Which to get? Plz tell me

Discussion in 'Cisco/Linksys Wireless Routers' started by sanj783x, Apr 22, 2004.

  1. sanj783x

    sanj783x Network Guru Member

    Hi, I have been looking to setup a wireless home network.

    I have 512kb cable connection and want to connect 2 pc's and a laptop, however, I am stuck and dont know whether to get the Linksys Wireless-G Access Point (WAP54G) or the Linksys Wireless-G Broadband Router (WRT54G)

    What would be best for me?

    Some one plz reply soon and can you explain why its better than the other? THANKS!!!!!
  2. jdepew

    jdepew Administrator Staff Member Member

    Hi Sanj,

    Welcome to the Site - Great first post - These are the type of questions we are here to answer!

    First there are som functional differences between a Wireless Router such as the WRT54G and a Wireless Acess Point such as the WAP54G

    A Wireless Router allows you to connect multiple Computers (or other network devices) to the internet through a singe point. This single point is the router which serves several functions. It creates a local network for your devices that is seperate from the external network (Internet) and your home network. Secondly, it provides something call NAT (Network Address Translation). Typically in situations such as a cable modem or DSL connection, you have one IP Address by which your computer is identified on the network. With a router, you can use that one address to work for multiple devices behind the router on your network. Third, most provide some form of Firewall protection blocking unwanted entries onto you computer. A router is how your computers get to the internet, so we can call this an Inernet Gateway.

    A Wireless Acces Point (AP) allows you to connect clients with a Wireless NIC (Network Interface Card) to a Wired network. It serves to bridge the gap between a wireless computer and a device such as a network switch, router, or other computers connected to the network.

    A wireless router provides a combination of these functions, in the case of the WRT54G or GS, as a fourt port switch for wired computers and an access point for the wireless computers while still acting as the 'Internet Gateway' for all the connected devices.

    In your case it would seem as though you should go with a Wireless Router such as the WRT54G you mentioned. It is a great router with many features and (obviously!) great support.

    For any computer you would like to connect by wire (Ethernet Cable, aka Cat5 aka Cat5E aka Cat6) you will need an "10/100T Ethernet " Network Interface Card (NIC). In the case of desktops/towers a PCI card, in the case of notebooks a PC Card. There are also USB solutions available.

    For Wireless connections, you will need a Wireless card. It is important to make sure that they run on the same Standard as the Wireless Router you have, in this case 'Wireless-G' or 802.11g. Again for desktops you can look for a PCI Card, such as the WMP54G, or a PC Card for laptops, WPC54G.

    Well, I hope that helps out some. And welcome to the board. Perhaps one day you'll be helping others figure out their networking problems! Great having you here!

  3. Chiefer

    Chiefer Network Guru Member

    James is right :!: Well explained :)
  4. sanj783x

    sanj783x Network Guru Member

    Thanks for the reply!

    just a couple of questions, with reference to:

    "For Wireless connections, you will need a Wireless card. It is important to make sure that they run on the same Standard as the Wireless Router you have, in this case 'Wireless-G' or 802.11g. Again for desktops you can look for a PCI Card, such as the WMP54G, or a PC Card for laptops, WPC54G."

    Can I just use this router with 802.11b cards or does it have to be 802.11g?

    Also, am I right in thinking that the router connects to the modem using a network cable then from the router, it sends out signals to the cards in the pc's where it simply connects?

    Sorry if it doesnt sound right but I am new to WIFI, I hope you understand.

    Thanks again for all your help!

    Elfew likes this.
  5. jdepew

    jdepew Administrator Staff Member Member

    YES! 802.11g is backward compatible with 802.11b. There is a slight performance degredation for clients that use 802.11g when using a 802.11b on the same access point, but its nothing major. So feel free to use either with your network. Additionally, anything you equip with an 802.11g card will also be able to connect with 802.11b networks, like public networks at libraries or Starbucks©.

    802.11a is another standard for wireless networking that is NOT compatible with 802.11g/b. Among the many differences, it operates on a completely different frequency.

    Yup! You will want to connect the modem to the router's 'WAN' port by a network cable. So, the router, logically and physically sits between the PCs and the modem.

    Don't worry about it, we were ALL new to WiFi at some point. Stick around, there's much to be learned; like your teachers always said, the only stupid question is the one not asked!

  6. sanj783x

    sanj783x Network Guru Member

    Thanks guys you have been really helpful!

    Ill let you know how I get on when I set it up
  7. sanj783x

    sanj783x Network Guru Member

    Hi, Im just awaiting my Linksys Wireless-G Broadband Router (WRT54G) and i was wondering if it incorporates a firewall?

    If so, do I also need firewall software or will that be not necessary?

    Thanks for your replys

  8. jdepew

    jdepew Administrator Staff Member Member

    It does indeed! In fact it supports Stateful Packet Inspection (SPI). That's a good thing. :wink:
  9. elzbal

    elzbal Network Guru Member

    The firewall software in the Linksys router will do fine to protect you against malicious connections from the Internet. However, you may want to consider using firewall software on your PC as well, just in case someone get access to your wireless network.

    If someone (your neighbor, or that guy in the black car in front of your house whose hooded face is lit up by the glow of a laptop screen) gains access to your wireless network, the router will do little or nothing to protect your PCs. You can do a pretty good job of securing most wireless connections (using WEP-based wireless encryption, filtering MAC addresses, etc), but there are known ways to get into a wireless network. You might prefer having firewall protection on each of your workstations, just in case...

    (I don't mean to scare you, of course - the actual risk of getting maliciously hacked is fairly low. Also, if your wireless clients support it, using the newer WPA wireless encryption should mitigate most issues.)

    Of course, the router will do nothing for viruses, spyware, and the like, so you will want to make sure you are protected there too...
  10. jdepew

    jdepew Administrator Staff Member Member

    Very good points! Its amazing how many wireless access points are in my apartment building and the overwhelming majority unsecured.

    Use WPA if you can (in other words, everything you have must support it), and take care to protect those computers individually. Virus Scanners at minimum!
  11. jongi

    jongi Network Guru Member

    When it comes to securing the wireless network, what is the difference in the various WPA settings (on the WRT54G)?

    Also which settings should I enable to ensure that the firewall is enabled?
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