[Cu-wireless] wireless equipment questions

Jon Dugan jdugan at ncsa.uiuc.edu
Tue Apr 10 01:01:45 CDT 2001

On Tue, Apr 10, 2001 at 12:19:54AM -0500, David Young wrote:
> I am going to set up an 802.11b network at home. There will be two
> stations. The first, my Mac, with an Airport card installed.  The second
> is a free variable, and that's why I'm writing for some advice.

  Are you planning to use a free OS (FreeBSD, Linux or somesuch) on the second
  box to do NAT and DHCP?  

> I am considering buying a Cisco Aironet PC Card or Orinoco PC Card, since
> most reviews rate these most highly.  I am having a hard time finding a
> source for either of these, though,


  340 series: http://www.cdw.com/shop/products/default.asp?EDC=268345
  350 series: http://www.cdw.com/shop/products/default.asp?EDC=272546

  warehouse.com has them as well as lots of other places.  pricewatch.com is
  your friend.

> and I am wary of buying an Aironet because I do not know if it accepts an
> external antenna.  Does anyone know a source? Does anyone know if the
> Aironet accepts an external antennas?

  External antenna connectors are only available on the Lucent PC Cards and
  the older (true Aironet) Aironet 4800 series cards.  I have Lucent Silver
  and Gold cards, Cisco Aironet 340 cards and also some of the Aironet 4800
  cards.  (That is, NCSA has that assortment of cards and then some actually
  -- but I'm just listing 802.11 stuff).

  Zoom, 3Com, Linksys, D-Link and many others have jumped on the wireless band
  wagon.  I haven't had the time to sort through their products and see what
  other options there are.  Lucent and Cisco aren't really known for their

> (I've looked at the Cisco Web site which is just awful ... couldn't find
> out anything about attaching external antennas.)

  The PCI and ISA versions of the Cisco Aironet cards (both in the 340 and 350
  series) offer external antenna connections with a RP-TNC connector.  This is
  actually a PC Card reader on a PCI or ISA card, altough the PCI card hides
  that from you (a very good thing IMHO).  AFAIK with the advent of the Cisco
  Aironet 340 line the external antenna connector was removed from the card,
  but it maybe possible to wriggle the antenna off and access the connector.
  The Aironet 4800 had a removable antenna.

  The Lucent PCI and ISA cards also have a similar feature -- although they
  use a special cable hooked directly to a PC Card.  The Lucent PCI and ISA
  cards are also PC Card readers with PC Card radio plugged into them, with
  the Lucent "proprietaty" connector.

  It's probably cheapest to buy a Lucent PC Card (~$170) and a cable to
  hook up an external antenna (~$70 from Lucent, ~$35 from a third party).
  The PCI and ISA cards are in the $250-$300 range.

> BTW, if others are interested in purchasing these cards, we might
> purchase them at once, that way saving the money and natural resources
> for shipping. I don't know if they get any cheaper when you buy in
> greater numbers, though they might.

  I'm particularly interested in doing a bulk order of Cisco 340 or 350 PCI
  cards.  I envision that a router will need at a minimum two wireless
  interfaces and up to 4 is very possible.

  ObCommunityWireless:  I'm hoping to build a pair of directional antennas
  this week and bring up a link between my house and the house of one of the
  other guys in the NCSA networking group.  I'll send out a report after we've
  made some progress.

Jon Dugan             |  Senior Network Engineer, NCSA Network Development
jdugan at ncsa.uiuc.edu  |  57C CAB, 605 E Springfield, Champaign, IL 61820
217/244-7715          |  http://www.ncsa.uiuc.edu/people/jdugan

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