Questions & Answers
routers - modems and wireless stuff
Q. "I have a "Cable" or "DSL" modem and my friend said I should also have a "router". What is a "router" and why should I spend the money"?
A. The "cable" or "DSL" modem is a direct link to the great world of high speed internet. If you are directly connected the hackers have a clear shot at getting into your computer. You may not even know it but they can actually be using your computer as a "robot" device to spam the world. Please listen to your friend and spend the few dollars for the "router". A standard good quality "Linksys" router should cost you about $79.00 at any store like Future shop, Pana-Foto, Costco, Price Smart or on line from Amazon. This device goes between your computer and your modem and creates an almost solid barrier between you and the great unwashed slime balls that consider hacking a meaningful existence. I could write a 3 page technical explanation but the Readers Digest version is below. Just buy one. Stick the installation disk in your computer and you will be up and running in no time. Again follow the on screen instructions carefully. Or just use the "complete" device supplied by Shaw.
Q. "So how does this $80 gadget "protect" me".
A. It is difficult to answer but I will give it a try. Do you remember your high school math. "permutations and combinations". Well the router hooks to the high speed device on one set of numbers such as 234.345.321.068. This is a number that your internet provider uses for your account.
On the other side of the device there are usually 4 "ports" or places to plug your computer or other gadgets into. The router automatically generates its own set of 4 three digit numbers to each one of these "ports". This make it virtually impossible for the scum bags to get at your computer by scanning. Their scanners just see a black hole when they hit the router and they move on to easier unprotected potential victims.
If you are not willing to purchase a router to defend yourself then don't bother ever asking me for help.
Q. "I have had my computer for 3 years now and have never had a problem and I don't have a router. I really don't see the need"!
A. Well you may have a problem and not even know about it. As I said earlier the creeps and geeks can use your computer as a robot device to spam the world and you might eventually get a knock at your door. "Excuse me sir but we have a search warrant for your computer". What's that about? You ask with great surprise and indignation. "Well sir it seems that you are distributing #$$%&& from this location". Yes it could happen to you. Do you buy fire insurance? Have you ever had a fire? Do you buy life insurance? Have you ever died? Well a router is very solid and great insurance and it costs so little and is so simple to utilize.
Don't fight it just do it!
Q. "Should I get a "wireless" router and what does "wireless" really mean"?
A. Absolutely - for the few $$$ (about $20) difference in price you should have a wireless router. This allows you to connect a computer anywhere in your home or even out on the patio/lanai/bohio or ranchero. Virtually all laptop computers are now equipped with a built in wireless device. This will allow you to connect to the internet or other computers in your home as required. Again the software that comes with the router will step you through all the necessary steps to make this happen. If you read the instructions carefully and don't skip any steps it will work perfectly almost every time. I say almost cuz we are dealing with computers and "Murphy" still rules!
Q. "I went looking for a "wireless" router and there is wireless G and wireless N. and now 802.11 ac - Which one should I get"?
A. G is pretty much the oldest and cheapest out there so you can pretty much forget it. N is now past and ac is now "standard". Your current computer will not likely take advantage of the features it offers unless you invest in an 802.11 ac adaptor for the computer as well but your next computer should communicate with it and take advantage of all it offers. Just buy a brand name at a price point you are comfortable with and you will be just fine. Don't cheap out.
Again if you run into difficulties do not hesitate to call the support line for Linksys or whoever you chose. Yes they appear to be offshore but they are pretty darn good.
That's enough for now.
Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
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