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Old 12-25-2003, 04:21 PM   #1
clockworks
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3 adapter cards or 1 ethernet bridge?


hello,
i am completely new to wireless networking, so please correct me if i'm making wrong assumptions about how things work.

my situation is this. one cable modem, 4 computers. the cable modem is on the bottom floor along with one computer and there are 3 computers on the top floor.

which setup would be easier considering my linux computers use fedora core 1:

1) cable modem -> wireless router <---> 3x(wireless adapter + computer)
2) cable modem -> wireless router <---> wireless ethernet bridge -> non-wireless hub/switch -> 3x computers

the router in question is the netgear WGR614 and the wireless adapters in question are the netgear WG311. the hub/switch is really just a linksys cable modem router being used as a hub/switch.

i'm leaning towards option 2 because its cheaper and i wouldn't have to deal with getting the wireless adapter cards working with linux. what do yall think?

also, am i correct in thinking that a wireless ethernet bridge simply turns a wireless connection into a hard ethernet connection that can then be plugged into a hub/switch?

thank you.
 
Old 12-26-2003, 06:41 AM   #2
burnpile
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Option 1 is by far the most configurable and portable of the two setups you describe. As far as it being more expensive, Unless you have the gear bought for option 2, I don't see how a wifi cable router and 3 cards will be more expensive, but I take you at your word. The one drawback to this is you may need some sort of signal boosting device at the WAP since you're spanning 3 floors up wards. Interior walls do funky things to microwave signals.

Option 2 is the techie geek uber option with the wifi/ethernet bridge. And as you say, no fighting to get wifi cards working under linux, which seems to be a PITA for some folks. Since your WLAN is in the center and unattached to a user of any kind, security might be easy to forget about. You should be able to set wep between the router and bridge, and since you aren't there watching it, go for the highest level of encryption offered, with sickeningly huge ugly keyphrases to generate keys .
Quote:
also, am i correct in thinking that a wireless ethernet bridge simply turns a wireless connection into a hard ethernet connection that can then be plugged into a hub/switch?
Yup. I use 2 of the el-cheapo Linksys ones on my PS2 and my sons X-Box. An antenna and an ethernet jack is all they are.

One thing I'll throw out here - why the decision to go wifi? Your setup sounds easy enough to just sneak a piece of cat-5 cable up the outside wall under the siding or something and use 2 cheapie ethernet hubs. Don't get me wrong -=*I LOVE wireless*=-. I'm completely wire free here, with 7 PC's, 2 game consoles and various assorted ho-made boosters and quasi-FCC compliant signal converters hanging around the house, yard and neighbors. But unless you just want to play with it (my case) or need the walkabout freedom hardwired ethernet still wins hands down. The data transfer rate sucks, I'm using 802.11g equipment which is the faster 2.5 MHz standard, but it's still only 54 mbs max. Compare that against 100 mbs or 1000 mbs and you'll feel you're growing old waiting to transfer files across your lan. And heaven forbid someone turns on the microwave oven or even a cordless phone thats in the wrong place. The a standard looks like it will fix alot of those issues, but it's still a ways off pricewise if you've invested any amount of cash on the 2.5 standards. I'm not knocking your decision to go wifi, on the contrary I applaud it, more tech-geek-wifi-nuts the merrier! I just try to present this argument to anyone who hasn't done it yet. In a few years I'm certain it will be comparable to hardwired ethernet, but it just isn't there yet.

In any case, it sounds like a fun project. Keep us posted on how it's going!
 
Old 12-26-2003, 01:08 PM   #3
clockworks
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wow, thanks for the great reply.
Quote:
One thing I'll throw out here - why the decision to go wifi? Your setup sounds easy enough to just sneak a piece of cat-5 cable up the outside wall under the siding or something and use 2 cheapie ethernet hubs.
this is kinda embarrassing. i graduated college and got a job in my home town. in order to pay off my debts quicker, i've going to live with my mom for about a year (thank god i >already< have a gf, eh? ). she runs a business out of our house and utterly refuses to have cables running all over the house (i.e. she wants to keep the house/office as professional looking as possible).

Quote:
I'm using 802.11g equipment which is the faster 2.5 MHz standard, but it's still only 54 mbs max. Compare that against 100 mbs or 1000 mbs and you'll feel you're growing old waiting to transfer files across your lan.
actually...the 3 computers in my room on the third story are going to be on their own lan (the 3 of them are going to be plugged into a switch, then that switch is going to plugged into the bridge that is connected to the wireless router). so file transfers between those 3 computers should be at 100mbits/sec. its only the internet connection that should be going thru the wireless stuff, and i've yet to see any internet sites that offer > 500kb/sec transfer rates...which 54mbits/sec should easily be able to handle (i.e. 54/mbits == 6.75mb/sec, right?). what do you think?

Quote:
As far as it being more expensive, Unless you have the gear bought for option 2, I don't see how a wifi cable router and 3 cards will be more expensive, but I take you at your word.
option 1
router = $55
wireless adapter card = $65x3

option 2
router = $55
bridge = $80
(already own a switch/hub)

the damn netgear wg311 adapter cards are expensive...=(

thanks again.

Last edited by clockworks; 12-26-2003 at 01:16 PM.
 
Old 12-26-2003, 02:08 PM   #4
burnpile
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Quote:
this is kinda embarrassing. i graduated college and got a job in my home town. in order to pay off my debts quicker, i've going to live with my mom for about a year (thank god i >already< have a gf, eh? ). she runs a business out of our house and utterly refuses to have cables running all over the house (i.e. she wants to keep the house/office as professional looking as possible).
Heh, don't feel bad. I think alot of us bummed around ma and/or pa while we paid off our student loans and visa cards...I sure know I did and I've already been informed that at least one of my kids plans on doing it to me in a few years On the plus side get mom on that lan and have her help foot the cable internet bill as a business expense. Gawd I'm evil lol

Quote:
actually...the 3 computers in my room on the third story are going to be on their own lan (the 3 of them are going to be plugged into a switch, then that switch is going to plugged into the bridge that is connected to the wireless router). so file transfers between those 3 computers should be at 100mbits/sec. its only the internet connection that should be going thru the wireless stuff, and i've yet to see any internet sites that offer > 500kb/sec transfer rates...which 54mbits/sec should easily be able to handle (i.e. 54/mbits == 6.75mb/sec, right?). what do you think?
As far as Internet access goes, 802.11b (the cheaper slower wifi standard) is still faster than the cable modem will be, even with a less than perfect signal. It's just the PC to PC access that is a throttle on a w-lan. What you're describing will be nice and quick, just like you're used to.

Quote:
the damn netgear wg311 adapter cards are expensive...=(
Eek....they sure are. I never looked so i just assumed an off the shelf pci wavelan card to be about 20 bucks lol. Crazy law of supply and demand at work I reckon.
 
Old 12-26-2003, 03:31 PM   #5
clockworks
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Quote:
Originally posted by burnpile
Heh, don't feel bad. I think alot of us bummed around ma and/or pa while we paid off our student loans and visa cards...I sure know I did and I've already been informed that at least one of my kids plans on doing it to me in a few years On the plus side get mom on that lan and have her help foot the cable internet bill as a business expense. Gawd I'm evil lol
yup, its the visa cards... and yup, she's already got the cable as a business expense...its just up to me to leech it wire-free...

Quote:
As far as Internet access goes, 802.11b (the cheaper slower wifi standard) is still faster than the cable modem will be, even with a less than perfect signal. It's just the PC to PC access that is a throttle on a w-lan. What you're describing will be nice and quick, just like you're used to.
this brings up an interesting point. since the wireless stuff only provides access to the internet (i.e. my computers are still networked via hardwired 100mbits lan), why don't i save $100 bucks or so by getting a 802.11b router and 802.11b bridge, and forget about the more expensive g stuff for now? then i can wait a few years or so for wireless technology to be more perfected before going >completely< wireless. whats your opinion?

also, since you seem to be very knowledgable, can you explain to me what a wireless access point is (in lou of wireless router and wireless ethernet bridge)?

Quote:
Eek....they sure are. I never looked so i just assumed an off the shelf pci wavelan card to be about 20 bucks lol. Crazy law of supply and demand at work I reckon.
yeah, they are more expensive than the router. the router has a $20 mail in rebate though, thats why...=)

thanks again.
 
Old 12-26-2003, 05:20 PM   #6
burnpile
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Quote:
this brings up an interesting point. since the wireless stuff only provides access to the internet (i.e. my computers are still networked via hardwired 100mbits lan), why don't i save $100 bucks or so by getting a 802.11b router and 802.11b bridge, and forget about the more expensive g stuff for now? then i can wait a few years or so for wireless technology to be more perfected before going >completely< wireless. whats your opinion?
Thats what i'd do. Wifi technology is really starting to boom, and even just the new a standard is a better way to do things than is being done now. (IMO anyway) Moving up the frequency is a must, as I was serious about the microwave and cordless phone screwing you all up. Go to radio shack and look at all the fancy wireless gadgets that run at 2.4 mHz, each one a potential problem. The speeds will get faster as well. I expect wifi to top out at around 200 mbs duplex within a few years.

A wireless access point plugs into your lan and acts as a wireless hub. I've seen two kinds - one that runs a dhcp service or accepts pre-configured IP's and one that only accepts the pre-configured IP's. It has no gateway or routing functions, just a centralized hub. Really a nifty piece of hardware if you don't need a gateway/router. Another cool way to do this is with an old computer and a nic and a wifi card ( and linux of course).
 
  


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