I had seen mention on the internet that it was possible to use a wireless router on your home network without replacing the existing wired router-firewall and CAT5 installation. Most of my machines are already wired into my “blue cable” ethernet LAN (which is much faster).
Unlike an earlier experiment a few years back, this router had excellent range. It’s an ASUS WL-520GU broad range wireless router I picked up on the cheap on a whim at a NewEgg sale, but I never spent the time to try to work through the setup.
In this configuration you just connect a wireless LAN port into an existing CAT5 network port on any fast Ethernet switch. I use NetGear switches all over the house. However, in what was to be its “permanent” location, I was unsuccessful in getting the installation software to connect to the wireless router. Finally, I just plugged it into the unused extra Local Area Connection 2 port on the back of my desktop PC. The installer connected just fine.
The next step was to configure the router through its HTTP IP address. The web browser configuration panel is much more sophisticated than the installation software, and worked perfectly. I set up a very secure connection and soon had my wireless Toshiba laptop connected to it.
Moving the now-configured wireless router out to its permanent home in the living room (about 100′ away), I connected it to the living room CAT5 connection. The Toshiba laptop, still here on my desk, nevertheless got “Excellent” signal strength at that distance. I can’t see any signal drop-off.
In this setup the wireless is just a “repeater station” so you can rove with the laptop. Now I have the best of both worlds: the speed of 100Mbps CAT5, and wireless mobility for roving devices.
As others have pointed out, installation software is “horrible”. I saw that remark made about ASUS in a NewEgg user review; I would have to say that NetGear installation software is at least as bad. Here we are criticizing only the software that comes with the installation CD’s; on the other hand, I’ve found that the ASUS and NetGear firmware HTTP configuration control panels that come with the same devices, which we use to administer router, print server and firewall router, are all reliably excellent.
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