Dennis D. McDonald ( consults from Alexandria Virginia. His services include writing & research, proposal development, and project management.

Wireless Access, Not Evil

By Dennis D. McDonald

I move around a lot with my laptop while I'm working at home, thanks greatly to my home wireless network. A Linksys router sits in my home office, connected to a Verizon DSL modem. On the office desk is an old Dell laptop, permanently on and hooked up to the Internet via a Linksys wireless card. A 20' network cable is plugged into the back of the router; my wife plugs in her iBook when working in the office or our bedroom. In my daughter's bedroom sits a Wireless G Network Bridge connecting her iMac via radio to the router.

Usually it all works. Recently, though, I noticed the signal dropping to my laptop on a regular basis while working in the basement during the day. (This is where I go to avoid our barking dog.)  I traced the dropped signals to my 2.4 GHz  telehone handset, one of 5 in our house, all connected via radio to the base station in the kitchen. I use the handset to make outgoing calls. As it cycles through channels it causes the laptop to lose signal, which is a hassle.

I'v purchased a cheap 900 MHz Radio Shack wireless phone to replace the 2.4 GHz handset. So far so good; no dropped signals as it doesn't interfere with the laptop's built-in wireless card. Plus, I've ordered  special "high gain" antennas for the router, to see if i can also boost signals within the house. We'll see if that helps, too.


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