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Is anyone familiar with Wireless Internet Access?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Yesterday, I received a letter from my Neighbor telling me about Wireless Internet. I am not familiar with it at all, but the rates sounds much better.
Here's his letter to me....
Hello Neighbor, My name is Justin & I live across the hall from you. After speaking with various neighbors, it appears there is some interest in having wireless Internet acess within this building. Currently, some people seem to be using Road Runner or DSL for Internet acess. Another alternative would be to setup a high speed Wireless Internet Access Point that could be accessed by the tenants of our building for cheaper than Road Runner or DSL. Within one year, most people would save at least $180. Additionally with wireless access, the only equipment required on your side would be a Wireless Network Card; no complicated network devices, splitters, or cables on the floor. You could also have your computer or laptop located almost anywhere in your apartment. The cost of the high speed Wireless Network Card would probably be around $80 if you wished to purchase one. Or you could rent one from me at around $4.95 a month. Regardless of your choice, it would still be less expensive than Road Runner or DSL. The cost of this wireless service would be $29.95 per month. I would be responsible for the purchase, setup (including your computer), and maintenance of the equipment. I just need to know if there is enough interest to justify my costs and time investment.

So...What do you think? And what are the pros & cons to this? Right now I have Road Runner & I am satisfied with that. I would be nice to not have the cables on the floor & be able to put my computer where ever I'd like. Plus, it sounds like it would be much cheaper in the long since I'm paying close to $50 per month right now. If I move out of this apartment, will I be able to use this network card again or am I just out of the money?

Any ideas? Many thanks in advance!
post #2 of 10
We are talking about having wireless service at work, which is in an old house, and sharing the service with other tenants. I don't know a whole lot about how wireless works, except that all you need is the wireless card (which you can use anywhere, it is the hardware that lets your computer accept a signal that is broadcast into the air, instead of sent through a wire with a jack of cable connection.

My questions are: How secure is the signal? Would it be easier for hackers to intercept my transmissions.

How many people can use one wireless "connection" without degrading service. I assume he means that there will be one wireless service into the building, and you would all tap into that one account.

How stable is the connection? And if there is downtime, because of a bad connection, will this cause a problem. (As in, the "box" would be in his apartment, the service is down, and nobody can get internet because he's not home to hit a reset button). I share a cable account with my upstairs neighbours, and at least once a month, I have to knock on their door to tell them that the cable is out, they have to unplug the router box and reset it.

What happens when people move in and out of the building? How can the cost of the service be fairly assessed?

Hope this helps. Wireless certainly is the new generation of internet, we just bought a new lap top computer for work that has wireless capability, although we are still just using silly old slow dial up for now.
post #3 of 10
Wireless technology is the current 'in' thing. Personally, I'm too worried about how safe this technology is froma security standpoint and from recent reports it seems to be a serious issue.

Here's an article that looks at the problems associated with it: Wireless Technology Risks

The example they give happened in Toronto and was all over the news. Right now I'll be a stick in the mud and stick with my wires.
post #4 of 10
Wireless does pose a security risk. Plus, you aren't always certain to get a signal. At my old school, in the main office, other wiring, like for the phones, interfered with me picking up a wireless signal in some parts of the building.

I used wireless a bit at home. My desktop computer is wired, but it also acts as a base station for a wireless connection to my laptop. It's pretty reliable, but I remember the range being limited to maybe 150 ft.
post #5 of 10
We have a wireless router here at home and I have a wireless card in my laptop and in my Ipaq. We subscribe to DSL. We started sharing our connecton with our friends downstairs, they just bought a wireless card and we gave them permission to connect.

How well do you know this guy? Keep in mind it is possible for him to allow himself access to your pc through the network he is creating.
post #6 of 10
I'm a web developer and wireless is what I use. However - I run MY OWN network, and in order for anyone to access it, they have to have a 26-character long key. If you use wireless, you MUST have a firewall. It's not an option from a security standpoint.

I would be wary of this neighbor's offer, however. Ask him who this will be through and for a contact number. There are scams out there where people are trying to make money off of wireless networking. One guy buys the DSL or T1 or whatever and then plugs in a powerful router and charges other people for accessing it. So I'd call the company he plans to use as a provider and ask about it.

Wireless is great, I couldn't live without it. I almost always work on laptop...from the kitchen, or the balcony or the sofa...and have several computers around the place which all are on the network. I can access each computer's stuff from ANY of the computers, without having to even get up.

BUT - the signal strength diminishes the further you are from the access point, and the radio signal can be sketchy during a storm, etc. I can plug up to 4 computers into my router, though, so I'm covered. My DSL connection NEVER goes out, so I don't have to worry about directy connecting to it with an Ethernet cable.

But you would not have this luxury if someone else was tapping directly into the cable and you have nothing but a network card. And if their antenna is not powerful enough, you may need to buy one of your own, and they're not exactly cheap. My partner lives in a steel reinforced concrete building and not even his kids' computers can use the wirless access point because of it.

For some of us, it's indispensible. But if you don't get all the details, I'd stay clear of this. Security may be an issue, too. If this guy doesn't know what he's doing, anyone on the network could tap into your pc. If you buy a good firewall, you'll be set, but that's more money out the window.
post #7 of 10
Wireless can be very secure it's just a matter of having someone who knows how to set it up properly.

The ultimate goal with setting this up would be to have 1 connection to your ISP which would save you money. How much money depends on how much DSL or Cable costs in your area, but where I live, instead of $50 for Cable per apartment in my complex it could be $50 shared between 9 apartments. That's $400 a month in savings.

Even if you have only one connection to the internet, you can have many wireless access points which would make wireless coverage ubiquitous in your complex, but again you need someone who will know what hardware to buy and how to set it up so that everyone can get good coverage in your building. In my complex it would be tough to do because I live in a complex of two story town houses. Using one wireless access point to cover two floors is tough and that would leave no coverage in the basements. When I had my wireless router setup I had to have it on the stairs in order to get coverage on both floors.

With regards to security... Wireless access points offer encrypted key settings to only allow your pc access to a specific access point. Depending on how your complex is setup, you might want to have one access point per apartment, which would mean only you can get to the internet through that point. Wireless Access Points also allow you to setup whether pcs can come in to your pc or not, which likely you'd want to not allow people to have inbound access to your PC. No matter what, you need someone who knows how to setup the Wireless Networking security.

Just to let you know how ISP's are ripping off the technically ignorant... My ISP sent me a mailer advertising that for an extra $60.00/month I could hook up multiple PC's to my network connection. I'm spending $0.00/month and I'm doing that now. I was really appalled by the mailer!
post #8 of 10
Originally Posted by Monica's Six
Just to let you know how ISP's are ripping off the technically ignorant... My ISP sent me a mailer advertising that for an extra $60.00/month I could hook up multiple PC's to my network connection. I'm spending $0.00/month and I'm doing that now. I was really appalled by the mailer!
I got something like that from Verizon and was so angry that I actually called them! Why not just put instructions on their web site so that anyone can do this? It couldn't be easier, so why charge $60. The "technician" actually told me that a technician must come to your house and physically set this up, it's not something the lay-person should be doing. Holy moly. I told him he was ripping people off with that info and that a monkey could do it with the right instructions and he told me that it was best left to the "professionals."

I'm a professional, but my grandfather is a bonehead when it comes to computers and I still was able to talk him through it over the phone.
post #9 of 10
Originally Posted by DiMa
The "technician" actually told me that a technician must come to your house and physically set this up, it's not something the lay-person should be doing.
Right! Have you had one of these "technicians" out to your house lately? When I switched over to Comcast the guy who came to my house couldn't understand why the cable doesn't go directly into the TV, but instead into the VCR which connects to the TV. I had to set it up the Cable TV myself because he couldn't get it to work. And this guy's going to setup a Network?!?! I think not!
post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your help everyone. I believe after reading all of the material, I'll just spend the extra cash & stay with what I've got. I like being secure in all aspects & I just don't like the fact that he would know what is happening with my computer. Plus, I don't know him very well but he does seem like a genuine & nice person. But at this point, I just can't be that trusting.

Thanks again everyone!
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