702.346.5211

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 a Solar Outage?

It’s not surprising that many people don’t notice or know when a solar outage occurs. After all, it only occurs twice a year for a very short period. With the next one occurring in the next few weeks, this article will dive into what exactly a sun outage is and address some common questions.

What is a Solar Outage?

Twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall, the sun passes directly in line with Earth communication satellites in geostationary orbit (which basically means satellites in space that move around the Earth at the same speed the Earth is spinning). These satellites are in Earth’s equatorial plane which is the midpoint between the two poles. The sun is a giant source of broadband electromagnetic radiation that over-powers the weaker broadband signals being broadcasted by the satellites to the Earth. The satellite dishes on Earth that normally receive the signals from the orbital satellites instead pick up the much stronger signals coming from the sun. These signals overwhelm the satellite decoders leading to a television signal disruption. What you end up seeing are pixelated images or a blank screen.

How long does it last?

This typically last between 10 and 45 minutes. The amount of disruption varies by location and size of satellite. Luckily, this happens during the day while most of us are at work. It can happen anytime between 11:00am and 5:30pm. Though, if you do happen to be home catching up on your favorite daytime shows, you will be impacted by this event. Once the sun is down, there are no problems. You can expect this to happen each day through the duration of the equinox, normally about a week or so. Again, this happens twice a year. Once in the spring and once in the fall.

Can I stop this from happening?

No. This is an inevitable event twice a year that we mostly need to bare. Unfortunately, it is out of the control of Reliance Connects and ask for patience as your service will return gradually as the sun continues its path across the sky. The worst disruption occurs when the sun is directly aligned with the satellites and lessens as it continues to move.

Will all my services be affected by this?

No. This will only affect tv service. Internet and phone services will remain intact during the solar outage. This event is not unique to Reliance Connects and will affect all TV service systems receiving signals from those satellites.

If you feel something else may be interrupting your service during this time or that it is lasting longer than it should, please do not hesitate to call us.

In Estacada & Corbett 503.630.8909

In Mesquite 702.346.5211

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

 

Call 811 Before You Dig

Last week I was sitting in my home office looking out the upstairs window. It was a beautiful day! Spring clearly well on its way. I looked over into neighbor’s backyard and saw him with a shovel and a pickaxe. It looked like he was getting a head start on some planting. About 20 minutes into his project, he had a pretty good size hole going. I watched him as he grabbed the pickaxe, raised it over his head and let it fly full swing. For just a moment nothing happened, he just stood there holding the handle. Then suddenly, a geyser erupted out of the hole! He had hit a water line and it was spraying everywhere, he was soaked in seconds. Clearly, my neighbor neglected to call 811 before digging.

What is 811?

Okay, so this story might be a little over exaggerated, but it does illustrate the importance of calling 811 before beginning any of those springtime digging projects. 811 is a nationwide phone number used to access local utility line locations. The CGA (Common Ground Alliance) is an organization that works to protect underground utility lines and the safety of people who dig near them. They promote the 811 call centers. There is one located in each state. They ask anyone planning a project that requires digging to dial 811 at least 48 hours before beginning, more if possible.

During the call, your information is taken down and forwarded to your local utility agencies where a professional locator will be sent out to the dig site and mark off areas that have utility lines hidden underground with flags. It is advised to use hand tools to dig with should you come within two feet of the marked off areas.

CGA estimate there are more than 20 million miles of utility lines buried below the surface across the United States. These lines include those for plumbing, electrical, communication and gas. Striking one of these lines has the potential to result in a service outage or severe bodily harm. Each type of utility line is represented by a specific colored flag. You can look up what each flag color represents here.

There is no cost to you to dial 811. Be sure you give 811 a call several days before you start a project. For more information visit:

In Oregon https://digsafelyoregon.com/

In Nevada http://call811.com/map-page/nevada

In Arizona http://www.arizona811.com/

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.