Wireless Card Suggestion

Michael Vince mv at roq.com
Fri Nov 11 05:47:09 GMT 2005

Tim Holmes wrote:

>I've finally decided to add wireless to my gateway.  It's already doing
>all my gateway and firewall duties, and more and more people are coming
>over with wireless devices and I'd like to offer them the option of using
>my network.  Instead of buying a wireless router, I plan to just add a 
>card to my existing server and go from there.  But I'd like some suggestions
>on cards to check out.
>I have a friend who's using a Linksys card, but he's uses a Linksys router.
>The one he uses is 54Mbps, and I've seen a number of 108Mbps and 125Mbps.
>Since I'm using this for a gateway, should I go for a card with higher Mbps?
>Or do you really think that will make a difference?
>Either way, I'd like you guys' suggestions on a wireless card that will do 
>the trick, and let me know what speed you'd recommend as well.
I would say don't aim for 108mbits or let your choice of wireless gear 
be directed by it.

There seems to be some of people claiming they can get the 108mbit speed 
on FreeBSD, try asking on FreeBSD-mobile mailing list where most 
wireless questions are asked.

The biggest problem with 108mbit speeds is that they are partly hacks of 
the 802.11n standard the 'n' standard is suppose to provide 108mbits but 
it hasn't been released yet.

I bought a set of 108mbit netgear stuff, the card has a Atheros based 
chipset and it works in my laptop fine, there is a PCI model as well. 
When I went to buy a wireless card I looked for something that said 
Atheros on the packaging which is a most important thing to try and get 
if your not willing to play with the ndis (project evil) driver which is 
a wrapper that takes MS windows drivers and connects them to the FreeBSD 
The other chipset that has a native FreeBSD driver for it is the 
Intersil Prism but I have never walked into a shop and seen this chipset 
device listed on any wireless packaging unlike the Atheros gear.

Check out the latest wireless article which apparently is going into the 
official handbook soon.

If you only use your PC at a single place such as at home and you needed 
the speed (and your were sure you could reach it) you could buy a set of 
wireless gear from a single vendor with their own 108mbit standard and 
hope it works.
With my Netgear 511T it hovers around OFDM/48Mbps, the access point is 
down stairs in the below floor which goes through the concret floor.
If I do 'ifconfig -m ath0' I do see a OFDM/54Mbps turbo mode listed, 
which others say if you switch on gives you the 108mbits speed, I 
haven't tested it, I don't transfer files very much nor do I play games 
online games on my laptop.
I only use my laptop to sit around all day and annoying people on 
FreeBSD mailing lists :) so I don't need much bandwidth.

To me I decided its kind of a mistake to try and make my choice of what 
wireless gear to buy on non standard 802.11 pre-N creation that will 
only work with 1 single vendor and probably only a single point in time 
in their product line. But for the record I am happy with what I bought 
and I might have a good at 'turbo' mode on my 511T.

If I was to play games online or transfer files I would probably have a 
completely different mind frame about it but I hope 802.11N is out by then.


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