I've been using 802.11b in our house for a couple of years and have been pretty happy with it except for a couple of issues. the first is security. My ancient equipment only supports 64 bit WEP. But I'm not hiding any state secrets and it seems unlikely that any of my neighbors is sophisticated enough to implement a brute force attack and gain access to my LAN. The other issue is network bandwidth. 802.11b is fine for Internet surfing through a cable modem, but I also have run X11 applications over the network and some of them - particularly the graphical ones - would benefit from more bandwidth. So I'm looking at 802.11g
Right now my wireless LAN consists of an AP (D-link 614+) Thinkpad T30 with a miniPCI adapter and another laptop with a PC card adapter. My Thinkpad would benefit most from the bandwidth. The other laptop is my music jukebox and 802.11b is adequate for that, though I could benefit by replacing the PC card adapter with something that uses Ethernet. It is a VAIO with one PC card slot and the Wifi card prevents me from using the external CD-ROM. Occasionally my sons drop by with their 802.11b equipped laptops and join the LAN. (Wireless is way cool technology, but you already knew that. ;)
Additionally the 614+ seems to be having issues. Occasionally I need to power cycle it when my other devices lose connectivity. It may be preparing to die.
My first thought was to replace the 614+ with an 802.11g AP and upgrade the Thinkpad also. But I read that mixing 'b' and 'g' on the same AP may the AP to drop the speed to 'b' capabilities. I did see one review of the D-link DI-624 that indicated that not all routers seem to suffer:
Their comparison shows that the Dell Wireless 2300 drops from 23.5 Mbps with only 'g' clients to 18.2 Mbps when 'b' clients are added. Too bad it can't match the WGT624 throughput of 47.1 Mbps (which drops to 12.1 when 'b' is added.) My googling has not found any similar reviews so I am unable to find out if other reviewers came up with the same results.
My first question is if there is an AP that supports high throughput for 'g' devices while serving both 'g' and 'b' devices.
Barring that, is it possible to run my 'b' AP side by side with a 'g' AP and avoid mixing 'b' and 'g' on the same AP? Would the very presence of a 'b' device cause the 'g' device to revert to slow operation? For that matter, could a neighbor's 'b' LAN cause my 'g' LAN to degrade even if we don't share IDs or WEP keys?
If I program my 'b' system to shut down wireless when not in use, will the 'g' AP resume higher throughput operation, or will it remember that "there is a 'b' out there somewhere" and remain downgraded until the next power cycle or whatever.
Oh, yeah. The other wrinkle is that there seems to be no miniPCI 802.11g adapter for the Thinkpad T30. IBM does not list one for the T30 and third party devices seem to warn that the T30 has firmware that prevents usage of other than approved devices. So much for miniPCI interoperability. :(