One of the hottest networking items as of late is the use of a wireless solution. How many times have you been locked down to a desk because your Cat-5 network cable could not extend far enough? I've been there and back, wrecking my brains out on how to position these cables in the exact spot that I want. So instead, we are going to go wireless!
Since this is a 'new' technology, there are still some kinks to work out. A reluctance with many people when mentioning wireless is security. How secure is wireless communications? Can there be a possibility of your information be plucked right of the air? The current wiresless standard, (IEEE 802.11) provides a more secure means in which to communicate without wires that is handled at 11Mbps.
Today we will focus on the Compex Waveport Wireless LAN Kit. It utilizes the new IEEE 802.11 standard, which provides a lot more security. What the new standard gives us, is the use of "wired equivalent privacy" or more simply WEP.
WEP is successful due to the fact that it is based on 64bit keys and RC4 encryption algorithm. Sounds like a lot of mumbo jumbo right? To put it in more simpler terms, if the user does not have the right 'key', he or she will not be able to enter into the network and pass along traffic. Kind of like a key/lock combination on a physical door.
What this kit provides is an easy solution in sharing your connection without any wires. Included in this kit are two (2) Wireless PCMCIA cards and one (1) PCI PCMCIA Adapter. Drivers are included and are supported under Win9X/2000.
Here are some of the key features and benefits of the C-Kit right off of Compex's site:
- Wireless network in a box
- Industry-leading 11Mbps wireless LAN standard
- Supports 1/2/5.5/11Mbps wireless connectivity
- Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum radio technology
- Utilizes 2.4GHz ISM band
- Bundled with Compex's SoftBridge for connectivity between your wired and wireless networks
- Supports 64-bit and 128-bit WEP encryption
- Supports open system and shared key authentication
- 3.8Mbps throughput
- Transmission speed auto fall-back at poor reception
- 50~70 feet coverage in semi-open office environment (@11Mpbs)
So what exactly sets this kit apart? Upon immediate inspection, there is no need for a wireless base. Normally, a base is needed so these individual portable machines that have these wireless network interface cards (NICs), can communicate. Kind of like a central headquarter where they all go to. Since the Compex kit doesn't utilize a base, how does it communicate then? Through the use of a host.