Wireless Laptop

webley445

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Nov 16, 2001
Messages
1,353
Location
St. Pete, Fl.
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
 

ACMarina

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Sep 10, 2004
Messages
3,119
Location
Brookston, IN
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. .
 

James S

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Aug 27, 2002
Messages
5,078
Location
on an island surrounded by reality
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 /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif 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 /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif
 

daloosh

Flashaholic*,
Joined
Jan 28, 2004
Messages
1,569
Location
New York
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
 

tech

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Mar 13, 2003
Messages
190
Location
Illinois
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
 

gadget_lover

Flashaholic
Joined
Oct 7, 2003
Messages
7,143
Location
Near Silicon Valley (too near)
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
 

6pOriginal

Enlightened
Joined
May 25, 2003
Messages
373
Location
MLU, LA=school..SFO, CA=home
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.
 

raggie33

*the raggedier*
Joined
Aug 11, 2003
Messages
11,850
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
 

6pOriginal

Enlightened
Joined
May 25, 2003
Messages
373
Location
MLU, LA=school..SFO, CA=home
[ 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
 

raggie33

*the raggedier*
Joined
Aug 11, 2003
Messages
11,850
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.
 

6pOriginal

Enlightened
Joined
May 25, 2003
Messages
373
Location
MLU, LA=school..SFO, CA=home
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)
 

kakster

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Feb 6, 2003
Messages
1,903
Location
London, UK
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.
 

raggie33

*the raggedier*
Joined
Aug 11, 2003
Messages
11,850
i wish they would make a cheap router that has bandwith thotling
 

Eugene

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Jun 29, 2003
Messages
1,190
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.
 

webley445

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Nov 16, 2001
Messages
1,353
Location
St. Pete, Fl.
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/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/icon15.gif

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.
 

tech

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Mar 13, 2003
Messages
190
Location
Illinois
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.
 

daloosh

Flashaholic*,
Joined
Jan 28, 2004
Messages
1,569
Location
New York
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
 

rocketmaninphx

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Mar 6, 2003
Messages
169
Location
AZ
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.
 

kaseri

Enlightened
Joined
Jul 21, 2003
Messages
701
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.
 
Top