First of all, these days any wireless networking product that relies
on the same technology (such as 802.11b) is compatible with all others
with the same designation. Just to be sure, I looked into the various
products you are considering.
From dell's website, I got a look at the truemobile built in card you
are considering: [ http://accessories.us.dell.com/sna/productdetail.asp?Sku=430-3572&category_id=&customer_id=19
]. The picture of this card [
] looked surprisingly like another card I have seen before, which lead
me to believe it is a remarked orinoco mini pci network adapter.
If this is the case, I can garunteee compatibility with other
equipment, since not only is this the most common brand of wireless
adapter (the exact card goes by at least a dozen brand names), it is
fully compatible with the 802.11b wirelss network spec. I decided to
look a little deeper to see if this was the same card.
When doing a search for "TrueMobile 1150 Mini-PCI" on google, I came
accross numerous references to this card being identical to the mini
pci orinoco cards. The first such was at this forum [
http://www.geocrawler.com/archives/3/163/2001/7/0/6285797/ ], where a
person said "I have been thinking of using one of the
wavelan/orinoco/dell mini-pci cards, but before I get one I'd just
like to find out if they are working on FreeBSD." I happen to know
that orinoco is the same as wavelan (wavelan is an older brand name
that lucent felt needed updating), and with all three being mentioned
with /'s it seems they are the same card. Just to make sure this was
the same card, I took a look at the seattle wireless hardware
comparison page [ http://www.seattlewireless.net/index.cgi/HardwareComparison
], which listed the Dell TrueMobile 1150 as being "Same as Orinoco"
and "Rebranded Orinoco Gold"
So, just about any wireless networking access point would work with
this wireless network card you are considering.
To look at the compatibility of the access point you are thinking of
buying, I took a look at the sales info on dell's website [
], and it appears this access point has some of the features necessary
for installing it as you would want, but lacks one thing that would
make it infinitely easier to install in your network setup, and that
is a second ethernet port. A second ethernet port would allow you to
connect to both your cable modem and you wired desktop computer
Without a second ethernet port, you would need your current desktop to
have a wireless network card in order to connect to the access point
On dell's website [ http://accessories.us.dell.com/sna/productdetail.asp?TabPage=TechSpecs&sku=430-0283&category_id=&customer_id=19
], it is stated that the access point "supports all WiFi compatible
cards" which means that any other wireless cards other than the dell
one you are considering should work fine. However, this access point
costs over $500 and for the description of how you would be using the
access point, this is overkill.
To go on to answer the specific questions in your last paragraph (in
order) I give you the following:
How do I connect a Dell laptop and a Compaq desktop to a cable modem
using the wireless broadband router?
The easiest way to do this is as follows:
1) Make sure a wireless card is in the laptop (if you have the mini
pci version, it should be built in, so no worries there).
2) Connect a wireless network adapter to the desktop. The easiest way
to do this is to get a usb wireless nic, such as this one made by
orinoco [ http://www.orinocowireless.com/template.html?section=m57&page=2403&envelope=93
]. To connect this you would connect the device's usb cable to the usb
port of the desktop computer, and plug in the power as well.
3) Connect the wireless broadband router to the cable modem, via the
ethernet port that is on the router. Plug in the power to the router.
Since all of this equipment is designed to work "out of the box" with
little or no software configuration, in all likelyhood, this is all
that needs to be done.
Any special issues one might encounter such as needing to change
network settings and other various issues are well explained (if a bit
wordy) in the user manual for the dell broadband router: [
As for "what hardware is recommended", for your particular setup, I
would recommend the Orinoco BG2000 [
]. The reason for this recommendation is that the wireless gateway has
2 ethernet ports, which would allow you to hook up your desktop via
ethernet to the "lan" port on the router, and hook up the cable modem
to the "wan" port on the router. This would be the lowest cost setup,
since you would not need a wireless card for the compaq desktop you
are using, and only for the laptop. Additionally, this router is much
less expensive than the one you have been considering from dell, and
would be fully compatible with the hardware you are considering
getting as well. The orinoco website lists a page of companies that
sell this router [ http://proxim.links.channelintelligence.com/pages/prices.asp?sSKU=700003212
], with the prevailing price at right around $150.
As for a final recommendation, I would suggest you go ahead and get
the builtin wireless network card that would come with the dell, but
get a different broadband router/wireless access point. There are many
cheaper and more appropriate products out there compared to the dell
router you are considering, that would be fully compatible with your
TrueMobile 1150 Mini-PCI
If you feel I have left anything out, please request a clarification
before rating this answer, and I will be glad to help you in any way
that I can.