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Ryan_V

wireless vs wi-fi

15 posts in this topic

we are finally looking at going high speed internet. we are all alone in the country so our options are very limited. I found a wireless service that we fit into (barely, we're on the edge, but still in the area). My questions is, how much is wi-fi, and who do we go to for that service?? my understanding is that wi-fi will go anywhere there's a signal, and wireless is only good at home (at least in the area). Let me know what you guys (and girls) think?? We would eventually like to get a laptop, so that's why were thinking wi-fi, but never dealt with it, so any help is appreciated!!!

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Are you talking about Wild Blue, the satellite internet service?

I don't believe there is any wi-fi service.

After getting an internet service to your home (whatever that may be) then you'd set up a wi-fi system within the home and use your laptop around the house using that.

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Wireless. Isn't that what Wi-Fi is? I thought Wi-Fi was a type of protocol and very limited in range.

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You can pick up a wifi router at an electronics store or most department stores. If you don't have a laptop and the internet box is near your computer you can wait until it is needed. The only benefit that you'd see with a desktop is the ability to put the computer anywhere in the house. If that's what your looking to do then there aren't all that many features to choose between. The fastest and most range will be had with IEEE 802.11 N but if the computer doesn't have N then B or G will work also. Some will also have a USB port on them for a printer or external hard drive.

If your not to good with the computer stuff, sometimes the internet provider will sell a high speed internet box with the wifi built into it.

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Could be looking at 3G cellular, wildblue satillite, clearwire or RF. I'm not sure what's available around Hutch.

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Then what do you get that when you take your laptop anywhere there is "wi-fi" you can get service. Wireless is limited to the service area.

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Those are places that have wi-fi hot spots and are sharing their service to their customers. Places like coffee shops, airports, hotels, etc.

Another option is to get a cellular air card, but the service isn't exactly cheap either. You essentially get wireless capabilities wherever you have a good cell phone signal. There are limitations on speed though, depending on if your in their high speed data zones or not.

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LMITOUT...so if I get the wireless from hutchtel...or new ulm tel...whatever it is...if I go to a wi-fi hotspot, it will work there?

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Nope. With what they offer you'll only get signal in their broadcast area. After you move far enough away from their tower or antenna you'll have nothing. Then you'd have to search for a wi-fi hot spot such as a place of business like I listed above, but it's hit and miss to find one. Hotels are a good bet though if you're traveling and need to get online, just swing through their parking lot and find a parking spot with a good signal.

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I was just looking at their HSOforum and I've heard they want to bring wireless into Hutch but it isn't here yet.......just those outlaying areas around lakes, etc. I'm guessing it's easier for them to pick up a few more internet customers around the lakes by putting up a tower than trying to lay hard lines to all the homes.

The other thing I'm curious about is what type of hardware they use. Do they set up an antenna on the house and then use a wireless router to broadcast the wi-fi signal within the home?

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Let's break this down to simple Wireless 101 terms...

Wireless comes in a variety of ways: Wireless/cellular, Wireless broadband, Wifi.

Wireless cellular-Basically, data access is available from the carrier that provides your voice cellular service. Coverage is provided by the same towers that provide voice service, but that does not mean that you will get data service everywhere that there is voice service. The cellular towers must be equipped with special radios that can handle the data traffic. The ROI is poor in low demand/low traffic areas so the carrier will not make the investment to make service available in these areas. You can either buy a laptop with a cellular card built in or install a card in the PCMCIA slot of the laptop. Cost is generally about $60/month and true 3rd generation (3G) service is limited to major metropolitan areas nationally. Some carriers offer a slower 2.5G in lesser populated areas but the price is the same. The big players are AT&T, Verizon and Sprint. T-Mobile is always trying to play catch up.

Wireless broadband- Clearwire is one example where they offer a service similar to the cellular carriers but it is dedicated to data. They operate with towers too, but the coverage is limited to their service area. My understanding is that this service competes more with cable company offerings for high speed internet. In fact, the founder of Clearwire is cellular pioneer Craig McCaw who started CellularOne back in the 80's. (CellularOne is now AT&T Mobility.)

Wifi- This technology that allows you to send/receive data in close proximity to a hub/router. So, if you have broadband cable at home, you connect a wireless router to your home cable service and create a small zone in and around your house where you can move about and connect with a laptop or desktop without being connected to a wire or cable. You don't pay extra to connect the wifi capability to your home system-you only need to buy the equipment. Think of wifi as Clearwire on a very small local scale. Coffee shops, McDonalds, book stores, etc. will offer free wifi service to their patrons in an effort to lure them in to buy coffee, hamburgers and fries, and books. Some locations offer wifi on a pay per use or pay per day service as well. To use the free wifi service, you simply need a laptop or other device capable of the 802.11 technology. Some of the cellular carriers have agreements with retail establishments which allow you to use their wifi service for free if you pay for their cellular data service.

That scratches the surface of wireless...anyone have anything to add?

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What ever happened to Mpls getting public wirless internet you could pay for?

Quote:
Wireless Minneapolis

In 2006 the City of Minneapolis signed a 10-year contract with USI Wireless of Minnetonka to provide Minneapolis with cutting-edge broadband technology. USI Wireless is a private company that will own, build and manage the wireless network, making Minneapolis one of the first large cities in the United States to go wireless.

When completed, the wireless network will cover all 59 square miles of Minneapolis providing residents, businesses and visitors with wireless broadband access anywhere in the City. The network will allow the City to deliver services more efficiently and effectively than ever before. The wireless contract also includes benefits to the community that go far beyond what any other city in the country has negotiated.

A portion of the wireless network was already completed on Aug. 1, 2007, when the I-35W Bridge collapsed, which allowed the City to use the network as part of its emergency response effort. The City of Minneapolis is grateful to USI Wireless for their rapid response and support. This effort and other Wireless Minneapolis initiatives received international recognition when the City was awarded Wireless Internet Institute’s (W2i) Digital Cities Best Practices Award for e-Government Applications in December, 2007.

USI Wireless is completing construction in six geographic phases, and has now completed work in Phases One through Four. Phase Five is also complete with the exception of 12 new poles that are being installed by the City of Minneapolis Public Works crews. USI Wireless crews have completed about half of the installations in Phase Six. To support the wireless network in that Phase, Public Works crews will be installing approximately eight new poles to provide mounting locations. The network will be available to customers in Phases Five and Six once these new poles are in place.

Upon completion of the primary network construction, USI Wireless crews will move to identified Challenge Areas, beginning in the Lowry Hill – Loring Park neighborhoods where modifications to decorative light poles are necessary to support installation activities. Approximately 8000 customers are now using the network.

Updated May 19, 2008

Is it up and running, or did it fail?

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Yep, I think it would not reach also grin

Maybe a post for another new thread, but I figured maybe someone would know. It was a hot topic last summer if I recall. Have heard nothing since of it.

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The wireless service you're just barely in the service area is what I had in Elk River prior to the cable co. coming into my neighborhood.

There is an antenna they install on your house, pointed in the direction of the company's tower. A network and power cable runs from the antenna to a jack in the house. You can plug a computer directly to this and have broadband internet service, or you can plug in a router (use a wi-fi router, if you want to allow multiple PCs with wi-fi network cards to connect).

The wireless broadband service is not nearly as fast as cable or DSL, but from my experience it is faster than dial-up, on the order of 3X to 4X faster.

If you have DSL available from your phone company, I'd look into that before the wireless option. If that is not available, your only other options are satellite (Wild Blue, Hughes Net, or ??) or dial-up. Last I looked, satellite was mucho $$.

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