Cheap Connectivity?

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Is it possible to build a low cost network?

To build one will depend largely on your needs and how secure you want your computers in relation to access to the internet.

Your main objective is to secure your data because if you don't keep your data secure it will not be yours for very long; there are a lot of thieves that will "harvest" your data then use it for their nefarious and devious agendas, namely enriching themselves on your money, credit, and ID...

The cheapest way to build a low cost network is with WiFi or wireless compared to a wired network because the wiring will be the most expensive component of the network.

Depending on how many devices you need to connect you could have your network with one wireless device; and that is the modem supplied by your ISP if they offer a modem that has WiFi capability.

 Modern DSL/Cable modems have the Wi-Fi capability built in, also an increase in connect speed over the older modems, some ISP's supply them either for a new customer or with an upgrade to your current contract.

If you want to buy a router/modem with WiFi or wireless capability will cost you between 100 to 200 USD depending on the "extra options" you may want such as ability to add an external USB storage device. The only drawback to this option is: Which router/modem will work with your ISP's network, contact them and ask.

You have two considerations when you are setting up your home/small business wireless only low cost network.

  1. Security
  2. Range

For security of your home/small business low cost network you need to insure that only devices you designate (through the advanced settings) can connect to the wireless device. By using each individual devices network interface card (NIC) ID number also known as a Media Access Control address or MAC address you can control access with out worrying about someone connecting that you don't want to connect to your wireless network. That does not mean it is fool proof, if someone has the tools they can find the MAC for each device, then do what is called a spoof.

A spoof is a way to insert a fake number or sequence of numbers and characters into a signal (wired or wireless). By having the tools and a device that the hacker can change the characteristics of a NIC they could gain access to your network. By capturing data from wireless devices a hacker can get the MAC, IP, and device name.

It has been determined by the Supreme Court Of The United States that "There is no expectation of privacy with a radio transmission!"

One way to insure your data is not collected is to have a system that encrypts all radio transmissions, this is a very complex and expensive solution by the way.

For range the normal home/small business router/modem supplied by an ISP will be limited, even if the modem is in an open area the further away from the modem a device is the lower the quality and speed of the signal will be. This degrading of the signal is common with the low powered devices supplied by an ISP.

To get more range, higher quality signal, and speed you could use what is know as a wireless range extender. These devices collect the incoming signal then boost and rebroadcast the signal. This is very useful in areas where there is a lot of other types of interference with say walls, furniture, and other electronic devices. Some of the newer range booster products also have an advanced option where you can select which devices that can connect by the MAC address.

Total cost of you low cost network?

Fairly cheap between 100 and 200 USD, considering that the completely wired network solution would be about 100 USD per device but the security of your network would be higher in that for someone to gain access they either have to be in your building and have access to the network or use a virus to attack your network...

Resources:

Setup a router/modem

Setup your wireless parameters.

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The bottom line on a low cost network is you need to secure it!





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