Wifi adaptor or access point ethernet only HDTV

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Hi guys, I have a wifi question. I was at the barbers today and he asked me if there was a way to connect his Ethernet only HDTV to the internet. He does not have his own internet connection at his shop, and was wondering if he could connect using a Comcast Hotspot connection via his personal Comcast login. I suggested he could buy a Firestick, or similar, and log into the Hotspot that way, and use those features on the TV, but then I remembered I had an old Trendnet TEW-640MB laying around somewhere in my garage. I used this to connect my old LCD, receiver, and bluray player to my home network back in the day. Thing is, that was my home network, and not a Comcast hotspot in a barber shop. If memory serves me in order to connect this old gizmo to a network, you have to do so inside the modem or router. Which would render hotspot connection not possible. Am I right on this?

https://www.trendnet.com/products/proddetail?prod=270_TEW-640MB


If so, then is there a gadget, or gizmo, out there that can, or would, connect to a Comcast Hotspot? Everything I use is wireless, and has been so for years, so I'm a little out of touch with this sort of thing these days.

Thanks in advance for all responses.
 

justin.m.beauvais

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Your wireless bridge idea actually should work. As long as you have a PC with a network port that you can connect directly to the bridge to configure it, you'll be all set. A Comcast Hotspot is a wireless network like any other. You just have to get the bridge to connect to that.

The link you sent has a support tab with the manuals, down load them and check them out. You should be able to make this work. However, if there is special login information to access the Comcast Hotspot I'm not sure how it would handle that. Well, this idea is at least free, so you can give it a shot. If it doesn't work then we can try something else.
 
The hardware side of your idea will work. But you may have problems with the Comcast hotspot. Those are actually a network set up by an alliance of the four major cable companies called CableWiFi. In my experience, the speed varies tremendously with each particular hotspot (I've seen anywhere from 1 Mbps all the way up to 45 Mbps). And sometimes a hotspot can go down or enter a corrupted state (you can connect but won't get any service). And it won't work again until the owner of the device power cycles everything to fix it.

Another esoteric problem I've run across is that the 5 GHz network on these cable hotspots will use the DFS frequencies. 5 GHz covers channels 36-165, but channels 50-144 are used at some airports by an extremely sensitive form of doppler weather radar. So the FCC has restricted use of channels 50-144 to DFS - dynamic frequency shift. If a WiFi device uses a DFS channel, it must also scan for weather radar. If it detects weather radar in use, it must switch to a non-DFS channel.

The problem is a lot of WiFi device manufacturers took the lazy way out. Instead of scanning for weather radar, they simply limited their devices to use only channels 36-48 and 149-165. If your bridge is such a device, and the cable hotspot is on a DFS channel (50-144), your bridge will not be able to see nor connect to the cable hotspot.

But if you don't run into any of these problems, your idea will work. Any WiFi router with a client mode (including ones you've flashed with DD-WRT) will work. As will a true WiFi bridge with an ethernet port. You will need to connect a computer to the bridge to login to the hotspot. But the computer doesn't need to stay connected. In my experience the hotspot resets or logs you out, forcing you to login again about once every 1-3 months. (I suspect this is just the frequency with which the device owners power cycle the devices. The hotspots are actually part of the WiFi equipment installed at businesses and some homes which subscribe to that cable service's Internet.)
 

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Guys, thanks you both for the posts. Let me ask though, where this is a hotspot, and not a personally controlled network with a private owned and accessible modem or router, will I be able to link the above Trendnet bridge to the Hotspot with a laptop? The usual 192.168.X.XXX access to the router via the browser wont work.

I'm going to try it out at home and see if I can access comcast hotspot using my laptop either way. If it doesn't work, is there a newer gadget out there that would work with what my barber is looking to do, or is it best to get buy a Fire Stick and call it a day?

Again, thanks for your help.
 

justin.m.beauvais

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It is probably best to buy a Fire Stick or something similar and call it good. That would be the cheaper and easier route if the bridge doesn't work. It might even be the prefered method as far as I can tell. We were just trying to save someone some money. You might just have to resort to that.
 

A streaming device like a Fire Stick won't work. The CableWiFi hotspots require you to login and authenticate with them via a web browser. The scripting is pretty flaky and fragile, and doesn't work 10% of the time. It tries to automatically forward you to the login page (overriding DNS), then depending on the cable company you subscribe to it kicks you over to their login page. And it does something weird with cookies which sometimes makes it remember failed attempts and auto-fails you if you try again. I frequently have to try with all three browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Edge) before I can finally manage to login.
 

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