New computer and wireless

  hilaryanne 21:54 23 Aug 2007

Hi, I have sorted out a new pc its a HP slimline s3150 you can see the specification here. Its adequate for my needs and looks good (sad isnt it!)

click here

You will see that it only has one PCI slot (low profile). The only outlet is PC World/Dixons and they have added to the basic spec a tv card and wireless keyboard/mouse. So it effectively now has no spare slot and I have been told that I would invalidate the warranty if I changed the tv card for a wireless card.

We want to go wireless so husband can use his laptop. Have read posts and most people seem to think that a card is better than USB adapter. We are going to have a BT Home Hub and we have a phone point in the room where the desktop will be but I dont know about connecting PC to hub - worried that the cable, if we go for a wired connection, may have to go into PCI slot? Also worried how good the wireless will be in our study its a good way from where the phone line comes into the house. If router had to go elsewhere our only option would then be an adapter and I can't quite understand these since images show all different shapes and sizes from quite large to cigarette lighter shapes. And some show wires and some dont. Are there any that are elegant and powerful and effective at the same time?

My other option if lack of a pci slot might cause difficulties would be to downgrade to the 3140 ( see same link) but I think that the processor in the computer I am having is more powerful (although it has less memory. John Lewis sell it - its the HP s3140

Otherwise I might just buy a 17" laptop!
Any tips or reassurance gratefully received!
Many thanks, Hilary
PS have posted this before but it doesnt show up- am having one more go

  brundle 22:53 23 Aug 2007

Seems it already has an RJ45/network cable slot built in so any broadband/router connection will not require a different PCI card. You can buy a wireless network adapter from BT, probably best to stick with their equipment to ensure the most reliable connection - if you have a very big old house, or one with very thick walls you might face a problem, but ordinarily the signal should travel far enough to suffice. click here

  hilaryanne 11:13 24 Aug 2007

Thank you for reply.
Is the RJ45/network cable slot you mentioned the Ethernet integrated network interface mentioned in the spec? Sorry to ask but I have minimal understanding of the terminology. So I would have a choice of wiring the pc or using an adapter is that right? Does the BT adapter you linked to just stick out of the back of the pc? Does it need any wires or aerial?
Would it be reasonable to try the adapter first and only wire the PC if there isnt enough signal no matter where we put the router in the house?
Many thanks

  brundle 11:53 24 Aug 2007

Yes, that's the one (Ethernet interface). And yes, you could use either. The USB device may come with a short extension cable so you can position it for a better signal, I can't be sure but I know Netgear ones do (another manufacturer of network hardware). Otherwise it will just be sticking out of the back (or front if you have front USB ports) of the PC. It needs no wires otherwise. I think you would be on the right lines with your last suggestion. Here are some suggestions for you to try to get the best from your wireless network; click here

  hilaryanne 17:32 24 Aug 2007

Hello, me for last time I hope although I shall definitely post how installation goes.

The website on getting the best from wireless network is v useful although I certainly hope I wont need this odd looking adapter which they recommend! click here

I had a better look at BT shop website you sent and adapter was for Voyager not BT hub (although prob ok) but isnt very fast- the only useful bit of info I got out of HP when I asked them some questions was that some adapters can do up to 108mbs transfer rate and I see that the BT one was about half that.. So, shall I just look at what PC world have on offer or is it better to go somewhere like Maplins..?

And, bottom line, do you normally get a faster speed if you use cable connection if possible rather than an adapter?

Last thing - are instructions for set up usually clear cut or is it best for non experts to pay a BT engineer £50?

The help I have had has been excellent and far more than I could have hoped for. Thank you again

  brundle 20:40 24 Aug 2007

Few people have to go to the lengths of buying that kind of `2001` prop.

The extra speed isn't really noticeable unless you transfer a lot of data between computers via a small network. Even a 54 Mbit/s adapter is still several time faster than your broadband speed. As I said, best to stick with the same manufacturer for the greater likelyhood of getting the most of out the equipment. It's true you get a more `constant` speed using a cable, if the signal is poor when using a wireless network it will drop the speed in stages to a level that works reliably whereas the cable setup will work at the highest speed your modem is able to achieve. It's not worth getting too concerned about transfer speeds ; unless the individual components are performing very badly, or you have several people connected to the same hub at once you'll barely notice. Although saying that, going for for 108mbit device means it can achieve more when everything is working well but again, if you suffer from a poor signal, it won't be any faster than a 54M/bit device. As for your last question, everyone is different - I've set up a couple of Homehubs, it is fairly straightforward. People tend to get stuck if a step in the instructions doesn't go precisely as described in real life. If that happens, it can usually be solved by trying the same step again (several times if need be). Take your time and read things through (before you start and again while setting up), you could save yourself the installation cost. Bear in mind if you have a computer connected via cable and have connected successfully to the net, you can still access the internet for help while you are setting up a wireless connection.
No problem, glad to help.

  brundle 20:43 24 Aug 2007

*I was talking about two different computers at the end of that post, it confuses the issue if you plug a cable into a laptop and then try to set up a wireless connection on it at the same time.

  hilaryanne 13:26 09 Sep 2007

Now have computer and wireless ordered, have been delighted with help received.

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