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We install small networks that can enable you to share files over your network or share one internet connection between the computers in your home.

netgear wireless routers and access points

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802.11b Product Family- Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is a wireless network and how can it help me?
Wireless networks use radio frequencies (RF) as an alternative to standard Ethernet cabling as means of networking multiple PCs. Wireless networking enables notebook PC users to roam throughout a building while remaining connected to corporate network resources such as Internet/Intranet, email, network file servers and printers. In addition wireless networks extend existing Ethernet networks to remote locations within a building where standard cabling installation would be difficult or expensive.

2. What do I need to set up a wireless network?
Depending on the range and number of users, you will need one or more of the following:
a. ME102 802.11b Wireless Access Point – Performs the bridging function between wireless nodes and standard Ethernet networks. Multiple Access Points can be used to extend the coverage of a wireless network.
b. MA401 802.11b Wireless PC Card – Allows notebook PCs to connect to a wireless network. In combination with an Access Point, one can roam throughout the office or building while still having access to corporate email and the Internet.
c. MA301 802.11b Wireless PCI Card – Enables desktop PCs to connect to a Wireless network. In combination with the ME102 Access point, one can set up LAN based exclusively on 802.11b Wireless technology, or extend an existing Ethernet LAN to remote PCs where standard cabling would be difficult or expensive. Must be combined with an MA401 802.11b Wireless PC Card. MA401 PC Card is sold separately.

3. What is the IEEE 802.11b standard?
The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) is a standards body, which has defined an 11 Mbps wireless specification, 802.11b, to ensure multi-vendor interoperability.

4. What is the technology used?
The technology is based on Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum (DSSS) operating in the 2.4 GHz frequency spectrum.

5. How is it different from Bluetooth?
Bluetooth is suited for Personal Area Networks for a range of less than 30 feet. It is good way of synchronizing a PDA with your computer without the need of any wires. 802.11b wireless solutions are best suited for Local Area Network applications for connecting your laptops or desktops into a common network.

6. What is an access point?
An access point has two primary purposes; 1) To act as a wireless extension to an existing Ethernet network and 2) To coexist with additional access points in order to extend the coverage of a wireless network throughout the building.

7. Will the ME102 802.11b Wireless Access Point work with my Cable/DSL router?
Yes, the ME102 Access Point can be combined with a Cable/DSL Gateway Router (such as an NETGEAR FR314) in order to share the Cable/DSL connection over a wireless network.

8. What are some common causes of interference?
Any wireless device operating in the 2.4 GHz spectrum, including 2.4 GHz cordless phones, microwave ovens as well as neighboring 802.11b wireless LAN’s.

9. Will it interfere with my cordless telephone?
If you have a 2.4 GHz cordless phone, then potentially the 802.11b Wireless network and the phone can interfere with one another. In order to avoid the interference, change the channel on the cordless phone or at the Access Point.

10. What operating systems do the products support?
The MA401 PC Card and the MA301 PCI adapter support Windows 95/B, 98, NT4, 2000 and Me.

11. Is the MA401 PC Card hot insert-able?
The MA401 802.11b Wireless PC Card is hot insert-able for notebook PCs. It is NOT hot insert-able when combined with the MA301 802.11b Wireless PCI Adapter for desktop PCs. Make sure the power is turned OFF whenever inserting or removing the MA401 from the MA301 PCI Adapter.

12. What do I need to connect my desktop to a wireless network?
You will need a MA301 802.11b Wireless PCI Adapter and a MA401 802.11b Wireless PC Card. The MA401 is sold separately. Insert the MA401 into the slot of the MA301 PCI adapter while the power is OFF.

13. What is the difference between Infrastructure mode and ad-hoc mode?
a. Ad-hoc mode allows for peer-to-peer networking, so that several PCs on the same wireless network can share files. There is no means of gaining access to the corporate Ethernet network or Internet connection.
b. Infrastructure mode requires the use of one or more Access Points. Infrastructure mode enables wireless nodes to connect to a standard Ethernet network or a Cable/DSL router.

14. How secure is it?
There are essentially three items that ensure privacy for your wireless network. The first is Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum, which prevents would-be hackers from eavesdropping your wireless network. The second item is the SSID, which is a local password that is common among all the PCs on the wireless network. Finally, the third item is WEP encryption. The encryption passkey must be identical on all nodes on the network.

15. What is the SSID?
The SSID is a common password unique to each Wireless network. Only those devices with a common SSID can communicate with one another on the network. An additional level of privacy can be attained with WEP encryption.

16. What is WEP Encryption?
The IEEE 802.11b specification has defined a function referred to as the Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP). This function defines a form of encryption, which provides privacy equivalent to a wired Ethernet network. As with a wired network, one should consider using additional VPN type software to ensure the highest levels of security.

17. What are the range and data rates that I can expect?
The range will vary based on many sources including; interference, number of floors and walls, building materials used and presence of large metal objects. These factors can drastically affect the results presented below. If multiple access points are being used to extend coverage, we recommend placing the access points on different channels.
a. Indoors:
i. 11 Mbps – 175 ft (53 m)
ii. 5.5 Mbps – 270 ft (82 m)
iii. 2 Mbps – 400 ft (122 m)
iv. 1 Mbps – 500 ft (152 m)
b. Outdoor:
i. 11 Mbps – 835 ft (255 m)
ii. 5.5 Mbps – 1155 ft (352 m)
iii. 2 Mbps – 1320 ft (402 m)
iv. 1 Mbps – 1650 ft (503 m)

18. Can I roam from one access point to another within an office?
Yes, multiple ME102 access points can be used to increase the coverage of a wireless network within a building. Each MA401 PC Card will automatically attain connection with the access point with the strongest signal. In order to provide seamless roaming from access point to access point, it is best to select a common SSID and WEP passkey for all devices on the wireless network.

19. How can I use the MA401 PC Card to access my email at airports and hotels?
You must subscribe with a mobile Internet service provider such as MobileStar or WayPort. These services are available in select locations.

20. Are the NETGEAR 802.11b Wireless products suited for the home?
Yes, especially for telecommuters looking for interoperability between the home or office. For users interested in taking advantage of their broadband Cable/DSL connection for multimedia applications such as streaming audio and video as well as gaming we recommend our Multimedia Wireless Home Network product family.

21. Does NETGEAR 802.11b Wireless products work with NETGEAR Multimedia Wireless Home Network products?
No, currently the two are incompatible. The 802.11b Wireless products are a standards based solution which are well suited for small office, home office applications such as telecommuting. The Multimedia Wireless Home Network has features not available for 802.11b products such as Multimedia based Quality of Service (QoS), automatic interference avoidance and peer-to-peer networking.

22. How do I get support?
NETGEAR provides free 24x7 Technical support at 1-888-NETGEAR.

23. Is the SSID case sensitive?
Yes, you must enter the SSID exactly at each node on your network.

24. What is the difference between 40-bit and 64-bit WEP encryption?
Actually, when vendors are referring to 40-bit or 64-bit encryption, they are referring to one and the same encryption algorithm. The technique uses a 40-bit user key and a 24-bit initialization vector. The user sets the 40-bit key, but he/she has no control over the 24-bit initialization vector.

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