Sunday, January 23, 2022

No Wires, Part 2

Home networks to all!

A post below needs updating and correcting.  Remember, you may edit but never delete a blog post.  (Uh oh, guilty when I really thought Michigan could hold their own.  That was until I realized Georgia has really high character players also; more and better is always open to debate.)

The topic here is how to get rid of Comcast, CenturyLink and others.

How much quantity and speed do you need?

The speed test sites say that if you are getting around 10MB/second you should be able to operate several computers and watch HD video.  These same annotations when you perform a speed test say things should work better with higher speeds.  There is an improvement in strength of connection (fewer skips or interruptions) and by inference picture quality, computer responsiveness, and downloads and such, with the single speed measure.

This is the fastest speed recorded in s month and a half.  It is a strong connection and much better than anything I ever obtained with wires and a modem.  With the old telephone company/DSL provider (CenturyLink) upload speeds were under 1.0 and if I used that it would be a huge difference.  I would caution that my wireless modem speeds fluctuate much more and are generally lower; sometimes they are under 10 and they go up to around 25 or so, with the Alcatel/Boost Mobile set-up.  They both work on the same T-Mobile 4G network.

My single and sometimes more household uses 50-60gb of data per month.  This includes phone and PC browsing and shopping, email, TV and movie and sports watching and downloading, and household file sharing.  Internal (not leaving the local network) data transfer (e.g., watching a video hosted on another computer) is not counted.  Personally, I'm a downloader, and I'll do it even if I think I might like a show, game, or file.  I usually use Ant Video Downloader and FreeCam8 for these purposes.  With the amount of data (60gb) currently available per month I feel I am covered; if I need more I can recharge my cellphone. 

 I get 35gb with Boost and 25 with my cell (Tello).

Over this period as many as 10-12 different phones, tablets, laptops, and desktops have been on the network at various times, and everything has updated itself and was used normally.  The biggest hogs data-wise by far are live HD streaming like sports events.  Normal use, including some watching and file saving, and everything on the web, appears to be under or well under 1 GB/day on average for most people, including myself.  This leaves room to splurge for the big or rare events.

The range is limited for phone and hotspot device coverage but it works fine for any large room or area; if beyond that, you probably have to move it.  Internal file data transfer is slow, but with well-working devices, you can certainly play videos and music over the network; it helps to have portable/usb drives for large tasks.  For Android, I use VLC Media Player for network files and the hotspot(s) work well.

It is important to have equipment that works on a wireless network and that play well together.  I have one older desktop that just didn't work fast enough on the wifi network with a USB (Tenda) wireless modem; time to phase that out.  In an earlier post I wrote about ethernet cables and file sharing; forget that and go all the way.  Also, scratch what I wrote about AT&T--don't get involved in any contracts or installments or companies that do things that way.

My main network computer is a Lenovo Tiny with 6.5 TB (2 external hard drives) of storage. Wifi and bluetooth work great and everything plays well together.  Other rooms or people...  You have to move it, get another one, or use a cellphone, which is fine by me.  There is no reason to have a network of stuff no one is using.

I still have some cancellation and credit card squabbles with the old line companies, but I am very pleased with the better and simpler transition.  I am thrilled to cut the wires in my home, remove the wires from my house, and pull the cables up from my yard.  I find everything in my home works better if it isn't on an unnecessary network all the time and it is only used for what it is needed.  "Prepaid" is a misnomer because you pay once a month anyway, but no contracts, strings, surprises, disputes, credit qualifications, or anything like that.  If you don't pay, they shut if off.

Finally, I would add, there are companies that provide simple products and that are easy to work with and others that are not.  This is especially true during Covid in that some have strong business models, or management, or products, or whatever it is that helps them adapt and thrive while others do not.  Companies like Comcast and CenturyLink are outdated in more ways than just their products.  I found I was almost brainwashed into thinking streaming quality is poor and inconsistent.  Getting rid the headaches of the dinosaur providers is an added bonus.

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