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Old Sep 15th, 2003, 10:12 AM   #1
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We are thinking of making our entire house nothing but a complete wireless network. In otherwords, every computer online with no cables running into their ethernet ports. Computers include the following:
- Powerbook G4 15.2" (will buy in April, new models by then)with AirPort Extreme Card
- iMac DV 400 MHz with AirPort Card
- Apple Beige G3 (no wireless networking card)
- Possibly a Power Mac G4 tower with AirPort Extreme Card

We want to setup a wireless router in the middle of the house as the base station. I'm assuming both the original and AirPort Extreme cards can connect to a 802.11g wireless connection to the wireless router. Now - would the wireless router work as a base station for both the Powerbook and iMac DV (with AirPort cards)to connect to, or would there be something else needed? Finally - how do we connect the Beige G3 to the wireless network? (it can't hold a AirPort card)
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Old Sep 15th, 2003, 11:57 AM   #2
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I can't help you with how to connect a Beige G3, but I can help you for most of your other questions.

If you have a mix of 802.11b (Airport) and 802.11g (Extreme), the "network" will slow down to the slower speed. So whenever you have one of your Macs with Airport turned on, the speed of your network will decrease, but you would only notice this is you were transferring files from one Mac to another.

If you get a 802.11b or g wireless router, all your computers are in sense networked together, as if you had run ethernet cables from the router to each machine. So, its simply the normal set up without the wires, so you will be able to connect each computer to each other. You only need the one router, but as said above, speeds will decrease when you have one of the Airport enabled computers connected. If you are only using the internet, you won't notice the difference between the speeds, as the theoretical speed of Airport is 11MBitps, while most cable services don't even reach 3. (Remember, that is theoretical, so it never actually reaches that).

EDIT: MacOSXHints.com has a tip that details someone was able to get a PCI wireless card to work in their B&W G3.

[ September 15, 2003, 12:14 PM: Message edited by: Chealion ]
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Old Sep 15th, 2003, 12:14 PM   #3
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I don't know the Beige G3, but don't all Macs have an ethernet adapter? In that case won't an ethernet adapter do the trick? Check out this new one from Belkin. I use a Belkin router in the office in a mixed Mac PC environment and it's pretty much plug & play (in terms of them connecting the internet that is... talking to each other X-platform is another debate altogether!)
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Old Sep 16th, 2003, 09:10 AM   #4
 
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Quote:
If you have a mix of 802.11b (Airport) and 802.11g (Extreme), the "network" will slow down to the slower speed. So whenever you have one of your Macs with Airport turned on, the speed of your network will decrease, but you would only notice this is you were transferring files from one Mac to another.
This is not actually true, under the finalized 54g spec you can have combined g and b systems on the same wireless network operating at their full (respective) speeds (aka "mixed mode" you can read about it in the specs for AE on Apple.com).

As to your dilemma, I think that the easiest thing to do will be to still allow a wire or two.

The Beige Mac will have an ethernet port so just have the base station sitting next to it and run an e-net cable from the machine into the router. That being said, by the sounds of that link that Chealion (see I can spell it right ) it appears that there are lots of 3rd party PCI 54g options that will work as well.

I have set up with a wireless router (an SMC 54g) which I have hard wired to my iMac DV 400 and a 54g PMCIA card in my Ti 550. (do a search under my user name for a thread where other ehmac'ers were also sharing details of their wireless set-ups).

I get good reception with this set up with the router in my kitchen and the laptop one floor up in the bedroom. PMCIA cards have better wireless reception that integrated AE cards b/c the antenna sits "outside the box". Whether the aesthetics of this situation bother you or not will determine whether you want to shell out the extra bucks for AE vs. a 3rd party card.
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Old Sep 16th, 2003, 09:55 AM   #5
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I learned something new today re. mixed mode. That's great stuff. By the way Lars, when designing your wireless network, be sure to keep your ABS away from microwave ovens and 2.4 ghtz cordless phones, otherwise you'll likely get interference and slower throughput speeds.

As for your Beige G3 I think it would need a combined card and antenna adaptor.
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Old Sep 16th, 2003, 12:35 PM   #6
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mcni - Oops, my info is out of date. It was that way before the specifications, now thats been fixed. Good to know, thanks. (Hey you did spell it right )

Also, those PCMIA cards that have the antenna "outside of the box" can break very easily, since they just protrude from the laptop.
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Old Sep 16th, 2003, 02:54 PM   #7
 
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I should qualify the bit about mixed mode networks by noting that there do seem to be lots of people on the Apple AE discussion forums that have difficulty with them (but on the other hand, if you just read the Apple AE discussion forums you'd think that no one in the world could get an AE netowrk functional at all!).

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Also, those PCMIA cards that have the antenna "outside of the box" can break very easily, since they just protrude from the laptop.
I'm not talking about the ones with directional antennas. AFAIK you only find those on the PCI cards (and on the base stations themselves) since those machines are not meant to move around. The PMCIA based products (from all the usual manufacturers) have an enclosed antenna but the _card itself_ will stick an inch or so outside the machine.

Any impact that would be likely to damage the card would also like be lethal for your laptop so I wouldn't describe these units as "easily breakable" (i.e. no more easily breakable than your laptop). See this LinkSys PMCIA card, the one that I use btw, as an e.g.. Contrast this with the typical PCI design and you'll see what I mean.

As a parenthetical note, I think that the issue with 54g PMCIA cards highlights an important factor in the iMac vs. PowerMac, iBook vs. Powerbook debate.

When I bought my Powerbook I had no intention of using the PC card slot at all. Now, however, I happy I bought it b/c I can get more longevity out of it (not to mention being able to buy 3rd party products if I wish) simply b/c it is more expandable.

I have an iMac and I've been tempted to relpace it with an eMac but I will wait til I can afford a tower just b/c of the expandability. It's nice to have options but you won't always anticipate needing them when you are making your purchase up front.
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Old Sep 16th, 2003, 03:51 PM   #8
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Oops, sorry I did mean the PCMIA Card sticks out (Why am I making so many mistakes today?). I know the PCMIA card in my friends laptop broke quite easily when he moved faster then he meant and hit a wall. The laptop was just fine, but the card was broken. So personally I prefer for internal components. Other then that, mcni has covered everything quite well. Nice job mcni.
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