RV Travel Report on
PC LANs

Updated on June 6, 1999


Some people have no computers in their RV, some a single computer, others have two. We have three. I am not bragging, it is just that it has seemed pointless to get rid of the older ones when we got a new one. Now our count is one 400MHz K6-2 desktop and two Toshiba Satellite laptops (166 and 233MHz Pentiums).

When you have more than one computer, you run into the problem of sharing resources, like files and printers. You have the need for a LAN (Local Area Network) that allows the computers to talk with one another and share resources.

I had already run Category 5 wiring through our trailer suitable to set up a LAN connecting our computing gear. But when it came time to finish the project, that plan ran into a snag; it required that I purchase an Ethernet NIC (Network Interface Card) for each of the computers. I had one for the desktop, but NIC cards for the laptops were a bit pricey (about $200 each), and I had not yet purchased them. With three laptops I was being pushed outside my budget.

Local Area NetworkingThen a friendly salesman at Fry's showed me the Aviator units from Webgear. This is a wireless LAN system operating in the 900 MHz radio range over short (75') distances. It has all the right features. It connects to the computers through a standard parallel port. It only operates at a speed of 1 Mbps (megabit/second) compared to 10 Mbps for Ethernet, but I do not need blinding speed. With a wireless system I would not be tied by a cable to a wall connector; I could even work outside and still be connected. Most importantly, each Aviator set consisted of two transceivers, two cables, a Parallel Adapter Card, and the necessary software, and each set cost only $169. I sold myself and decided to save $160 and go wireless!

Of course, I did not know of some of the hidden problems that awaited me. I will relate those as time goes on, but for now I need to get the rest of this web site in place.

Just to say though, we find the LAN connections to be a great benefit in our rig. Not everyone has so many computers, but I believe it would be useful even if we had only two.


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