In the Forums...
Posted: April 8, 2002
Written by: Davey McWatters
Asanté FriendlyNet FR3002AL
Last time we took a look at an Asanté product, it was their FriendlyNET FR3004LC router. We liked it. This time we have their wireless FR3002AL. It allows you to have a wireless network as well as a wired network. Preferably, most people will want to have their desktop machines on a wired network and their mobile devices such as a laptop or PDA on the wireless network.
The Asanté FR3002AL is a unique wireless router. Instead of using built in wireless technology and antennas it uses a PCMCIA adaptor. The router also has two RJ-45 ports available for your wired network. If you need more you can always use a hub/switch with an uplink port or link them with a crossover cable.
The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) first came out with the 802.11 wireless networking standard. However, it only ran at about 2Mbps, which is extremely slow compared to today’s new wired and wireless standards. This standard didn’t catch on with the public very well; mainly because of cost and speed issues, it just wasn’t worth it.
Today, the IEEE has a couple of new popular standards. The most popular standard right now is called 802.11b, or WiFi. Operating on the 2.4Ghz frequency, it is capable of speeds of up to 11Mbps and 1,000 feet in an open area free of interference. In a closed area it drops to about 300 feet, which is still good for most homes. If there isn’t good signal strength in the area you are located the 802.11b standard will automatically drop the connection speed to 5.5Mbps, then to 2Mbps, and finally to 1Mbps before it stops transmitting data.
The other standard that is quickly catching on is 802.11a. It operates on the 5Ghz frequency, which allows much greater speeds, but at the cost of distance. It can operate at speeds of up to 54Mbps but only at a range of about 60 feet. Since it operates at 5Ghz it isn’t as susceptible to interference of cell phones, cordless phones, or anything else that operates mainly at 2.4Ghz.