High-speed Connections ISDN, ADSL, and Cable Modems
If you’re used to connecting to the internet through an office network, then dialing from home can be disappointing. At the office, you’re always connected to the internet. You don’t have to remember to dial up. Messages come in and news headlines are updated. File downloads are relateively quick. You might even take advantage of videoconferencing, streaming video news (such as CNN’s web site at http://www.cnn.com/videoselect), or internet radio.To place an order for the Complete Project Material, pay N5,000 to
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Now you can have that availability and speed in your small office or home. Until recently, you had to pay big –business prices for fast data services, but now serious bandwidth has become relatively affordable. These services differ in price and capabilities, and this tutorial looks at each in depth.
The three services that you’re most likely to find available to you are ISDN, ADSL, and cable modem service. Two wireless services might be useful in the future, but currently have limitations.
Integrated services digital network (ISDN) is available from nearly all local telephone companies. ISDN is an upgraded phone line that can be used for faster internet access and for regular voice calls. Using one line, you can talk on the phone while you’re surfing the web. ISDN is all digital, which means that data doesn’t have to be converted to an analog signal (that funny noise you hear modems make) for transmission.
The ISDN service intended for residential use in basic rate interface (BRI). On one ISDN line, BRI provides two 64Kbps channels, or B channels, and one 16Kbps channel, or D channel. The D channel is mostly used for signaling – for instance, to indicate that the line is busy. The B channels are where the action is. When the B channels are combined, you have a 128Kbps line to the internet. That’s over twice the speed of the fastest analog modem, 56Kbps. If you want to talk on the phone or send a fax, your internet access drops down to one 64Kbps B channel while the other B channel is used for voice.
Asymmetric digital subscriber line (ADSL), like ISDN, uses an upgraded phone line, all-digital technology, and supports simultaneous internet browsing and phone use. ADSL is a much newer technology, so it’s not as widely available or as clearly standardized. ADSL is optimized for the way many people use the internet: more downloads than uploads. The line asymmetric, because it has more capacity for data received by your computer (such as graphics, video, audio and software upgrades) than for data that you send (such as e-mail and browser commands).
Configurations and prices vary. The downstream bandwidth from the internet to your computer can range from 384Kbps to 8Mbps. The upstream bandwidth from your computer to the internet can range from 90Kbps to 640Kbps. Moreover, ADSL is just one of a family of DSL products on the drawing board. See the ADSL forum (http://www.adsl.com) and telechoice’s xDSL site (http://www.xdsl.com) for more background.
Expect providers to support a simpler, entry-level solution: the emerging G.Lite standard. G.Lite streamlines installation – if you have a phone line in place, you won’t need to have an installer come to your house to hook up the modem. G.Lite is anticipated to provide 1.544Mbps downstream and 512Kbps upstream. That downstream speed brings you a web page 25 times faster than a 56Kbps analog modem.
Cable modem service
Cable modem service is the competitive threat that’s caused phone companies to accelerate their ADSL efforts. The same network that brings you dozens of TV channels can now bring you millions of web sites. The problem is that the cable network was designed to move information in one direction, from the broadcaster to you. Downstream speeds are impressive – the line can theoretically bring you data as fast as 30Mbps, much faster than your computer can handle it – but upstream speed depends on line quality. Large cable companies are spending money to upgrade their networks to hybrid fiber-coax (HFC) to better handle two-way traffic. Smaller providers can’t afford the upgrade, so you use a phone line at 28.8Kbps for upstream data.
From a large company with an HFC network, expect downstream speeds of 1 to 2Mbps or more, and upstream speeds between 500Kbps and 1Mbps. These numbers aren’t exact, because you share digital cable capacity with your neighbors. If more of them are online, you compete with them for bandwidth. See http://www.cablemodeminfo.com for in-depth coverage of cable modem issues, as well as DSL resources.
In a few urban areas, you can test wireless internet access. To set it up, you attach a radio modem, about the size of a deck of cards, to your laptop. Wireless service made its debut at analog speeds (28.8Kbps), but it is being upgraded to 128Kbps, comparable to ISDN.
If you’re outside an urban area, you’re probably out of range for ISDN, ADSL or cable modem service. If so, you might be tempted to acquire satellite access. All you need is an 18- or 21-inch satellite dish and a service provider contract. There are some drawbacks. Satellite access can be frustrating to set up. Also, although the dish receives data at up to 400Kbps, it can’t send anything. That means you need a phone line for upstream data, and you are limited to analog modem speeds.
Choosing a high-speed connection
The first question when choosing a high-speed connection is: what’s actually available in your location? ISDN and ADSL work over phone lines, but not over all phone lines. Your local phone company’s central office, the facility serving your area, has to be set up to offer the service. Your distance from the central office also matters, as does the condition of the network. For example, to receive 1.544Mbps ADSL, you need to be within approximately three miles of the central office. Check with your local phone company to make sure that your phone line qualities for ISDN or ADSL and ask your ISP if they provide ISDN and ADSL connections.
Cable modem service requires cable TV wiring. That leaves out remote areas and even some office parks. Even if you have cable TV, your provider may wait to offer cable modem service until it has upgraded the network for two-way data.
If ISDN, ADSL and cable modem service are all available, you can make your choice based on cost and performance considerations.
Prepare for sticker shock. High-speed internet access is not the world of cheap modems, flat-rate local calls to your internet service provider, and $20-per-month internet access. Even so, many providers are working to reduce the cost of equipment, to simplify installation, and to make monthly charges more predictable. Providers also package equipment, lines, and internet service together, which makes it easier for them to get you online, and may give you a price break, too.
ISDN and ADSL Prices vary greatly from region to region in the United States, due to the different pricing policies of the regional phone companies.
You need a new modem (or inn the case of ISDN, an adapter). ISDN adapters and ADSL modems currently cost $200 to $300. Cable modems generally are rented, not purchased. ADSL and cable modems usually connect through an Ethernet or other network card in your computer. If you don’t have one, add another $50.
Installation charges are frequently waived. Some providers bundle a deeply discounted modem with installation. Your provider may even discount the modem and installation if you commit to buy its service for a year. Check for these installation fees.
· Line upgrades: In phone company lingo, upgrading your phone line is called provisioning your line with ISDN or ADSL. Even if you’re using an existing phone line, converting it to ISDN or ADSL could cost over $100. This cost really depends on who your provider is.
· New lines: If you want a second (or third, or fourth) phone line to dedicate to ISDN, or ADSL, someone needs to install it, typically either your local phone company or an independent firm.
· Internet service provider fees: Some ISPs chare for setting up your account for high-speed access. For ISDN and ADSL, this charge is about $30.
Cable modem service providers currently charge $100 to $150 for a complete installation, including adding a new cable line for your computer.
After you’re over the startup costs, how much do you have to pay every month for internet access? Your monthly cost depends on what kind of high-speed connection you have:
· ISDN rates depend on use. The cost of an ISDN line usually depends on the number of minutes of use. It may also depend on time of day, with higher rates for business hours. The cost of internet service accessed through ISDN also goes up with use. A typical ISDNN package give you a certain number of minutes per month ‘free”, included in a base rate. Additional use is charged per minute. If you can stay within the base rate guidelines, you can get ISDN line plus ISP access for about $60 per month. Look at your past usage patterns to see whether that’s a realistic figure for you (for most heavy internet users, it’s not).
· ADSL rates depends on bandwidth: both line costs and ISP costs increase with the speed of your ADSL connection. Access at 1.544Mbps combined with ISP service costs approximately $100 to $270 per month, depending on the provider. Most providers offer slower rates with lower prices. A few offer faster rates.
· Cable modem rates are flat: both line use and ISP costs are combined in one monthly rate, about $40. That rate also includes modem rental. This could change, but for now, it’s a great deal.
Clearly, ISDN is not intended to be left on all day. ADSL and cable modem service are. But with a new type of ISDN service, you’ll never have to dial up again: always on/dynamic ISDN (AO/DI) uses the D channel to provide a constant 9.6Kbps connection to the internet. E-mail is delivered, chat pals can find you, and your stock ticker stays up-to-date. When you need more capacity, AO/DI switches over to one or two of the B channels. If you are considering ISDN, ask whether AO/DI is available for your line – and compare its price.
Sure, everybody wants more speed. And the moment that you get it, all the internet content provides clog up the pipes with video and audio, applets and animation. So it’s hard to generalize about how much speed is enough. It’s a moving target. It’s also a matter of individual preference and the size of your pocketbook. But if you regularly do large downloads – such as software upgrades – you may be interested in the following comparison.
Time to download a 10M B file
Don’t neglect your need for upstream speed, either. When you e-mail files, publish a web page, or have a video-conference, you’re sending data. If you set up a computer as a server and make information on it available to others, upstream speed really matters.
Phone line issues
Are you setting up or improving a home office? Are you hoping to consolidate your phone, fax and internet connection onto one line? ISDN and ADSL both provide that capability, but here are some caveats.
· Cost of phone calls: ISDN pricing is typically usage-sensitive. If your currently make a lot of local phone calls and pay a flat fee every month for them, your bill might go up when you make calls over the ISDN line. You may be better off with flat-rate cable modem service plus a regular phone line. ADSL service is flat-rate for an internet connection, but check with your provider about rates for voice calls.
· Noise on the line: if you are using ADSL for a modem connection while talking on the phone, the ADSL signal may create noise interference. A telephone filter reduces this noise. Some modems have a filter built in, so that if you plug in your phone or fax machine directly to the modem, you won’t have a problem. You can also buy telephone filters that attach to the line or mount on the wall jack. These filters are especially useful for extension phones that share the ADSL line with your computer.
· Slower speeds for data: with ADSL, the speed of your internet connection may drop while you are talking on the phone. This information comes from an early field trial of G. Lite ADSL. It’s not clear how large or consistent this effect is.
· Emergency phone calls: an ISDN line shouldn’t be the only phone line in your house. Your regular analog phone will work only if it’s connected through the ISDN terminal adapter. In an emergency, if the power goes out, the adapter can’t power the phone and you can’t make or receive any calls. Be sure to keep a regular analog line. The phone system can power a phone even if the rest of the power in your house is out. (ADSL lines don’t have this problem. Phones can be plugged in directly to the line and draw their power from it).
Do you use the internet when you travel? If your laptop has a high-speed connection at home, what happens when you take it elsewhere? You’re unlikely to find ISDN, ADSL, or cable modem access, so you need to keep your analog modem or buy a dual-purpose modem.
The big issue is having an ISP that supports both your dial-up access and high-speed access. Getting dial-up access usually isn’t a problem if you buy an ISDN or ADSL package. An ISP who provides ISDN and ADSL accounts is frequently either a branch of the local phone company or an independent ISP that has provided dial-up access for years. But if you have a cable modem package, dial-up access to the cable company ISP is expensive – if it’s provided at all.
One solution is to keep your current ISP for dial-up access. This may not be as expensive as you think, given the low prices for cable modem service and basic internet dial-up. Keep your e-mail account with your dial-up access to the cable company ISP is expensive – if it’s provided at all.
One solution is to keep your current ISP for dial-up access. This may not be as expensive as you think, given the low prices for cable modem service and basic internet dial-up. Keep your e-mail account with your dial-up ISP, use the same e-mail program that you use now, and make sure the program is configured to use your ISP’s mail servers. When you’re at home, your computer is plugged in to the cable modem, which gives you a fast connection to your ISP. When you’re travelling, you can dial in as usual.
Choice of provider
Who do you want to do business with? You might expect to order ISDN or ADSL from your local phone company, and cable modem service from your cable TV company. You can also order ISDN or ADSL through some ISPs, who can take care of ordering the phone line for you. Modem manufacturers often help you order ISDN. In rare cases, as ISP resells cable modem service. In short, companies are vying for your attention. And because they want to get you up and running as quickly as possible, they provide one-stop shopping: high-speed connection, equipment, and internet service in one package.
Summary of high speed connection choices
The widespread availability of ISDN may make it your only choice for a high-speed connection to the internet. However, cable modem and ADSL are designed for “always-on” flat-rate access, and both offer speeds that are many times higher than ISDN. ADSL tends to be slower and more expensive than cable modem service, but ADSL’s speed is yours alone – cable modem speed depends on usage patterns in your neighborhood. The following are some other points to consider.
· ISDN and ADSL allow you to consolidate phone and internet service, though not without some problems.
· The big drawback of cable modem service is its current lack of affordable dial-up access, which is important to travelers.
All three methods of high-speed connection require you to buy or rent new equipment. You may have to pay for a visit by an installer, and you may have to change ISPs. Shop carefully and look for good package deals in this increasingly competitive market.
Connecting via ISDN
ISDN is more complicated to set up than ADSL or cable modem service. Although you can buy all the pieces separately – equipment, phone line, internet access – the money that you save may not be worth the frustration. Many variables need to be set up for the line and for the equipment. If one of them is wrong, your connection won’t work. Find a provider that offers a good package with excellent support, and you’ll be online much more quickly.
If, after that warning, you still want to put together your own ISDN package, here’s what to look for.
Choosing an ISDN “Modem”
An ISDN “Modem” is more properly called a terminal adapter (TA). Modems convert analog signals to digital ones, and vice versa, so that your (digital) computer can exchange information over the (analog) phone line. With ISDN service, the line is already digital, so conversion isn’t necessary.
Before you go adapter shopping, call your ISDN line provider. Find out what kind of switch is used to provide you with phone service. A switch is a device in the local phone company’s central office; its hardware and software determine the capabilities that the phone company can provide to you. You need to make sure that your adapter works with the provider’s switch type.
Next, decide whether you want an internal or external terminal adapter. If you have an older desktop computer, there’s a tradeoff. External adapters plug in to the serial port, which, until recently, was limited to a top speed of 115.2Kbps. (Newer serial interfaces have faster chips). Internal adapter cards bypass any serial port bottleneck, so you can get a full 128Kbps out of your ISDN line. However, external adapters are more likely to be flash-ROM upgradable.
For a laptop computer, get a credit-card-size PC card terminal adapter. You can buy a card that supports both ISDN and 56Kbps analog modem connections, so that you can use the same card when you travel.
Next, ensure that your adapter provides a standard U interface instead of an S/T interface. The U interface is common in the U. S. and enables you to plug in the adapter directly to the ISDN wall jack. Otherwise, you need yet another piece of equipment called a network terminator, or NT-1.
If you’re going to use a phone or fax machine on your ISDN line, make sure that your adapter has at least one analog phone jack on it. You plug in your existing equipment to the adapter. Also, check to see whether the adapter has full ringing support. That is, when a phone call comes in, does the phone actually ring or do you just get some flashing lights on the front of the adapter? Flashing lights are easy to miss when you’re busy poring over your computer screen.
Make sure that your adapter allows you to link together both B channels for high-speed connections. The preferred method is multilink PPP. Your ISP also needs to support multilink.
Pay attention to how flexible and efficient the adapter is in its use of the two B channels. For example, if you are using both channels for a 128Kbps internet connection when a phone call comes in, does the adapter dynamically allocate one of those channels to the call, and then shift it back to internet use when the call is over?
Also take a close look at cost-saving features. ISDN providers typically charge more for using two B channels than for using one. Some of the best adapters try to balance performance with cost. They connect at the highest rate by using two channels, but drop back to one if your activity doesn’t require that bandwidth. But beware: if the adapter throws you off and on the second B channel too frequently, you could end up spending more money. Some ISDN providers charge more for the first minute of connection than for subsequent minutes of use. If you’re constantly reconnecting, you could spend more than if you just stay on the line.
In some cases, you can get more performance out of an ISDN line by using data compression. See which compression method(s) your adapter provides. Most ISPs don’t support compression at their end, so 128Kbps is the best that you can do. However, if you are dialing in to a corporate network that does support compression, you will get better performance.
If you want to make sure that your ISDN adapter works even during power outages – so that you can make phone calls – look for one with a backup battery pack.
Ordering an ISDN line
Ordering your ISDN phone line is the trickiest part. ISDN is flexible, which means that many ways exist to configure it. Only some of those ways will actually work for you. The exact configuration that you order depends on your adapter and your switch type.
Your ISDN line provider may also allow flexibility in choosing ISDN features, especially phone features such as Caller ID and three-way conferencing. If you have custom calling features on your phone now, you need to check with your ISDN provider about whether they’re available on your ISDN line.
For basic line configuration, consult the manuals and box inserts that come with your adapter. You are likely to find switch-specific configuration instructions. Each set of instructions lists 10 to 20 parameters that must be set correctly for your adapter to work with that switch. You may want to fax the relevant instructions to your ISDN line provider.
Manufacturers and phone companies are working to simplify the process by suing ordering codes. Each code is a shorthand way to refer to all the parameter settings in a configuration.
If you’re interested in using a phone and a fax machine on the ISDN line, ask the provider whether you will have one or two phone numbers assigned to the line. If you get two numbers, you can have one number ring the phone and the other call the fax. You can also use both devices at the same time. If you get one phone number, then incoming calls ring both de vices, and you can use only one at a time.
If you are adding a new phone line instead of converting an existing one, you definitely need a qualified installer to add it.
Before you sign up, ask your line provider about B channel speed. Ideally, it should be 64Kbps, which gives you the potential of 128Kbps when you link both channels. Inn some locations, it is 56Kbps instead. Also, shop carefully for an ISP. Some that normally support multilink (combining two channels into one internet connection) can’t provide a stable 128Kbps connection, so in practice, you’re limited to one 64Kbps B channel.
Configuring your computer for ISDN
Physical installation of an ISDN adapter is like that of any other modem. An external adapter connects to the computer’s serial port (or modem port) with a serial cable. External adapters also have a power supply. If you have an internal adapter, it’s installed inn one of the computer’s empty slots. In either case, a phone cable provided with the adapter connects it to the ISDN wall jack. If desired, phones or fax machines are plugged in to the adapter’s analog (telephone) ports.
Follow the manufacturer’s directions for installing the hardware driver, so that your computer c an access the new adapter. Depending on what type of computer and adapter you have, the computer may automatically detect the adapter and choose the appropriate driver.
To configure the adapter, however, you need additional information. Ask your phone company or other ISDN provider about the following:
· Switch type: if you researched and bought your own adapter, you already know this.
· Phone number(s): assigned to your ISDN line
· Service profile identifiers (SPIDs): SPIDs are codes that identify your ISDN line to the phone company equipment. Typically, you have two SPIDs, one for each B channel. They look like phone numbers plus extra digits that are specific to the switch type. For example, one of your B channels may have the phone number (925) 555-3434 and SPID 92555534340101. If your area code changes, then so does your ISDN phone number and the associated SPID.
· B channel rate: ask the line provider whether it’s 64 or 56Kbps.
Now, run the configuration software provided by the adapter manufacturer. Enter the switch type, phone number(s), and SPID(s). if your ISP supports Multilink PPP, then make sure Multilink is enabled here. If your B channel rate is a full 64Kbps, make sure that option is selected. If you have phones or fax machines connected, follow thee adapter manufacturer’s instructions to assign phone numbers to the devices.
Tip: if you have a PC running windows 98, and your adapter is an internal card, you may run the window 98 ISDN wizard instead. Choose start / programs / accessories / communications / ISDN configuration wizard.
The next task is to set up a network connection, as you would for any other modem. Contact your ISP and find one or more local numbers that are reserved for ISDN access. Create network connections that dial in to those numbers using your ISDN adapter. See the section “Setting up a connection with windows 98” .
Your ISDN provider or adapter manufacturers can tell you how to make sure that the TCP/IP network protocol is loaded. If you’re getting a new ISP you also need to enter its IP address, host name, domain name, mail server, and news server information.
If you are buying a complete ISDN package from one company, you usually get shrink-wrapped software for its ISP service. The software takes you through the installation of a customized browser, e-mail program and other components. Check with the ISP if you prefer to use the software that you have now. You need to configure your software to work with the ISP’s service.
The ISDN setup discussed thus far meets the needs of many home users and telecommuters. With the B channels configured to handle both data and voice, and multilink enabled you have the flexibility to add a phone and a fax machine without sacrificing high-speed access to the internet.
But ISDN can be set up more elaborately. You can have up to eight devices on an ISDN line, such as extension phones or a computer in another room. Depending on the capabilities of your switch, the devices could even have different phone numbers. Small office, anyone? You can’t use all the devices at once, but any two of them could each take an available B channel. To connect multiple computers, you may want to buy a router. Check with your ISBN provider for more details and review http://www.zdnet.com/pcmag/featires/pisdn/index.html.
We also haven’t talked much about the 16Kbps D channel. It’s for data only, not voice. Some businesses use it for low-bandwidth transactions, such as to verify credit card charges. That keeps the B channels open for voice calls or larger data transactions. The D channel may also be used to provide always On/Dynamic ISDN.
Finally, there’s videoconferencing. With ISDN, you’re not limited to calling your ISP. You can place a direct, high-speed call to a friend or colleague who also has ISDN, turn on your desktop video cameras, and talk face to face. Well, almost.
Connecting via ADSL
The telecommunications industry learned hard lessons from its struggle to sell ISDN. As a result, ADSL not only is faster than ISDN, but it also is simpler to install. New standards should further improve ADSL’s ease of use.
Choosing an ADSL modem
The market for ADSL equipment hasn’t been as open as that for ISDN. The service is relatively new and implementation has varied from provider to provider. A modem that works with one provider’s ADSL service isn’t guaranteed to work with another’s. As a result, ordering ADSL has meant buying the modem and the ADSL line from the same provider. (it has sometimes meant changing ISPs, as well, since only some of them provide ADSL access).
The new G.Lite standard should improve the situation. Expect modem vendors to begin producing G.Lite equipment and selling it directly to consumers. But until the standard is widely adopted, play it safe. Before buying any modem, talk to your ADSL service provider to make sure the modem will work with its service.
G.Lite should also improve installation. One of the costs that providers and consumers want to eliminate is the need to have an installer come to your house. With most ADSL modems, the installer has to put in a splitter, a small device that separates the voice signal from the data signal on the line. G.Lite’s “splitterless” design makes that visit unnecessary. As soon as your phone line has ADSL service, you can connect the modem to the wall jack, plug in a phone to the back of the modem, and finish the setup yourself.
Some computer manufactuers are starting to install splitterless ADSL modems as an option. These modems aren’t necessarily G.Lite complaint, although you may be able to upgrade them to G.Lite.
ADSL modems are available as external and internal models for desktop computers. The G.Lite standard should help to make PC Cards available for laptops.
If you get an external modem, it may need to connect to an Ethernet card or other network card in your computer. Many computers come with a built-in Ethernet adapter. Some ADSL modems take advantage of the new Universal Serial Bus (USB) ports and connect there instead. That means you don’t have to open your computer to install an Ethernet card.
If you plan to use a phone or fax machine on your ADSL line, make sure the modem has a phone jack. If possible, choose a model with a built-in telephone filter.
Finally, if you want to tap in to ADSL speeds that are higher than G.Lite’s 1.544Mbps – and some providers do support that, for a price – make sure that your modem can handle those speeds. Hybrid G. Lite / ADSL modems should be available.
Ordering an ADSL line
The hardest part of ordering an ADSL line is having a phone line that qualifies for the service. Like ISDN, ADSL is sensitive to distance from the phone company’s central office, and to the condition of the network. Depending on those factors, you might be limited to lower ADSL speeds (1.544Mbps or less), or you might not be able to get the service at all.
Many ADSL providers give you a choice of different speeds for different prices. You may need to schedule an installation visit if your modem requires a splitter. If you are adding a new phone line instead of converting an existing one, you definitely need an installer’s assistance.
Tip: with ADSL (unlike ISDN), you don’t have to worry about ordering phone features such as caller ID or three-way conferencing. If you have those features now, they’ll still be there after your phone line is converted to ADSL.
Configuring your computer for ADSL
Physical installation of an ADSL modem is straightforward. The modem, internal or external, is connected to the ADSL line wall jack. An external modem also plugs in to a power source. A phone or fax machine may connect directly to a splitterless modem, or may instead need to be connected to a splitter on the phone line.
Follow the manufacturer’s directions for installing the hardware driver, so that your computer can access the new modem. Depending on what type of computer and modem you have, the computer may automatically detect the modem and choose the appropriate driver.
The rest of the configuration is simpler than for ISDN: no SPIDs, no switch types, and no dial-up connections. Your ADSL provider or modem manufacturer can tell you how to make sure that the TCP/IP network protocol is loaded. If you’re getting a new ISP, you also enter its IP address, host name domain name, mail server, and news server information.
If you are buying a complete ADSL package from one company, you usually get shrink-wrapped software for its ISP service. The software takes you through the installation of a customized browser, e-mail program, and other components. Check with the ISP if you prefer to use the software that you have now. You need to configure it to work with the ISP’s service.
ADSL provides a high-speed data channel for internet access, and a voice line for phone or fax calls. Both can be shared. Extension phones can simply be plugged in to wall jacks in other rooms (although you may want to add filters for them). To connect multiple computer, you need to buy a hub or perhaps a router. An inexpensive ethernal hub works well for a two-computer household. Connect the modem to the hub and then connect each computer’s Ethernet card to a port on the hub. You may need to purchase from your ISP separate IP addresses for each computer. For more information on this solution (and alternative configurations), see the web site http://www.tuketu.com/dsl/xdsl.htm or http://www. timhiggins.com/ppd/sharing.htm. the latter site is about sharing cable modem access, but the principles are the same.
The main use of ADSL is a high-speed connection, either to the internet or to your office network for telecommuting. ADSL is appealing because:
· It’s always on. you don’t have to connect and disconnect, you don’t have to watch your time online, and the information on your desktop is always up-to-date.
· It’s fast. Audio and video presentations become much more enjoyable, multimegabyte software downloads take minutes instead of hours, and interactive games are more responsive.
ADSL boosters tout its use for videoconferencing. ADSL is many times faster than ISDN, even upstream. But most people will be using ADSL to go through the internet, rather than to call another person directly. That means the speed and quality of your videoconference still depend on all the components between you and the other person.
Connecting via cable modem
Setting up cable modem service is more straightforward than for ISDN or even for ADSL, because you don’t have to make very many choices. If you can get cable modem service in your neighborhood, it’s typically through your cable TV company. It rents you a modem and (to some extent) the software.
You don’t have to make any decisions about phones or fax machines, because they can’t be attached to a cable. If you want a phone in your home office, you need to keep your existing phone line.
Modem manufacturers and cable companies are converging on a standard called data-over-cable service interface specification (DOCSIS). Eventually, DOCSIS will give you more choices in selecting a modem. But before you buy any modem, talk to your cable modem provider to make sure that the modem will work with the provider’s service.
Hopefully, DOCSIS will streamline installation. Cable modem service providers, like ADSL providers, want to connect you to their service without having to send an installer to your house.
Ordering cable modem service
Today, when you order cable modem service, an installer visits your house. He or she adds a splitter to your cable line and runs a new cable to the room where your computer is – unless you’re ready to sacrifice the cable running to your TV.
If your cable modem service uses telephone return for the upstream channel – that is, if the data that you send has to go over a phone line – then you need a phone line in the room where your computer is. That phone line can’t be used for voice calls or faxing while you’re online.
Currently, cable modem service includes ISP service. In fact, some cable modem providers have very elaborate portals- home pages rich with news and information. ISP costs are included in the price of cable modem service, although you may want to keep an additional account with your current ISP for remote access. There is pressure for this to change, especially from competitors, who are calling for the “unbundling” of cable modem service. If this happens you will be able to choose the cable line, the equipment, and the ISP separately. Cable companies may, in the meantime, strike deals with individual ISPs.
Configuring your computer for cable modem service
Once the splitter and new cable are in place, cable modem installation is similar to ADSL modem installation. The cable line connects to the modem, and the modem connects to a power source and to either an Ethernet card or USB port on your computer. Follow the provider’s or modem manufacturer’s instructions for installing hardware drivers.
Your cable modem provider or modem manufacturer can tell you how to make sure that the TCP/IP network protocol is loaded. You also enter the IP address, host name, domain name, mail server, and news server information for the cable company’s ISP.
You usually receive shrink-wrapped software for the cable company’s ISP service. The software leads you through the installation of a customized browser, e-mail program, and other components. If you prefer to use the software that you already have, you need to configure it to work with the ISP’s service. And if you’re keeping a separate dial-up ISP for remote access, you need to configure your programs to point to that ISP’s mail and news servers.
In most cases, the installer who puts in the splitter and new cable can also install your modem and software, too. Bear in mind that the installer may know more about cables than computers. He or she is probably following a checklist for standard software installation. Make sure that you understand any changes the installer makes to your computer. If you have questions about customizing your installation, contact your provider’s technical support help line.
At this point, you may be eager to go online. Before you do, turn off file sharing. When it’s on, other cable, modem users may have access through the network to your files and printers. If you’re determined to keep file sharing turned on, at least assign a password to any shared disks, devices, folders, or files (in windows 98, choose start / settings / control panel and run the network program to display the network dialog box. On the configuration tab, click the file and print sharing button).
Using cable modem service
Cable modem speed can certainly be shared among computers in a household. As with ADSL, a hub or router gives your computers access to the modem. You may need to purchase from your ISP separate IP addresses for each computer. For more details on this solution (and alternative configurations), see http://www.timhiggins. com/ppd/sharing.htm.
Cable modem service, like ADSL, is always on and is fast, and its list of benefits is the same: up-to-date information, fast access to audio and video, rapid downloads and more responsive games.
Once you have cable modem service or ADSL, it’s hard to go back to anything slower. Industry pundits like to talk about computers becoming convenient information “appliances”. With an always-on, high-speed internet connection, our computer comes much closer to being that kind of device.To place an order for the Complete Project Material, pay N5,000 to
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