Mac wireless

I’ve got a Mac desktop computer that’s hooked up to DSL, and a Mac laptop. If I shoot when traveling, I backup to a small firewire drive, and then plug that drive into the desktop when I get home to move the files over. I’ve thought about getting a Macintosh base station to create a wireless network. This would allow me to use the laptop to get online from any room in the house, and share files between the laptop and desktop.

The Airport Base Station is a white orb that costs $200. The other Mac option is to use an Airport Express Base Station ($129), but this would also require buying an Airport Extreme Card for my desktop computer (the laptop has one already). Either way you slice it, it’s about $200. The Airport Express would allow me to do fancy stuff like using my computer to play music over my stereo. A cool idea, but right now extra time on the computer does not interest me.

I talked to a friend who has been networking Macs for awhile, and he recommended a less expensive option. The Linksys WRT54G Wireless Router is $49.99 from Amazon and ships for free. The WRT54G lets you share a DSL connection, move files between computers, includes a four port 10/100 switch, and uses 128 bit encryption. We’ll see how it works after I set it up over Thanksgiving weekend. Stay tuned.

4 thoughts on “Mac wireless”

  1. I’ve been using the Linksys WRT54G Wireless Router for the past year and a half with three PC’s (with a mix of Windows2000 and WindowsXP). Overall, it works great and I’ve had very little trouble with it.

    The only bug I’ve found is that if you have two computers running wireless at the same time, and one of those two computers is running VPN, it tends to lock out the second computer’s ability to connect to the internet. I’ve figured out that I can get around this problem by plugging the VPN-running computer directly into the router (wired, instead of wireless). Then the wireless computers can connect reliably.

    I’ve also been told that Linksys has a firmware download available to fix this problem, but I haven’t got around to trying that.

  2. I’ve used the Linksys router for years in a mixed Mac/PC environment – one was fried by lightning, one was ‘bricked’ when I made a failed firmware upgrade, and the last just refused to negotiate with my DSL provider one day.

    Now, I’m using a $24 D-Link wireless router in place of the Linksys, and (knock wood) it’s been fine for 4 months now.

    Bottom line – there is no need to use an Airport base station at all.

  3. The Apple airport base station is a rip off. There are plenty of other wireless routers that will work much better and have a wider range of coverage. I use a Belken wireless router that is half the price of an Apple airport base station and it gets coverage from front yard to backyard, upstairs to downstairs, and do not need any extra antenna boosters. Your better off with the Linksys than the Apple base station. I know people with the Apple base that can’t stay connnected when they are seperated by only 2 rooms in a small apartment.

    Here is a tip: bookmark the router address in your web application’s toolbar. That way if you ever get a failed connection, power out, or disconnected cable, etc. that requires a reboot from the internal router settings (accessible from the router’s IP address) you won’t have to hunt for papers and kick yourself for throwing away that little piece of paper with important info.

  4. I use mostly the Linksys-G routers and Linksys-G access points, so the home network for desktop machines is all hardwired, with wireless coverage throughout the house as well. When anyyone around here brings in their laptops and doesn’t want to be tethered to a cable, they can immediatley get a connection.

    I recently got one of the Airport Express Base Station with AirTunes, and the really nice thing is that it will auto-configure itself depending on what things are plugged into it! I hardwired it into the wired network, and patched it to the stereo system audio aux input, and on power up, it is now another wireless access point, and music can be streamed directly from itunes through to my stereo system. You can control the speaker volume and speaker selection (laptop, room, or both) directly from the laptop.

    It can also configure itself to be a wireless print server by connecting a USP printer to the other port on the Airport Express.

    I was so impressed, I got another one for my daughter to take with her when travelling, as you can have different configuration files stored for your different locations, and then setup takes even less time from place to place!

    The price is too high, but it is small, compact, and does a lot… that’s Apple!


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