Internet

How can I get around work's locked down internet?

Episode 1462

Rick from Irvine, CA
Computers

Rick's wife is trying to get around her job's internet restrictions with a VPN. Is there any way to do that? Leo says probably not. They will likely have it locked down to the point where she can't get around it. Leo recommends using her mobile phone in hotspot mode. She should turn off Wi-Fi though because she'll still be under their policies even when she's on her phone using the Wi-Fi. The company has the right to not only prevent her from using her own devices on their network, but also to spy on her. So she should be careful.

RIP Net Neutrality

Episode 1448

Ajit Pai

In a strict party-line vote, the FCC voted 3-2 to kill Net Neutrality rules, in spite of overwhelming support to protect it. Leo says that while the rules were in place in 2015, we've really had it since the beginning. Leo says he believes the smaller ISPs will probably still keep the spirit of Net Neutrality, but he believes the bigger companies like Time Warner, Comcast and others will probably charge Google, Facebook, and others for access to their customers. He doesn't believe at this point that customers will see a direct impact, though.

Is there a better alternative to internet than my business solution?

Episode 1444

Hans from Los Angeles, CA
Cell tower

Hans is having issues with poor internet service in the mall where his store is located. He only gets 1.5 MBps for $85. Leo says that's awful. Leo says there's bound to be better options in his area, but he's stuck there in the mall. Leo says that's a scam where the mall makes an exclusive deal with an ISP and he's stuck with no other option. Maybe he could get several tenants together and go directly to the landlord of the mall and demand they offer a better option.

Why does the Amazon Echo stop streaming?

Episode 1410

Tamar from Los Angeles, CA
Amazon Echo Dot

Tamar has an Amazon Echo Dot. She'll be listening to streaming radio and then it will just stop working. Leo says that he's had the same problem and it could be that it hears the word stop and stops. But it could also be that the stream stalls and the Echo gives up. Leo discovered that when he used the Echo Show and could see the error message. When a stream stops, it could be a random stop of the stream to force it to restart. This is largely due to having to pay royalties for music that they play. But if it's stopping suddenly and after just a few minutes, then that's not normal.

Why Net Neutrality Is So Important

Episode 1407

Net Neutrality

We've been talking a lot about Net Neutrality, which is the idea that bits should flow along the "information superhighway" without being artificially impeded by an internet service provider. If the internet is an information superhighway, then the internet service provider is the exit ramp. It's how that stuff going back and forth across the world gets to your home. But wouldn't it be annoying if there were toll roads across town, and you'd need to pay a toll to get the internet to your house? If in order to get access to certain websites, you'd need to pay an additional toll?

Can I speed up my streaming with a new video card?

Episode 1400

Dave from Paris, CA
Ethernet

Dave wants to improve the video streaming on his computer. Will an updated video capture card work for that? Leo says no. It really comes down to his internet connection speed. The GPU doesn't even come into the mix, as it's just blasted onto the screen. So the only way to improve the streaming is to improve his bandwidth. That means he'll have to pay for faster 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.