Soon signing up for at&t internet. Some questions... also about airport

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by wangchunggti337, Jul 8, 2007.

  1. wangchunggti337 macrumors regular

    wangchunggti337

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2007
    #1
    I have three main options for internet at my apartment:

    Charter: must sign up for cable to make sense financially.
    at&t: must sign up for phone line, but cheaper than charter
    City Wireless: patchy and unreliable

    I have decided to sign up for at&t as it's the cheapest choice. I have to sign up for a phone line, which is supposed to be $8 a month. There are then three different steps in internet speeds, with increasing prices. This is where I'm confused.

    I don't know the advantage of different speeds or if it's worth an extra $10 a month to get a faster speed. The cheapest is at $15 a month, so with the $8 phone line, it would cost $23 total. Not bad, I thought.

    I then thought about if I wanted to get Airport Extreme (n), would I even get the advantages with a lower speed? Do you need to have a faster connection for the wireless-n to be worth it?

    Any help anyone can offer on which speed is worth the money, would be great.

    I only use it for surfing online, getting assignments from course websites, some youtube action, and my photobucket account. My internet use isn't very intense, so I'm guessing the lowest speed will be fine. I'm not an online gamer, but might get xbox live in the near future.
     
  2. MisterMe macrumors G4

    MisterMe

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Location:
    USA
    #2
    With everything, your mileage may vary. My comments are based on the general case: If AT&T is offering standard DSL, go with Charter. Cable modems "just work" and you can generally install one yourself. DSL is generally slower than cable. It requires filters to be added to your incoming phone line. These have to be installed by a phone technician. You may have a considerable wait before they get around to you.

    Visit your nearest Charter office. Demand a modem with an Ethernet cable or buy your own modem. Don't tell 'em you own a Mac. If money is an issue, then look into their low-priced service. It may still be faster than DSL for a similar or lower price.

    As for Airport Extreme, it is gross overkill. Your ISP connection will not be able to saturate original Airport aka Wi-Fi aka Wireless-B. Save your money and buy a Wireless-G router.
     
  3. wangchunggti337 thread starter macrumors regular

    wangchunggti337

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2007
    #3
    Thanks very much for your comments.

    How will I know if it's DSL or cable?

    I know for a fact that the at&t is much cheaper than charter. Charter has a monopoly on campus and charges ridiculous amounts.

    They did have a deal for $20 a month for 6 months, after that it's in the $50s. I may have missed that promotion however.
     
  4. AfterMyNap macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2007
    #4
    I just switched from Earthlink to At&T DSL and I chose the middle option ($21.95). It's much faster than Earthlink and I am quite satisfied. I'm not a fan of AT&T but it was my best option.

    I use an Airport Express and it does extremely well for me. Since you are not looking for mind-blowing speeds and don't do the gaming, I agree with you that DSL should be more than adequate.

    I am curious about one thing, you mentioned campus is where you live, doesn't your U. have internet already available to you??
     
  5. MisterMe macrumors G4

    MisterMe

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Location:
    USA
    #5
    DSL is transported over your telephone land line. Cable modem is transported over your cable connection.

    If you are on campus, then you must consider several issues:

    1. Many, if not most, universities today provide free Internet service in university housing.

    2. Your university may have telephone contract with a company other than AT&T. If this is the case, then AT&T's DSL service may not be available to you.

    3. If Charter has a monopoly on-campus, then Charter probably has a monopoly off-campus in your university town, as well. I have seen nothing out of line with any of the prices you quoted. Ask yourself what you really want and why.
     
  6. kolax macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2007
    #6
    No internet in the world available to the consumer will notice any difference between B/G/N for browsing the net. N speed is great if you have a LAN setup since file sharing and communications over the LAN will be rapid.

    I'd recommend getting an Airport Extreme - so easy to setup, very reliable and sets you for the future (i.e. sharing an external drive, which can be accessed anywhere in the world).

    If you don't do any heavy downloading, then you wouldn't have to go for the quickest available. Even a 1.5 Meg connection is still fast.

    You can always upgrade to a faster connection really easily if you feel the need.

    And to comment on DSL v Cable - they both have their advantages. Cable is quicker, but during peak times, you'll notice your internet slow down. This is because everyone in your block uses the same line - so if everyone is on at the same time, then there will be a general slow down.

    Not really much of a problem, but I sometimes notice it during peak times (i.e. weekends) - download speeds go from 400kb to 120kb.

    Where as DSL you get your own seperate line, so you get a consistent speed and not have to worry about peak times.

    Choices..
     
  7. MisterMe macrumors G4

    MisterMe

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Location:
    USA
    #7
    This is a huge misconception. DSL gives you a separate line only to your telcom's central office. Beyond the central office, your connection is shared with every other subscriber in your neighborhood.
     
  8. wangchunggti337 thread starter macrumors regular

    wangchunggti337

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2007
    #8
    Thanks for all the input.

    I would consider free alternatives through the university, but I am now a Junior and no longer live in the housing. I have an apartment on campus and all internet connections are the responsiblity of the tenant.

    I don't remeber which speed was included in the lowest pricing, but I'm thinking it's worth the extra five dollars a month to take the jump.

    I have an Airport Express that should be plenty for my small apartment. I would love to hook up the extreme to get to my files. It would be nice to get my files without having to go home between classes. I have had to run back home just to print off a paper that I forgot about.
     

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