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Discussion Starter #1
OK, my new CPU crapped out on me and I need to ship it back to Compaq to get fixed. I am now using my old CPU with dial up connection. I want to set up a wireless network so I can hook up my old CPU to my cable modem.

What all do I need to buy to get this working. My old CPU does not have a ethernet connectiion.
 

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Basically, you need a wireless router connected to your cable modem, and an 802.11 card in your PC.

Here's a nice little writeup on the Netgear site:
http://www.netgear.com/products/prod_learn.php?prodid=248

Not an endorsement of Netgear stuff, just a nice writeup of what you'll need. All network hardware manufacturers make similar stuff.

I'll let others argue the pros and cons of different brands of 802.11 solutions (LinkSys, D-Link, Buffalo, Microsoft, etc).

I'll also let others talk about restricting access to a wireless network, and network security issues. I didn't get enough sleep last night to get into that stuff this morning.
 

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Andrew said:
Basically, you need a wireless router connected to your cable modem, and an 802.11 card in your PC.
But if you don't want to crack open the case on your old computer to insert an wireless ethernet card (the 802.11 card mentioned) and your old computer has USB ports and is running a USB-capable operating system (Windows 98SE, 2000, XP), you could opt for something like this which also has the benefit of being capable of being placed anywhere within a USB cord's length of your CPU. Can do wonders for reception if your computer tends to be tucked away on the floor under a desk in a corner.

And as Andrew alluded to, you'll be opening up a new can of worms with respect to network security and time spent researching and implementing safeguards will be well worth the effort.
 

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* * * Make sure you encrypt your wireless network traffic * * *

It's not a big deal to do it and can save a bunch of headaches. It's not a huge deal if you live in low population area. More densely populated areas are pretty bad. I've seen up to 3 wireless networks in one location, none of them protected.

While not a common occourance, in an unprotected network anyone with wireless gear can access your network. They can attack your PC's easily and can also download anything they want - including kiddie porn. And the police come to your house, not the person that's really downloading the bad stuff.

It's a little bit of FUD, but it's like seat belts. It's a little effort to save a lot of trouble down the road.
 

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Street lingo for it WarDriving or WarWalking, use a wireless car in a laptop to sniff for networks, if it's open leave a physical mark so others can use it.
 

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Stupid question maybe, but...why wireless? I'm under the impression this is a temporary fix, until your computer is fixed? If it's temporary, you can buy a USB-based ethernet adaptor and plug your cable modem into your old cpu.

Going wireless will take some tweaking. You'll attach a wireless router to the cable modem, then probably need a WIRED ethernet connection to that router in order to configure it (at least, my NetGear router required that - won't configure via wireless - but Apple's Airport WILL configure via wireless). I think your simplest setup will be with Apple's new AirPort Express ($125) coupled with a USB-based wi-fi transceiver.

As others said, USE ENCRYPTION (commonly referred to as WEP). Even though this may a bit of a hassle to set up the first time, it's worth it.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
If I am gonna do a network, I figure I minus well make it wireless so in the future if I buy a laptop, I can take it out on the deck.
 

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I actually run a small business that does home networking in the Pittsburgh area. This is the procedure I tell my customers with cable modems that replace the PC, add a router/firewall or change their network card:

Your network card has what is called a MAC address (Media Access Control). This is a unique ID to your network card. When you got your Cable Modem you also probably got a CD that has a program on it that registered your Cable modem. This also may have (depending on the provider) registered your MAC address of the PC that ran the program. If you plug in a different PC or replace that network card you may lose your internet connectivity. You might need to re-register the MAC address of the new PC/network card with that CD.


Sorry if you already knew this but it tends to help people that aren't techo geeks. There are many variations on this. If you have issues with it you can post again or PM me.

I would suggest getting a Router/firewall. It helps protect your network and simplfies adding more than 1 PC to your network. That is a little more complex than the above. I recomment the Linksys stuff - I personnally use the router with 4 port switch and Wireless G - model WRT54G. Great device. I hardwire desktops and use the wireless stuff for laptops. I have a Vonage phone sitting on it and I run a small webserver too along with whatever customer's PCs I am working on.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
OK, just got my PC back from Compaq. The repair order page says 'M/B was defective'. What is M/B?
 

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Mother Board

Or they might be referring to my Mercedes Benz that I got out of the shop yesterday.
 
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