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Internet, Networking, and Wireless Discussion of networking, internet, and wireless including Apple's Airport products.

Question about Networking Macs-Which Hardware to use?

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Member Since: Aug 22, 2006
Posts: 218
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I have a home business so have quite a home network which is as follows:
I have a WinXP machine that is connected to a Linksys BEFSR81 Router/Hub. This is connected to a cable modem for the internet as well as my main, server computer desktop. As well, from this hub it's connected to two network floor model printers. Then as well the 3rd cable goes to another part of the house. At that point it goes into another wired hub which is connected to two other desktops as well as a Linksys WAP54G wireless G hub for wi-fi which is used on two laptops. Previously this was all Windows Xp based but just this week I replaced one of the laptops with a MacBook Pro and it works fine on the internet. I am able to get to my networked folders on the main computer and am working on getting the printers to work now.
Anyway, within the next few months I plan to replace my other laptop with the new generation MacBook Pro when it comes out as well as replace my main, server desktop, with the possible next generation Mac Pro. I will likely keep my two other Windows Xp desktops for Windows work. My concern comes down to networking hardware. I read the specs on both the Linksys BEFSR81 hub/cable router as well as the WAP54G wireless hub and both only state that they work with Windows, not the Mac. Of course for now it's working fine but I assume it's because they are hooked up to a primarily windows only network but I'm concerned not so much about the 2nd laptop but when I switch my main computer to a Mac Pro. Will these still work anymore? I have the feeling they may work fine until I try to get into them to make modifications, firmware updates, etc.
I have been reading up on the Airport Express and Airport Extreme today. they seem very basic compared to what I have but maybe it being Apple their hardware is much more basic and easy to use. If the hardware I have won't work should I switch over to some of these solutions from Apple or are there good 3rd party solutions you can buy or is it best to stay with Apple only? If I do switch since the main computer is in a basement of the house I prefer to keep that wired and don't need wi-fi. The wi-fi is preferable to be on the main floor since I get a better all around signal that way and that's why I have two separate units for networking now.
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Routers are routers and it makes no difference what OS is on the computers that connect through the router.
There is absolutely no reason why the Linksys router you already have won't work with a Mac.

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Networking is networking no matter what OS you are using. I think the only problem you would come across is the area you mentioned, updating firmware or making modifications to the routers. In most cases all you need is the ability to connect to that routers IP with a web browser. Then, from that point you can do what you want. With that said i believe some routers (perhaps the WAP54G as well) needs you to load software before being able to access that router via the browser. the software basically goes out and searches for the router then allows you to give it an IP, gateway and subnet mask. I just did this recently with a linksys router and the software wasn't OS X compatible. For everything else i don't think you will have a problem.
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Member Since: Aug 22, 2006
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Sounds great! I definitely prefer to not have to upgrade. The Apple software sounds great though so once I upgrade (likely to the N networking coming out next year) maybe I will upgrade to Airport.
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