Buying an AirPort Cone Signal for the Home?

Amie

Mac Convert for Life
NOTE: I couldn't find an AirPort/Wireless section in this forum, so I'm posting here. Mods, feel free to move it elsewhere--but let me know where to find it.

I use T-Mobile Hotspot as my ISP (I do not have a separate ISP for home use). I'm only able to use my laptop at T-Mobile Hotspots (as a paying member) or at other establishments that offer free wireless Internet. If I purchased one of those white, snow-cone looking AirPort signals for my home, would I be able to access the Internet from home as well? How does that work exactly? Do you just plug the AirPort cone into an outlet in the wall and configure the laptop to pick up the signal and you're set to go ... or is it much more complicated than that?

The reason I'm considering buying an AirPort signal for home is because right now I pay $29.99 per month for T-Mobile, so rather than pay additional monthly fee for another ISP for my home (Bellsouth, DSL, AOL, etc.), it would be cheaper in the long run to just buy my own AirPort signal for about $200 and not have any additional fees after that. I would keep my T-Mobile Hotspot account, of course, for working from my laptop outside of my home.

Am I making sense here, or have I misunderstood the whole wireless/AirPort concept? Sorry for any confusion, just trying to explore my options for Internet access outside and inside the home. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
 

bobw

The Late: SuperMacMod
Airport signal comes from the Airport Base Station, which gets it from YOUR ISP at home.
Just buying an Airport Base Station won't give you a wireless connection without having an ISP to connect to. You have DSL coming into your home, you would connect that DSL modem to the Airport Base Station to have a wires free machine at home.
 

Amie

Mac Convert for Life
bobw said:
Airport signal comes from the Airport Base Station, which gets it from YOUR ISP at home.
Just buying an Airport Base Station won't give you a wireless connection without having an ISP to connect to. You have DSL coming into your home, you would connect that DSL modem to the Airport Base Station to have a wires free machine at home.
But I already have T-Mobile Hotspot as my ISP. And T-Mobile uses those white AirPort cone-shaped signals. So, if I had one inside my house ... wouldn't I be able to access the Internet at home (using my AirPort cone and my T-Mobile ISP)?
 

bobw

The Late: SuperMacMod
ic, you want one of T-Mobiles wireless transmitters in your house. Not going to happen unless you have a lot of pull with T-Mobile.
 

Amie

Mac Convert for Life
bobw said:
ic, you want one of T-Mobiles wireless transmitters in your house. Not going to happen unless you have a lot of pull with T-Mobile.
No, I don't want one of T-Mobile's wireless transmitters. I want one of those white AirPort cone signals that you can buy at any store that sells computers and accessories.
 

bobw

The Late: SuperMacMod
Maybe providing a link to the Airport Cone, we can see what it is. I'm assuming it's the Airport Base Station.
 

bobw

The Late: SuperMacMod
That's an Airport Base Station that requires a connection to an ISP.

The Arirport Base Station requires a wired connection to your modem, then passes a wireless signal to your computer.
 

Amie

Mac Convert for Life
bobw said:
That's an Airport Base Station that requires a connection to an ISP.

The Arirport Base Station requires a wired connection to your modem, then passes a wireless signal to your computer.
I already have an ISP.

I don't have any wires. I have a wireLESS laptop with a built-in Wi-Fi Internet card.

I don't get it. You'd think that with all the technology today, they'd make it possible to use your laptop anywhere in the world as long as you have Wi-Fi and an ISP. But nooooo ... you have to have TWO ISPs--one for inside the home and one for outside the home. Crazy!
 

g/re/p

I can haz cigar?
http://www.t-mobile.com/hotspot/services_about.htm

"T-Mobile HotSpot provides high-speed Wi-Fi wireless Internet service in public locations such as Starbucks coffeehouses, Borders Books & Music stores, FedEx Kinko's, airports, the airline clubs of American®, Delta, United®, US Airways® and select Hyatt locations nationwide."

What you have is not considered an ISP - it only works at
businesses such as starbucks , etc that provide access to
the t-mobile hotspot service via thier own wireless networks.

To get wireless in your home, you will need more than just
a wireless capable laptop or computer - you will need an actual physical connection via cable or DSL in your home.
 

Amie

Mac Convert for Life
g/re/p said:
http://www.t-mobile.com/hotspot/services_about.htm

"T-Mobile HotSpot provides high-speed Wi-Fi wireless Internet service in public locations such as Starbucks coffeehouses, Borders Books & Music stores, FedEx Kinko's, airports, the airline clubs of American®, Delta, United®, US Airways® and select Hyatt locations nationwide."

What you have is not considered an ISP - it only works at
businesses such as starbucks , etc that provide access to
the t-mobile hotspot service via thier own wireless networks.

To get wireless in your home, you will need more than just
a wireless capable laptop or computer - you will need an actual physical connection via cable or DSL in your home.
Exactly my point. Technology has come such a long way in such a short time. You'd think there'd be a wireless ISP that would allow one to access the Internet as a paying customer, regardless of one's location.
 

Satcomer

In Geostationary Orbit
Amie said:
Exactly my point. Technology has come such a long way in such a short time. You'd think there'd be a wireless ISP that would allow one to access the Internet as a paying customer, regardless of one's location.
Amie if one could invent that, you would be the richest person ever to live, easily.
 

Amie

Mac Convert for Life
Satcomer said:
Amie if one could invent that, you would be the richest person ever to live, easily.
I'm sure someone *will* invent it and become the richest person ever to live. But alas, I'm also sure that it won't be me.

It really shouldn't be that difficult for a wireless tech expert, though. Think about it: We have cell phones. We pay for *one* cell phone provider--not two, not one for inside the home and one for away from home--yet we can use it virtually anywhere in the world. Now, why can't wireless Internet providers do that?
 

epooch

Registered
Amie said:
Exactly my point. Technology has come such a long way in such a short time. You'd think there'd be a wireless ISP that would allow one to access the Internet as a paying customer, regardless of one's location.
There is- you can get a cellular modem and compatible cellular service.

The problem is that wi-fi is such short range that a company would need base-stations practically everywhere, or broadcast at power much higher than the FCC allows. Instead, cellular will do what you need.
 

Amie

Mac Convert for Life
epooch said:
There is- you can get a cellular modem and compatible cellular service.

The problem is that wi-fi is such short range that a company would need base-stations practically everywhere, or broadcast at power much higher than the FCC allows. Instead, cellular will do what you need.
A-ha! Finally, my question is answered. Thank you. :)
 
Of course, cellular modems generally don't compare speed-wise to anything except for dial up, and can set you back quite a bit of $ per month. At the T-mobile hotspots you speak of, the Airport base stations are probably connected to a modem/router of some sort hooked into a DSL, Cable, or T1 line. They don't just pull the signal out of the air. The base station then makes the signal wireless for short range transmission to your laptop.
 

applemaz

Registered
Verizon in Philadelphia has a plan with a special phone which works as follows: You get a special USB dongle and a phone that supports it. You connect the phone via the USB dongle to your computer and the computer uses the phone to dial a Verizon dialup internet service phone number. You are charged minutes off of your cell phone for as long as you are connected. The call is free on weekends and after a certain time at night too.

As for the cone question fiasco, Philadelphia may have the answer to that one soon too. They are planning on providing a city wide wireless network. They will basically have repeaters all over the place to blanket the city with a wireless connection. Of course, that is the plan. Have yet to see it implemented. In such an environment, one only need pay the monthly access fee and wherever they are in the city they can get internet.
 

ora

Registered
Amie said:
I'm sure someone *will* invent it and become the richest person ever to live. But alas, I'm also sure that it won't be me.

It really shouldn't be that difficult for a wireless tech expert, though. Think about it: We have cell phones. We pay for *one* cell phone provider--not two, not one for inside the home and one for away from home--yet we can use it virtually anywhere in the world. Now, why can't wireless Internet providers do that?
Maybe WiMax will provide the answer in the future. Theoretically 50km without line of sight (though it seems like 15km is more likely, still this would make coverage of cities pretty easy.
 
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