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Posted by on Jun 28, 2016 in Uncategorized |

How Can I Tell If My ISP Is Slowing Down My Connection?

A slow internet connection can have many causes, but if you are experiencing consistently low speeds, you may wonder if your internet service provider is intentionally slowing your connection. This is known as “throttling.” Much like your phone’s internet may slow to a crawl after you exceed your month’s data, throttling severely limits bandwidth to certain websites or services, or even your internet in general. But before you assume your ISP is limiting your speed on purpose, there are a few steps you can take to try to narrow down the problem.

Reset Your Hardware

Even high-quality routers can start to slow down if they’re left on for too long. A good rule of thumb is to perform a power cycle about once a month. To do this, shut down all your computers and other wireless devices, then unplug your router from its power supply (you don’t need to unplug anything else). Wait 60 seconds, then plug the router back in. Once it has started up, turn on your devices to see if there is any improvement.

Check Your Bandwidth Use

If you have a lot of devices connected to your network, each one uses a little bandwidth to check email, download app updates, play YouTube videos and download files. Some heavier processes, like downloading large files, can take almost all your network’s available bandwidth. If your internet suddenly slows down, make sure none of your devices are doing heavy uploading or downloading in the background.

While you’re at it, try to find out how much bandwidth you have used this month. Many ISPs have data caps, and if you exceed those caps, you may be charged extra or your internet speed will slow. ISPs occasionally throttle heavy users to prevent other customers from experiencing slower speeds. If you can’t check this on your bill or online, call your ISP to see if they can help.

Look for Consistent Timing

If your internet slows down around the same time every day, you may be experiencing the effects of peak hours. This is when the most people in your area are online, and your ISP may not have the bandwidth necessary to give full speed to everyone. If your internet is faster in the evenings and early mornings, this could be another sign that it’s simply a side effect of heavy use in your area. All the same, if you decide to call your ISP, it’s helpful to have this information on hand.

Ask a Friend

If you have a local friend who has a different ISP, ask them to try some of the same things you are trying to do. If they don’t experience the same problems, then you have started to narrow down the problem to your ISP rather than the websites’ servers. This doesn’t necessarily point to throttling, but it does help you establish where the problem is coming from.

Use a VPN

A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, is a method of rerouting communication through different networks than the ones your ISP uses. By redirecting this communication, it makes it harder for your ISP to track, and subsequently throttle. If you can browse with normal speeds through a VPN but not with your ISP’s default connections, your ISP is likely causing the problem.

How to Stop It

In most cases, the best solution is to call your ISP and ask why your connection has been slowed. If your account has been flagged for heavy bandwidth use or exceeding bandwidth caps, they can tell you and help you try to address the problem.

If that isn’t enough, you can switch to using a VPN or using a different type of connection, such as tethering your cell phone or using a public hotspot or even switching to another provider. For more information about your options, contact a company like Valley TeleCom Group.

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Posted by on Jun 9, 2016 in Uncategorized |

4 Ways To Deter Burglars From Your Home While You’Re On Vacation

If you’re someone who takes long vacations and worries about the safety of your home while you’re away, then you should take some precautions. Burglars will case out a house to see if there is anyone home. If they find out that no one is in the house for an extended period of time, then the home becomes an attractive target. If you don’t have someone that can house sit for you, then there are things you can do. Here is a list of 4 of the best methods to deter burglars.

Cease Newspaper Delivery

If you get newspapers delivered to your home, you should contact the delivery service and have them stop delivering during the time-frame that you’re away. It would be a good idea to also ask a neighbor or a friend to drop by and check to see if the papers were left. Sometimes the delivery service doesn’t abide by your request. Also, there are random supermarket fliers, as well as other advertisements that you have no control over, which might be dropped on your front step You could have your neighbor or friend pick them up.

Sound Activated Artificial Dog

Burglars are afraid of dogs. The sound of a barking dog is intimidating. You can get a device that will play a loud barking sound when it is activated. The device relies on a motion sensor. You can place them near windows, sliding doors, and other areas that a burglar might pass by.

Time Activated Lights

You don’t want to leave the lights on. A criminal who is watching from the street will find it odd that the lights in a bedroom, kitchen, or living room are left on 24/7. Instead, install a programmable light control device. You can plug these into your wall outlets and then plug a lamp into the device. The device will then turn the lamp on and off depending on how you choose to program it. That way there is a more natural rhythm to the lights.

Outdoor Security Cameras

Finally, you should install security cameras on the exterior of your home. This will be a major deterrent. Even if the burglar suspects that the home is empty, they won’t want to risk being on camera. Install the cameras over the front door, the rear door, and on the fascia so that they cover the ground floor windows. Any point of access to the house should have a camera aimed at it.

While you can get tiny, unobtrusive cameras, it is probably best to pick cameras that are visible. You want thieves to see the camera. Part of their power is that they deter criminals. You can get cameras that have a blinking light, which signifies that they are actually working and not a dummy camera meant for show.

The newer security cameras can record footage to the cloud. This is a great improvement over the old models that used VHS or hard drives that were located in your home. Once the footage is uploaded to the cloud the thieves cannot remove visual evidence that they were in your home. This will be helpful to the police in the event you are burglarized.

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