Is Airport worth it?

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
When my new iMac 800 eventually arrives (End of Feb for UK), I want to give my daughter my iMac 600 CD/RW.

I also want to use it as a backup server and allow her access to the net.

Is the Airport Base Station and an Airport Card in each Mac the best route to take?

Will it give me total control of the network connection?

ie can i surf/download at faster speeds than her / can i play quake 3 without her eating up much of my bandwidth?



Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated. <img src="confused.gif" border="0">
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 21
    mithrasmithras Posts: 165member
    I'd approach it like this:



    1. What kind of internet access do you have?

    If you just have dialup, I don't think it's really worth the bother or expense. Just take turns using the modem line in the meantime.

    If you have cable or DSL, then continue.



    2. How far away is her room from the cable/DSL modem?

    If it's not that far, then a cheap cable/DSL router (Linksys, Dlink, Macsense, etc) and some ethernet cable is less expensive and more simple.



    If it's a moderate distance away, then wireless might be a good idea.



    If it's very far away (ie more than one floor, or one floor and 20+ meters), then the wireless might not work so well, so you're back to the ethernet cable.



    3. If you do want wireless, how fashion-conscious are you?

    The Airport base station looks really cool, and emits organic vibes rather than ugly electronic-device vibes. However, it's otherwise a much lousier deal than an SMC Barricade or a Linksys wireless router.



    (Compare US$299 for base station, vs. US$200 or less for the other two, which also have more ethernet ports, easier configuration, sometimes better range, and sometimes a built-in print server)



    Personally I wound my way across this decision tree and still ended up with the base station. But lots of other options exist.



    Oh, and yes, there should be plenty of bandwidth to spare for one person to IM or websurf while another is playing games.
  • Reply 2 of 21
    taqtaq Posts: 76member
    if you at least have one laptop in the network, you bet your ass it's worth it. It's also worth it if it's too hard to wire your home. I love it. I even use it to split the cost of my broadband access with my neighbor.
  • Reply 3 of 21
    cubitcubit Posts: 846member
    Absolutely worth it! I upgraded to the new airport when I got RoadRunner cable access and instantly, no kidding, instantly had my home G4 Cube, a Snow iMac/DV, and my Pismo PB up and running. I just turned them on and connected with the network. It was extraordinary and with all 3 going I do not stress the network a bit.



    The only thing I cannot get working is a Japan-purchased iBook (need the full range of Japanese software somewhere!) with the AirMac card. Apparently, that is a whole 'nother problem.
  • Reply 4 of 21
    Airport is great- I use it to network my powerbook and my roommate's PC (or P of C). My new iMac will be hooked up in a few hours. Oh, and the base station is in the basement, my room is on the 2nd floor, and I got 3 bars out of 4 for reception. No problems with distance...



    Get it.
  • Reply 5 of 21
    Thanks guys...



    I've had a look at linksys but am a little confused so , hope you can help further.



    If I get a network hub and a dsl router is that all i need? Do I connect the 2 macs to the hub then the hub to the router and the router to the dsl modem? :confused:



    If I can do this then it will save me £275($385). I can get the hub for £25 and the router for £75 whereas the airport base station and 2 cards on apple education will cost £375($525)



    Any help greatfully appreciated.
  • Reply 6 of 21
    If you are going wireless, the wireless device is the hub. As for a router, the wireless device is the router.



    If you are going with land lines, the router is a hub!



    Make sense? I thought not.



    If you are thinking of a router for security, use OSX's built in Firewall software: <a href="http://www3.sympatico.ca/dccote/firewall.html"; target="_blank">http://www3.sympatico.ca/dccote/firewall.html</a>;





    Clarification: Routers tend to have, say, 4 ports or more on them so they double as hubs.



    Hubs are kinda useless for your situation: all they do is split one connection into more.



    [ 02-06-2002: Message edited by: stimuli ]</p>
  • Reply 7 of 21
    Thanks :confused:



    I think I understand. <img src="graemlins/oyvey.gif" border="0" alt="[No]" />



    I would connect:-



    1)the dsl modem to the router

    2)the 2 imacs to the router



    This would then allow me to:-

    1)access each mac from the other

    2)access the net from each mac

    3)use my daughters mac as a backup file server for my files







    I think I got it.......
  • Reply 8 of 21
    emaneman Posts: 7,204member
    I think it's only worth it if you have a portable. What's the point of Airport on a desktop?
  • Reply 9 of 21
    I considered Airport as a solution for connecting my computer to my wife's so we could share a cable modem. The computers are 75 feet apart, in opposite corners of the house. I didn't want to do the wiring.



    I ended up spending much less money with a Linksys EtherFast 10/100T router. I still had to do the wiring through the ceiling, but it worked perfectly. The Airport might be a more aesthetic solution, but costs more than it would have benefitted me.
  • Reply 10 of 21
    taqtaq Posts: 76member
    I agree. Unless it's really hard to wire your house, go with a router. You can use the money you save to get extra hardware. Again...awesome if you have a laptop. Not necessary if you have a desktop.



    cheers,
  • Reply 11 of 21
    What's holding me back from going wireless is security. WEP encryption stinks, even the 128 bit version because the keys don't change. Anyone with the right tools can break it in a matter of hours.



    Granted, the odds of this actually happening to a home user are remote, but you never know...
  • Reply 12 of 21
    rraburrabu Posts: 239member
    If you're using your daughter's iMac as a backup server for your files, remember that wireless is a bit slower than a wired solution. Especially if both Macs are 10/100BT or better rather than just 10BT.
  • Reply 13 of 21
    cudcud Posts: 4member
    [quote]Originally posted by RedEric:

    <strong>Thanks guys...



    I've had a look at linksys but am a little confused so , hope you can help further.



    If I get a network hub and a dsl router is that all i need? Do I connect the 2 macs to the hub then the hub to the router and the router to the dsl modem? :confused:



    Any help greatfully appreciated. </strong><hr></blockquote>



    Another point yet to be mentioned:

    make sure the router also does NAT (Network Address Translation)... It probably does, but you should doublecheck.



    ... otherwise the two of you won't be able to access the net at the same time. (...over the single IP address that your DSL provider assigns you)



    cheers
  • Reply 14 of 21
    cdhostagecdhostage Posts: 1,038member
    Airport works just fin efor me. I have 3 Macs and 1 PC running off a cable connection, and ca only notice a slowdown when all four of them are downloading at te same time. I have two of the macs on an Aiprot netowkr and it;s just dandy.
  • Reply 15 of 21
    A router might not technically be necessary. I know some of those big cable companies over in England (and the continental US) like to cheat you , but up here in Alaska, GCI gives 8 free IP addys to every cable customer. Which means we can do the LAN thing with just a $25 hub, not those crazy complicated routers. But hey, your provider might be different.

    I'd suggest calling them and asking. At the very least, they might be able to get you a second IP address for less than the cost of a router. From what I know, the only advantage a router offers you over a hub is a firewall (which is just as easy to do with software) and nifty blinking lights...



    wyn
  • Reply 16 of 21
    redericrederic Posts: 124member
    [quote] A router might not technically be necessary. I know some of those big cable companies over in England (and the continental US) like to cheat you , but up here in Alaska, GCI gives 8 free IP addys to every cable customer. Which means we can do the LAN thing with just a $25 hub, not those crazy complicated routers. But hey, your provider might be different.

    I'd suggest calling them and asking. At the very least, they might be able to get you a second IP address for less than the cost of a router. From what I know, the only advantage a router offers you over a hub is a firewall (which is just as easy to do with software) and nifty blinking lights...



    wyn <hr></blockquote>

    Does this apply to a dsl line with a dynamic address or is it only static ip's that this will work with? :confused:



    Thanks again guys and I think I'll be going the router route.
  • Reply 17 of 21
    [quote]Originally posted by RedEric:

    <strong>

    Does this apply to a dsl line with a dynamic address or is it only static ip's that this will work with? :confused:

    </strong><hr></blockquote>



    He's talking about static IPs. Apparently, the "dot-com bubble" has not burst in Alaska yet. Because, on the mainland, very few ISPs are doling out multiple static IPs, much less eight of them, to consumer broadband customers. I was lucky for a little while and got 2 static IP's with my Rhythms DSL connection for $40 a month. But then Rhythms went out of business, and I had to switch to [email protected] which does everything through DHCP.



    I should note that it's possible to set up your computer as a firewall/router. I used to use a Solaris machine as my router, and then switched to Windows 2000. On Windows 2000, I had to install a second network card though. Eventually, I got tired of booting up the Windows 2000 box whenever another computer was accessing the Internet, and bought a Linksys router. So IMHO, stick with the hardware router. They are dirt cheap (~$70) these days anyways.



    [ 02-08-2002: Message edited by: Brian J. ]</p>
  • Reply 18 of 21
    enderender Posts: 353member
    If you get a router, it is usually possible to get a static IP even if your ISP only uses DHCP.



    The way DHCP works, is when your cable modem/dsl modem (just modem, from here on out -- even though neither are technically MoDems anymore) requests a connection to your ISP, the DHCP server gives it a 'lease' on an IP address. This lease is typically 24 hours, though it can be anything ([email protected] uses a 7 day lease, at least in my area). You will have rights to the same IP for the life of the lease.



    When the lease expires, the DHCP server 'asks' your modem if it would like the same IP again (if your computer was online and they changed your IP on you, it would mess everything up). So, if you leave your computer online all the time, you will most likely get the same IP forever.



    Same thing happens with a router. The router keeps the connection to your ISP active at all times, and so you get a static IP from your ISP for free, basically. You can even enter your info manually once you get the first dynamically allocated IP, then as long as the router is up, you will keep that IP (in most cases).



    -Ender
  • Reply 19 of 21
    serranoserrano Posts: 1,806member
    go for the airport cards and then a linksys router, don't bother with the airport, it's a good piece of hardware but is overpriced and underperforming... ie linksys are cheaper and have better range, not really faster throughput



    this is on a dsl right? if it's a modem it better at least be a dedicated line... otherwise i dont really see the benefit... also these are two desktops, why not just get an ethernet router? one with a modem on it if this is a phoneline... placing them on an wired ethernet network makes more sense for desktops, unless it would be difficult to wire your house as mentioned above
  • Reply 20 of 21
    [quote]Originally posted by Ender:

    <strong>If you get a router, it is usually possible to get a static IP even if your ISP only uses DHCP.

    ...

    </strong><hr></blockquote>



    Right, [email protected] gives you an "almost" static IP. Even when you renew your DHCP lease, they usually give you the same one. However, almost was not good enough for my purposes. I needed the two static IPs to serve mail, web, and DNS for my little company. Those services would be down for a couple of days if my IPs changed (because that's often how long it takes to update DNS info). And the IPs will change eventually because long power outages do occur. Anyways, Comcast does not condone servers on their network anyways, so it does not really matter...



    BTW, months ago, I read about a service which will manage your domain so it's always pointed at your dynamic IP address. Everytime your computer is allocated a new IP, it contacts the service which then updates the name servers. I forgot what's it called. Does anyone know?
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