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Simon (89)

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Busy Man.

Journal of Simon (89)

Tuesday April 09, 2002
05:23 PM

Wireless LAN, oh, the irony

[ #4070 ]
I love wireless networking; I have done ever since TPC last year, when I got to do a lot of hacking over the wireless during the talks. Big fun.

So when I moved into my new house late last year, I decided I would have a wireless network. At the time, I had a Toshiba Tecra running Linux and Windows, and a desktop acting as the server. I bought a PCMCIA adapter for the desktop and slotted in a wireless card, and after a lot of hassle, got a peer-to-peer network together. There were a lot of problems with it, though, mainly (I thought) due to bugs in the Linux drivers for the two cards.

When I got my TiBook, I thought things would be a lot better, since Apple have been doing wireless for ages and can really get it right. Of course, there were still problems with the server machine, and in fact, the Linux drivers were crapping out so badly I had to remove the PC card and reinsert it every ten minutes or so. Urgh.

So I cracked, and bought an Airport Base Station, because then, everything would be fine, right? Apple talking to Apple, loads of range, wonderful.

Three meters. Three sodding meters. I could hardly get out of the room before it lost the signal. And to make it more embarrassing, it's the TiBook that's at fault - the old Toshiba running Windows can get to the other side of the house and more. I've fiddled with every setting known to man, located the Airport all over the house, taken the Tibook apart and checked the antenna connection, everything. I think I'm getting somewhere now; after taking the firmware on the TiBook client card down a version, I can hack from my bedroom once again.

But by now, the base station is connected to the hub in the office but is hanging from the wall in the living room, trailing an ethernet cable, and attached to the power socket on the other side of the living room. Not, unfortunately, a particularly wireless LAN.

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  • My wife gets all my hand-me-downs, technology wise, so she's stuck with a nasty Linksys wavelan card, while I got the shiny new Cisco card. I can get a connection just about anywhere in the house - no problemo. But she's in the next room to the basestation, and has to jiggle things around regularly to get a connection.

    What make is that basestation? A Linksys. :-)
  • For wireless connection (which now streches to the Pub and Cafe near my house), I can highly recommend a huge fricking antenna.

    I can understand your problem with wires though. I still haven't got round to mounting the antenna on the outside of the house. It works quite well inside, but It'd be better out (now if only I could work a way of running the wire outside the house)

  • TiBook (Score:2, Interesting)

    I believe this is a problem with the design of the TiBook. The titanium doesn't make for a great casing over the antenna; In fact, when they came out, a friend of mine noted poor reception through titanium as the reason for the little windows on the side edges of the TiBook casing... Getting an external PCMCIA card is, unfortunately, a good solution for increasing the range.