I'm moving into a park that offers free wireless internet. I understand I have to buy an adaptor for my desktop. Is it a Linksys Wireless G Usb Adaptor? Do I have to pay for an ISP? The manager said it was free after I bought the adaptor.
I'll assume that means a trailer park. Trailers have metal walls, which makes wireless a bit difficult. The usual method is an outside antenna.
How should I know? You didn't bother mentioning your computer or operating system. Also, you'll need to know how far away from the central access point your parking place is located. Also, if there are any trees in the way as those also block the signal.
I suggest you wait until you move in and see what other people are using. I think you'll find a subtantial number of creative installations, with rooftop antennas, rooftop client radios, and perhaps some repeaters.
The trailer park pays for the ISP service. However, don't assume that they're doing it out of pure generosity. You'll pay for it somehow, although much less than if obtained your own ISP service.
It works quite well depending on number of users, backhaul bandwidth, interference, trees, line of sight, etc.
hi, jean. i assume you mean you're moving into an RV park or mobile home park so i'll go on that assumption.
wi-fi is merely another means of distributing a broadband internet connection (typically DSL, cable or satellite). since the 'park' is providing the wi-fi connection to the net you won't need your own ISP. so if you have an ISP now you should be able to dump it once you're set up in the park. free e-mail accounts can be had from hotmail, google and yahoo (google is my favorite as they offer secure, authenticated mail servers).
as to how you can connect to the wi-fi signal that all depends on how large the park is and how they've engineered the network. we travel extensively in our RV and have encountered free wi-fi in many, many RV parks. they run the entire gamut from parks where the owner has placed multiple transmit/receive points around the park (best case) blanketing the park in a mesh network to parks that place a single wireless access point on top of a desk in the office (not so good). the more transmit/receive sites a park has the better the coverage will be in that park. and if those transmit/receive sites are outside and up in the air (on top of buildings, list poles, etc) the better the coverage will be.
my laptop has a built-in wi-fi card which enables me, in most cases, to connect to the RV park's wi-fi system from inside my RV. since you don't have built-in wi-fi you'll need an external adaptor for your desktop. those come in two varieties...a USB adaptor that simply connects to an available port on your PC or a PCI card that would install inside your desktop. a USB wi-fi adapter can either be a small single-piece adapter or a larger adapter consisting of a receiver with a cable allowing you to place the receiver on a dashboard or near a window and which then connects back to the PC via the USB cable. the PCI cards may have a small telescoping antenna and/or a connector allowing you to connect an external antenna to it. there are many, many different manufacturers of these devices (belkin, USR, buffalo, linksys, netgear, etc).
before you buy anything i'd wait until you move into the park and can determine how well the network has been engineered in terms of coverage. talk to your neighbors who are actually using the system to see what hardware they have and how well it is working.