Last year we were graciously asked to attend a cord cutting seminar at an active living, retirement community. The host is known to his neighbors as the “community geek.” Needless to say, he is very popular since he provides pro-bono tech consulting to his neighbors. However, he received so many questions about cord cutting that he decided to hold a seminar.
The first seminar sold out. The second seminar sold out. The third seminar sold out. In total there were about 150 people who attended these three seminars. We already had several customers in the neighborhood so we were asked to be present as experts and to offer our services to those in need.
The seminars each lasted over an hour and there were countless questions. Most of the questions were related to cable and satellite bills but many of the questions were related to internet speeds.
Here is the truth about internet speeds. If there are two people in your home, you don’t need to pay for 250 Mbps (Megabits per second.) In fact, you can easily get away with 40 Mbps; however, you need to make sure you have a decent mesh network in place. And guess what – your internet provider does not supply you with a mesh network. Instead, they give you a device that is optimized for them…not for you. Even worse, they charge you $12 – $15 per month to rent this inferior device from them.
Why is this rented device inferior? First, it often provides “hot spot” access to other customers of their service. So if the mailman is standing outside your home and he wants to connect to WiFi and he is also a customer of your internet provider, then he can connect to your device. The security considerations here are minimal but there is a small impingement on your speed. Of course, your ISP (internet service provider) will say its not a big deal but after 3000+ installs we see a 10% – 15% improvement after removing the rented device and replacing it with a modem and mesh network.
Second, the device broadcasts from one location. In many cases we have see the internet devices stuck in the basement because that is the only place it could be installed. And as you have probably experienced, the further you get away from that device, the slower your internet speeds.
NOTE: The internet device you rent is called a “gateway.” A gateway simply means that there are two devices inside the single housing you rent from them. Inside a “gateway” you have both a modem and a router. A modem is the device that connects your home to the computers at your ISP. And a router is the device that allows all your laptops, phones and smart TVs to share that single modem connection to the computers at your ISP headquarters.
Third, the gateways have a tendency to need more frequent rebooting than a separate modem and router. We have plenty of customers who have not rebooted the devices we installed for several months. They tell us that it is a huge improvement over the previously rented device. We are not sure why “gateways” need more frequent rebooting but we believe it has something to do with combining both devices in a single housing.
Whether you are a customer or not, you should seriously consider getting a separate modem and router. It will save you anywhere from $140 to $170 per year in rental fees and it will allow you to access speedy internet anywhere in your home.
Of course, its not always easy to pick the right devices…but then, that is why you hire freeTVee to make sure it gets done right the first time.