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What'll I need to implement wireless dial-up?

Discussion in 'Firewalls and Networks' started by pastures, Jul 9, 2007.

  1. pastures

    pastures Techie7 New Member

    I'm not inquiriung about a "network" per se. I merely want to be able to access the Net wirelessly from my laptop, from a deck chair outside. So I have to bypass my laptop's built-in modem for starters, because it is hard-wired to the phone line port. So, I assume, I must first purchase a wireless network card and install it in one of my PC Card slots. That's not hard. But then what?? Do I need a router for just ONE machine? I own an external 56k modem (for serial or USB connect) -- but that's not going to help me much, will it. I know I'll need a wireless networking card but beyond that I am really not sure. I suppose they make an external modem that is suited for this scenario? I also thought about using my laptop's infrared port instead, but I suppose that hasn't sufficient range or just isn't the way to go.

    Whaddya got for me?
  2. DJNafey

    DJNafey UK site moderator


    No, infra-red won't do the job.

    What you need is a wireless network router with a built-in modem. It's important to get one with an integrated modem in the same box as many routers are designed to plug into an external modem or another router via an ethernet (network) cable.

    It is unlikely that you will be able to use your existing external modem as most new routers don't have a serial port. You could possibly find one second-hand somewhere with a serial port but it's likely to be hard to configure (and hard for us to help with if you need assistance) as well as having a poor wireless range.

    When looking for a router, check that it supports 56k dial-up connections as well as DSL connections.
  3. pastures

    pastures Techie7 New Member

    Hey THANKS ..that sounds good
  4. pastures

    pastures Techie7 New Member

    I searched briefly for such an item and couldn't locate one but I've an idea for a workaround. For about $61 (seen here http://www.compsource.com/ttechnote.asp?part_no=GS002AN201&vid=&src=F) I can get an Actiontec brand external 56k modem with built-in router and 2 RJ-45 ports. Only problem is it doesn't seem to support wireless mode. BUT... I have a unit that does support wireless, and I assume that any one router can certainly be plugged into (chained) to another. What I have is a DSL modem (Westell VersaLink 327W) with one main and 4 subsidiary RJ-45 ports. So wouldn't that function effectively as a router per se??? I get a wireless networking card for my laptop, which will talk to the VersaLink. Then I cable the VersaLink to the Actiontec and plug that in to my home phone line. Does that sound workable please?

    [edit: ie. the VersaLink is a piece of hardware gathering dust here, so maybe I can use it to do this]
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2007
  5. DJNafey

    DJNafey UK site moderator

    Your solution sounds feasible but messy! ;)

    Rather than a DSL modem, think of the Versalink as a wireless router with built-in DSL modem as that sounds like what it is ..... and, conveniently, that's what I said you should get! Does it have an RJ11 port that can connect it to a telephone line? If it does, then check whether it will support your 56k dial-up connection - you might not need the new Actiontec 56k modem at all. If the Versalink doesn't have an RJ11 port, then I think that you're wrong to describe it as a DSL modem - it's just a wireless router.

    Hope that helps :)
  6. pastures

    pastures Techie7 New Member

    I don't doubt you are right to correct my terminology. It's the box that Verizon gave us when we tried DSL (and subsequently gave up on), so I figure it to be a DSL device, primarily. It doesn't have an RJ-11 port but still, your advice is a big help, thanks. Messy though it might be, this sounds like a possible way to go. It sounds to me like $61 might be "getting off easy", especially since your "router with built-in 56k modem" appears to be a rare animal indeed -- or else I'm using a poor search string. Although I DID find a router with V.92 modem for back-up. It costs $833! :wacko:
  7. pastures

    pastures Techie7 New Member

    I'd like more help with this. I acquired the Actiontec Dual PC Modem and it works great when I hooked it up directly to my laptop employing a wired Network Adapter PC Card. Okay, that was just to confirm the modem's functionality. So then I dismantled that setup and put a wireless Network Adapter into my laptop, expecting it to talk successfully with the Versalink. Well it did! The Versalink employs a built-in WEP security key. I had to specify that key and select "Open System" for type of encryption. In other words, it took a bit of doing, but I got a connection to the Versalink. But alas I've failed so far to get the "Dual PC Modem" (or my desktop PC) tacked onto that network. I plug the Ethernet cord from the modem to the E1 slot in the back of the Versalink. Some lights flicker as if the hardware is automatically trying to negotiate a link, but no go. My wireless networking card includes a little software utility for configuration, status, etcetera. It has a section called "Site Survey" where it lists the nodes (?) that are present, but it shows ONLY the SSID of the Versalink and nothing else. Of course I've tried numerous "refresh", "reset", reboot and whatnot, but the Actiontec special modem does not appear to be online. I also tried plugging an Ethernet cord from my desktop PC (runnning WXP) to the Versalink's E2 slot. According to my PC, there IS now a live link present. But if I then connect that PC to the internet (with its own internal modem), I cannot access the net from the laptop which is supposedly also talking with the Versalink.

    My know-how here has petered out. I either don't have a host or I'm missing a client or a gateway -- heck, I have no idea! But I can tell you that I looked online for other routers for sale, and all I ever see are devices advertised as a "wireless broadband router for DSL or cable modem". There appears to be no "general purpose" routers, and I surely don't have DSL or Cable internet access so I cannot satisfy those other device's yearnings :wacko: Is that it? :turned:

    This Versalink device DOES have an RJ-11 port (you inquired) but it is ONLY for the purpose of hooking DSL in there.

    Any ideas?

    Thank you!

    [edit: BTW I got the Actiontec device brand new, on the cheap, via eBay]
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2007
  8. Digerati

    Digerati Super Moderator Techie7 Moderator

    Give the WiFlyer a look. It might be exactly what you need. $99.


    Mobile Tech Review - "For those of you who travel and need your Internet, the WiFlyer is a must-have. For those of you who don't even travel much, but have wirelessly enabled devices, the WiFlyer makes a very handy tool to have around!"

    PCWorld - "But if you regularly rely on dial-up connectivity when traveling, or you want the option to easily create a wireless network connection, I'd recommend giving WiFlyer a try."

    ATrueReview - "For anyone who wants to easily share their dial-up account or any frequent traveler who wants a wireless Internet connection anywhere they stay, the Always On Wireless WiFlyer Dial-up/Broadband Portable Access Point is for you."
  9. pastures

    pastures Techie7 New Member

    Please do pardon my waffling. I see now that the problem must be with the Actiontec box in all likelihood. here's why. I checked the status lights on the Versalink and it shows E1 (the Actiontec Dual PC Modem) flickering steadily, yet indicator E2 (my desktop PC) shows steady. As I said, my PC shows a viable live link. It is probably functioning correctly. I don't know enough about networking to know how to test it. My previous test of trying to share the PC's dial-up connection -- that was ill thought out. There's likely special setup required to share an internet connection that particular way. But I'm probably perfectly good right now to transfer files and such. I'm not sure just yet how exactly to test it.

    But the Actiontec box shows its "Network 1" indicator light not steady. It goes out for a few seconds every 10 or 15 seconds. So that must be where the connection has failed. I don't know precisely how to address this snag. Maybe I was wrong on my earlier presumptions about the "Site Survey" display of the laptop's wireless card showing just the one SSID, that of the Versalink. Maybe it is not supposed to show additional connected nodes there :wacko:

    Any ideas? Thanks.
  10. pastures

    pastures Techie7 New Member

    Ah yes, thank you. That does appear to be exactly what I need alright. But if I can make do with the cheap stuff I already have, that would be preferable, since the WiFlyer has more features than I require.

    Thanks for that!
  11. DJNafey

    DJNafey UK site moderator

    OK, it's rather early in the morning here and I'm definitely not "a morning person" but I'm going to try and help! ;)

    1. The 'Site Survey' screen will only show devices sending out a wireless access point signal (SSID), i.e. just the Versalink router.

    2. Forget about wireless to start with. Wherever possible, always set up a network with cabled ethernet and then add the additional complication of wireless networking once it's successfully working through the cables. Otherwise, you're making it much harder for yourself than necessary.

    3. What's the IP address of the Versalink?

    4. What's the IP address of the PC? Is it in the correct range? Is it picking up an address automatically from the Versalink? Go to a Command Prompt window (Start Menu > Run > cmd > OK) and type ipconfig /all and press Enter. This should show you information for one network connection - the one between the PC's network card and the Versalink router. The 'Default Gateway' value should be the IP address of the Versalink.

    5. Try sending a test communication between the PC and the Versalink. At the command prompt, type ping 123.456.789.0 (substitute the numbers with the IP address of the Versalink). If it is communicating successfully during that test, then you will get 4 responses, each saying "Reply from " followed by the IP address of the Versalink.

    6. If it works OK from the PC, connect the laptop up with a cable to the Versalink and then repeat (4) and (5) to make sure that communicates as well.

    Note that I haven't talked about the modem at all there - always break down your network troubleshooting into small sections. If you can't get successful or reliable communications between the client and the router, there will be no Internet connection anyway so there's no point having a modem attached - that will only give you more to think about and less to understand! :)
  12. pastures

    pastures Techie7 New Member

    Okay, thanks to you all and now I can safely say that the entire dilemma is resolved! 'Problem was mainly that I didn't know the term "wireless access point" so I was unable to compose a good search string in shopping for hardware. I got an answer about all this from Actiontec support: their modem won't link to the Versalink because BOTH devices ARE routers. I'll need an access point instead. Hey, thanks again!
  13. Digerati

    Digerati Super Moderator Techie7 Moderator

    Oh, you mean like a WiFlyer :clown: ;)
  14. pastures

    pastures Techie7 New Member

  15. Digerati

    Digerati Super Moderator Techie7 Moderator

    lol Yes you did, and I was only hassling you.

    However, since you mentioned your desires, I have found that when it comes to wireless devices, you tend to get what you pay for - and for $25, you would probably be lucky to get a solid connection if you are sitting right under the antenna - as long as no one uses the microwave! Not to mention, security options may be lacking as well. Be careful.
  16. pastures

    pastures Techie7 New Member

    Thanks for the heads-up, Bill. But ever the cheapskate, I am at this very moment poised over the "Submit Order" button to purchase a brand new "Linksys Wireless-B Access Point 2.4 GHz Model WAP11" for $20 plus shipping. If you're reading this, it's already too late.
  17. Digerati

    Digerati Super Moderator Techie7 Moderator

    Understand you are immediately starting out two generations back - if you count 802.11n Draft 2.0 that was just released. :pinch: Security needs to be your top priority. At the very least, you need to immediatly change all the defaults, use MAC filtering for your specific device only, and disable SSID broadcasting.
  18. DJNafey

    DJNafey UK site moderator

    Digerati is right in that an 802.11b wireless network component is very slow by today's standards, operating at a MAXIMUM of 11Mbps and with a short range - you could quite possibly find that it only gives you 1Mbps where you want to use the laptop. Having said that, of course, you are on a dial-up Internet connection, which is even slower at only 0.056Mbps so, for Internet use, it should be absolutely fine! :)
  19. pastures

    pastures Techie7 New Member

    Success, it works! And like you suggested DJN, I couldn't get the new box configured unless I first built a HARD-WIRED network of PC to Actiontec router/modem and to Access Point. That allowed me to run the setup software successfully -- then I had to dismantle that arrangement and reconstruct using my WIRELESS PCMCIA network card.

    I haven't yet checked for range limits. When I do, I'll add one last post.
  20. Digerati

    Digerati Super Moderator Techie7 Moderator

    Great! I am glad you got it going and thanks for following up with us. Don't forget those security settings.