After heading out to get some networking gear from Fry’s, I spent the earlier part of yesterday installing the goods.
Let’s keep this short. It all pretty much works. The wireless PCI cards from Airlink I bought seem to work fine. I put one of the adapters in a machine with integrated ethernet and disconnected the Ethernet. Then I swapped another of the new adapters into the downstairs HTPC and took the Linksys WUSB54G 1.0 wireless adapter that it was currently using. Then I took that wireless adapter and hooked it up to my server, replacing the HomePNA adapter and bridge that were on that (yes, a very hacked up setup from long ago). Last, but not least, I went about unhooking a bunch of wires and hubs. Things are a lot more organized now and I am pleased.
The new router from Airlink is slightly better. I now have some machines further apart from the wireless router and the connections are holding up OK. But in general, not a huge improvement over the Microsoft router I had before. Kudos to Microsoft for producing a piece of hardware that holds up well over time.
The most difficult part of the process was getting my OpenVPN server running again. I’ll talk about OpenVPN later…it’s hard to setup, but pretty much great technically.
Anyway, I have to bridge the network adapter and the virtual OpenVPN adapter for VPN to work the way I want it. Worked OK with the adapter that was hooked up before…but with the Linksys adapter hooked up, the connection simply didn’t work. Mind you, it worked when not bridged…but bridging caused the connection to just die. So I Googled around and eventually came up with the reason…Bridge may not work with a non-promiscuous mode adapter.
I don’t think your average Joe Blow is going to figure that kind of stuff out. Then again, I guess your average Joe Blow isn’t trying to bridge adapters for OpenVPN either. Still, does everything have to be this hard? I’m just going to say I’m damn happy there was a workaround.
So to sum up, I bought some cheapo wireless equipment. Not Pre-N or TrueMIMO, but it all works. The computer room has lost a lot of wires and routers, and as a result it looks much nicer and easier to manage. The Roomba won’t be tripping over stuff the next time it vacuums, either. Another small piece of my life that has become easier to manage.