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Old 10-03-2008, 05:46 AM
Chris Metzler
 
Default House wireless/wired router: choices? Plus wireless neophyte questions.

Hi folks. Been a looooong time since I've posted to this list.

I have exactly zero experience with wireless -- I've never owned a laptop,
and have just never needed it. My gf, as part of her job, needs to bring
home a laptop with that other OS on it, and wants wireless access to
our broadband.

We currently have a DSL connection: phone to DSL modem, ethernet out the
back of the DSL modem to our one desktop machine. I'm assuming that what
I want is a wireless router with LAN ports: ethernet cable from the DSL
modem to the wireless router, and ethernet cable from the wireless router
to the desktop machine while her laptop talks to the router by wireless.
We have a static IP address; I'm presuming that this wired/wireless router
will need to be configured with that address, and then will do NAT with
the desktop and the laptop.

1. Does what I just wrote make sense? Am I getting this correctly?

2. If I'm on the right track, what about IP addresses for the desktop
and the laptop? Do I have to set them manually to addresses within
a non-routeable block? Or do such routers typically do DHCP or something
like that?

3. What about configuring the router (with the static IP address, any
DHCP operating parameters, etc.)? Since my desktop will be wired, I'd
like to be able to configure the router using my desktop -- which means
using Linux. If an application on an accompanying DVD is needed to
configure the router, I'm guessing that app is only going to work on
that other operating system. Or are there routers out there that are
configurable from a Linux machine in a straightforward manner?

4. (most important) For someone moderately competent who somehow
has made it this far without learning much about wireless, what would
you suggest I read? Googling turns up thousands of pages of FAQs and
HOWTOs and so on (some of which are ancient -- but that doesn't mean
they're not useful, of course). There's lots of stuff out there;
but being ignorant, I don't know enough to know what's relevant and
what's out of date. What would *you* suggest I read?

Thanks much for any info,

-c


--
Chris Metzler cmetzler@speakeasy.snip-me.net
(remove "snip-me." to email)

"As a child I understood how to give; I have forgotten this grace since I
have become civilized." - Chief Luther Standing Bear
 
Old 10-03-2008, 02:10 PM
Celejar
 
Default House wireless/wired router: choices? Plus wireless neophyte questions.

On Fri, 3 Oct 2008 01:46:48 -0400
Chris Metzler <cmetzler@speakeasy.net> wrote:

> I have exactly zero experience with wireless -- I've never owned a laptop,
> and have just never needed it. My gf, as part of her job, needs to bring
> home a laptop with that other OS on it, and wants wireless access to
> our broadband.
>
> We currently have a DSL connection: phone to DSL modem, ethernet out the
> back of the DSL modem to our one desktop machine. I'm assuming that what
> I want is a wireless router with LAN ports: ethernet cable from the DSL
> modem to the wireless router, and ethernet cable from the wireless router
> to the desktop machine while her laptop talks to the router by wireless.
> We have a static IP address; I'm presuming that this wired/wireless router
> will need to be configured with that address, and then will do NAT with
> the desktop and the laptop.
>
> 1. Does what I just wrote make sense? Am I getting this correctly?

Yes, that's the bog standard way of doing this, although there are
OWTDI, as Alex has begun to suggest.

> 2. If I'm on the right track, what about IP addresses for the desktop
> and the laptop? Do I have to set them manually to addresses within
> a non-routeable block? Or do such routers typically do DHCP or something
> like that?

They always (AFAIK) offer DHCP, but you don't have to use it. There are
advantages to setting static IPs - you can set up host files and refer
to the hosts by name, and I think that bringing up interfaces is a good
few seconds quicker with static IPs than with DHCP.

> 3. What about configuring the router (with the static IP address, any
> DHCP operating parameters, etc.)? Since my desktop will be wired, I'd
> like to be able to configure the router using my desktop -- which means
> using Linux. If an application on an accompanying DVD is needed to
> configure the router, I'm guessing that app is only going to work on
> that other operating system. Or are there routers out there that are
> configurable from a Linux machine in a straightforward manner?

AFAIK, SOHO routers / APs / switches are generally configurable via a
web interface, which will work with any platform. Note, though, that
they often recommend, or even require, Javascript, which can make using
a TUI browser such as links difficult or impossible.

> Chris Metzler cmetzler@speakeasy.snip-me.net

Celejar
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Old 10-03-2008, 02:15 PM
Ron Johnson
 
Default House wireless/wired router: choices? Plus wireless neophyte questions.

On 10/03/08 00:46, Chris Metzler wrote:

Hi folks. Been a looooong time since I've posted to this list.

I have exactly zero experience with wireless -- I've never owned a laptop,
and have just never needed it. My gf, as part of her job, needs to bring
home a laptop with that other OS on it, and wants wireless access to
our broadband.

We currently have a DSL connection: phone to DSL modem, ethernet out the
back of the DSL modem to our one desktop machine. I'm assuming that what
I want is a wireless router with LAN ports: ethernet cable from the DSL
modem to the wireless router, and ethernet cable from the wireless router
to the desktop machine while her laptop talks to the router by wireless.
We have a static IP address; I'm presuming that this wired/wireless router
will need to be configured with that address, and then will do NAT with
the desktop and the laptop.


Yes. My router gets a routable "external" IP address from the ISP,
but I had to *also* give it an "internal", non-routable IP address
(which I chose to be 192.168.1.251).


Look for the Linksys WRT54GL. Natively runs Linux, and replacement
OSs (like OpenWRT or Tomato) can easily be installed.



1. Does what I just wrote make sense? Am I getting this correctly?


Yes.


2. If I'm on the right track, what about IP addresses for the desktop
and the laptop? Do I have to set them manually to addresses within
a non-routeable block? Or do such routers typically do DHCP or something
like that?


You can do both, at the same time, since routers all "do" DHCP, but
also let you specify a certain number of static IP addresses.


For example, I specified two static addresses: 192.168.1.10 (which
is my computer's address), and 192.168.1.11 (which is our printer's
address). Any other device on the network gets a dynamic address
from the router's DHCP server.



3. What about configuring the router (with the static IP address, any
DHCP operating parameters, etc.)? Since my desktop will be wired, I'd
like to be able to configure the router using my desktop -- which means
using Linux. If an application on an accompanying DVD is needed to
configure the router, I'm guessing that app is only going to work on
that other operating system. Or are there routers out there that are
configurable from a Linux machine in a straightforward manner?


Sure. I had a P.O.S. Netgear RP614v2 wired router, and now have a
wired/wireless Linksys WRT54GL. Although both come with a CD, they
aren't needed (as long as you have a wired component of your network).



4. (most important) For someone moderately competent who somehow
has made it this far without learning much about wireless, what would
you suggest I read? Googling turns up thousands of pages of FAQs and
HOWTOs and so on (some of which are ancient -- but that doesn't mean
they're not useful, of course). There's lots of stuff out there;
but being ignorant, I don't know enough to know what's relevant and
what's out of date. What would *you* suggest I read?


Maybe I've been doing this too long, but if you're competent at
managing your own computer, then modern menu-driven routers should
be easy enough to figure out without much documentation.



Thanks much for any info,


--
Ron Johnson, Jr.
Jefferson LA USA

"Do not bite at the bait of pleasure till you know there is no
hook beneath it." -- Thomas Jefferson


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Old 10-03-2008, 02:25 PM
Rob McBroom
 
Default House wireless/wired router: choices? Plus wireless neophyte questions.

On 2008-Oct-3, at 10:10 AM, Celejar wrote:


There are advantages to setting static IPs - you can set up host files
and refer to the hosts by name, and I think that bringing up
interfaces

is a good few seconds quicker with static IPs than with DHCP.


True, but the OP will have a laptop that probably needs to use many
different networks. Manually switching the laptop back to a static
config every time you come home will probably take longer than waiting
on DHCP (and is a pain in the ass).


--
Rob McBroom
<http://www.skurfer.com/>


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Old 10-03-2008, 02:36 PM
Celejar
 
Default House wireless/wired router: choices? Plus wireless neophyte questions.

On Fri, 3 Oct 2008 10:25:04 -0400
Rob McBroom <debian@skurfer.com> wrote:

> On 2008-Oct-3, at 10:10 AM, Celejar wrote:
>
> > There are advantages to setting static IPs - you can set up host files
> > and refer to the hosts by name, and I think that bringing up
> > interfaces
> > is a good few seconds quicker with static IPs than with DHCP.
>
> True, but the OP will have a laptop that probably needs to use many
> different networks. Manually switching the laptop back to a static
> config every time you come home will probably take longer than waiting
> on DHCP (and is a pain in the ass).

Well, I think the OP said that the laptop will run 'the other OS', and
I've always found that configuring wireless under windows is a royal
pain, but perhaps that's just because I'm not that experienced with
it. Anyway, I assume that the OP will be using WPA, in which case
he'll anyway need to set up a specific profile for use on his home
network, so he can just include the IP information in the appropriate
configuration area. E.g., if he uses /etc/network/interfaces
and ifscheme (under Debian), then he'd include a stanza like this:

iface eth0-homenet inet static
address 192.168.1.9
netmask 255.255.255.0
hostname name

wireless_mode managed
wireless_essid abcdefgh
wpa-ssid abcdefgh
wpa-psk x*64

[The wpa psk should probably really go into a separate
'wpa_supplicant.conf' file, since 'interfaces' is world readable.]

Switching networks is then simply a matter of 'ifscheme homenet'. I
understand that there are other ways to do this, such as NetworkManager
and wifi-radar, but this is what I use, and it works quite well.

> Rob McBroom

Celejar
--
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Old 10-03-2008, 05:11 PM
Ron Johnson
 
Default House wireless/wired router: choices? Plus wireless neophyte questions.

On 10/03/08 11:49, Bob McGowan wrote:
[snip]



<--deleted discussion on setup questions-->

I had some trouble finding the above referenced router at a local
retailer (I needed the HW ASAP, couldn't wait for freight delivery).


I've found that if you order from NewEgg in the morning, I usually
get small kit the next day even with "UPS 3 Day" shipping.


--
Ron Johnson, Jr.
Jefferson LA USA

"Do not bite at the bait of pleasure till you know there is no
hook beneath it." -- Thomas Jefferson


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Old 10-03-2008, 06:44 PM
Celejar
 
Default House wireless/wired router: choices? Plus wireless neophyte questions.

On Fri, 03 Oct 2008 09:49:35 -0700
Bob McGowan <bob_mcgowan@symantec.com> wrote:


...

> I found that Netgear also makes a Linux kernel based router, the
> WGR614L. It is listed at about $80 US, and can use the DD-WRT Open
> Source firmware, probably others.

No longer relevant for you, but right now there's an excellent deal on
the Asus 520gu available at various online merchants; it can be had for
as little as $30 shipped after a $20 rebate. It can apparently run
OpenWrt, and it has a USB port, quite a rare feature at this price
point. [Hint: think of it as a cheaper, lower powered version of the
ever popular Slug, but with integrated wireless.]

...

> This unit (and others) allows you to associate a particular IP address
> with a MAC address, so the same IP is always given to the device. This
> allows you to have your hosts file setup for names and still use the
> laptop in any DHCP environment with changes.

Most do, but I was disappointed that my Trendware models (452brp and
432brp) don't seem to have that capability, so I switched to static
addresses.

> Bob McGowan

Celejar
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Old 10-04-2008, 06:30 AM
Jonathan Kaye
 
Default House wireless/wired router: choices? Plus wireless neophyte questions.

<snip>
Ron Johnson wrote:


>
> Yes. My router gets a routable "external" IP address from the ISP,
> but I had to *also* give it an "internal", non-routable IP address
> (which I chose to be 192.168.1.251).
>
<snip>
Hi Ron,
I have a question on this very topic. I'll start a new thread to ask it. My
setup and experience are very similar to that of the OP.
Cheers,
Jonathan

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Old 10-04-2008, 08:32 AM
Ron Johnson
 
Default House wireless/wired router: choices? Plus wireless neophyte questions.

On 10/04/08 00:58, Andrei Popescu wrote:
[snip]
which has a lot of nice features, but is more expensive. Maybe it would
be interesting for you to look for a model with integrated DSL modem?


That would certainly save space, wires and wall-warts.

But it would limit flexibility, requiring you to upgrade perfectly
functional h/w if you wanted/needed to step up to ADSL2 or next-gen
802.11.


--
Ron Johnson, Jr.
Jefferson LA USA

"Do not bite at the bait of pleasure till you know there is no
hook beneath it." -- Thomas Jefferson


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Old 10-04-2008, 03:03 PM
Hugo Vanwoerkom
 
Default House wireless/wired router: choices? Plus wireless neophyte questions.

Ron Johnson wrote:

On 10/03/08 11:49, Bob McGowan wrote:
[snip]



<--deleted discussion on setup questions-->

I had some trouble finding the above referenced router at a local
retailer (I needed the HW ASAP, couldn't wait for freight delivery).


I've found that if you order from NewEgg in the morning, I usually get
small kit the next day even with "UPS 3 Day" shipping.




It depends on where you live. I always order from Montana and 3 days is
always 3 business days. Not more, but not less and with that UPS
tracking number you can see exactly where the package is.


NewEgg is finicky with the credit card: the billing address has to match.

Hugo



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