"Always On" — what does it mean?

  Jim Thing 13:05 20 Aug 2006

FE's advice given yesterday in another thread (click here) pulled me up short.

Ever since I first got broadband, I've assumed that "always on" referred to the broadband internet connection itself. Consequently when I close down each night, I switch off my PC only, leaving the router switched on and connected. So I was surprised and sheepish to find FE, whose expertise I trust, describing this habit as "very bad practice."

In future I shall be sure to switch off the PC and the router as well — but if that's the best way to protect my system from intruders, why are BB-connected systems described as "always on"?

TIA Jim.

  Jim Thing 13:12 20 Aug 2006

Link got messed up. FE's post was made yesterday to the "Hacking" thread elsewhere in this Forum. Sorry...

  anskyber 13:19 20 Aug 2006

Because they are unless you turn them off. The always on is not a system requirement or an instruction. The always on is by way of differentiating between that access method and say a dial up modem which has to make a connection.

The FEs advice is well worth following.

  anskyber 13:26 20 Aug 2006

For a more lucid explanation read the always on section. click here

  spuds 13:57 20 Aug 2006

Best to shut down everything (power off) when you have completed your daily session, as a safeguard.

Some insurance companies are now adding this certain electrical goods 'shut-down' clause into their policies, perhaps best to check your policy.

  Jim Thing 15:08 20 Aug 2006

Many thanks for your explanation and for the interesting link. I've only had time to skim it, but I did find this:

"...these devices [i.e. what the paper calls broadband 'modems'] are designed to be left on all of the time, meaning that there is continuous connectivity between the modem and the network to which it is attached."
However, I see from the copyright statement that the paper dates from 2002, when perhaps the threat that one's PC might become controlled by baddies wasn't quite as serious as it is now.

...and Spuds:
Thanks for the good advice. I suppose it makes sense to switch everything off at night, if only to minimise fire risk and help protect the environment.

To return briefly to my original post: I've been foolish enough to believe that 'always on' meant what it said. I know better now — it's just a damn silly way to describe a device that gets switched off whenever it's not in use, like a lightbulb. Admittedly 'always on when switched on' doesn't have quite the same ring to it though...

I'll tick the box now, before FE marches me off to Speaker's Corner...


  Forum Editor 18:53 21 Aug 2006

you're far from being the first (or the last I'm sure) person to experience this confusion.

Hundreds of thousands of people leave their ADSL modems and routers permanently connected - I visited a client's home office to deliver some documents today; he's on holiday, and has been away for nearly two weeks. He has one person working there, and she never touches the computers. When I looked in his private office there was the ADSL router, happily connected for the past fortnight, and there was his computer, still running and left with Internet Explorer launched and on his homepage - that's also been the case for the past two weeks.

I remember when broadband was still quite new, one of our forum members posted to say that he left his modem connected permanently. When I suggested that this wasn't such a great idea when he was away from his computer he replied to the effect that "I've paid for an always on connection, and I'm going to make sure I get my money's worth".

'Always available on demand" might be a better way to describe the service.

  Jim Thing 19:39 21 Aug 2006

All noted. Many thanks. 'Always available on demand' would certainly make more sense.

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