Seeking advice on what to buy for Win98/XP home network...

Discussion in 'Wireless Networking' started by Sunny Side, Jul 30, 2004.

  1. Sunny Side

    Sunny Side Guest

    I am in need of some advice on how to network* the following machines:

    Pentium III
    Windows 98SE
    128 Meg RAM
    20 Gig. HD

    Pentium 4
    Windows XP (SP1)
    512 Meg. RAM
    80 Gig HD


    I do not yet have a high-speed connection and am debating between DSL
    and a cable modem. Your advice is also desired on this.


    * Here is my list of criteria for the proposed network, listed in the
    order of each item's importance:

    1. Wireless
    2. Easy to install/operate
    3. Secure (for regular home use -- not NSA-level stuff)
    4. Ability to share Internet, printer, and files
    5. Cost


    I would like to know:

    1. The Brand.Model you recommend
    2. The general lay-out (example: Install card X in the Micron machine,
    3. Where you suggest I purchase the components.


    Maybe there are other questions I should ask or criteria I should add
    but am too much of a novice to know. Please feel free to supply what
    may be lacking from the lists.

    Thank you!
    Sunny Side, Jul 30, 2004
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  2. Sunny Side

    Jack Guest

    Jack, Jul 30, 2004
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  3. Sunny Side

    Sunny Side Guest

    Thanks for the very kind reply.

    I read the links you provided and they are quite helpful. However, I
    guess I need to know at least this much info before ordering a
    wireless setup:

    1. Is there a problem trying to network between Win98SE and WinXP?
    2. Since the Win98SE desktop unit will be the main (or server?) side
    of the network, will I need to get a PCI card or some flavor of USB to
    install in it? It currently has no wireless capability though the two
    laptops are 802.11g compliant.
    3. Will I then be able to share printers, files, and Internet access
    between the three?

    I'm sorry if these questions are answered somewhere on those links but
    I didn't recall seeing this info there.

    Thanks, again!
    Sunny Side, Jul 30, 2004
  4. Sunny Side

    PJB Guest

    Since W98 has no inherant support for wireless networking,
    you'll need to ensure whatever adapter you buy for it has
    support/drivers for Win98.
    It *may* be better to connect it to a wifi router (should
    you decide to go that way) via standard network cable, and
    just Wifi the XP pc's.

    PJB, Jul 30, 2004
  5. Sunny Side

    Guest Guest

    Hi Sunny Side: the configuration you propose will put you over to the Dark Side as 98 has n't got built in Internet Connection Sharing and you'll have to buy Wingate softeware to allow the XP machine to connect.

    Setup an XP machine as the 'gateway' and this all works like magic.

    OK you have thew XP PC connected to the internet and now you want other PCs to share the internet access.

    Hopefully you’ll have Cable or DSL internet access. Makes no difference to wireless LAN, but some places just can't get Cable Access [by the way Cable is of course many times faster].

    What should one do?

    First, make sure everything you buy conforms to the dominant wireless standard known as 802.11b, or Wi-Fi (short for wireless fidelity). That way you can mix brands, operating systems, even network a Mac to a Windows PC and everything should still work together.

    There are two new, faster versions of Wi-Fi: 802.11a and 802.11g. "A" is for business use; "g" is for the home. Both bump networking speeds up from 11 megabits per second to 54 mbps. But unless you're moving around big video files or sharing other graphics-rich multimedia applications, "b" will be more than sufficient.

    The heart of your network will be a wireless access point and the Internet Access or preferably one device that does both called a router, acting as Wireless Access Point and cable or DSL modem and Network Switch. The two-in-one units, available from Linksys, D-Link, Netgear and others, start at about $100; with a few Ethernet ports and USB port too, so you can connect to PCs using a standard Ethernet cable or USB cable.

    To establish a wireless connection between a desktop PC and the wireless router, you need a USB or Ethernet Cable.

    To connect a notebook PC, you'll need a wireless PC card. If new notebooks have Wi-Fi capabilities built in. Notebooks with Intel's new Centrino chip, for example, are Wi-Fi-enabled.

    Note that 802.11g is backwards compatible with 802.11b — meaning a laptop with a "g" card will talk to a "b" router, albeit at the slower speed — but 802.11a is not. If your office installs an 802.11a network, get a dual-band wireless PC card for your laptop so that it can connect both at home and at work.

    Make sure that the software that comes with your gear will walk you through the installation. The steps will vary slightly, depending on each computer's operating system. The older the OS, the trickier it can be; Windows XP is designed to detect and configure a PC card to talk to an existing network.

    Before you start, gather the following information:
    • your broadband connection's IP address, e.g.,
    • subnet mask, e.g.,
    • default gateway e.g.,
    • DNS IP addresses e.g.,
    You can get these things from your Internet provider; your customer-service rep will know what you're talking about (or you can find this using the Properties tab, under Network Connections). Each is just a series of numbers (e.g., that you'll be prompted to plug in during setup. (If your provider supports a protocol called DHCP, your router should retrieve these settings automatically when you plug it in.)

    You may also be asked to choose an SSID (service set identifier) I recommend that you do not accept the default setting as anyone nearby with a wireless device can also use your internet access. Set your SSID to a meaningful name use your Business Name. For work-group name use ‘Wireless’ and a wireless channel select from 1 – 11, I recommend you use a higher channel as default settings usually select the lower end. Keep these consistent for all of your machines.

    For additional security you can and should use Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) algorithm: and set this at 64bit: you can then choose a combination of 10 hexadecimal characters [0-9 + A-F], again for this may I recommend you select your mobile phone number as it is 10 characters long and not known to all your neighbours.

    Additionally you can set the Access Point to only allow access to specific units, where you would enter their MAC address, again a series of Hex numbers, usually found on the Wireless Card plugged into the Laptops or other desktop PCs.
    Guest, Jul 30, 2004
  6. Sunny Side

    Sunny Side Guest

    Wow! This is EXACTLY the kind of "hand-holding" through the process
    that I needed! Thank you!

    Sunny Side, Jul 30, 2004
  7. Sunny Side

    Sunny Side Guest

    Thanks to everyone for your help! I deeply appreciate your assistance
    and advice!
    Sunny Side, Jul 30, 2004
  8. Sunny Side

    Sunny Side Guest

    Say, if you can stand one more question...

    It relates to the difficulty you mentioned in networking the Win98SE
    to the WInXP. What if I upgraded the Win98 to say, Win2000 or WinME?
    Would that work?

    Thanks, again!

    Sunny Side, Jul 31, 2004
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