Dumb question about modern computers

  polymath 21:00 30 Nov 2007

I could suddenly afford a new computer after 7 years with a Win98SE one (8gb hard disk and all). As I'm jumping straight to Vista, the Absolute Beginners forum seems appropriate!

I'm in the process of trying to access the manufacturer's tech help forum (registration problems awaiting resolution, so can't ask them anything yet). Meanwhile, any answer here would be gratefully received.

I couldn't decide between desktop or laptop, was lucky enough to be able to buy both and got a fairly powerful desktop, plus a laptop/notebook with a more modest spec.

I bought them 2 days ago, & have started up only the laptop so far, while on the phone to my ISP, ready to do their settings; I've been trying to do the internet connection first off, in case I need to register Vista online at an early stage, & for getting a printer driver etc. But I decided to end the ISP phone call, & ring again once stated up sufficiently (first-time Vista & first-time touchpad users might understand!)

Meanwhile I looked out a phone/modem cable and my question arose.
Both have built-in wireless capability, and have a network port, but no old-style phone-line connection port that I can see, which I guess is the norm now? (I'm in rural Ireland, and hardly ever see other computers) I gather from elsewhere that I need to buy a router, to plug into the house phone socket and beam thingies to the computer(s). Is this correct, and is this all I need to buy to connect to my existing ISP? (If I don't do the shopping I need tomorrow, I'll have to wait till Monday!)
Local shopping's very limited - is any wireless router OK, or should I take a little more trouble and find a reliable make such as Belkin?
I'm on dialup, in case it makes any difference (to cut a long story short, my only chance of broadband is via a German satellite)

In case it helps, both are Packard Bell; desktop is Ixtreme X2711, laptop Easynote BU5-P-073 (in case you wonder how I managed to see enough to choose, it was a trip to London - I then just managed to track down among the last of them in this country!). Both with Vista Home Premium (I suspect I'll be wanting to get XP too - I understand from PC Advisor that it's possible using free Windows Virtual Machine, & XP for £50-odd. But that's another story, another thread!)

  polymath 21:02 30 Nov 2007

Sorry I won't be back till the morning - people trying to sleep in open-plan home, plus lightning risk!

  Quiller. 23:22 30 Nov 2007

You have a few problems. You are on dial-up and you are using Vista. I can't find any details on the easynote laptop so it looks as if you will need a 56K usb modem to connect to the internet.

This restricts you to just using one machine at a time. It will also be difficult to find a usb 56k modem that is compatable with vista. The easiest option would be to plug the modem into the machine you wish to connect to the internet.

the best option would be to have BB, but that seems out of the question with your circumstances.:-(

They are options, if you can find a modem. They are devices that can turn a 56K signal into a WiFi signal that could turn both of your machines into recieving the internet at the same time. Though one may receive a decent signal the other would be dreadfully slow. the other option would be to connect one machine via the usb modem and use both computers networking capability to share the internet. Both of these options are slightly more complicated than the straight forward connection of a modem.

Sorry it's no better news for you.

  Quiller. 23:29 30 Nov 2007

It is difficult to find a usb 56K to fit your needs, this is from ebay click here

  terryf 00:19 01 Dec 2007

I would suggest that security and other update downloads will take forever and a day to download on a 56k dial-up connection. You perhaps should try to find someone who could download onto an iso image and burn them to cd for you.

  Totally-braindead 13:34 01 Dec 2007

I would just buy a USB external modem and use that, I don't see the point of connecting wirelessly when you can only use a 56k modem even supposing its possible. Which I doubt.

With a USB external modem you could use it on both your laptop and your desktop though obviously not at the same time. Or you could buy 2 one for each.

I bought this for a friend and hes had it nearly a year and it works fine click here he used to use it on his desktop and now has got rid of that and uses it on his laptop.

  Quiller. 14:37 01 Dec 2007

' Which I doubt. '

click here

' Or you could buy 2 one for each. '

You can only use one at a time, unless polymath has two seperate phone lines.

click here. It doesn't say, is it Vista compatable?

  polymath 19:43 01 Dec 2007

.....one protracted electrical storm later (no need for an alarm clock this morning!)...

Wow! Thank you quiller, terryf and Totally-braindead for all your help. I always expect a few fun and games with new stuff, but it's great to get suggestions for ways round them so quickly (and when the companies are off for the weekend). I'll investigate the links soon.
I'm not at all dismayed by something being a little fiddly (got my first computer in the 1980s Dos days - if something installs without fuss it still feels like a bonus!)

Only 1 phone line here. It doesn't matter much if I can only connect with 1 machine at a time; I'm the only user here so far (my husband being a pencil-and-paper man).

Meanwhile, Packard bell emailed a suggestion today to get round the registration problem with their website, so it seems a good idea to ask them first ('just bought 2 of your machines...etc...what are you going to do about it?') The user booklet suggests that some of their closely related computers have the old-style modem ports, so they might have a simple way.
The desktop's marketed (by PC World anyway) as a family entertainment machine, and it has a TV tuner & a remote control - with streaming media & BB being inseparable, maybe they didn't expect people like me buying it basically for the size of its hard disk, RAM etc, and not as gamers or video-makers.

I haven't quite given up on the broadband dream; as well as our being on the outer edge of European satellite range, our local community wireless broadband man said today he thought I could get it (my neighbour can't). He's testing it next week.

Thanks again folks; I'll report back when it's sorted; there may be other people in the same boat.

  polymath 21:21 08 Dec 2007

I got through to Packard Bell's Tech Guys, who confirmed I need a USB modem, and I bought one (from a small shop in a small town in Ireland, so they must be widely available). The retailer said I just choose Vista in the modem's installation CD. I checked it with Packard Bell, who say it'll work.
It's made by eTEC in case that helps anyone, and AL-56UH on the box looks like the model number.

I've been advised not to connect it to the computer for the first time until Vista's loaded, and has got to the stage of asking for modem installation software. Once that in turn is loaded, it'll tell me when to plug in (though once installed it'll be hot-swappable).

All that remainsto do now is to get into Vista in the first place (another story, another thread,
click here if you're interested).

  Totally-braindead 21:44 08 Dec 2007

quiller it is Vista compatible, I know it doesn't say it but I plugged it in to hid Vista PC and it loaded its own driver and away it went.
Regarding the using 2 at one thats what I meant whether he had one or two modems, I realise I did not make that clear.

polymath glad you got one and are happy with it.

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