Network setup help

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Kevlar19

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I'm hoping someone can give me some good detailed instructions and advise on the proper way to set up a network. I have no formal training in the IT industry but I know considerably more than the average user as I am self taught. I am a veteran who has started volunteering a a veterans outreach center to help other fellow vets. They need me to set up a network for them. They have very little money to spend so I have to try and make do with what equipment that has been donated to them. (I'm trying to get newer equipment donated). They have 3 PCs that are 10-15 years old running Pentium 3 processors (886 Mhz to 1.2 Ghz), very little RAM and small hard drives. There is a cable modem with a Cisco Lynksis WRT110 wireless router. 2 printers. 1 PC is hard wired into the wireless router as is both printers. The other 2 PCs are using wireless G USB adapters. The 2 PCs with the wireless G adapters get very weak signal so I'm thinking of get 2 wireless N adapters. I need to set up me as the administrator and everyone else as users with limited access. I also need to set up a share folder, allow them internet access (but with restricted site access). Can anyone out there help me with this or direct me to a good site that would help me? Me and my fellow veterans thank you ahead of time.
 

DoubleHelix

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That is a huge project you're taking on. If the computers are that old, they don't have USB 2.0 ports which I believe are required to use 802.11n wireless network adapters. I'm surprised they're working with 802.11g adapters. That might explain why the speeds are so poor. However, computers that old aren't going to work well with today's multimedia intensive web pages either.

Maybe someone here has an idea for a free/cheap and easy to configure Internet restriction application. I don't know of any.
 

Kevlar19

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I hadn't thought of the usb 2.0 ports. I'll have to check that out. Maybe the best way it to hard-wire them.
 

JohnWill

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Personally, I'd first boost the range of the router and perhaps the distant computers. 802.11n adapters aren't going to do anything for you. If you want to replace an adapter, get one that offers an external antenna connection.


Hawking Tech has a number of products that will help you increase your wireless range. The root page is Hawking Hi-Gain™ WiFi Range Extending Products.

Some of the more interesting products are this Hawking [HSB2] Hi-Gain WiFi Signal Booster, which can be used on either end of a wireless connection to boost the signal power.

Another way to increase your signal strength is by the use of hi-gain antennas. You can choose from omni-directional or directional models, here are a some examples.

Hawking [HAI7SIP] Hi-Gain 7dBi Omni-Directional Antenna

Hawking [HAI15SC] Hi-Gain 15dBi Corner Antenna

[HAO14SD] Outdoor Hi-Gain 14dBi Directional Antenna Kit

For 802.11n applications, this ZyXEL ANT1106 6db omni-directional antenna can be used.

For really long range outdoor applications, this 24dB parabolic WiFi Antenna may be a good choice.

If you have a wireless adapter that doesn't have provisions for an external antenna, one adapter that I've had good luck with is a Rosewill RNX-G1 USB Wireless Adapter. It's feature is that is has a removable antenna and will accommodate replacement antennas.

This is just a sample of available products, many people have hi-gain antennas with similar specifications, but I haven't seen any other suppliers of signal boosters.
 

DoubleHelix

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Do you really need to use wireless? Wired networking would be much cheaper and easier to support.
 

Kevlar19

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I know but this place is very limited on money so I'm trying to do it with the equipment they have.
 

TerryNet

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W.r.t. the USB adapters getting a weak signal, make sure the path between them and the router is not unnecessarily blocked by the computer or other object.

'G' wireless adapters will work OK on USB 1.1 ports. USB 1.1 is 12 Mbps, which is plenty for most internet service. Granted, I'm not talking about the full capability of 'G.' I have used two different 'G' USB adapters on my 10 year old Systemax laptop, so am speaking from experience.
 

DoubleHelix

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Network cable is very cheap. It's a significantly cheaper solution than anything wireless.
 

Kevlar19

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from what I understand, the cheapest way to buy network cable is in bulk, which would mean I would have to buy the connectors and tools separate. I would need about 500 ft of cable. I can purchase 2 wireless N adapters for around $65.00. At cables to go, a spool of 500ft ethernet cable cost around $100.00
 

TerryNet

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How far from the router is each of the two PCs with wireless? How far are they from each other? What objects (walls, etc.) are in the path from router to each wireless adapter?
 

Kevlar19

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the 2 PCs that are wireless are around 80-100 ft so with one wall. That is why I was thinking wireless N adapters might improve the reception.
 
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