Saturday, April 30, 2011

Apple Airport Extreme WAN, Verizon DSL Westell and Mac Book

We received the give of a 6 year old but quite useable Mac Book. I have spent a total of 30 hours trying to get it to connect

to the Internet either via Wi-Fi or Ethernet cable. It works fine at my step-mother's both with cable and on Wi-Fi.

Our Verizon Westel 327W is about 8 years old. There are certain things we might try, like making it into a bridge or doing a firmware update but we risk losing all Internet for days or even weeks and the expense of Verizon technicians.

Someone gave us an Apple Airport Extreme Router which is actuall a WAN with a WAN port. The idea is to plug an ethernet cable from your Westell (or other brand of) router into the WAN port and then configure the Airport using your Mac which senses it via Wi-Fi.  I watched two Wi-Fi Lan experts (who do it for a living) try everything under the sun bur it just would not work.

There was some suspicion that the Airport Extreme Router was defective so I took it to Best Buy and exchanged it. The going price is $175.  I learned something very interesting from the sales rep, namely, that no matter where you go in the city, a Mac Book Pro will cost the same.  There are no bargains in the world of Apple except for corportate discounts on volume purchases. 

The Airport Extreme device has a WAN port and 4 ethernet ports as well as a USB.  You may attach a USB hub to that USB and have a number of USB hubs which you may use to share printers and scanners among computers in the Wan/Lan. 

It MIGHT be possible to make the Verizon Westell compatible via a firmware upgrade but that might also render it useless. 

Our decision is to purchase Time-Warner RoadRunner since we already have cabling for the television in the building. We will purchase their cheapest package which does not include Wi-Fi. Then we will configure the Airport Extreme device to provide Wi-Fi. I went to some trouble to make calls to the Time Warner Cable support staff to learn that our router/modem will be an RCA 325.  Once we see that Road Runner works then we will cancel the DSL. I am told that DSL is a dying beast anyway.  Verizon Fios would require and entire day of cabling and Uninterruptibe Power Supply (UPS) installation. The Time Warner tech just has to connect a box and configure it. IF we were to ask them for Wi-Fi they would charge us a lot more and the quality would quite possibly be inferior to Airport Extreme. 

The Time Warner sales rep first quoted $49.95 installation and $49.95 per month, but then hesitated and said he had a deal for $29.95 for the first 12 months.

I shall post updates to all this. My wife wants a Mac in the bedroom so she may listen to all her Catholic prayer programs and services of which there are so many on the Internet.

I would simply like to learn MAC after all thes years of Windows and some Linux.  Whenever I wonder how to do a PC type thing on the Mac, I smiply google and it tells me the equivalent. AND there are so many Youtube tutorials.

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