Return to the Computer Help Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
Wireless network

Posted by paulsm (My Page) on
Sun, Dec 4, 11 at 3:36

I want to setup my computer to work on a wireless connection to the internet. My guess is that 3gb might be enough to download movies etc.

I am currently leaning towards at&t. Are there any recommendations or suggestions. Most of the providers are on the expensive side.

Thanks


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: Wireless network

Are you going to download movies and then play them after you have them saved, or are you referring to instantly streaming them? I have Netflix and a Roku box which I use to stream movies to my tv. I believe the minimum speed for this to function with a fairly decent quality picture is about 1.2 Mbps (I presume when you refer to 3gb, you actually mean 3 Mbps). I also sometimes directly stream to my computer from Netflix, and I believe that similarly requires about 1.2 Mbps. However, I have a fast connection (25 Mbps) so I can't actually confirm from experience the lowest speed that works. However, I previously had about a 3Mbps connection which worked fine, although the picture quality was not quite as good as what I have now. Typically, with Netflix/Roku, a streaming movie will start to play within 10-15 seconds of selecting it.

If, instead, you are downloading a movie file rather than streaming it, the amount of time it will take to save the whole file is, of course, a direct function of your Internet connection speed. It is probably in the range of 20 minutes to 3 hours or more. Below is a link where people with different connection speeds discuss their experiences of how long it takes to download, and how long before they can begin to watch.

Here is a link that might be useful: How long to downoad a movie?


 o
RE: Wireless network

I'm a little confused about what you're asking. Are you looking to purchase a wireless device to connect to the Internet or are you asking about DSL service and then planning on setting up a WiFi network inside your home?


 o
RE: Wireless network

If you are referring to 3GB as the limit you are allowed to download in a given time (month?), that is not enough to be streaming movies or to download them for later viewing. Video files are the largest and use the most bandwidth. It sounds as if you are thinking of using a cellular wireless connection to the internet. My present plan with Verizon is for 3GB, and I have gone over that limit three months in the past six months, and I don't watch movies other than an occasional UTube video. I did have their $60 plan which was for 5GB and never went over that, so it seems that I am using 3-4GB most months. Yes, this is an expensive way to use the internet, but some of us have little or no choice.


 o
RE: Wireless network

That pretty much is what my current understanding is. 3mbps would not be enough for hd. I am thinking streaming only. My thinking was that this only relates to the speed of download... not to any type of download volume restrictions.

What type or what service do you use for the internet connection. I current use Earthlink on a dial up basis but their dsl high speed in on the expensive side. Verison is the same. AT&T doesn' really want to talk to you about dsl... they push you into their uverse catagory. Their dsl is the least expensive at around 14 dollar a month.

Are there there any 2nd tier providers out there that may be a little less expensive yet still reliable.

At&t says that with their uverse setup nothing needs to be installed except their gateway router and a simple cord to the computer. Not sure that is true but that is what they said.

I still need to read thru your link.

Thanks


 o
RE: Wireless network

paulsm-
If you can get DSL for $14 per month, that is a deal. In most markets there aren't that many providers so usually choices are pretty limited. Me telling you that I have Frontier as my provider won't do you any good because they may not be in your area. You are going to need a connection of at least 1+ Mbps to stream most things, so dial-up is not going to cut it. I think you may be making this more complicated than necessary. Typically you just need an ISP connection, a router that's provided, and a cable from the router to the computer. Setup is not complicated. Your job is simply to figure out who can provide you with a relatively fast connection at the best price. If two ISPs offer the same speeds, whether you choose ISP A or ISP B is pretty immaterial to what you want to do from a technical standpoint.

However, you're still confusing me about the "wireless" aspect mentioned in your first post. Do you want to stream to your computer using a connection provided by your ISP or do you want to stream using a phone? If a phone is involved it doesn't matter whether you download or stream...you're going to eat through a limited data plan either way. Also, don't get confused between wireless data plan limits (total Mb) and home ISP provider speeds...they have nothing to do with one another. It's like trying to compare how far you drive on a trip to the speed of your car: they're not the same units. The size of a movie file only affects the time it takes to download it, not whether you can download it or not...unless you're trying to do that on a limited phone data plan.

Are we getting close to an answer for you here or is this still not completely clear?


 o
RE: Wireless network

I have a couple of friends who have AT&T Uverse, which, if I understand correctly is their name for fiber optic service. They have it for TV, internet, and phone service and really like it. My daughters, in another state, have the Verizon FIOS, which is their fiber optic service. You are not going to find any high speed service at bargain basement rates, ie $10 or less. If you can get DSL for around $15, that's a bargain.


 o
RE: Wireless network

I think I have enough understanding now of both dsl and uverse to jump in and get my feet wet. As a matter of fact I went online to at&t tonight to sign up. The chat guy added a bit more info in that the price doubled after one year. Now I have to think a bit more about it. These prices are obscene.

I guess I have two choices... one to stay at a minimum setup that I currently have and say to heck with the rest of it or to pay the high asking price and hope for better things to come. Out of this mess I want to discontinue the contract with comcast. Most of what they offer via cable is pure garbage and not worth 10 dollars.

One option might be to find another person in the condo association who might want to share a wireless connection. That would reduce the overall cost to some degree.

Anyway, thanks


 o
RE: Wireless network

I'm reading this post with interest. I have a cable connection with a modem rental fee. It is bundled with my home phone. I looked into DSL before going with the cable connection and it was kind of six of one half a dozen of the other at the time. But I'm rethinking because I think the cable internet connection is a ripoff! Plus I am gone a lot and would love something wireless for when I'm on the road. But that probaby wouldn't work well for home use, where I do stream movies and TV shows constantly, since I don't have TV or cable. I too thought cable is getting to be such a load of garbage, why pay all that money? But Internet connections aren't any less expensive and viewing options are limited. I'm thinking something like FIOS which I get ads for all the time. But that doesn't solve my portability problem for my Internet connection, but that could be bundled. Still it's all expensive and I'd only use some of the zillions of features you have to pay for.


 o
RE: Wireless network

Thought some of you might be interested in this timely article from the 12/3/2011 New York Times. It talks about a lot of the Internet speed and access issues that have been at the heart of this discussion. It looks at how expensive Internet connections are, how this puts the rural as well as less-wealthy portions of society at a disadvantage, how far we are lagging behind much of the developed world in providing everyone in this country with affordable, fast connections, and how this is not a good thing for our shared economic future.

Here is a link that might be useful: The New Digital Divide


 o
RE: Wireless network

the digetal divide article...

I find this article to be pure garbage. This type of comment on the poor and downtrodden and rural area residents who cannot afford access to the internet is a tired worn out comment.

If you remember about ten years or more they started taxing each and every phone bill in the country around 5 dollars a month to provide this very thing. Well, after all this time can you guess as to how much money they have collected from taxpayers... a lot... a lot... enough to buy every person a computer, internet access and a house to live in while they use the computer. Yet the tax continues and again they make the case that more tax dollars should be thrown down this hell hole. Most of us struggle just to afford the things we do.

Enough is enough...


 o
RE: Wireless network

paulsm-
Whew! I wasn't trying to start a political debate. And I'm assuming you were intending to be hyperbolic when you claimed that so much money has been collected from taxes on phone bills that they could buy everybody a house, etc. I do agree with you that services are really expensive, which has been a running theme in this thread. However, the last time I looked at my bills, the biggest part of the charges was for the services themselves, not the taxes. Nobody is blameless here, but I tend to feel more gouged by the prices that this industry can charge in our supposedly free market, especially compared to many other industrialized countries where they pay far less for more.


 o
RE: Wireless network

I just can't figure out why the technology market is so devoid of choices. Like I pay for 500 cable channels, of which I want to watch about five. So why can't I pay much less and get much less? And Internet TV is no differnt--100 channels--of advertising! Same with phone, Internet, etc. I've been exploring wireless Internet connections, and they go on and on about all these features I don't even want, and obscure what it is exactly that you are getting.


 o
RE: Wireless network

There doesn't seem to be many choices. They all charge an arm and a leg and most of it is garbage. We have comcast and one of the reasons I am going in this direction is to get rid of comcast.

There is no alacarte options to work off of. Of the 100 channels that comcast offers there are only about 4 programs other than news stations that we actually watch yet we are forced to pay for the package. With roku after I get this wireless setup finished I hope to be able to select channels that I want to have and even to pay for.

I don't know if you have noticed but in addition to all the advertising that is thrown at us they have now increased the average commercial breaks to almost five minutes with an average of around eleven commercials. We have to pay them to watch their commercials!!!!!!!


 o
RE: Wireless network

paulsm-
I think you will be happy with a Roku box. I've had mine for several years, and I've paired it with a subscription to Netflix which allows me to have unlimited streaming of 1000's of movies and whole seasons of many tv series. It's very satisfying to be able to see an hour program in just 42 minutes because all the commercial interruptions have been removed. Although I still have cable because there are a few things I want that you still can't get with only Roku, I know quite a few folks who have been able to get rid of their cable entirely by using their Roku. I'm guessing you might be in that category. Here is a link that gives some useful information on how to get the most out of a Roku box.

Here is a link that might be useful: Cancel cable and still enjoy your favorite shows


 o
RE: Wireless network

Paul I have the exact same issue. That's why I canceled cable, by the time the commercials were done I couldn't even remember the plot of the show I was watching. I do Netflix and I don't care if the shows are five years old, I never saw them the first time around! The only problem that leaves me now is that I do all my television watching on my computer and do streaming, which so far has not been a problem because I have a cable Internet connection, albeit an expensive one. But cheaper than paying for both Internet and cable TV. But for the reason mentioned, I am thinking about switching to something like Sprint wireless or Verizon wireless as my sole Internet provider--hoping to save money by ditching both my cable Internet and land phone line. (I like Sprint better only because I travel back and forth from PA to visit family MI which is where I mostly want Internet connection and cell phone service other than PA).

The other issue is football, because without cable TV, my SO Football Addict is not able to watch football at our house. Cannot seem to find a non-cable alternative that offers access to NFL games. And even with cable you have to pay extra for that, and then you're stuck with the 500 channels of garbage cluttering up your screen that you have to wade through to find the one program you'd like to watch.

I'm sure the issue isn't the technological capacity, rather what the advertisement interests that fund all this stuff will allow consumers to access.

You know, I don't have a problem with a little bit of advertising. Right now there is a ham ad on my screen and it is supporting this free service so I don't have a problem with that. But television and movie media is getting way, way over the top and it is just too annoying. Some folks don't mind it but I'm pretty sensitive to aural and visual garbage.


 o
RE: Wireless network

I would think it won't be very long before streaming tv progams on your internet connection will cost you additional for using that bandwidth.
The internet providers can't sllow all that extra streaming bandwidth for free for very long. Their total bandwidth usage should be growing fast as people switch off their tv services & goto the roku & netflix type services.


 o
RE: Wireless network

Kudzu9--
I just read the NY Times article for which you provided the link. The article terribly frustrated me with the following: And don't even think about DSL, which carries just a fraction of the data needed to handle the services that cable users take for granted. Note I am the person who complains so bitterly about my TDS DSL service :-( Maybe I should move to Sweden? I still have to read the remaining comments in this thread. I am 67 and I guess I won't live to see great service out here in farm country. Oh well, I do love cows.


 o
RE: Wireless network

Kudzu9--
I rarely watch movies and I never go to the movies. I do enjoy several weekly TV programs, the evening and 11 o'clock news and PBS. I have DISH 200+ because it is the only way I can watch TV and I actually use about 14 (the only sports I watch are skating and the Olympics) of the offered channels. Does Roku provide network TV, news and PBS?


 o
RE: Wireless network

mudlady-
Roku is a device that lets you pick certain things to watch, rather than a service that is always on, like cable. If you want to get rid of cable then it is a little more complicated at first. Basically, you have to do a little work to find out what is available free through online streaming and what you might want to pay for so you can stream it online. For example, while you can use Roku to select and watch episodes of certain PBS programs, you can't at present just go to Roku and watch the 6 o'clock news each night. To do that without cable, you would have to go to PBS online and stream it to your computer. When you use your Roku box, you have a menu of things that are available and it's expanding all the time. For me, the most important menu item is Netflix streaming: for $8 per month, I can instantly watch many of the movies that I would ordinarily have to get through the mail as a DVD, and whole seasons of many tv shows -- all without commercials -- and as much as I care to watch without a limit. (With a Netflix subscription, you can also watch all of these on your computer without needing the Roku box, which is what I often do because I have a large computer monitor.)

Since movies aren't that important to you, you would have to decide whether you were willing to put in a little effort to locate all of the programs that you would like to watch for free. If this seems like too much trouble, maybe you should get the very basic cable plan that gives you immediate, easy access to news and PBS, and use the Internet and/or a Roku box for other things. If you want to understand this all better, take a look at the link I provided in my previous post. In addition, below is another link that pretty clearly explains what is available where on the Internet.

You can get almost all of what you want for free, if you make the effort. The advantage that cable companies have is that they make all the most recent content available in one place...but you pay an arm-and-a-leg for that convenience.

Here is a link that might be useful: Online Channels


 o
RE: Wireless network...one more thing

I forgot to mention that it's possible to easily send something that is streaming to your computer/laptop to your TV set, if you have the right connections on both.

Here is a link that might be useful: Laptop to TV


 o
RE: Wireless network

Hey, I'd be more than willing to pay dearly for the bandwidth however it was delivered, if I knew I could use it to download the programs I actually want to watch! And pay for those programs and those only! Wonder if that day will ever come? What is holding me up is I hate the idea of paying for bandwidth and then having nothing but cheesey TV, B-movies and commercials to stream! So far Netflix is holding its own in the content competition, but barely. And then there's the prime time live football game issue, which so far defies the Internet!


 o
RE: Wireless network

1pinkmountain-
Sadly, I doubt that cable will ever let us choose and pay for only the programs we want. Once people start having to take action to select stuff, rather than having it all sent to them automatically, and billed automatically, the companies would have a big falloff in income. I suspect that the result would be for them to simply raise prices on the fewer things we were watching!


 o
RE: Wireless network

The unfortunate reality is that there is no easy or cheap solution. For those who want give up cable/satellite/telco television have to two options - put up an antenna or stream content. Depending on where you live and what you want to watch, content range from unavailable to delayed to available for a fee. All of this presumes a broadband Internet connection and remember that most if not all Internet service providers have caps. Depending on how much you watch, that could be an issue. Especially if you want to stream HD content 24/7.

As for an ala carte menu of television channels from you cable/satellite/telco provider, less popular channels are subsidized by popular channels. One might be surprised at how much the Origami Channel costs ala carte.

A quick comment on FIOS vs. Uverse. FIOS is fiber to the premises. Uverse can be fiber to the premises or fiber to the node. The later uses traditional copper wires to carry the signal the last x thousand feet (there's a limit that escapes me at the moment). My experience was 25 unique AT&T employees (including 3 supervisors) over 22 visits to our home. The last x thousand feet of copper can be a real challenge if it is 50-year-old overhead wires. ;-)


 o
RE: Wireless network

Let me make sure I'm understanding you, Mike. Uverse uses either fiber all the way or the existing copper wire on the premises? How is it determined which will be used for that last stretch? And Verizon FIOS uses fiber to the premises and existing copper the rest of the way? Is this correct?


 o
RE: Wireless network

I decided to go with AT&T on the uverse approach. There are two ways of determining your outcome. One is to go directly into selecting the uverse package you want. That is not the best choice. The cost is 19.95 per month and a 100 dollar gateway router modem cost.

I started with the dsl approach and after they told me it was not available in my area they switched to the uverse options. The one I chose was the Pro package at 3mbps. The cost was 14.95 and with rebates the gateway router modem was free. Price was good for one year. The price doubles after a year so I will have to determine what approach to take during the year. I know the 3mbps may not be enough to stream movies but I need to start with that and see just how bad it might be. That knowledge will come in handy later down the road. The next part is to choose a particular roku model.

As to the garbage programs that somehow becomes my responsibility to subsidize because they are not in demand enough to stand on their own two feet... well, let them disappear from the scene. That is the way it is supposed to work in a free market economy. I do not want to pay for the entertainment preferences of someone else.


 o
RE: Wireless network

Uverse uses either fiber to the "node" or fiber to the premises. The node is a telco box somewhere in your neighborhood. They vary in size but usually around 3'x4'x5'. From that box to your home the signal is carried on existing copper wires. It's the distance from that box to your home that determines the availability of Uverse. I want to say that distance is 5,000 feet but I could be wrong. Remember that's the distance the telco wires travel, not how the bird flies.

FIOS is fiber to the premises.

In either case, inside the home traditional copper wire is used.


 o
RE: Wireless network

There's an Origami Channel??!! Be still my heart! :)


 o
RE: Wireless network

Thanks, Mikie. Actually, it's a moot point, since neither is available to me. We are serviced by AT&T, but are certainly not within a near distance to the node. I guess they would have to run fiber optic all the way to our premises, and I'll be long gone from this earth before they ever do that. :-(


 o
RE: Wireless network

There isn't a "free market" in America because if there was PBS probably wouldn't exist. Regardless, there is probably little to be saved by the average consumer by going with ala carte pricing. Let's face it, your television provider has little incentive in a free market to reduce your bill. The only thing that has an effect on price is demand.

We could get the government involved and eliminate the so-called "free market." But that rarely works as intended...


 o
RE: Wireless network

Sorry, Mike, not Mikie, addressed in my previous post.


 o
RE: Wireless network

Freedom of choice is the essence of a free market economy. Alacarte pricing is viable and is certainly more desirable than the current bundle marketing concept.

About six months ago I priced out what the four or five channels I watch would cost. The monthly bill based on estimated costs came to about 14 dollars a month which also included the various news channels I watch.


 o
RE: Wireless network

So you are saying that AT&T allowed you to pick channels and is charging you $14 per month for television service? May I ask how many total channels you get and what those channels are?


 o
RE: Wireless network

Mike,

Your capability of reading a post and correctly understanding it leaves a lot to be desired. Your last comment is so far off the wall that the time and energy it would take to set you straight is not worth the effort.

I said nothing about selecting or getting channels from AT&T. How the heck did you arrive at that conclusion.

Read my post again... and this time pause and think before you respond.


 o
RE: Wireless network

"About six months ago I priced out what the four or five channels I watch would cost. The monthly bill based on estimated costs came to about 14 dollars a month which also included the various news channels I watch."

MK,

I must be dense too as I can see the foundation for your question.

DA


 o
RE: Wireless network

Damccoy,

Yes, you are correct. You are as dense as Mike is.

The comment I made about pricing was an independent look I took at alacarte pricing based on estimated industry pricing. This was entirely separate from my current experience with AT&T. The comment was more geared to the other issue on this thread which is a look at general pricing issues.


 o
RE: Wireless network

Seems like we need to let this thread fade away into the ether.


 o
RE: Wireless network

Btw, for those who think alacarte may never arrive on the scene... there is a company called Campus Televideo which offers custom designed lineups to major universities and colleges across the country. They offer flexible changes to their channel lineups when desired or requested by the institutions. They have 200 plus institutions on their system.

This is at least an encouraging first step.


 o
RE: Wireless network

Yawn!

Da


 o
RE: Wireless network

I got a fast install date from AT&T...Thursday. I have to give this company a definite thumbs up for their support approach. I really like the chat window. Their people are generally well informed and friendly and effective. Even at 2am in the morning I have been able to bring up a chat window.

Tomorrow I am going to best buy to pick up a roku. I settled on a xd model. It had everything I wanted and needed. The reason I am buying from best buy rather than roku is that if I have a problem I can simply waltz it four blocks from my home to their store. Also, and equally important is that their tech support group is located here in the us. Roku outsources their tech support efforts to India. The few times I have used the India approach I have had problems understanding the stilted English language. I think they have a piss pour understanding of what the support effort should be like. They are curt, arrogant and I always feel like I am interrupting their dinner when I call. With the unemployment situation here in the us I would prefer to see these jobs remain here in this country. They would provide at least a temporary job for a lot of young tech people in this country.

Anyway, I hope this install goes as well as they advertise. I may wind up with some side issues like hooking up a second tv to the system and perhaps the possibility of sharing a connection with another user.

If all goes well the channel selection will be next. This will be the most interesting aspect of this install... what is available out there and at what cost if any.


 o
RE: Wireless network - Install 1

Well, I got the att wireless setup finished. I have only good things to say about their support staff. The guy spent over an hour with me walking me through the setup. It is blazing fast compared to my previous 57kbps speed.

However, the Roku is giving me problems even though it should be ten times less of a problem. The setup is rather simple but for some reason the Roku will not display the first screen. The support staff in India is useless. Good thing I bought it from best buy instead. Their store staff helped me with one piece of info in that I only need a hd cable. The advice I received was to tune the tv to a hdmi port. Sorry folks, don't see one on the tv screen setup.

O well, tomorrow is another day. I will have someone from the best buy geek squad to come out and set it up.

I am really pleased with this so far.


 o
RE: Wireless network

paulsm-
The best option is to connect the Roku with an HDMI cable, but if your tv is older you may not have that port. In that case, you need to use the set of three audio-video cables with jacks. Just plug those into one of the "in" sources on the back of the tv, make note of which one it is, and set the tv to that. You don't need a tech guru for this. If you have ever hooked up a DVD player to your tv, it's the same thing.

Here is a link that might be useful: 2 minute Roku setup video


 o
RE: Wireless network

I am pretty sure I have the cables set up correctly. I have the hdmi cord plugged into a slot in the tv that the tv manual identifies as a hdmi slot.

The problem is that my tv looks more to the comcast remote rather than the remote that came with the tv. My tv, btw, is a sony lcd about 3 years old now. I have to walk over to the tv and start pushing buttons. When I open up the Mega Gate and press aux I have these choices... cable, external inputs, antenna, video, and photo. When I select external a screen pops up that shows my dvd setup in slot 1. Slot 2 through 7 is untitled and empty.

So I guess the problem is how to point the tv to the hdmi slot. I just don't see how I identify the hdmi slot.

Their are some additional slots on the left side of the tv. The manual says they can be used for things like camcorder, play station etc. I tried to use the other cable rather than the hdmi cable to connect to these. Still no Roku screen. There is one hdmi slot at the top of these plugs but the tv manual does not identify as anything.

I know I am close and it is more than likely something simple. I did find my air can and I am going to clean out all the slots as they were rather accumulated with dust. I doubt if that is the problem but you never know.


 o
RE: Wireless network

Are you sure the HDMI port is not labeled on the back of the tv? If you have both ends of the HDMI cable plugged in properly and all of the components are powered up, then just select each of the external sources in turn until one of them displays the Roku screen.


 o
RE: Wireless network

Good point...

There is a label above the slot that identifies it as a hdmi port. A number 6 was also identified. I then went back to the external ports option and label video 6 as hd. hd was one of the choices it gave me to use. After that I was able to point the tv to slot 5 and the Roku displayed the first screen.

For the benefit of others who might be going down this same path at some time...If the label does not identify the slot then as kudzu9 suggested... simply try each slot in turn until you click on one. The label though makes it a lot easier.

Another problem poped up next and this was simply a case of the online Roku install procedure falling a little short of leading a new customer through the process. The install process accurately identify the att wireless name. In case you need to know what your wireless name is... it is, in my case, labeled on the router. After I selected the att choice it then asked me for my password. One would think that they wanted the password that I setup for the wireless. No, not the case... it came back each time I tried saying the wireless could not be located. It would have been helpful if their on screen instructions asked for the router number instead of the password. I found this numeric number also pasted on the router. Bingo... every thing worked and I completed the process. I then had a cocktail and vowed never to install another new system again.

Once again I got some very good help from the att support staff as well as the vendor where I bought the tv from. They still had my purchase on line and was able to pull up the manual which helped a lot.

Now it is on to looking at the channel lineups and see what is there.

Btw, I have now watched 2 movies and the 3 mbps process did not break up once.


 o
RE: Wireless network

paulsm-
Amen! But don't say you'll never install a new system...you're an expert now after all of that.


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the Computer Help Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here