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Wireless Networks Thread, Additional wireless adpaters in Technical; As part of some work I am doing at the moment with a local school I am looking at recommendations ...
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    GrumbleDook's Avatar
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    Additional wireless adpaters

    As part of some work I am doing at the moment with a local school I am looking at recommendations for additional hardware to give some machines better access onto an 802.11a/g/n network. The devices have g built in, but looking at USB and PCMCIA options for additional adaptors for n access.

    This is not looking for prices at the moment (won't come through me anyway), but purely looking for good recommendations about the hardware, based on experience of use where possible.
    Looking at issues of damage, management, driver deployment, retaining configurations depending on how profiles work on the device, suitability for WinXP and Win 7 ... the usual things really.

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    SYSMAN_MK's Avatar
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    Depending on the ease of access of the internal card I would look at the option of upgrading that to an Intel based card that supports n. External USB / PCMCIA cards are, from experience easily damaged and problematic.

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    GrumbleDook's Avatar
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    At the moment the upgrade of an internal card is not an option.

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    Mcshammer_dj's Avatar
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    Novatech 150Mbps Micro Wireless USB Adapter | NOV-USBNM

    great little cards which avoid snagging etc

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    dhicks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GrumbleDook View Post
    Looking at issues of damage, management, driver deployment, retaining configurations depending on how profiles work on the device, suitability for WinXP and Win 7 ... the usual things really.
    We have several Edimax adaptors, both the extra-titchy ones:

    Edimax N150 Wireless nano USB Adaptor : Wireless USB Dongles : Maplin

    and the ones with attached arial:

    Edimax Wireless N150 3dBi High Gain USB Adaptor : Wireless USB Dongles : Maplin

    They are all attached to older machines running Windows XP, so I don't know how they handle Windows 7. I'm guessing the really small ones could actually be superglued to a USB port.

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    m25man's Avatar
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    Tony,

    I would have thought that the problem with USB as opposed to the internal PCI option will probably be that the USB peripheral device will not initialise until very late in the Windows initialisation process so this could give rise to other issues.
    Otherwise a micro device as described along with a hot glue or silicon adhesive is your only choice.
    I havent got one handy to try but my second monitor which is USB attached (a Samsung Lapfit) is one of the last things to come on line after a restart.
    Im pretty certain that onboard PCI would have been up and running and servicing the client long before the USB gets invited to the party.

    Not someting I would want to be messing with on a large scale without having proven it 110% first.

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    GrumbleDook (2nd November 2011)

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    If your access points are dual band you'll want to get dual band adaptors to make full use of 802.11a/802.11na. I've had good experiences with the Netgear WNDA3100 both on frequency selection and data rates, whereas the linksys wusb600n refused to use 5Ghz unless forced and when connected the data rates fluctuated wildly. Although both these adaptors are (large) thumb sized.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    They are all attached to older machines running Windows XP, so I don't know how they handle Windows 7. I'm guessing the really small ones could actually be superglued to a USB port.
    I've a couple of Edimax adaptors at home and they work fine (though aren't subjected to anything more strenuous than Youtube and Club Penguin (*not* by me)) - this is on Windows 7 64 bit.

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    eduabncs's Avatar
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    Are these machines laptops? PcPro for this month has done an article on how to upgrade the wireless card in a laptop. It's one of the few standard components you can upgrade in a laptop! In fact it is the built-in ariels that are the limiting factor.
    Last edited by eduabncs; 2nd November 2011 at 12:54 PM.

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    SYNACK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GrumbleDook View Post
    At the moment the upgrade of an internal card is not an option.
    Why, warrenties. It is the most sensible option for robustness, power use, theft prevention and general reliability.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SYNACK View Post
    Why, warrenties. It is the most sensible option for robustness, power use, theft prevention and general reliability.
    Warranties are part of the problem, but also the amount of time and effort the school involved is expected to take part in. If I talk about internal work there is likely to be a request to cover the engineer costs for doing it and possibly covering the liability on voiding the warranty.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GrumbleDook View Post
    Warranties are part of the problem, but also the amount of time and effort the school involved is expected to take part in. If I talk about internal work there is likely to be a request to cover the engineer costs for doing it and possibly covering the liability on voiding the warranty.
    Why should you pay for the engineering costs? Its their gear and their upgrade, how needy is this school?

    Warrenties can be annoying in these situations, old hardware with a nice long warrenty or rubbish hardware brought without propper oversite?

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    Quote Originally Posted by SYNACK View Post
    Why should you pay for the engineering costs? Its their gear and their upgrade, how needy is this school?

    Warrenties can be annoying in these situations, old hardware with a nice long warrenty or rubbish hardware brought without propper oversite?
    Rather than go into the complex details behind it I will just say 'politics' ... it is their gear, but it is not exactly their upgrade.

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    In which case PCMCIMA/Cardbus cards are way more reliable than USB for networking and provide better support in Windows for hardware handling and less likely to be stolen. Unfourtunatly many laptops (of the cheap consumer grade variety which I'm guessing these may be) don't have a slot for it in which case your only (bad) option may be USB for those.

    As to my view of politics... <comment redacted>.

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