Computer: Network: Wireless
Wireless LAN connection   (+2)  [vote for, against]
LAN setup without wires

This is a step backward from where we are now. The idea is to create a small flash drive sized wireless transmitter that will be plugged directly into the ethernet data point. The exact same technology but for the code connection. This can talk to one and only one computer. That computer should have a matching code (SSID, etc.) setup. This devide runs on a AAA battery and doesn't require a power cord.

Wi-Fi or Bluetooth will be the technology choice.

Usage: Wireless LAN adapter (tiny) will be plugged into the ethernet data port. The laptop or the desktop will have a Wireless USB adapter or a built-in WiFi adapter. The connection is made and it will be a Wireless LAN setup. At the end of the day, we can un-plug the tiny adapter from the data port and carry it home. This can be used where ever an ethernet point is available.
-- concept, Jun 15 2004

Here's one from Linksys http://www.linksys....33&scid=38&prid=550
[krelnik, Oct 04 2004]

Some battery powered AP ideas and products http://www.dailywir...le=article&sid=1850
[bristolz, Oct 04 2004]

Apple's very small WiFi AP http://www.gadgetma..._in_your_pocket.php
[bristolz, Oct 04 2004]

Sony "tranSticks" concept http://www.csl.sony...ranstick/index.html
Jul 14 2004: There's a paper on it too, but you have to drill down a bit. [krelnik, Oct 04 2004]

Logitech Play Link http://www.logitech...1585,CONTENTID=9752
[krelnik, Nov 17 2004, last modified May 23 2005]

I for one don't understand. The first paragraph sounded like it was describing a little lan <-> wlan bridge (like the blue linksys ones etc).

However, the last paragraph suggests that the computer will have an additional wireless adapter, which confuses me. Also, I don't see why one might want to carry the device home and back. Help?

Edit: Okay, perhaps you mean that the device in question plugs into the network socket on the wall, not into the computer in question. Thus, the idea is about keeping an existing lan infrastructure, and just using wireless instead of the last 3m patch cable between the wall socket and the workstation.

This arrangement becomes more attractive with power-over-ethernet (afaik the standard is being finalised right now) so that the battery isn't required.

If this in fact the arrangement you're talking about, then I imagine you've already considered the problems with it (hence the first line of the first paragraph).
-- benjamin, Jun 15 2004


What are the advantages of this over 802.11?
-- david_scothern, Jun 15 2004


What you are describing is a "wireless/ethernet bridge" and there are many companies that make them. They are typically used to connect devices like an XBox or a Tivo, that only have Ethernet and no expansion capability, to a home wireless LAN.

The "can only connect to one computer" thing is just a configuration issue, that would depend on how easily configured the device is. One way to do this is to configure the base station to allow connections based on the unique address (the "MAC address") of the Ethernet card.

The desire to do this without a power adapter can be handled by requiring a laptop whose Ethernet port supports the new "Power over Ethernet" (IEEE802.3af). I don't think a AAA is enough to power an 802.11 radio for long.

I think the only real innovation here is the form factor.
-- krelnik, Jun 15 2004


I agree that this is a useful form factor. I think a lot of people would like to have a wireless connection but don't want to have to try to configure it. They are concerned about making their wireless connection secure, etc. This would allow a very secure connection with no configuration: basically just a wireless CAT5 cable.

Of course now that lots of devices have wireless technology built in, the number of people who would be willing to have a dongle hanging off the back of their machine just to make configuration easy is probably pretty small.

I'd say this idea could have been a huge success if they had been mass produced a year or two ago. Now that built in wireless is common, you've lost a lot of the market, so they would have to be more of a specialty item and you can't sell them as cheaply because the volume is lower. Of course they probably couldn't have been very good in the past because power over ethernet wasn't available, so I'd say this was a great product idea that didn't ever have a good marketing window.
-- scad mientist, Jun 15 2004


[krelnik], Form Factor IS an innovation. That's why the patent office issues a thing called a "Design Patent".
-- zigness, Jun 15 2004


I assume the intent is as ad hoc rather than infrastructure. If it did use a matched set, say, a Flash or SD slot WiFi adapter for the laptop instead of the built in WiFi along with the AP for the tap, then perhaps one could hard code extra security into the pair such that they could only “see” each other. MAC addresses are vulnerable as, believe it or not, the address is passed as cleartext at the start of the association dance. WEP is poor, too. Don't know how good WPA is.
-- bristolz, Jun 15 2004


How about building generic devices (all identical) and to initiate a random pair of these devices you plug them together allowing transfer for a public private key type affair can be initiated. Once the key has been passed the connection is estabilshed and continues to be used for encryption until such time as another device is plugged up and the old key is dumped. That way these things could be used all over the shop without any worries about which one connected to what thing where. Power Supply is still an issue I would hate to be copying a file when the battery runs out so I would concentrate on the USB2 dongle (just like these flash drives) and bin the whole Ethernet idea. Easier to configure and works just the same.
-- PainOCommonSense, Jun 16 2004


Um, I use one of these to connect to the other computers in my house. I also use one to connect to the internet right as I write.

Very, very baked.
-- DesertFox, Jun 16 2004


If I may expand upon the description, it sounds as if it's actually a pair of devices.

The first device is a wireless lan receiver device attached to the laptop computer. This device may be plug-in via USB or ethernet port, or it may be built-in.

The second device is a small box containing a power source and a wireless ethernet transmitter. This device plugs into an existing ethernet port at a location that supplies wired ethernet access but either does not supply wireless access or provides only unsecured wireless access.

This second device may also have wired connection capability such that it may be temporarily plugged into the client laptop for purposes of automatic encryption configuration. Functionality of this mode may be as simple as plugging both devices into the USB ports of the laptop and clicking a "configure wireless link for secure connection" button. Following this configuration, the transmitter module could be unplugged from the laptop and connected to the ethernet source. The link would be encrypted for connection only between the two devices, with little risk of interception, since all of the secure link setup is done via hard-wire connection.

Wireless may be commonplace now, but for potential high-security purposes, I give this a bun. (+)
-- Freefall, Jun 17 2004


I would love a network that was that easy to set up at times i have 3 or 4 computers i could use or at least have access to.
-- engineer1, Jun 17 2004


Hey, some engineers at Sony had the same idea. Of course, because they are Sony they designed it to work with their proprietary "Memory Stick" slot, and not a standard RJ-45. See link.

[UPDATE] Logitech has also baked almost exactly what you describe, as a product targeted at gamers who want to hook up their XBox to broadband, but don't want to run a cable to the TV. It uses 900Mhz so it can't conflict with other standardized wireless networking products you may also be using. See link.
-- krelnik, Jul 14 2004



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