My Home Goes Wireless

I have been dreaming wireless world for a long time. Today, I am so excited to setup a wireless world in my home – the wireless base station and wireless network card.

Connecting everything together

I bought the Microsoft Wireless Broadband Base Station NM500 months ago. Today, I finally find some time to set it up. Below is the diagram about how I connect the ADSL modem, the wireless base station and the existing hub together.

This is a very typical network diagram in Shanghai – I was using dial-up, then changed to Great Wall Broadband and finally, I found ADSL is still the best home network solution.

Laptop without wires

It is very cool that my laptop can directly connects to the base station via wireless connections. I just carrying my laptop to everyone of the room to test the signal – it is still satisfactionary. Now I can lean on my bed and type these words. Fantastic!


The AP, as I mentioned, is Microsoft NM500. It is something around 129 USD when I bought it.


Actually, it is a very expensive equipment. You know, in Shanghai, the Shanghai Telecom offers Tian Yi Tong, the wireless access solution for home and small business. Before May 20, for existing ADSL user like me, I only need to pay 110 RMB for:

  • A free Wireless Network Card
  • An Access Point equipment (The monthly base fee will be increased to 150 RMB, adding the 20 RMB as the equipment leasing fee)
  • Wireless access at home.
  • Wireless access at many public places. It is said Starbucks, Hagendaze, and many hotels are hot spot of wireless network.

Tianyitong or another Wireless network card?

I need another network card for my other computer. You know, both of Wendy and I are using the laptop frequently at home so one wireless network card is not enough. Now I need to make the decision whether to buy a new wireless network card (150 RMB should be enough to get one on, or subscribe Tian Yi Tong (110 RMB plus 20 more RMB each month). I have seen the network card of Tian Yi Tong – it is pretty good.

The best thing of Tian Yi Tong is, with the extension of coverage of public access point, it will be very cool to broadcast what I see to my friends online if I am in Starbucks, or KFC…

Taimei asked me whehter you should by a wireless AP and network seperately or subscribe Tian Yi Tong. Well. If the current price of Tian Yi Tong remains, subscribe Tian Yi Tong is definitely cheaper (310 RMB in total or 110 RMB for ADSL upgrade). I haven’t decided because I already have the AP.

Not sure what the price will look like after May 20. Maybe much higher. Then buying the equipments seperately may be a good choice.

28 thoughts on “My Home Goes Wireless

  1. Jianshuo,

    I’ve been in LA for five days. I just went onto your site and read this article on your wireless installation.

    I’m a layman on computer/internet connection matters. I got interested in your wireless connection because we are avid users of the Internet. Right now,` we’re staying at a service apartment where we have ADSL service. But we have bought a condo in Puxi near Shanghai TV station. I’m hoping we can get the furnishing work started soon and to move into our new house in late July. By then we would need to have Internet service.

    I couldn’t make out whether you recommand readers to buy a Microsoft NM500 software or to sign up the wireless connection through Tian Yi Tong’s service. Since I’m in the States right now, it’d be easy for me to buy this software if it’s better than Tian Yi Tong’s.

    Your imput on this is greatly appreciated.


  2. Hi,

    When you look into wireless equipment, and are deciding which is “better”, I think it’s important to indicate your requirements. That will help you determine what kind of equipment will serve your needs. The first thing that comes to mind is security. What level of security do you want to achieve? One example is enabling WEP. Right now you can choose between 40 bit and 128 bit WEP encryption. Both your base station and the cards will need to support 128-bit WEP if that’s what you want. From there, different cards can handle the encryption/decryption at different speeds.

    Another area worth looking into is the interface and features of the base station. Some basic features include address filtering (so you can indicate which MAC address are allowed), logging, signal strength and distance (important if you have a big apartment), etc.

    Of course, finally there is the issue of cost. The Tian Yi Tong solution sounds very nice, given the cost. When you say they provide access at public places, does that mean you don’t have to pay for it when using it there? For example here in the US, when we use wireless connection at Starbucks, we have to pay by the amount of data used.

    Let me know if you have further questions and I’ll do my best to answer them.


  3. Johnny, welcome to this site and thanks for your wonderful answers to the questions of choosing hardward. I am impressed by the clear outline of the essential aspects of a wireless network equipment you gave. Thanks for offering help, which added so much value to this community.

    Regarding the public area wireless access for Tian Yi Tong, I am not very sure of the charging model yet. According to the representive from Shanghai Telecom on the phone (hotline number: 1000), there is no additional charge, which means free because Tian Yi Tong is 150 RMB for all-you-can-eat package. But I doubt whether it is true since the hotline support does not always provide the accurate information.

  4. So exciting to read something about wireless connection.

    B’cause I just set up a wireless connection with my friend’s broadband whose flat is about 50 metres away from mine, but my room is unfortunately in the corner of the block’s back side. So we had tried so many different antenna to catch the weak signal. Finally we did, it is enterasys roamabout tm.

    Now we tried strengthen the signal from the basestation. Depending how well nm500 works, if its outgoing signal can reach 100 metres, the price is quite good.

    And also like what johnny said, the security is important, we do have the address filtering to allow the mac address we know, but after we set up the connection, we did find another wireless network, we still wonder if others could break the address filtering function, even we couldn’t do that, but others might be.

    By the way, we made one antenna by ourselves, it works in some direction, and now one friend is using it. amazing and exciting!

  5. Firstly more powerful base station covers wider area obviously. About the atennna, the one we are using is made by enterasys, quite valuable.

    We made one using pringles tube according to the web resources as below

    Believe me, it works :) with the face to face direction.

    If you want more information, just google with keeyword: pringles and wireless, massive things will come out.

    We are now thinking of security stuff, like to share with you.


  6. min, thanks for sharing. I will check the resources to see if I can be create my own antena. Please share with us more about the security stuff. Wireless is really interesting thing.

  7. Hi,

    Thank you for your generous contribution on your website to assist/help expatriates. I am a Singaporean in the finance profession working in Shanghai and currently staying at the Company hostel in Shanghai. Need more information. On broadband and adsl. Please clarify whether you are currently subscribed to Great Wall or China Telecom ADSL? and which is better?. Wonder if I can apply under residential rates but using the Company registered telephone lines (for the ADSL)? This is for my personal use.

    On your wireless connection at your home. Seems good. May adopt the same. Need your expert advise on the equipment etc.



  8. Hi Kim,

    Thanks for the compliments. I was using Great Wall Broadband but I quit at last. The network service standard was very good at the begining, see

    But later, I cannot bear the continous out of service of the network and the bad service from their customer representives. At last, I quitted and subscribed ADSL. It is very good.

    For the wireless, let me know what you are particular interested in.

  9. Hi, Jian Shuo,

    First, I would need to subscribe to China Telecom for the ADSL. Do they provide the modem with the subscription or is it purchased separately. What type/brand should I buy?

    Re wireless, what are the equipment for the broadband I should have to look into. Should I buy in Singapore or in Shanghai? In fact I am now in Singapore. Wonder if those in Singapore is compatible with those in Shanghai? Frankly, this is my first time into broadband and adsl.

    Thanks in advance for your expert advice.


  10. All the equipment comes with the service. You don’t need to buy anything for the service.

    For ADSL, they provide the ADSL modem.

    For WLAN, they provide both the Wireless AP and the Wireless card (PCMIA or USB interface)

  11. Hi Jian Shuo,

    Just had a look of your website. You have developed a very informative forum. :)

    Just out of my curosity…

    Regarding your broadband subscription,since your wireless dream is in full swing, do you still need the ADSL service from China Telecom?



  12. Hi Pan,

    Actually, the wireless service is just the rent of the device and the abiblity to get Internet access in public hot spot. At home, I need a ADSL modem to dial to the Internet and the Wireless AP to send the signal to my wireless card. To be short, Wireless subscription is based on the existance of ADSL subscription.

  13. Hi Jian Shuo,

    I see. I thought that the wireless service could provide you access to the Internet while working from home. Hmm, the coverage of hotspots seems to be limited to the public areas. Thus, how about connection speeds? A default ADSL connection speed or a higher speed?



  14. Umm…I’m not here try to disappoint everyone. WiFi is really pretty amazing piece of technology, and it definitely made our lives much more entertaining or even influenced on our daily lifestyles. However, put aside all the fancy stuff, a very down to earth question: Is it wireless safe for us, is it safe for biological beings?

    WiFi, Cell Phone, Cordless home phone, and microwave, even nuclear bomb. they all pretty much related to radiation. With all that lot of radiation going on in your living room 24/7 although it’s operating at a extremely low power, but you are constant exposed to. Do you feel safe that you are so close to it. The long term effects, no one knows. I was thinking of getting an apple airport extreme. But on second thought, just stick to my old Linksys 4 port 100baseT.

    Until there is hard evidence to prove that long term exposure and usage of wireless products are biologically safe, then I probably will consider again. Who knows, maybe by then, there are even better communication mediums available.

  15. Jian Shuo,

    Nothing technical to add. Kudos on what continues to be one of my favorite blogs!

  16. Just a comment for James regarding wireless products.

    The radiated transmission power of many wireless 802.11 products is quite low. Much lower than that used by your mobile phone. In an indoor environment, many Wifi products also allow you too drop the transmission power. So you can further reduce any radiation.

    There have been numerous studies about the effects of wireless transmissions on humans. To date none are conclusively for or against. Having said that, none of these studies consider long term effects as mobiles are a recent phenomenon. You are more likely to be affected by overhead power lines and transformer base stations and even your TV. ;-) However, as a wireless researcher, my personal feeling is to use my mobile phone as little as possible. But Wifi seems safe enough.

    kind regards

  17. Jian Shuo,

    I recently moved to Shanghai from the U.S. and will likely be here for 2 or more years. Just moved into apartment in French Concession area and got ADSL hooked up today. It is not connected properly yet as you cannot use the phone at the same time. However, I had a wireless AP at home so I would like to set up the same here. I have purchased a LinkSys Wireless Router from Computer City (one that works on 220V) and my laptop already has wireless card built in. My questions to you are:

    1. Assuming no wireless, can you connect more than one computer to ADSL without being charged twice? I have run into this in Shanghai previously with broadband at hotel.

    2. Did you set up your wireless connection so that it is encrypted (i.e. no one else can use it)?

    Many Thanks… Barry

  18. Hey, I just wanted to ask you about setting up my base stations and my wireles network cards.

    I have ADSL line, and I want to make a wireless connection for my friend. But I’ve got a problem. The destination between his house and my house is aproximately 600 meters. Tell me please how can I do this and what kind of equipment I am going to need. Please if you can send this to my e-mail address because it’s very important and urgent.

    Thank you.

  19. im a student of engineering doing a project on wi fi tranmition and rieciver ovar a distance of 10 km i need your assistance for a circuit diagram or any aid towards this project,plzzzzzz

  20. Dear Jian Shuo,

    I am moving to Shanghai at the end of the year and am deciding to buy a lap top from Dubai.Could you suggest which brand I should buy,because I am worried about things such as service ,support..etcRight now we are trying to decide between Dell,Toshiba or Lenova(because its a chinese brand).Your blog is very helpful I have got more info about shanghai than any other.


  21. Eapen, in my experience, the service of Dell is really good. Although the Dell computer does not work well all the time, they always arrive the second day and exchange some part for new one. So if you are talking about service, I would recommend Dell. But make sure your computer is covered by the Dell terms of services.

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