Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Sun 17 Aug 03 10:23
mcb's post reminded me that we're working on a hotspot recipe in Austin: http://www.gizmopartners.com/wireless/
Jeff Loomis (jal) Sun 17 Aug 03 13:01
Wireless routers aren't that much more expensive than PCI adapters, does it make any sense to get a wireless router and plug an existing PC with a wired connection into it, rather than getting a wireless adapter for the PC, assuming a wireless access point of some sort somewhere else in the building? That way for a few extra dollars you would get you some extra wired connection points in the room with the new router. And you wouldn't have to install a PCI card, if you were averse to doing so.
John Ross (johnross) Sun 17 Aug 03 15:13
Your talking about apples and oranges. A router is a device that moves the data from the wireless network to a wired network. It is most often a stand- alone box, rahter than something that uses a full-function computer. An adapter is the device that connects a computer to a network. Two entirely different things. It's true that a few vendors offer software that can turn a computer with a WiFi adaptor into a base station (I think I've played with the Zoom version). If I understand what (jal) is proposing, he wants to use a PC as the access point, and connect the PC through a wired ethernet card to a LAN or the Intetnet. I don't see any advantage to that approach. Would be much easier to use a gateway router/hub with both ethernet ports and a wireless access point, and connect that to the nearby PC. You can get a decent ethernet card for $15 or less. Just go ahead and hard-wire the PC to the hub, and use wireless for the distant computers and the laptops that are sometimes within range.
Jeff Loomis (jal) Sun 17 Aug 03 21:01
"use a gateway router/hub with both ethernet ports and a wireless access point, and connect that to a nearby PC" That's what I was thinking of. But after a little brick and mortar shopping (just Office Depot, not much open Sunday evening) routers, relative to access points and adapters, were more expensive than in the catalog.
Michael C. Berch (mcb) Sun 17 Aug 03 22:52
I wonder when ISPs will start selling instant networks, i.e., a cable or DSL modem with integral wireless router/access point/hub. It makes sense as a mass-market product, and I think you get some savings in putting it all in one box. In any case, some basic numbers to work with: Ethernet NIC card, PCI bus: $15-30 Ethernet NIC card, PCMCIA: $30 802.11b card, PCMCIA: $40-60 Wired 2E router with 4-port hub: $40-60 (Linksys, D-Link, etc.) Wireless 802.11b access point and router, with 4-port 10BaseT hub: $50 and up
Where's the Flying Car (airman) Mon 18 Aug 03 01:03
In a Washington Post article on Monday August 18th (today) there is a n article talking about wireless (cellular) interference with emergency frequencies. How does WiFi look? Who else shares the bandwith and who are the neighbors? Is there anyway to minimize interference, John Ross?
Jeff Loomis (jal) Mon 18 Aug 03 09:23
Tinfoil? But seriously, (mcb), is that the price for a PCI wired card or wireless card. Seems like the price for a wired card. If so, what would you say would be the basic number for a wireless card? I am torn between buying online and saving a few dollars and just going out to a store and getting started right away. On the one hand, I've waited a while already, on the other I'd like to relate my story before this topic peters out.
John Ross (johnross) Mon 18 Aug 03 10:07
(jal), the big box office supply places advertise low-end name brand WiFi and ethernet stuff at loss-leader prices. Even witht he sales tax, the price is comparable to mail order. Look at the color inserts in your Sunday newspaper. (airman), WiFi (802.11b) uses the unlicensed 2.4 gHz band. That band is basically a free-fire zone. Among other things, it's also used by Bluetooth, cordless phones, microwave ovens and a bunch of other things, including some other point-to-point services. There's no legal protection from interference (that's the trade-off for having no required license). The theory is that different types of modulation can co-exist, so, for example, WiFi and Bluetooth won't interfere with each other.In practice, a strong local signal like a microwave oven or a phone can create noise that will slow down the data transfer speed of a WiFi link. But the regulations limit the maximum output power of any of these radio trasnmitters, in order to minimize the amount of interference. It's the short signal range that prevents massive interference. Because the signal peters out at around 100 meters (more or less), the number of WiFi singals at any specific location on the ground is relatively small, except maybe in a downtown with a lot of highrise offices. And because it's a digital packet radio system, interfering signals will usually just slow things down, rather than drowning each other out completely. Compare this to CB radio at the peak of that fad, when there were dozens of analog voices on each channel, all coming out of your speaker together.
Kurt Sigmon (kd-scigmon) Mon 18 Aug 03 14:26
I know that my WiFI causes odd clicks and pops on my cordless 2.4 gHz phone. The microwave also hassles it.
John Ross (johnross) Mon 18 Aug 03 16:00
It works both ways. The phone and microwave are interfering with the WiFi links as well. You aren't listening directly to the WiFi signal, so you're not as aware of it, but you'll probably see a drop in "signal quality" and maybe a drop in data speed when you turn on the microwave. I don't know how far the RF emissions from a microwave oven carry, but it's probably a matter of ten feet or so before it drops down to something insignificant. So the solution is to keep the oven away from either end of the WiFi link; as for cordless phones, I would fin one that uses a different frequency range if I needed cordless in a building with a WiFi network.
Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Tue 19 Aug 03 17:44
What is the future of WiFi? I've been thinking that we'll have pervasive service (or tending toward pervasive, like cellphones), and that we'll see more and more innovative devices that use wireless networks. How about games? Sony has a wireless Playstation on the boards.
John Ross (johnross) Tue 19 Aug 03 20:42
It's pretty clear that Microsoft got into the broadband networking hardware business to support video games and video-on-demand set top boxes. And several companies already offer WiFi video cameras. Within five or ten years, a broadband network will be a standard home utility like cable TV and telephone wiring. Some will be wired, others will be wireless. But as networked appliances and other "smart house" products move from the gee whiz early adopters to the upscale to Joe and Judy Sixpack, network access will be standard in new construction and a common add-on to existing houses. As for the public hotspots, I'm less sanguine (if I'm sanguine at all). The real product is high-speed wireless Interent access. Whether it's WiFi or 3G or something else entirely remains to be seen.
Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Thu 21 Aug 03 05:08
If mobile wireless data services are to work as 'product,' they have to solve the problem of roaming, no?
John Ross (johnross) Thu 21 Aug 03 10:28
Yes and no. It's not exactly like cellphones, where you need a way to hand off a call in progress as the user is moving around. Sure, there will be some people trying to use wireless data inside a van or on foot (with a PDA), but I suspect an acceptable system could just support users who are standing still. But there is a need for a way to grab a link and assume that your existing account will be billed for the service. As it stands now, you need accounts with several different service providers.
Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Thu 21 Aug 03 20:24
I've noticed that Wayport has billing arrangements with some other WISPs, so that you can select to have billing done for Wayport services by your own provider, if it's one of those. I've wondered how it'll work with devices that are networked to communicate with other devices. They might have more of a need to roam, or some kind of network presence that's unmetered, perhaps.
David Gans (tnf) Sat 23 Aug 03 09:39
The interview has been supplanted at center stage by our conversation with Mary Mackey, aka Kate Clemens, but there is no reason it can't continue as long as everyone has anything to say. John and Jon, thank you for an informative discussion! The topic remains open.
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