This Old Router


I got a free router from Bruce some months back — a Netgear MR814 wireless that delivers 802.11b Wi-Fi, which means it runs at 11 megabytes per second, not the 54 Mbps of 802.11g. Since the whole point of this is to get Internet both in the house and in the converted garage-turned office, which are in no way attached, it was a little dicey figuring out where to install the router and DSL modem for complete coverage. I determined over the course of testing (you can sniff out a wireless router with your wireless card- or adapter-equipped PC, even if the router doesn’t have a modem connected) that at a distance of about 60 feet or so (no, I haven’t measured it), it just wasn’t happening — the connection faded in and out — mostly out.

Finally I figured out that the converted garage, which we refer to as The Back Room, was probably built with some kind of metal mesh surrounding it, making it pretty hard for the RF to get through. So I placed the router in The Back Room on a small footstool in front of the stationary part of the French-door window — and there’s a signal in the house.

Once I got the modem out of the house and into The Back Room, I did some speed tests at DSL Reports (I always get there through my ISP DSL Extreme’s support page, but you can go direct, I imagine. As Bruce predicted, there really isn’t much difference between the 802.11b connection and the wired Ethernet, nor is there much of a speed issue vs. the more-robust 802.11g. And did I mention that the router was free?

That’s the beauty of working on all this old crap — free router, $9 internal PC wireless adapter (I could be connecting to this computer with Ethernet, as I’m only about 9 feet from the router, but why run the cable when there’s already a wireless card installed?)

One problem — on the iBook in the house, the wireless connects, but it drops when we use the cordless phone. Guess that the 2.4 gHz phone and 2.4 gHz of 802.11 don’t really like each other, especially when you don’t have the router and PC in the same room. This is something I’ll have to look into. There’s some kind of interference button in the Mac software — I’ll have to try that. And there’s always NOT using the cordless phone (there is a wired phone in that room) or getting a new cordless that runs on 5.8 gHz. These new phones are marketed as “not causing interference with wireless Internet, and I can really see the point of all that.

But phone callers be damned, we have wireless Internet, Ilene is on one computer, I’m on the other, and while it’s not exactly rocket science, I am prepared to say it’s computer science.

In closing, BLOGGER SUCKS with Internet Explorer 5.0. I’ll have to download Firefox.