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i'm using quickbooks pro for my auto repair and towing business. my residence is on the premises, and swmbo will keep the books and spend most of her time in the house. i have an office attached to the shop and i would like for us both to be able to use quickbooks. i'll use it to create invoices and keep parts inventory, while she'll pay bills, enter payments, etc. trying to work separately during the day and updating at the end of the day seems like it could turn into a nightmare. is it possible to network the two computers together without paying a fortune to computer services company? both of my computers have network cards, as i previously had them connected to a router in order to share my cable modem. would a wireless router reach about 50 feet from the house to inside the office? i've got windows xp home on one computer, while the other is windows 98. i'm not opposed to upgrading the other to xp, or upgrading both of them to something else. i have above average computer skills, but i'm far from an expert. is trying to do this myself a realistic task?
 

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Networking the computers should be no problem. Check the specs on the wireless router and it will tell you the distance limits under normal situations. 50 feet should be no problem.

Before you shell out for a network, make sure you software will support multiple users. I just consulted my CPA (walked into the den!) and Quickbooks is not multi-user friendly. There are more expensive softwares that will allow multiple users. You might have to schedule it so both of you are not in the software at the same time.
 

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i think we could tolerate not using the file simultaneously. i just want to be able to use the file that she just updated, and vice versa, as opposed to working on two different files and combining them at the end of the day. thanks for the info.
 

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You should be able to network both computers for a reasonable price. Each ISP has it's own price for network service, you will have to check them out to see who has the best deal with the features you are looking for. You already have network cards on your computers, so that is 1 savings to you. You will either need to upgrade your OS to either XP Pro or run Windows NT. A wireless router should work but as to whether or not it will reach the distance you are looking for, again.....each wireless router is designed to reach different lengths....and again, shop around until you find one that meets your needs for the best price. Check out Tiger Direct for some good deals on computer products to help you get quality products at a savings to you. I believe the web address is: www.tigerdirect.com
Good luck and hope that this info helps.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
which wireless router has the best range? i'm looking at a linksys BEFW11S4. my other router is a linksys and it worked very well. does anyone have experience with the BEFW11S4?
 

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50 feet should not be a problem for any wireless router.
that said, the distance from your house to the street should not be a problem for any wireless router either, meaning that anyone who feals like driving by with a wireless card in their laptop can have access to all of your files if you don't setup some sort of file protection system. you should be able to do this in win xp.

I do not know how quick books works. but, if you are going to bolth be editing one file you have to be VERY VERY VERY!!!! can't stress that enough, carefull that you do not end up with two different versions of the same spreadsheet on bolth the computers. ie, you might save the curent expense sheet to your computer after you edit it one day, than your wife may save her version to her computer, than you save your version to her computer the next day, overwriting all that she did the day before, and no one is the wiser. ask me how i know about this one.

good luck!
- Jason
 

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I agree with the other posters that 50 feet should be fine....If you plan to go with Wireless I suggest you study up on the different wireless technologies.....There are many to choose from now such as 802.11b, 802.11a, and 802.11g.....The best around now is the 802.11g which is faster than the standard 802.11b but works on the same frequency (2.4GHz)...The 2.4 GHz frequency is better in my opinion as it traverses solid objects easier and is a narrower band.....As another poster stated anyone driving by with a laptop could potentially tap into you wireless signal and do whatever...However I suggest you pay attention to the ssid and wep keys which are mentioned in most Wireless hardware documentation......I have found a fairly concise article on the Netgear site to bring this into perspective...Hope it helps....
http://www.netgear.com/pdf_docs/ABGs_of_Wireless_2.03.1.pdf

Any other question, please feel free to ask.....
 

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why not use your existing router and buy 75' of CAT5 cable and only spend about $30 max. your network will be more secure than wirless, faster, and cost much less, pluss you already have it set up, all you do is add a longer cable!!
 

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More secure until the dog or other animal eats the cable. Hahahha...
 

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Discussion Starter #10
this is what i'm specifically trying to avoid. that's why i would like for us to be working from the same file, if not simultaneously, at least to where she has to be out of the file for me to be in it, which would prevent what you've described.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
the area between the house and the office is a work area with no good way to run a cable. it's asphalt, so burying it isn't an option, and all of the overhead utilities that connect the two structures go to a different part of the shop. it would take alot of cable to follow the other wires, then double back to the office.

as for the drive by hackers, this is very rural and the likelihood of someone having a laptop, much less driving by with it hooked up to anything that could receive a wireless network signal would be very, very small. i do think, however, that if they were stopped and asked, the majority of them could spell laptop. ::
 

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As stated, 50' should not be a problem. Traversing the wall construction would be more of the concern. Again, the newer wireless routers can handle that too. There are ways within the router to block or slow down "drive by" users as well. The "drive by" looks for a signal first then they must obtain an address on your network. You can limit those that get an address to be only "known" network cards in your network. Anyone without one of these "known" cards does not get an address, and hence cannot use your network. After you get it setup, you'll want to edit the DHCP server portion of your wireless router and setup some reserved addresses and restrict the address range to these addresses. (Note: this is probably above your understanding at this time, but hopefully helps allay some "drive by" fears ::).
 

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Really shouldn't be that hard. You sound like you know what you are doing. I would definitely recommend that you upgrade the Win 98 to XP first. Once you get the network setup and can "see" the other PC's hard drive just create a shortcut on your desktop to the Quicken executable on her drive. Then make sure your Save is setup up to her drive. As long as you don't both have it open at the same time you should be good. .
 

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Stay with the hard cable, put it in 1" ID PVC conduit and bury it at least 6" down. Pull 2 sets of CAT5. Don't be cheap, get the plenum type. Pull phone and cable while you're at it too.

There is no reason to upgrade away from 98. All that really needs to be done is you set up a file on the PC that will be the "host" of the file. Share the database file with the network so the "guest" PC can access it. Then open it or copy it from the "host" pc via shortcut or from a mapped connection in network neighborhood or my network places. Save it or copy it back to the "host" and "guest" PCs to create a backup in case of a crash before you close it, then call the wife on the phone you just installed and tell her it's all her's to use. Then turn on your cable TV and wait for the next customer!
 

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I just consulted my CPA (walked into the den!) and Quickbooks is not multi-user friendly.
This statment confuses me. I have been using Quickbooks for 7 years on 5 PC's with no problems. We all share the same files and can access them at the same time. You do have to by more than one copy of the software to do this but it does work.

As for the networking, a wireless network will probably be the best choice for you. However, having said that we have installed some small networks (I own a networking company) with wireless that were less than desirable on speed. Hardwiring will almost always be more reilable. The key factor is how much it will be used and if the users will be OK with slower speeds. In your case I don't think the speed issue will be as important as the access of the files.

I also recommend that you upgrade to Win XP Pro if you can. Make sure you have enough drive space, enough memory (XP Pro is a memory hog) and a fast enought processor (PIII 450 or greater). Also, make sure any legacy applications you may be running will work with Win XP Pro. Some won't.

You might be able to get away with running Win 98 on both PC's. Check with the wireless manufacturer's specs to see if it is designed to work before purchasing.

I hope this helps you and good luck.
 

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I'm using the Linksys BEFW11S4 and doing almost exactly what you are talking about. Only difference is I'm just using Quicken, not Quickbooks. I have a Linksys Wireless Network PC Card in my laptop and Linksys Wireless USB Network Adapter for the desktop. Both PCs are running XP Pro. I don't know about Quickbooks, but I do have Quicken 2002 Deluxe loaded on both. Both PCs use the data file on the desktop, so there is no way for anything to get out of sync. The only problem is that the data file can not be open on both PCs at the same time. Quickbooks might be different and allow this, I don't know.
 
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