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Wireless N?


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#1
Termie

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I tried a search on this topic with no results (perhaps my search string was confusing?) Anyway...

I am revamping my current home network that consists of two wired CPUs, two wireless laps, and a wired printer, using a Linksys 4-port wireless (b) (gasp! I know) router. Everything works okay for the most part with the exception of the fact that we lose DSL connection about 4 or 5 times a day, sometimes more, due to the router going haywire, and it usually occurs when the second laptop connects (in addition to the CPU and other lap already on the network.) In addition, we suffer a lot of lag on online computer games if three of the systems are connected at one time (the two laps and one desktop...usually the printer and/or one CPU are not in use during this time.) I am, first of all, wondering if the fact that five components accessing this router is just a tad too many, causing the disconnection problems. I end up resetting the router and that works, but it will periodically go out again, in which case I end up resetting, resetting, resetting, etc.

I have a new computer on the way that will take the place of one of the older ones I am currently using. In light of this, and considering the lag and connection problems, I'm looking into revamping this network in order to eliminate the disconnection problems and hopefully increase speed while gaming (it's not an issue of video cards, because each system will run fine if it's the only one on the network at the time.) I plan to wire the printer directly to the new system (since it is the only one that I will print off of, perhaps only sharing the printer with one other laptop in the network through that system) BUT it isn't going to cut down on the number of systems actually accessing the router, since my husband plans to use my discarded CPU for an online DJ'ing job he has, running his laptop and that CPU, using them simultaneously for separate programs (both of the programs he uses are resource hogs.)

I have a wireless (g) router, brand new, stuck in my office closet somewhere, but it is also a 4-port, so I started looking for 6-port routers, hoping to solve the disconnection problems I have. During a search, I came across this "wireless N" which, if I understand what I have read correctly, is the newest router on the market (so new the specs aren't officially published yet?) and that according to the information I read, it sounds like this will provide the extra bandwidth we need to cut down on or eliminate the lag. Am I understanding this correctly? There are two models I was looking at, both Linksys, one a WTN 150 and also a 300 (called a draft N, I guess) and I'm also wondering which would be the better router to get, IF it is indeed what might solve the lag problem. However, back to square one again, I only see 4-port models, which in my mind might put me back to getting disconnected...<sigh>

Sorry to ramble, and I hope this made sense to somebody out there. I'm not knowledgeable about this stuff although I like to believe I can understand the basics and try to logic things out the rest of the way...
I guess I just need some input as to whether a) I am correct in assuming my connection problems are caused by the 4-port being accessed by more than 4 components, b) I should actually have a 6-port wireless router, and c) this wireless N will solve the lag problems for gaming.

If you've read this far, you have the patience of a saint and I would truly appreciate any feedback you can provide. Thanks!
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#2
computerwiz12890

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Whew, my eyes hurt now. :wave: Just kidding. Let's see if I can help ya out...and organize it well.

Current issue
You say your Wireless B network starts having issues when the second laptop connects wirelessly. Wireless B networks are very slow (11 Mbps). Home appliances may interfere on the unregulated frequency band that they use as well. In addition to all that, I'm sure the router is aged and has seen its fair share of traffic. So yeah, I think you're overloading it. :)

I also assume that your router has only 1 antenna, if any, so it can only handle 1 computer wirelessly at a time. You can have more than one connected, and may never notice the difference because of how fast data travels. But when you have more than one doing intense data transfers (like games or downloading huge files simultaneously), you may notice it more!

A, B, G, or N? What to choose??
The answer to that question is more about your preferrance than anything else. Here's a very good summary of the pros and cons of each. The choice is ultimately up to you, so I'll provide you with what you need to know. Afterwords, I'll give you my suggestion.

Pros of 802.11b - lowest cost; signal range is good and not easily obstructed
Cons of 802.11b - slowest maximum speed; home appliances may interfere on the unregulated frequency band.

Pros of 802.11a - fast maximum speed; regulated frequencies prevent signal interference from other devices
Cons of 802.11a - highest cost; shorter range signal that is more easily obstructed

Pros of 802.11g - fast maximum speed; signal range is good and not easily obstructed
Cons of 802.11g - costs more than 802.11b; appliances may interfere on the unregulated signal frequency.

Pros of 802.11n - fastest maximum speed and best signal range; more resistant to signal interference from outside sources
Cons of 802.11n - standard is not yet finalized; costs more than 802.11g; the use of multiple signals may greatly interfere with nearby 802.11b/g based networks.

My Suggestion
I'd go with a wirless G router that is backwards compatable with at least A-type wireless cards/adaptors. The reason I would not go with N is because the speeds you get from it are not noticable online. The only reason you'd need such higher speeds is if you're trying to transfer a whole DVD wireless between your computers in your house, or something huge like that. The super speed really isn't useful in this day and age. Now if you were in Japan, with their amazing AVERAGE internet speed of 60 Mbps, then it may become quite useful. But America isn't anywhere near that yet, unfortunately. :)

Also, compatability!! N just came out. Not much made to utilize it yet!! I have a router made especially for gaming (gives priority to gaming traffic, it can sense it!), and only 1 antenna. Me and my dad can both play wirelessly with no problem. I don't know how big of a deal antennas actually are or when you'd notice lag from it, but I'm sure more is better :)


Hope that answers your questions. A long question deserved an equally long response. :)

Edited by computerwiz12890, 19 September 2007 - 05:55 PM.

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#3
Termie

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Thanks, CWiz! I really appreciate the time you took and the effort you put into posting a response that is easy to understand.

Yeah, the b is old. It does have 2 antennas, though. I just thought that with 4 port "lights" on front, it would mean only 4 systems at a time, I guess.

I do have a wireless g hidden in the closet somewhere, just never took the time to install it, but now that I'll be tearing the system down anyway to reconfigure it all, I guess now is just as good a time as any.

If Japan's 60 Mpbs is so great, why does my system tell me it's getting 100? and 400 for the DSL direct? I don't quite get that.

In any case, thanks so much for your response!
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#4
peterm

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If you have 4 port lights on the front that means that you have 4 ports at the back where you can plug in to make it a wired network - It does not matter how many ports/ port lights you have if using wireless because you have 4 lights does not mean that you can only have 4 wireless connections.
I always use wired networks where possible that way between machines you will always get 100mpbs if the network cards and router are 100 capable. If buying new equipment I look for 10/100/1000 that way when you upgrade you get to slowly build up to 1000. You will be hard pressed to get 108 out of wireless. If you read the boxes or web site it always says up to 108 - not 108.
The 1 laptop I have has 108mpbs card and 108mpbs router and the best I can get with a 100% signal strength is 54mpbs. That is even when I am only 320mm away (12 inches). If you play the game on the 2 desktops then I would wire them.
Cheers
Peterm
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#5
TLL

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I found this topic very useful thanks very much Termie for startin it and CWiz's exellent reply ^^
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#6
Termie

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I'm glad that my questions are helping others as well, TLL!

Thank you for that info, Peter. I had wondered about that-the 4 light indicators, thinking that, well, okay-4 indicators must mean 4 connections, be they wired or wireless. I came to that conclusion because in the sys tray, I have two connection icons, one that tells me the rate of 400 Mbps (my 1394 connection) and the other 100 Mbps (my LAN connection.) All of the computers connected to this router indicate a connection speed of 100 Mbps (even my son's lap upstairs in his room), and I assumed that since all computers using the system reported 100 Mbps, and 4 computers were connected, then the 400 Mbps divided by the four equaled 100 each. (Does that make sense?) However, I have three things wired into this router (when you count the printer), and two are wireless, making 5 actually accessing it, so whenever the "last" computer connects (usually my son's lap), it knocks out the router and I end up resetting it, and this will happen repeatedly. I also note that none of our LAN addresses remain the same, they always swap numbers (101, 102, 103-all the way up to 109!) so that led me to believe that they were "fighting" for a spot on this router. I'm sure that sounds silly to others, but I'm totally in the dark (well, nearly so) when it comes to this stuff and that seemed the most logical explanation for the problems.

My new monster confuser (drool) will have a Gigabit ethernet card (ooooh!) and I wonder if that will decrease lag but also, at the same time, "steal" from the other systems, something I can't allow happen when I comes to my hubby using the laptop/CPU combo to do his online DJ'ing...Both of MY CPUs will be wired, since they're situated at my desk alongside the modem/router and all. But his lap and the abandoned CPU will be on wireless, farther away than you're at (we're talking about 20-25 feet, with walls in between them.)

And another question pops up with regard to speed....how can you tell what your true speed is? Why do the icons tell me 100 Mbps if it really isn't? I have DSL, I believe the second fastest speed if not THE fastest speed...

Okay, I'm confusing myself and probably most of you so I'll just shut up now. :)
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#7
computerwiz12890

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Time to become the teacher instead of the student (I'm taking computer networking in college right now!!)

If Japan's 60 Mpbs is so great, why does my system tell me it's getting 100? and 400 for the DSL direct? I don't quite get that.

The 60 Mbps refers to their connection to the internet. When your computer tells you you are connected at 100 Mbps, it means you are getting 100 Mbps between you and your router. I don't believe computers give a report on speed when directly connecting to the internet, but if they did, it certainly wouldn't be anywhere near 100 Mbps!!

I came to that conclusion because in the sys tray, I have two connection icons, one that tells me the rate of 400 Mbps (my 1394 connection) and the other 100 Mbps (my LAN connection.) All of the computers connected to this router indicate a connection speed of 100 Mbps (even my son's lap upstairs in his room), and I assumed that since all computers using the system reported 100 Mbps, and 4 computers were connected, then the 400 Mbps divided by the four equaled 100 each. (Does that make sense?)

I've never really looked into the 1394 connection, but it does not deal with your network. With a quick search on google, I find that IEEE 1394 is a firewire connection, which is sorta like a USB connection. Though the validity of that I'm uncertain, and why it would report 400 Mbps is beyond me. In anycase, network speeds are not divided like that. When sharing a network connection, the throughput (bandwidth) is divided, but the connection speed (that you see) which refers to how fast you could transfer data (provided the line is free to communicate on), will not be affected. So you may see 400 Mbps for 1394, but that is not your network connection. It will be the other connection speed you see.

I also note that none of our LAN addresses remain the same, they always swap numbers (101, 102, 103-all the way up to 109!) so that led me to believe that they were "fighting" for a spot on this router. I'm sure that sounds silly to others, but I'm totally in the dark (well, nearly so) when it comes to this stuff and that seemed the most logical explanation for the problems.

Interesting conclusion, and pretty close to the real thing. When connecting to any network, you need an IP address. The addresses you see, probably like 192.168.0.101, is an internal address that is assigned by your router. All routers assign IP addresses to clients, either dynamically (they change) or statically (they are the same every time). These IP addresses are "leased" to the client for a period of time. After that period of time expires, the client must request a new IP address. If the client is online when the lease expires, they will get the same IP address. However if they are offline when their "lease" expires, and the router is not set to statically give them an IP, they can end up getting a different address than before.

My new monster confuser (drool) will have a Gigabit ethernet card (ooooh!) and I wonder if that will decrease lag

Not at all. Your connection between your router and your ISPs router is unchanged. That's the "bottleneck" when it comes to speed on the internet. If your new router has gigabit, your computer has gigabit, and then another computer in your house has gigabit, that is the only scenario where it will be useful because now you can transfer files from one computer to the other at gigabit speeds. But having gigabit ethernet will not affect internet lag. Sorry!

but also, at the same time, "steal" from the other systems, something I can't allow happen when I comes to my hubby using the laptop/CPU combo to do his online DJ'ing...Both of MY CPUs will be wired, since they're situated at my desk alongside the modem/router and all. But his lap and the abandoned CPU will be on wireless, farther away than you're at (we're talking about 20-25 feet, with walls in between them.)

Definatly potential to "steal" from other systems, but it would only be noticeable, if at all, within your own network (from PC to PC). You will not notice any "stealing" when dealing with the internet.

And another question pops up with regard to speed....how can you tell what your true speed is? Why do the icons tell me 100 Mbps if it really isn't? I have DSL, I believe the second fastest speed if not THE fastest speed...

Only way to find out your true speed, is to do a speed test:

http://www.speakeasy.net/speedtest/

The 100 Mbps question was answered earlier. It's the speed from your computer to your router, not from PC to internet. DSL isn't the fastest. That is a whole 'nother discussion. I'll let all this sink in first. Plus I'm tired of typing! :)
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#8
Termie

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Thanks once again, CWiz! I'll get this through my thick skull eventually, and really appreciate the help I receive here (you're all so very patient with this network moron!)

I did that speed test you gave the link to, using the closest spot (Seattle) and here is what it gave me: download speed was 2568 kbps, upload 437 kbps. Does that compute to 25 Mbps and 4 Mbps (if my math is right?) or is it 2.5 something and a measly 0.4? :) LOL Now this is on a wireless b. If I use the g, (the one I have is a Speedbooster WRT54GS), then those numbers should improve, right? If I understand this correctly, the bottleneck is at the router I have, at 11 Mbps, and this g says (somewhere) it will allow 54, so from that I conclude I'll gain the possibility (I do realize everyone's mileage varies LOL) of an extra 40 or so. Or at least something a lot better than I'm getting.

Feel free to start tossing bricks at this brick brain, I'm sure you're getting exasperated with my endless questions now. :wave:

Truly, thanks.
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#9
Termie

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Nevermind the math question....I think I'll start throwing bricks at myself...
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#10
computerwiz12890

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Thanks once again, CWiz! I'll get this through my thick skull eventually, and really appreciate the help I receive here (you're all so very patient with this network moron!)

You're welcome! lol.

I did that speed test you gave the link to, using the closest spot (Seattle) and here is what it gave me: download speed was 2568 kbps, upload 437 kbps. Does that compute to 25 Mbps and 4 Mbps (if my math is right?) or is it 2.5 something and a measly 0.4?


1000 kbps = 1 mbps. Note that these are bits and not bytes. We commonly see things in bytes (like a gigaBYTE flash drive). 1 byte = 8 bits.

So, your 2568 kbps translates to 2.5 Mbps (which is average in America) compared to Japan's smokin 60 Mbps!! Sorry for that bad news too :)

Now this is on a wireless b. If I use the g, (the one I have is a Speedbooster WRT54GS), then those numbers should improve, right? If I understand this correctly, the bottleneck is at the router I have, at 11 Mbps, and this g says (somewhere) it will allow 54, so from that I conclude I'll gain the possibility (I do realize everyone's mileage varies LOL) of an extra 40 or so. Or at least something a lot better than I'm getting.

nope, the bottleneck isn't at your router, it is at your ISPs router. Like all other ISPs, they put restrictions on your bandwidth. There is also a limitation to the medium in which the data travels (the wire that connects you to them), though I'm not sure what's the max on a DSL line. Now you can see that your routers 11 Mbps is far beyond the 2.5 Mbps max speed that your ISP is giving you. Buying a faster router will have no effect on your internet experience. It will only improve things for your internal network (PC to PC). Now you understand better? :)

Feel free to start tossing bricks at this brick brain, I'm sure you're getting exasperated with my endless questions now.

They don't have a smily that throws brick, so I guess I can't take you up on that offer! :)

Found more info on IEEE 1394:

"New Windows XP users might notice a new network device labeled 1394 Connection on their system. This network device is actually your FireWire card. Although most users use FireWire to connect video and storage peripherals, Microsoft chose to list FireWire as a network device, which might confuse some users. Either you can ignore this connection, or you can disable it by right-clicking the connection from within Network Connections (from the Start menu, go to Settings, Network Connections) and selecting Disable."

Guess that's why I never really knew about it or looked into it: I don't have firewire!! :wave:

Anything else I can help ya with? :)
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#11
Termie

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You're such a sweetie. Thanks a gazillion times over. Yep, now I do understand. Finally. Dawn came late, but at least it came eventually.

I did a good thing (I think) with that information I gleaned off the speed test...I checked my current DSL connection package (up to 3.0 Mbps) and found that I had a last step up to go, so I just called and upgraded our DSL to the highest at up to 6.0 Mbps for $10 more a month (which is still so dismal compared to that 60 that is available in Japan! WHAT is wrong with this picture, why are WE so slow??? In considering your comment about the ISP putting restrictions on bandwidth, I take it that it's their fault....argh...)

So the firewire wasn't really something I needed...did I screw up royally by getting my new system with a firewire instead of SP2 and serial connections? I use USB for everything, since I run the two systems off of a USB KVM...I wasn't concerned there. Hubby said I needed the 1394, so I got the 1394 (ended up spending more, too) but now it's something I don't even use? Huh. Figures. Oh well. Is there something I can buy to make use of this little gadget? LOL
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#12
computerwiz12890

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I just called and upgraded our DSL to the highest at up to 6.0 Mbps for $10 more a month (which is still so dismal compared to that 60 that is available in Japan! WHAT is wrong with this picture, why are WE so slow??? In considering your comment about the ISP putting restrictions on bandwidth, I take it that it's their fault....argh...)

Cool :) . Actually the reason why we (America) get such a slow average rate is rather funny. We nuked Japan, therefore their infrastructure is rather new and fresh. So they get the new ultra high-speed handling equipment. Plus, the size of their country allows data to flow from end to end much quicker and smoothly. We'll get there, eventually. :wave:

So the firewire wasn't really something I needed...did I screw up royally by getting my new system with a firewire instead of SP2 and serial connections? I use USB for everything, since I run the two systems off of a USB KVM...I wasn't concerned there. Hubby said I needed the 1394, so I got the 1394 (ended up spending more, too) but now it's something I don't even use? Huh. Figures. Oh well. Is there something I can buy to make use of this little gadget? LOL

lol, pretty much so. I really don't know what all uses Firewire. I believe it is popular with Mac devices. But as far as Windows devices go, I don't know any off-hand that use it. :) If I remember correctly, it came out not long after USB 1.1, so it was amazingly fast! But now USB 2.0 is out and it is only slighly faster. Honestly I don't forsee you using it, unless you specifically are looking for something that uses it. (hey now I'm psychic! I said "forsee") :)

Edited by computerwiz12890, 21 September 2007 - 11:40 AM.

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#13
Termie

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Well that bites.

As an aside, I was really worried about getting that 1394 instead of the PS2 and serial. My new system came yesterday *yay!* and not seeing the usual stuff in back of the box was a bit unsettling, especially when it came to plugging in my KVM-OMG, where's the usual blue connector for the monitor? Oh no! Now they have these longish white plugins with a funny pin configuration for that hookup-I thought I was screwed. I looked at the funky white connection, looked at my normal blue KVM connection, and almost cried. Gotta say that Dell thinks ahead for dummies like me out there...they included adapters for it, so I was saved. My new system ROCKS!

Turns out that a lot of my lag problems had to do with my system. I had an old HP Pavilion a450n with a decent processor (IP4 3.00E) and 2 Gb RAM, but the video card was not able to handle the gaming I was doing-a GeForce FX5200. According to the gaming specs, it was within their minimum requirements, but I think just barely. The new system, with the GF 8600GT-DDR3, flies through the graphics with ease, although download time for it is still on the slow side, something I'm sure I'll see an improvement in when the upgrade on DSL kicks in.

Now I just have to tackle setting up that wireless (g) router...<gag> :)

Thanks for helping this nongeek to get one step closer to "geekdom." LOL Oh, and not to forget to mention....saving me a peck of money in the process (for which you have my undying gratitude!) Maybe I should put that toward getting another 2 Mb of RAM for this new baby of mine...something I think I should have done in the first place.

Edited by Termie, 22 September 2007 - 07:29 AM.

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#14
computerwiz12890

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As an aside, I was really worried about getting that 1394 instead of the PS2 and serial. My new system came yesterday *yay!* and not seeing the usual stuff in back of the box was a bit unsettling, especially when it came to plugging in my KVM-OMG, where's the usual blue connector for the monitor? Oh no! Now they have these longish white plugins with a funny pin configuration for that hookup-I thought I was screwed. I looked at the funky white connection, looked at my normal blue KVM connection, and almost cried. Gotta say that Dell thinks ahead for dummies like me out there...they included adapters for it, so I was saved. My new system ROCKS!

Good thing. Though I would have been more impressed if DELL had a video card with both inputs (like mine has), but I guess ya can't have everything. :)

Turns out that a lot of my lag problems had to do with my system. I had an old HP Pavilion a450n with a decent processor (IP4 3.00E) and 2 Gb RAM, but the video card was not able to handle the gaming I was doing-a GeForce FX5200. According to the gaming specs, it was within their minimum requirements, but I think just barely. The new system, with the GF 8600GT-DDR3, flies through the graphics with ease, although download time for it is still on the slow side, something I'm sure I'll see an improvement in when the upgrade on DSL kicks in.

Sweet! I know you'll see a fairly big difference with that upgraded DSL, at least with downloading and surfing. Online gaming may be the same, because the quality is not solely dependant on you, it depends on the server and other clients too! :)

Now I just have to tackle setting up that wireless (g) router...<gag>

Aww it's not so bad. :)

Thanks for helping this nongeek to get one step closer to "geekdom." LOL Oh, and not to forget to mention....saving me a peck of money in the process (for which you have my undying gratitude!) Maybe I should put that toward getting another 2 Mb of RAM for this new baby of mine...something I think I should have done in the first place.

You're welcome! :wave:
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