August 16, 2006

Beam me up!

Posted in Commentary at 9:03 pm by Michael Sweeney Media

One of the great things about my Macs is the wireless that is built to them. The downside is that in my two story house, I have a few dead zones from weak signals and noisy neighbors. I have two access points in place, a Cisco30mw unit which has been bullet proof for the past three years but slowwwww. And a 20 to 100mw unit which started life as a Linksys before an “upgrade”. The Macs have always worked troublefree with the Cisco unit but it tooks months to get them working with Tiger and the Linksys. Finally after a patch from Apple, I could use WEP with the Linksys and have it work. Now, I need to correct my dead zones. Enter some old/new technology which runs your network over power lines. Not too complicated from an electrical standpoint but troubleshome for noise and speed. But according to Mossberg in the WSJ, the Netgear WGXB102 54Mbps Wall-Plugged Wireless Range Extender Kit has it all and it works. Ethernet over AC lines and a Wireless link. The price is right at Amazon right now at 119 bucks with a 20 dollar refund/rebate. So for a bit more than a normal access point, I might be able to extend my network via the AC lines and finally get some decent coverage in the living room 🙂

A second note of interest is not Mac related but more administrator related. Many of us have to support the Windoze world as part of our job while we hope that the powers that be get smart and go OSX. One aspect of my job at times is to migrate a server from old hardware to new. In this case, it was a old Dell dual PIII server on a RAID 5 array that needed to go to a new Dell 1850 Xeon with RAID 0. Normally, I try to clone the server using my favorite tool, Acronis True Image. But in this case, the image crashed on boot, too many differences.

But Acronis has a new product called “Universal Restore” that will examine the new hardware and get the proper HAL, drivers etc for the new system and insert them on the fly during the cold metal restore. And it WORKED! In less than two hours I had migrated the Windows 2003 OS and the TS license server application to the new Dell and had it up and running. The TS license server was the pain in the ass since I was supposed to call Microsoft and have them re-issue the licenses for TS. What a pain that was going to be.

Like I said, not a Mac toy but way too cool not to share for those of us supporting the Windows world.

In a few weeks once I have ordered my NetGear AC adapter, I will post my sucess or failure of running wireless over AC power lines. I should also have a new Blue Snowball USB mic to start putting together some pod casts. You have to love eBay at times 🙂 aside from the fact you can go very broke very quickly bidding on this and that.



  1. Dan said,

    Walt’s column was great, as usual, but you should check out the newest powerline adapters on the marketplace: NETGEAR’s HDXB101. I work with DS2, the company that builds the technology inside. These go up to 200 Mbps, making them the only adapters that can allow you stream video or music to areas throughout the home. It also works for IPTV, which is hopefully coming soon to a set-top box near you. You can pick the adapters up at Best Buy (just make sure they’re the new model).

  2. hackamac said,

    This is good information on the different version of the AC/Ethernet adapter. 200Mb over the AC lines is impressive given how the lines are installed. I will have to take a look and see if I can find them here locally. Thanks for the post

  3. hackamac said,

    Well, I have to say that the wireless extender works very well for me. It did just as I wanted. I was able to plugin to the network upstairs and extended downstairs to get full coverage with the wireless where I did not have any before or marginal coverage.

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