Level 1 - Cheap and Easy
Tuesday, 06 December 2005
Cheap, Simple, Little Control, No Security

Level 1 is what your neighbor might be running, or perhaps a small coffee shop that wanted to get something online without much expense. This solution is something that *anyone* can do so long as you know how to plug in a few wires and run an install CD.

Go to Froogle.com and enter WRT54GS. You will see a list of wireless routers starting about $70. With an existing cable or DSL connection, you can connect the device to your network and within 15 minutes, users can be surfing from every laptop in the room.

It's not that we love Linksys products. This one is mentioned here because it's widely available at CompUSAs/Best Buys is cheap and is easy to install.

Where this works: Homes and very small businesses that want to spend as little as possible to make wireless available. For under $100, an existing internet connection can be quickly configured by anyone, even Aunt Millie.

Downside: Possible security risk if this network is also the same one on which your store important data. Also, allowing strangers to use your internet connection is a possible liability. In a business setting, Level 1 is never recommended for this reason.

What if you want to cover multiple rooms or a large area? Would one of these cheap Linksys things be sufficient? The coverage area of any building is based on a number of physical factors such as walls, trees, lighting fixtures. The best way to determine coverage is to conduct a site survey which is easily done with an access point and a laptop. However, if one router does not provide sufficient coverage, wireless access points can be easily added.

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