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Introduction: Mixed Wired & Wireless Networks
     
     

A Mixed Wireless Network is one with both wired and wireless connections. In a Mixed Wireless Network, some devices are directly connected via Ethernet (CAT5) cables, while other devices, including Desktops, Laptops, Pocket PCs, TiVos, etc., connect wirelessly via Wi-Fi. Mixed Wireless Networks are ideal if you have one or more desktops within Ethernet cable range of your broadband modem (Cable or DSL), with other wireless-enabled devices located throughout a house or office at too far a distance to run cable. 

Mixed Wired & Wireless Network The Internet Connects Your Network to the World Earth, Yo! Your Wireless Enabled Pocket PC Connects to the Wireless Portion of Your Network Your Wireless Enabled Laptop Connects to the Wireless Portion of Your Network Your Desktop Easily Connects to the Wired Portion of Your Network Your DSL or Cable Broadband Modem A Wireless Access Point (WAP) - The Foundation of the Wireless Portion of Your Wired/Wireless Network

In order to use a Mixed Wireless Network, you need a device called a Wireless Router; these devices are Ethernet Hubs (with Ethernet cable jacks) and Wireless Access Points (wireless network transmitters) together in one device. Before wireless routers, users of Mixed Wireless Networks were forced to use separate Hubs and Wireless Access Points working in concert.

At present, there are three types of Wi-Fi wireless networking (WLAN) standards available in mainstream Wireless Routers in the United States: 802.11b, 802.11g and the newly deployed Draft 802.11n.

The 802.11b wireless standard allows handhelds, desktops and other wireless devices to exchange information over a 2.4GHz signal at up to 11Mbps with a variable range of up to several hundred feet; 802.11b is dated and the least desirable option for most users. 802.11g is a very similar technology, but is able to achieve a maximum speed of 54Mbps; 802.11g equipment is also backward-compatible with 802.11b devices.  802.11n, the latest Wi-Fi standard, is still in the draft stage, meaning that the final standard hasn't been fully agreed upon by the powers that be. Nevertheless, so-called Draft-N wireless routers and adapters are sold in most retail stores. 802.11n offers up to 4x the speed of 802.11g and are generally compatible with 802.11b and 802.11g adapters.

Now that we've covered Wi-Fi hardware and connectivity standards, let's go over logistics. To set up an Mixed Wired and Wireless Network, you will need the following hardware:

 

     
       

5-Port Wireless Router

5-Port Wireless Router

A Wireless Router allows you to share the connection from your broadband modem with both wired and wireless devices.  For example, if you have a DSL modem with one Ethernet cable connection, instead of plugging this cable into one computer, the cable is connected to the WAN port of the Wireless Router.  The router then splits the Internet connection and manages connectivity between wired and wireless devices.
     
   
     
   
     
     
     
     
      

802.11x Adapters (CF & PCI)

 

After you've chosen a Wireless Router, you must select compatible Wi-Fi Adapters for use in your PCs, handhelds and other wireless devices.  Each device you wish to operate over the wireless connection must be outfitted with a Wi-Fi adapter. Like Wireless Routers, adapters are available in 802.11b, 802.11g and Draft 802.11n standards.  At present, only 802.11b and 802.11g adapters exist for Windows Mobile Pocket PCs and Smartphones. 

If you opt for a faster 802.11g Access Point, it's best to use 802.11g adapters in your desktops or notebooks; almost all modern Notebook PCs have built-in 802.11g Wi-Fi.

Keep in mind that many modern Windows Mobile Pocket PCs and Pocket PC Phones come with an 802.11b or 802.11g WLAN adapter built-in. If you don't have onboard Wi-Fi, you must use a compatible adapter. Use the Pocket PC Central Accessories Center to find compatible adapters for your Windows Mobile handheld.

     
   
     
   
     

Once the Wireless Router and adapters are in place, connect your Wireless Router and Broadband Modem (some Broadband Internet Service Providers may require configuration of the router to reflect a specific IP Addresses, Gateway, etc. Check your documentation or with your ISP).   

When the Wireless Router is powered and broadcasting, each device (PC, handheld, etc.) must be set up to interface with the Wireless Router's Wi-Fi signal.  Refer to your adapter and/or Windows Mobile device's User Manual for instructions, as each unit is different. 

You can also connect devices via Ethernet cables to your Wireless Router (the number depending on the number of ports the router has).

Your Mixed Wireless Network is now ready to use!

     
     
 
   
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The Internet Connects Your Network to the World Earth, Yo! Your Wireless Enabled Pocket PC Connects to the Wireless Portion of Your Network Your Wireless Enabled Laptop Connects to the Wireless Portion of Your Network Your Desktop Easily Connects to the Wired Portion of Your Network A Router or Hub - The Center of Your Wired/Wireless Network A Wireless Access Point (WAP) - The Foundation of the Wireless Portion of Your Wired/Wireless Network