A modem is a component that allows a computer or other device to transmit and receive data over the Internet. Different types of modems enable different types of connections, such as dial-up, DSL (digital subscriber line) and cable modems. Internet Service Providers (ISPs) such as AT&T's U-verse supply a modem and/or router that allows the subscriber to access the Internet service, with that device connecting to the pre-existing modem within each computer for online communication.
U-verse is the digital television, home telephone and high-speed Internet service offered by AT&T in select areas. Services can be ordered individually or bundled together to not only create a price savings, but also to integrate certain features of all three, including displaying Internet content on the TV. Five different plans are available for U-verse Internet, with a rising scale of connection speeds (ranging from 3 to 24 Mbps) and higher prices for each ascending package.
Upon installation, U-verse subscribers are supplied with the Wireless Gateway, which is the device that serves as the entry point for the various U-verse services to the home. The Gateway distributes the signals to the necessary components, such as the TV signals to the U-verse set-top receiver box/DVR and the Internet connection to each computer, either by direct LAN/Ethernet or USB connection or Wi-Fi, as well as to other devices, such as Wi-Fi cameras and network printers.
As of 2011, every computer sold in stores should have the internal modem necessary to receive high-speed Internet access, either through an Ethernet port and/or with an internal wireless adapter card. For older computers that do not have such capacity, both external and internal modems are available to connect or install. For U-verse service, the PC must also have a 1 GHz 32- or 64-bit processor, Windows 2000 or newer, and 2 GB of free hard drive space for all accompanying software, as well as 1 GB of system memory.
If you subscribe to U-verse high-speed Internet service, each computer to be connected to the network will need a modem, which should be standard in all computers with the exception of some older models. The modem in the computer connects to the Wireless Gateway modem/router supplied by AT&T, either by wireless or hardwire connection. If you only subscribe to U-verse TV, the capabilities of your computer will not affect the TV service because the computer will not be connected to the Gateway device.
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