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Wireless Networking at 72Mbps 146

Unknown Relic writes "One of the biggest drawbacks to current wireless networking technologies is the limited connection speed. Well now LinkSys has released a new wireless access point which operates on the 5 GHz band, supports up to 72 Mbps connections and is fully interoperable with existing 802.11a wireless equipment."
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Wireless Networking at 72Mbps

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  • Research! (Score:2, Informative)

    by a3d0a3m ( 306585 )
    For anyone interested, here's a research article that outlines the development of the wireless system mentioned in the article. The second reference is to their major source of inspiration. Funny how it takes over 5 years from research to mass-consumerism, huh?

    Lopes, B. J. (Apr 1997).
    Wireless Networking in the 5GHz band. Dissertation Abstracts International: Section B: the Sciences & Engineering, 57 (10-B), 6653.

    Trafimow, D. (Dec 1996). A proposed system for intermessaging and communication above current bandwith limitations. Journal of Applied EE, 26 (24), 2167-2188.

  • 72Mbps? (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 18, 2002 @04:57PM (#3543669)
    That means 7 times more of my packets can be sniffed than if I used the traditional 11Mbps technology... -mg
    • You must be an engineer.
    • No. With traditional 11Mbps 802.11 100% of your packets can be sniffed. 7 * this number is 700%.
      It is both theretically and practically impossible to see more packets than are being sent. therefore you cannot sniff 700% or your packets. You will be transmitting them at 700% of the speed, so your data can be sniffed faster.

      If you transmit 100kb of data, someone cannot sniff 700kb from you when you start using this card. The can just sniff it in 1/7th the time that they would have been able to had you been using a traditional 11mb 802.11
    • You can sniff my packets all you like; you'll find they smell encrypted, I use VPN software...
  • It's amazing how many admins of wireless networks leave the default password and don't use encryption! The media loves to jump on "war driving" stories to scare the public with evil-hackers. But, the fault lies squarely with the admins who are too lazy to take even the basic precautions. Anyhow... enough preaching. I must say that this new access point kicks ass! I think I'm going to get one and test it out by copying my entire MP3 directory and timing it! Good times.
    • Forget the admins, there are lazy admins on wired systems who run IIS and the like, how bout the gaping flaws in the 802.11b design???? Even if they do use encryption, it just takes a little time and AirSnort [] or WepCrack []
    • When you say "the media", I think you mean "Slashdot".

      Ask your parents what they've heard lately about "war driving" and they'll tell you horror stories about the L.A. highways.
    • No. If you're not using VPN software you're incompetent. WEP is garbage, and SSID is sent in the clear.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 18, 2002 @04:59PM (#3543677)
    Contrary to the post, I would argue that connection speed isn't one of the biggest drawbacks. Rather, it is the lack of standards and interoperability.

    Testing reveals that most of these "802.11a" access points are not compatible with each other. Only identical products work together. So when your vendor EOLs (End of Life's) your AP, further expansion of your network becomes a problem.
    • I would rather have 56k and be able to go a mile or two. If everyone could get devices of that range, we'd have to have each device have a lower bandwidth so we wouldn't crowd each other out; but more importantly peer-to-peer ad-hoc networks could give some telecos a run for their money.

      Heck, I'd settle for 14.4k or 9600. Who the hell wants 1000 MB/s when you can only talk to yourself ?
    • We've had a few problems earlier with interoperability, but our more recent wireless network hasn't encountered any problems. Isn't this the whole point of the Wi-Fi [] standard - everything bearing the Wi-Fi logo should be interoperable. As you say though, the 10mbit bandwidth is often sufficient - after all, in the majority of implimentations, it's to allow access to the office network, and at least around here (Scotland) there aren't many offices with internet connections running at more than 1 or 2 mbits.
  • I recall this from a presentation...

    Apparently the current cell phones (with say, GPRS cards) operate at much lower bandwidths than what the cards can support. The primary reason mentioned was that the cell phones will "simply fry" because of the heat.

    Now, I wouldn't want that kind of "hot" near my pant pockets.

    • Maybe I'm missing something, but I fail to see how 802.11a relates to GPRS cell phones. 802.11 are wireless networking standards for computers only, not devices like phones. Perhaps you're thinking of BlueTooth.
      • Continuing the off topic bit, I was thinking how cool it would be to have a GPRS cell phone with Bluetooth support. Then, I would just have the machines near the cell phone connect as necessary, w/o cables or just seemed like a cool idea.
        • I was thinking how cool it would be to have a GPRS cell phone with Bluetooth support.

          I would be rather amazed just to see a bluetooth device period. . . .

          My motherboard supports bluetooth, err, I don't know if any DEVICES support it though.

          Have any working Bluetooth devices come out yet, or are they all still crashing left and right?
  • 802.11a at 108Mbps (Score:5, Informative)

    by calc ( 1463 ) on Saturday May 18, 2002 @05:02PM (#3543685)
    Several companies have announced 802.11a cards that use two channels and get up to 108Mbps. But as The Register article mentions there is considerable overhead with wireless ethernet. 802.11b (11Mbps) typically gets 5Mbps real bandwidth, 802.11a (54Mbps) gets 23Mbps real bandwith, and 2 channel 802.11a (108Mbps) gets 34Mbps real bandwidth. 31 . tml 2.htm 8450/
    • I haven't read the 802.11a spec yet, but I can say that there isn't much "overhead" in 802.11b - you get 5.5Mbps of throughput through an 802.11b network simply because although they advertise 11Mbps, its 11Mbps *half duplex*. Due to the way the polling rounds work, you'll get at most half of the time slices for transmitting your data.

      As I said, I haven't read the spec, but I'm told there isn't much difference on the MAC layer, so 802.11a throughput is quite likely chopped in half in the same manner.

      For another source of overhead, I'd question how much CPU power it takes to drive the MAC. The Intersil PRISM-II-based cards we have at work are even harder to drive than NE2000 cards - I can get 5.5Mbps of throughput, but it just about pegs my CPU to get it!
  • "Up to 54Mbps" Check out the data sheet:
    • If you look at the high-res product image, you will also see the sticker on the top of the WAP saying "54 Mbps"

      Maybe Linksys ougha look for cosmetics like that before they release something new *g*
  • by superid ( 46543 ) on Saturday May 18, 2002 @05:03PM (#3543690) Homepage
    Technology advances seem to only happen when I adopt the old standard. Eleven seconds ago I successfully installed plain old 11.b onto this box.
  • D-Link and Proxim (Score:4, Informative)

    by Kohath ( 38547 ) on Saturday May 18, 2002 @05:05PM (#3543700)
    DLink is also selling a 72 Mbps version, and Proxim is selling a 108 Mbps version of this same product.

    I'm using the D-Link. It works, but I haven't benchmarked it for speed. It says it connects at 72 Mbps consistently.

    Intel and SMC sell 802.11a equipment too. The Intel one is limited to 54 Mbps. Not sure about the SMC.

    Best thing for me is that it doesn't interfere with my analog 2400 Mhz devices because it runs at 5 GHz.
    • Re:D-Link and Proxim (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Artifex ( 18308 ) on Saturday May 18, 2002 @05:40PM (#3543787) Journal
      It says it connects at 72 Mbps consistently

      But is it consistently giving you that throughput?
      And if it has to throttle down for momentary radio noise, does it have the ability to throttle back up quickly?

      I'm just wondering - people with 56K modems often wonder why their connections are slow when they initially sync at high rates, and it's all about the adaptiveness to changing conditions. From what I hear, plain old 802.11b isn't so great at this... I hope this is better.
  • by yack0 ( 2832 ) <> on Saturday May 18, 2002 @05:06PM (#3543704) Homepage
    From the linksys page:
    "* Operation in the uncrowded 5 GHz band"

    Yeah, uncrowded because nobody has really launched any of the unlicensed wireless gear there. Give it a couple years like 802.11b and then we'll see how uncrowded it is.

    (still, having more channels in 802.11a is nice - really nice)

  • Speeds. (Score:4, Informative)

    by saintlupus ( 227599 ) on Saturday May 18, 2002 @05:24PM (#3543744) Homepage
    is fully interoperable with existing 802.11a wireless equipment.

    Uh, no kidding. The 802.11b standard is the slower, ~11Mb/s one. 802.11a is specced to be faster. The Linksys product is just a regular access point for 802.11a.

    Is this one of thaose Slashvertisements I've been hearing so much about?

    • I believe that statement was included because this is a 72 Mbps 802.11a product, while the 802.11a spec calls for 54 Mbps. This seems to be something of an enhanced .11a product, and LinkSys wanted to make it clear that it would work with standard .11a equipment.

      On a sidenote, I'm still looking forward to 802.11g, which boasts higher speeds (I believe the same 54 Mbps of .11a) while maintaining backwards compatibility with .11b.
      • I believe that statement was included because this is a 72 Mbps 802.11a product, while the 802.11a spec calls for 54 Mbps. This seems to be something of an enhanced .11a product, and LinkSys wanted to make it clear that it would work with standard .11a equipment.

        Ah, okay. That would also explain their "works at this speed only with our PCMCIA card" disclaimer on the page. Thanks for the clarification.

      • Thanks for the distinction, I was also wondering.

        As an aside, commensurate with your sidenote, I didn't know about .11g until you just mentioned it. Now, I feel vindicated (in a geek-way) by my recent decision to skip .11a and .11b.

        There was just something about the "price" of .11a and the "performance" of .11b that didn't get me to open up my wallet. Perhaps .11g will do the trick?
  • To :
    Subject : WAP54A & WPC54A

    Ok, I just looked at the products in the subject line and have a question. Since when did "Compatible with Virtually All Major Network Operating Systems" get redefined to mean "Currently shipping versions of Windows?" You don't even support Win95, Win98 or WinNT. 98 & NT are officially still supported by Microsoft and certainly qualify as Network Operating Systems so your marketing department is officially full of BS. Trust is a valuable commodity to piss away on such an obvious and senseless lie.

    I'm a current owner of a BEFW11S4 so I was sorta interested, but the only card the new access point talks to has no Linux drivers or tech specs posted to allow the creation of a driver. That kinda makes it useless to me. Come to think of it, there wasn't much in the way of technical details period. No details on what the actual native speed (data compression is cheating since most of my traffic is encrypted, etc.) of the card is, what ranges are usable at each datarate, etc.
    • Excuse me? (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by SlashChick ( 544252 )
      It says right here (warning, PDF) [] on page 4:

      Minimum Requirements
      One Pentium Class, 200MHz or Faster, PC equipped with Windows 98, Millennium, NT version 4.0, 2000, or XP, 64 MB RAM...

      And on the card homepage [] it says (in the last paragraph):

      "Ready to run in Type II or III PCMCIA CardBus-equipped notebook PCs running Windows 98, Millennium, 2000, and XP..."

      It's not likely that many people who want fast wireless would still be running Windows 95 or NT4 on a laptop anyway, so that makes sense.

      I'm going to resist the urge to question why you would want to run Windows 98 or ME over Windows 2000 anyway (I'd give up the 10% speed increase for stability any day), but either way, you're wrong about their driver support.

      By the way, if you want to be taken seriously with your letter of complaint, avoid the use of "kinda" and "sorta".
      • > "Ready to run in Type II or III PCMCIA
        > CardBus-equipped notebook PCs running Windows 98,
        > Millennium, 2000, and XP..."

        No, the PDF spec sheet and the PDF users manual clearly state that 98SE (Note that 98 & 98SE are different) ME and XP are supported. 2000 is also mentioned in some places, but NT and 98 are not. I did RTFM before lighting up my flamethrower.
      • why you would want to run Windows 98 or ME over Windows 2000 anyway

        Indeed, however there are perfectly good laptops out there that have severe problems running Win2k. I know, I own one :-(. II don't want to run Win98, I HAVE TO until I can afford a new laptop.

    • And I found out last fall that they _officially_ didn't support anything Apple. Not OS8, OS9, or certainly not OSX.

      I don't know if that's changed, but I wouldn't count on it.

    • by flatulus ( 260854 ) on Saturday May 18, 2002 @06:37PM (#3543904)
      Here are a few tidbits of FACT that you can also process in your haste to flame LinkSys...

      a) Until quite recently, the only chipset available from which to build an 802.11a radio, either user or access point, was from Atheros. Now, Resonext has released a chipset and someday (soon?) Intersil will release their Indigo chipset for 802.11a. At present, you can almost be certain that any 802.11a product you can buy uses the Atheros chipset.

      b) Atheros is being VERY tight with tech specs. You most assuredly would have to sign an NDA, and probably sign a purchase agreement, committing to buy 5 to 10 thousand chips before they will THINK about letting you peek at the technical info you need to write a driver.

      c) An Atheros employee told me in March that a Linux driver was under development, and would be out in "a couple of months" (so it's due, like, now).

      d) Proxim sells an 802.11a Mini-PCI card as an OEM product. See: html and you will find that under "Drivers Available" they state: "Source code may be licensed to facilitate design-in for non-PC platforms." But don't get too excited. I'm sure you will have to sign an NDA and convince them you're gonna buy a truckload or two of cards. And I'm also sure you will find that Atheros has bound their hands also, with respect to low-level technical info needed to write a Linux driver.

      c) The 72 Mbit/sec "Turbo" mode is a feature of the Atheros chipset -- Linksys just inherited it by virtue of using their chip.

      And finally...

      The 54 Mbit/sec (or 72 Mbit/sec "turbo") is extremely range limited. At 100 ft, 802.11a drops back to a speed which is very close to 802.11b. But there are many reasons (other than raw throughput) that 802.11a is a Good Thing (tm), so let's look on the bright side that we have it.

      And by the way, let's tip our hats to Apple Computer for supporting the efforts in its advanced technology team to petition the FCC for unlicensed spectrum. I was there. I can tell you that Apple deserves praise for paying the salaries of people who did nothing but work toward getting unlicensed spectrum (e.g. U-NII, where 802.11a operates) available for us geeks :)
  • Range, range, range (Score:2, Informative)

    by march ( 215947 )
    And, if it has the range that 802.11 is *supposed* to have, we'll all be happy. But, if it behaves like current wireless devices, I'll need two WAP's in every room of my house.

    Imagine my disappointment after reading about 802.11 and getting a WAP and card for my Zaurus thinking that I could walk around my block with an instant messenger app running. As Topsy says, "Forget about it!" I couldn't walk to the other side of my house.

    As I'm sure most of you already know, beware of claims of bandwidth and range...
    • Yeh, no doubt! Their WAP 11 I have is a neat little toy and gets some respectable range... when utilized with ANYBODY BUT LINKSYS' CRAPPY CARDS! Sorry Linksys, I just had to say it. The WPC11 sucks. 15-25ft of useful range is just really sad. I'm just baffled at how they could turn out such a well working inexpensive little WAP and do so poorly with the NIC. Hell, the WAP even has a tuneable radio and plays nice with snmp on Linux. But the NIC? Ah, it just sits there eating battery and spewing out numbers from iwconfig that basicaly say "Yup, it's a wireless device, uh, kinda..." . A cliche about stepping on ones own male anatomy comes to mind... Ah well, soon I'll have some Orinico silvers to play nice with the WAP11. I hope they've taken the range issue into consideration with the new 5GHz stuff. Oh, and one could only hope they've done away with those goofey RP-TNC antenna connectors. Not likely though. I won't hold my breath for the 5GHz stuff, just get the orinico NIC's and be happy for now. Yeh, yeh, I know, caveat emptor and all that...


      • Yeh, no doubt! Their WAP 11 I have is a neat little toy and gets some respectable range... when utilized with ANYBODY BUT LINKSYS' CRAPPY CARDS! Sorry Linksys, I just had to say it. The WPC11 sucks. 15-25ft of useful range is just really sad.

        Exactly my experience. Had marginal signal strength with the Linksys WAP and WPC11 separated by mere feet in the same room. Ditched the WPC11 and got an Orinoco Silver PC Card and things worked fine after that. Whoever at Linksys is continuing to allow the company to market the WPC11 is actually damaging the company and the wireless industry. Most users aren't going to know that it's the WPC11 causing the problem and will think that 802.11b wireless networking itself is just useless.
    • Linksys card have awful range. Lucent cards are the way to go. My range is something like 100ft. I have tried going past that because there are woods there but I still have a pretty good connection. With other brand cards they barely connect at the same point.
  • but compared to gigabit ethernet, it's really not all that fast, particularly when you start splitting it over an office or some such.
    • by Jonny 290 ( 260890 ) <brojames@HORSEdu ... minus herbivore> on Saturday May 18, 2002 @05:37PM (#3543782) Homepage
      1000baseT is a pain in the ass. I've never seen a card do more than 400mbps. And you're comparing a WIRELESS PROTOCOL to a WIRED one. You can't really do that fairly. Try to run Gig-E into your living room without having a cord to trip on.
      • Are you sure you're running gigabit ethernet on real computers? Or are you running it on a 32 bit, 33 MHz PCI bus that only supports 133MB/s?

        Why does everyone quote stuff in megabits, anyways? I get so tired dividing every damn number I see by eight. Yeah, I've got six gigabits of RAM, four terabits of hard drive space, and an Ultra 1280 SCSI hard drive. Oh yeah, and a 570mm monitor.
        • Don't give me that "real computer" shit. I'm sitting in front of a fucking "real" computer, typing this post. That's a "real" computer. Just because an 8086 can't handle 100baseT doesn't make it any less 'real'.

          The parent post was comparing the relative performance to this new SHORT RANGE wireless network. How many $25K workstations are going to have this wireless protocol standard out of the factory? NONE. OF COURSE GigE is going to do well in high-end 64-bit machines.

          It's best to compare apples to apples here - the wireless protocol in its intended territory (the home and small-to-medium office) to gigabit in the same territory. At best, you're going to drop 600 dollars for an overpriced switch and pull out your fucking hair trying to get the CAT5 run right, for a resource that you'll take advantage of, oh, maybe once a week, tops.

          • for a resource that you'll take advantage of, oh, maybe once a week, tops.

            It is amazing what you can think up of doing when you have that much spare bandwidth to throw around. :)

            Daily drive images of all networked computers is one idea. . . . heh. Currently that is done, but it takes ages for even smaller drive images to get copied over the network when you have tons of computers are chugging data down at once.
            (of course the smart way to arrange that Scenario is to queue all of the computers up in a line, that way the last computer gets done at the same time it would have if all the computers would have been going at once, and every other computer gets done progressivly faster depending on how far up in the queue they are).
            • That is an interesting point, to be sure. However, I think that it's geared more towards the home networkers as well as the sysadmins who have a fair extent of control over their systems. I'd love to do daily backups and whatnot, but for a medium-sized business, it would consist of backing up a bunch of Windows boxes that have 99 percent identical installs, with the main differences being in the bookmarks.htm file and the desktop shortcuts. If you're running development boxes or whatever, this may be a much more attractive option, though.

              Generally in business, they get the bandwidth to support the usage habits, not develop usage habits to fill the bandwidth. Unless you're in the business of seeing what's on P2P networks (I'd take that for minimum wage. ;))
      • Try to run Gig-E into your living room without having a cord to trip on.

        I did. No cord to trip over, but the drill is getting in the way. I might move it, soon.

    • 57 mbps isn't bad... but compared to gigabit ethernet, it's really not all that fast, particularly when you start splitting it over an office or some such.
      Of course, running 45 MPH isn't bad, but compared to a supersonic jet, it's really not all that fast, particularly when you have to carry several tons of cargo or some such.

      Damn the Emperor!
  • by evilpaul13 ( 181626 ) on Saturday May 18, 2002 @06:02PM (#3543836)
    That I'm going to miss running category 5 cable, who's with me? Now just to find out what these things cost... ok, I'll be running Cat5 for quite some time to come :-/
  • I recently started thinking about various home wireless network options. I have a linux server and some linux and windows 98SE/XP clients. Does anyone have any recommendations for hardware that would support those machines? Faster is better, natch, and it's just a regular house, so range isn't a huge issue (three stories, though). Visiting manufacturers' web sites obviously isn't a good way to learn about linux support unfortunately, and some searching for linux-specific docs didn't turn up a lot.... Thanks!
  • anybody have any experience running a wireless network between two adjacent buildings? any hardware suggestions or tips in general? a group of friends and i will be living in adjact buildings next year, and are lookin to save some money on dsl...
    • Just one thing, Brick walls are death to wireless ;o)
      • define 'death' :o
        ... we'll have at least two brick walls between us, but probably only about 100 feet...
      • I recently was put in charge of a wireless rollout on campus and had to support students. I became very familiar with certain rooms that were no more than 50ft from APs with no access. One building in which the entire building could easily be served by an omnidirectional in the center and be within the spec of 250FT ended up having 16 mounted throughout the building in order to keep sufficient coverage.

        People need to take into consideration their structure before blindly deploying a wireless network. Our thick brick walls dropped coverage to about 1/5 what specs state.
        • I recently was put in charge of a wireless rollout on campus and had to support students. I became very familiar with certain rooms that were no more than 50ft from APs with no access. One building in which the entire building could easily be served by an omnidirectional in the center and be within the spec of 250FT ended up having 16 mounted throughout the building in order to keep sufficient coverage

          next time use a Pringle's can. :)
    • Depends on how far. You can take off the shelf antenna's for 2.4 GHz, and as long as you stay below 17 dBi gain on either end, won't violate FCC regulations (assuming most hardware is self limited to 63 mW transmit, which is common. 100 mW transmits also happen, and drop your allowed antenna gain).

      If you do this, you can see practical distances of around 5 miles with 2 Mbps speeds without good line of site. True line of site will get either much higher speeds (right up to 11 Mbps) or much further distance (I've heard of up to 25 miles, but I don't know about that number).

      I did this research for a class.
    • by rcw-home ( 122017 ) on Saturday May 18, 2002 @08:47PM (#3544193)
      anybody have any experience running a wireless network between two adjacent buildings?

      1. Don't get two Linksys WAP11's and put one of them in Access Point Client mode. You will have to reboot that access point nearly every day because of firmware bugs (even with the latest firmware). Not bitter.

      2. Get as close to a line-of-sight path as possible. You need at least an -83dBm signal to do 11mbps, so shoot for -75dBm during install if you want to maintain -83 when people walk in front of it, it rains, etc. Shooting through glass or drywall doesn't hurt very much (I've gotten -75dBm between an Orinoco Silver and a Dlink DWL-1000AP with 10 sheets of drywall in the way and stock antennas) but thicker things like concrete really hurt. So do more than a couple trees (the drops of water that tend to hang on their leaves some of the time are opaque at 2.4ghz).

      3. If the only way to get a usable line-of-sight is to mount something on the roof, then do it, but keep cable runs to an absolute minimum and use LMR400 coax. Install properly-grounded lightning arrestors where the coax enters the roof. As for the antenna itself, you can weatherproof just about anything by putting it in PVC pipe or you could get a dish, panel antenna, or yagi from any of these people [].

      4. Security - since WEP sucks, you'll want to do a VPN of some sort between networks. You'll probably want to spend a few weeks learning how IPSec works on the systems you'll be using as your routers to accomplish this. I would recommend against any of the VPN appliances as a lot of them are too stupid to do things like put the default route across the tunnel.

      • Forgive me for saying the non-geek-friendly thing, but wouldn't it be easier (considering all of the issues you cited) to just run cable and bridge the two networks via Ethernet. Either that, or do VPN over broadband connections to the net?

        I can understand wireless for the convenience of wireless notebooks, but with all the caveats that come with 802.11(x) connectivity, if you are looking for a permanent/constant solution (especially between adjacent buildings), physical wiring/bridging would be the way to go.


        • how would i safely run ethernet cable from one apartment building to the next, with the aim of establishing a small network between two individual apartments? run some kind of conduit underground, up the side of the building and through a window? doesn't sound very simple to me, nor graceful, nor inexpensive. as far as i can understand this solution, we would definitely sooner get two individual dsl service plans. thanks for the suggestion, though. -joe
  • ...and the bandwidth creeps up a little more. Soon soon soon I'll have wireless everything. Keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, sub, and network access.

    As a bonus... I can reheat my lunch by propping it up in the middle of all this :D

    a grrl & her server []
  • by Anonymous Coward
    This is all fine and dandy but until the encrytpion is strong enough that I can use it on my company's internal network myself and many other admins can not consider it.

    Cisco has a dynamic WEP key solution that sidesteps WEP's vulnerabilities 0a p/prodlit/1281_pp.htm

    and I think Proxim has a similar solution, but I don't think either solution is interoperable with other manufacturer's equipment.

    Does anyone know if there is a standard for dynamic WEP keys that works across multiple vendors?

    • Wireless security regardless of WEP, etc... should be based around the assumption that every packet you send into the air can and WILL be intercepted. (Also a good assumption to make with wired networks) Once you assume that this is the case, you build security in that doesn't care if packets are sniffed. You use advanced crypto available in IPSEC/VPN and other buzz words that sound cool.

    • Consider placing the access point outside of your firewall and requiring users to connect to your LAN via a VPN or IPsec. Then you don't need WEP at all.
    • I have some proxim 802.11a cards and an access point. When using the max encryption, the access point slows to a crawl. Most annoying.

      Line of sight? Got to have it. Else you are looking at 7-8mbs on the "54mbs" connections.

    • Yes, there is an emerging standard that can provide for this. 802.1x has provisions for key rotation, that can all but elminate the problems with current WEP.

      Cisco created their own proprietary version of this essentially with LEAP, but 802.1x will be the eventual standard.

      At least one vendor, Intermec Technologies [] has already released an access point with 802.1x capapbilities.

      Additionally, Intermec was the only vendor at the recent N+I running both 802.11a and 802.11b in the same access point. I saw the demo and it was pretty sweet.
  • I recently got a new wap11 v2.2 from linksys to put in my office on top of the server racks so I can just sit back in my chair, with my feet up on the server racks, and surf the net with my laptop. Anyway. Whenever I get a packet collission with it, the wap11 v2.2 stops transmitting packets.... odd huh? Linksys support jerked me around, and I got moved to 2nd level support once I called one of their support persons on the bullshit they emailed me. She told me to set the wap11 v2.2 to values that are not even possible to set. Anyway. I was recently emailed a new firmware image, so instead when it gets a collission, it sometimes resets, but If I'm lets say 20 feet away, Its useless, the link won't work. Atleast they have not tried blaming it on my linksys wpc11 cards.... but they did tell me to flash the pcmcia card with the most recent firmware... my response was "Didn't you know, you guy's don't let people download firmware images for your pcmcia cards". Gee... I wonder what they will send to me next week.
  • I don't think I'll be buying LinkSys anytime soon either; my instructor has had numerous problems with them trying to set up a couple of WAP11s. He had three of them, and they weren't working properly so eventually he ended up sending them back. He got one back; when he emailed support, the guy told him it wasn't working, so he sent it (the nonfunctional one) back, and that he didn't get the other two (yet) useful.

    So eventually he got two newer models of WAP11s in, and they seem to work fine; I don't know what he's going to do about the older WAP11.

  • 5Ghz Problem (Score:2, Informative)

    by marshac ( 580242 )
    The problem with 802.11a is the high frequency in which it opperates. 5ghz is just too high for anything other than line-of-sight (outdoor). The 2.4Ghz band that 802.11b/g opperate on is still high and still suffers from line of sight limitations, but in general, it fares better.

    I also have to wonder, who needs that much bandwith in a wireless application? Perhaps you should really be thinking about a wired connection if bandwith is that critical. In most applications, it's not the standard that's the major limitation, it's the equipment.....most cheaper cards are not you're missing half your bandwith right there. Good equipment and antennas will serve you much better than a "better" standard.
  • I thought the biggest drawbacks to wireless were that it has a horrible range and is practically limited to line-of-sight. I'd be happy just getting 11Mbit reliably.


  • Does the 5GHz frequency mean that my Pringles can won't work anymore? Anyone have some recommendations on some tasty antenna packaging system for 5GHz?
  • I just wish I could get a couple wireless network PCI cards for $5-$10 each for my PC and my friend's PC (that would connect with an airport card on a mac) that would work say half a mile away, have encryption, and get at least 2Mbit, if not 10Mbit or more. That way we could share folders and not have to go to each other's houses every time we want to share some kewl program or video we found.
  • It's great to see new technology but I think I'll pass when it comes to Linksys - at least until they straighten up things inside their tech support. I've always heard their tech support was attrocious but never had any experience with it until now.

    I live in a Hausmannian-building (read 100 year old, extremely thick walls). For over a year I've been running a Linksys network - 2 laptops running WPC11 wireless cards, 1 BEFW11S4 4-port wireless hub/router, 1 BEFSR81 8-port switch/router, and mixed hardware. The entire setup has worked flawlessly with WinMe, W2K, and linux on a cable modem.

    My mother decided she wanted to network two workstations and a laptop so that they could share the 'net connection but wireless to avoid the hassle of pulling cable. As Linksys has worked great for me, I suggested she purchase a WPC11 for the laptop and 2 WMP11 cards for the workstations (in Ad Hoc mode). All installed well under Win98Se and Me but the network has never worked properly - packets dropped, connections up and down.

    All products have problems at one time and will never work with all setups but the problem with the Linksys is the incredibly stupid tech support she has received. She has made several calls to them with poor results. At one time they suggested the problem was her Internet connection. At another time they suggested the problem was her proxy software. The problem with this is that none of the machines could ping each other which proved the problem lied lower in the network layers. Another technician told her that these cards are not designed for Ad Hoc operation although the software allows it, it is documented, and that it works occasionally.

    I have to wonder, is tech support making these stupid suggestion simply to end the call and hope she doesn't call back or are they really ignorant enough to think these things will help? Stupid or lazy? Either way I can no longer support a company with this kind of support. When I upgrade from 802.11b, it will be Lucent or Cisco.

    • i have to agree ... eventhough this does sound very interesting indeed, the name "LinkSys" in the article makes me wonder "Why should i trust them, after so many problems?" ..

      its true, LinkSys products do have the tendancy to fail and make hell out of the life of the person trying to install/configure them. not to mention the lousy tech support they got....

      so, in other words, Gooooooooooooo Cisco. i shall await for a _real_ company to make something half-decent.
  • Is this technology now licensed for European use?
    • 802.11a is legal only in the United States, because it operates in the 5 GHz "Unlicensed National Information Infrastructure" (U-NII) band. The IEEE 802.11 committee has a task group that is pursuing changes to the 802.11a design to improve its ability to coexist with radar that uses these frequencies in European countries. This requires adding Dynamic Frequency Assignment and Transmit Power Control (DFA/TPC, as it's referred to in the committee) to the 802.11 design. Only then will the European regulatory bodies be able to legalize it in their countries. (It is, of course, the radar operators and manufacturers who must be satisfied that 802.11a won't damage the operation of their systems.)

  • What you need is the wireless version of the Magic Box [].

APL hackers do it in the quad.