Friday, March 26, 2010

Wireless Bridge Solution


Project 20

Bridging a Gap,


What You’ll Need

  • A wireless bridge—aka gaming adapter
  • Your computers with web browsers

Cost: $30–60 for wireless gaming adapter

For some of us, it is relatively easy to expand our network with wires. We “simply”

crawl under the house or in the attic, run some new wires, drill a few holes, install

a couple of RJ-45 jacks, plug in, and go. For many people—apartment dwellers,

house renters, locations with impenetrable ceilings and walls—expanding a network

connection that requires wires at both ends is at least a challenge, if not impossible.

While a laptop may network wirelessly over relatively short distances, walls,

pipes, electrical cabling, and distance can inhibit connectivity. Taking an example from

popular gaming consoles which have only a wired Ethernet port, some computing

devices such as network-capable printers, simply do not connect and network without

an Ethernet cable. A solution is to use Wi-Fi hardware to extend your network as far

as you can without wires, and then return to wires using the wireless bridge where


Typically, you would specifically look for a pair of wireless bridges—devices designed

to “bridge the gap”—but these devices are usually not in stock at even the most

geeky of electronics stores. If you already have Wi-Fi capability at one end of your

network, you can bridge the gap by adding just one easy-to-find device—a wireless

gaming adapter. As much by coincidence as luck in picking a low-cost solution to try,

I discovered that the D-Link DGL-3420 Wireless 108AG Gaming Adapter, shown in

Figure 20-1, will stretch my LAN.

Figure 20-1

The D-Link Gaming

Adapter is a small but

powerful addition to

your home network.

By adding a wireless gaming adapter as a network bridge, you can extend your

network well beyond just a length of wire or the range of wireless to include other

wired PCs distant from the main connection point, similar to the network schematic

shown in Figure 20-2. This too can be expanded on with additional bridges, as described

in Project 21.Figure 20-1

Project 21


Beyond the


What You’ll Need

  • A wireless bridge—aka gaming adapter
  • Leftover nonwireless router from Project 2
  • Your computers with web browsers

Cost: $0

Now that we’ve wirelessly jumped a huge span of real estate from one end of

the house to the other in Project 20, we can reintroduce wires into our extended

network configuration.

Our network continues to grow to include many computers at either end of a wirelessly

bridged network, to the new network scheme of Figure 21-1. All we need is that

old nonwireless router we removed from service in Project 2. Instead of being used as

the main expansion of our one-connection DSL or cable service, and as a firewall, we

reuse this gadget to become part of our local network at the far end of a wireless connection

configured in Project 20. All this takes is a few simple reconfiguration steps to

allow it to accept the IP address of our local network, turn off the firewall, and let it

dish out a new set of IP addresses for the extended network clients.

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