by September 12, 2002 0 comments



Intel has a number of products to help notebooks and desktops go wireless. These include wireless adapters for notebooks and desktops, access points, and gateways. We reviewed all three categories of products and used them to build a wireless network. All devices support a maximum speed of 11 Mbps. The wireless LAN adapters have an operating range of 2.4 to 2.5 GHz. They also support a feature called Mobile IP feature, which provides roaming across different subnets seamlessly.

Its mobile IP feature provides roaming across different subnets seamlessly

Snapshot
INTEL WIRELESS LAN PRODUCTS
Price:
PC Card: Rs 8500; Access Point: Rs 50,000; PCI Carrier: Rs 6,230; 
Wireless Gateway: 
Rs 18,320
Meant for: 
Small to medium sized networks
Feature:
Portable, Mobile IP, 128 bit encryption
Pros:
Easy to setup, Web based and telnet configuration for the access point and gateway
Contact:
Intel Asia, New Delhi
Tel: 
011-6209520
E-mail:
siddhant.garg@intel.com

The adapter has an LED to indicate status of data transfer and wireless connectivity. They’re quite easy to install, and you can configure various aspects of wireless networking such as the 802.11 ESSID number (Extended Service Set Identifier), the operating mode, enabling Encryption (128 bit encryption also supported), etc. The cards can be used in either peer-to-peer or infrastructure mode. In the former, the machines with these cards communicate directly with each other, while in the latter, they communicate through the access point.

The Intel access point is a compact and portable device. It should also be placed as high as possible and typically aligned vertically for obtaining a good coverage area. It claims a range of 100 ft in an open environment and 30 to 40 ft in an office environment. It can be configured in multiple ways including repeating, bridging and roaming facilities. Multiple access points can be placed in different locations to allow mobile devices to move across locations and yet remain connected. We tried this using two access points and were able to get seamless roaming. Configuring the access point is quite simple, which can be done using either a Web browser or a Telnet session. You have to plug it into your existing Ethernet network and assign it an IP address that belongs to your subnet. It also has its own DHCP server for assigning IP addresses to wireless clients. On the security front, it offers WEP, which supports both 40-bit and 128-bit encryption. We then checked its connectivity using by carrying a notebook with the wireless PC card around and continuously pinging from different locations. It worked well inside our office except for major obstructions. The connection speed reduces with distance, which we tested by transferring a large file. 

The other device, Wireless Gateway can function both as an access point and a broadband NAT router. It supports most of the features of the access point. It claims to support up to 252 clients and a wireless coverage area of up to 300 ft for indoor use and 1500 ft for outdoor use. 

The Bottom Line: Your choice of equipment for building a wireless LAN depends upon the size of your organization and the number of users who want to connect. The various devices are quite easy to use and setup, and worth the price.

Rashmi Sahu at PCQ Labs

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