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Subject:  Re: Local DSL vs Comcast Cable Date:  4/14/2006  1:18 PM
Author:  Chopec Number:  32623 of 70440

You may or may not be able to access your university email account. It depends how the university's IT department has set things up. If they're good, you should easily be able to access your university account. can handle email from multiple accounts and will walk you through the process. But talk to the IT department first -- they should supply you with all the settings, usernames, passwords, etc. that you need.

DSL is a the shorthand for a range of technologies -- all of which use the "last mile" of the phone lines. Some providers might want to run a new phone line (I've never heard of that), but that should be irrelevant to you. What you want to know is how fast the various systems are; make them give you the numbers. Then compare that with the pricing (and don't forget installation price, if they're charging you for installation). You might want to read the wikipedia entires for DSL and cable modem.

Lokicious wrote:
Any thoughts about wireless versus cable modem. I don't have a phone line in the study and would love to get rid of the wires. But I worry about security with wireless (like credit card and bank transactions).

You're getting confused -- "wireless" (or WiFi or Airport) is a networking protocol. Cable modems and DLS provide broadband connection to the internet. You can have a wireless network with either a DSL or cable modem connection. There is no "compatibility" issue with wireless and your ISP.

I suppose it is possible to have a cable modem with a WiFi router built into the same box -- similarly, most DSL setups I've seen usually have a router somewhere, and that router could provide wireless access to the network. But even if they're jammed into the same plastic box, they're two very different things.

I use a cheap netgear router that has a WiFi access point; the router connects to my cable modem in the office. The WiFi signal allows me to use my iBook to surf the web throughout the house. However, I suggest you consider purchasing an Apple Airport Base Station. They're about twice the price, but much easier to install and keep running. Wireless networking is much more trouble-prone that wired (ethernet) networking.

Wireless networks are less secure, but it is possible to encrypt the wireless signals to lessen the chance of anyone snagging your data. This encryption is much easier to manage with Apple's Base Station (another reason to spend the extra bucks).

You don't necessarily need to buy a new Mac to use wireless: in addition to the base station, you'll need a corresponding card in your Mac. Some are easier to upgrade than others, so check Apple's web site for more information.

Keep in mind that your wireless network may be slower than your new broadband internet connection, especially if your older Mac can't use the more recent Airport Extreme networking protocol.

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