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

Setting up a wireless network between a Mac and a PC


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Seraphine

 
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I've recently been called in to set up a network for a friend and her parents, I appear to be their last option before they hire a professional to set it up for them.. they've already had a couple of others trying but it was way over their heads and didn't know what else to try so they asked me if I could have a look. I know PCs quite well but absolutely nothing about Macs, that's why I'm here asking for some help. So here's some background.

My friend has a Mac, I have no idea which type but it's pretty old (I can try to get the specifics if necessary), and her parents have a PC with WinXP. They live in separate houses with a very short distance in between and have been told a wireless network will work fine. The Mac is connected to Internet (ADSL connection) which they are hoping to share with this network.

One of the first ppl they've asked had already went ahead and bought everything needed to set up a wireless network and got all the instructions for setting up the network, without telling the computer salespeople that one of the computers was a Mac.. I don't know if that changes anything but they tried what they were told and couldn't make it work.

So what I'm wondering now is if this router they bought will work to set up on a Mac or if it needs to be changed (and if so, into what?). I tried googling Macs and networks and all I got was a lot of talk about Airport cards and Airport Extreme cards and never having had anything to do with a Mac I have no idea what it all means. Any advice you can give will be very helpful.
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goobimama

 
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We absolutely need to know the model of the mac that your friend is using. Cause if the router is set up right, (if the PC is getting internet), then Mac should also automatically get internet... Make sure that the ADSL modem is connected to the router and not to the PC via USB.
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cwa107

 
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I would also opt for a better router there - especially since you have to bridge the gap between two homes' exterior walls. I'd stick with one of the major players: Linksys, D-Link or Netgear. Personally, I'd want something with multiple antennas in an application like that.

Liquid and computers don't mix. It might seem simple, but we see an incredible amount of people post here about spills. Keep drinks and other liquids away from your expensive electronics!
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PerryLynch

 
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Two houses close together sounds innocent enough, but if they are brick, have stucco, or worse - aluminum siding - you may have issues with getting sufficient signal to the remote PC.

First, try bringing the remote PC into the WiFi'd house, and see if it can connect to the wireless. If that's the case, you've got the compatibility solved. Then, measure the distance between the houses, and make sure that the antenna for the wireless router is properly oriented for the best overall coverage. \--/ is the way they should look.

For $90, Amazon has a Linksys Wireless Range Extender that may do the job: You mount it near the edge of what's considered the 'good reception' zone, and it will pick up the signal and re-broadcast it another few hundred feet.

> The link for it on Amazon is http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/pro...&s=electronics

Hope that helps,
Perry

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cwa107

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PerryLynch View Post
Two houses close together sounds innocent enough, but if they are brick, have stucco, or worse - aluminum siding - you may have issues with getting sufficient signal to the remote PC.

First, try bringing the remote PC into the WiFi'd house, and see if it can connect to the wireless. If that's the case, you've got the compatibility solved. Then, measure the distance between the houses, and make sure that the antenna for the wireless router is properly oriented for the best overall coverage. \--/ is the way they should look.

For $90, Amazon has a Linksys Wireless Range Extender that may do the job: You mount it near the edge of what's considered the 'good reception' zone, and it will pick up the signal and re-broadcast it another few hundred feet.

> The link for it on Amazon is http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/pro...&s=electronics

Hope that helps,
Perry
Well said - although I would start with a stronger router before you start considering a range extender.

The no-name, single antenna units are all but worthless in my experience. When you throw in the lack of support and firmware updates, you get less than an ideal solution, IMO.

Liquid and computers don't mix. It might seem simple, but we see an incredible amount of people post here about spills. Keep drinks and other liquids away from your expensive electronics!
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Seraphine

 
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I'll try to find out the type of the Mac and she's also going to see if her relative that gave her the Mac can come in and help out with the Mac as he works with them and at least should know them better than I do. Hopefully that would make things easier.

I was figuring the router might need to be upgraded to something better but they are looking for the cheapest solution possible so I'll test this one first and if it doesn't work, then get a stronger router of one of the brands you suggested and then the range extender if the signal is still is too weak. I don't really expect the signal to be much of a problem, as the router will be placed by the window on the second floor and have a straight visual line to the PC in the first floor of the other house. The distance between the houses is about 20 meters I think. But it does make sense to move the PC into the same house as the Mac to make sure the wireless is actually working, thank you for mentioning that.

Thanks to all for the advice. I'll post again with additional questions if I have any after I've been over to their houses and checked the situation out further.
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PerryLynch

 
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Well, if it's only 20 meters, and the mac can connect with it's in the same room, then I'm going to bet there is some kind of construction-related interference.

What brand of wifi device is it, and what's the construction of the houses?

Perry M Lynch, CISSP CISA
Mac Newbie, Security not-so-newbie
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