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Old 07-30-2012, 04:41 AM   #1
Argief
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Laptop with WiFi vs Router


I want to use an old laptop as an access point. How does a network adapter differ from the networking hardware in a wireless router?

You can set your WNIC to ad hoc mode, and then connect more than one device to it. So how does a WNIC then differ from a wireless router?

Yes, maybe the WNIC is not as powerful? But that can be fixed with an external antennae, range booster, etc.

Or am I missing the point completely? I have googled this, but I get only theoretical answers on how a router differs from an adapter. I'm not stupid, I know they look different, and as shipped from the manufacturer they are setup different. But a router is nothing more than a ARM based PC is most instances.

So, why should I not install DD-WRT/RouterOS/etc on my old laptop and use it as a wireless AP? (Barring the obvious kernel compilation for x86, etc, etc)
 
Old 07-30-2012, 05:13 AM   #2
eSelix
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Quote:
But a router is nothing more than a ARM...
Yes, in small, nice looking case (usually).
1. Laptop has mechanic hard drive, it is unneccesary in router. Only noise, raise temperature and malfunction after using long time.
2. Routers usually working all the time. Laptop can also do, but it consume more power.
3. Network card in laptop usually have no capabilities found on specialized routers, like working in station mode.
4. Routers often have additional ethernet ports, sometimes also additional radio cards.

Generaly specialized routers are designed for this function, laptops are designed for using desktop programs for work or fun in travel, for example. Of course it is possible to switch this, like some people use pliers to drive a nails, but hammer is more convenient.

Last edited by eSelix; 07-30-2012 at 05:14 AM.
 
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Old 07-30-2012, 06:06 PM   #3
Argief
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Then you haven't seen some CISCO routers they will put your PC to shame... You are missing the point, it's not about CPU speed, memory, or HDD. I want to know about the technical specs of the WiFi Adapter vs the WiFi hardware in a commercially available router. Is the only difference between the two the signal strength/gain?
 
Old 07-31-2012, 05:52 AM   #4
business_kid
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The hardware engineer has a limited number of devices to choose from. Usually, for a router, the wifi is one of the most important chips in the box, so he will choose a good one, with good drivers for his OS (usually embedded linux). If you do use the laptop, I would run it off a live cd as that will load, and then sit there quietly; you can then leave the hd out of it altogether. Make sure a clear air path is available around it.

If you just want small router, there's handy little pcbs that can run embedded and don't need a fan, or take as much space, and these beckon for your router; you can sell the laptop.
 
Old 07-31-2012, 07:50 AM   #5
ilesterg
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Argief View Post
Then you haven't seen some CISCO routers they will put your PC to shame... You are missing the point, it's not about CPU speed, memory, or HDD. I want to know about the technical specs of the WiFi Adapter vs the WiFi hardware in a commercially available router. Is the only difference between the two the signal strength/gain?
LoL. I'm a Cisco kid and I'm very much confused with your question. Take a look at your qouted statement. You mentioned
Quote:
Originally Posted by Argief View Post
WiFi Adapter
and
Quote:
Originally Posted by Argief View Post
WiFi hardware
see the difference? The 'adapter' gives you a physical connection to the wireless media (IEEE 802.11), while a 'WiFi hardware', aka 'Access point'/wireless router has a powerful firmware which supports services such as NAT, IPSec VPN, and switching.
 
  


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