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Old 10-13-2006, 04:55 PM   #1
goldennuggets
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Entering Wireless Networking for the First Time, Need Suggestions


Hello all in the networking field,
I am an avid linux user for years, but very very new to the networking thing as a whole, especailly wireless networking. Dsl has finally been made available in our area, and I'd like to set up a wireless network to utilize this.
The machine with the router will be a SuSE 10.1 computer, and the client will be a slackware 10.2, soon to be 11 system. Currently the slackware system has the 2.4 kernel, but I plan on upgrading to 2.6 very soon.
What are the advantages of the 2.6 kernel over 2.4 for networking in general, and wireless?
Should I include any certain modules to make sure this works?

In addition, if someone would please be kind enough to answer:
What brand of wireless router should I go with? D-Link? NetGear?
Do the wireless usb adapters work well with linux, or should I just get a pci card?
Also, does linux support the new "n" draft of wireless networking, or should I just stick with a 802.11g?
Finally, will I be able to attain a good router and adapter for around $125, or would I be being ripped off?

Thank you very much for any of your time and help.
 
Old 10-14-2006, 07:05 AM   #2
Hangdog42
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Quote:
Currently the slackware system has the 2.4 kernel, but I plan on upgrading to 2.6 very soon.
You are going to want to do that. Wireless is supported better by 2.6 than 2.4.

Quote:
Should I include any certain modules to make sure this works?
You'll need to have the general wireless capabilities enabled. It is in the Networking section of the kernel config. Other modules are going to depend on what hardware you've got.

Quote:
What brand of wireless router should I go with? D-Link? NetGear?
I've been using Linksys and had very few complaints. However, any brand should do, in theory. I'd have a look around for information on reliability and features and use that as your main guide. Just make sure it supports WPA encryption.
Quote:
Do the wireless usb adapters work well with linux, or should I just get a pci card?
The USB adapters can work, but my observation is that they are more difficult to get running than pci cards. My suggestion would be to spend some quality time in the HCL here, there are lots of useful reviews of wireless cards.

Quote:
Also, does linux support the new "n" draft of wireless networking, or should I just stick with a 802.11g?
My personal opinion is that draft n gear is a crime and the perpetrators should be flogged. Yeah, I know that they all claim that they will be upgradeable to the real n when it is published, but when this fiasco happened with 11g (there was a lot of draft g equipment sold) those promises frequently turned out to be a load of hooey. Besides, given the craptacular support most wireless vendors give Linux, finding a way to get a draft-n card to work in Linux may not be trivial. If you go this route, you are definitely going to want to do your homework first.

Quote:
Finally, will I be able to attain a good router and adapter for around $125, or would I be being ripped off?
I'd be a little suspicious, but if you do your research first, that should make the decision. That price for an 11g package isn't unreasonable, but I'd guess it is about the lowest you'll find. Again, do some research first.
 
Old 10-14-2006, 12:32 PM   #3
goldennuggets
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Thanks for your reply. This gives me a bit to build off of. Thanks again!
 
Old 10-14-2006, 01:30 PM   #4
goldennuggets
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Here's what I've come up with so far: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16833124190 <-- router
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16833124115 <-- adapter card

Is this all I need to run my wireless network?
This is the HCL page for the adapter: http://www.linuxquestions.org/hcl/sh...ct=309&cat=all

Is it going to be a serious pain to get it working? I have no qualms about spending 30 minutes or so in slackware setting it up. A little more information on ndiswrapper (what it is/does) would be greatly appreciated.

If all is well, then I will purchase these two and give it a go. Again, any responses/help are greatly appreciated.
 
Old 10-14-2006, 03:04 PM   #5
Hangdog42
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The router should be fine. In fact I believe with that model, there is open source firmware available that lets you do things the stock firmware doesn't. Of course using third party firmware means you are out of luck if it fails and turns your router into a brick.

As for the card, since that is a Broadcom chipset, you have two options. As you've seen ndiswrapper and a Windows driver is pretty common. Some people have moral objections to ndiswrapper since while it is open source, the Windows driver certainly isn't. The other option is bcm43xx, which is a native linux driver that has been reverse engineered from some specs that were released. The downside to bcm43xx is that it limits you to 802.11b speeds and it doesn't work with all Broadcom chipsets. Both options work well on Slackware, although bcm43xx probably means you need to compile your own kernel.

Personally, I would steer clear of Broadcom chipsets. My wireless card has them and while they do work, it hasn't always been easy to keep it going. The company doesn't give a flying fig about Linux and that has caused a lot of trouble. Some chipsets to look for are the Intel 2100 and 2200, Atheros (most, but not all will run on the madwifi drivers). However, it is your dough, and you get to spend it as you see fit.
 
Old 10-14-2006, 03:27 PM   #6
goldennuggets
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Thanks again Hangdog42,
I appreciate your honesty here with the Broadcom chipsets. I'd like to avoid any hassle as much as possible, especially since this is my first real networking experience.
I noticed too about the router being linux firmware, being from a programming background, this excites me!

Would this be a better card to go with then?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16833127145
I was trying to aim for something with the Atheros chipset, and keep costs relatively low. How can I be sure that it does have the Atheros chipset? ...being that I don't see it on the site...

HCL: http://www.linuxquestions.org/hcl/sh...t=2115&cat=all
 
Old 10-15-2006, 08:03 AM   #7
Hangdog42
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One of the problems you're going to run into is that card makers will change chipsets without changing model numbers. Sometimes they change the version number and that you might be able to tell from the packaging. The only advice I have is to make sure there is a decent return policy so if it turns out that they've changed chipsets on you, you can either exchange it or get a refund.

Unfortunately, wireless in Linux is a bit of a gamble.
 
Old 10-15-2006, 02:09 PM   #8
goldennuggets
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Ok, I thank you for your advice and time. I really appreciate it. I'll be placing an order for those two in just a bit and hopefully will be able to get it all running in no time.
 
  


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