Rewiring the wireless network

smc 2671W wireless ethernet adapter

Now that all the major appliances are in and working (we had a plumber out on Monday setting up new pipes for the washing machine and cutting a vent for the dryer), we’re turning our attention to finer points. Like printing.

In the Seattle house, we had cable running to our bedroom, and had a little network corner there. On one Ikea mini-bedside-table (really four two-by-two pieces of Ikea wood in a sort of box shape), we had:

  • The cable modem, connected to:
  • An old Asante ten-port Ethernet router (courtesy Glenn Fleishman’s office move and $5), connected to:
  • Our SMC Barracuda 802.11B wireless router, and
  • Our HP LaserJet 2100 with an Ethernet print server card
  • A barely working HP DeskJet color inkjet printer (connected to the Barracuda)

With this setup, we could print to either printer wirelessly from anywhere in the house. Lisa could also jack into the router if she was working on sensitive stuff that she didn’t want to transmit wirelessly. I described the process of hooking up the SMC, and getting the printer to work, earlier.

Fast forward to the Arlington house. Here we have set up a bedroom that does not have cable as our office space. We’ve accordingly hooked up the cable modem and wireless router in the living room, where they’re more or less discreetly tucked in among the audiovisual equipment. This means we need a new solution to hook in the laser printer, since we do not want it sitting out in the living room. (We’ve all but given up on the DeskJet. We just don’t need color very often and the consumables are expensive, and tend to dry up if you don’t use them for long periods of time.)

I wanted to do an AirPort Express, but I’m not sure it would work to put the LaserJet on the network (if I have time, I’ll check this out at the Apple store). Also, at $130 it’s a little more than I wanted to spend just to get the printer back on line. So I’m looking at SMC’s 2671W EZ Connect 802.11b Wireless Ethernet Adapter. For a product with such an ungainly name, it only does one thing: get Ethernet only devices onto a wireless network. And it’s almost exactly half the price of the AirPort Express.

I should have an update in a few days about how the install worked.

(Incidentally, 802.11b is one reason that going all-out on structured wiring hasn’t made sense to me. But the fact that we still have Ethernet only devices is giving me cause to rethink that point, though buying an adapter is cheaper and easier than snaking cable up through walls that we’ve never opened. Maybe when we do a big remodel.)