Bits & P.C.’s: Share that Bandwidth!

Bits & P.C.’s: Share that Bandwidth!

By By Richard Heller

With the cost of high-speed Internet access getting lower all the time, it’s time for you to make the switch from a dial-up connection to ADSL or cable.

Cable Internet access will cost you about $50 per month for home use and $100 for your business; in addition, you will need to purchase a cable modem for $100. SBC Ameritech is offering their ADSL service for $30 per month for the home and $40-50 business use. If you commit to a year, they will give you the $100 modem and activate you for free. In addition, they will supply you with the filters and network card necessary at no additional charge if you want to install it yourself. You have to call to have your line prepared for the installation.

ADSL service is placed on your phone line and allows you to use the phone, send a fax, or even be online through a dial-up connection at the same time that you are surfing the web at high speed. The filters that you install prevent any interference that you may encounter.

To do the self-install, all you need to do is unplug your telephone from the wall, plug in a splitter, plug a telephone cord into one of the jacks and a filter into the other jack. You next have to plug the telephone cord into the filter and take the cord without the filter and plug it into the ADSL modem. The modem is then connected to a network card in your computer. Once this is done, you need to install additional filters wherever a phone, answering machine or fax is connected.

Once all the phones are filtered, you are ready to install the software. The software actually shows you all the steps necessary for you to do the installation. Once the software is installed, you will be connected to the registration site where you set up your e-mail information. You are allowed five e-mail addresses, which is ideal for other family members or to set up private e-mail accounts.

One of the nice things about ADSL is the easy ability to share your high-speed connection. Instead of plugging the modem directly into the computer but instead plugging it into a device called a router, other computers can use the same connection at the same time.

The router sells for $75 and may contain a switch that enables you to network other computers by adding a $20 network to each. If you really want to do things right, you can go wireless. The wireless router will cost about

$150; the network cards are about $100 each. The nice thing is that you don’t have to run cables all through the house, you can move the computers around the room as you re-arrange your home office.

With a wireless card in your notebook computer, you can be sitting in your easy chair while surfing. You could even be sitting by the pool while watching a video coming over the web, at a speed 25X faster than a dial-up connection.

Richard Heller is an independent computer specialist who specializes in repairs, installation, upgrades, technical support, Internet sharing, data recovery and diagnostics. If you have any computer or service-related questions, please send them to The Rock River Times or e-mail

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