Broadband

What's the best internet alternative to Frontier?

Episode 1288

Don from Rancho Cucamonga, CA

Don is a Verizon customer and they just got bought by Frontier communications and now his FIOS internet speed has been cut in half, which is worse than dial up. What can he do? Leo says that Time Warner cable is probably his best bet for broadband. They just got bought by Charter Communications, though. Cable is usually better than DSL, but it also depends on how it is in his area. As for phone service, he can just keep it or simply cancel it. He should make sure he gets a DOCSIS III modem if he goes with cable, though.

What speed internet should I get?

Episode 1274

Margaret from Burbank, CA

Margaret wants to get on the internet, but she's on a tight budget. Leo says that Margaret already has a cable subscription, so she could get a deal through them. She should ask what their cheapest package is, then shop around. DSL will be slower than cable. And the upload/download speeds they boast will be ideal max conditions. For standard email and surfing with little streaming, she should be fine with 1.5 Mbps up.

Why is my DSL service so bad?

Episode 1244

Jim from Orange County, CA

Jim is learning that having business service is way more expensive than consumer grade service. Leo says that's crazy but all too often true. Jim also says that the DSL in his building is terrible. Leo says DSL often has issues being too far away from the central hub switch, which can slow it down and affect the consistency of the service. The closer you are the faster and better it will be. Going with a third party service like DSL Extreme can be handy because they fight to give you better service.

Is Time Warner Max as fast as they hype?

Motorola SB6120 SURFboard DOCSIS 3.0 Modem

Episode 1208

Ron from North Carolina

Ron wants to know if Time Warner Max delivers the high speed it promises. Leo says that it should, and it's all driven by Google, who's putting gigabit internet everywhere. Time Warner Cable and AT&T have started to up the performance of users' broadband to compete. But if Ron doesn't have a DOCSIS III modem, then he's not getting the benefit of that faster internet access. Ron should talk to his provider about getting one or he should just buy it himself. In the long run he'll save money by buying it himself, since he's paying to rent that modem anyway.

Test Your Internet Speed with These Free Utilities

When your internet speed seems to slow down to a crawl, it can be useful to put it to the test and find out exactly what speeds you're getting. But it may be misleading to just check one speed test website. This is because some internet service providers actually give priority to certain speed test sites, giving you a faster reading than what is actually true for the rest of your browsing. In fact, some internet service providers encourage you to use only a site of their choosing for speed testing.

How can I get my DSL to run faster?

Episode 1204

John from Biddeford, ME

John has DSL and he's frustrated how slow it can get throughout the day -- often slower than dial up! Even worse -- he's being stonewalled by the national support center of the ISP. Leo recommends running the SpeedTest by Broadband Reports. Internet speeds are not consistent, but DSL should be more consistent. But if they have more customers than bandwidth, this can happen. It sounds like John's ISP is buying bandwidth and they simply don't have enough to go around. But it could also be bad routers and software.

How can I watch Netflix with slow DSL?

Episode 1204

Katherine from Apple Valley, CA

Katherine has really slow internet of about 1Mbps on Verizon DSL. Leo says that's probably because she's too far away from the central hub. The farther out you are, the slower it gets. What can she do in order to watch Netflix? Leo says to get Netflix, she'll need a consistent 5-6 Mbps for standard definition, and 10-15 Mbps for HD. And that's not even including data caps. What about Satellite internet? Leo says that the best is Exede by Wild Blue, but the drawback is buying expensive equipment, data limits, and a lot of latency. But it should be fast enough.

How can I hack my router?

Episode 1187

Ken from Dominican Republic

Ken's ISP in the Dominican Republic locks down his router so he can't make any changes at all. Leo says as long as he can change the password and give it encryption, he'll be OK with everything else. But Ken says it causes his cell phone to lose connection when he's using VOIP on his SIP phone. Leo says he'll need a QOS feature that will prioritize internet telephones.

Why is my download speed so slow sometimes?

Episode 1187

Bob from San Diego, CA

Bob is having trouble with his download speeds. They just aren't consistent from computer to computer. Leo says it's important to understand that he's paying for *up to* the maximum download speed. It can vary wildly. But Bob says sometimes is slows down to a crawl on one of his computers. Leo says he can experiment by rebooting the computer and see if it goes back up to max download speeds. If so, that means there's a program running. That's called a "memory leak" and the computer is using up bandwidth by that program.