QAM tuners and 802.11-G-only devices: Orientation tech concerns

During our Summer Orientation process, we’ve informed incoming students that IITS has a few minimum requirements to access some services on-campus. While many won’t be too affected by these requirements, it seems fair to outline them a little bit so you can be more informed!

To get access to the campus cable system, your TV must have a QAM tuner

QAM (quadrature amplitude modulation) is a digital television standard by which digital cable channels are encoded and transmitted via cable television providers. Most newer HDTVs will have a QAM tuner, but it’s best to check your manual. Can’t find the manual? That’s okay. If you can (even at home) access channels like 3.1, 3.2, 13.5, and others with decimals in them, then you have a QAM tuner and your TV is ready. Many value-brand televisions may not have a QAM tuner or may have a lower quality QAM tuner that may be unable to tune all of the channels. If you’re shopping, be sure to ask or check the specs!

If you love your TV, but don’t have a QAM tuner, you can always find a digital converter box to get access to the cable system!

To help, we borrowed this informal reference for newer devices.

  • Dynex – Only limited models have a QAM tuner
  • Insignia – Only limited models have a QAM tuner
  • LG – Most models since 2007 have a QAM tuner
  • Samsung – All models since 2009 have a QAM tuner (fifth digit of model number must be B or higher)
  • Sony – Most models since 2007 have a QAM tuner
  • Sylvania – Do not appear to have QAM tuners
  • Toshiba – Most models since 2007 have a QAM tuner
  • Vizio – Recent models have a QAM tuner
  • Westinghouse – Some models require QAM tuner activation

Be sure you’re buying a TV, not a monitor! The worst case scenario is that you bring a TV without a QAM tuner, and you run out to an electronics store to purchase a compatible QAM set-top converter.

We can no longer support 802.11-G-only wireless devices on our network

The 802.11G specification is a standard for wireless local area networks (WLANs) that offers transmission over relatively short distances at up to 54 megabits per second (Mbps), compared with the 11 Mbps theoretical maximum with the earlier 802.11B standard.

Many newer devices support G, but also support other standards, like AC, H, N, and S. You can check the specs on your computer:

  • Windows users can follow this tutorial.
  • Mac users can go to Apple > About this Mac > More Info > System Report > Network > WiFi and look channels listed that are above the number 11. If these are present, your computer will get online!