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How Satellite Internet Works

Video Transcript: Satellite Internet is Internet that’s from outer space. Well, it travels to outer space, anyway. Satellite Internet data travels more than 23,000 miles – and that’s just one way! In rural areas, satellite Internet is the best option for high speed. A faster option than dial-up, satellite Internet has undergone tons of improvements in technology and infrastructure in recent years. In many places, satellite Internet speeds can match those cable and DSL carriers offer, even. But, let’s get back to the satellite, orbiting directly over the equator, in space. How does it all work? It all starts in your home. When you type in a website URL on your device, the request travels by wire to your satellite dish. The dish is mounted on your home, where there’s a clear view of the southern sky. This gives your dish the best sightline to the satellite. Obstructions such as trees or buildings could impact your service quality. Installers take these factors into consideration when they choose a spot. A dish sends your request data to a satellite. This satellite is geostationary – which means it orbits the earth at just the right speed to essentially stay in one place. The satellite beams your data to a Network Operations Center – on earth. The NOC retrieves data needed for your request – a webpage, document, audio file – and sends it back to the satellite. The whole process works in reverse. The satellite sends data to your dish, which then goes to your device. Your web request will travel more than 46,000 miles before it returns! All this takes a fraction of a second. It’s not unlike the process of getting Internet from other types of carriers, such as cable, DSL or fiber. Latency can become a factor for satellite Internet, however. Latency refers to a delay in data transmission. For most Internet activity – browsing, sharing, streaming – latency doesn’t impact much. Gaming and streaming on multiple devices, however, can prove problematic. And that’s just with a delay of half a second. Some Internet activity needs more speed than satellite can offer at the moment. However, satellite Internet can be fast enough for a household of multiple users. Check with your provider on speeds and data allowances. You can also download large files during off-peak hours. This usually includes overnight hours, when fewer users are on the network. Satellite Internet providers allow users to schedule bigger downloads during these times. Satellite Internet is a space-age idea. It’s given people in places that had only dial-up as an Internet option a choice. With new satellites launched into orbit all the time, satellite Internet will only get faster.


3 Cash-Back Apps to Make Your Wallet Happy

The words cash back activate my inner skeptic. This especially applies in the world of mobile-phone apps. I can’t give up precious storage space on my Android to apps that could act as malware and not a money-saver. Let’s concentrate on the positives first. A worthy cash-back app should live up to its name. It should … give cash back. Its user should also not need an advanced degree in quantum physics to operate it. That’s golden. Check out these notable cash-back apps. They're worth a little home-screen territory on your phone while they help you to stockpile a little green while you shop for necessities

3 cash-back apps to check out

1. Checkout 51

Free | iOS | Android How it works: Match your grocery receipts with current offers available on the app. Certain offers specify what brand you must buy. Others are non-specific, or go for general purchases, such as bananas or milk, no matter what store you shop for them. What you receive: A check, once your account reaches $20. Does it pay? On the app’s site, The Vancouver Sun is cited as calling Checkout 51 “new-age couponing.” This app makes it a snap to gain back a little spending money on your purchases.

2. Receipt Hog

Free | iOS | Android How it works: Enter photos of grocery receipts to win coins and slot-machine spins. It’s a game, with possible payouts. What you receive: Pay Pal payment, or gift cards. Grocery and drug-store receipts can translate to coins you can use to cash out or trade for gift cards. Big-box and department store receipts earn a user slot-machine spins? for bigger savings. Does it pay? Receipt Hog accepts super-center and membership warehouse receipts, with no stipulation that you purchase food at the time. Receipt Hog keeps your personal data, but you can opt out of them having anything specific. It’s a simple way to build up your Pay Pal balance.

3. Snap by Groupon

Free | iOS | Android How it works: In Spring 2016, this app changed from cash back for product-specific purchases, to retailer-specific promotions. It features more big-ticket items, such as clothing and housewares, than groceries. What you receive: A check, once your account surpasses $20. Does it pay? Groupon’s known for discounts on goods, services, and restaurants. Snap by Groupon won’t fund your country club dues, but you could gain a little spending money.

Tips to avoid dangerous or fake apps

Not all apps on the Play Store or iTunes have undergone rigorous legitimacy tests. Actually, few have. Here’s how to stay safe.

1.      Read reviews

User reviews come by the star system, 1 through 5. The average rating means little. Dig in and read. Why are the 1s so unhappy? Chatter of data usage or text messaging ballooning as a result of this app should get your attention.

2.      Dig into the developer

It’s listed under the app name. Scroll to the bottom of the app page. Locate a link to the developer’s website, and hover over it. Does it lead to a legit website? Also, be on the lookout for a blue diamond icon on Play Store apps. That indicates a Google Top Developer. That’s a good thing. The Google Play editorial staff designates such status based on a developer’s cumulative work creating high-quality and innovative apps.

3.      Install a scam detector

Some apps are designed to steer users away from malicious apps. Some of those apps, however, are themselves malicious. The best scam detectors turn out to be phone savers. The worst among them do nothing but cause the problems you’ve hoped to avoid. On the Play Store, Scam Detector is legit. (There’s a version for iOS too).


Find the Best Deals on the High-Speed Internet


Why Switch to Fiber-Optic Internet from Cable or DSL?

Considering a switch to switch to fiber-optic Internet? You’ve found an excellent place to learn the basics. Fiber- optic Internet is growing as an option across the United States. It’s also extremely fast and reliable, too. Fiber-optic Internet has been called the Internet of the future. It uses different equipment and transfers data more efficiently than cable and DSL lines. Rather than copper coaxial cables, fiber-optic Internet travels on optical cables. These cables, made of hair-thin fibers that transfer data via light signals, aren’t subject to the same pitfalls of cable and DSL Internet.

Is fiber optic internet better?

Fiber-optic Internet differs from other options. What makes fiber-optics such a promising option? Speed: Fiber-optic speed is incredibly fast. Fastmetrics reports that fiber speeds are as much as 20 times faster than other broadband speeds. Bundling: With an Internet service provider that offers fiber, consumers can bundle services for super-fast Internet and TV options.

Does fiber-optic cable increase Internet speed?

Fiber-optic carriers deliver Internet via a fiber-optic cable. Subscribers won’t share this line with neighbors. The line isn’t susceptible to weather interferences or high Internet traffic times.

Who uses fiber optics?

According to an article from Business Insider, “The US ranks 18th among countries in the OECD, a group of the world's largest economies, in fiber-optic penetrations rates…” Americans are slow to get on the fast Internet train. Most Internet Service Providers already utilize existing cable and telephone lines. Implementing a fiber-optic infrastructure takes time and money. The service continues to grow, particularly in larger American cities. Expect to see more options appear, especially as the cost to maintain copper networks increases and fiber-Internet infrastructure and maintenance costs decline.

Does fiber optic internet require a phone line?

Nope! Fiber-optic Internet runs on cables that go straight to your home.

Is fiber optic worth it?

Fiber optic Internet offers tons of advantages. If you want to know “is fiber optic Internet good for my home?” here are a few benefits to consider: STRONGER SIGNAL: With fiber-optic Internet, there’s less signal degradation than with other delivery methods. Light doesn’t fade over distances. Once the fiber groundwork is in place, Internet service providers deliver Internet to a wider variety of homes and businesses, regardless of their distance from the hub. BETTER EFFICIENCY: Metal and copper wires can overheat over time ruin, making it impossible to transfer data. Fiber-optic lines transmit light without use of electricity, and won’t get overheated or wear down. MORE CAPACITY: Fiber lines will also be easier to upgrade. The lines can carry data over longer distances, which creates less overhead, making upgrades more cost-effective than they might be on other less-advanced networks. Fiber-optic networks are projected to grow significantly over the next few years as the demand for fast internet increases.




My Internet is Slow – Who’s On My Wi-Fi?

Has your Internet been running slow lately? Do you sit down to watch Netflix after a long day, only to have to pause to buffer? It’s the worst. For some of us, this might just be because of a slow Internet connection. What if you’re paying for one of the fastest connections around, though? This could mean someone is hacking your Wi-Fi. Oh, the injustice! Here’s a few ways you can know for sure.

The quick and dirty

Most wireless routers have an indicator light to show Internet connectivity and network connections. To see if any pesky neighbors, or, worse, hackers, are on your network, turn off all your wireless enabled devices. Check the router’s wireless light. Is it still blinking? This helps you learn something in the moment. If the light is still blinking, there are steps you can take, such as checking the devices on your router. Log in via your web browser. Once you’re logged in, look for a place where attached devices are listed. Check your devices’ IP addresses against those listed on the router.

Consider using network monitoring software

There are plenty of network monitoring tools on the market. PC Mag has compiled a list of the best. There is also a free tool from the Organizational Systems Wireless Auditor called MoochHunter. Law enforcement agencies have used it, and it works by letting you trace the hacker’s location. If you’re not into confrontation or triangulation, you could always beef up your network security.

Ways to secure your wireless network

  1. Log in to your router. Type into your web browser. If this is the right address for your router, it will ask you to log in. If you aren’t sure which address is …
  2. Created a strong password, especially if you didn’t change the default password when you got the router. Choose a password with a lot of letters and numbers with a few symbols thrown in for good measure. Make sure you don’t use common names or phrases, your name or phone number, or address.
  3. Change your wireless network name, also known as the SSID, to distinguish your network.
  4. Encrypt your wireless signal. For a step-by-step guide, check out this site.
The more precautions you have in place, the harder it is for anyone to mooch off your Wi-Fi. Having a secure network means you can rest easy knowing no one is slowing down your bandwidth or hacking important files on your devices.



A Brief and Sordid History of Wireless Internet

Who invented wireless Internet?

Let’s travel back in time for a moment. The year: 1896. Utah had just become a state, Henry Ford has just finished the first Ford vehicle and the first modern Olympic Games were being held in Greece. It was a time of discovery, gold rushes and technological leaps. It was also the year Guglielmo Marconi, a dapper man with a killer mustache, developed the first wireless telegraph system. A year later, he did something huge for his day – he sent the world’s first wireless message that read “Are you ready?” (It hasn’t been confirmed yet if the message recipient or the world was.) Guglielmo’s system helped pave the way for the Wi-Fi and Internet technology we use today.

When was wireless Internet Invented?

In 1971, after years of phone and wireless innovation, the University of Hawaii gave the world a glimpse into the Internet age. The school provided a public demonstration of a wireless packet data network. It used radio waves for different computers to communicate with each other. But it wasn’t until 1985 that wireless really began to take off.

How long has wireless Internet been around?

The year 1985 was a banner year for wireless Internet and for George Michael. This was the year wireless Internet became mainstream. The Federal Communications Commission decided to allow certain wireless frequencies to be available without a government license. The frequencies they allowed were: 900MHz, 2.4 GHz and 5.8 GHz. Who would have thought that because of cash registers we now have Wi-Fi standards? In 1988, the National Cash Register Corporation wanted to create a standard for WLAN, or Wireless Local Area Network. It wanted it for their wireless cash registers. The NCR asked Victor Hayes, a senior research fellow at the Delft University of Technology, to lead a committee to establish these data transfer standards. Hayes partnered with Bell Labs engineer Bruce Tuch to create a standard for WLAN frequencies. Their committee was called 802.11. Nine years after the committee convened, the standard was established, and transmitted data at two megabits per second. The technology continued to increase, and, in 1999, the standard 802.11b came into existence. It represented higher transfer rates than the original standard. That’s when Wi-Fi started to become mainstream- it was cheaper and had a longer range than wired connections. Engineers began to create technology and equipment to accompany wireless networks’ capability. In 1999 routers, came onto the scene, and ushered in the popularity of home wireless use. WI-Fi’s popularity also increased because of companies such as Apple and Starbucks. The first iPhone included Wi-Fi capabilities, and, in 2010, Starbucks started to provide free Wi-Fi to customers. From the very first discovery of radio frequencies to wireless enabled devices everywhere we look, Wi-Fi has come a long way.



What is a DSL filter?

We at Internet Providers often find ourselves pondering deep questions about the universe. Like, is there life on other planets, or how many grains of sand are there on the beach? For today’s deep question we’re asking ourselves, “What is a DSL filter?” We know it’s probably something you’ve asked yourself. Maybe you’ve seen it at your grandparents’ house. What exactly is its function? And, most importantly, are DSL filters necessary? A DSL filter is a small square with a phone connection at either end. It’s placed in your phone line’s wall connection, and connected to your home phone line. If you get Internet on a Digital Subscriber Line (DSL), your other devices, such as phones and fax machines, are likely share that line. These devices send Internet data back and forth on the same line. Normally, this isn’t a problem. Occasionally, when these frequencies travel on the same line simultaneously, they can interrupt or interfere with your Internet connection. This is why a DSL filter comes in handy. It’s designed to help field the different frequencies coming across your phone line. Imagine a highway system with three different lanes. The first lane, with the lowest frequency at 0-4 kilohertz (kHz), carries phone calls. Your voice sounds clear on this wave frequency, we might add. The second and third lanes on the highway are for your DSL Internet connection. The upstream lane, from which you download and access the Internet, is the most frequently used. This has a range of 26-138 kHz. The third lane is the upload or downstream lane, which operates in the 138-1,000-kHz range.  DSL allows these frequencies to coexist on the copper line that carries these signals to your home.

Are DSL filters necessary?

DSL works if you want both phone and Internet service. However, signals for those services don’t always stay in their lanes. That’s when a DSL filter becomes necessary. Subscribers get a DSL filter if they start to hear an echo on phone calls or resonance within their Internet connection. A DSL filter splits the frequencies to prevent them from interfering with each other and interrupting Internet or phone service.

Do DSL filters wear out?

If you have a filter installed, but have noticed spotty Internet connections, your filter might be worn out. This website gives a how to guide to test your filter. If, after testing, you find that it has gone bad, you can replace it easily and for less than $10 dollars at a local office supply store or online at



Gmail Hacks That Will Instantly Make Your Life Easier

Gmail’s self-explanatory right? We use it every day for work, to keep in touch with family, and to Gchat our friends while sitting in boring meetings. But did you know there’s so much more you can do with it? Whether you want to get organized or just learn a few new shortcuts, Gmail is a much bigger and more magical world than you might realize. We’ve found the best apps and shortcut hacks so you can up your email game, and reach master levels in productivity.

Apps to make email easier


Obsessive list makers: Here’s your calling. Sortd markets itself as a “smart skin that lives inside Gmail.” Although that sounds a little creepy, it’s a cool-looking organizational tool that layers over your Gmail, transforming it into practical and customizable lists. Create to-do lists, drag and drop priorities within the list, sort email, snooze emails and get more done.

Gmail Offline

Catch up on email, without worrying about more pouring in. Are you traveling with no access to email? The Gmail Offline Chrome extension lets you stay productive, even without Internet access, and will send emails out once you’re back online.


Mixmax, another Chrome extension, has lots of features to up your productivity. Schedule meetings with one click. Those on the meeting invite can indicate their availability right in your calendar, rather than the hassle of back-and-forth email. Customize email with built-in templates that let you create charts and polls. It also tracks who has opened your messages, and lets you schedule email.

Giphy for Gmail

Sure, sending gifs isn’t a necessity. Fun is a necessity, though, and Giphy is lots of it. When you download this Chrome extension, a Giphy icon will appear in your Inbox and you can spice up emails in no time.

Shortcuts to make your life easier

Preview Pane

If you like the way Outlook provides a preview pane for email, customize your Gmail to have one, too. Just click on the gear icon in the right-hand corner of your Inbox, select Settings, and scroll to the Labs tab. You’ll see a Preview Pane option that you can enable, and see email in a whole new light.


If you get email that includes a task or an upcoming event, select the More button in your menu bar, and choose Add to Tasks. A box similar to a Gchat window will appear, where you can create a to-do list.

Keyboard shortcuts

There are tons, and you can find them all here. You can also create your own. Find customizable shortcuts also under the Labs tab – start creating a shortcut for composing a new message or a calendar invite.

Canned responses

Writing the same type of email over and over? What a bore. Save time by turning on canned responses (under the nifty Labs tab). Create and save messages for future reference. These are just a few of the hundreds of hacks to customize your Gmail experience. Explore the array of options under the Labs tab. It provides a plethora of easy ways to make Gmail more fun and help you be more productive.



3 Odd New Drones That Will Amaze You

When you think of drones, the U.S. Military might be the first thing that comes to mind. Or perhaps you remember Amazon’s bold claims of drone delivery. Commercial drone use is on the rise, though, and with new technology, they’re more accessible and affordable than ever. You’re probably thinking, “What would I ever use a drone for?” If you’re a photographer, videographer, blogger, tech nerd or even in real estate, drones come with tremendous benefits. Not only do drones take fantastic aerial shots for homes, weddings or sporting events, they can also help you stand out on social media platforms. Plus, they’re really fun to fly. Three new drones have recently made headlines for their size, foldability, cutting-edge technology and sleek design. They also mark the next step in the commercial drone market.

GoPro Karma

After much anticipation and delays, GoPro released its latest drone, Karma. It’s small! It’s foldable! It will fit in your backpack! And it looks like something out of a Sci-Fi film. A video game-like device sporting touchscreen technology controls the drone. Plus, with the GoPro Passenger App, you can watch what you’re filming, or let friends check it out. Karma doesn’t have a built in camera - rather it was built so you can attach a GoPro. The drone’s 3-axil stabilizer also serves a dual purpose - it detaches from the drone so you can put it on the “Karma Grip,” to take smooth camera shots on the ground. Available for pre-order, the Karma officially hits the market Oct. 23, 2016. It’s priced at $800. When bundled with a Hero 5 Black Camera, it comes out at $1,100.

DJI Mavic Pro

DJI and GoPro were once partners. Although now there seems to be bad blood between the two, and the companies have parted ways, but not without a few pointed tweets. Less than two weeks after GoPro unveiled Karma, DJI presented the world with the Mavic Pro. Who says competition doesn’t breed better products? The DJI is similar to the Karma, or maybe vice versa. That is to say, they’re both foldable and compact. The Mavic Pro is lighter (1.65 pounds to Karma’s 2.22), and comes with a built-in camera, and the capability to track and follow users on the move, as well as snap high-altitude selfies. The Mavic Pro costs around $1,000, available for pre-order. Shipping begins Oct. 15.

Yuneec Breeze 4K

Just want awesome selfies at a more affordable price than the Mavic Pro or Karma? The Yuneec Breeze 4K is the way to go. Although it doesn’t fold up the way these newer models do, it has cool features for sharing video and photos, and an app you can download to control flight straight from your phone. Plus, once your drone is back on the ground, the app lets you download your photos and videos straight to your phone to post to social media. And it’s still small enough to fit in your backpack.

Something more affordable

If you’re not a professional photographer, there are plenty of drones on the market for less than $100. Geek Wrapped has compiled a list here. If you want to learn the basics, grab a cheap drone, head to open space, and practice. Watch out for trees and power lines, and bring extra batteries. You’ll dominate the air in no time.



Reasons Wi-Fi Isn’t Working on Your Device

No wires, no problem – unless the Wi-Fi connection says no-go. Wi-Fi connects web-enabled devices to an Internet network by radio waves. It’s effective technology, but also subject to pitfalls, including, but not limited to: HARDWARE ISSUES | Faulty settings on your router or device damage could prevent connection to a network. INTERFERENCE | Baby monitors, cordless phones, and microwaves close to a router can interfere with a signal. SIGNAL RANGE LIMITS | Rooms far from the router might not have a strong signal in a large home. Much depends on the router’s strength and physical obstructions, such as walls. Human error can also cause Wi-Fi problems. That switch on the side of a laptop from wired to wireless Internet can get switched by accident. Users could attempt a login to the wrong network. There’s no shortage of ways people can make mistakes attempting to get online.

My connection is sporadic – why?

The Internet connection stops working, but why? Wi-Fi keeps disconnected status, sometimes, or turns off for no clear reason. Those intervals might be as long as a couple of months, or as brief as a couple of minutes. It could happen any time of day, on any device. If this happens, try this: UNPLUG | Disconnect your router for one minute. Plug it back in. This resets the router and resolves some connection issues. MOVE IT | Wireless devices or microwaves can disrupt service. Move the router away from items that could interfere. These include cordless phones and microwaves. Car alarms, Bluetooth devices, and wireless video adapters could also cause interference. Be sure to:
  • Place router nearest the true center of the house
  • Keep router shelf free of clutter
  • Choose a location away from brick walls or thick beams
STAY COOL | Heat can also hinder your wireless connection. Be sure your router has plenty of ventilation space. If you connect with a USB wireless adapter, give it a touch test. If it’s hot, adjust your workspace to keep it free from confinement, such as blankets or clothing.

Pages take forever to load – why?

Wi-Fi so slow you can’t access a web page?. What can slow down an Internet connection? Lots, including: ACTIVITY | Streaming, gaming, video conferencing on one network can lead to slow page loads. Solution: Turn off bandwidth-thirsty movie and music apps if you’re not using them. HALF-DUPLEX COMPLEX | Wi-Fi can send or receive data at any given moment in a half-duplex system. Ethernet Internet carries a full duplex system, which can send and receive at once. IT’S NOT YOU – IT’S YOUR DEVICE | Older versions of devices – such as iPhones or iPads – don’t have the capacity and processing speed of newer models.

I can’t connect in some rooms of the house – why?

Wi-Fi signal weakness can occur. Are you asking, “Why did my wireless Internet stop working?” Or, do you just want more speed? Try these: REPEAT THAT | Wi-Fi extenders, also called repeaters, expand your network’s reach. They amplify your wireless signal farther than the router can on its own. POWER DOWN | Routers often have more than one power setting. Try a lower one. UPGRADE | Have a 2.4GHz router? Try a newer 5HGz frequency model. 2.4GHz can suffer from more congestion that the newer model. One drawback: the 5HGz upgrade isn’t as adept at penetrating walls with a signal.