Broadband Bible, Desktop Edition


  • This book outlines everything people need to make the move from a dial-up connection to an always-on DSL or cable Internet connection that is up to forty times faster than a standard modem connection
  • Nielsen estimated there were thirty-nine million U.S. homes with broadband access in April 2003
  • Gaskin explains available broadband options, shows how to pick the right one, describes wireless alternatives inside and outside of buildings, details ...
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  • This book outlines everything people need to make the move from a dial-up connection to an always-on DSL or cable Internet connection that is up to forty times faster than a standard modem connection
  • Nielsen estimated there were thirty-nine million U.S. homes with broadband access in April 2003
  • Gaskin explains available broadband options, shows how to pick the right one, describes wireless alternatives inside and outside of buildings, details how to connect more than one computer to a home broadband connection, and provides information about securing your wireless network
  • This new Desktop Edition format provides need-to-know coverage of all topics related to broadband home networking in an easy-to-use format that will appeal to novices and techies alike
  • Offers a useful customer service FAQ and a Web directory appendix that lists Web sites for additional utilities, tools, games, and more
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“…with more exchanges being upgraded next year it might be worth getting a copy of this book.” (Shetland Times, 3rd December 2004)

"…provides plenty of useful information…" (Windows XP Made Easy Magazine, August 2006)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780764569517
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 8/9/2004
  • Series: Bible Series , #165
  • Edition description: Desktop Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 614
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.24 (h) x 1.34 (d)

Meet the Author

In 1985, James E. Gaskin decided he’d rather sell computers and networks than try to buy them for his father’s company. So he started selling and installing Novell networks to small- and medium-sized businesses in the Dallas area. By 1988, James was on his own as an independent networking consultant to such clients as the Internal Revenue Service, First Gibraltar Bank, and Solomon Associates.
In 1989, James started contributing to Unix Today! magazine, and he continues to cover technology for major technology publications (such as Network World) today. His first book, Integrating Unix and NetWare Networks, was published by Novell Press in 1993, and he has continued writing books, articles, and jokes about technology and real life ever since.
His 14 (now 15) books include a best-selling series of five NetWare books for Sybex, and others on Internet technology, technology business management, and humor. James presented a series of NetWare and Internet technology tutorials for Networld+InterOp from 1994 through 1997. Media appearances include technology expert commentary for KRLD News Radio, Dallas, TX, and WGBH 89.7, National Public Radio, Boston.
An objective voice for the technology consumer, James writes a weekly column called Small Business Technology for Network World. He also presents topics such as The Hilarious Pain of Data Security to groups under the umbrella of GaskinGuides to Technology. Although unaffiliated with any vendor, James is biased toward cost-effective and intelligent technology products for small- and medium-sized businesses.

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Table of Contents



Part I: Determining Which Broadband Is Right for You.

Chapter 1: Why You Need Broadband Internet Access.

Chapter 2: Getting Familiar with Broadband Technology.

Chapter 3: Types of Broadband Providers.

Chapter 4: Types of Alternative Broadband Providers.

Chapter 5: Emerging Broadband Service Options.

Chapter 6: Pros and Cons: Choosing Your Best Broadband Option.

Part II: Practicing Safe Broadband.

Chapter 7: Understanding Computer Security.

Chapter 8: Examining Your Home Broadband Hookup.

Chapter 9: Examining the Multitenant Broadband Hookup.

Part III: Moving from Stand-Alone PCs to a Network.

Chapter 10: Server and Storage Options.

Chapter 11: What You Need to Know About Desktop Networking.

Chapter 12: What You Need to Know About TCP/IP Networks and Routing.

Chapter 13: Backup and Disaster Recovery.

Part IV: Linking Your Network Devices.

Chapter 14: Wired Connection Options.

Chapter 15: Wireless Connection Options.

Chapter 16: Wireless Security in Depth.

Chapter 17: Avoiding Wireless Eavesdropping and Hacking.

Part V: Troubleshooting.

Chapter 18: Troubleshooting Internet Access Problems.

Chapter 19: Troubleshooting Your Side of the Connection.

Appendix A: Quick Hits Roundup.

Appendix B: Additional Web Directory Listings.

Appendix C: Broadband, Internet, and Networking Definitions.


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First Chapter

Broadband Bible

By James E. Gaskin

John Wiley & Sons

ISBN: 0-7645-6951-1

Chapter One

Why You Need Broadband Internet Access

Back when sneakers were shoes kids wore to play in rather than $200 foot-borne status symbols, one company distilled its advantages into the clearest advertising slogan ever. If you wore its shoes, you could "run faster and jump higher." Doesn't that capture the dreams of every kid lacing up sneakers?

Broadband makes your computer run faster and jump higher. Doesn't that capture your desires every time you sit down at the keyboard?

To be honest, broadband Internet access doesn't make the computer sitting on your desk process bits faster or start bouncing around. Computer speed ratings are derived from a set of variables including processor speed, the amount and type of computer memory, and the access ratings of your hard disk.

Broadband does, however, make the Internet and World Wide Web run faster and jump higher for you and your computer. Web pages appear in a snap rather than at a snail's pace. E-mail's with photos or other images drop into your inbox rather than drip forever down your phone line. With broadband, you will finally realize why people get excited about Internet radio.

The world of computing will get so much faster, you may need a seatbelt for your chair. So strap yourself in and hang on tight.

Computing Without Interruption

A friend of mine helped a taskforce at Texas Instruments (TI) in the mid-1980s to study the balance between system response time and user productivity. The taskforce studied mainframe applications, but the idea remains the same. The study results showed that after a half second, the user's concentration broke, and it took mental effort and time to refocus on the task when the system finally presented the updated information on the screen.

If you're the same type of person TI studied nearly 20 years ago, after a half second of waiting for a Web page to update, you probably lose patience and your train of thought. The way everything in life has sped up during the last 20 years, the time now could be less than a half second.

Involved computing sessions demand that screens change as fast as possible. If they take longer than half a second, as far as your train of thought being disrupted they can be 4 seconds or 2 minutes. But life on the computer really runs faster and jumps higher when screens update in a half second or less.

Now you can justify the cost of broadband to your spouse by saying that faster speeds mean fewer breaks in concentration, which means you'll finish on the computer faster than ever before. (Let me know if your spouse falls for that rationalization.)

Support files download in a flash

Nothing interrupts your time on the computer more than a pop-up window demanding you stop what you're doing to download a file, update, virus definition, or browser plug-in. Windows users see these computing roadblocks constantly, but Microsoft can't be blamed for all the interruptions. Here's a quick list of interruption requests on my systems recently:

* Windows automatic update files (okay, I can blame Microsoft for this one)

* QuickTime browser plug-in update (from Apple for equal time)

* Mozilla plug-in update for Macromedia Flash Player

* Real Player update

* Norton virus definition files

Each interruption demands that you stop and download a file or files. Sometimes, for example with a browser plug-in, it takes just a minute or two. With Microsoft and other operating system files, it can take hours to download a weekly update package. The same can happen if you download an update to your browser or one of your multimedia players.

I get more aggravated by the 3-minute interruption and download than the half-hour ones. When you know it will be 30 minutes, you can start the download and go do something else. You can take advantage of being forced from your seat at the computer by wandering around for a few minutes and grabbing a snack. But when I'm searching for something on the Web and one of those file download boxes appears and makes me slam to a stop, I curse and glare at the monitor until I can escape from the trap and go back to my search.

With broadband, however, the downloads arrive in a fraction of the time that they do with a dial-up connection. What used to be a 3-minute distraction is now a 30-second annoyance.

Of course, when downloads, such as patches for your operating system estimate they will take 30 minutes to download over a dial-up line, the broadband user can laugh. Table 1-1 lists file download times, and you can see that downloading a file that takes 30 minutes to dribble down a dial-up line takes 5 minutes over a broadband connection.

Vendors now like you to download a small (under 1MB) file that triggers an update download of the other 99MBs or whatever. The first time or two I got fooled by this it really steamed me. I downloaded the 1MB file and installed that, only to see the newly installed application begin the real work of downloading for what seemed like 24 hours. With broadband, I get up and start looking for a snack because the download and installation will probably take 15-20 minutes. With dialup, my computer is hosed for the evening and I want to threaten the computer with a baseball bat.

As more companies move toward constant updates for security and operating system patches, these interruptions will increase. Vendors want users to get broadband service because it makes it easier on them and because they can keep stuffing those large updates down the pipe to users.

If you get one of those annoying "download this update now" windows when you have broadband, it's no big deal. It will never be pleasant, but with broadband the aggravation speeds by quickly.

Applications arrive in a blink

Patches and updates arrive on their schedule and not yours, but the applications you find and download also take time. Waiting for a file you want, such as a new spam filter or digital music player, can be as frustrating as waiting for a complete virus definition file.

Unlike patch and upgrade vendors, developers offering files for download want your download experience to be quick and painless. Files are often zipped (compressed) to save time during downloading. You may not even know when you receive a compressed file because it will often have an .exe extension and decompress itself automatically when you install it.

Searching for handy utilities, such as those shown in Figure 1-1, changes from burden to delight when files download quickly. In fact, broadband connections download files so fast that most of the time you don't have to save the file and run it later because you can download and install at the same time.

Do not take these numbers as absolutes or performance guarantees. Many variables across the Internet influence download times, just like congested roads influence drive times (yes, the Internet has rush hours). This table shows estimates based on real-world tests done by the nice folks at in the United Kingdom. But now you see where broadband marketing companies get their justification for touting broadband as being up to 20 times faster than regular dialup, don't you?

The application vendors really, really want to persuade customers to download their programs rather than look for boxes on the store shelves. Offering applications online is much cheaper for the vendors because they don't need to pay for packaging and shipping, and they cut the retailer out of the equation to save even more money. The vendors say the move provides fresher programs that include the latest fixes and updates. You will soon get almost all your programs via the Internet. Transfer speeds and reliability become even more important when you're downloading a 150MB office suite.

Know how you almost never use your floppy drive for anything anymore? Before long, you may use your CD-ROM drive to play music CDs rather than load new applications. That means downloading rather than installing off a local drive, and that means you need faster downloading.

Immersive Experiences

Computing without interruption enables you to get more work done. The next step, for relaxation, is to immerse yourself in some type of entertainment.

Watching a movie in a modern theater moves beyond the uninterrupted experience into an immersive experience. Sounds come from all around you. The screen takes up most of your field of sight. Darkness diminishes distractions from other audience members. When someone in the audience gets and takes a cell phone call, the movie world is destroyed and you are dropped back into the modern world where fools and their phones are never parted.

Broadband access transforms using your computer into something at least closer to an immersive experience, even though you can't duplicate a theater. The screen fills most of your vision. Lower prices make a surround speaker system affordable. And you control whether every cell phone in the area is on or off.

Modem fans may take exception to this. Wait, they cry, can't you do everything listed in the previous paragraph over dialup? Yes and no. You can get the surround sound speakers, lean close to the monitor, and turn off your cell phone.

What you can't do, however, is maintain your immersive entertainment world when the video jerks, stutters, and stops. You can't immerse yourself in music recorded at painfully low quality to enable transmission at dial-up speeds. You can't convince yourself that ground steak with ketchup is a filet mignon with bearnaise sauce.

Beyond entertainment, informational and educational programs take advantage of computer-based video regularly. Although a short video clip illustrating snake locomotion would be better on a big screen TV, it provides more valuable information moving on the computer screen than just a static picture.

Broadband performance can change your computer from something to work on to a speedy research assistant, from a maker of odd noises to a high-end music entertainment center, and from a displayer of still pictures to a streaming video treasure chest. Let me give you some examples.

Streaming audio

Today, finding and listening to interesting music outside the mainstream has become a do-it-yourself project. If you live in a rural area, you have few radio stations to choose from. If you live in or near a major city, you have more stations but not more choices because corporate radio conglomerates now own multiple stations in every metropolitan area. One owner and one program manager means mainstream radio plays the same few tunes over and over.

Internet radio and online music sites will change your world if you're a music fanatic. If you just like music, you'll find more sources for more tunes from more groups than you'll ever hear on radio. In fact, depending on your music preferences, you'll find more music online than you'll find in the largest music store in the largest cities. BeSonic, shown in Figure 1-2, will thrill music fans and particularly fans of European musicians.

Before I talk about some of the Web sites you should visit to explore the world of music outside corporate mainstream control, let me give you an idea of what will appear in the next year or two. Computers will drive the audio entertainment for many households. This will occur whether you get a broadband connection or not, but it will be much more fun if you have the fast Internet connection broadband provides.

Consumer product companies (think Sony, Motorola, Phillips, and the like) now race to include computers inside their equipment. Computer companies (think Dell, HP, and Gateway) now race to include consumer products in their catalogs, all of which connect to their computers. Which side will win? I bet those consumers interested in linking the Internet into their stereo systems will win first; then the benefits will slow down for a couple of years until broadband speeds make downloaded video streams (as in movies) worthwhile. Although video fans have a strong push underway to liberate the TiVO and make it a broadband downloading tool rather than a second generation VCR. That will be interesting to come home to a downloaded movie you ordered from work via a Web site and had it sent to your home.

Before that happens, however, Hollywood will aggravate almost as many people as the music industry has by trying ill-considered security measures to keep honest people from enjoying their movies although doing nothing to stop large-scale pirating operations. For the next couple of years, spend your money and attention on the constantly improving world of streaming audio, and you'll have plenty of fun.

Quick hit: Example sites

Listing every streaming audio site on the Internet would take the rest of the book, and I would still miss some. Here are a few places to go to get started in your search for new and interesting music, or, if you prefer, old and interesting music.

Although doesn't generate the most traffic of all music sites, I show it in Figure 1-3 because of Apple Computer. Apple released a new music software package in early 2004 called Garageband and I doubt they worried about overlapping the established Web site of the same name. The two have nothing to do with each other except the name confusion.

Streaming music sites with downloads does a good job showing the most popular tracks in each main genre with its Charts pages. For many songs, you can download an MP3 file for personal use. GarageBand also makes it easy to find CDs for sale by groups; it shows whether they have live gigs planned (although those don't seem to be up to date), and you can leave messages for the artist or group. The site also helps you find groups that sound like another band.

Perhaps the most popular of the music sites after the unfortunate demise of, SoundClick appears to be chasing that market full tilt. They promise to create play lists so people can string together their favorite tunes, like did, and they now show the number of plays a tune has gotten.

Built by a working musician trying to market his own music, CD Baby now showcases nearly 55,000 CDs, all straight from the artists. You can listen to tracks CDs, search genres you like, and crank up your PC speakers. The Internet Underground Music Archive (IUMA) started in 1993 and was one of the first music sites on the infant WWW. It includes a streaming radio station and offers multiple tracks from every artist. It offers free MP3 downloads, streams in MP3 or Real formats, links to CD sales and the like.

Connected to IUMA, VitaminiC offers much more international exposure and song protection by using Windows Media format files.

Another artist-oriented site, Ampcast started in 1998 and already includes play lists for gathering your favorites together.


Excerpted from Broadband Bible by James E. Gaskin Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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