702.346.5211

Covid-19 Update April 3, 2020

Dear Customers,

We are reaching out to remind you Reliance Connects is here to serve you during these unprecedented times. Our offices are staffed to assist you but remain closed to the public for the well-being and safety of you and our employees.

If you need to make a payment, we want to remind you of your options:

For the first 2 options you will need your account number, please check your statement or call or email us for assistance.

  • Login to Smart Hub via our website under Billing
  • Download our Smart Hub app
  • Call to sign up for ACH/Auto pay with your checking account

If you are experiencing a financial hardship due to the impact of COVID-19, we are adjusting to allow extra time for you to pay. Please call or email us to communicate your needs or to set up payment arrangements.

If you have any questions or need help accessing your account online, or need to discuss your account- please contact us at info@rconnects.com or call your local office.

  • Estacada Office: 503.630.4213
  • Corbett Office: 503.695.2202
  • Elkton Office: 541.584.2224
  • Haines Office: 541.856.3661
  • Mesquite/Arizona Office: 702.346.5211
  • Antelope 541.489.3402

In the days ahead, we will continue to monitor federal and state mandates and the impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) on our industry. We thank you for being a valued customer and we are proud to serve you.

Your Reliance Connects Service Team

Covid-19 Update March 20, 2020

Dear Customers,

What a week it has been! The health and welfare of you our customers and our employees continue to be of the utmost importance to us. We remain open and will continue to provide service to you throughout this event.

We are still asking our customers to please refrain visiting the offices in person, if possible. There are many ways to communicate with us outside of a personal visit:

Email us at info@rconnects.com or Call your local office at the numbers listed below:

  • Estacada Office: 503.630.4213
  • Corbett Office: 503.695.2202
  • Elkton Office: 541.584.2224
  • Haines Office: 541.856.3661
  • Mesquite/Arizona Office: 702.346.5211
  • Antelope 489.3402

Call tech support:

  • Estacada/Corbett: 503.630.8909
  • Mesquite/Arizona: 702.346.0040
  • All other areas: 1.866.894.4657

Call in to make payments with your bank card or checking account. We will continue to be sensitive to customer needs. If you need more time to pay or need new service at your home, please call us.

We want to remind you to support local, order takeout, buy gift cards, order online from your local vendors when possible. Your local Chamber is a good resource to get information of open restaurants.

We live in an amazing community and we are confident we will get through this together. We appreciate your understanding and support while we continue to navigate this new uncharted territory.

Thank you for being a valued customer of Reliance Connects

Covid-19 Update March 17, 2020

Dear Customers,

Over the past few days, we have all seen an impact within our communities due to the effects of the potential presence of COVID-19. As this situation evolves, all of us are assessing how to best keep ourselves and those around us healthy and safe.

Our staff has already taken steps to ensure that all our customers continue to receive reliable and dependable service during this time. It is important to let you know that we have put into place proactive and measured steps to maintain our goal of providing reliable service.

We are asking our customers to please refrain visiting the offices in person, if possible. There are many ways to communicate with us outside of a personal visit: 

Email us at info@rconnects.com or call your local office directly.

  • Estacada Office: 503.630.4213
  • Corbett Office: 503.695.2202
  • Elkton Office: 541.584.2224
  • Haines Office: 541.856.3661
  • Mesquite/Arizona Office: 702.346.5211

Call tech support.

  • Estacada/Corbett: 503.630.8909
  • Elkton/Haines: 1.866.894.4657
  • Mesquite/Arizona: 702.346.0040

Payments can be made by:

  • Downloading and setting up your Smart Hub account here
  • Calling our office with your bank card or checking account information.
  • Dropping them into the external box at any time.
  • Sending them through the US Mail.

We also ask that if you have a pending installation or other in-home appointment and have a household member not feeling well or suspect that you or anyone in your home may have been exposed to the virus, please contact our office to reschedule our technician to install the service in your home for a later date.

For now, we will continue to practice social distancing. Our office and staff stand ready to serve you. Our goal is to keep our staff healthy so that they may continue to provide you with Internet, Video and Voice services for all your entertainment and connection needs throughout this time. The best way for us to do that is through the outlined safeguards above.

We appreciate your understanding and cooperation while we all navigate this challenging time.

Thank you for being a valued customer.

Sincerely,
Reliance Connects

What do I do if I am not getting the speed I subscribed for?

You just finished upgrading from a 12Mbps package to a 50Mbps package, but how do you really know you’re getting what you’re paying for? Most people turn to taking a speed test through a third party. An internet speed test will give you an idea of how fast your connection is in the moment you take it. We will cover the factors that go into receiving an accurate speed test result and what you should do if your results are lower than the range you should be receiving.

The Speed Test

Before answering the title question, lets begin by talking about how a speed test works. The third party will first determine the closest test server they have to your location. Once that has been determined, the test will send a “ping”, which is a small packet of data, to the selected server. The test server then sends the ping immediately back. The test is measuring how long it takes for the ping to be sent and get back and how quickly it can upload/download the data in the packet.

There are several services out there that can perform this test. One of the more reliable reported by CNET (2019) is Ookla’s speed test, which gives you the option to change the test server being used. This is important because the test will send the ping to that server. If the server is on the other side of the country, you can expect the test to report a slower result. This is why you will often get varying results from different third parties because they use different servers.

The Factors

To get the most accurate results, you want to take the test on a completely clear network. Taking the test while you are streaming video, downloading anything or have a lot of other connected devices using up some of the bandwidth will result in a lower result. Remember, the test will be testing the available resources. Less is available when you have other devices or activities happening on your network.

The way your device is connected is also a factor. Hard-wired connections to your router will automatically boost the amount of speed you have available. Wireless connections lose some of this when the Wi-Fi signal needs to travel from the router to your device. Especially if it has to travel through a lot of material or a long distance. If you do test on a wireless device, choose a location with the least amount of interference. This usually means being right next to your router.

Your equipment plays a large factor as well. Older devices or devices that do not have the latest software updates will not run as efficiently. Learn what speeds some devices are capable of here. For higher speed packages, such as gig speed service, you will need an upgraded router capable of handling those speeds. Old routers can often limit your speed availability dramatically. Reliance Connects offers compatible routers that can be rented for a small additional monthly cost.

Contact us

If you have taken all these recommended measures to get an accurate speed test and still are receiving a speed lower than you feel you should have, please do not hesitate to call our help desk. We can troubleshoot the issue with you. If you are using our latest router, we have insights into your service that will help us correct issues. When contacted, we will start a ticket and get someone out to your location if that is what is needed to correct the problem. Fiber is a stable connection and customers should expect to get up to the speed they are subscribed to. The Reliance Connects Help Desk is available Monday-Friday from 7am-9pm and Saturday-Sunday from 8am-5pm.

In Estacada & Corbett 503.630.8909

In Mesquite 702.346.0040

In Elkton, Haines and Antelope Toll free 1-866-894-4657

What is Gig Service?

You have probably heard that Reliance Connects is now offering speeds of up to one Gig. Exciting, right? Whether you are streaming videos in 4k or playing multiplayer games online, Gig service with Reliance Connects can do it all. This service is a great fit for the modern family that often has more than a dozen connected devices.

Although Gig service is available to nearly everyone, it does not mean everyone can use it. There are certain minimum requirements your home devices need to have to be able to deliver the higher rates of speed. To put it into perspective, the smallest speed package Reliance Connects offers is 50Mbps (Megabits per second). A gigabit is equal to 1,000 megabits. That is 20x faster than our lowest speed! Below we outline what is needed for your devices to be able to handle the higher rates of speed.

Equipment

You will get the most speed with a hardwired connection to a gig-compatible router. The ethernet cable used for that connection needs to be at least Cat5e or Cat6 (not Cat5). Cat5 does not have the higher throughput capability that Cat5e or Cat 6 has (meaning less data can travel through at a time).

Reliance Connects offers a router that can be leased that works seamlessly with Gig service. If purchasing your own router, these are the specs you will want to make sure the router has:

-Dual-band AC wifi (supports 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz bands)

-400mW power radio(s)

-Gigabit ethernet ports (10/100/1000)

-4T4R antenna array for 5Ghz band (also called 4×4 MIMO); 2T2R antenna array for 2.4Ghz band (also called 2×2 MIMO)

-Dual core CPU @ 1.0Ghz or better

Make sure your system also has the latest version of Windows or Mac OS X. At the time this is being written, the latest version of Windows is Windows 10 “1909” which was released November 2019. The latest operating system for Mac is macOS 10.15 also known as “Catalina”. This was released October of 2019. Apple usually only continues to support the two most recent versions of their OS.

Interference

Keep in mind mobile and other wireless devices won’t receive the same speeds that hardwired devices will receive. This is in-part due to interference. For example, if you are in your bedroom upstairs on your wireless laptop and the router is located downstairs, hidden in a cabinet, that Wi-Fi signal will need to travel through a lot of materials to reach your device in your room. The farther a signal travels, the weaker the signal becomes. You can learn more about optimizing your home Wi-Fi signal strength here. Though wireless devices can’t support the full speed of gig service, they are still capable of getting high-rate speeds that are more than enough for any online activity.

Limitations

Although download speeds up to 900 Mbps are possible with a hardwired connection, maximum Wi-Fi speeds could be limited by your device’s age and model. Other factors could include how many Wi-Fi-connected devices are in use, website traffic and content provider server capacity. The speeds listed are a maximum under ideal conditions, your speeds may vary.

Here are some examples of what you might expect with Gig service.

 

If you would like to learn if your home is in a Gig-capable area or have questions, please don’t hesitate to give our office a call at 702.346.5211 or stop by anytime!

 

Boost Your Home Wi-Fi

EZVideo streaming slowing to a crawl, spotty Wi-Fi signals throughout your home, the endless spinning wheel of doom. Welcome to the Wireless Dead Zone

Okay, without being so dramatic, this stuff really can be frustrating, am I right? If you feel like your Wi-Fi has become sluggish or like the only way to get a decent connection is to stand right next to your router then check out these simple tips on how to optimize your home network.

Location, Location, Location!

There needs to be some strategy in choosing the location of your home router. Hiding the ugly black box with the pointy ears might make for an eye-pleasing room but be prepared to suffer the digital consequences. Avoid placing your router next to any metal appliances or anything that emits electromagnetic waves. This is the biggest disrupter of a Wi-Fi signal. Plastic, wood, glass and cardboard are materials that will also disrupt the signal to a less severe extent.

Wi-Fi signals radiate out in all directions. The further the signals travel the more they dissipate. You can increase the travel ability of these signals by placing the router in the center of your home with minimal surrounding obstructions. This way signals have less distance to travel. Elevating the router by placing it on a shelf in an open location would allow the signal to travel downward. Remember, you aren’t doing yourself any favors by hiding it in a cabinet or behind some books.

Switch to 5GHz

If your current router only supports 2.4GHz and not 5GHz, consider updating your hardware. Switching to 5GHz will provide you with faster data transfer rates across a short distance. The reason this is only the case at a shorter distance is because higher frequency signals have a harder time traveling through obstructions than lower frequency signals. Refer to tip one to help give that higher frequency range a little boost.

2.4GHz offers a limited number of channels for devices to use for data transferring. When those channels become over-crowded with too many devices trying to use the same radio space or by channels overlapping, it can significantly impact your Wi-Fi signal in a negative way. 5GHz offers more channels that don’t overlap providing some private space for your device.

Cut Off Bandwidth Leeches

Have you noticed how nearly every hotel, restaurant and even department stores advertise their “Free Wi-Fi”? Welcome to the 21st century. With soaring data plan prices, free Wi-Fi has become a hot selling point. People will connect wherever they can. That includes your unsecure home network.

Protect your Wi-Fi bandwidth from outside moochers by upping your home network security. Reliance Connects highly recommends using a complex network password and making sure your router’s security is using at least WPA2. WPA and WEP have weaker security encryptions that can easily be hacked using software anyone can purchase. You can check what security measures your router is using by giving our help desk a call. If your router is using WPA or even WEP, ask about upgrading to a router with higher standard security.

Upgrade Your Hardware

If you are still using an 802.11n router, it is time to leave that far behind. Upgrading to the next model, the 802.11ac, will bring you a dramatic increase in speed. The “ac” is capable of handling speeds several times faster than the older “n” model. Though there are more advanced models you could upgrade to, an “ac” router will likely be more than enough for your needs.

Adding Wi-Fi Network Extenders to your home network will help bring the signal to every dark corner of your home. Reliance Connects has a wireless option that works to capture and re-broadcast your Wi-Fi signal. Same as your router, you will want to make sure these are placed in an open location somewhere between your router and the areas of your home receiving a weak signal. They should be close enough to the router that they can grab the signal, but far enough away that when they re-broadcast that signal, it will reach those low signal areas.

Reboot Your Router

This is probably one of the simplest things you can do. In the same way that restarting your computer can clear up performance issues, rebooting your router could be the remedy for weak signals. To reboot your router, turn your router off and leave off for at least 30 seconds. Turn it back on and give your internet a test to see if issues have been resolved.

The Reliance Connects Help Desk is available Monday-Friday from 7am-9pm and Saturday-Sunday from 8am-5pm. If there are any problems that come up with a rented router, please don’t hesitate to call us.

In Estacada & Corbett 503.630.8909

In Mesquite 702.346.0040

In Elkton, Haines and Antelope Toll free 1-866-894-4657

 

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.