Internet

What is considered fast internet?

Episode 1382

Vladimir from Orange County, CA
Ethernet

Vladimir is thinking of renting an office and his ISP is offering 1 Mbps. Leo says that won't work, it's too slow. He'll want at least 10-15 Mbps, which is a typical internet speed. He also may be stuck with bandwidth caps and that could add up, so he should look in the rental agreement. He may be better off using his cellphone internet in hotspot mode. It'll be faster, especially with unlimited data plans that are now popular, and overages are much cheaper. He can also use a MiFi card, which will enable him to connect up to five devices to it.

What's the difference between a router and a modem?

Episode 1381

Christian from Nashville, TN
Modem vs router

Christian wants to know the difference between a router and a modem. Leo says that they handle two different jobs but some people get a modem that also works as a router from their ISP. Modem means "modulate-demodulate," and in the early days, it would take the bits and turns them into sound and then back again over a telephone line. Now they send the data digitally. Then it converts it into RF signals and back to bits.

What's the best router to handle 1GB of bandwidth?

Episode 1372

Matthew from Grinnell, IA
Asus AC5300

Matthew's cable provider has introduced a 1GB down, 50MB up package for $139. Leo says that's a bit expensive, but it's pretty nice. What router will support that kind of speed? Leo says his stream is only going to be as fast as his slowest hardware connection. Asus's AC 5300 is a higher end router which will likely handle it no problem. It would be more expensive, but Matthew may want to consider building his own using the PFSense firewall.

How can I use my computer and a VOiP phone at the same time?

Episode 1371

Gloria from North Hollywood, CA
Ooma Telo

Gloria wants to cut her phone service and use Ooma. Is that a good idea? Leo says that with one computer plugged into the internet, she can, but she'll also need a router so she can give access to others. A simple wireless router from Asus or DLink would work well. She should go for the dual band or tri band router. The WireCutter suggests the TP-Link Archer C7 (v2). She can find out more about it at thewirecutter.com.

Why are my downloads so slow?

Episode 1354

Scott from Orange County, CA
Speed gauge

Scott is having issues with his downloads being inconsistent and slow. Leo says that ISPs usually use the phrase "up to" in their claims, and that's usually with the ideal conditions. Leo says that uploading can also slow down his internet access. How does uploading slow him down? Leo says that servers require acknowledgement that his traffic is coming through, so if he's downloading while his data is being backed up, it has to wait for its turn to upload that acknowledgement. This is why Carbonite uses very little upload bandwidth and why it takes so long to back up with it.

How can I get internet on my RV?

Episode 1346

Ron from South Dakota
KarmaGo

Ron has an RV and wants to know how to get satellite internet for it. Leo says he can get a disk that fits on his RV, but it's not the greatest and he'll always have to reposition it. Leo says that 4G/LTE is a better option. Every carriers sell MiFi cards that will enable him to connect up to 5 devices to it and have access to the internet.

Another option is the KarmaGo. It's pay as you go and Leo uses it when he travels. It's about $10 a GB. Ron should also check with his carrier.

Can I use FreedomPop with my alarm?

Mark from Bakersfield, CA

Episode 1344

Mark hears that FreedomPop is a free service for under 500MB. He's thinking of using it with his home alarm system, but it's ethernet hardwired and he's not sure it will work. Any ideas? Leo says a Wi-Fi Ethernet dongle is a cheap and easy way to do it. Leo says to also look at the fine print, as he seems to remember that FreedomPop doesn't work with burglar alarms from legal reasons. Another option is a CDMA cellular radio interface.

Why is my internet access not as fast as they advertise?

Steve from Harbour City, CA

Episode 1333

Steve wants to know if the rated speed the ISP says he's getting is legit. Leo says it's ideal and it's subject to a lot of factors. Broadband often has shared bandwidth, so if everyone is watching Netflix, it's going to slow down. It's also dependent on wireless congestion. Wired is always faster. It can depend on the quality of wiring, the age of the router, and more. It's very complicated. It can even be his computer that's slowing his internet speed down, and one will be faster than another.

How can I find the best cable, internet, and phone service?

Ricky from Chatsworth, CA

Episode 1329

Ricky thinks his Triple Play package is just too expensive. What is the best provider for internet, cable, and telephone? Leo says that the only real advantage of a Triple Play package is that he'd get one bill. For a phone service, he prefers real phone service because in the event of a disaster, the plain old telephone service will continue to operate. Leo advises going to DSLReports.com because they will give him the best ratings on what is the best coverage and reliability. Leo also recommends talking to neighbors.