OT: Recommend a wireless card

Discussion in 'Home Networking' started by James, Aug 3, 2007.

  1. James

    James Guest


    I'm looking for a decent wireless card to slot into my PC. I want good range
    as the router may be downstairs. Budget is no more than £40.

    Any suggestions.

    James, Aug 3, 2007
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  2. Edimax do a great PCI And USB one with ariels, the PCI one has a lead so
    you can put the ariel where you want

    I can supply if you need

    Essex Laptops - Andy Usher, Aug 3, 2007
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  3. James

    Palindrome Guest

    Personally, I have found that usb "dongle" wifi adapters on a usb
    extension lead is a cheap and effective solution. The dongle can be
    moved around for maximum signal - strangely this often seems to be at
    around head height..I know some people hate the things, but I haven't
    had any problems with them.

    Otherwise, an aerial extension lead to move the aerial away from the
    back of the computer can be invaluable. The metal case plays havoc with
    the aerial polar diagram - not much signal will get through if it* is
    between the two aerials..

    *Or any other metal lump. Not much gets through a copper hot water tank
    in an intervening airing cupboard, for example..

    You don't give any details of the router - which is rather important if
    you are trying to maximise range and speed. However, a cheap router and
    card with good external aerials will often outperform much more
    expensive kit in range and speed.

    (IIRC, there are quite a few web sites devoted to aerials and improving
    their performance. A simple cooking foil-lined "birthday card" reflector
    can sometimes give a dramatic improvement where reception is
    marginal..it can also get you some unexpected birthday presents from
    visitors to your office who think it must be your birthday so insist on
    paying for lunch ;) )
    Palindrome, Aug 3, 2007
  4. James

    Lurch Guest

    A wireless LAN card free with washing powder, no thanks.
    Supply what?
    Lurch, Aug 3, 2007

  5. Washing powder for your brain, I love the name you go under, most appropiate
    Essex Laptops - Andy Usher, Aug 3, 2007
  6. I second this I have an dabsvalue Edimax 7128w PCI cost around £ 10 and it
    comes with a little antennae on a lead. Great thing about it is that it has
    the Ralink RT2561 chipset and Ralink released drivers for Vista 32 & 64 bit
    which is great as I`m using Vista 64bit.
    Nick Le Lievre, Aug 3, 2007
  7. James

    Kevin Guest

    I think his post was about your spelling of "aerial" rather than the
    washing powder "ariel"
    Kevin, Aug 3, 2007
  8. James

    Lurch Guest

    Er, yeah, hence why I chose it.
    Lurch, Aug 3, 2007
  9. James

    GTH Guest

    since your PC and router will be near mains sockets why not use Homplugs
    (LAN over mains), much easier and more reliable than wireless. £50 for a
    50MB connection :)

    GTH, Aug 5, 2007
  10. Overbudget to start with, and maybe he lives in a place than only has one
    mains socket on each wall with pile of extensions plugging into it.

    I dont see Wireless over that range with the equipment I have suggested
    being in any way unreliable !!
    Essex Laptops - Andy Usher, Aug 5, 2007
  11. James

    John Jordan Guest

    My experience of wireless is that it can be unreliable over any range
    with any equipment :)

    But then most of the time it's fine, so if you've already got the router
    it's worth trying before splashing out on homeplug.
    John Jordan, Aug 5, 2007
  12. James

    Jon Guest

    declared for all the world to hear...
    Honeplugs work perfectly well over extensions. I'm using two in my house
    right now, one of which is in a 6-way which itself is plugged into an 8-
    way surge protector.
    Jon, Aug 6, 2007
  13. James

    Palindrome Guest

    Just an aside:

    Plugging an extension cord into an extension cord is not a good idea.
    You can easily end up with too high an earth impedance - which greatly
    increases the risk of fatal shock and fire.

    If you simply must do it, replace the fuse in the second extension with
    a 5A one and limit the load to under that. It quite possibly is well
    under that, already (ie <1.2kW). A fuse is only a few pence and only
    takes a moment to change. Compare that to how much time and cost would
    be involved if there was a fire...

    Better, of course, is to get the ring main right, with sockets where you
    want them - and run a single extension from each.

    Sorry to be an old maid but yes - I do know of fires that have resulted
    from daisy chaining extension leads..
    Palindrome, Aug 6, 2007
  14. James

    DCA Guest

    You know - I have seen a lot of your advice and it has always been good
    but on this occasion I am struggling with your logic!
    As you say, the ring main is the best option
    Greater risk of shock from Earth impedance increase over an extension
    lead or two - give me a break! Nonsense! The risk of a shock is there
    regardless of earth. No earth will ever prevent the risk of shock! If
    someone diverts the current into themselves then the earth is
    irrelevant! In fact, touching the live with one hand and the earth with
    the other is an example of when an earth can be more lethal! Just get an
    ELCB and this is the best thing for safety in existence.
    The fuse in the second lead to 5A - why? Each lead can be 13A and the
    combined load of any number of piggy backed leads will only be governed
    by the first fuse anyway. If the first lead is fused at 13A and each of
    the leads is rated at 13A then there is no fire risk from overloading at
    all (with the exception of long leads left coiled up in which case it
    can certainly get hot and the effective load rating is dramatically
    DCA, Aug 6, 2007
  15. James

    Palindrome Guest

    The earth connection to exposed metalwork is there so that any breakdown
    in insulation will cause a very large fault current, through the live
    conductor, the earth conductor and the protective device, such as to
    cause the protective device to operate quickly enough to prevent the
    voltage on the exposed metalwork rising to a high enough voltage, or
    sustaining that voltage, for long enough to pose a lethal shock hazard.

    This relies on the earth impedance being low enough to cause a very
    high, but very short duration, fault current.

    Fault clearance is dependent on the i2t characteristic of the protective
    device. Too low a fault current will result in too long a fault
    clearance time, to be safe. A 5A fuse has a lower i2t and will thus tend
    to clear a particular fault current much faster than a 13A fuse.

    This is nothing to do with overloading. This is all about earth
    impedance and how fast faults can clear, when they happen.

    A typical thermal fuse characteristic is shown here:

    Note that (for these typical fuses), a 15A fuse will take 10 seconds to
    blow with 40A current. If the per-wire extension lead resistance is just
    3 ohms, the fault current will not exceed 40A, even with a dead-short
    between live wire and equipment case. The case will rise to 120v and
    remain at that for 10 seconds, until the fuse finally blows.

    If a 5A fuse had been fitted in that extension lead, it would clear that
    fault in less than a tenth of a second.. The case would still rise to
    120v, but only for less than a tenth of a second.

    The other factor with extension leads plugged into extension leads is
    that this introduces another set of, potentially resistive, brushing
    contacts, reliant on spring pressure to ensure a good contact. These can
    very easily have enough contact surface to provide a low impedance at
    low currents, but not enough surface area to provide low impedance at
    high currents. It only needs an extra few ohms to go into circuit to
    limit the fault current so that the protective device will not trip
    (quickly - or even at all). That high resistance point will, of course,
    rise to a very high temperature, very quickly, under those conditions.
    Hence the fire risk.

    An ELCB is an /additional/ safety device. It should never be a
    substitute for correct fault-clearance design.

    Never plug extension leads into extension leads. But, if you really
    must, at least fit a lower rating fuse.
    Palindrome, Aug 6, 2007
  16. James

    DCA Guest

    Yep - no disagreement with all that but it does little to support your
    original suggestion!
    Your examples and web link argument relates to distribution box fuses
    that protect ring mains or radial circuits - NOT fuses in 13A plugs or
    extension blocks.
    Anyone relying on these to prevent a spontaneous short circuit (what you
    were essentially saying) would be daft anyway - they are only there to
    protect the ring or radial circuit.
    Getting back to the extension leads - they use far more efficient fuses
    and in any case they protect the specific extension lead - not the device.
    Now - each item plugged into the extension lead will of course be
    properly fused to protect that specific item - and will likely be 3A or
    perhaps 5A for typical PC items.
    On this basis, I still fail to see your point.
    If you're essentially on about doubling up protection then the original
    point was - well pointless made really!
    But that wasn't your original point!
    DCA, Aug 7, 2007
  17. James

    Lurch Guest

    More likely 13A, maybe 5A in a couple of cases.
    I can't be bothered to join in, I know he's right and that's that
    really. I cba to find sources for it all and quote it all.
    Lurch, Aug 7, 2007
  18. James

    Palindrome Guest

    My original suggestion:

    "Plugging an extension cord into an extension cord is not a good idea.
    You can easily end up with too high an earth impedance - which greatly
    increases the risk of fatal shock and fire. "

    "If you simply must do it, replace the fuse in the second extension with
    a 5A one and limit the load to under that. It quite possibly is well
    under that, already (ie <1.2kW). A fuse is only a few pence and only
    takes a moment to change. Compare that to how much time and cost would
    be involved if there was a fire..."

    The above totally supports my original syggestion...
    No, it relates to *thermal fuses* - exactly the same type of fuse fitted
    to 13A plugs and extension blocks. It clearly shows the time v current
    characteristics of thermal fuses of different current ratings.

    Fuses are not there to "prevent a spontaneous short circuit" - they are
    there to clear such faults.
    Define "efficient fuse". The cartridge fuses in plugs and extension
    leads obey exactly the same laws of physics as thermal fuses in
    distrbution panels. They have the same problem in clearing faults
    quickly where the fault current is very constrained, eg by too high an
    earth impedance.
    The only remotely sensible point you have made. However it is quite
    possible to plug a 13A unit in. Indeed, probable in many situations.
    The office cold in the morning? How about plugging in a fan heater,
    where you work? Happens all the time..
    My point was and remains that plugging extension leads into extension
    leads is inherently dangerous. A real possibility exists that a fire
    will result. A real possibility exists that a fatal electric shock will

    My secondary point remains that, if you must do so, then derating the
    fuse in the extension lead is a good idea. It would prevent anyone using
    a high current unit individually fused at 13A. As I have shown such an
    item, if it develops a fault, can present dangerously high voltages on
    exposed metalwork for long enough to kill. It can cause a fire.
    Palindrome, Aug 7, 2007
  19. James

    DCA Guest

    Ehh - what PC kit (home use) uses 13A. Certainly none of mine!! (just
    the small UPS perhaps - haven't checked)
    DCA, Aug 7, 2007
  20. James

    DCA Guest

    Nope - still can't see it anywhere.
    Not true - heat dissipation makes a massive difference to the speed the
    wire reaches critical temperature.
    Ehhh - nope - can't see that at all. They are there to break a circuit
    in the event of a current overload (rarely other than short circuit -
    such as caused by large capacitors that fail of a dropped wire etc)
    Efficient fuses blow more quickly than less efficient ones. different
    materials and heat distribution and ambient gasses make a massive
    contribution to their efficiency. Inversely similar to cheap light bulbs
    vs. decent ones. The expensive ones last longer!
    So show me where that increases the chance of electric shock?
    And the multiply extended extension still has a max current output of
    13A. At 15A it will eventually blow - at 20A it will be much quicker and
    either way the cable will take a lot more than that and the ring main is
    rated at 32A (or spur at 16A) so where is the problem. Still no more
    danger than one lead. For goodness sakes, half the home PC kit isn't
    earthed anyway!
    No inherent risk of fire unless some idiot has replace a fuse with a
    bloody nail (and we know this has happened in the past!!). Shock -
    really can't see it being in any way connected to a doubled up extension
    lead. The earth pin is bigger than the L and N and if the L can carry
    13A then so can the earth!
    We'll have to just retain our different opinions then Dorothy.
    Any which way - any place who doesn't use a RCCB (ELCB whatever) is mad.
    Very few places run without one. Doesn't much matter about the arguable
    earth issue then really
    DCA, Aug 7, 2007
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