Six in one, a half dozen in the other

The wireless access issue has escalated, with the addition of a few more employees to our apartment building. Before it was a back-burner, minor option that would be nice if it worked. Now, with this many people in close proximity, it’s almost a must-have.

A signal booster seemed like a good idea, but there was a problem getting my router to connect, physically, to the router antenna mount. Apparently the antenna isn’t meant to detach, so this model is more or less un-magnifiable.

Next stop: Look for a new router — something more powerful.

In the mean time I switched my local machines off the wireless network (which was strangely disappointing, to be honest), and put the Thinkpad back on a wired connection, using the USB-to-ethernet adapter I originally bought for the OLPC machine. I added the asix and usb-net modules, rebooted and changed rc.conf to use the eth0 connection. All was good … but the Thinkpad’s USB ports are 1.1-speed, so I was wondering where the connection would top out.

And it seems like the highest speed I get for a USB wired connection through a 1.1 port is around 630Kbps. Not bad, considering the old Linksys WPC11 card I was using to mesh with the wireless router was getting around 580Kbps on a consistent download.

So just for the record, if anyone is ever debating a USB 1.1 network connection or a 11Mbps PCMCIA card, you’ll get probably the same download speeds from one as the other. Change those variables at all though, and the whole analogy crumbles. ;)

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