Wireless with iBook

Well. I am taking my time exploring that iBook I've received just short of 3 weeks ago, and I am also taking my time updating this journal. For the last week, I spent more and more time on my Mac, and for some nights I didn't even bother to power on my Dell Inspiron 8000, which is pretty unusual for me. The Apple iBook is really a pleasant machine to use, but my exploring is not without glitches. Here is my experience with the wireless capability of iBook through AirPort, and I will catch up with more posts later...


Asus WL-300 First of all, I am off the wire! It is a shame to have to be tied to the Ethernet cable when you can have 4-5 hours of battery power from your hard working G3 processor. But now I am not only off the grid, but also off the network pipe as well. I am using a Asus WL-300 802.11b access point connected to my wired network, and then use iBook's built-in Airport to connect to the base station. I found Asus provides very good coverage. Well, I can't really verify that because I always get 4 bars on my signal strength inside my flat, which is actually pretty small (around 15 metres from the AP to kitchen). The speed of 802.11b (yes, the 900Mhz iBook does not have the new 802.11g Airport Extreme) is fine - at least I didn't notice any slow down while I am browsing, sshing, listening to the MP3, etc, at the same time. The network configuration is pretty straight forward as well - the DHCP server on my server box automatically assign a new IP address on the same network to the Airport card, plus configuring the default route, NS, etc. And it is great to be off the wire - it really makes a portable computer truly portable. There is no point to get a notebook computer if it is going to sit on the desk most of the time, because of the restriction of power or network cables. I have been on Wi-Fi for 2 weeks, and I've wondered why I did not get on earlier.

Last Saturday at Hajime's (a Mac OS 9 fan) place, he showed me more tricks with the Airport. Apparently with Mac OS 9 you can create a software emulated access point using an Airport-equipped Mac. In his case, he is using a 500Mhz G3 PowerBook Prismo to act as the access point, and all other notebooks in the household (a Toshiba and a Dell) can all go on-line by connecting to the software emulated AP. However, this feature is not yet implemented in Mac OS X so Hajime felt reluctant to move. I guess Apple somehow has to sell their AirPort AP so they will probably never include that feature. It is still cool that in a WLAN party where someone forgets to bring along the access point. "No worry man, let me be the host..." and then boots into Mac OS 9...