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Re: [vox-tech] Wireless-to-ethernet bridges
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Re: [vox-tech] Wireless-to-ethernet bridges



On Fri, 7 Oct 2005 10:01:51 -0700, Henry House wrote:
> I finally have no choice but to get a wireless interface for my
> home workstation. Given the difficulty with changing chipsets and
> poor driver support, I am thinking of a ethernet-to-wireless
> bridge, which is alleged to bridge a one-device ethernet network to
> an existing wireless network with an existing access point, all
> without any drivers on the PC. Here are two products, both by
> Linksys, that claim to do just that:
>
> http://www.buy.com/prod/Wireless_G_Game_Adapter/q/loc/15625/10351886
.h
> tml
>
> http://www.buy.com/prod/Wireless_G_Ethernet_Bridge/q/loc/15625/10346
52
> 5.html
>
> The second is about twice the price of the first.
>
> My questions are:
>
> - Am I on the right track going with an ethernet bridge?
>
> - What reasons are there to prefer the more-expensive device? I
> loathe wireless networking and so would prefer to spend as little
> as possible. I am not really interested in special features.

Hmm.

First, you will of course need two devices unless you have an existing
wireless access point. You didn't specify, though I'm guessing from
your phrasing that you're tying into an existing network.

I quickly read through the installation instructions on the game
adaptor. As far as I can tell, one of those will do what you're
asking. You can even use WEP encryption if you do the settings
manually (don't depend on the "Easy Setup" stuff). However, WEP isn't
very secure. I personally would prefer WPA.

However, AFAICT it should work. It's being marketed as a gaming
console device only, but I would think it should let you use it for
anything. I'm guessing it's set up only to do AP client and ad-hoc
modes, rather than being a true bridge.

The WET54G looks like it's a dual-band device, for one thing. I think
the WGA54G is g-only. The WET54G has WPA. The WET54G also supports
Power Over Ethernet, which you don't care about, but I'm noting
differences that would account for the higher price. :) Looks like it
also has some fancy WEP options that are irrelevant (probably won't
drive the price up much though).

===== Note: This next bit assumes you are creating a new wireless
===== network, not tying into an existing one. But it might still be
===== relevant depending on the existing access point.

I'm gonna toss another possibility into the mix. These are specialty
devices, which logically should be cheaper and more powerful for the
purpose. But they don't have the economy of scale of the WAPs.

http://www.buy.com/retail/searchresults.asp?qu=WAP54G&search_store=1

Yes, that's an ordinary, cheap Linksys wireless acces point. Not even
a router. It's the cheapest they seem to have unless you go with the
WAP11, which is a possibility if you don't mind losing some of the
security.

The important bit is right here in the user document. Here's a link to
their web site, first:

http://www.linksys.com/servlet/Satellite?childpagename=US%2FLayout&pac
kedargs=c%3DL_Product_C2%26cid%3D1126536803676&pagename=Linksys%2FComm
on%2FVisitorWrapper

Ooh, ugly. http://tinyurl.com/9d3gd

Anyway, here's a quote from the manual.

- - - - -
Wireless Bridge. This mode connects two physically separated wired
networks using two access points (use
additional access points to connect more wired networks). This feature
only works with another Wireless-G
Access Point (model number: WAP54G).
- - - - -

So... you can bridge two WAP54G access points! There's also another
mode that might work:

- - - - -
AP (Access Point) Client. When set to AP Client mode, the AP Client is
able to talk to one remote access point
within its range. This feature only works with another Wireless-G
Access Point (model number: WAP54G).
This mode allows the AP Client to act as a client of a remote access
point. The AP Client cannot communicate
directly with any wireless clients. A separate network attached to the
AP Client can then be wirelessly bridged to
the remote access point.
To use this mode, select AP Client and enter the LAN MAC address of
the remote access point in the Remote
Access Pointís LAN MAC Address field. If you do not know the remote
access pointís MAC address, click the Site
Survey button. Select the access point you want to use and click the
Close button. If you do not see the access
point you want, click the Refresh button to search for access points
again.
- - - - -

Looks to me like the wireless bridge lets you connect two networks,
while AP client lets you do the same thing while continuing to use the
other access point as an access point for other clients.

1) If you're building your own wireless system from scratch, I'd use
that. You have the options of later converting one or both access
points to normal access point mode if you like, or selling them, or
whatever. Bridges may be harder to sell. (Or maybe they'll sell just
fine but get a higher price. Dunno.)

In that case, if you're simply making a bridge, I'd use the bridge
mode. Less insecure.

This setup is much more versatile than using the bridges, includes
both b and g, gives you WPA, lets you lock your MAC addresses and not
broadcast SSID, and so on.

The WAP11 only does 802.11b and WEP, but I believe everything else is
still relevant, and it's $20 cheaper. Each.
=====

2) If you're tying into an existing wireless setup you can only do
this if the AP you're tying into is the same model. Linksys will let
you connect to another WAP54G but won't let you just bridge with
anybody else, willy nilly. (I'm sure this is a marketing decision.
They make more money by selling specialty devices and limiting their
general-purpose devices' abilities.)

Same with the WAP11, it will only let you tie into... well, here's
what mine says:

- - - - -
When set to "Access Point Client", "Wireless Bridge" or "Wireless
Bridge -
   Point to MultiPoint" mode, the device will only communicate with
another
   WAP 11 ver. 2.6,WAP 11,WAP54G,WAP55AG,WRT54G or WRT55AG.
- - - - -

Your decision may very well hinge on what the existing access point
can do, unless you don't care about the security, in which case the
WGA54G will probably do just fine.


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