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Advice wanted on broadband setup

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ike

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OK, all you clever IT/techie chaps,

Finally broadband has reached the point where I can afford to give it a go, since my dialup access is now so diabolically useless with all the fandangled, graphic-splattered websites now.
I can get ADSL4LESS for £11.99 p.m. (2MB speed, 2GB limit. It sounds OK and I can't find any very bad reviews most reviewers seem happy with it. Now, I only want a basic package anyway cos I'm not into all this music/video/game mullarky. They offer a monthly contract by direct debit/debit card, which is suits me if it all goes **** up.

The deal doesn't include hardware so one set of advice I've had is to have a router/modem to give me a solid firewall that being completely dumb it can't be interrogated or hacked as could happen with firewall software if not set up right. Is this sound advice?

If so, what router should I look for - just the cheapest. I don't need wireless as i'm unlikely to ever buy a laptop, and only use one computer in the house. So is the cheapest 1-port USB router the one to go for. I can get one at aria.co.uk for £29 squid +VAT (hopefully less than £20 if I shop around - anyone got one going spare after a wireless upgrade perhaps?). Is that all I need.

PS reading some more, does any router act as a firewall or do I have to get a"firewall router" or one that specifically states that it does firewall? :?

thanks for any advice,

cheers,

ike
 

Chris Knight

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Ike,

I think most routers have a firewall element these days. You need to look for a router with NAT (Network Address Translation)
 
A

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Ike

Choice of provider is very much up to you. Everyone has a different opinion about the quality of the service they receive. In large part, it's your location to your telephone exchange that determines how good/bad your broadband experience is.

Most people (other than cable broadband providers) buy their broadband from BT. I say most, because as days go by more and more providers are moving to their own networks, by renting space from BT in their local exchanges and putting their own connectivity equipment in there. Its called Local Loop Unbundling (LLU). Off topic for what were on about here, other than to say everyone is very much of a muchness so long as they are NOT an LLU provider (Bulldog, Easynet etc). There is loads to be said on this topic, mostly dull network nonsense.

A few things I would need to know to advise you best on this.

Where is your master phone socket? Is it next to your PC or is it in your loft, hallway etc.

The reason i ask this is because you 'may' have issues with connecting to broadband from a telephone socket that is not your master socket. This ofetn happens in rural areas where people are longer distances from the exchange or where the person has wired their own telephone in house systems poorly.

If your BB wont work, your provider will first ask you to plug it into the master socket (or the test socket that is within the master socket) If youre master is in the hallway, you'll have to plug into the hallway to make it work. So you might want to think about wireless if you dont have easy access to your master socket. Only if you have problems obviously!

Do you have a network/ethernet port in the back of your current PC?

If you do, then stay away from anything USB. I would even advise to get a network card (with ethernet port on it, bout a tenner) and fit it into your PC and then stay away from USB. USB requires drivers, drivers cause problems. If you can go direct to ethernet I would advise to do that.

With regard the kit you buy. Buying a router is good advice in my opinion. The reasons for this are as follows:

1. The router controls your connection, NOT your PC. This means that if you do have connectvitiy problems then you can isolate the problem to the router. You can go to the router set up pages and check to see if you are connected. If you are you know that its problems on your PC that are causing the issue.

2. Routers remain constantly connected, so when you turn your PC on, you just have to open Firefox/IE and youre away. No need to double click to connect.

3. Firewalls, although probably not the most advanced, are definately worth having on a router.

Contracts

Not being tied to a 12 month contract is always good, but that is why you have to buy your own connectivity equipment. No return on investment for the provider, other than the connection charge they have to pay to BT. ADSL4LESS seem to be reselling BTs IP Stream product so are not an LLUprovider.

I would read the comments in this thread before you do go for these guys.

http://tiger.xssl.net/~admin244/forums/ ... php?t=2756

If you pay less for broadband, then you compromise the quality of after sales service potentially.

For what its worth, I use a Netgear router DG834. It is wireless, but if you are buying a router, for the price you might be advised to get wireless in case you do have any of the in house wiring issues I discussed earlier on.

I'll stop writing now as this is getting too long now.

PM and I can help you decide, but if it were me I would do the following

1. Check for a slightly more expensive provider with a competitive deal. Have a look at Tiscali, Zen or AOL.

2. Buy a wireless router so that you can avoid any in house wiring issues should they arise. A good quality one will have a firewall on. I have the netgear as describved about, has a good quality firewall and has been connected for over 2 weeks with no issues.

3. Stay away from USB if you can. USB has drivers and drivers corrupt and need installing and and and. Buy a network card and stick with ethernet.

4. Dont worry too much about caps. 2 gig is more than enough for usage of email and web surfing.

5. Give me a shout if you need any help or have any problems.
 

ike

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Biglouie,

thanks very much for the info! I'm beginning to see the benefits of going wireless and will definitely spend a bit more I think. I've just been given an impressive demonstration of how you can remotely control and configure them (including wireless encryption) and even how to connect into home security stuff. On holiday, I could even watch my home from any internet cafe anywhere - bloody amazing!

Do you have a network/ethernet port in the back of your current PC?
No, but a friend can get me one FOC.

Where is your master phone socket?
Thanks for the tip.

Give me a shout if you need any help or have any problems
What do you think to this?

http://www.aria.co.uk/ProductsList.asp?Submit=search&Category=31 Safecom Wireless Router/Modem (near bottom of list)

I'll stop writing now as this is getting too long now
Not on my behalf - thanks ever so much!

cheers

Ike
 
A

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Personally, I wouldnt buy a router that wasnt from a reasonably well known brand. I'd buy netgear or linksys or Thomson. All tested by major ISPs for compliance and are now pretty much fully supported I would think.

if you know someone who knows about computers, who has a specific router, go witht hat one. Because at the end of the day, if you have a problem, you can ask them. They are more likely to know about what to do, if they have the same kit.

All my family have netgear routers. Because I have to support them :)

Also, check your number in the BT website and a few other sites, to confirm what product you can get. You;d think, if they were buying broadband from BT and reselling it, that you'd get the same result. You dont.

I cant get Bulldog where I live, but was checking their number checker. It said I could get 2Mb. That is a total lie. And done by them to get me through the door, by saying I can get a faster speed than i can.

Head for well known brands, who will have lots of back haul network, big clowt with BT Wholesale to get problems resolved should they arise.

And remember, there is a great deal of churn in the broadband market at the moment, they are litteraly crying out to get your business, so look for a deal with voice calls thrown in. Wanadoo, 14,99 plus free evening and weekend calls made via their voice over IP product, you get a wireless router box thrown in with that as well I think. 12 month contracts i would guess. Sounds like a reasonable deal.

ADSL4less, I would be thinking very carefully about.
 

ike

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BL,

ADSL4less, I would be thinking very carefully about.
Point taken, I'll do some more homework. :roll:

Ike
 

Les Mahon

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Wanadoo, 14,99 plus free evening and weekend calls made via their voice over IP product, you get a wireless router box thrown in with that as well I think
I'm not sure how relevant this is, but Wanadoo in france are a nightmare (my folks have strugled with them for the last few years) and all of their IP address' are flagged by most mail services as being known sources of SPAM so are often blocked.

On the routers, I have just bought the Netgear DG834 and set it up this week. No problems setting it up and it is working fine, also I suspect the firewall is doing it's job because I connected a clean build laptop over the wireless connection to see if I got gremlins and none arrived in 48 hours which in my experience is pretty good going!

HTH
Les
 

dedee

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Ike,
I too can recommend the netgear wireless router DG834G. I am new to broadband & wireless and found it a cinch to set up. It is also the router that my company rolls out to home workers & they would only do that if it was reliable.
I can also assure you that whatever your requirements are today they may change by tomorrow so a little future proofing could be an idea.

One bonus of this router are the 4 lan connections. Although not required at the time I bought it I now utilise one for the works laptop when I work from home. I could have bought a wireless adapter but the lan cable was free :lol:

Broadband ISPs are like any commodity - the cheapest are rarely the best. On the forums that I searched most people seem to try the cheaper providers first and then find their way to the better providers when they discover slow connections (contention?), poor support service (high phone charges and long waiting times) and frequent downtime. For these reasons I went with Zen & have no complaints.

Incidently if you do work from home and need to connect to your company's network your ISP must allow VPN connection - not all do.

Good luck

Andy
 

RogerS

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Ike

I agree with most of what's already been said.

Stick to well known makes of routers. I've used most of them in my work. Netgear is a good one. Ethernet is the way to go. Get the same one as your tame 'IT support'.

Remember KISS - Keep It Simple S...... and so I would focus on broadband rather than try and get the 'best deal' with voice calls etc etc. Just complicates things IMHO.

Zen. Metronet. Both excellent. Seen too many bad posts elsewhere re Tiscali.

Make sure you instal anti-virus software/spyware software. Software firewall is a good idea but, admittedly not essential if you've using a router like NetGear..although being naturally paranoid I like ZoneAlarm asking me before allowing any old program to connect through to the Internet.

OK - I'm a control freak :wink:
 

Waka

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Ike

You won't go far wrong with Zen, excellent service and back up.
 

ike

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Thanks guys. Zen/Netgear-seems popular.

Ike
 

ike

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Anyone had any experience of, or can comment on Plusnet?
 

Alf

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That's what I'm on. So far, so no problems, but it's early days and I haven't had reason to contact customer services yet. All the dropping off of the connection I'm getting is solely down to the damp string I'm connected via. :(

Cheers, Alf
 

RogerS

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IMHO broadband suppliers fit into two categories.

Those who charge a bit more but give better service (ie they have sufficient funds to develop and support their infrastructure, have good customer service and also pay to have a decent 'fat' pipe between their servers and the main Internet backbone or buy a similar service/bandwidth from a larger supplier but still give the same good service)...I put Zen in this category

and the other category whose business model is sell cheap, therefore we'll get more users therefore we'll be able to get a better deal from our bandwidth suppleirs...but in reality they don't, their customer base exceeds the supply and capability of their available bandwidth, their customer services get overloaded, they end up having to cap their most bandwidth hogging users (although quite reasonable IMHO) ...I just get the impression rightly or wrongly that PlusNet fit in this category.

Honestly...you get what you pay for.
 

Alf

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Roger Sinden":1gpoopyq said:
Oohh..guess that is a bit far and I thought my 1.5 miles was a long way! have you asked PlusNet to check the line?
Not yet; will probably do it after I get back. I figured the fact it was rock solid during the recent high winds, but dropped off as soon as we had the first light shower was pretty conclusive though. :lol:

Cheers, Alf
 

ike

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Well, I've signed up for Broadband Plus with Plusnet. Seems pretty OK. Reviews about them are highly polarized between the heavy users/bandwidth hoggers and average surfers (like me). It's seems in the pursuit of fairness, Plusnet have a low tolerance strategy for people persistently exceeding "fair use". Seems fair to me - just hope it woks when the time comes.

I've decided to start with the supplied modem and upgrade as I can afford.

thanks all for the advice (so far - I may be back for more once I'm ready to hook it all up!)

cheers,

Ike
 
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