Wireless

Published on: Author: Mike Hall Leave a comment

I like ‘wireless’. When I wheel my PC out from underneath the desk, the mouse and keyboard don’t get pulled off the tray. The transceiver is parked in a single port with an extension which used to be matched with a D-Link G132 USB network adapter. It stays on the desk.

If the transceiver was plugged into a backplate USB port, I would be lucky to get a connection all of the time. Keeping the transceiver high ensures that it never lets go.

 

I like wireless printers. They don’t have to be within six feet of the computer and networking is a breeze. I can hibernate my computer and other members of the network can still print. I wish that I had bought one when they first appeared.

OK, so there is a little lag between sending the command and getting anything meaningful, but that’s ok. Range is not an issue either. I get the impression that the antennas are better than the built in wireless units in desktop PC, not being too dissimilar from the type in laptop screens.

 

I don’t like wireless desktop PCs. The HP M9500Y has the worst Wi-Fi module in it, a very poor antenna, and when pushed against the wall in a metal framed desk which is in turn shielded by a leather couch, the end result is zero Wi-Fi. I had to fit a 3rd party wireless card, a TP-Link TL-WN881ND into it and use a 7db gain antenna connected to one of the inputs on the card.

The other PC has a not so good setup a D-Link DWA 2320, but it is in more open space and I get a 50% signal. It is only a spare, so I don’t care that much.

This highlights the problem with wireless. It gives more freedom than USB and RJ45 cabling ever can, but to be effective, it needs line of sight to the router or a repeater. Anything else and you get to see dropped connections or worse still, no connection. Laptops win here because the antenna is high up being in the the lid around the screen.

 

Wireless can be affected badly by electrical panels and wiring, and also wall density. If you live in a house constructed of high density bricks like the British ‘Accrington Reds’, you are lucky to get a signal, and you really don’t want to try drilling through them to get access via RJ45.

Overall, it is a winner technology which may need tweaking, repeaters and/or high gain antennas added to get the most from it, but you can’t skimp. Wireless can be very aggravating if it is cutting in and out.

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