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What To Do With Old 802.11b Equipment? 249

Posted by timothy
from the confuse-the-wardrivers dept.
CyberSlugGump writes "I am trying to declutter, and I have come across my cheap, off-brand, consumer-grade 802.11b wireless routers, PCMCIA cards, and USB adapters. The routers would still be good as 4-port 100Mb switches, and the other devices have at least 32-bit Windows XP drivers available. However, lack of security beyond WEP and the age of the equipment makes me wonder if it is worth any time putting it to use."
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What To Do With Old 802.11b Equipment?

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  • by jawtheshark (198669) * <slashdot@NosPAM.jawtheshark.com> on Thursday July 01, 2010 @03:02PM (#32761644) Homepage Journal

    However, I think the reply to is "trash them". I'm probably not using my imagination enough, so I'm eager to read to suggestions of others. I'm a tech dumpster-diver and even I had to up my standards regarding equipment. With computers, I won't take anything less than 1Ghz++ AMD XP or P-IV, preferably with DDR RAM, but I'm not all that picky since usually you have decide on the spot and can't just open the machine up first.

    With networking gear, I don't bother with anything beyond 100Mbps in wired and 802.11g for wireless. It simply is not worth the hassle.

    The only thing I really can think of, is use the hardware to make a wireless bridge if you have two locations to connect that are out of range (can-tenna, etc...) A 11Mbps directional link is better than no link at all. That said, considering the 802.11g prices, you can probably just do it with newer hardware that will use less power. 54Mbps gear is already to be found in dumpsters near you.... I'm not kidding.

    The other option would be to re-use it for people you can help in the low-income bracket. An older P-III laptop with a 802.11b card and a 802.11b router/access point is better than no gear at all. Still, my experience says that most people -even those in the lower income bracket- don't want the old gear. The few times I did manage to give away refurbished older hardware was to a single-income mom, working as an analyst in the tech sector, so her income wasn't "low" by any stretch of imagination, for her daughters use. (It was a AMD Athlon XP 2800+, 1GB RAM running Ubuntu 8.10 back then... Haven't gotten any news since). The others were just computer enthousiasts (professional or hobbists) who wanted something to toy around with.

    • by broken_chaos (1188549) on Thursday July 01, 2010 @03:04PM (#32761680)

      The other option would be to re-use it for people you can help in the low-income bracket. An older P-III laptop with a 802.11b card and a 802.11b router/access point is better than no gear at all. Still, my experience says that most people -even those in the lower income bracket- don't want the old gear at all.

      An alternative is donating it to charity. Some of them will probably take it and either give it away or set it up for use somewhere.

      Charities involving third-world countries (sorry, "developing nations") may be a particularly grateful bunch, even for old equipment.

      • by bami (1376931)

        >Charities involving third-world countries (sorry, "developing nations") may be a particularly grateful bunch, even for old equipment.

        Charities involving third-world countries usually results in dumping lots of toxic stuff into places that don't have the resources to clean it up properly.
        Seriously, they are better off with you hauling that stuff to a recycling center instead of having it shipped over there. Computers contain a lot of hazardous stuff, and when they are done with it, just dump it somewhere

    • by Tirs (195467)

      I agree. Trash them, same as you trashed your {2|3|4}86 boxes and your {MSDOS|WIN31} floppy disks.

      An alternative is to donate them to some non-profit organisation which sends them to third-world countries; imagine for example how a Haiti school could benefit from some wifi equipment (provided, of course, the NPO also gets a few computers for them!)

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I agree. Trash them, same as you trashed your {2|3|4}86 boxes and your {MSDOS|WIN31} floppy disks.

        I still have all of those, you insensitive clod!

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by cHiphead (17854)

        Just get married, your wife will make the decision for you. Or move across country with a house full of furniture. Or both. ;)

        (I once had a garage full of old equipment, marriage corrected that down to 2 laptops and a media server on the tv)

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by rwa2 (4391) *

      If you live in a densely populated area with lots of wifi access points around you, running old 802.11b gear will likely degrade the quality or at least the SNR of the other wifi networks on similar channels around you. So keep in mind that running some old gear in the airwaves around could as well do more harm by degrading the throughput of new gear. The new gear could make much more efficient use of the available spectrum, around you, which is getting to be more of a scarce shared resource.

      The only thin

    • Three Rs (Score:4, Insightful)

      by xaxa (988988) on Thursday July 01, 2010 @03:21PM (#32761986)

      Reduce -- too late, you presumably already have replacements
      Reuse -- Freecycle etc, charities,
      Recycle -- last option.

    • by Hatta (162192)

      I'm a tech dumpster-diver and even I had to up my standards regarding equipment. With computers, I won't take anything less than 1Ghz++ AMD XP or P-IV, preferably with DDR RAM, but I'm not all that picky since usually you have decide on the spot and can't just open the machine up first.

      On the other hand I won't take anything greater than a 486. Older computers are just more fun.

    • by jqh1 (212455) on Thursday July 01, 2010 @03:26PM (#32762086) Homepage

      ... a AMD Athlon XP 2800+, 1GB RAM running Ubuntu 8.10 back then... Haven't gotten any news since).

      -- you actually managed to give away equipment without getting tech support calls about it every week for the next 5 years? Please provide more details.

    • by tapanitarvainen (1155821) on Thursday July 01, 2010 @03:40PM (#32762328)

      my experience says that most people -even those in the lower income bracket- don't want the old gear.

      There are people who like old gear for philosophical reasons, even when money isn't really an issue. I recently found a good home for an Athlon XP 1500+ (1.3GHz) -based box as an email/www terminal in a used car parts shop (put in a 40GB disk and two 512MB DIMMs scavenged elsewhere and installed Ubuntu in it), and they've been happy with it - suits their business idea of recycling old stuff, they told me.

      I can remember many other amazingly old and slow machines that have found happy owners in people who could easily have bought new stuff if they wanted to.

      In general, though, I'd discard (= recycle properly) stuff that's been significantly superseded in terms of electricity consumption - if a new one saves its price in one year's electricity bill, there's no point in keeping the old one. But stuff that's just slow by modern standards, like 802.11b gear, may well find a happy owner in someone who ideologically likes recycling and doesn't need more speed (and quite a few people don't). But people in low income brackets are more likely to feel using old stuff is somehow demeaning and reject it for that reason, even if it'd be perfectly usable.

      • by DesScorp (410532)

        "I can remember many other amazingly old and slow machines that have found happy owners in people who could easily have bought new stuff if they wanted to."

        I've got an old Dell 333mhz Celeron box that I use as a server for a public access wi-fi network for our patrons at work, and many of the access points are 802.11b. Since it's a public, then WEP doesn't even come into it. The Dell has 320 mb of RAM, a 3 gig hard drive, and it runs Debian on XFCE with a minimal installation. Basically it's just a DHCP ser

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by postbigbang (761081)

        There's the generational trade off.

        If a machine can run Linux kernels 2.6.18+, then it can use cpufreq to take advantage of processor slowdown techniques.

        Windows Vista+ can do some of the same thing to save power, also Windows 2008+.

        The second you add in a hypervisor kernel, however, throw away all of your green savings as they grab systicks to themselves and you'll save nothing, kvm-in-the-kernel notwithstanding.

        The number of older machines that can save juice is somewhere between zero and none if they're

      • by cjb658 (1235986)

        Do old computers use more power than new ones? Power supplies have been increasing their wattage in the last 10-15 years.

        • by b0bby (201198)

          P4s use more power than modern machines. If you could use a PIII for something, an Atom would probably work as well & use even less power, though I'd rather reuse something all else being equal. The nominal wattage on a power supply doesn't really say all that much about what a machine is actually using.

          • My old 3.4GHz prescott system[1] used all of 750+ watts at full tilt and about 500 watts idle.
            My new systems combined[2] use just shy of 380 watts at idle (have not measured full load yet).
            so, yeah old computers draw a hell of a lot more power and are not worth the cost of keeping them on (or cooling the air in the summer).

            [1]: P4 Prescott 3.4 GHz
            2 gig DDR 533 ram
            2x250 gig HDD
            ATI mid level PEG card
            intel 915 chipset based ASUS board

            [2]a: core2quad 9600
            4 gig DDR2 1066
            9 hdds (750 gig through 2 TB)
            1 SSD
            raid con

        • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Thursday July 01, 2010 @04:30PM (#32763206) Journal
          It varies. The rated wattage(which is sometimes even not a lie) of "enthusiast" power supplies has been climbing steadily, as the ability to purchase and cool seriously toasty chips, often several per system, has become substantially cheaper and more widespread. Though, it should always be noted that "rated wattage" means "power it can deliver without Something Bad happening" not "Power it actually uses". The rated wattage of high-density servers has increased substantially for similar reasons, and those wattage ratings usually aren't lies.

          On the other hand, performance-per-watt has been improving markedly over the years, and the efficiency of non-crap PSUs has made decent strides. Also, the ability of modern chips(CPUs and GPUs particularly, though often smaller stuff as well) to intelligently throttle themselves when unused or lightly used has improved pretty markedly.

          Thus, it is basically impossible to say whether "old computers use more power than new ones". It's just too general a statement to be meaningful. On the one hand, nobody on the high end blinks at a 150watt TDP processor, where(back in the day), hitting 60 watts on your crazy overclock was considered seriously hardcore. On the other hand, an ever increasing proportion of computers in actual use are laptops which cram the entire computer, and a monitor, into a 60watt or less AC adapter, and conserve power on idle like their (battery) lives depend on it.

          In general, the ability of people, who don't have $250,000 to spare and a datacenter to house the beast, to buy very energy-hungry computers has increased significantly over time(1.5 kilowatt PSUs definitely didn't use to be retail items). On the other hand, though, performance per watt has gone through the roof(and CRTs have largely gone out the window). Whether ditching an old piece of gear for a new one is usually a case-by-case thing. If your mid-90's junker can be replaced by a weedy little plastic ARM box that runs off a wall wart that weighs under a hundred grams, the replacement almost certainly saves energy. Replacing a late-model PIII and a 17-inch CRT with a new Quad-core and a 28-inch LCD probably won't(though you will get surprisingly close to breaking even, and the performance will be a lot better).

          This is why the energy economics of using obsolete x86s as networking gear are usually pretty weak, while those of getting rid of generic business desktop c. 1999 just to replace it with generic business desktop c. 2009 probably won't be nearly as exciting(unless the ACPI on the old box was painfully broken, as it not infrequently was)...
      • by Hatta (162192)

        In general, though, I'd discard (= recycle properly) stuff that's been significantly superseded in terms of electricity consumption - if a new one saves its price in one year's electricity bill, there's no point in keeping the old one.

        It won't. I have a dual 450mhz P3 box doing light web browsing/music duty. I got a Kill-A-Watt device and calculated how much it was costing me to keep it running 24/7. Even if I assumed an Atom based replacement used 0W, it would have taken 2 years for a cheap Atom box to

        • did you figure in the cost of air-con in the summer time (and possibly winter depending on where you live)?

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by wall0159 (881759)

        It might make economic sense to buy a new more efficient computer to make savings on your electricity bills, but it's probably still worse environmentally. The amount of power and water used in the manufacture of an average PC is large, and is a cost that is not truly passed-on to the purchaser.
        I'm not saying don't buy new PCs because of this, just don't do it thinking it's better for the environment.

        "Gartner maintains that the PC manufacturing process accounts for 70 % of the natural resources used in the

    • by Pengo (28814)

      I have 2-3 routers like this at my house.

      I found that when i'm at my moms place, she has a lot of dead spots in her home. I've tried to catch reception from the back-yard patio for example. Their house was wired for ethernet, to at least 3 major points in the home which are all tied to the router. I created 2 access points on the 2 oposite sides of the house.

      Sure it's 802.11b , but that's enough for my iphone to connect to or one of my sisters to attach a laptop to , to simply check her Facebook or email

  • ebay (Score:4, Insightful)

    by kaptink (699820) on Thursday July 01, 2010 @03:03PM (#32761670) Homepage

    Simple

    Just like any other crap, bundle it all up and put it on ebay. The alternative is landfill.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by tiberus (258517)

      The alternative is landfill.

      Of course you meant to say recycle it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by hedwards (940851)
      Or in civilized parts of the world return them for recycling. I'm not sure about the rest of the country how yous handle it, but here in WA you can take that stuff back to pretty much any major electronics retailer and they'll recycle it for free. Since around here manufacturers have to pay for recycling, all we have to do is drop it off and they cover the tab. Sure we ultimately pay for it ourselves, but having the manufacturers handle it ensure that it's done efficiently.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Andy Dodd (701)

        Or ensure that it gets sent to a landfill in China... :(

        Apparently a lot of stuff destined for "recycling" winds up in one of the most polluted towns in the world instead.

      • Sure we ultimately pay for it ourselves, but having the manufacturers handle it ensure that it's done efficiently.

        In fact, since you already paid for it when you bought it, you might as well get your money's worth.

  • by ZackSchil (560462) on Thursday July 01, 2010 @03:07PM (#32761730)

    Throw it away and don't feel bad about it. New Jersey isn't even at 10% capacity yet.

    • I've seen Jersey Shore. I'd have to say that Jersey is full up.
  • by 0racle (667029) on Thursday July 01, 2010 @03:08PM (#32761738)
    If it is not useful to yourself or anyone you know don't just throw it away, find a local electronic recycling depot. In some places that can be hard, but at least if you have a Best Buy near you they will take it.
    • When I've researched the electronic recycling services, many seem to charge to take your gear. Even the one or two I recall that would take your stuff would make you pay for shipping. For the PCMCIA cards that may be a trivial amount, but depending on how much gear you've got and how much it weighs, it can add up fast.

      Like was said in the summary, the routers would be to (optionally) add alternative firmware on them and repurpose them as a firewall or network switch. the PCMCIA cards either pay for recyclin

      • The value of the materials you get out of the recycling aren't worth enough to sustain the recycling business on it's own, hence the cost. Shipping is a couple of bucks via USPS and typical recycling cost is 25 cents/pound.
  • by assemblerex (1275164) on Thursday July 01, 2010 @03:11PM (#32761804)
    http://www.computeraid.org/ [computeraid.org] refurbishes and ships this stuff to africa and beyond!
  • Freecycle (Score:5, Informative)

    by Myopic (18616) on Thursday July 01, 2010 @03:12PM (#32761816)

    When you don't want old computer equipment, you give it away on your local Freecycle. I thought everyone knew that.

    NB: does not work with CRT monitors.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by flippy10 (1846544)
      Yeah. If you want to get rid of CRTs... you might have to end up PAYING someone to take it away.
      • Goodwill took an old 17 inch CRT from me just a few months ago, no questions asked. It still had some life to it but not much. The guy didn't seem to care either way.
        • by Hatta (162192)

          I was at a salvation army last weekend. 10 CRT monitors for the price of 1.

      • CRTs respond quite well to a 30-06 or a dear slug...
      • Not as long as Wal-Mart has a dumpster out back, I won't.

      • by Quirkz (1206400)
        I just dropped off two old ones at Best Buy, who recycled them for me. I DID have to pay ($10 per monitor) but in exchange they gave me two $10 gift certificates. So basically they'll recycle a monitor for free as long as you're willing to spend $10 in their store.

        Considering my next best option was a local recycle center that would charge me $25 per monitor and give me nothing back (except a sense of civic pride?), it seemed like a no-brainer to me.
  • mischeif (Score:5, Funny)

    by SethJohnson (112166) on Thursday July 01, 2010 @03:13PM (#32761824) Homepage Journal
    Set the WIFI broadcast name of the router to something like, "George Hamilton cheated on his SATs!" where "George Hamilton" = your boss's name. Take it to work, plug it in, and hide it under your desk or someone else's. Can be used for all kinds of passive-aggressive complaining at work.
  • think local (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Flash it with something like DD-WRT that will let you use better encryption and allow for mesh networking, then get together with your local community and help them setup a community based wireless mesh network from your donation and other locals who have extra tech lying around unused.

  • by Animats (122034) on Thursday July 01, 2010 @03:16PM (#32761882) Homepage

    In Silicon Valley, you take stuff like that to Weird Stuff Warehouse [weirdstuff.com], which handles both surplus and electronics recycling. They're more into commercial gear, though; if you want previous-generation 1U servers, they have plenty.

  • Where's a link to an IT Hoarders episode when you need it? (damn work firewall)

  • WPA with TKIP is compatible with a number of .11b devices. A firmware/driver upgrade is usually what you need to support it.

    If that doesn't work, then recycle them.

  • by flippy10 (1846544) on Thursday July 01, 2010 @03:17PM (#32761920)
    Don't throw it out. Make a secondary network for music streaming. Compatibility permitting, put OpenWRT onto the router(s). Make a WAP for your car. Portable WAP via a small power supply. Practice cracking WEP keys. Annoy people by leaving it unsecured, but not connected to the Internet. Give it to someone who needs it. Turn off the wireless and create a protected subnet on your network. Make it make you toast. Set it up and yell at it when you get angry. Routers are tough, they can take it.
    • by langelgjm (860756)

      Practice cracking WEP keys.

      I just use other people's default FIOS installations for that.

    • Annoy people by leaving it unsecured, but not connected to the Internet.

      No, that's just wrong.

      Annoying) Mess with their surfing. [ex-parrot.com]
      Really annoying) Do so randomly.
      Evil) Same sort of idea using iptables, but instead of flipping html, slowly degrade speeds over the course of a couple of minutes.
      Satanic) Replace 10% of their images with goatse.

    • by blair1q (305137)

      Annoy people by leaving it unsecured, but not connected to the Internet.

      Mine's like that by default. Thanks, Cox, for sucking in a way that makes me look sardonic.

  • Freegeek (Score:3, Insightful)

    by GlowinOrb (835527) on Thursday July 01, 2010 @03:18PM (#32761926) Homepage
    If you happen to be in Portland, Freegeek does good things with your old stuff.
  • 802.11b has WPA (Score:2, Insightful)

    by stas2k (951288)
    Actually 802.11b has WPA support albeit only with TKIP ecncryption. It worked for me on linux prism hostap drivers after I updated card's firmware. So maybe you could use it, you don't need much bandwith if you just browse and SSH from your wireless devices. :)
  • by Bacon Bits (926911) on Thursday July 01, 2010 @03:21PM (#32761990)

    WPA was designed as an intermediate standard which would function on WEP-only hardware. That's why WPA uses TKIP instead of AES (which is what WPA2 uses). The devices may require firmware updates (which, of course, may not exist or may no longer be available) but the hardware itself is capable of WPA.

  • by Reed Solomon (897367) on Thursday July 01, 2010 @03:22PM (#32762020) Homepage

    you can usually turn off the wireless on most wireless routers and just use it as a regular old wired router, if it comes to that. but other than that, im sure you can donate it to the goodwill. I love goodwill. I got me a Samsung HT-XQ100 with digital optical in and a center speaker bar for $13 the other day and it works great for decoding digital audio from my WDTV box.. the only thing that didn't work was the DVD player doesn't load CD's or DVD's.. oh well, already got a DVD player anyways.. also got a famiclone for $1.50, whee... I don't need an 802.11b router, but there must be someone out there who could either use one of might enjoy hacking one to death.

  • Donate to ACCRC [accrc.org]. A recycling shop run by Linux geeks.
  • I've come across a hammer in my toolbox. Any idea what I could do with it? Is it worth any time putting it to use, or should I just leave it in my toolbox?

    (PS: aside from being cynical, this post also answers the OP question - using 802.11b equipment along with a hammer can be a whole-lotta fun ;)

  • Don't donate it! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jmaslak (39422) on Thursday July 01, 2010 @03:26PM (#32762080)

    Trash it (well, recycle it anyhow). Nobody wants the junk. Seriously.

    The idea that some third world country is grateful to get insecure, unstable, junk computer equipment...well, that's offensive. Rather than shipping your toxic (literally) junk halfway around the world, if you want to support computers in third world countries (hint: more than 802.11b access points, they need things like water and sewage), simply donate MONEY to an organization that is involved in these things. If education and improving the world is your goal, I'd recommend Unicef.

    Also, 802.11b uses radio, which means it needs to comply with whatever country's laws you send it to. US channels are not necessarily the third world's channels, and it's best to actually work with the government rather than assuming "They should be grateful weather or not is compatible with their usage of radio spectrum - Look at me, the rich person, doing nothing about their hunger, but giving them my trash I'm too cheap to recycle!"

    I've worked for non-profits, the other suggestion here. We had lots of people offer us worthless junk for tax write-off purposes. Apparently our mission was not important enough to have reliable computer equipment (we only fed the hungry, so we apparently, unlike business, didn't need a computer with things like a warranty). Anytime you have "free" equipment, if you don't have a plan in place to replace/repair it when it breaks, it's not worth having - because you will end up depending on the equipment, which will be a disaster when it fails (and you have no money to fix it).

    • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Thursday July 01, 2010 @03:33PM (#32762228)

      simply donate MONEY to an organization that is involved in these things.

      Yeah, because we all know that money goes directly to the people you want to help... (yes, there are some good charities but the vast majority puts most of the money in administrative fees or gets hung up somewhere)

      Look at me, the rich person, doing nothing about their hunger, but giving them my trash I'm too cheap to recycle!"

      This attitude is the reason why most people don't donate to the homeless or charities, if I have excess stuff that is working, someone can probably use it that isn't me. If I have money, I can use it because most of us don't have much of it at the moment.

      Plus, there are a lot of countries where the people are just poor, not starving, but just poor and really, old computer equipment could probably help them escape poverty. I know I got my start in computers by playing with old hardware then figuring out what made them work and changing it, chances are someone poor can do that too.

      Anytime you have "free" equipment, if you don't have a plan in place to replace/repair it when it breaks, it's not worth having - because you will end up depending on the equipment, which will be a disaster when it fails (and you have no money to fix it).

      Just learn how to salvage. The majority of my desktops were built from old parts found for $.50 at a garage sale, an old HDD there, an optical drive here, etc. just wipe whatever OS is on there and replace it with a suitable replacement. Puppy Linux is always a good bet.

      • by Whorhay (1319089)
        The warranty bit in particular amused me. The only thing I would ever expect to need a warranty on is equipment that is broken on arrival. Maintaining ones equipment or tools should be part and parcel of any person's job.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Stray7Xi (698337)

        Anytime you have "free" equipment, if you don't have a plan in place to replace/repair it when it breaks, it's not worth having - because you will end up depending on the equipment, which will be a disaster when it fails (and you have no money to fix it).

        Just learn how to salvage. The majority of my desktops were built from old parts found for $.50 at a garage sale, an old HDD there, an optical drive here, etc. just wipe whatever OS is on there and replace it with a suitable replacement. Puppy Linux is always a good bet.

        Are you donating your time to fix it? It's not the equipment that's the problem, they have a glut of junk. The problem is getting the people to support the junk with hundreds of different hardware configurations. A one-off configuration of obsolete hardware is not a gift, it's a liability. If you can donate at least a dozen of the same device, go for it.

  • At some point, the hassle of working with old junk and making it work, putting up with how slow it is, dealing with failing electronics, and so forth isn't worth it.

    I have 17 Pentium 3 class systems in my basement in a render farm. Sure, it's neat to have so many systems. But for my purpose, a single $300 quad core box literally has more compute power, more memory, more memory bandwidth, and uses way less electricity. Plus you don't have to maintain a billion systems. And it takes up less space. And t

  • If it's a wireless router, disable the wireless and keep it around as a backup router in case another fails, or as one to deploy at friends/family when they need to share a connection with multiple computers.

    I had an old Linksys 802.11b access point whose wireless didn't work. I opened it up, removed the handy WiFi PCMCIA card, and use it as a router. Removing the non-working WiFi card reduced power usage by about one watt.

  • by xororand (860319) on Thursday July 01, 2010 @03:30PM (#32762150)

    You could use one of the old wireless routers to provide free & anonymous Internet access to others by routing all the traffic through TOR.

    1. Disable any encryption & access restriction like MAC filters
    2. Plug it into a separate ethernet port of a server / machine that's running 24/7
    3. Route all the traffic through TOR [torproject.org]
    4. Throttle its traffic (QOS)

    When your neighbor's Internet breaks down some day, they will be thankful for the free, albeit slow, Access Point of yours. Thanks to TOR, you don't have to fear any consequences for any mischief that's conducted over your AP.

  • Freecycle them or put them on Craigslist in the free section. Someone will come get em.
  • I would expect if you really thought it over you could come up with some uses for that hardware that don't require the latest, greatest, sexyest security. For example, you could probably build a lower-power print server using the 802.11b stuff; do you really need the best possible security for a print server?

    Another possibility is to ask around and see if you can find someone who lives in a less-densely-populated area that could safely use less secure hardware. You might know someone who lives in the bo
  • by RobertB-DC (622190) * on Thursday July 01, 2010 @03:43PM (#32762382) Homepage Journal

    The submitter doesn't know what to do with his 802.11b networking equipment, and says it's outdated? What the hell should I do, then, with my closet full of 802.11a adapters?

    Seriously -- I got some Intel equipment for $5 a piece, originally $300+, and used it to build my first wireless network. It was a real Frankenstein's Monster of a setup, too: a dialup connection, a Coyote Linux box, and this crazy grey box that was so inefficient, it had a cooling fan built in. The thing didn't even have any sort of basic wired router/switch capability. It sat on top of the fridge for a couple of years... until we went to move it and saw that the warmth had turned it into a magnet for roaches. You've heard of a Roach Motel? This was a high-rise Roach Health Spa. That particular 802.11a adapter went straight into the burn bin (plastic and all).

    Sadly, though, I still had three more units. At $5 each, I'd bought four.

    To answer my own question, though, of what to do with them... I dropped them off before business hours at a local PC repair shop last week, along with a half-dozen old PCs that the kids were tired of tripping over. I hope they'll be able to put them to good use. After all, who's going to be able to eavesdrop on an 802.11a wireless connection?

    • by socz (1057222)
      I approve of your approach to hardware!

      Recently, I tried to go the 'environmentally friendly' route and consolidated all my bsd needs into one dual core atom system. Surprisingly (at least to me!), is that it takes up no more than 30 watts! My monitor (LCD) takes up more than that!

      I mention it because of the heat/inefficiency/cooling fan line of yours. It is easy to run 2 or even 3 machines when they're off and on again. But when you start running those or more 24/7, the electric bill adds up.
    • Actually 'a' is kinda handy, since it runs in the 5ghz band, which isn't quite as viciously congested. There's a fair bit of 'a' compatible equipment out there.
  • Yeah that's right.. No bloody A, B, G, or N. the RAW real original 2MB cards. I actually got them for free as we asked the company that made them for some "samples" so we could do testing on them.. And they sent us 5 with 2 PCMCIA "ISA" cards :) But that was so 1998.

  • I thought B was found to have a 'unfixable' security flaw years ago?
  • Normally, as not only a member but the founder of GhettoBSD, I would say to keep it and stick it in a future box you might happen to obtain. But being how times have changed, it might not be such a great idea to continue using it as it will hold back the speed of access for whatever ends up using it.

    But what would be GhettoBSD Approved! Is that you build a little set up and donate it to a school. Yeah, they probably have things 4x better than what you could provide, but they could give it away to a child
  • Doorstops.
  • Two words: (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Locke2005 (849178) on Thursday July 01, 2010 @04:19PM (#32763028)
    Free Geek [freegeek.org]
  • There's three things you can do: you can donate/sell/discard the
    item, you can keep it against future need, you can offer it
    to friends/neighbors etc.

    The donate/sell path is useful to the next owner (don't knock
    WEP, for a lot of folk it's quite sufficient), provided he/she
    can figure out the configuration procedure. Scribble the
    configuration address on the case, and fasten the AC adapter
    securely to the router, if you go this path.

    Keeping it, you can turn off the transmitter and DHCP functions
    and it's a switch

  • There are tons of uses; if you can't think of them, then

    You can set up a wireless bridge between two distant points. See if you can't get ahold of some old Dish Networks reciever dishes.

    And, significantly: freecycle them/give them away. There are a lot of people who use really old stuff and would love free upgrades (you know, manual laborers who are none the less intelligent and enjoy tinkering).

  • by sydbarrett74 (74307) <sydbarrett74.gmail@com> on Thursday July 01, 2010 @04:37PM (#32763308)
    Take the stuff to Best Buy and they'll recycle it in a responsible manner. Landfilling it is unacceptable in this day and age.
  • Find an organization that needs computer equipment. I've donated a lot of working equipment to a local homeschool coop. Other possibilities are: Charter schools, underprivileged/low-income, churches, non-profit organizations.

    But please don't waste their time passing off stuff that doesn't work. If it's junk, then junk it. (Or recycle, whatever your location has available.)

    In Portland, there's Freegeeks. They'll take pretty much anything that works.

When the weight of the paperwork equals the weight of the plane, the plane will fly. -- Donald Douglas

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