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Adding wireless to a wired network

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Sorry if Iím posting a problem that could be solved by reading other topics, but Iím really confused!

At home, we have a wired network. It wasnít done by me though, so Iím not exactly sure why it was set up as it is. We have a cable modem, which is connected to our main pc (called MAIN). MAIN is then connected to a switch (a Mercury 10/100Mbps Fast Ethernet Switch Ė thatís what the box says), which is in the attic. Three other PCs (RACH, EMMA and NIKKI) are then connected to the switch. This works fine for Internet and file sharing.

However, Iíve just bought two IBM Thinkpad X31s Ė one to replace EMMA and one to become JENNIE. They donít have whatever it is that would make them able to connect to a wireless network, but apparently I can buy something to sort that out. Is this a PCMCIA card? Thereís a slot for one of those (type I or type II on the side of them). Iíve found one on Ebuyer.com Ė the ĎEbuyer 11Mbps Wireless LAN CardBus PC Card LAN Adapter (802.11b)í (quick find code 52909). Is that what I need to buy?

Then I need to add wireless capabilities to the wired network. Since the switch is in the attic (and Iím too short to climb up there!), Iíd really like to add the wireless network where the old EMMA is connected, since new EMMA wonít need the network cable thatís already been put in. Is this ok? I donít know what I need to buy either Ė do I need a wireless access point or a wireless router? The box for the switch says that I can add in a wireless access point, but that also says I should use a broadband router, which I donít have.

Iím hoping to do all this spending the least amount of money possible. Thereís also the possibility of making all the computers wireless in the future, but I canít afford to replace network cards (or whatever Iíd need to replace) in all the PCs at the moment, so I need to run wired and wireless parallel for now Iím pretty good at following instructions, but I donít have the knowledge to be doing anything too complicated! Any suggestions?

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My suggestion would be to find out where your internet comes from out of the wall and plug it in directly to a wireless router, and remove the switch. Or I believe you may be able to connect a wireless access point to the switch and connect the wireless computers to that and leave the wired ones hooked into the switch. The only downfall to that is I believe a WAP will not let you share files among your network since all it does is provide access to the internet. If you get the router you should still be able to hardwire the pc's you want to and use the wireless function for the wireless ones.

-=jonnyrotten=- :tazz:
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