help with wireless connection

Discussion in 'Computer Information' started by Ken & Sandy, Aug 5, 2010.

  1. Ken & Sandy

    Ken & Sandy Guest

    I have a Dell desktop with DSL connection. I see the desktop has where
    you can set up a wireless connection and it gives you a network key that you
    can use for another computer. Now, I want to buy a laptop and it comes
    with wireless technology. Will the laptop walk me through how to set up a
    connection to the desktop, and then just work? do I need a router? I
    know a lot about computers, but nothing about this technology. Help
    please. Thanks.
    Ken & Sandy, Aug 5, 2010
    #1
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  2. Ken & Sandy

    Paul Guest

    Ken & Sandy wrote:
    > I have a Dell desktop with DSL connection. I see the desktop has where
    > you can set up a wireless connection and it gives you a network key that you
    > can use for another computer. Now, I want to buy a laptop and it comes
    > with wireless technology. Will the laptop walk me through how to set up a
    > connection to the desktop, and then just work? do I need a router? I
    > know a lot about computers, but nothing about this technology. Help
    > please. Thanks.


    There are a couple ways to set up the networking. In the following
    example, you'd be buying no additional equipment. Whether it is possible,
    depends on whether the Dell desktop wireless has "softAP" or Access Point
    software. That changes the normal wireless "client", into a "server",
    performing the same function as the radio on a wireless router.

    ADSL_modem ----- (eth) Dell_desktop (wireless) -- -- -- (wireless) Laptop
    softAP client
    (server)

    Inside the Dell_desktop in that case, you're using ICS or Internet Connection
    Sharing. The subnet on the right, uses a different IP address, than the public
    IP address on the left, involving the ADSL modem. Routing goes on in your
    OS, to decide which side of the machine the packets should go.

    The disadvantage of the softAP approach, is the Dell_desktop must be running,
    any time that the Laptop client wants to "surf the net".

    A second way to do it, is to purchase a wireless router. The router box draws
    5W to 10W perhaps, which is less power than keeping the Dell_desktop running.
    You'd balance the purchase price of the router, against the lifetime costs
    of the power and the wear and tear on the desktop.

    ADSL_modem ----- wireless_router -- -- -- -- (wireless) Laptop client
    (server) -- -- -- -- (wireless) Dell_desktop client

    Networking boxes continue to increase in complexity and density, as time
    passes. You can probably buy an ADSL modem/router as a single box.
    (If you buy a box which is ADSL2+ capable, that might help if some day
    your ISP offers 24Mbit/sec service, but the downside is the power the
    ADSL chips use is increased.)

    Now, whether it makes sense to do that (buy a single box with modem and router),
    really depends on how configurable the router portion of it is.

    Recently, I purchased such a box. Mine doesn't have wireless, because I don't
    do wireless (mainly a security concern). So, I buy a box that looks like this.

    ADSL_modem/router ------ (eth) Desktop
    (router mode)

    OK, so I go into the web based setup for the modem router, and there is
    very little to see. It turns out, there is a separate manual, with
    *command line* interface instructions. And there are somewhere around 100 different
    commands you can send. For the simplest change, it takes five commands.

    While that would have been fun 30 years ago, I have no interest in
    that level of control. Especially when I don't know what all the side
    effects of the commands are.

    My previous router (wired four port), had a nice web setup on it, in terms
    of things an end user would be interested in. (Port forwarding, DMZ, DHCP
    setup and so on.)

    So I changed my new modem/router, into bridged mode. In effect, that avoids
    the router part.

    ADSL_modem/router ------ (eth) router ----- (eth) Desktop
    (bridged mode)

    The disagreeable part of the new ADSL_modem/router, was it did
    "too much chatting" when it wasn't being used. My previous router
    didn't implement half of that, making my previous router completely
    quiet when it was supposed to be quiet. I liked that feature enough,
    to put my previous router back into the picture.

    The moral of that story is, if you were to buy an integrated modem/router,
    you'd want to download the manual for it first, and see whether it is
    user friendly or not. My new one wasn't. It was "dumbed down" too much,
    but didn't have control over the "chatty bits". Using bridged mode,
    that eliminates much of the cleverness of the new modem/router, and
    I have the familiar router configuration I'm used to. It means I
    can be "stealthy" on the net, as the router settings haven't changed
    from where I had them before. (Stealthy means, my router doesn't "answer",
    if an outside device "knocks on the door".)

    *******

    As for how user friendly any new computer and its wireless would be,
    I don't keep up on the latest auto configuration options.

    I will say this though. The laptop in this case, is always going to be
    a simple wireless client. So the setup there won't be "abnormal" in
    any sense.

    The server setup (whether a desktop with softAP, or a wireless router),
    will have to be set up for the appropriate level of security, and there
    is WEP, WPA, WPA2 with options and so on. If all devices supported WPA2,
    you might use that on your wireless network. It is probably going to
    entail the same amount of work, whether you use a softAP or a router
    box. Both will need to be configured. The wireless router will have
    a downloadable manual, while the softAP documentation would be
    variable (ranging from unavailable, to barely adequate documentation).

    If the Dell_desktop doesn't support softAP, then the solution is simple.
    You're shopping for a wireless router, and preferably something known
    for being secure.

    The main danger with wireless, is "drive by downloading".
    If a letter arrives from a lawyer, claiming you downloaded a DVD of
    the movie "The Hurt Locker", you want to be able to tell them to
    go away, because your wireless router isn't "open" to the public.
    The main danger with leaving your router open, is the illegal things
    a person sitting in a car next to your house, can be doing with it.
    In a perfect world, you could share your wireless, but there are
    people who would take advantage of that, leaving you with the mess
    to clean up later.

    Paul
    Paul, Aug 5, 2010
    #2
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  3. You need a wireless router to connect to the CAT5 cable (ethernet) that
    comes from the cable modem (if you have Time Warner, or equivelent) or the
    Ethernet down-scale that comes out of the Fiber Optic System. If you have
    Verizon tiOS, then odds are strong that you already have a wireless router,
    and need do nothing with the new machine.

    If you have a wireless network already up and runnint, then all you do with
    the new equipment that comes along is to find trhe network with it and enter
    the Magic Decoder Ring data that is needed. Wireless routers are protected
    (secured) with either a WEP Key or a WPA Passphrase. YOU decide which, but
    WEP is easy and WPA is more secure. A WEP key is constrained to the HEX
    digits, 0 thru 9, plus A through F, and can only contain 10 digits. Your own
    phone number might be a poor selection for a WEP key, but Aunt Hazel's phone
    number might be good. A phone number is 10 digits (including the area code)
    and complies with the hex digit constraint, and is something you will
    remember, but might not be hacked very easily.

    The wireless network on the Dell is for connecting to wireless networks, not
    for building wireless networks that other machines can leverage.



    "Ken & Sandy" <> wrote in message
    news:58n6o.53417$...
    >I have a Dell desktop with DSL connection. I see the desktop has where
    >you can set up a wireless connection and it gives you a network key that
    >you can use for another computer. Now, I want to buy a laptop and it
    >comes with wireless technology. Will the laptop walk me through how to
    >set up a connection to the desktop, and then just work? do I need a
    >router? I know a lot about computers, but nothing about this technology.
    >Help please. Thanks.
    >
    >
    >
    >
    Jeff Strickland, Aug 5, 2010
    #3
  4. Ken & Sandy

    Julie Bove Guest

    "Ken & Sandy" <> wrote in message
    news:58n6o.53417$...
    >I have a Dell desktop with DSL connection. I see the desktop has where
    >you can set up a wireless connection and it gives you a network key that
    >you can use for another computer. Now, I want to buy a laptop and it
    >comes with wireless technology. Will the laptop walk me through how to
    >set up a connection to the desktop, and then just work? do I need a
    >router? I know a lot about computers, but nothing about this technology.
    >Help please. Thanks.


    You will need a wireless router. You can probably get it through your ISP
    but it might cost you. I think mine was $70. I was clueless how to set it
    up or even where to look on the computer to put in the WEP key. My brother
    talked me through it on the phone. He's a programmer.
    Julie Bove, Aug 5, 2010
    #4
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