Back in the early days of home computing, most users had to connect their computers to the Internet using a dial-up analog modem.
Those dial-up connections were typically about as slow as a sedated slug, and establishing and keeping a stable connection was tricky at best.
Even worse, that slow and unreliable connection was typically dedicated to a single computer, so connecting multiple computers to the Internet required a separate modem and a separate telephone land-line for each computer.
Today, most Americans have at least one high-speed Internet option available to them, and many lucky folks can choose between multiple options for an always-on, super-fast broadband Internet connection.
What’s more, once we have a broadband connection wired into our home, we can easily share that connection among multiple computers, game consoles, tablets, smart phones and other Internet-ready devices using a single modem and router combo.
But that being said, the connection quality and data transfer speeds available to each of our connected devices can vary quite a bit. This week I’m going offer a few tips for making the most of your broadband Internet connection…
First of all, you need to ensure that you’re really getting your money’s worth when you rent a cable modem from your Internet provider. Surprisingly, most people aren’t.
Every situation is different, but chances are you could save a lot of money over the long term by opting out of those expensive modem rental fees and buying your own cable modem.
Important: If you opt to purchase your own modem, be sure to double-check with your ISP to make sure the model(s) you’re considering will support the upload/download speeds and the services you’re paying for with your service plan.
If you ultimately decide that renting a modem is probably the best way for you to go, here are several tips for helping you get the most out of it:
1 – If your rented modem is an older model, it could be throttling your Internet connection down to effective data transmission speeds that are much slower than the speeds guaranteed by your purchased Internet tier.
This post explains how to test your connection speeds and request a replacement modem if yours isn’t up to speed.
2 – If your rented modem ever needs to be replaced for any reason, never allow your Internet provider to replace it with a used modem. This post explains why you should always insist that you be given a new one..
3 – Once you’re sure that you have your modem situation squared away, it’s time to ensure that your router is squared away as well.
This post explains how to maximize the range of your router’s Wi-Fi signal, its connection speeds, and the security of your wireless network. And here are a few tips for ensuring that you’ll be able to enjoy the fastest Internet experience possible.
4 – If you have a large home, it might be difficult for your wireless router or gateway to provide a strong, stable Wi-Fi signal to every room on every floor. If you find that to be the case in your home, you can easily extend your Wi-Fi network to the far reaches of your home with an awesome powerline Wi-Fi extender.
5 – Download the awesome (and free) Fing Network Scanner app onto your smartphone and check to see if you have any neighbor’s piggybacking off your Wi-Fi network.
Why is keeping unauthorized users off your network so very important? Because allowing someone to share your Internet connection will can negatively affect you and your family in the following ways:
a) The more devices you have using your network, the slower your own effective Internet speeds will be. Just one piggybacking neighbor who streams video all day could easily bring your network to it knees.
b) Extra devices consuming your Internet data could push your home’s total data usage over the monthly data limit established for your Internet service plan, resulting in data overage fees and/or having your Internet account canceled.
c) If a piggybacking neighbor uses your Internet connection for illegal purposes (downloading child pornography for instance), it’s YOU that will be getting a knock on your door after the police trace the IP address of the culprit back to your router!
Bottom line: The tips above can help ensure that you and your family always enjoy a speedy Internet connection while preventing others from degrading your Internet experience (and perhaps even ruining your life by piggybacking off your wireless network).
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