Benny's constant zoom meetings have killed his hotspot's bandwidth caps. Now he has to get internet access at home. Leo says that hot-spotting isn't meant to be your main home internet. It's only for being on the road where you have no access available. You could continue to do it and pay for more bandwidth. Your ISP may charge you less right now. But generally, cellular data costs more than standard internet access. Check out your cable provider. They may work you a bundled deal, but sometimes those aren't the best deals in the long run.
Risa wants to "go dark" and eliminate her cable access. She wants to know if a Chromebook will work to replace her computer. Leo says a Chromebook is great for a lot of online applications. Leo says she can cut the cord with her cable company, but if she's using the internet from that same company, she will likely have to pay more if she plans on streaming. But if she is planning on getting a landline, then she could get DSL internet access.
Sharon has a problem listening to streaming audio and video at home and suddenly, the stream stops for 30 seconds and then comes back on. What's going on? Leo says that's usually a buffering issue. If the internet connection drops out or isn't keeping up, then users get buffering. The internet wasn't really designed for heavy streaming and as such, buffering can occur when the stream needs to catch up. But it's gradually becoming a thing of the past. But another issue is that if she is signed up with DSL, she may be too far away from the central hub and that's causing the buffering.
Tom is watching TV and he gets pixelation while streaming. When he switches to an antenna, he gets the same problem. What gives? Leo says that's due to the digital broadcast. Digital signals don't degrade gracefully. It just gets bad. And it could be a host of things from the antenna, to bandwidth, to the streaming box. Leo has a hunch it's the service that's streaming the programming to him.
How is YouTube getting such a clean signal? Leo says they may be using fiber directly from a network.
Jake recently "cut the cable" in favor of fiber. He's getting 700 MBps up and down. Leo says WOW. Jake wants to be able to connect his router to it so he can back up his computer. Leo says he would have to put the Verizon router in bridge mode and it won't do it. He will need to get another router that can handle that kind of speed.
Bob has a mesh network for his 2800 sq foot house, and he's having issues. There is likely a congestion problem. If Bob's accessing the internet after 6 PM, for instance, that's when everyone is watching Netflix. That can really drain that shared internet access of the ISP. It could also be that since his network is new, it may not be updated yet. So give it a few days. If it doesn't improve, it's time to contact the ISP's tech support.
Micah's town is considering putting municipal wifi in the city. What are the pros and cons? Leo says that it's a path that is well-trodden and there are groups that can support him and give all the data he needs to make the transition. Google "municipal wifi" and you'll find dozens of groups who are out there to support him as he looks into it. Check out Chatanooga's public wifi project.
From the Chatroom:
Mignon's elderly mother had a copper landline, but lately, it stopped working. Leo says that the phone company doesn't want her to have those anymore, they want to move to newer technologies like fiber optic. But Mignon wants an always-on option, plus the internet. Leo says that DSL Extreme may be able to help. The phone company may have a battery backup that they will install. A cheap or lifeline cellphone could also be an option.
Jane had DSL Extreme, but she says that AT&T won't allow it over the phone lines anymore. Leo says there's something going on with her particular neighborhood. She's still getting phone service, though. Jane says that AT&T isn't offering DSL either, but they're trying to push UVerse. Leo says that AT&T has decided to eliminate copper in her neighborhood and start using fiber. Fiber is glass and works better than copper.
Tom got AT&T fiber internet in his house. His speed test is slower than he'd like at 400 Mbps. Leo says that if he's doing WiFi over GB ethernet, he should get 400 Mbps. So that's about right. He should also try using multiple speed test sites to get a more accurate depiction of how fast his broadband really is.