OT: Wireless Networks

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Ah well, at least it ain't politics.
I set up a wireless broadband connection at my place about the first of the year. I bought Netgear stuff, that uses the 802.11G standard.
I initially had the router hooked to the desktop computer, (that is on the third floor of my old stone house) but it didn't have enough range to get signal to the shop ( which has a straight-line distance of about one-hundred feet, including many stone walls on its journey) . So, I moved the router and the modem to the second floor of the house and I got intermittently decent signal strength out of this arrangement.
For whatever reason, the intermittency has become less than bearable,(mostly because I am limited to my position in the shop, if I want to get adequate signal strength) and I have thought to add something to the system to increase its range and signal strength.
My questions are various and thusly:
If the router is not hooked into a computer, but only is plugged into a cable modem that directly connects to the coax cable feed of Comcast, does the router enjoy all of the protection that it would, if it were hooked to a computer through a NIC connection? (I'm thinking no, and I apologize if this is a stupid question).
If the above question is answered in the negative, and it is necessary to have the router connected to a computer to enjoy the benefits of software level protection - what should I use to repeat, or boost the signal, so that I can use the wireless connection anywhere in the shop, rather than only on top of the bandsaw table - which is inconvenient?
Even if the previously referenced question is answered in the positive, I still have a weak signal and need to know how to deal with that.
Finally, I am shamed to admit that I have left the network with whatever defaults were in place during setup. I am not a security freak but would like to know the appropriate measures that should be taken to protect myself from those unwanted few, who might want to access the network, for whatever reasons.
OBWW - I am writing this whilst the laptop is sitting on my workbench (yes, I know that is lame).
As always, this OT inquiry is brought to you by some poor wooddorker who truly does not know the answers to the above questions.
(watson - who almost always wishes that that he had been born smart, instead of ugly).
Regards, Tom.
Thomas J.Watson - Cabinetmaker (ret.) tjwatson1ATcomcastDOTnet (real email) http://home.comcast.net/~tjwatson1
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Tom, please find my comments inline:
"Tom Watson" wrote in message ...

Remember that the angle the signal travels through the wall to the receiver (direct line) may increase the apparent thickness of the wall. 90deg is the best angle.

The type of protection is unnaffected by connection type (more on this a bit further on).

Not sure, others will chime in for certain. Try these just for giggles:
- Use half a Pringles can as a parabolic reflector around the antennae to help receive a stronger signal.
- http://www.tomshardware.com
- http://www.adslresource.co.uk links to one at http://www.nublu.com/broadband/catalog/product_info.php?products_id 2&osCsid®c75c50d2df8eee399dfec4046f206b

Can you move the WAP (router) closer to mid way between all PCs?

I suggest that what you need is to enable security and restrict access to specified MAC addresses. The MAC address will limit the devices that can connect to the router to only those you have specified.
Hope it helps.
Greg
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In addition to what I had previously, Netgear has an educational page setup at: http://www.netgear.com/education/wep.php
Linksys also have: http://www.linksys.com/splash/wirelessnotes.asp
Greg
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Everything that Greg indicated agrees with my experience. The Pringles can is a quick & dirty way to build the directional antenna, which you can buy at the local electronics discounter for maybe $40, including some handy cable adapters.
We've got a similar network running between my son's place across the street, where he does the video editing, and my place, where we have the high speed internet connection. The MAC filtering is a good start. So is the notion that data layer encryption could/should be run where appropriate.
That last part is worth thinking about. You really are looking to prevent a couple of things. #1 - evil-doers accessing your systems, with all of the possible ramifications therein, and #2 - someone posing as you in some way, doing things which are illegal, distasteful and/or slimey. You REALLY don't want to have to defend yourself against a lawsuit or criminal prosecution, regarding the dark side of Al Gore's Internet. Unfortunately, the action's of our resident troll are only the beginning....
But the good news is that a $150 wirelss router/firewall combination, set up like Greg says, will keep most of the bad guys out, and should be presumptive indication to any law enforcement that you were trying to secure your piece of the 'net, should real nastiness occur.
Now, back to happier topics. Any one got a good recommendation on a book about cutting my own veneer? I was recently given a small amount of some really spectacular spalted maple.....
Patriarch, who, in real life, has only been networking about twenty-two years now.
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wrote:

Run a cable to the shop and be done with it. A mechanic like you should will no problem doing this. At the most, you'll need to purchase a long 3/8" "installers" drill bit.
The router dosen't get hooked up to the computer, only the modem. The router then assumes the duties of logging in, as a single computer would. All of the computers then deal with the router as a gateway. You can usually set up the router via a web page.
Even though Comcast attempts to steal phone and Internet customers from my employer on a daily basis, I will do all I can to help you get set up.
Email me directly @ nospam @ snet dot net, and I'll reply with phone numbers where you can reach me.
Barry
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Tom try an antenna like this one: http://www.dlink.com/products/?pidT I set this particular one up in the shop and I get great reception through 4 cinder block walls and about 500 feet of distance. All the wireless manufactures make similar products so you should be able to find one suitable for your system. I have a dell laptop and dell wireless card with a D-link wireless router and the combo works great. Hope I could be of some help>
CHRIS

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If you are using the router/access point solely to connect to the shop you can simply add directional antennas to the equipment. This design http://www.freeantennas.com/projects/template/ should cost you something like $0.10 to make and is supposed to work better than the famous Pringle's can antenna as well as being cheaper (and carbohydrate free).
One thing to beware of with wireless is that many types of equipment share the allocated band and any of them, as well as any neighbors' wireless networks, can easily interfere with even a good connection -- this is one of the dirty little secrets that the wireless advocates don't talk about very much. I understand that in some areas getting a 2.4gHz wireless setup to work reliable over the length of even a small house is nearly impossible because of all the other equipment in the neigborhood effectively jamming it.
--
John McGaw
[Knoxville, TN, USA]
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Snip of bunch-o-stuff
If you want to go over this with me by email, I'd be happy to go over it in a fair amount of detail. I get my network feed from over a mile away using a similar setup.
Roughly speaking, it goes like this:
Internet -> modem -> Wireless appliance / switch / hub -> wired computer \ \ Wireless laptop
So, your network connection comes into your cable modem (broadband hub, whatever), the output of that which normally just goes to your PC goes to your wireless/wired hub (if that's what you have). If distance on the wireless side is the issue, look at http://www.cantenna.com for some ideas, and so on. Anyway, feel free to drop me an email if you'd like.
Dave Hinz
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Yes and no. A router basically does NAT (network address translation) which in short shields the IP address of your computer to the internet at large. However, some routers (such as Linksys) have hooks to work with some firewall software, such as ZoneAlarm Pro.
I'm not sure I fully understand your question. If there is no computer hooked up to the router, then the router is idle and isn't doing anything. Any connection attempts are simply unacknowledged.

The router, a hardware device, is different from a software firewall, such as ZoneAlarm or NIS. The router will drop about 95% of the "hits" on your computer, and a software firewall takes care of the rest. A software firewall can do other functions, such as flagging and renaming potentially harmful attachments, and limit access to and from the internet, by port, or by individual program. I'd suggest you run both a router and a software firewall.

A few companies offer wireless signal boosters. The link shows one example but I can't vouch for it's compatibility with your setup.
http://www.linksys.com/products/product.asp?grid3&scid8&pridT8

As someone else mentioned (and depending on your router), you can limit access to the network by MAC address. Every ethernet network device has a unique MAC address (media access control). A network device would be a router, network card, wireless card, etc. The MAC address for a network card can be read by running winipcfg (windows 98x) or "ipconfig /all" from a windows 2000 or XP command prompt. A typical MAC address would be something like "00-E1-04-F7-27". You need to enable MAC address security on your router, then enter the MAC address number for each wireless device you want to provide access to on your network.
Hope this helps.
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1/4" or 1/2" shaft?

The router is likely a firewall as well. Does it have Ethernet as well as wireless? If so, run a cable to a hub, and hook the router to the hub.

Some access points can have a signal booster, and/or a larger antenna. Or you can run a cable to another access point.
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Just bought a microsoft wireless -G router Model MN-700. Cost was under $50. It is both a wireless access point (802.11g) and also has four ethernet 10 Base T. ports. With a device like this you could run a cable to the shop and have wireless wherever it works.
I'm going to use it to replace my 4 port ethernet router which I have used with my cable modem for at least 3 years. I figure the world is going wireless so I should get with the program.
I like the fact that the Router acts as a firewall. However, you still need Virus protection software on each computer. ....................... Now if I could only get my new bandsaw to tension my blade properly. Need to do some resawing and can't crank enough tension onto the blade. (Will have to call Jet tech support on Monday). Why do these things always happen on Friday night. I've tried two different blades (1/2 and 3/4" 3tpi)
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On Fri, 14 May 2004 23:43:36 -0500, Dustmaker wrote:

Does it have strong authentication and encryption so the neighbors and drive byes arent using and viewing your network and it's traffic?
-Doug
--
"A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always
depend on the support of Paul." - George Bernard Shaw
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I believe it does. I read the manual last night and they were discussing 132 bit encryption and all sorts of way to program the device to only accept certain MAC addresses.
You might find the user's guide online. Look under www.microsoft.com/broadbandnetworking

cable
used
Need
(Will
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On Fri, 14 May 2004 23:43:36 -0500, "Dustmaker"

Why, to slow your network down?
$50 wireless routers are much slower than a comparible wired setup.
Barry
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I have had WiFi for 3 years and I have found that it is okay if you are right next to the Access Point. I have 5 computers in the house and 2 are only WiFi enabled. Ethernet is sooo much better.
Rich
PS. Went looking at a used Bandsaw last night and the guy also had a DJ20 for sale. Go Figure. He does have 600 BF of cherry and maple at $3.50 a BF. if interested let me know
wrote:

used
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I get my network feed by wireless (802.11b) from 1.1 miles away. The technology is sound; perhaps your particular implementation is not.
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wrote:

And yet, even 802.11b is at 11 megabits/second, while even a T1 network feed is only 1.5 megabits/second. Unless you're doing heavy-duty fileserving internally, your ISP is going to be the limiting factor.
Dave Hinz
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B a r r y wrote:

So? They're still an almighty lot faster than the cable modem.

--
--John
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On Mon, 24 May 2004 21:54:00 -0400, "J. Clarke"

Right you are. I guess you share NOTHING other than the Internet connection? I share printers, files, audio feeds, burners, etc... Once the network is in, the extra uses become apparent.
Barry
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B a r r y wrote:

What difference does it make what _I_ share? The original poster did not say anything about wanting to do any of the things that you do.

--
--John
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