In this video, Mike explores the common broadband—always on—connections to the Internet. Starting with DSL, the video looks also at fiber, cable, satellite, and 802.11 Wi-Fi.
and you want to connect to the internet, odds are good you're going to be using what we call a broadband connection. Broadband connections are the typical way we connect, cables, DSL, sometimes wireless, sometimes even satellite. So, I want to cover those in this episode. Now, the important thing about broadband versus dial-up ready for you whenever you need it. So, let's start with probably the granddaddy of all, DSL. Now, DSL stands for digital subscriber line, and it was one of the earliest versions of broadband and it worked because it piggybacked on top of telephone lines to give you a digital service. So, you could still have a regular telephone on that line, but it added more signal that was a digital signal. Now, what I have in front of me here is a DSL modem. We're going to have to talk about that word modem. That's where you plug into your telephone line. That was your connection to your ISP, and then there's a bunch of yellow connections on here too, 'cause really what we're looking at here folks, this is a DSL modem plus a router plus a switch and wireless network key, it's even a wireless access point all built into this one little box. Now, you got to be careful with the word modem. The only thing that's a modem is an old dial-up modem sitting next to our computers. If you wanted to be officially correct, we would call it a DSL terminal adapter, but nobody does. We call a DSL modem. It does not modulate or demodulate. It's just a terminal adapter, but the term modem is stuck. So, we tend to call all these boxes modems, even though that's not really what they are. Okay, so, here we go with DSL. We had asymmetric DSL, which means that your upload speed was much lower than your download speed, and your download were the exact same speed. You'd have upload speeds like 760 kilobits per second up to maybe three megabits per second, maybe 1.5 megabit per second. Today, seven megabits per second or even better are common downloads. where you actually plug into a phone line and connect to the internet. It's still out there. There's plenty of them. I know you people with DSL, you're out there, I understand. But another form of DSL that we see more and more today is fiber. Most of the time when we talk about fiber to the premises type of connections where you actually have a piece of fiber coming into your house are actually DSL signals, but instead they run it through fiber. So, if you're using any type of fiber-optic because DSL is old and boring and fiber is new and cool. So, it's really DSL. Okay. Now, there are a couple of nuances to setting up a system if you have DSL. So, what I've got is my little router here, and it has a couple of settings in here which would be good for DSL. Let me show you one. So, on this box I'm going to go over to Network, and this time I'm going to go to Internet. Now, a lot of times today we set these up as dynamic IP. However, on many DSLs you have to use something called Point-to-Point Protocol over Ethernet, or PPPoE. Then you have to type in some username and some password, which is given to you from your ISP. And then it will basically do a DHCP and put all this information in for you. The whole idea behind PPPoE is when people first started using broadband, we thought we were going to do it like dial-up where you had a modem and your computer and you connected, right? And if you wanted two computers to connect to the internet in your house they had to dial another phone number, but with broadband people started using routers for the first time. Cable speeds have changed a lot over the years. You'll see things like back in the older days there was a upload of about 1.5 megabit per second with downloads of around 10 megabit per second. Today, it's not uncommon to see 50 megabit per second uploads and 100 megabit per second downloads, and even now because of so many of these fiber options out there we're seeing cable which actually offers gigabit upload and download. So, those are pretty convenient too. Setting up for something like this is pretty easy. There's not a lot to do, but there's one little setting when you're setting up a cable. So, on this particular router it's down here. Do you see this? MAC Clone, so, what I can do is I can say use the MAC address that's built into my cable modem. I can go ahead and pull the MAC address off of my computer and let the cable modem use this, or I can type in a custom MAC address. One of the challenges you run into with cable modems is that a lot of people are going to use the cable modem that comes from your cable internet service provider and they're charging you five bucks a month, So, what a lot of people will do is they'll go out and buy their own cable modem. So, this is a cable modem and a router and a wireless and a switch and a firewall and it's probably a refrigerator in here too. But anyway, so, what a lot of people will do is they'll go I don't want to pay $5 a month, the thing pays for itself in a year, which is not a bad idea. However, cable companies tend to be So, what they're going to do is they're going to go, oh, wait a minute, the moment you plug that in that has a different MAC address, and all of a sudden you may have trouble. It really depends on your cable company. So, one of the things we could do is we could clone the MAC address off our old cable modem, type it in here, and nobody's the wiser, everybody's happy. Today, most cable companies are very comfortable with the fact that a lot of people are buying their own cable modems. They don't have a problem with it, and usually what they'll ask you to do is to register your new cable box with them, which usually just means a quick phone call, and at the same time you can cancel the rental on your cable box and life is good. Okay, now, there are two others I want to at least mention. Number one is satellite. Satellite is a heaven sent opportunity for people who don't live near cable or DSL opportunities. So, folks out in the country really, really love satellite. Things that are out on the ocean love satellite. Satellite used to be a real pain, but today it's absolutely amazing. We're talking today with uploads of around three megabits per second, and downloads of around 25 megabits per second, or even better than that. So, satellite is absolutely fantastic, and you know what? It's got a modem just like anything else, and there's nothing even you need to deal with it. The only down side to satellite is that it gets what we call latency. Once it's up and cooking, it tends to move pretty quick, but a lot of times you're going to be trying to click on a website or something and you get these big stalls, and that's just because you've got this big parabolic antenna on your roof that's trying to connect to a satellite that's 12,000 miles away in geosynchronous orbit, and sometimes that can be a little bit slow. But other than that, it's absolutely fantastic. And the last one, this is an interesting one that people are rarely aware of, and that is you can use special 802.11 setups for your internet service provider. I'm talking about you get companies out there that will give you a big old Yagi or parabolic antenna These types of 802.11s are virtually proprietary because they shoot distances way outside by using really good antennas and they're highly tuned by technicians and it can be an absolutely amazing way. In Texas, we have tons of these 802.11 service providers. If you go out in the hill country in Central Texas, there's lots and lots of them. of these different types of broadband connections. Make sure you understand that things like DSL may mean PPPoE. Make sure that cables can often have to have a clone of a MAC address, and make sure if you're out in the country there may be nothing better than satellite or 802.11. (upbeat music)
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