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Cutting the Cord. Network setup tips?

Discussion in 'Computers & Technology' started by mattmatt86, Mar 11, 2012.

  1. mattmatt86

    mattmatt86 Turbo Monkey

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    My gf and I are moving into a new place next week and we've agreed to cut the cord, no cable or satellite, just internet. We currently have 1 apple TV for the living room and plan on getting a second for the bedroom, we have Netflix streaming and I have a ton of torrent and DVDs I'm in the process of converting to MP4 so we can access them through itunes. I just purchased a Cisco E4200V2 dual band router and a Motorola cable modem (whatever the nicest model is right now) but I want to make sure I have the best setup possible given my hardware. Currently my desktop computer has a Netgear USB G Wireless adapter, should I upgrade to a pci N Wireless? Is there anything else I should do with the home network to get the best performance?

    Here is a list of all devices that could possibly be running off wireless, although it's not likely there will ever be more than 2 or 3 at a time.

    2 iphones
    2 apple TVs
    1 Desktop currently setup for G wireless
    1 Work Laptop
    1 Girlfriend's Laptop
    1 ipad

    Any tips or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
     

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  2. zdubyadubya

    zdubyadubya Turbo Monkey

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    Its probably obvious but the best thing you can do right off the bat would be WPA2 security, and yes, upgrade the wireless card to "n"... aside from that alot of it is personal preference... do you have any specific questions?

    to truly cut the cord, i would also recommend a subscription to hulu plus. i thought I would never use it but I soon realized that all the shows I was torrenting were taking up huge quantities of space on my hdds... and i didnt want to go through and sift through what was "keeper" material and what wasn't...

    so ya.... between hulu plus, netflix, and appleTV you really won't miss the cable box unless you like live programming (summer olympics, football games, etc.)
     
  3. binary visions

    binary visions The voice of reason

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    Devices running in a mixed N/G environment will be limited to the slower of the speeds. Consequently, I'd check out your various devices to see which ones support the 5 GHz spectrum - you'll know they support it if they support Wireless "A."

    If most of your "N" devices support the 5 GHz spectrum, then you can actually get N speeds if you use the dual-band router to broadcast two different wireless networks - one wireless N network on the 5GHz spectrum, and one wireless G network on the 2.4 GHz spectrum.

    Keep in mind, though, that if the only reason you're using wireless is to connect to the internet, there will be very little practical difference between the two.

    Also, all else being equal, 5 GHz has a shorter range than 2.4 GHz, so if you set it up and find out that your 5 GHz devices are having trouble getting a signal in certain places, that's why.
     
  4. dante

    dante Unabomber

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    What are the specific advantages of HULU "Plus" vs regular HULU? I know that it'll broadcast in HD, but you also still get commercials and most of the programs offered are the same. Do you get to watch shows earlier than you would otherwise?

    I'd also recommend checking out the normal broadcast station's web pages (Fox, ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS) as all of them have shows on demand (although some of the more popular ones aren't available, such as The Mentalist and Person of Interest on CBS) as well as checking out antennaweb.org to see what you'd need to get OTA signals at your home. We're able to pick up ~14 channels (not counting Jeebus/selling channels) with just a simple small amplified antenna that sits unobtrusively on top of one of the speakers (looks like this) and pulls in a signal just fine in the winter time. Might look into something slightly bigger/directional/outside when spring rolls around. Wind+rain+leaves combined with a hill blocking the broadcast tower sometimes screws up the signal, but 95% of the time it's great.

    No clue on the networking aspect of your question, we usually just plug the laptop into the TV and utilize a wireless mouse/keyboard to play videos. Not the cleanest setup, but works for now.
     
  5. mattmatt86

    mattmatt86 Turbo Monkey

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    I know we spoke about it in another thread, I'm trying to keep the apple TV user interface, I tried the XBMC and hated it, how are you using hulu plus? I'd love to get a subscription if I could someone use it through the ATV.

    It will suck a little bit for sports and other live programing but I don't watch too much live TV and usually when I do I'm out at a bar. I have over 100 bars within walking distance so odds are I can just go out and watch big sporting events.

    I know my desktop and laptops are G, it was my understanding that the ATV's and ipad can both run off of N. I was planning on upgrading just my desktop to N wireless to hopefully speed things up when I'm streaming content from my desktop to one of the ATV's. If I'm not going to gain anything from upgrading the wireless adapter I won't do it.

    I have heard about the range of 5Ghz, the house is fairly small (1500sq foot rowhouse in downtown Baltimore) and I'm planning on having the router in my office on the second floor. One ATV will be a floor upbove in the master bedroom with the other being a floor below in the living room.

    I was also thinking about setting up a USB storage device contected to the router, any advantages to that? Would that be faster than pulling files from my desktop?

    I looked into an antenna, I'm in a prime location to use one, there are 4 antennas within 5 miles of my house. So I've been planning to add an antenna after I get everything else setup. Are you able to get HD picture with the antenna?
     
  6. dante

    dante Unabomber

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    720p / 1080i based on which broadcaster it is, and they also encode a Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound onto it as well. For me it's Antenna -> TV -> Stereo via optical out, and sporting events are AWESOME. If you have 4 antenna's within 5 miles, it's definitely worth dropping a couple bucks on an antenna and seeing what you get. The flat multi-directional ones are sleek, and some are narrow enough to hide behind a picture frame, for instance, but just about anything will work.


    We have a few shows during the week that we usually try to catch (Mentalist/Person of interest on Thurs, Biggest Loser on Tues, Sunday morning political shows, etc), watch Daily Show/Colbert Report on HULU, go back and watch 80s/90s TV shows on HULU when we're bored (currently going through every episode of 21 Jump St), and rely on bittorrent for those few shows which are either on cable (Archer) or inaccessible (Top Gear). ESPN3 is also great for college games along with Premier League soccer, and in '10 NBC was streaming the Olympics for anyone with an ISP that partnered with them (ie, paid them a few cents per subscriber). The Tour de France is also streamed online for ~$30, although I had occasional problems with them last year and there's a certain website in NZ that torrent's each day's race.
     
  7. binary visions

    binary visions The voice of reason

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    Well, if the desktop is connected wirelessly, then it'll probably be faster to have a USB device. It'd be faster even than that, though, to have your desktop connected to a wired port on the router then your wireless devices could pull files from it.
     
  8. mattmatt86

    mattmatt86 Turbo Monkey

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    So if my desktop is only a few feet from the router I should hardware it and not worry about upgrading the wireless adaptor?
     
  9. binary visions

    binary visions The voice of reason

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    Yes, definitely.
     
  10. mattmatt86

    mattmatt86 Turbo Monkey

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    Ok, I'll do that as long as there's a cable outlet in the room that's going to be my office. I can't remember if there is...

    New question: I need to call and setup a new account with Comcast, How do I determine what speed package I should get? I know I can do a speed test for my current setup, but I currently have a sh!tty cable modem and sh!tty router. I'm only moving two blocks from my current location so I don't think geography should play any role.
     
  11. binary visions

    binary visions The voice of reason

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    Pick the amount you want to pay, that's all.

    If you're streaming a lot I'd probably stick with a 5 Mb or higher connection... but speed test your current setup (just FYI; sh!tty modem and router probably do not impact your connection speeds very much), and evaluate it from that.
     
  12. mattmatt86

    mattmatt86 Turbo Monkey

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    Ok, I think I pay for 12mb right now and the couple times I've speed tested I've been around 10mb.

    I read a few articles about guys speed testing before and after upgrading their routers and modems and all saw speed increases after upgrading.
     
  13. bean

    bean Turbo Monkey

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    Any chance you can run ethernet to the Apple TVs? Even if there's adequate bandwidth over wireless, it tends to be less reliable. I get skipping during playback with my Apple TV and Xbox 360 over the current wireless network. The XBox used to be much better in our old place where ethernet was easy to run to it.
     
  14. mattmatt86

    mattmatt86 Turbo Monkey

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    Doubtful, The house was built in 1920 and despite some renovations it isn't hardwired for ethernet. At my current house I'm running my ATV wireless and have only had a few issues with content skipping(pausing) during streaming. Most times it's because I'm simultaneously downloading a torrent and one or both of my roommates were also on their computers using bandwith. At the new house I will rarely be using my desktop at the same time as one of the ATV's, I'll most likely be on the ipad while watching TV.
     
  15. H8R

    H8R Cranky Pants

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    Speaking of cutting the cord, we finally ditched Comcast and could not be happier. Went with a local ISP. $40/month for a phone and (up to) 20Mbps DSL. Our final speeds are around 12-14Mbps.

    Using a Belkin dual band router in the bedroom near the phone jack, that covers most of the house except the front yard. We have a Panasonic blue-ray player with a Netgear wifi adapter plugged into it. The player can stream Netflix, Pandora, Youtube, Amazon, etc. No Hulu though.


    I highly suggest keeping off Comcast if you can. They are terribly expensive and their customer service is legendary in it's lameness.
     
  16. mattmatt86

    mattmatt86 Turbo Monkey

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    Trust me, you don't have to tell me how horrible comcast is. I don't think they're that expensive, the plan I was looking at is 29.99 a month for 12mb. I've googled a couple other isp's but haven't had much luck. According to a few sites Comcast is by far the fastest ISP in my area. Not sure if their BS is worth it though...
     
  17. IH8Rice

    IH8Rice I'm Mr. Negative! I Fail!

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    their $30 package is 20down/4up but youll never come close to those numbers. i have their $56 Blast! package which is 30/down and i hardly see those numbers.
     
  18. bean

    bean Turbo Monkey

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    I hated Comcast in our old place. Always slow, always unreliable. Century Link had incredible price increases after the first three months, so I gave Comcast a second chance and it's been like a whole different provider. We have the 20/4 package because I didn't want to rent or buy a new modem and below is what I get pretty much all the time (though it does drop off somewhat after the first fifty megs or so). I still want FiOS though.

     
  19. mattmatt86

    mattmatt86 Turbo Monkey

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    I had 8/4 at my current place last night. Comcast offers (for my address) the 12mb for 29.99 or the "blast" that ih8rice talked about for 50 something and it's supposed to be 20mb.

    Edit: Holy Sh!t, I just read the fine print for their performance package and it jumps from 29.99 to 62.99 after the 6 month "promotional" period. I've been searching the last few days and it seems comcast and Verizon are the only two ISPs for Baltimore City, and verizon only advertises a max of 2mb. Comcast is a fvcking monopoly.
     
    #19 -   Mar 14, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2012
  20. bean

    bean Turbo Monkey

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    I thought FiOS was available from Verizon in that area. No?
     
  21. mattmatt86

    mattmatt86 Turbo Monkey

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    Not in Baltimore City. I've heard 2-3 years until they even consider bringing it to the city. Apparently Verizon sees the suburbs as "low hanging fruit." They are worrying about areas where the upgrade(construction) costs are lower and they have the higher profitability.
     
  22. dante

    dante Unabomber

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    ^^^^^Lack of competition blows. I was able to double my (theoretical) speed *and* reduce my bill by $5/month just because a competitor was offering something cheaper. Calling up and saying "XXXXX is offering 12mb/s down, 2mb/s up for only $35, locked in for 2 years" works wonders at getting your current provider to upgrade your service and reduce your bill.

    Of course, now I'm only getting 8-10mb/s, but it's better than the 6 I had before, and it's still $5 cheaper per month.
     
  23. H8R

    H8R Cranky Pants

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    Our local ISP:
    http://sonic.net/

    They just installed a GIGABIT internet network in a neighboring town, and will be expanding it.


    :drool:
     
  24. mattmatt86

    mattmatt86 Turbo Monkey

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    Comcast is set up for Saturday day morning. Purchased their 20/4 package for 29.99 for 6 months then 42.99 after that. My GF is working on saturday so I will probably attempt to setup all of the tech in the house then. The house isn't wired for cable so I'm going to have comcast install the line in the room that's going to be my office/bike room so that I can hardwire my desktop to the cisco router. Thanks for the help so far, I'll probably have more questions after I get started, I'll keep you guys posted.
     
  25. mattmatt86

    mattmatt86 Turbo Monkey

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    I'm happy to report I'm up and running, everything seems to be running smoothly. I checked my speed about 10 minutes after the comcast guy left and I'm getting 17 down and 4 up which is pretty close to the 20 that's advertised, which is double what I was getting at my last place so I'm pretty satisfied so far.

    My personal motorola modem kept resetting itself when the comcast guy was trying to set it up so I ended up having to use their modem. I'm going to see if motorola will warranty the modem so I don't have to pay the rental fee from comcast.
     
  26. Mike B.

    Mike B. Turbo Monkey

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    Definitely don't rent their modem at $7/month or whatever it's up to. Monitor your data usage online for a while to see what you're using in a month. We did the Hulu/Netflix thing for a while but were regularly exceeding the 250gb/month soft cap that Comcast has in place. They do at least send you a warning letter before cutting you off.
     
  27. mattmatt86

    mattmatt86 Turbo Monkey

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    Just installed the same Antenna Dante recommended and I'm picking up 15 channels. I snagged the antenna for 23 dollars shipped on ebay so I'm more than happy. Still haven't figured out the modem issue though...
     
  28. dante

    dante Unabomber

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    :thumb: Are you getting all the normal broadcast channels (ABC/NBC/CBS/Fox/PBS)?
     
  29. zdubyadubya

    zdubyadubya Turbo Monkey

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    dude. i have a great working linksys cable modem that i used when i had comcast if you want it. i can meet you anywhere, i am in the city at least twice a week
     
  30. mattmatt86

    mattmatt86 Turbo Monkey

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    Yes, I'm gettin all of those plus some random channels. Country Network, multiple MPT(maryland public television) channels, cool TV?

    Might take you up on that. I paid 75 or something for the Motorola so I waiting to hear back if they are going to warranty it or not. If not I'll put it on Ebay. I googled the modem's compatibility with comcast and some people on the internets seem to think Comcast says that it won't work just to con customers into using their rental modem.