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How Much Internet Speed Do I Need?

 

Are you trying to figure out what internet speed you need for your connected household? Now that you’re here, you won’t have to look any further. Internet is more accessible now than ever before and at speeds that were only dreamed of! This is probably a good thing since it seems like all the tech devices in our home need Wi-Fi to function 

Internet speed is represented in two forms, upload and download speeds. Each of these are needed for different everyday activities. Download speed is needed when bringing any information from the internet to your computer. This includes streaming movies/tv shows, downloading music and browsing social media. Upload speed is used when sending information from your computer to the internet. For example, video conferencing or uploading files to a cloud-based storage.  

It used to be that a simple 25Mbps download and upload speed package was more than enough for the average household’s needs. And it was… at least before every man, woman, child got a smart phone. Parks Associates reported in 2019 an average of eight connected devices per person in the United States (Cisco VNI, 2018). Seems kind of high, right? Well when you stop and think about it, a connected device can include your desktop, laptop, smart phone, smart tv, tablet, smart watch, home assistant, video game consoles, smart home gadgets and well, you get the idea.  

Each of these devices uses up a certain amount of bandwidth. Bandwidth is the maximum possible rate of data transfer. For example, with that 25 Mbps package, your bandwidth is 25Mpbs. Each connected device will use a portion of the total. You can expect to use a minimum of 5Mbps or more to stream a movie online (depending on the quality of the video) or at least 3 Mbps playing a video game online (more if more than one player). If these activities are happening at the same time, you can see your total available speed dwindling away. And remember, this doesn’t include the bandwidth being used by any mobile devices, computers or Wi-Fi enabled gadgets in your home.  

It may help to picture a highway where each vehicle on the road represents a connected device. Although the speed limit allows people to travel at a comfortable 75 mph, if there is congestion caused by having several vehicles on the road with you, the speed you can travel freely begins to drop. Too many vehicles on a two-lane highway at the right time of day and sure enough you are at a stand-still. 

With many Wi-Fi-enabled devices emerging and becoming mainstream over the last decade, all of a sudden 25Mbps is no longer enough. Especially when you consider how many phones, laptops, watches, etc. are in your average home. Other devices becoming much more common are smart-home gadgets such as thermostats, doorbells, security systems and health equipment.  

Seems like everything wants to go for a spin on the internet highway. Luckily, Reliance Connects has anticipated and kept up with higher demands. If the above sounds like your home, you may want to consider getting set up with one of our higher speed packages reaching up to gig speeds in select areasGig speed is the ultimate super-highway with more than enough room for all those devices.  

If you are interested in learning more. Give our office a call or drop by anytime! As always, we appreciate each of our customers and are proud to be your premier internet service provider.  

5 Cyber Security Best Practices for Everyone


Everyday hackers are finding new and creative ways to gain access to your Personal Identifiable Information (PII). Sometimes they will send you incredibly personal emails known as Phishing. These are used to get you to freely give up PII. They’ve even been known to hack directly into your WiFi enabled smart-home devices such as baby monitors or your thermostat. Computers, routers, networks, cyberspace… it can all be pretty intimidating 

Thankfully there are some things you can do that will help make you less of a target and discourage potential hackers from attempting anything phishy (yes, that is a terrible pun!)It is nearly impossible to be completely secure but think of it this way: You are at the fair playing a game. The object is to throw darts at balloons and pop them from ten feet away. Are you going to aim at the balloon the size of a golf ball or a basketball? Implementing simple security measures will make you a much smaller target and make it less likely for anyone to waste time trying to get through all those measures.  

       1. “Password” is not a password. 

You’ve probably heard this a thousand times by now. There is a good reason for that. Having a strong password provides essential protection from financial fraud and identity theft. One of the most common ways hackers break into a computer is by guessing passwords. Can you believe that? Consider using passwords at least 12 characters long with a mix of upper and lower case letters, numbers and special characters. Don’t make it easy for them. Don’t write these passwords down on paper or store them on some list in an unprotected notepad app. Try using a secure password storage app like Last Pass or Bitwarden. 

 

       2. Social Media isn’t just for friends and family.  

Think before you share. More people are seeing the content of your social media accounts than you might realize. Something as innocuous as playing a game that asks you for the first letter of your birthday month and day as your new name for something silly. You just gave potential hackers your birthday month and day.  Make sure your security settings are setup properly, change passwords regularly, and if you click on a link of an “unbelievable video” your friend shared, don’t follow the prompting to download any software needed to watch the video (hint: there is no video, your friend was hacked). If you really want to see if there is a video, look it up on YouTube. Chances are if it is a scam, it has already been reported.  

 

       3. WEP? Don’t you mean WPA2? 

WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) is an older type of encryption used by routers to provide data confidentiality. Software programs to crack this encryption are widely available for anyone to download and use. This means just about anyone can wiggle their way into your home network and look around for your PII. We provide a WPA2 (Wi-Fi Protected Access 2) deviceThis is will keep your Wi-Fi much safer from potential hackers. We manage our devices and keep the firmware up to date which also keeps them more secure. Ask us for more details. 

 

       4. Clicking without thinking is reckless.  

Links can come in your email, are found within compromised websites, social media and even a text message. At times, malware can automatically be downloaded without consent. Like a hidden passage leading into a secret entrance behind a dull portrait, it’s a way for intruders to get in without being spotted. Make sure you trust the sender before following a link anywhere. You could just be opening the door to the big bad wolf.  

 

       5. Software updates… tedious but necessary.  

Shutting down your system to allow your computer to complete its update is almost always an inconvenience. Honestly, didn’t you just update it last week?? As mundane and annoying as it might be, software updates are important because they often include critical patches to security holes. In fact, many of the more harmful malware attacks out there take advantage of software vulnerabilities in common applications, like operating systems and browsers. A little tip: Make sure to turn oautomatic software updates for your system and browsers. A little annoyance now could save you a major headache later.  

We highly encourage making these tips common practices. We value each customer’s privacy and do our part to make sure all of our equipment is up-to-date and safe for use. If there are ever any questions, please don’t hesitate to call our office or drop by anytime.  

 

 

How Does Internet Speed Work?

 

Have you ever been 3 hours deep into binge-watching your favorite show and suddenly your screen freezes because your internet speed slows down to a crawl in the middle of the season finale? Death come for me now, right? Why does this happen?

How internet speed works

Internet speed is measured by Mbps (megabits per second) which measures the amount of data your internet connection transfers per second. The maximum amount of data that can be transferred at any given time is known as bandwidth. This can sometimes be confused with the actual data transfer speed. For example, even though you may have 100Mbps bandwidth, you may be transferring data at only 25 Mbps due to any number of factors (the most common being other users/devices using the same bandwidth or poor internet connection).

Data travels in two directions; upload and download. Each of these are used for different internet-based activities. The average user often needs more download speed than upload speed. This is one of the reasons Reliance Connects offers packages with large downloads and smaller uploads.

Download speed refers to activities that involve accessing information on the internet (i.e. streaming videos or shows online, shopping online, reading online articles, streaming music, etc…). In this way, information is being sent to you.

Upload speed is used in activities that involve you sending any type of information from your device to another device or onto the internet (i.e. uploading a video to Facebook, playing games online, video chatting, sending an email with attachments, etc…).

Think of internet use as a highway. Traffic (information) is moving in both directions. The number of lanes can be likened to bandwidth. The more lanes there are the more traffic can flow through at any given time. Imagine you are on a two-lane highway. When you are the only one out there, you are free and clear to drive long and fast without slowing down. Then all of a sudden, a semi shows up! That 16-wheeler is your teenager watching hours and hours of YouTube videos. That’s fine, right? After all, there is another lane. Suddenly a minivan shows up. That’s mom looking up new recipes for dinner this weekend. Now you’re forced to share the road with everyone else. Unfortunately, this means your car has to slow down to pace with all the traffic on the highway.

Internet speed/usage works very much in the same way. Although one internet speed package maybe enough for you, when it comes to dividing it up amongst family and friends and whatever other devices you have connected to your WiFi, it can take up quite a bit of room.  That’s one of the reasons Reliance Connects is working to build and offer more fiber in the areas we serve.

Why do I need Fiber?

Fiber optics from Reliance Connects is the modern-day equivalent to a super-highway. All the lanes are open, speed limit is set to 80mph and absolutely no construction in sight! Switching to Fiber is the best connection available today. Fiber in your home or business ensures you don’t run into that big rig or that minivan while cruising down the Internet super-highway. You can learn more about fiber optics here and find out if it’s available where you are.

What devices are compatible with EZVideo?

 

What devices are compatible with EZVideo?

 

These are the devices that we’ve tested and recommend for having a superior EZVideo user experience. Give your local Reliance Connects office a call to make sure your Internet speed is optimal for streaming live-shows and movies.

Amazon Fire TV

The Amazon Fire TV devices have access to over 15,000 apps, games and Alexa Skills including access to over 300,000 TV episodes and movies on Netflix, Amazon Video, HBO NOW, Hulu* and more. It delivers the best picture quality with support for video up to 4K Ultra HD. The voice remote lets you quickly and easily search across all apps and services.

Apple TV

Apps like Hulu, Netflix, HBO Now, Watch ESPN, and iTunes* give you access to Movies, TV shows, and live sports. Apples touch-like interface makes browsing through apps as well as the guide a breeze. With built-in Siri support, you can use voice commands to search and play media across all the apps and services. Just go into the app store and search for EZVideo for instant download. (subscriptions required to access content.)

Mi Box

The Mi Box is an Android-based device and is compatible with thousands of Android TV apps including all the popular entertainment services such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Video*, and many more on demand content apps associated with watch TV everywhere.

Supported Devices and Platforms (Effective December 2019)

This is a full list of all devices that EZVideo is currently supported on.

Amazon – Fire TV (Gen 2 Stick: OS 5.2 and newer / Gen 3 Stick, Cube and 4K: OS 6.2 and newer)

Apple – tvOS 4th Generation (Version 11.0 and newer)

Android* – Android Mobile / TV (version 5.1 and newer)

Tablet, Smartphone

Apple: iOS 11 and newer

Android: Mobile 5.1 and newer

Browser and Computer Operating System

Microsoft IE 11 and newer (OS Windows 8.1 and newer)

Google Chrome Version 49 and newer (OSX Version 55 and newer)

Firefox Version 47 and newer

Safari Version 8 and newer (OSX 10.11 and newer)

Smart TV

Amazon Fire TV (Element and Westinghouse: OS 5.2 and newer)

Amazon Fire TV (Toshiba and Insignia: OS 6.2 and newer)

Android Smart TV (Philips, Sony and Sharp: Android TV 5.1 and newer)

-For Android set top boxes with remote controls (version 5.1 and newer), please contact technical support for assistance prior to purchasing, as they may not be compatible

 

*Accessing other apps may require additional paid subscriptions.