Setup of Wireless LAN for thin client network

Tabris darkpeace at
Sun Nov 16 18:12:16 EST 2003

Please remove me from this mailing list ASAP


----- Original Message -----
From: "Jim Carter" <jimc at>
To: "Stephen Liu" <satimis at>
Cc: <wireless at>
Sent: Saturday, November 15, 2003 4:21 AM
Subject: Re: Setup of Wireless LAN for thin client network

> On Fri, 14 Nov 2003, Stephen Liu wrote:
> > I am running a thin client system - LTSP/K12osn.  Each diskless desktop
> > workstation is without hard drive.  They are connected to the server via
> > a switch and running X server (X window) from the latter on their screen
> > and booted with a rom on NIC.  Notebook connection is also possible
> > booted from floppy with a booting image installed.
> >
> > Now I am prepared to convert the system to Wireless LAN.  According to
> > suggestion for diskless desktop workstation it is possible.  For
> > notebook chance is remote.
> A number of years ago UCLA-Mathnet used a similar arrangement to good
> effect (on wired Ethernet).  However, as the cost of discs and
> general-purpose PCs went down we decided it was more cost-effective to put
> US$600 PC's on people's desktops, and to keep them updated by
> locally-written scripts.  This is particularly easy for Linux.  For
> we have engaged "automatic update" and it is working out pretty well.
> Plus we can get people to do much of their work, and to occupy swap space,
> on their own machines rather than on the servers.
> I encourage users to do on the local machine:
>     xterm -e "slogin -X serverhost"
> (using an alias or a menu item for the principal servers).  This puts most
> of the resource usage, for the xterm, on the local machine.  But when they
> use graphical apps on the server such as maple, matlab or mathematica,
> X-windows service is available.  But we tell them to run matlab on the
> local host too; our license scheme allows that.
> On the wireless issue, the kinds of setup info (ESSID, WEP key) that's
> needed could easily be included on a boot floppy, but I doubt that a boot
> PROM would have the flexibility to handle this.  But who knows, you may
> have found a vendor with a smart boot PROM.
> If only a few people will use the system at a time, it should work OK.
> Certainly at home and at work I use my laptop with X-windows across the
> wireless net (though when possible I use the local xterm method) , but if
> you have 50 to 100 workstations I'm afraid that they would fight for
> bandwidth.  In comparison, your wired network switch can handle multiple
> connections simultaneously, so the total throughput is several times the
> nominal network bandwidth (10 MHz or 100 MHz), provided the users are
> distributed over several servers.
> One possibility is a hybrid system: run wires to most of the clients, but
> for two or three that are impossible to reach, use wireless.  On the
> notebook computers, I would recommend using a general-purpose operating
> system so the users have freedom to do general-purpose work on them.
> I have a user support page for setting up a wireless card:
> Hope this helps!
> James F. Carter          Voice 310 825 2897    FAX 310 206 6673
> UCLA-Mathnet;  6115 MSA; 405 Hilgard Ave.; Los Angeles, CA, USA
> Email: jimc at (q.v. for PGP

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