Broadband

What are my options for broadband in remote areas of Florida?

Episode 1176

Gary from Panama City, FL

Gary lives out in the remote areas of Florida and he uses cellphone access for his internet. But are there other options? Leo says that WISP, which uses Microwaves is an option. There's also satellite. It can be expensive, and the bandwidth caps, speed issues and latency is tedious. It wouldn't be good for Skype or Gaming. But if that's not important, Leo suggests checking out Wild Blue by Excede.

Why is Time Warner Cable suddenly using copy protection when I try to record?

Episode 1174

John from Biddeford, ME

John was a Time Warner Cable customer for nearly 15 years and he discovered that they were copy protecting everything that he was recording with his DVD recorder. Leo says that this is why Time Warner Cable and Comcast shouldn't be allowed to merge. Time Warner has a monopoly on TV in John's area, and an effective monopoly on the Internet.

What does the FCC's decision on Net Neutrality mean for broadband competition?

Episode 1165

Mark from Santa Ana, CA

Mark says if the government wants to make broadband internet a utility, the FCC should regulate it like a utility. He makes the point that the reason it's a utility is because there's only one place to get it, like the gas or electric companies. Leo says we can blame the FCC for giving the cable companies a monopoly years ago. But he says they had been more or less blackmailed into that decision because the cable companies told the FCC they wouldn't build out the infrastructure otherwise.

How can I get faster broadband at home?

Episode 1164

Kelly from Fuquay-Varina, NC

Kelly's DSL is incredibly slow. Their house is "cable ready," but they don't have the ability to connect to cable since the nearest connection is a mile away. Leo says that there are good satellite providers like Wild Blue out there, but it's very easy to overwhelm the satellite bandwidth and they usually have low caps. So if Kelly is a heavy user, then that's not a good option.

What are my choices for internet access if I don't have cable?

Episode 1158

Wayne from Tampa, FL

Wayne just moved into a new house and it doesn't have cable or internet access. What are his options? Leo says that there are wireless internet providers (called WISP) if he doesn't want to trench and wire the house from the cable junction. He could also go with satellite, but it's a bit slower. The other choice is DSL through his phone company. FiOS would be the cream of the crop. The question isn't really who to go with, but who's going to have to do the trenching?

Why don't they use power line networking over the electrical grid for internet access?

Power lines

Episode 1151

Joey from San Diego, CA

Joey doesn't understand why we can't use the electrical grid for internet access if it's possible to have power line networking in the home. It would seem to be a good idea for remote locations. Leo says that it would be a good idea in theory, but it has the side effect of jamming radios because it creates a giant transmitter in the power lines.

What alternatives do I have to 4G internet in rural areas?

satellite dish

Episode 1138

Mark from Amherst County, VA

Mark uses Verizon 4G Wireless service and runs through 40GB in an afternoon with video conferencing. He also ends up roaming, so he's paying for that as well as overages. Verizon told him that FIOS would be coming, but Leo says that'll never happen now because they've stopped growing that out. It all has to do with a tug of war with the FCC over net neutrality.

Does fiber work more like cable or DSL?

Fiber

Episode 1135

Julian from Los Angeles, CA

Julian wants to upgrade his internet with fiber. Does it work like Cable or DSL?

Leo says it's more like DSL. But it's likely that they are piggybacking on AT&Ts fiber. Leo says that DSL Extreme is a great service and if they're moving into Fiber, it'll be a good move. He won't be burdened by sharing bandwidth like with cable, either. It's actually better than DSL because it has better range from the central office. Leo also suspects that the Fiber doesn't go straight to his house, but to a head end that then transfers it to copper. That's not going to be as fast.

Why does my internet connection drop out frequently?

ethernet

Episode 1125

Dustin from Glendora, CA

Dustin's network connection goes out several times a day. Leo says that he's been experiencing the same thing on his Mac. Leo suggests checking for firmware updates. That could make his router more stable. Most people rarely update the firmware in their router. There's also something that Verizon can do since their switches tend to be cheap and break often. He should also start at the plug and check all connections to the wall.