I just got a laptop and I want to wirelessly connect to my current network (there will be a total of three PCs and one laptop). I would also like to make the entire network wireless at some point. My question is: If I buy a wireless router and the wireless cardbus adapter for the laptop, can the "wired" parts of the network be connected through the wireless router or do I have to buy a separate adapter for each PC and wirelessly connect them as well? I was considering buying an access point instead of a router, but if I decide to go completely wireless at some point I figured that a router would be a better way to go if the "wired" and wireless networks could be combined on the one router.
Most residential wireless routers have a built-in 4-port 10 Mbps Ethernet hubs or switches. Some examples include the
. You should have little trouble finding a wireless router that will let you connect two PCs with Ethernet and your laptop with Wi-Fi. All three PCs will be members of the same subnet, relaying traffic through the wireless router to the Internet or each other.
A wireless router is generally a better solution for home networking because it combines several functions that you probably need (hub, firewall/router, and wireless AP) in one box. Wireless APs are generally better solutions for company networks where firewalls and routers and switches already exist, and several APs may be necessary to provide wireless coverage over a larger area.