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Author Topic: Wi-fi question  (Read 2165 times)

asterisktom

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Wi-fi question
« on: February 28, 2012, 01:47:22 AM »
A quick question on getting Wi-fi: Do I also have to get a subscription or account, or is the price of the wifi unit the only thing I need (as my boss assures me)? I searched the archives here and didn't really find a definitive answer on this.

I have used my father's wifi back in Kansas, but have never actually set up a wifi account, so this is all new to me.

My school here in Jilin gave us an old computer with slow dial-up connection, but I also have my laptop which I brought over - good thing too! The old dial-up is good enough for most things, but it is too old to upload my pictures for Flickr. It has no up-to-date USB port. For that matter, it doesn't seem to be able to even read DVDs or even CDs.

Right now I have been able to slowly and tediously upload pics via my laptop using [cough. cough] other means. But I really need to get that wifi going. Any helpful info will be appreciated.

BTW, my Dandong (and North Korea, over the Yalu) pictures are http://www.flickr.com/photos/asterisktom/sets/72157629432609661/. I am seriously backlogged, still working on the pics from a couple weeks ago. I really need to get up to speed (pun intended) llllllllll

Tom

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Re: Wi-fi question
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2012, 02:16:51 AM »
the wifi unit is technically all you will need, but your connection will still be the dial up connection.

all a wifi router will do is broadcast the signal that you already have, and will possibly be slower depending on your distance from the router.


I finally went ahead and bought a wifi router last week, and unless your chinese is great, it's a ballache to set up (its a ballache in English if you dont know what you're doing) If you want real broadband internet then you can pop to a China Telecom, and their pices are like 120 rmb/per month for 2mb broadband (that was the pricing 18 months ago anyway)

asterisktom

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Re: Wi-fi question
« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2012, 02:22:17 AM »
OK, thanks for the quick answer.

Does broadband mean that someone actually has to come to the apartment and do the connect? That is what happened in Texas, and it involved drilling. I'm not sure that I am allowed to do that in this apartment.

Pashley

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Re: Wi-fi question
« Reply #3 on: February 28, 2012, 09:12:49 AM »
Does broadband mean that someone actually has to come to the apartment and do the connect? That is what happened in Texas, and it involved drilling. I'm not sure that I am allowed to do that in this apartment.

The expression "broadband" comes from old communication technology, where the broader the band of frequencies you used, the higher the speed. Now it is effectively just a synonym for "high-speed". It is used as a generic term for any fast (over 1 Mbit/sec) connection, via phone lines, TV cables, a wireless dish, ...

You would probably need someone to come by and set it up. Most apartment buildings in China have some sort of broadband service available; I think China Telecom is the most common provider.

For any broadband service, I strongly advise getting a router, a little box that goes between your computer and the net. They were around 300 rmb a few years back, I think much less now. Those typically let several machines share the connection and provide a wireless access point, so a visitor can (if you give them the password) reach the net from your place.

More important, the router sits between your machine and the net, making a whole lot of possible attacks on your machine much harder. Especially if you run Windows -- and absolutely definitely if you run a "pirate" version without the Microsoft security updates -- that is protection worth having.
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BrandeX

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Re: Wi-fi question
« Reply #4 on: February 29, 2012, 01:35:31 AM »
Someone once told me that they don't have dial-up in China. I personally have never heard of nor seen it anywhere.

Borkya

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Re: Wi-fi question
« Reply #5 on: February 29, 2012, 07:06:27 AM »

My school here in Jilin gave us an old computer with slow dial-up connection, but I also have my laptop which I brought over - good thing too! The old dial-up is good enough for most things, but it is too old to upload my pictures for Flickr.

As someone who has, until very recently used dial-up, I can assure you you do NOT have dial up. That old computer probably is connected to broadband at a slow speed.

Despite the year being 2012, my hometown in America still has dial-up or satellite as the only options. (I live in a tiny town in New Hampshire with even no cable TV service even in my area) and for 10 years i used dial-up. (Yes, moving to a boonie town in "3rd world" china actually made me more modern.)

With dial-up you can't do "most things.' In fact, most websites are a mother f'r to load especially social networking sites (and usually you just have to give up before you see much.) Even Raoul's would be slow, slow, slow. So I don't think you are working with dial-up, just probably a slow broadband.

And just ask the int'l office to help you out with the wifi. They will most likely send over some chuuckleheads whose job it is to install these things and you just sit back and watch them. They'll take care of it and you won't need to worry too much about the mechanics of it all. 

old34

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Re: Wi-fi question
« Reply #6 on: February 29, 2012, 07:37:28 AM »
Someone once told me that they don't have dial-up in China. I personally have never heard of nor seen it anywhere.

I had dial-up here in China in 1998. It was a pretty neat system, for that time. I came over with a beat up old IBM ThinkPad that had a built-in modem. You plugged the standard phone jack into your modem, set up the modem to dial 169 with a user ID of 169 and the password 169. Very simple. When you connected, you were online through the CHina Telcom landline system. Usage was charged to your regularly monthly phone bill.
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Pashley

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Re: Wi-fi question
« Reply #7 on: February 29, 2012, 07:44:03 AM »
Also note that "wi-fi" is a somewhat ambiguous term. Be sure you know exactly what you are buying before you sign up.

The original meaning was the wireless connection from a computer to a wireless access point, the sort of thing you use in a bar or airport with wireless service. This is built into nearly all recent laptops and many "SOHO" (small or home office) routers. There's an upper limit on speed from the wireless connection itself, something like 50 Mbit/sec instead of several thousand from a broadband connection, but that is generally high enough. Where there may be problems is if the connection from the router to the net is slow, or if too many people are connecting to the same router.

The term is also used to mean an Internet service done over a cell phone network, basically a service designed for smart phones. I've no idea what either performance or cost for that are like in China. In some countries, the cell phone companies charge by the megabyte and if you use the net a lot, the fees can add up to something outrageous.
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Nolefan

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Re: Wi-fi question
« Reply #8 on: February 29, 2012, 07:28:53 PM »
Also note that "wi-fi" is a somewhat ambiguous term. Be sure you know exactly what you are buying before you sign up.

The original meaning was the wireless connection from a computer to a wireless access point, the sort of thing you use in a bar or airport with wireless service. This is built into nearly all recent laptops and many "SOHO" (small or home office) routers. There's an upper limit on speed from the wireless connection itself, something like 50 Mbit/sec instead of several thousand from a broadband connection, but that is generally high enough. Where there may be problems is if the connection from the router to the net is slow, or if too many people are connecting to the same router.

yes! that is what wi-fi refers to

term is also used to mean an Internet service done over a cell phone network, basically a service designed for smart phones. I've no idea what either performance or cost for that are like in China. In some countries, the cell phone companies charge by the megabyte and if you use the net a lot, the fees can add up to something outrageous.
No.. that's got nothing to do with wi-fi. The technology used for mobile connectivity is more often than not GPRS, EDGE, 3G, 4G whatever... those do not refer to wi-fi which requires an access point.  sure, a lot of modern mobile devices ( smartphones/tablets) have wi-fi connectivity but it does not refer in no way, shape or form to a connection you get over the air via your mobile provider. The two are completely different beasts. GPRS and EDGE top off at 56kbps if memory serves well, 3G, LTE, 4G are much faster protocols to connect to the internet over the air ( OTA) which allow video streaming and what not. they do depend on you mobile provider but again, nothing to do with wi-fi.
some mobile operators provide wifi access points at various locals but they are far and in-between.
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asterisktom

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Re: Wi-fi question
« Reply #9 on: February 29, 2012, 11:26:45 PM »
OK, thanks, everyone, for the really helpful comments. I guess I assumed that it was dial-up because of the slow connection. It still remains to be seen how much of the slowness is due to Internet set-up and how much to this ancient computer. I guess I will find that out when I get the router.

Thanks again.

The Hiphoppopotomous

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Re: Wi-fi question
« Reply #10 on: March 02, 2012, 05:35:02 AM »
try doing a cheeky speed test and see what the results are