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Thread: I've got 10 comps(w/o built-in wifi) to set up in a place with wifi, but no wired

  1. #1
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    I've got 10 comps(w/o built-in wifi) to set up in a place with wifi, but no wired

    I've got 10 Ubuntu computers without built-in wifi to set up in a place with wifi, but no wired internet. I need some way to get this wifi signal to these computers. I've identified two solutions -

    some sort of router that decodes the wifi signal that I can then hook up (directly or with a switch) 10 ethernet cables to so that they can all be online

    or (more likely)

    small USB wifi adapters that I can plug into each computer. I'd need a recommendation on some usb dongles that will work out-of-the-box or with drivers easily obtainable for Ubuntu.

    I'm on a budget of $50-70 USD and I've got to make this happen soon. does anyone know how I can make this work?
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    Re: I've got 10 comps(w/o built-in wifi) to set up in a place with wifi, but no wired

    @ solution 1: the wifi-router should be able to connect a wifi network. Maybe you need "WDS" for that. BTW: 10 ethernet ports is a lot ... maybe you need an additional ethernet switch.

    @ solution 2: you could buy 10 cheap USB wifi devices, for example http://dx.com/p/ultra-mini-nano-usb-...er-white-67532 .
    FYI: I've bought this wifi device, and it works, but it detects less networks than my built-in wifi adapter. So it only works for strong (=nearby) wifi signals.
    Last edited by sanderj; July 11th, 2012 at 12:53 PM.

  3. #3
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    Lightbulb Re: I've got 10 comps(w/o built-in wifi) to set up in a place with wifi, but no wired

    @Solution 1: WDS might do the trick, but there is another approach you could take. If you have a WiFi Access Point somewhere, you can connect another router to it as a Client Bridge. This mode is supported in a number of router firmwares, for example DD-WRT. You can install DD-WRT on a lot of consumer routers, like many Linksys models, depending on your technical level. Otherwise, the Ubiquiti AirRouter (available from some vendors on Amazon.com as well as some official resellers as seen on the official site: Ubnt.com but they don't sell to consumers directly) has been a great WiFi tool in my house, and happens to support Client Bridge mode and a lot of features you usually need custom firmware for, out of the box.

    @Solution 2: Yeah, you'll have degraded performance with wireless USB dongles. Also, I'm not sure what sort of environment this is (office, school, Internet cafe...) but if theft of the USB dongles is a concern, you might be better off with wireless PCI cards.

    Just my two cents.

    Kirk

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    Re: I've got 10 comps(w/o built-in wifi) to set up in a place with wifi, but no wired

    usb plug
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...tem=33-166-052 150Mbps
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...tem=33-315-091 150Mbps
    it is small so less likely to get broken off but range may be a issue
    mini pci slot
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...tem=33-166-047 150Mbps
    pci slot
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...tem=33-166-021 54Mbps
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...tem=33-166-011 150Mbps

    all those are known to work in ubuntu that last one will need 12.04 or at the very least a backported kernel
    Last edited by pqwoerituytrueiwoq; July 11th, 2012 at 01:15 PM.
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    Re: I've got 10 comps(w/o built-in wifi) to set up in a place with wifi, but no wired

    It seems like it'll be tough with that budget. If you have a router that could be repurposed as a bridge that would sure help. You'd still need a switch for 10 PCs though afaik. Kirk brought up an issue I hadn't considered . I have an Edimax EW7811Un which works very well with RealTek's driver. It sure would be easy to steal though. There are knock-offs on Amazon that can be bought for $6 - $7 each but I don't know if they use the same chipset or if they're Linux friendly.
    Last edited by kurt18947; July 11th, 2012 at 01:23 PM.

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    Re: I've got 10 comps(w/o built-in wifi) to set up in a place with wifi, but no wired

    Are the ten computers physically close enough to create a wired network among them? If so, I'd put a wifi card on one of them and make it a NAT router. (It can still function as a workstation while acting as a router.) Connect its ethernet port to a switch and connect the rest of the computers to the switch.

    This TP-LINK TL-WN722N Wireless Adapter works well with Linux as it uses the Atheros chipset. It costs about $20.

    The switch(es) are a different story. With ten computers you'd need a 16-port switch if you want to buy only one device. Unfortunately 16-port switches tend to be used in professional applications and are rather pricey compared to 8-port devices. You can buy two of these Rosewill switches for about $25. Don't bother with Gigabit speeds; it would be overkill given you're using wifi for the upstream connection.

    Finally you need to buy the ethernet cables. Depending on length they'll cost about $2-5 each. A seven-foot cable costs $4 at Newegg.

    I don't think there's any way to stay inside your budget installing wifi devices in these machines. Ten of those TP-Link adapters alone will run you $200. My solution comes in around $85-90.

    It's possible you'll encounter a bandwidth bottleneck over the single wifi connection. If that occurs, buy a second adapter and use bonding to have them work in concert.
    Last edited by SeijiSensei; July 11th, 2012 at 01:38 PM.

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    Re: I've got 10 comps(w/o built-in wifi) to set up in a place with wifi, but no wired

    Quote Originally Posted by SeijiSensei View Post
    Are the ten computers physically close enough to create a wired network among them? If so, I'd put a wifi card on one of them and make it a NAT router.
    Brrrr ... IMHO that's asking for complexity and trouble. Just let a router-appliance do its work.

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    Re: I've got 10 comps(w/o built-in wifi) to set up in a place with wifi, but no wired

    i should have thought of that considering i set up a machine to do that last sunday
    although i was using a single hardware port (eth0 and eth0:1)

    rc.local script for system acting as the router
    by using rc.local the setting are temporary and a screw up can be fixed by reboot
    Code:
    echo 1 > /proc/sys/net/ipv4/ip_forward
    while [ 0`pidof NetworkManager` -eq 0 ]; do
        sleep 1
    done
    while [ "`ifconfig eth0 | grep 'inet addr:'`" = "" ]; do
        sleep 2
    done
    while [ "`ifconfig eth1 | grep 'inet addr:'`" = "" ]; do
        sleep 2
        ifconfig eth1 10.0.0.1 netmask 255.255.0.0
    done
    iptables -t nat -A POSTROUTING -o eth0 -j MASQUERADE
    iptables -P FORWARD ACCEPT
    service isc-dhcp-server start
    exit 0
    eth0 is hardwire
    from my dhcpd.conf fille (for dhcp)
    Code:
    shared-network 224-29 {
        subnet 10.0.0.0 netmask 255.255.0.0 {
            range 10.0.0.100 10.0.0.199;
            option routers 10.0.0.1;
            option domain-name-servers 8.8.8.8,8.8.4.4;
        }
    }
    host dhcp-server {
       hardware ethernet 00:00:00:00:00:00 ;
       deny booting ;
    }
    that mac address (00:00:00:00:00:00) should be the wireless cards mac (i think, if i am wrong there are only 2 addresses)
    it will assign google's public dns server

    this is the switch i was using i had got it on sale for $10 some time last year

    you don't need two 8 ports switches a 8 and 4 port will work and you can add 1 more system later
    Last edited by pqwoerituytrueiwoq; July 11th, 2012 at 02:13 PM.
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  9. #9
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    Re: I've got 10 comps(w/o built-in wifi) to set up in a place with wifi, but no wired

    Quote Originally Posted by sanderj View Post
    Brrrr ... IMHO that's asking for complexity and trouble. Just let a router-appliance do its work.
    Are you basing that on actual experience? I've built a number of NAT routers on Linux boxes without ever having problems.

    If he takes the router appliance route, he'll still need the switches, since no inexpensive router will have enough ports to support ten client machines. I bought this ASUS router a while back after reading a lot of reviews. It works well, and I could flash it with DD-WRT. It would add another $25 or so to his costs, though, when the cost of the wifi adapter is subtracted.

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    Re: I've got 10 comps(w/o built-in wifi) to set up in a place with wifi, but no wired

    Quote Originally Posted by SeijiSensei View Post
    Are you basing that on actual experience? I've built a number of NAT routers on Linux boxes without ever having problems.
    Yes, actual experience: linux boxes handling IPv6 tunnels. I found it harder to setup (because of the CLI, versus the GUI of modems/routers), and harder to maintain/troubleshoot.

    Quote Originally Posted by SeijiSensei View Post


    If he takes the router appliance route, he'll still need the switches, since no inexpensive router will have enough ports to support ten client machines. I bought this ASUS router a while back after reading a lot of reviews. It works well, and I could flash it with DD-WRT. It would add another $25 or so to his costs, though, when the cost of the wifi adapter is subtracted.
    Maybe I misunderstand you, but you will always need 10+ ethernet ports (linux or no linux).

    FWIW: The OP could daisy chain two 8-port switches for that. If he finds a modem/router that can act as a Wifi-client, two el-cheapo 8-port switches could be connected to the modem/router.

    Considering his tight budget, second-hand hardware would be the best solution.

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