is a fast little deal, but AES will cause it to overheat and drop connection. There's a slightly longer version made that doesn't overheat. These are linux compatible.

The wireless router shown is slightly less reliable and less performing than average--okay, considering that its price reflects this. But, its talents at dropping connections can be patched up by upgrading to a 5dbi or a 6dbi antenna. That d-link simply has the mistake of the antenna radiating too close to the transmitter.

A slightly taller antenna helps add stability. A much taller antenna would only make the coverage area gappy. This is true of most wireless routers and its why most come with a 5dbi antenna as standard equipment.
The D-link wireless router pictured has a 2.5dbi antenna, which made a cost savings for the manufacturer of about 21 cents--also decreasing the performance of the wifi.

Wireless routers are also difficult for most of the power cords, causing a lot of wear and tear on the transformer plug (wall wort is the popular term); therefore, if there's erratic misbehavior, its probably (same as a pc), the power supply as the cause--especially considering the cost cutting.
For this reason, sometimes you don't need a wireless router. . .
The ethernet jacks take power to run them, and there's not enough in residential grade wireless routers to run all of the jacks while maintaining stability.
A technical explation would be horrendous to read, but this is simpler: "Using a seperate AP, a seperate cable router with a good reputation, and a seperate ethernet switch is the more professional, albeit more spendy, alternative to loading down a wireless router. This is good for whenever there are 4 or more ethernet connected computers in your network. So, if you keep blowing out wireless routers (because your network is a bit bigger than it can handle), then perhaps you need dedicated networking components."

Most laptop computers today don't have a PC-MCIA socket and most don't need the PC-MCIA card pictured. While it may be a fine unit, todays laptops are so cheaply priced and so much faster than any old enough to have a PC-MCIA socket that it was distracting to contemplate spending for that wifi card when that action would subtract resources from the budget of replacing that outdated laptop.

Yes, the writing was good quality, but the poor hardware pictured was very distracting--the underwhelming Ralink based PCI, the USB Thumb Size Furnace, the wireless router that cuts 21 cents cost along with half its signal, and the way to pay for part of a new laptop without actually receiving it.

I'd like to see the good writing pictured along with the well loved WRT54GL (its got a 1.5 amper capacity plug too!!), an Atheros Super G based PCI card, a Broadcomm Speedbooster (shut off the speedbooster to get wifi standards) PCI card, the slightly larger size version of that Zydas USB (Perhaps the EdiMax model with live support from Judy, their webmaster?), a diverse display collection of newer PCI-E (the spendy D-link and the chinese copy of Abit Airpace) and Mini PCI-E (such as found in the smallest Acer One netbook), omitting the PC-MCIA (so we can afford to replace outdated laptops), and a display on how to do a larger scale system with Access Point, Cable Router, and Ethernet Switch (so we can network grandma's house, the kids house, sister's house, with just one internet bill).

Idea for chapter 2. . .

Although sometimes ethically questionable, its also financially responsible for neighboring families to share internet connections.
There are large scale examples of this type of network at hotels. An entire block can be covered with switches and cable (up to 300ft each cable), especially if that's "store and forward" switches and outdoor grade cable. In each building a wifi access point may be provided or not.

To employ an economy wireless router as an AP, simply set its incoming / internet port to a static address like 10.0.10.10, turn off its DHCP, turn off its firewall, hit "save" and tape over its internet port--now it is reliant on the central "cable router" for firewall and DHCP services. Heavy duty outdoor grade cable is especially important to maintain stability if a large network is built out of economy wireless routers by also employing their ethernet switches. Technically, its better to use stand-alone ethernet switches, but that's not mandatory.
Here is where you can use WPA2 roaming (yes it can be useful) along with channel sequence of 1, 8, 4, 11 spaced to minimize interference and an identical identifier plus password so that the laptops will roam over the entire span of the network.
While WDS (entirely wireless) is possible, its hard to master. The above description is "DS Wired" which can be built by beginners and its reliable.
This sort of network can benefit from packet prioritization and a mid-scale example is the Ubicom Speedstreamer, commonly available inside the Hawking Broadband Booster. This can make the traffic appear and act like it came from a single computer containing a quality of service engine. This technology cuts lag and so it can be used to "magnify" a slower connection for many computers to use it.

I'd sure like to see a "how to make a larger home network" featuring your writing instead of mine.

Last edited by danielwritesback; 09-26-2009 at 09:37 PM.
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Old 01-16-2010, 06:22 PM   #7
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Gabriel,

Almost every router that I have seen supports MAC addressing, which, along with encryption, will almost guarantee that no one but those you have approved will get into your wireless network. It is not that hard to write down that unique number and put it into the router. It would not hurt to write a short tutorial on how to access the MAC address.
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Old 01-17-2010, 10:18 PM   #8
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MAC filtering is on the list of the least useful common "security" advice!
Any would-be intruder worth his salt will sniff the traffic to start with, which will reveal the used MACs. Then it's no sweat to spoof one of those.

Therefore MAC filtering is more of a problem to the legal admin than it is to any bad guys!

Cheers
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