I somehow managed to have both a relaxing and busy Memorial day weekend as my "Mrs." was in town and she helped me finish unpacking all of my junk.  I also finally got around to setting up my wireless network.  My apartment complex has a T1 line which residents access through a DSL modem and it only costs $50! Sadly, you can't host sites, but at least there are tools like Dynamic DNS and No-IP for those of you using DHCP through a Cable modem or DSL. For those of you looking to set this up at home, here's my current setup - I use a Microsoft Brand MN-500 Wireless Router . This has built in Network Address Translation so while the router receives a single IP address from my ISP, internally I can hook up as many machines as I want to the network using a Class C subnet.  You can also setup port forwarding for other services you might want to use like FTP, WWW, SMTP, POP3, Quake etc. Other cool features include the ability to "backup" your config, block pings, an easy-to-use admin page and it even has a built-in firewall. Not bad for a product that costs <$100.

But, the home networking madness doesn't stop there, I also use a Linksys WET11 Bridge which lets me have a dynamic IP address from my Wireless access point to my living room. So that 100' CAT-5 cable snaking from the office is gone and the "Mrs." is happy :) <br>

If you're having problems connecting your Xbox using the WET11 bridge, I stumbled on this page on the Linksys web site which explains step-by-step how to configure the bridge for playing Xbox Live. Since we're on the topic of 802.11, I thought I would share some of my favorite wireless sights:

  • 802.11 Hotspots - Find wireless connections anywhere in the world.
  • Net Stumbler - This site has a good shop for all your wireless networking gear needs (although it doesn't have the MN-500), and it's also where you can download netstumbler, one of my favorite apps for finding wireless networks, which now even includes an add-in for mapping hotspots using MapPoint. The nice thing about NetStumbler is that it searches multiple channels and not just your default wireless card channels.  
  • Warchalking - When you get your wireless network up and running, don't forget how you can covertly notify those of us in the wireless digerati.
  • Bandwidth Speed Test - Once you have your connection up and running, see how fast your network *really* works. My bandwidth report on my home network was ~700Kbps which I thought was good until I just now ran this same test at work and got a stunning 2,386 kbps of real throughput through my wireless (WEP-enabled) connection!!

That's all for now, enjoy,

-Dan