When testing your internet speed, you may have noticed that the numbers reported can vary quite a bit. Internet Service Providers quote a speed, but if you read carefully you'll notice the phrase "up to", which tells you that's just the maximum possible speed they can give. There are many factors that can contribute to the speeds you actually will get.
The FCC has approved an application from Elon Musk's SpaceX to deploy 7,000 satellites into space that would offer global broadband internet access. Elon Musk wants a total of 12,000 satellites around the earth in Low Earth Orbit to provide internet to every square inch of the planet's surface. One of the problems with satellite internet is that there's a lot of latency, but Musk says they can get it down to 25 milliseconds, which could be faster than the internet many of us have at home.
Rich is starting to get a lot of drop outs of his internet access. He gets an alarm on his mesh router whenever it happens, and he's been told the problem is with Comcast, not his router. Leo says that it is then required of Comcast to fix it. Leo recommends getting your own cable modem. Check with Comcast and see which DOCSIS III cable modems are supported. Not only will you get a newer modem, but you'll also pay $10 a month less in modem rental fees.
Greg wants to know if 5G Home Internet is a game changer. Rich says that Verizon is testing 5G Home Internet in five cities around the country. 300/1000 down for $50. Sounds good, but that's ideal bandwidth. Is it a game changer? Well, only if it's available where you live. And 5G requires a lot more antennas, every few hundred feet. So it'll be awhile before it's widespread and Rich doesn't see it happening any time soon. If it's available, sign up.
George has heard that Facebook is going to offer free Wi-Fi soon. What does Rich know? Rich says that both Facebook and Google are working on initiatives, but they're aimed primarily at rural areas, where broadband simply isn't available due to limited population.
Fiona bought a computer and wants to watch Youtube on her TV. Can she connect it? Leo says the first thing she'll need is internet. Fiona has tried to get internet but she's on a limited budget and AT&T doesn't want to give her the senior rate. Leo says that chances are, the rate for seniors won't really give her enough bandwidth to stream HD video. DSLExtreme would be a good option. Leo says that the problem is with AT&T.
A TV converter box is the set top box that comes with a cable subscription, and it takes the signal coming in through the copper cable and turns it into something the TV can understand. He would use the converter box to switch channels. The internet box is a bit different, and would give him the cable internet access. Often times companies will combine the two and offer a converter box and a cable modem. He would get more channels on the hybrid cable TV and internet box, but he'd have to pay for the internet access to use that.
James has had it with cable and wants get rid of it and stream. Leo says for most people, the best choice is to get broadband from the cable company, and then get TV from something like YouTube TV or Sling TV. The other choice is DSL, but there will be varying degrees of success depending on how far away from the main hub one is. With DSL, it slows down the farther one is away. Fiber is the other choice, and may be the best solution of all. But its coverage is spotty. High speed wireless is coming and once that hits, one can completely cut the cable.
Brian wants to know why he should replace his router. Leo says that routers wear out, like when they are getting hot. That's an indicator it's working harder to push the traffic where it needs to go. He'll want to look for a router that that updates its firmware. He'll also want a reliable manufacturer who cares about updates. Leo also recommends a MESH router, which are great for homes that have issues with WiFi reception.
Get a mesh system at Eero's website (sponsor of TWiT)
Al recently signed up for satellite internet because he lives in a rural area. DSL was an option, but it was very limited. He has to be very conscious of data use. Is there a way to keep track of how much data he uses? Leo says that Windows 10 keeps track of data used, and his cell phone will give him an idea as well. His ISP may have a way to do it, and may even send him an email warning when he's approaching his bandwidth cap. Personally, the best way to do it is through the router. Many routers keep track of this information in the menu settings.