A friend of mine has a DSL router, and her upstairs PC's are wired. It's a split level house, and she'd like to add Wireless for the downstairs portion. She also has a 5 port 10/100 switch.
Does she need a Wireless Router, or just an Access Point?
just add AP
The wireless access point (AP) has a LAN connection on the back off it. It will somehow need to be tied back in on the wired side to the DSL router.
Consumer/SOHO AP's coverage area are normally conical in shape and point downwards so coverage should be OK downstairs if the AP is upstairs.
802.11b (11MB max connection) and 802.11g (54Mb max connection) operate in the 2.4GHz range. This is the same frequency band as 2.4GHz phones. Some microwaves also can cause interruption in this range. 802.11a (also 54Mb max connection speeds) operates in the 5GHz range, but is still more expensive. Wireless connection speeds are sorta' irrelavent since DSL is going to be approx 1 - 2Mb anyway.
Assuming you have the wireless client/NIC covered already.
A Free Man's Wireless School:
First, what thompsondd said is 100% correct. Why buy 11g when 11b is cheap now? And 11b is way faster than DSL.
Let me explain a few things first...
Your friend is hooked to her ISP via DSL modem, distributing via switch to the computers. A switch does nothing else, it just sends the signal to the right computer. The ISP sees each of the computers on the switch as separate IP addresses. I will assume they use "dynamic IP" address assignment, rather than "static IP". The ISP will assign the computers on that switch, just as every other computer it sees, IP addresses on first come, first served basis.
BUT, a router sets up a little mini network. The ISP sees only the router (and thus it is a firewall, too), and assigns it an IP address. The computers hooked to the router are each assigned IP addresses by the router, not by the ISP. This is the difference in a switch and router. Just FYI.
OK, what she needs is a wireless router, and I suggest going the cheap way, 802.11b.
I have had great dealings with www.tigerdirect.com. Even when I have had a problem, as long as I followed their return policy, I was taken care of. Once I returned a defective item, getting a return authorization as directed. But they also sent a replacement item that same day. In fact, the new one was out the door within the hour, according to tracking. When my returned item arrived there, they applied credit right away. Can't ask for better than that.
OK, here are some deals you can't pass up:
Here's a nice little router, by D-Link. $20, no fooling with rebates. It is a "recertified" unit, meaning it has been returned and checked out by the mfg.
It has 4 RJ-45 ports on back for hardwired computers.
If she needs wireless adapter for a desktop, she can go with a plug in card adapter, or a usb adapter, a little thing looks like a "thumbnail" drive, plugs into the USB port.
For a laptop PCMCIA card, for $15 she can get this by D-Link. Again, a recertified unit:
www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=866783&CatId=369 This USB adapter is $20, too.
and for a PC card,
www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=242800&CatId=368 which is the desktop card equiv to the laptop card included with the router. This is $30.
BTW, she can just add the wireless card to the computer. There is no need to remove the 10/100 ethernet card or phone modem.