Ron has a home studio, and his ISDN line costs have skyrocketed lately. Leo says that's because the phone company is trying to get ISDN users to give their lines up. The phone company has to operate a non-standard switch in order to maintain the ISDN line. They don't want to have a separate switch anymore and they want to stop providing it.
Justin streams music in real time to radio stations, but it gets problematic. Leo says that the Internet was never designed for streaming music because packets are designed to arrive out of order and be reassembled. Leo uses an ISDN, which isn't super fast, but they are point to point so it's a direct connection. This means he has consistent bandwidth that delivers packets almost instantaneously. Anything in real time can't really be used over the internet. It's too difficult. Telos makes boxes designed to do internet protocol, but Leo isn't convinced it's ready for prime time.
Gary wants to know more about cutting cable television, and wants to know what his options would be to avoid mobile phone contracts too. Gary spends about $150 a month for two smartphones, and spends $150 on cable TV.
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has proposed rules that threaten the free an open internet that we enjoy today. Under the new rules, content providers would have to pay for premium access to customers. Larger companies such as Hulu, Netflix, YouTube, and Amazon would be able to pay these access fees. But smaller startups or individuals with little funding would not be able to afford this, and would be at a competitive disadvantage. The internet is full of innovations that started as small startups with little funding, like Facebook, eBay, Yahoo, and even Google.
Leo says he'll want at least 5 MB downstream consistently. 5MB down and 1MB up is the minimum he should accept for watching video.
Sheryl has DSL with an external router, but it's overloaded by phones, laptops, and streaming via the Roku. All she wants is fast internet that works. Her cable company won't give her separate internet, they want her to bundle with cable TV. Leo says that she can buy better service, but the price will go up. And since the FCC has given the cable company and the phone company virtual monopolies, she's really limited by the options she has, which is DSL and cable. She can request "dry loop" DSL, but as Sheryl has found out, it's not super fast if she's farther than 1km from the central hub.
Ruth is thinking of bundling all her services. Leo says it's easy, but it's not necessarily a better deal. Leo doesn't like them in general, although there are advantages. But one of the downsides is that they rely on voiceover IP for their phone service and if your internet goes down, so does your phone, and your TV. If the power goes out, you have no phone. Phone service has it's own power, and Leo says it's worth having it for emergencies. But you do end up with a better set top box. But if that's not floating your boat, there's really no advantage to it other than convenience.
Steve wants to know why it's so difficult to tune into an Internet radio station. There has to be a better way than just search and then hunt around. Why isn't there a search protocol that's common? Leo says that it only works like that if there's a central authority. But the Internet isn't like that. Googling a radio station isn't always the best because every station does it differently.
Esther would like to monitor her teenagers' activity online. Leo says that parents should have every tool they can, but one thing she can do is change her DNS settings to use OpenDNS.com. That's the "phone book" that routes web traffic to the appropriate addresses. OpenDNS has great parental filters and blocks, and a lot of schools and business use it.
Gina tried to change her Windows account to a limited user, but now she has no internet connection. What happened? Leo says that sometimes a program won't operate properly unless it runs as an administrator. So that may cause the issue connecting to the Internet. She also has DSLExtreme and it may be that downgrading may have broken her connection to them. Leo says she should double check her connections as well. But at this point, Leo advises contacting DSLExtreme to ask them for help.