Considering speeding up your Internet connection?



Connection type

There are different ways of connecting, either via the telephone cables or via a cable-TV network.




Ethernet or USB?

What is more important is the way your computer is physically connected to the high-speed modem, there are two ways, with an Ethernet cable called RJ-45 or with a USB-cable.

I strongly recommend the Ethernet alternative, it´s easier to configure and works best. All Macintosh computers have the required hardware, called an Ethernet port. It looks like the port for the telephone cable but has more pins, eight to be exact.





The second most important thing to ask for is that the installation doesn´t require any software to be installed before you can use the connection. This requires that the modem has a built-in DHCP-server if you are using OS 9, OS X already has support for what´s called PPPoE.




If you are beeing talked into choosing the USB-version by a clever salesman who doesn´t have to deal with setting it up in your house, you have to connect it directly to the computers USB-port, most of these don´t work through hubs. And it also requires that you install drivers on your Mac. If your computer is an early iBook you only have one USB-port on it, so then you can´t connect a mouse or anything else like a webcam or a printer at the same time.

You can buy a separate modem that gives you an Ethernet connection instead of using the USB-modem supplied by the Internet provider of your choice.

With an Ethernet modem it´s fairly easy to split the signal if you want to have cables to different rooms for example. All you need is a router and some cables.

If you want a really elegant solution, go for wireless with Airport, (it only connects with Ethernet, not USB).





If you buy the Airport or anything else in the US, make sure to check the voltage on the power adapter, it has to say "110-240 V" not just "110 V" or you will toast it when connecting it. If you need a converter we can tell you where to find one. Most new devices have switching power supplies so they work both in the US and France.




Internet Service Providers in France (ISP´s).

I´ll probably risk ending up on a certain italian ISP´s hit list for what you´re about to read, but if they had provided decent service I wouldn´t have to warn about them here.

My first choice for an ISP in France is Wanadoo, or Orange as they are called since June 1st. They propbably have the best and fastest client support and the best relation with France Telekom that still own most of the cables in town, meaning you will have a problem fixed faster if there is something wrong with the phone cables. Orange provides a modem called the LiveBox with built in WiFi, make sure you get the SAGEM model and not the Inventel. The setup of the modem is a bit tricky but we´ll take care of it in minutes if you can´t do it yourself.

Below is a list of other providers with some comments:

Noos: uses the cable TV-net so you don´t need a phone line, and you can use their system to phone out, available in most areas of Paris. Their client service are known for blaming every single problem, including a dead modem without any lights on it, on the fact that you have a Macintosh computer. Do you want this kind of braindead denial from your ISP, go ahead and sign up with them. I have spent hours on the phone with their support technicians so I know what I´m talking about. A + is that they usually set everything up really fast compared to other services that can take weeks to get everything going. My record is next day installation. Very easy to setup, no login required, works immediately on a Mac. But if it goes down you can lose the connection for a week while they insist it´s not their fault. You can opt for a WiFi modem but I recommend Apple´s base stations.

Free: ADSL via phone lines and their modem called the FreeBox, this is what I use and I´m quite happy with it, never had to call their client service for anything. The Freebox doesn´t require any setup at all, plug it into a Mac and that´s it. You´re online. If you need to change the settings it´s a bit more work but not complicated.

Club-Internet: ADSL via phone lines, works well, you can use any ADSL Ethernet modem with their system, they provide an ethernet modem.

Neuf Telekom: ADSL via phone lines, they provide an Ethernet modem and free phone calls to many european countries and also the US. Their older type of modem doesn´t work with an Apple Airport base station, but the new one does.



Don´t hesitate to call if you need additional information.