We’re back online again at home. After having had that rather cool solution which got us the university’s city-wide wireless network into our flat. And after witnessing how its quality degraded from rather fast, to slower, to unreliable to unusable for mysterious reasons (of which an increasing number of wireless networks in the region which apparently increase the noise in the long-distance connections crossing them seem to be one), we recently decided to switch to an ordinary DSL line.
Despite using a cheap provider everything went surprisingly smoothly so far. It took just a week to get the free DSL-modem/WLAN router box and for the line to be activated. We hid the box in the corridor and it gives a good signal strength throughout our flat (which admittedly isn’t too hard). While it comes with instructions and a CD for Windows only, it’s pretty easy to set up from any web browser as well. And it’s even doing fun stuff like update a dyndns record when the IP address changes. Not too bad. With a few extra clicks I could even make it tunnel connections to my computer’s web and AppleShare servers which could come handy.
While not being outrageously fast, the connection’s 2Mbit/s are enough, even for four people. iChat talking with my brother worked fine – which is nice as it didn’t work through the university’s VPN which we used before. But it’s 10KByte/s throughput uses about half of the upload bandwidth already. That’s an aspect of DSL which I really dislike: We have about 200Kbit/s upload rate. The speed we enjoyed back in the LocalTalk days. Which means that quickly copying a bunch of photos or a large file isn’t going to happen.
Four computers had to be connected to the new wireless network. With my Powerbook it was just a matter of selecting the network and entering the WEP password as usual. My flatmates who are running what they claim to be the same version of Windows had three different experiences. One of the computers connected just fine – with the windows involved in establishing the connection looking a bit clumsy and crufty perhaps. The next one connected just fine as well but still has the problem (which I somehow thought to be a side-effect of Cisco’s wonderful VPN software) that it simply won’t accept any connections: So I can see the computer’s iTunes library my iTunes but I can’t connect to it (neither connecting via SMB or ping works…).
The third computer, however, completely refuses to join the network on the wireless connection. Sure, they’ve set up everything exactly as it is on the other computers. Sure, they’ve tried the USB wireless network stick on one of the other computers where it worked just fine. Sure, that computer can see the network. But it can’t join it. And there are no error messages either. Very odd. So, for the time being, there’s a network cable across the corridor. Windows Wireless Networking 2005 or so…