ISPs

How can I have 100% reliable internet access?

Skyroam Solis X

Episode 1655

Chris from Miami, FL

Chris had an issue where the power went out and wants to know how he can have an always-on WiFi thing no matter what. Leo says that the only real solution is redundancy. Leo has three different ISPs for the studio, so if something goes out, they can switch over. So if you have an iPad with LTE, you have a backup. And you can always hotspot through it. Another option is a pay as you go access point with day passes. That way, you can turn it one when you need it. Try SkyRoam. 

Why Isn't Powerline Broadband a Thing?

internet

Episode 1654

Joey from San Diego, CA

Joey doesn't understand why powerline internet isn't a bigger thing. Especially for municipal internet. Leo says that BPL (broadband power line) has a problem where it interferes with radio signals. In essence, BPL was killed by an aggressive lobbying campaign by amateur radio operators and manufacturers for that very reason. But ISPs may have also had a hand in it. Leo also says that ISPs are against community-based broadband. 

Do I Need to Use the Router and Modem Provided by my ISP?

Netgear

Episode 1638

David from Bethesda, MD

David has a router/modem combo. Is this common? Leo says it's common for an ISP to provide those. But keep in mind that he'd be paying about $10 per month to rent it, and it's likely not as up to date or fully featured as one you can buy. That's why Leo recommends buying a separate router and modem. DOCSIS 3 or 3.1 should work. NetGear is recommended by TheWirecutter. Just make sure the gear is supported by the ISP, and call the ISP and they have to "ping it" and disable the rental gear.

What's a Good Cheap Basic Internet Plan?

Internet of Things

Episode 1607

John from Mangum, Oklahoma

John wants to get a basic internet that doesn't offer TV or phone or anything else: just basic internet. Leo says that ISPs tend to charge you more for basic internet, vs. one that offers a bundle with phone and TV service. But they are required to offer "dry loop" internet service which may be cheaper than a plan with phone and TV service. Your other option is to use your cell service since it has data anyway. MINT Mobile is a possible solution. They are much more affordable, starting at $15 a month. Ideal, when money is tight.

What's the best option for internet in a rural area?

Exede

Episode 1596

John from San Bernardino, CA

John is moving to a rural area of Pennsylvania, and the only internet available is via satellite. What are his options? Leo recommends first visiting BroadbandReports.com and see if there are any wireless ISPs there. If so, that's certainly going to be a better option than Satellite. But if you have to have a satellite, then the best option is Exede by Wild Blue. It's not cheap and you certainly won't be streaming with it.

Do ISPs Know When You're Using a VPN to Stream?

pfsense

Episode 1574

Mike from Cabo San Lucas, MX

Mike is down in Cabo a lot and he streams using high-speed DSL. He uses a VPN but lately, the ISP has been shutting him down. Leo says that it sounds like the internet companies are getting wise to that. Sometimes users can switch VPNs and get back up and running. Another option is to set up a VPN server at his server in the US, then surf to that with Remote PC. 

How accurate are my ISPs download speeds?

Episode 1566

Rob from Cincinnati, OH

Rob wants to know how he can find out the more accurate speeds he's getting on his internet service. Leo says that when ISPs tell you speeds, it's usually under ideal conditions are are "peak speeds." Look for the phrase "as fast as." Then go to several internet speed testing sites like Netflix's Fast.com or SpeedTest.net. User several of them and get a good average. Also do it at different times. After 6pm is going to be different because people are watching Netflix.

What is a better ISP than Frontier in a remote area?

Satellite dish

Episode 1551

Bob from Rolling Hills Estates, CA

Bob lives in a desert and he's he's stuck with Frontier as an ISP. Leo says that a lot of people are commiserating with him because the access is so bad. They want to charge him $100 for 720kbps. Leo says that's totally unusable. Leo says it's likely because Bob is too far away from the central DSL station. If he had cable internet access, he'd be much better off. He also can't get satellite internet via Dish. Leo says the state of internet in the US is shameful, and Frontier is the worst amoungst them. At best, we have a duopoly, or maybe even a monopoly.

Will a VPN keep my web traffic private?

Episode 1522

David from Anaheim, CA

David is thinking about installing a home VPN. Leo says he understands the security concerns, but he won't like using it for very long. It will really slow down his bandwidth. Leo recommends a service called CloudFlare. It changes his DNS to 1.1.1.1, and then masks his traffic so his ISP doesn't know where he's going. He can set it at the router level and he will protect every device in his house.