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Thread: Internet access

  1. #1
    Senior Member grouch's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008

    Internet access

    I'm thinking of changing my internet access. I currently use dial up, in spite of the slow speed, for security reasons. Staurday night I was sent an e-mail saying my mother had been taken to the hospital and to call my sister right away. It turned out to be nothing but I don't want to take the risk. What is the best, stand alone access I can get. I was thinking a cable modem as my phone line has always been problematic. I think my best bet, if it's technically possible is to have a cable modem to a local wireless connection so either computer can be used anywhere in the house without wires.

    Any technically savy people able to give me some advice? Method, firewalls and such.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Raleigh NC, USA

    Re: Internet access

    Whoa. You're about 4 years behind the times!

    OK, for internet access, you pretty much have three options:

    1. Cable Modem (via your local cable TV company)
    2. DSL (via your local phone company)
    3. FiOS (from Verizon)

    Cable Modem: You're sharing bandwidth with your neighbors, but this may not be a problem on a well-designed system. Note that some cable companies are better than others -- TimeWarner has been good to me. I've heard all sorts of bad things about Comcast. Speeds up to 10 megabit per second (allegedly)

    DSL: Your connection isn't shared, but the data rate depends on how far you are from the local office. The further away you are, the slower the service. Practical limit is 7km (electrical length, not as the crow flies). Speeds up to 3 megabit per second (allegedly)

    FiOS : Fiber optic connection to your house. Not available in many areas. Speeds up to 50 megabit per second (true, but only if the site your downloading from also has a connection that fast)

    Note that all the above technologies are asymmetric -- the download speed is many times faster than the upload speed. This is OK because most people transfer much more data from the Internet than to the Internet.

    What this gets you is basically "internet dial-tone". You'll want additional equipment to protect your home computer from outside attackers and to use a wireless connection in your home. You can get both in one device by buying a wireless router. The Linksys WRTG54 is a good buy.

    You might want to read over this info:

    Chip H.

    Former owner: 2012 Honda Civic LX, 2006 Honda Ridgeline RTL, 2000 Honda CR-V EX, 2003 MINI Cooper S, 1992 Honda Accord LX, 1999 Mercedes ML-320, 1995 VW Jetta GLX, 1991 Mercury Capri XR2, 1981 Mercury Zephyr, 1975 Chevrolet Impala

  3. #3
    Senior Member Mase's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006

    Re: Internet access

    What Chip said.

    I would add that what is available is highly dependent on where you live. There is at least two additional methods of receiving broadband:
    1. Satellite Internet. Not recommended (by me) due to the distance from the ground to the satellite, there is a latency period receiving the signal; the system is slower than either DSL or Cable, upload speeds either suck or you might need a phone line anyway for uploads.

    2. EV-DO. This is a method used by Verizon, for one, that uses the cell phone infrastructure to achieve broadband. You can get connected just about anywhere there is a Verizon Cell signal. It isn't all that fast (around 1mbps or less) and it is fairly expensive - $100 for the hardware, and around $60-70 a month.

    If you live in an area where broadband is available by cable or DSL by all means go for it. You can hook up your own wireless network at home and roam the house connected. I like Linksys routers too, both my networks are using WRT54G routers. Good luck.
    A man's greatest mistake is to think he is working for somebody else.

  4. #4

    Re: Internet access

    Quote Originally Posted by grouch

    I currently use dial up, in spite of the slow speed, for security reasons.
    In addition to the very good advice already posted, you need security (even on dialup). If you don't have an anti-virus program, you need to get one right away. There are several good ones that are free to the home user.

    Second, with high-speed access you need a firewall. Chip suggested a router, but I would use a firewall program as well. Again, there are several good ones that are free.

    If you implement your plan of making a wireless network in your home, then you need to get familiar with the means of assuring security on that. Remember, the wireless signal extend beyond your walls so it is possible for someone to link into your home unless proper measures are taken.

  5. #5

    Re: Internet access

    "Any technically savy people able to give me some advice? Method, firewalls and such."

    Well, I've used all three from two different homes. I ended up with cable at both homes, each with wireless. And I am at "work" now and using wireless as we have several wireless networks here, one that's open to all for us to play with. My main job here is to sit around and wait for something to break that's radio related. I work in SF's 9-1-1 Center as an emergency radio systems technician.

    The cable modem should go to the input on a wireless router. 802.11G would work fine. One of the four router outputs should go to the computer. The router will provide a hardware firewall. If your using Windows, just turn the software firewall on in the control panel as well. Very simple to do.

    If you use DSL, which is usually cheaper and slower, you will have to put on filters on all your telephones. This keeps the DSL noise out of the telephones so you may use the telephone and internet at the same time, using the same line.

    I have found in this area, they are VERY slow to set up DSL. Might take weeks before they get around to it. But cable is quite fast. Perhaps in a day or so.

    For just web surfing, DSL will usually work well enough, even the slower speeds. In many areas, high speed DSL is not available. In fact, in many areas, there is no DSL available at all. But AFAIK, cable internet is available wherever they have cable TV. It can work at much greater distances than DSL.

    But if you go DSL, you will get everything. Even wireless, in most cases. Also built in router. I think all the DSL modems these days have built in wireless and they often do NOT even mention it. There's a 10 digit number on the bottom of the DSL modem. Use that 10 digit number for your WEP code on all wireless units.

    You can also buy a cable modem that has a router built in. But this next thing is important:

    If you're going to buy your own cable modem as I do (you can rent their's too, which will always work) be sure to ask the cable company which one they recommend. Many brands or models will NOT work and it depends on the cable company.

    They usually like Motorola SurfBoard modems. There's one that I have used that has both a built in router as well as built in wireless G. That's the Motorola Surfboard SBG900.


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