Friday, November 28, 2008

Selecting the Right Wireless Networking Gear

11/28/2008 07:55:00 AM |

As for what to purchase for a home network or small business environment, evaluate what you really need. Given a choice between purchasing a wireless router (more commonly available) and an access point (does not incorporate a firewall or internet sharing), the router is recommended, since it has a usefulness that goes beyond just connecting your wireless devices. If possible, purchase a wireless router that has wired ports on it as well for added flexibility.

When buying wireless network adaptors for your computers, consider which computers in your home or business you actually need to be wireless.

To put this in perspective, consider that A wireless PCI network adaptor for a desktop computer costs roughly 10-12x as much as a regular 10/100 wired network adaptor, which your computer probably came with anyhow. USB wireless adaptors are slightly cheaper, but still not as affordable as the adaptors for laptops (if wireless isn't already built in) Often they are more complicated to configure with some operating systems, and USB devices can add to system load.

How often do you plan to move your desktops? A good rule for this is to consider where you are going to position your router/access point, then figure out if you can easily connect any of your desktops to it via cable.

For laptops and mobile PCs, obviously you are going to require wireless adaptors, and the good thing is that they are actually less expensive than their desktop equivalents, due to demand. It's simpler, of course, to purchase a wireless adaptor for every computer in your household and leave cables behind completely, but for every two desktop wireless adaptors you buy, you will close to double the price of your hardware, so it is worth thinking about the other options.

In closing, it is possible to configure computers with wireless adaptors to communicate with other wireless adaptors without a router or access-point, using ad-hoc, or peer-to-peer mode, but this configuration complicates gaining access to the rest of your network resources, and is not covered in this article.

Wireless Data Transmission Standards

There are currently three major wireless data standards used in contemporary devices. 802.11b, also known as Wi-Fi, is currently the dominant method of transferring wireless data. The vast majority of wireless networking components conform to this standard, and its adequate range and performance, coupled with the cheapness and availability of components, has been the driving force behind the wireless boom.

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