Shared Blog: How to Figure Out What’s Wrong With Your Internet Connection
It’s a heart-wrenching moment when your web browser reports that it’s no longer connected to the internet. But there’s no reason to panic: We’ve distilled the troubleshooting process into five easy steps. Keep this list close by in case your internet suddenly breaks (or pass it on to friends and family the next time they call on your assistance).
Of course there are many different problems that could potentially affect your broadband, but the tips below should be enough to cover the most common issues—even if you can’t get everything sorted straight away, you can at least work out what’s going wrong and take steps to fix it.
1. Reset Your Router
It’s an IT troubleshooting cliché, but that’s because it often works: resetting your router (or cable box or modem or any other device that brings the internet into your home) should clear away any temporary bugs and issues, forcing the device to reconnect to the web from scratch with a clean slate.
Most routers have a reset button on them for this specific purpose but you can always unplug the hardware as well. Wait 30 seconds or so before restarting the device and then give it (and your computer) a few minutes to get up and running again. Internet fixed? Good, you can stop reading here.
2. Test Multiple Devices
If rebooting your router doesn’t work, the next step is to determine whether the problem’s inside or outside of your home. A quick way of doing this is to see if your smartphone, tablet, or any other computers can get online. If they can, plug a laptop directly into the router using a spare Ethernet cable.
If none of your devices can get online, there might be a problem at your Internet Service Provider’s end. Check your ISP’s official website and Twitter feed to see if there’s a problem currently being reported (using cellular data, of course) or call them to see if they can offer any estimate on when a fix will arrive.
3. Troubleshoot Wi-Fi Issues
Not everyone has a laptop and Ethernet cable at home, but if you do, you can check if the problem is with your internet as a whole (see previous section) or the Wi-Fi in particular. There are all kinds of ways to improve the Wi-Fi in your home, but they don’t necessarily apply to a sudden and unexplained drop.
If your Wi-Fi was working but isn’t anymore (and the problem persists across multiple devices) it’s going to be hard to pinpoint the problem. You should check your router’s settings (changing the Wi-Fi channel might help), reverse any recent modifications to the network, and make sure no one in the house has somehow changed the network password.
As we’ve indicated, there are no obvious solutions here, but if you’ve just decided to put a wireless device like a baby monitor or microwave next to your router then this could be one potential cause (you really need wireless devices like these as far apart as possible to avoid signal interference).
Heavy bandwidth use by one particular device might drag the internet connection speed down, but then you’d probably see the effect on a wired connection as well. Using a speed test site or app might give you some more clues as to what’s causing the wi-fi to slow down or drop completely.
4. Troubleshoot Issues With a Specific Device
If only one of your devices can’t get online, the focus of your troubleshooting can be much narrower, and it should be easier to find a fix. Resetting the device often works wonders, forcing a reconnection with the router and device that can iron out plenty of temporary problems.
You should make sure that the device is updated and running the latest available version of its operating system. On computers that applies to Wi-Fi adapter firmware as well. If necessary, uninstall and reinstall the drivers associated with your Wi-Fi hardware to make sure they’re functioning correctly.
If you’re troubleshooting a laptop or desktop, then a thorough virus scan is well worth your time, and both Windows and OS X include wireless diagnostic tools that can help you pinpoint exactly what’s gone wrong.
It’s also worth trying a different web browser. It’s possible that an extension, plugin or browser bug is the root cause of your internet hangups. If you do find your browser’s at fault, uninstall and then reinstall it to force a complete reset of the software.
Here we’re specifically concerned with a device that was getting online fine but now isn’t, so a recent change is most likely to blame: try uninstalling any recently added apps (particularly network-related ones such as VPN tools). As a last resort, you can try running a factory reset on the device.
5. Other tips
In terms of good practices and habits: keeping everything up-to-date and current is important, and that means the software and the firmware for your devices (hosted on manufacturer websites and support channels) can help you. Any bugs will be squashed along the way.
If you think you’ve got neighbors likely to hack into your network, then head to your router’s settings and change the wi-fi password (the manual should have pointers if you aren’t sure)—that means every device will have to reconnect to the router again from scratch, using the new password.
On average, cable companies offer 190 channels, but how many of these channels do consumers actually watch? Not that many. Cable customers are paying for an excess amount of channels when they only watch an average of 17 channels. When people sit down to watch TV, they have specific shows they tune into or a particular series they follow. The likelihood that these habits and preferences will change frequently is improbable. What’s the point of paying for dozens of channels if you are only watching a handful? As time goes on, many people are cutting the cable cord and converting to streaming TV.
Raise your hand if convenience is important to you. In reality, convenience has become the new principle for all aspects of our busy lives. Streaming shows online gives us the ability to watch what we want when we want, to pause a show for any reason and to come back when we please. Sitting through several long and uninteresting commercials isn’t as tolerable as it used to be. Many streaming mediums have either limited or eliminated commercials entirely. As more and more people turn to streaming, they realize there is little they miss from cable. Through streaming, we can have our shows in the palm of our hands – literally.
In today’s blog post we will discuss how fiber technology is key to enjoying streaming TV, the unique benefits of streaming, and we will also dig into a few of the most popular streaming platforms. **Warning, after reading this post, you are most definitely going to want to sit on your couch and watch your favorite shows!
TECHNICAL: How does fiber technology better enable streaming?
Fiber optic technology works by sending information coded in a beam of light down a glass or plastic pipe. A fiber optic cable has several advantages over a traditional metal communication line. Fiber optic cables have greater bandwidth that can carry much more data than a metal communication line. They are also made of glass, which makes them less susceptible to interference. Fiber, which currently supports delivery of 1G Internet, improves the user experience by increasing the bandwidth and speeds up to 1,000,000,000 bits per second. This incredible increase in download time allows people to stream shows and movies seamlessly for longer periods of time. The faster speeds nearly eliminate buffering or pauses in streaming.
With 1G internet, you can rest assured that you will have more than enough data and a powerful and reliable connection to stream your favorite shows. Say goodbye to frustrating customer service dealings and poor quality picture with the cable company!
FUN: What are the benefits of streaming?
We have found that streaming provides consumers with a unique watching experience and more flexibility. People can watch their shows at home, at a coffee shop or even in the car (passengers only, please). No matter when or where you are watching, you can still bond over your favorite shows with the family, friends, and co-workers. Consumers receive a notification when a new show is ready to watch and can more easily browse shows that have been recommended to them based on their preferences.
Streaming also allows customers to know exactly what they are paying for. No more hidden fees or cancelation penalties. As streaming systems continue to be developed and advanced, streaming is becoming the new method of watching TV. We encourage each of you to look into the differences between cable and streaming further. Your preferences and style of watching TV will guide you toward which option is best for your family.
THE GOOD STUFF: The scoop on popular streaming platforms:
SlingTV Instead of having an abundance of unused channels, SlingTV provides customers with a basic streaming package. DayStarr’s fiber optic technology supports SlingTV, which offers a variety of channels such as CNN, ESPN, Disney, and TBS. SlingTV is available through mobile devices, Windows or Mac computers, and even Xbox One.
Rather than paying around $50 to $100+ per month for more shows than you could watch, SlingTV presents a wide variety of channel packages for only $20 per month. With their add-on packages, you can gain access to 65 live channels and up to 10,000 hours of video on demand! The key is that you can watch these shows when they air, not strictly after the fact. Many streaming platforms limit you to watch the shows after they have been aired. You better have a lot of snacks on hand for that much streaming!
SlingTV prides itself on no long-term contracts, being a flexible platform designed to enhance your entertainment experience, and delivers only the shows you want, when you want them.
Netflix Netflix has redefined what it means to watch TV and movies. This company started by offering movies through the mail and now offers over 10,000 streaming movies and TV shows online currently priced at $7.99 per month or $95.88 per year. Netflix can be accessed through a TV, computer, mobile phone, and select game consoles.
To keep customers feeling valued and satisfied, Netflix creates individual profiles for their users. Within your Netflix account, you can have separate profiles for each person who watches. When users watch certain movies or shows, Netflix generates recommendations of additional shows that correlate with the specific users preferences. Netflix has even created an interface for kids that allows them to watch their favorite shows without access to the settings or tools on the main account. For more specifics on how the program works, check out their helpful FAQs page!
If you are looking for an older movie or TV series, it is likely that you’ll find it on Netflix. If you are searching for something new to watch, Netflix has a wide selection of “Netflix Originals” that are Netflix-exclusive programs that are available on-demand and are also released by season. Prepare yourself for the binge watching!
Being an Amazon Prime member means you can online shop from the large selection of Amazon, but it also means you have access to Prime video. This includes streaming access to networks like Showtime, Starz, and HBO that are hard to stream anywhere else.
Launched in 2011, Amazon Prime Video allows users to access 17,000 movies and TV series. While this is more than Netflix, Amazon Prime only offers 3,500 HD videos, versus the 7,500 HD videos Netflix offers. The majority of these movies are free to stream; however, you will find that some are only offered by renting digital copies where you’re asked to pay .99 cents per video. Amazon Prime Video has thousands of movies and shows to watch, but they do try to make an extra buck here and there.
Currently at about $8.25 per month or $99 per year, Amazon Prime members have access to streaming on their computers, tablets, and mobile phones. Like Netflix, Amazon produces “Amazon Originals,” that have been popular among many and have even won Golden Globes. Amazon Prime members receive several premier benefits such as free two-day shipping, unlimited photo storage, and access to ad-free music and Kindle ebooks.
If you missed one of your favorite shows of the week, fear not, Hulu has you covered. Hulu not only offers your all-time favorite movies, but they provide current season episodes. This streaming service is all about giving their viewers control of their entertainment experience.
Hulu.com is the only site that offers select movies and shows for free. When you upgrade to Hulu Plus, you can view expanded collections of their movies and shows. Whether you want to avoid commercials at all costs or secretly enjoy them (don’t worry, we won’t tell), Hulu Plus currently offers plans that have limited commercials for $7.99 per month and no commercials for $11.99 per month. To subscribe to Hulu, all you need to do is create an account, have access to the Internet and a reliable device.
Hulu offers their customers full episodes, complete seasons, and hit movies. They go above and beyond and provide users with kid-friendly content as well as selection options which can tailor the programming to specific audiences. Hulu is the streaming service for those who want to keep up with their favorite shows without having to pay those excessive cable prices.
As you can tell, you have a lot of options when it comes to streaming! So, what do you think? Are you nervous about switching? What questions do you have about streaming? We are happy to help and look forward to your questions! Contact us today!
To stream or download…that is the question. Tech Talker Eric Escobar wrote this great blog about the differences between streaming and downloading, and we thought we’d share it with you. Look for another blog from us soon that elaborates more on how streaming is changing people’s use of TV technology. In the meantime, thanks to Eric for a great piece!
June 18, 2015, Episode #177
This week, I’m going to compare streaming versus downloading. I had a lengthy conversation with my dad today trying to explain the difference between streaming and downloading. I thought this would make a great episode for those who are confused about it.
OK, first let’s define streaming and downloading. Downloading is when you take a file, whether it be a video, music, or some other data, and you copy it from a device or the Internet to your computer or phone. Downloading a file makes a copy of that file on whatever device you are using.
On the other hand, streaming is when your device receives data constantly. Think of streaming like your radio: you can listen to the content, but can’t save it (easily at least).
“So what are the benefits, and when would you use each of these, Tech Talker?”
These services are great because they allow you a huge selection of content that you don’t need to have stored on your local laptop, desktop, or phone. You would have to have a mountain of hard drives to be able to download the vast amount of music and video these services have if you wanted to view it without the Internet!
This means all you need is an Internet browser to listen to or watch all of that content. The only downside is that streaming content requires that you use data—sometimes a ton of it! As a quick example, my two cousins were on a road trip with their parents and they both wanted to watch Netflix. They both watched different movies on their smartphones, which used their family data plan. In just over an hour, they reached their data limit.
This has to do with the fact that they were streaming video. Video is one of the most data-intensive types of content to stream. If you think about it, it makes sense: you’re viewing at least 30 pictures a second, along with audio. Watching Netflix on high resolution can burn through 2GB of data in no time at all.
Streaming music services aren’t nearly as bad because audio is not nearly as data intensive. You can listen to a lot of music before you reach your data limit!
Streaming excels when you’re on WiFi (or have an unlimited data plan) because then it doesn’t matter how much data you stream. It’s great when you have devices such as smartphones or laptops with solid state drives with little storage, because it means you don’t have to download the files directly to your device.
It’s also really nice because you can upload a video to YouTube, send the link to that video to anyone in the world, and they can watch it instantly instead of having to wait minutes to hours for the video to download before they can watch it. With this, you can watch the video before having to wait for it to download.
OK, so streaming is pretty great, right? It is, but it has some drawbacks. For example, I’m writing this podcast while I’m trapped on a plane without any WiFi or cell data. That means I don’t have access to any streaming music or streaming video, such as Pandora or YouTube.
Another caveat to streaming is that it sucks up quite a bit of battery life on portable electronics. Not only are you watching a video or listening to audio when you stream content, but you’re also using the WiFi or cell phone radio in your device constantly in order to communicate with the Internet. This uses a massive amount of power, so much so that after you stream a movie, I bet you can feel your device getting warm!
That’s a huge bummer, but it’s not limited to phones. There are plenty of other situations where you might not have great cell service, your data plan might be limited, or you might be in a remote place.
That’s where downloading comes in handy. Before I leave to go somewhere I know doesn’t have service, I’ll often download music and my favorite QDT podcasts to my phone. That way they are stored on my device and I don’t need any service at all to listen to them.
The same goes for video. I will download any video to my phone or laptop before I head out somewhere just in case I don’t have any reception or WiFi. Downloading is great, but it requires that you do it beforehand. It also requires that you have storage on your device to hold all of the content.
This downloading/streaming situation really comes into play when you’re using data abroad. Often when traveling abroad you will have a much more limited data plan than you would when you’re at home. I find this to be extremely dumb, and it’s completely dependent on the phone company, but I won’t rant about that.
If you’re trying to navigate using maps on your phone, your phone will normally “stream” maps to your phone. What this means is that as you navigate your map, your phone will download pictures of the map and data to your device, so that it doesn’t have to store a ton of map information you may never need. This is a pain, though, when you’re on limited data.
One thing I just discovered, though, is that using Google Maps, I can save large portions of maps to my device when I’m on WiFi, and then my phone won’t have to download them when I’m out and about. This is pretty sweet because it reduces the amount of data that I use. However, for it to be useful, it does require that you know where you are going before you leave.
With that, here are some of my favorite tips for streaming and downloading.
Streaming uses data constantly, which can drain your battery and data plan pretty quickly depending on what you are doing.
Streaming is great because it doesn’t require you to have any free space on your device, however, it does require you to have a connection to the Internet.
Downloading is great when you know you won’t have service or will have a limited data plan.
Downloading does require that you have space on your hard drive to store all of the content.
Check for offline options while traveling to limit how much data you actually use when you are out and about.
Until next time, I’m the Tech Talker, keeping technology simple!
Technology is continually evolving, and the demand for consistent and accessible information and entertainment is constant. And the source to all of that? A reliable Internet connection. The desire and expectation is to receive information on multiple devices instantaneously. Consumers will go to drastic measures to get a stronger signal, a better connection, a faster speed. At times, the intricacies of Internet can get complicated, and it seems like the prices are steadily increasing. How do you know if you are getting a good deal? And where should you draw the line with your Internet consumption and speed demands?
At DayStarr Communications, we are here to be your go-to, communication services guru. As you face decisions like which service to depend on and what amount of speed is best for you, we want to be sure you are equipped with the truth of how Internet speed works. In today’s blog post, we explain the technicality of Internet speed, why speed matters, and how to know what Internet speed is right for your household or business.
What is an Internet speed?
Internet speed refers to how quickly you receive information onto your device or how fast you can download, upload, and surf the web. In more technical terms, Internet connection speeds are measured in megabits per second (Mbps). Mbps tells you how many million bits of data can be moved in a second. The span of speed you can have ranges between 1-100 Mbps with broadband connections.
Fiber optic technology is quickly becoming the premier pipeline for optimal Internet satisfaction. Fiber optic Internet is continually expanding, and can offer Internet connections of 1 Gbps – nearly the speed of light. This speed is ten times faster than 100 Mbps, thus 1,000 Mbps. If you are someone who wants quick access to endless information, entertaining shows, email, and social media, then fiber may be the answer.
Why does Internet speed matter?
Having reliable Internet is a necessity and expectation in most households and businesses. Today’s students are frequently required to complete school work online while parents want to check their emails throughout the day and watch their favorite Netflix shows in the evening. Most of the time, you don’t look at the speed of your connection unless it slows down or stops working. The convenience of connecting to a world of information at an incredible speed has become the norm and is on an indisputable, continuous rise.
As households connect with higher bandwidth content and connect to multiple devices for longer periods of time, the average bandwidth or Internet capacity per household will likely increase. According to research by the Association for Corporate Growth, the average bandwidth in 2014 was 2.9 Mbps per household and is expected to rise to 7.3 Mbps by 2018. If buffering videos and slow connections frustrate you, it may be time to reevaluate your Internet speed.
What is a reasonable speed for today’s users?
The Internet speed that a household or business needs widely varies. However, it is estimated that 90% of homes in the U.S. have three or more Internet-connected devices while just under half of households have five or more devices, and nearly a quarter use seven or more devices. With numerous devices under one roof, many households reach 70 or 80 Mbps with no problem.
Keep in mind that various websites also have maximum speeds that customers are permitted to stream or download, and these sites can become congested with several users. These are variables that may slow down your connection that your provider cannot control. Wireless connection speeds are also influenced by components such as signal settings, wall type and distance, microwaves, and static electricity. However, these issues decrease dramatically with fiber Internet. Fiber connections are not distance-sensitive like copper band services, but speeds can vary depending on location and service providers.
How do you find what speed you have and what speed you need?
Speed testing websites are the first place you can go to discover the speed of your Internet connection, document your different devices to see the time of day when your use is the highest and what programs you are using during these times. Tracking these aspects of your Internet use can give you a better idea of what speed you have and the speed that is optimal for you.
It’s important to note, however, that there are many factors that can affect accuracy of speeds. We call them “bottleneck” factors, such as how busy the Internet is at the time, the type of hardware you have, the age/type of lines you have (i.e. is it DSL, broadband or fiber?) and how much you’re using various devices when you test. It is rarely your Internet Service Provider’s fault if speeds are slower than what you expect. They will fluctuate. At DayStarr, have found www.speedtest.net to be most accurate.
To find what speed you need depends on several different elements. How you plan to use the Internet, how many devices you have in your home, and how fast you expect to be connected are just a few factors that influence which speed is right for you. To understand what certain speeds actually provide, check out this list of guidelines.
A few connected devices
Best for basic web surfing and email
Low number of connected devices
Best for web surfing, email, occasional streaming & online gaming
Moderate number of connected devices
Best for moderate HD streaming, online gaming & downloading
Large number of connected devices
Best for heavy HD streaming, online gaming & downloading
Extreme number of connected devices
Best for hardcore streaming, gaming, and downloading
Remember, speed is a maximum level, not a guaranteed one. As your desire for a faster connection increases, be sure you have the Internet speed that will exceed your technological needs!
Do you have other questions about your Internet speed? If so, we can help! Contact us today!
Written by Steve Starr
Jan. 29, 2016
Steve Starr, who is quick to humorously point out that the company is not named after him, is the director of network operations, managing the day-to-day activities of DayStarr’s technical staff and serving as the company’s resident programmer and network engineer. He celebrated his 10th anniversary with the company this year.
Steve Starr, Director of Network Operations
I graduated from Ferris State University with a Bachelor of Science in Business, Computer Information Systems, and while there did web development for the admissions office. When I was fresh out of college, my soon-to-be father-in-law asked Michigan Online Group — which later merged with DayStarr — to interview me just as a favor. They weren’t really looking for anything but I guess I made an impression as I’m still here 10 years later.
On a daily basis I manage the tasks of the inside technicians, things like trouble tickets or turning up new services. I also work as a network engineer making sure all of our equipment is optimal and running. As a director, I provide guidance on the direction of the company. I am excited to see DayStarr grow, helping to bring 21st-century technology to small communities.
It is really, really cool to see the new technology and what we can do with it; pretty amazing things we couldn’t do two or three years ago! The downside is that technology is advancing so rapidly that while you might think you are bleeding edge, it doesn’t take long for you to be working with old technology, which means you are having to always upgrade equipment to stay current.
As to my personal business philosophies, I think that failure is only bad if you don’t learn from it. Everyone fails. It happens. It is what you do with that failure that matters. Do you just sit back and sulk, or do you learn, grow and become better? We have certainly made decisions that didn’t turn out the way we expected, but, as a result, we are a better company.
I look to great entrepreneurs for inspiration: Warren Buffet for his ability to still lead a very modest lifestyle and instill those same values in this children; Bill Gates and Steve Jobs for how they helped advance technology and kick off the PC war that grew into where we are now; Steve Wozniak for what he engineered; and Bill and Melinda Gates for how they have given back to the world.
Outside of my work, I love spending time with my wife, two children and the rest of my family. My wife and I have been married for 10 years. I think being a parent is the hardest thing I have ever done. Don’t get me wrong, it is rewarding, but I think that people without kids generally underestimate how hard it truly is. My family is so important to me and since I have a blended family, I have been lucky to have been influenced by many parents.
I love outdoor activities and most people would be surprised to learn that despite being engulfed with technology, I actually love being away from it. It’s kind of freeing at times. I love to snowboard in the winter and my kids love skiing. I golf in the summer and have recently introduced my 6-year-old son to skateboarding so that is a revived interest for me. I am also a bit of a beer snob and have started home brewing my own.
Published by Steve Starr
December 14th, 2015
DayStarr is jumping into the blogging world! While most of our blogs will be technology focused, we thought you might be interested in learning a bit about the people who make DayStarr what it is. We’ll start with our President Collin Rose and every so often will introduce you to the rest of the team.
Collin Rose, President
I thought that you might be interested to learn a little about how DayStarr all started. I have always been, and continue to be, inspired by the next, new technology. I definitely inherited my technology interest from my dad – a pastor and professional counselor – as he had a computer for as long as I can remember, starting back in the 80s. I was only 12 when I pieced together my first computer. I eventually started my own computer repair service for friends and neighbors and made a decent bit of money as a teenager charging them $20 an hour to repair their computers.
In 2001, I was 18 years old and writing software with Ron DeHaas, founder of Covenant Eyes, which is now a Fortune 1000 company. I started DayStarr as a sideline to our Internet business (MichOnline) to provide telephone services. Ultimately we separated the businesses, but I did end up marrying his daughter! We have been married for 13 years now and have two amazing boys.
Because I was so young when I helped start Covenant Eyes and MichOnline, many people have asked if my age was a barrier and I never really found it to be. I think I actually benefited from my youth as many of my peers in the industry humored me and found my business “cute” rather than being threatened by me. Many of them provided me with invaluable advice and expertise that I would not have been able to acquire anywhere else. Now I am the president of DayStarr, which sees annual revenues in excess of $2 million with a fiber optic network that passes thousands of homes and businesses. I feel very blessed to have been successful at something that I enjoy so much.
My faith in Jesus Christ and my family are the two most important things to me, and my faith has shaped my approach to life and business. I try very hard to follow what is commonly known as the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” Matthew 7:12. For me one practical application of this translates to the business philosophy, “Never ask your employees to do something that you wouldn’t do yourself.” I have tried to live this out. While I don’t get out in the field as much as I used to, I do try to get out to use a shovel or pull out cable every now and again.
As far as other personal interests, my family enjoys working around the house, traveling and participating in our kids’ educational and sporting events. I run several times a week and have served as a paid on-call firefighter with Owosso Charter Township for eight years. I am also licensed by the State of Michigan as a paramedic and pick up occasional shifts for two local services. It is important for me to be able to give back to my community on both personal and professional levels. DayStarr supports the Curwood Festival, Shiawassee Community Foundation, YMCA, area public schools and youth sports teams, and the American Red Cross, among many others. The DayStarr team also participates in area 5K run/walks and volunteers their time to a variety of causes.
Stay tuned for our next post as we answer all of your questions about Wi-Fi.