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Better Wireless

Revised on

Originally posted on May 22nd, 2002

Get More Distance by Brand Mixing

The other day one of my clients wanted to go wireless so I suggested he go with Netgear or a Linksys setup. My favorite combo is Orinoco, but it's pricey. He already had a SonicWall DSL Router and he wanted to work around the house and network with his wife in the other room. He got a Netgear Access Point and wireless card but when he attempted to walk around he quickly found out that the backyard was forbidden territory. In fact about 30-40 feet in any direction away from the Access Point the signal plummeted to almost zero.

After that experiment, he discovered that the Cisco brand wireless cards have more power (about 300% more) than the competing brands Linksys and Netgear. What he decided on was to use the SonicWall, a Netgear Access Point and a Cisco AIR-PCM 352 wireless card for the laptop. The Cisco card has 100mAh of power compared to the Netgear and Linksys cards 30mAh. When he plugged that in and attempted to walk to the before out of range backyard, it worked just fine on 35-40% of signal were the Linky and Netgear dropped to nothing. Interesting don't you think.

So, if you're building a network, do your own experiment in this manner. Find out the power ratings of the Access Point and the wireless cards and base you purchase on that as all these guys use the same technology to achieve the same goal.