Quick Fix Internet Tips

HERE ARE SOME TIPS FOR MAKING YOUR NETWORK BETTER AND CHECKING PERFORMANCE:


   TO CHECK THE PERFORMANCE OF YOUR NETWORK:

 

  • If you have a computer that can plug directly into your router, open up a web browser and go to speedtest.net
  • Press go and you will see the download and upload speed. (Download should be 200 or more, Upload should be 30-40.)
  • If you are testing from a phone you can also use the Speedtest app
  • If you are getting Less than those speeds, try a few of the steps below:

    TO GET YOUR NETWORK RUNNING BETTER:

 

1.Unplug and reset power for your modem and router

2.Test the speed in different areas of your house. It may be that you just need to strengthen the internal network in certain areas

3.Turn off the wifi to as many devices as possible. (This may include Nest or Wifi cameras which consume upload speed)

4.Do not use a wifi repeater or booster. Although they may make your signal on your computer look better, they actually slow things down and can even completely crash your network. (There are Wifi signal repeaters that work, but they need to be properly implemented.)

We hope that this article has helped. If however, you are still having trouble with your network or if you have any other questions regarding the information here dont hesitate to reach out to us. We love hearing from you and would love to know what you thought of this post. Feel free to let us know if we missed anything!

Send us a message to review your specific circumstance


 

we'll keep making instructional videos so STAY TUNED FOR A VIDEO OF ALL THE STEPS!

In the meantime enjoy this one and check out our other blog posts covering commonly asked questions!

 




How do I get support for internet Cablevision Optimum Altice in the Hamptons ?

First it's important to note that the Cablevision now Altice Internet Optimum service is extremely strained with more client than ever at home simultaneously trying to use the internet for work, school, and entertainment. 

To get through on phone or chat you will have to wait.

Here are from tips to get through and to make the experience go better. 

If you haven't already do some basic checks in advance like rebooting the power to the modem and router. Then go to Speetest.net or use their app to check the internet speed. Plugged in to the modem or router is best. Take a look at this article from some more info.

To communicate with someone online or check for a service outage - Go to this website: https://www.optimum.net/FAQ/#/answers/a_id/1465

To check if there is a service problem in the area you will need to be logged into your account  (presumably from another location or your cell phone ) and then select Support 

service statusIf that's not the issue and maybe you just have very slow service then you will want to start a chat.

The first chat will start connecting you to a Virtual rep. You want to skip this and get to an actual person- so type "representative". You will then need to wait for a person to come online in the chat - this could take a while.

Be ready with the following information: Name, Telephone #, service address, having your account number may also be helpful. Basically what they are trying to confirm online is the you are able to reboot the modem. Then they will ask you if there was any improvement. And to plug a computer directly into the modem to test the performance. You may even want to kick off the chat by letting them know you have already rebooted the equipment  and checked the speed again.chat 2

If you have something to plug in great, if you don't then just tell them that and do the speed test with a wireless device like a phone or tablet. (Most of our clients do not have a wireless router from Cablevision because they are not very good and we have installed something that provides better performance) If the issue is persisting and it seems likely that the problem is the incoming service or modem then try to get a service appointment scheduled asap. 

They are only responsible for performance up to the modem and sometimes the issue is the router or wifi equipment in your house. They will try to push blame for any performance to this part of the system to avoid having to do service to their modem or outside lines whenever possible. They will charge if they come to the house and find that then issue is not outside or in their modem so be ready to agree that they can charge you $80 if that is the case. 

Unfortunately for most of our clients on eastern Long Island and the Hamptons or North Fork area there is no alternative to the Cablevision - Altice - Optimum service. Verizon fios service hasn't made it out yet. When this service does become available we recommend subscribing to both so you can combine speeds and have a backup since it is likely they won't both go down at the same time. 

The issue we have been commonly seeing with the system so saturated is the upload speed being very low. The download speeds have been maintained relatively well.

 

What can I do to get faster internet and wifi?

So what's connected to you network?

The wifi and internet in your home is more important than ever. We use our home internet for much more than just browsing or streaming a movie. We rely on the internet for recreational communication, work, and school.

In the Hamptons we have basically one Internet Service Provider (ISP) for the moment. Cablevision Optimum service provides high speed internet by cable. Other parts of Long Island are slowly seeing the introduction of Verizon fiber service, once that arrives there will be a second option.

Cablevision Optimum service has a top service level of 400mbps download and 40 upload. To put things simply - the download speed allows us to stream tv and movies -that is data we are consuming. The upload is required for us to do send out data - this would be required for a phone call or video conference where data is sent and received.

What might slow down your internet signal. The first thing to take a look at is the level of service you are receiving. Most of our clients find that it makes sense to at least have 100 download speed. If you have multiple people in your home it would be better to have faster speeds that can support simultaneous users. 

The internet connection in your home is about more than the speed brought to you by your provider. The way this connection is shared is key to the experience. The router is the device that connects to your modem and allows multiple devices to share the internet connection. The capacity of the route should be matched to what you are expecting it to do. The router may also have a wireless access point built into it. This would allow wireless connections from devices like your tablet, phone, and other devices.  You may have dozens of devices connecting to your network. Now we also have smart thermostats and wireless cameras that are all connected to the wireless network. The result is that the network in our homes may be increasingly saturated. If your wireless equipment is more than a year old you may be using the last generation of wireless technology which basically requires devices to line up to send and receive data. It does this really quickly , so if there are just a few devices it's not a problem. As you add more and they are using more data this technology can't keep up. It leads to slowdowns and latency in response both sending and receiving. The newer wireless technology allows multiple simultaneous device communication paths (multi user multi in -multi out MU MIMO) This requires multiple antennas. The basic level is a 2x2 array. The higher performance ones have a 4x4 array.

2200- INFO PICYou might remember that we started out this post asking "what's connected to your network?" This is the key question. Figuring out what is on your network, along with what might potentially be on it,  allows you to make sure you have a system that will make you smile - or at least won't make you sad.

The second key question is "what are your expectations?". What are you using the technology for?Do you regularly need to connect for a video conference or are you just sending some emails? Are you uploading large files like graphics and video?

Most of us are streaming video - whether that's to our phone or tablet or to the Apple TV connected to our Tv. These services will automatically use as much bandwidth as they need to get the best picture quality. Newer Tvs are usually 4K capable, 4K resolution uses at least 4x the data of an HD video. Additionally we may be streaming audio too. Often, if there are a few people in the house, there might be multiple video and audio streams happening simultaneously.  

It is important to make an inventory of the security and smart devices that are connected to your network. These can include lights, thermostats, and wireless cameras. A wireless camera is usually uploading video constantly to online recording storage. This is valuable upload space considering that Optimum only gives us very limited upload speed.

If you are experiencing slower speeds or need better performance, you have already invested in a fast service level, and new high quality router and wireless network equipment, then it may be important to mange the other devices off of the network. Video cameras could be turned off and only activated at night or when you are away.

Thermostats, other devices like light controls and smart home equipment use very little data. As long as the router and wireless are equipped to handle enough connections these devices won't affect critical streaming and video services.

 

Better than streaming - 4K quality guaranteed in your media room or theater.

If you are like me, you may have been streaming a movie or show over the past few weeks and had the frustrating experience of seeing the quality go in to a pixelated very low quality image, or pause,  or stop streaming properly. This is a situation that you may have encountered before. Now, with the current situation, so much more demand has been put on the internet capacity we share that even service providers like Netflix are throttling bandwidth and quality settings to maintain the internet capacity.

We are not complaining about it, or suggesting in any way that this is not the correct course of action. However we don't like to watch poor quality choppy movies and there is a solution.....

A dedicated movie storage device gives us all the convenience of being able to order something from the comfort of home. It has the added advantage of a local source of media that doesn't depend on the varying quality of the internet. The movie is downloaded in the server instead of being streamed as you watch it.

What this means to you is that the video and audio are delivered in perfect condition, not compressed or altered. The result for you is the best possible experience in your media room or theater.

Kaleidescape is the device that can deliver this. There are other options that can copy and store DVDs, but Kaleidescape has a uniquely designed system, as well as relationships with movie studios, that allows you to purchase and download the movie directly to your device without having to worry about a physical disc.

strstor server

The good news is that this device is ready to use with your existing system right away. This means there is no complicated re-programming, it is simply a matter of plugging in the device where your other equipment is already connected (like Apple TV and cable box). And you are ready to start using it right away.

The Strato Series is the all in one plug and play solution. The storage system and player start at about $6k. 

No need to worry about your internet connection , just select the movie, let it download in the background while you are having dinner or sleeping, and it's ready for you to play anytime. There are different storage options that can accommodate hundreds of movies. If you would like to stream movies simultaneously in another room there are also client players that can be added to allow separate movies to be played from your library at the same time.

With movie theaters closed, and streaming quality deteriorating, you can enjoy an even better experience for you and your family in your own home.

theater screen sample

 

How do I improve my cell signal in the Hamptons?

You are in the Hamptons and so is everybody else. You may have noticed that in in the dead of winter the cell signal is poor to non-existent. That's part of the charm - an enforced disconnect, almost like you've stepped back in time. 

If that's not part of your Hamptons dream, then we have some observations and suggestions to share with you about what works.

One of the nice features of newer cell phones is the ability to use the wifi network to make a call. For example, AT&T calls their service Wifi calling, if you enable it your phone's settings, it can make the decision to transition the call to your wifi instead of relying on the cell signal. This is a great feature and where there is almost no signal can mean the difference between being able to make a call and not. However the calling is not always stable, so for important business calls (or any other important call ) we recommend staying away from this. That being said, there are some advanced settings we can work with on the router that often can make Wifi calling work better for you, so let us know if you are relying on this service. 

Calls that are strictly based on an internet service are much more reliable. Using a service like Vonage, Ring Central, Zoom (among others) for making phone calls will be much more reliable. The reason for that reliability is that they are not always working in the background to see if the phone should switch back to a cell carrier signal. They are engineered to work exclusively from your internet connection. These services all have apps that can be loaded right on your phone or tablet, these apps allow you to use their services just like the phone. These services also give you the option using a hardwired device so that you have the most reliable stable calling possible. Get ready to break out your good old fashioned (or possibly ...still really new but plugged into the wall ) hard wired phone. Optimum also offers a phone service which is essentially running over the internet connection and you can plug  standard wired or wireless phone(s) into that connection too. 

What about a regular analog phone? Yes those old fashioned phone lines still exist. For years now Verizon has been doing it's very best to provide the absolute worst service possible for these lines. So if you love static when its sunny out and even more of it when it rains, then this is the service for you. In all seriousness, these lines are being phased out, so don't waste your time on this technology. If you happen to still have a Verizon phone line, repairs are few and far between.

What other kinds of calling can you do?

More of us have become comfortable with FaceTime audio - you may have noticed that the clarity of sound on this type of call is way better than a regular cell call. FaceTime audio is a reliable type of wifi calling, but the person you are calling has to be on and iPhone or Apple device.

WhatsApp is a messaging platform but also has good audio and video calling. It is platform agnostic but the person you are calling has to have the WhatsApp app loaded on their phone.

What if you actually want to improve your cell service and make it usable inside your home? There are systems that we have successfully installed, in many locations, where an antenna is mounted outside your home to communicate with a local cell tower. A line is run inside to an amplifier and antennas are mounted inside the house to boost the signal where you might not have had one before. If you can find a location outside your house where you can consistently make a good call and you are getting a few bars of service then this technology should work for you. If the signal outside is marginal at best, then even if we set up the repeater system the signal in your house will still be marginal.

It's important to note that cell systems, as well as most other systems like the internet, are designed to provide service for average use. This means that when everyone is out for the summer the capacity of the cell phone network goes way down. Data speed and even the ability to make a call will be difficult. There are no devices that can be added to resolve that issue, that is on the network provider's side.

Having various systems, apps, and technology is usually the best way to make sure you can stay connected when you need to.

We are here to help you with the best solution for your needs.

 

 

How do I test wifi and internet speed?

If you feel like your wifi or internet performance is lagging. The first thing to do is test it.

Use the website speedtest.net from a web browser. If you are on your phone or tablet they make an app which allows you to do a test. Go to all the locations in your house that you normally use or need to use the internet. Write down the results. You should find that the location closest to your internet equipment will have a speed thats pretty close to what you pay for in your plan. If that's not the case then there may be a problem with the equipment or something in your network may be bringing the speed down.

Most of the newer networks we install have the ability for us to do some diagnostics on your local network from our office. We can see the speed that is coming in from your modem and also check the capabilities of your equipment. 
bakpak

If you do have good speed in certain areas but not others then you can look at connecting a wireless access point close to the slower area to provide coverage where you have a gap. It's important that the new equipment is compatible with what you already have so the multiple access points can function together as a unified network. If possible a wire should connect the wireless access point back to the main router. This allows for the fastest communication from your device back to the internet connection. 

Some of our clients have decided to add repeaters to their system. These simple plug-in devices are meant to repeat a wifi signal so you have a better signal. In practice these devices generally don't work and can cause interference and actually slow speeds down. There are repeaters that we can use and integrate for very specific purposes. If configured correctly they can serve to connect a single device effectively where it is impractical to bring a wire.

There are also mesh networking wireless systems. These systems have extra wireless equipment that is uses to make a connection with source equipment instead of using a wire. These newer products work well. Eero is the brand we have had most success with. If possible, we prefer to connect these devices back to the main router with a wire for improved performance. 

There can be devices in your network that can cause internet to slow down. One device may be malfunctioning , but because everything is connected that one bad device can slow everything down. Disconnecting all your network equipment except the router allows you to test the speed directly and determine if this is an issue.

The wifi equipment you are using may also have limitations. If your equipment is a year, or more, old then it may not have the capacity to handle a newer high speed network. It may be only in the 2.4 frequency range which has limited capacity.

 

How we are working during COVID19

We are working within the restrictions set by NY State and following recommended practices of the CDC to prevent transmission while working. 

We are fully ready to provide remote support by phone, video calls, and email. Many of our systems give us the ability to link-in, check, adjust settings, and remotely reboot certain devices.

As of today, network and security related services are considered essential. Certain aspects of your smart home system like lighting and temperature control would also come into this category. We are providing onsite service for these types of systems when necessary. Whenever possible we prepare equipment and do diagnostics in advance of an on-site visit to make things as efficient and brief as possible.

We understand that many issues our clients are experiencing are related to internet service. With the main ISP provider Optimum at full capacity this can affect your experience. At this most fundamental level we can do nothing to improve the internet service that is provided.

We can hep you to improve your internal network equipment. When multiple people are trying to share the network simultaneously things can slow down. Network and wifi equipment that may have served you with no problem (even with multiple people at home in the summertime) is now experiencing extra strain. Phone calls, video conferencing , remote school , movie streaming, and normal network browsing are all happening simultaneously. Newer wifi and router technology can connect and transmit to multiple devices simultaneously. It may be advisable to update some of the older network equipment you have to this newer technology. If you think that you can benefit from a technology upgrade, let us know and we will analyze what you have and determine what options would work best for your needs.

If remote support isn't enough and you do need an on-site visit  - we respectfully ask that you limit who and how many people are near our technician. A service visit from one of our technicians could be a good time to go for a walk. We also ask that you maintain the recommended social distance - if it feels weird- then we are doing it right.  Take a look at our specific instructions here.

We look forward to helping you get through this situation and building more robust solutions that will continue to meet your technology needs after this is over.

Thanks for being a great client

Stay healthy and safe.

 

Service guidelines during COVID19

We understand that the ability to use technology, especially from home, is more important than ever before and we are available to make sure your system is working well. We will put an extra focus on remote telephone and video call support.
 
Network and other critical services like lighting and heating control are considered essential and we will continue to provide on-site service Here are some guidelines about how that will work.
 
We have been closely following the guidance given by the CDC, State, and Federal Authorities. Our highest priorities are the health and safety of our customers and our employees. 
 

What we are doing for your safety:

  • We’ve instructed our service technicians to take extra precautions when coming into contact with customers in their homes or businesses.  They each have gloves, and have been instructed to wash their hands thoroughly. They have disinfecting sprays with them. They have been told to keep a safe distance from customers. We want to err on the side of caution, even if it feels awkward at times (like no handshakes).
  • They are being told not to come to work if they feel sick or anyone in their household has a fever.
  • We are prepared to work remotely and handle our normal business operations from home in the event we close our offices.

What you can do for our employees’ safety:

  • If you have a service call scheduled and anyone in your home is sick, please alert us. If you have come in close contact recently with someone who has tested positive for Covid-19 please contact us immediately because we will want to take more precautions than usual.
  • Make sure we have your cell phone number so we can text you when our tech is on his way and so we can keep you updated on anything that will affect your service.
  • Keep a safe distance away (6–8 feet) after letting one of our technicians into your home. We know this will feel awkward, but it is the recommended strategy for mitigating spread of the virus. You can also arrange to leave a key in the event that you do not want to be at home. If you have a separate entrance to your basement we can use that as well.
  • If there are multiple people at your home, please make sure they understand these precautions. If at all possible please have these persons stay in a separate area of the house to minimize contact with our technicians. If, on arrival, our technician is not comfortable with the quantity of people in the work space and/or the state of health of persons in the house, they may choose to leave and reschedule the appointment for a better time.
  • If you’d like, you can communicate with our employee on his cell phone, even if you are in the house. Let us know before he gets there.
  • We can easily setup payment over the phone or online by credit card.

If our employees feel that additional pre-cautions need to be taken they have been given the latitude to make this determination as needed on-site and re-schedule if necessary.

We want to express our sincere appreciation for the way our clients have already worked with us in this regard and thank you in advance as we try to continue to work. We will continue to do our best to meet your needs over the next weeks & whatever the future brings.

Be well, stay safe and we look forward to better spring and summer days ahead!

 

Home Theater design guide for equipment and How much does a Home Theater cost? Part 1

If you are thinking about adding a home theater room, what are the important factors to consider to make sure you have a system that meets your desires and budget?

When we buy a new car we are used to selecting a vehicle and picking the options that are most important to us. We don’t have much trouble adding in options on a new vehicle because we know that we will very likely drive the car every day for a few years. We even add small options that can affect our daily driving experience. We know this is an investment that we will live with for years.

This sense of good investment and value for the amount of time used may be amplified when we select technology for our home, especially in a theater. We expect the investment in technology and design to serve us for even more years than a new automobile. Things like the comfort and aesthetic of the space, screen size, viewing distance, ventilation and comfort control, sound, and ambient light all contribute to a viewing experience that will make us love using our theater/media room and make it enjoyable for our family and friends as well. 

Let’s take a deeper look at two primary pieces of theater equipment (screen and projector) and why they might be more or less important in our decision making matrix.

Screen size: This is a relatively easy one on the cost matrix because the price change based on screen size doesn’t vary very much (unless we get into a huge 200” plus range). We commonly install screens ranging from 110” (all measurements for screens are the diagonal - this is true even when the format varies) to 160”. Once you get bigger than 160” it would be for a very special room height. A traditional high quality screen that will reproduce black levels reasonably well, with a light absorbing frame, and the mounting mechanism will start in the $1,500 range. Common sizing would go up to 133”. The price would only vary by about $500.

Screen type: Something that drives screen prices, more than the size, is the type of material that is used. Screen Innovations pioneered the field of what is known as: ambient light rejecting screen material. We will consider a detailed explanation of screen material  in another article. This article will explain the advantages, benefits, and problems of different screen materials in different types of rooms and applications as well as how this technology works.

In short, ambient light rejecting material has a special composition and multiple layers which control the way light is reflected back to you. The light from the projector is meant to be reflected back to your eye but lights in the room or from a window are not meant to reflected back. On some screens this light may create a washed out look or areas that are difficult to see the projected material. Higher quality screen material does not reflect this unwanted light. High tech screen material generally doubles the cost of the screen. For example a 120” screen using different variations of this material would be $3200 - $5200. There are some significant advantages to using this type of material even in rooms where you don’t have light coming from windows. The black levels produced from this material are amazing. The extra money spent on a higher quality screen will make the projector’s technology really shine.

It’s hard to emphasize enough how this relatively small investment on the front end can really make your theater/media room exceptional and much more versatile in the long run. A higher quality screen can handle a wider array of lighting conditions. If you prefer having the lights on when watching a sporting activity so that it is easier for guests to mingle and interact - a higher quality screen material is the right choice.

Home Theater design guide for equipment and How much does a Home Theater cost? Part 1

 

Projector: This is the other integral part of the screen equation. These will also vary widely in quality and price. Generally the projectors we use in our projects range from $5k to $25k. (Laser technology was recently released and started in the $50k range, however there are some excellent choices in the $10-$25k range now).

Sony models that are available in laser technology range from $20-$25k. Standard light source models range from $5-$15k. There are some other quality projectors, from manufacturers like JVC, that are also available in this price range. Laser projectors are becoming more popular and production costs are coming down. When choosing between a laser or standard projector a look at overall maintenance costs for the long term may be a deciding factor. One advantage of the laser projector is that the lamp module for laser is often rated at over 20,000 hours, similar to a TV. You probably would never need a replacement lamp module like a traditional projector.

When we are deciding to buy a new car, first we have to narrow our choices down the make and model. Next we choose the options like upholstery, trim, and sound system. The same is true with our home theater, first we decide on what type of screen and projector are going to give us the experience we are dreaming of. The next step is choosing the other options (sound, seating, lighting, etc.) that will make the room complete.

The next articles will provide more details on additional Home Theater options.

 

 

 

I have some outside speakers. Can I make them work with Sonos or Control4 through an app?

Yes if...
Your speakers are currently working then we should be able to implement the Sonos or Control4 solution with them. This would allow you to control them with an app.


One important factor to keep in mind is that the app uses Wi-Fi. While it is true that your speakers are connected to equipment inside the house you want to make sure that you have good control outside the house. This means possibly extending your Wi-Fi signal outside and making sure that it’s connected to the same network that the equipment is using.

 

If you haven’t used your speaker equipment in a while then it’s best to do a review of this system before starting any other work. You would want to do a test of the speakers and the wiring to make sure everything is in good condition.


If you are replacing outside speakers keep in mind that as long as you have them regularly serviced by us, we guarantee them for life. This means that if there’s a problem with your outside speakers we will have a replacement on hand or delivered within a couple days to make sure that your system continues to run properly. A rock style outdoor speaker with an 8” built-in subwoofer is about $450.

 

One of the most important considerations for outside equipment is your confidence level. When we put technology outside it’s subject to the elements year round. The cold and damp environment means we might have some more failures with outside equipment than we would with equipment that’s safely protected inside the house. Oftentimes some maintenance is required each season for speaker equipment. This might include refreshing the wiring connections to make sure they are clean and all the components are working properly.

 

We install high-quality equipment so we have the confidence to say that if you buy the speakers from us and you have us regularly maintaining them each season - We will stand by your outdoor speakers for life.