So a little while ago, I accidentally fried one of the ports on my LinkSys 4-port router. I’ve had enough static electricity in my house that I could save a but of money on my electric bill by hooking up a pair of jumper cables to my socks and moving around the house – would give new meaning to the word “wireless,” at least in the winter. By summer, the air is usually humid enough to swim through, but in the winter, if you snap your fingers in the air you could charge a 9-volt. As you can guess, I was fully charged when I touched the end of a LAN cable and *zoot* one of the 4 ports on the router decided to leave this world.
This wasn’t such a bad thing, since I was due to buy another anyway. This was right around when I was setting up a web server on a cable modem, so I was going to need another 4-port router anyway. I schlepped over to CompUSA and picked up another one. I also have a LinkSys-made 802.11b Access Point for wireless ‘net access that plugs into one of the router’s ports. I’ve had this set up for well over a year; I rarely use my wireless devices, so I sort of liked having the separate modules and never bothered to upgrade when they started making the 2-in-1 models.
Then 802.11a came around, offering speeds of 54Mbps in place of the 802.11b’s 11Mbps. I was excited until Steve mentioned that the a and b equipment weren’t compatible with each other. Then 802.11g came around, which offered the speed of 802.11a and backwards compatibility with 802.11b. It was also compatible with the AirPort Extreme card that’s in my PowerBook 12″ from Apple. I also knew that LinkSys had out new parts for 802.11g now, so it was getting close to upgrade time, especially since I found myself using the wireless stuff more with the PowerBook. Given that I had separate modules for the whole LAN setup, I figured I could just swap out the 802.11b Access Point with the 802.11g Access Point – technologically it made sense.
Enter LinkSys’ marketing department. The 802.11g Access Point is available with a $149 list price. Or at least the non-sale street price. However, the 4-port All-in-One, Router/Switch/Access Point is also available for $149. This totally boggled my mind! How can you have a solo Access Point be offered for the exact same price as the All-in-One product or even more when the All-in-One is on sale? Someone is getting screwed! Either one is too cheap or the other is too pricy; either way I was left with either keeping the current Router and replacing the Access Point or I could replace both modules – eitehr way it was for the same price. Since I got the PowerBook, I seem to have the Access Point on all the time, so I caved – I’m now the proud owner of an 802.11g All-in-One Router/Switch/Access Point from LinkSys.
The nice part of it all is that the new Firmware for this is pretty good. It’s got built in Dynamic DNS now, for people that want to host web servers on dynamic IP address. It’s also got a cleaner UI than the last version of the Router. And, the PowerBook picked up on the new Access Point without a problem so I can now confirm that 802.11b works… when I set the Access Point to server 802.11g only, the pBook cannot connect. This is irksome since they are both .11g, so I’m going to have an adventure with Apple and/or LinkSys to get it all to work.
At least I’m saving money by having only one box to power now!