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Lesson 6- Modem, Ethernet and Wireless network card components

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In lesson 6 we'll cover both Modem, Ethernet and wireless network cards, their advantages and disadvantages, what features and specs to look for when shopping, and how much you can expect to pay

A telephone connection to the Internet is known as a Dial Up connection. This is the cheapest way to connect, but is also the slowest.

For a telephone line modem look for the V.92 spec, which will make sure you get the fastest connection available.

An Ethernet adapter in your computer allows you to connect to a high speed cable or DSL modem using an Ethernet cable. Most motherboards include an Ethernet port built in

A wireless adapter connects without the need for cables.

DSL and Cable Modems

DSL and cable modems are available in most cities in America. If they aren’t available in your area, there is a 3rd connection option through a Satellite dish, which also uses an Ethernet adapter. Do a Google search for "satellite Internet" to see what is available in your area. For those outside the US, check locally for high speed Internet options.

The services cost from 15 to 45 dollars a month depending on the download speeds.  Download speeds range from 150Kbps at the low end, to 10Mbps and more at the high end.

Internet and File Sharing
In addition, if you have more than one computer in your home, you can use the Ethernet adapter, or wireless adapter to share the Internet connection with all of your computers.

This is done by connecting the computers together through a device called a router. Connecting computers together with a router also lets you share files and printers between your computers.

Features and Specifications

The Ethernet adapter should support at least 100 mega bits per second. Newer adapters and motherboards can support 1000Mbps ethernet, also know as Gigabit ethernet. If you want to share devices on a ethernet network, at Gigabit speeds, you'll need to buy a Gigabit router.

Wireless adapters come in either 802.11 G, N or AC specifications. The G spec runs at speeds of around 50 Mbps with aprox 150ft of range. The N spec runs at up to 300 Mbps with 300ft of range. The AC specs runs at up to 1300Mbps with greater than 300ft of range. Both G and N wireless adapters cost between $10 for a basic adapter that connects through a USB port or up to $50 for a pci card adapter. AC wireless adapters cost between $50 and $70.

Wireless G and N operate at 2.4GHz. Wireless N can also run at 5GHz which offers better data rates. A Wireless N router that can also run in the 5GHz band, called a dual band, can transmit data at 600Mbps. You also need dual band capable wireless N adapters to take advantage of the speed increase.

Wireless AC runs exclusively in the 5GHz band and has other improvements to its technology which allow the 1300Mbps speeds.

The price difference between adapters of the same type has mostly to do with signal reception. The better the reception, the further away the computer can be from the wireless router. Keep in mind than even in a large house, a decent $10 to $30 wireless adapter will have no problem staying connected to the router. If you buy a USB wireless adapter get one with an extention cable that will allow you to put the adapter up on a desk away from sources of interference around the computer.

Wireless Security
Since the data is going through the air you need to consider security. For this look for the WPA or WPA2 security specification on both the wireless adapter and wireless router. Enabling either of these modes on both the adapter and router, along with a strong encryption key, will make sure your network and all your data is secured from others who may try to access your network without your permission.

Home Network Builder
- Build a secure wireless home network

For help in setting up a secure wireless or wired network for your home, check out Home Network Builder .
Telephone line modems, Ethernet adapters and basic Wireless adapters all cost between 10 dollars and 30 dollars. You just have to decide on the speed of Internet connection and file sharing you need.

In the installation lessons we’ll go over how to install a telephone modem, an Ethernet adapter and a wireless adapter into your computer.
Modem and Network card Warranties

Modem and Network cards are generally very reliable and will last for many years. Warranty periods range from 90 days to 3 years.

Generally, the more you pay for a Modem, Ethernet or Wireless Network card the longer the warranty will be, though it's very rare for a Modem or Network card to go bad.


Modem and Ethernet card Reviews

To find more reviews do a search in your favorite search engine (Google, Yahoo) for the model number of the Modem or Network card you're interested in.

Buying a Modem and Network card


Whether you buy a Modem, Ethernet or Wireless network card there is no shortage of choices. Below are several sites that will help you find the lowest price from a reputable merchant.

Buy Home PC Builder 2014


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