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Thread: Wireless Laptop

  1. #1
    Flashaholic*
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    Default Wireless Laptop

    Thinking of replacing my current laptop and going wireless. Hoping some of the gurus can answer my questions. I am PC savvy, but not a pro.

    I'm looking at the deals Dell has been offering. Can get one with free wireless card. I want to be able to sit on sofa or in kitchen and surf or work/print. The printing is important.
    Any advice on the router I will have to get.
    Also I have heard stories about compromising security with going wireless. How wdo I keep everything safe?
    Thanks

  2. #2
    Flashaholic* BatteryCharger's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wireless Laptop

    Any name brand router will be good. Keep an eye out, this time of year you should be able to find one really cheap.

  3. #3
    Flashaholic* ACMarina's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wireless Laptop

    I like Netgear myself, but IMO there's been drastic improvements at Linksys since they've been consumed by Cisco.

    Security is dependant on how far you'd like to go. You can go from wide open access to complete lockdown, where you must have an approved MAC address to access the network. I wouldn't worry about it too much, as long as you set up the security properly, and most of the routers I've delt with have simple instructions. .

  4. #4
    *Flashaholic* James S's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wireless Laptop

    in one sense it's safer connecting through a router, wireless or otherwise, in that your computer no longer has an externally routable IP address. Meaning that nobody can enter or scan your IP address and connect to your machine to perform mischief. Course, you still have to watch the stuff you bring in on purpose for virus and trojan.

    What they are talking about security wise is the fact that the encryption that is used if you turn it on is not unhackable. Somebody could sit in their car outside your house for a day or two running the software and come away with the password to your network so they could watch your packets go by.

    I don't really consider this a big problem. Anytime you buy anything online or do any online banking you're already at an https: site, meaning that the stronger encryption of the browser is on top of the low grade encryption of the link itself. so nothing to worry about there. It is possible that if your neighbor has a kid with a lot of time on his hands he could hack your connection and watch all your chat packets go by or your email download or something. but then, all your chat packets and email goes unprotected through thousands of other networks on it's way to where it's going and people can listen in there too. (OK, not thousands, but it can be quite a bit)

    If all you have is a wireless router and a laptop, then the machine is only vulnerable to an inside attack while it's on and there isn't anything else pluged in but the router itself. So even if they did this what fun would it be?

    Unless you want to share with your neighbors, turn on the protection, such that it is, and set a password other than the default. That will keep people from casually using your connection if they happen to be in range. Otherwise maintain good internet hygiene as usual and you have nothing extra to worry about.

    When my friend in the big city had his DSL go down for an extended period of time as they rewired his building, he took a wifi antenna out on his balcony and scanned up and down adjacent buildings until he found an open system to borrow for a few days [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img] The other person never knew, but he wouldn't have abused the privilege anyway... Not having the encryption turned on just means that the CIA can read your email without having to actually get out of the car and attach to the phone lines [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img]

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Wireless Laptop

    One of the black friday deals I got up early for was at Staples:
    netgear wireless g router and pc card, regularly $119.95, with $80 instant rebate and $20 mailin rebate = $19.95!

    But even so, there are sales everyday, on both g and Super-g. I guess I need a print server now. I currently use a Linksys b wireless router with no problems.

    Those Dells seem a good deal. Was just looking at the 8600 as a desktop replacement, 80gb, xp pro, pentium M 1.4, dvd writer, 512mb RAM, 64mb video, 15.4" TFT, internal wireless g -- all fer about $1550 shipped.

    daloosh

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Wireless Laptop

    I just talked my dad into getting himself a 1150 from dell. BestBuy had Thanksgiving specials of a PCMCIA wireless card as well as a router from D-Link for around $15 total.
    Linksys, D-link, and Netgear are good. Linksys has best rep, but shortest warranty. I got the d-link myself.
    T

  7. #7
    *Flashaholic* gadget_lover's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wireless Laptop

    I like wireless, but you should be aware that your neighbors might do more than just look at your network. They might also access your disk drive or plant viruses that open back doors that other malware can use. I've not heard of a virus that seeks out nearby wireless networks, but it's just a matter of time.


    You should look for the newest hardware and NOT use 802.11B. There's a better encryption that gomes with 802.11G.

    Even tightening down your wireless router to only allow your mac address will not slow a hacker. There are several wireless cards that allow the MAC to be set to make believe it's a different one. Your MAC is transmitted with network packets, so it's easy enough to find.

    I've arranged for my wireless router to connect OUTSIDE my firewall router so that only my traveling PC is at risk. My traveling PC is tightly restricted, so the chance taht it's compromised is reduced.

    Daniel

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Wireless Laptop

    I have a D-link 802.11b router and a Toshiba laptop. While the router works alright, I wasn't too impressed by the range. Put 2-3 brick walls in between the router and my laptop and I don't get an usable signal, while my friend's linsys has no problem.

    You can use all the encryptions and firewalls and such, but there's no 100% safe ways protect yourself from a determined hacker unfortunately. The only safe way is to disconnect from the internet completely. But by doing the simple things like turning on MAC address filtering, WEP (even though WEP is ridiculously easy to hack) or WPA , you can protect yourself from many of the hacker wannabes and script kiddies.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Wireless Laptop

    my wireless router is 811b but it was only 15 bucks. hect ya cant get the wire i needed for that lol i set it up with web and 128 bit encrption am i safe? im new to wirelss

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Wireless Laptop

    [ QUOTE ]
    raggie33 said:
    my wireless router is 811b but it was only 15 bucks. hect ya cant get the wire i needed for that lol i set it up with web and 128 bit encrption am i safe? im new to wirelss

    [/ QUOTE ]

    What's the make and model is your router? I am guessing you are using WEP, it's the "better than nothing" solution, check the manufacturer's website to see if there's firmware update for it to WPA, it's a lot better than WEP

  11. #11

    Default Re: Wireless Laptop

    mr 814 version 2 by netgear i got most recent firmware. sadly.o let me add people next to me have no pc .they dont know what one is lol only person who may have one lives pretty far from me.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Wireless Laptop

    Your router is WPA enabled, so it should be fine. Pretty good deal for $15 bucks.

    Another thing you may want to do is to limit the transmitting power on your router. If you are only going to use it inside your room, you may want to lower the power so it won't be broadcasting all over the neighborhood. (I am not sure if all the different brands of routers will let you do this or not though...I know you can do it on a D-Link)

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Wireless Laptop

    The signal i get from my D-Link basestation is so crappy anyway, i doubt the power needs lowering. Just use all the security features like WEP and MAC address filtering and it'll most likely put off all but the most determined hacker/script kiddy.

    And dont buy D-Link.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Wireless Laptop

    i wish they would make a cheap router that has bandwith thotling

  15. #15

    Default Re: Wireless Laptop

    I've had wireless since the bridge cost $500 (they weren't combined with routers then) couldn't imagine being without it. Be careful though as the wireless bands are shared with other things such as cordless phones. I purposely had to look for an older 900MHz cordless phone to stay out of the 2.4GHz since my wireless is on that band. The wireless is smart enough to hop around different channels if needed but the phone would just pick one at random and step on the wireless every so often.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Wireless Laptop

    So it doesn't matter what router I use then? If i get the one from Dell as a package its kinda pricey. Usually in such instances you end up paying alot more than if you get one yourself so I'm wondering if its the case here.

    Plus they come with no floppy drive and my wife wants an external storage alternative so I'm looking at a little thumb nail drive storage thingys. I know what it is just not what they are called[img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/icon15.gif[/img]

    Regardless, there are upgrades that need to be added to satisfy me. If this was a few years ago where I didn't know as much, the stock sale model would suffice.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Wireless Laptop

    The benefit to buying it from Dell is that it is internal, not a card that you have to plug into the side of the computer. They tend to sell 802.11a/b/g wireless... so you won't have to worry about upgrading anytime soon.
    As for D-link or any other company, your mileage will vary.
    I had a linksys that died a week after the paltry one year warranty died.
    I now use the Wireless G from D-link. It works just fine in my brick house with plaster walls.
    But.
    Always remember that your mileage WILL vary with wireless.

    T.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Wireless Laptop

    The Dells are coming right now with free wireless b/g internal from intel. The option is a dell a/b/g for ten bucks more. On the router side, their deals are average, and a determined shopper, especially during the holidays, can score a router for much less than dell asks. Since it's independent and there's no installation, you are just as well buying it separately, after you scout out your neighbors to see if they have a signal you can piggyback onto.

    On the key drive or flash drive front, Wingerr turned me on to a Lexar secure jump drive at ecost a few weeks ago. After rebate, 512mb was $29. Similar deal on 1gb, I expect it's as good if not better now. All the brick and mortar stores are doing deals regularly on flash drives, too. At the aforementioned black friday sale at Staples, they had a 128 or 256 for ten bucks.

    daloosh

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Wireless Laptop

    When you go wireless consider throwing a print sever on your network. I have it on both my networks (2 houses) and it is really handy to print from your wireless laptop to the shared printer. D-Link makes both b & g WAP's with integrated print servers. Siemens makes an older model b with print server you can get cheap. You don't need a wireless Print Server but the price of a stand alone Print Server was nearly as much as the WAP. (Must be shopping in the wrong places.)

    Another hit about the D-Links & NetGears is that you can turnoff access by time, so you can keep the kids from staying up using the web all night....

    The new laptops have the internal wireless and this is handy. I know 2 different people that have dropped or sat on their laptops and broken the wireless card since it sticks out of the laptop case. One guy is so non-tehnical that I cannot convince him to just pick up a $10 no name b card to replace the name brand one that is now taped together.

    I think Cicso now owns Linksys, NetGear and D-Link.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Wireless Laptop

    webley445...

    You can always get an Airport Express made by Apple. This device gives you the ability to print wirelessly, stream music wirelessly to your home stereo/radio & it can be taken with you & used in hotels or anywhere else that will allow you to connect to a wired network. Plug the Airport Express in and you have an instant wireless network.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Wireless Laptop

    Well, I'm a bit confused now. Could someone explain in layman's terms what I need to get? I have no idea about networking and print server. The laptop will be the only PC in the house and I wnat to be able to print documents/pics while being mobile. Main other use will be going online.

  22. #22
    Flashaholic* CroMAGnet's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wireless Laptop

    Hi Webley. I haven't read the whole thread but here is what I did and I'm VERY satisfied. My buddy did the exact same thing a few months later with a D600 and he is VERY satisfied too.

    I have a Dell Latitude D400 that I have been using almost 24/7 for the past year-and-a-half. I bought it on the referbished section of their website when the D400 first came out. I paid about $1805USD fully loaded 1GB RAM, two batteries, lots more etc. with tax and 3yr Next day repair anything goes warranty. (Great deal) I dropped it from 4 ft one day and they fixed it in two days. (sent me new parts to replace easily) The d400 is a very durable workhorse of an ultralite (4lbs) and has replaced my desktop. I have a review here under my CromagNet handle: http://reviews.cnet.com/4852-3121_7-...17.html?tag=uo
    (Can't remember where else I wrote the review)

    I have a Netgear router with a printer port. Then, all you need to do is get a Network Printer. I have a Brother laser B&W that I really like and a HP color inkjet that is ok. just make sure it's a 'network' printer and your good to go. I recommend a G wireless card minimum, (in your laptop) for the distance ability from the router.

    That's about it.

  23. #23

    Default Re: Wireless Laptop

    if you have winXP, then you can "share" any printer on any computer, no need for print server or anything else. that's what i have at home, desktop connected to printer via cable, and laptops share the printer. only catch is, desktop has to be on if you want to print, which is no big deal.

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