Wednesday, March 30, 2016

What the heck do I need for internet service?!

One of the factors in our decision on where to live is internet service! I have to have decent enough internet to be able to remote into work everyday. This is the area I cannot seem to get any real concrete answers on what the minimum service I need is! It's frustrating. Even my IT guy at work is being extremely vague on what will work.  We have a few employees who live in areas where internet service is behind the times and slow. One can't even get it to work remotely from his house "out in the country", so when he's working from home he has to go into his nearby town and sit at Starbucks. Our IT guy told me one of the owners just bought a house "in the country" and has a speed of 10mpbs, but it is working.

Internet options and speed are on the very low end in Montana! According to one website it is the 50th worst state for service! Eek! I asked the neighbors of the property we want to buy what internet provider they use, so I could check into it. It seems to be one of the best options, of the places we have looked at so far, since we won't be right in the city. It's a DSL service through their telephone line. They say it works pretty well for them, they do lose connection off and on, but not for long. I looked at the company online and they say they offer up to 15mbps in the area. I just called and was told the most they offer at that address is 8mpbs. (sigh....)  And I can't really get anyone to tell me if that is sufficient for remoting into work. My IT guy did say that the set up I use at home (even though I have very fast internet) is a set up that works for slower internet speeds, as he uses a combination of VPN and remote desktop. I log in first to a VPN and then log in through Remote Desktop, and that this is the set up he had to use for our owner, who now only has 10mbps at home.  I also asked our friends, who live about 20 miles from the property we are looking at, what service they use. They use a different one (that doesn't appear to be offered at the property we are looking at) that their max speed is only 3-7mpbs, but she said it is enough for her son to play his xbox games online.

I have been remote-ing into work for almost 11 years now. I know when I started (we did not use Comcast then) and just had DSL through our phone company that we were not anywhere near the speed I have now and it worked all those early years. I wish someone could just tell me "ya, you'll be fine with that internet service". I've looked into satellite internet (because we'll have satellite tv), but that seems a worse option according to what I read. Plus, the satellite plans all seem to have a very low cap on data usage. I'm hoping that since we won't need our security camera system (which uses our internet) we won't be overloading our internet usage, like we are now.  If we do end up with something where our data is limited, we are just going to have to be more mindful of our DH has been outside all day, but all his Firefox windows are open on his computer and he's not using it. We might not be able to have Netflix or Amazon Prime video service. In fact, from what the company's website says, their 8mpbs service is for "light" video streaming. Maybe I can hope they upgrade their service in the near future?

I'm also thinking I can probably use our Verizon cell phone service as a "back up" internet, if necessary. I did a little test here from home, just now. I created a personal  hotspot and connected to that with my home computer. I then tested the speed - it was 13mbps DL and less than 1mbps UL. I then logged into work and did some work for about 10 minutes. I noticed the slower speed just a little bit - mostly with Quickbooks, but not with email or our other programs. I then logged into my side job and no problems there. I don't know that we'd get that same Verizon speed at the new place, but at least it's a back up option, I'm thinking. I also notice Verizon offers an installed home internet, using their wireless service. It starts at $60 a month for 10GB of data and up to 12mpbs of speed. Something to consider, but not a great option. I have no idea how much data we use for me working and our general personal internet usage, because I don't really know how much the 2 camera systems we have use up. Jan and Feb we used a bit less than 100gb of data - seems like a lot. This month it was up to 162gb...probably because I have been watching a bunch on Netflix and I know DH watched a bunch on Netflix while she was here watching the house/taking care of the dogs.

Speaking of internet - I made the mistake of running over to my mom's during what I had planned was just a quick lunch break today, while working from home. I needed to pick up her tax return stuff, so I can do her taxes. Oh good lordy! Of course I had to sit there for a good 45 minutes trying to help her with all her computer problems/questions. Her old computer just literally needs to be thrown in the trash bin! OMG! I don't know what more I can do to tell her she NEEDS a new computer. Her's is probably 8-10 years old. Last time I was there, I thought, well maybe it's her internet service -she's had the same service forever and never upgraded, still same old little modem that said "Quest" on it, even though they've been Century Link for years now. So, last time I tested her internet speed and it was fine. Not causing her problems of a computer soooo dang slow it's like trying to use dial up. I told her again then, you need a new computer. So, what does she go and do? She switches her service to Comcast - which just adds a whole host of new problems because she has no clue that she now has a different wi-fi password, etc. Plus, it didn't make a darn bit of difference in trying to use the internet, so she's paying for this high speed internet she doesn't get to use. I told her these web pages should be popping up instantly.

So, she has this long list wrote out of her problems the past couple of weeks. First she can't get on Facebook or her email with her ipad mini anymore. Ok, easy fix - I just need to connect to your new network with your new Comcast wi-fi password. Um....she has no idea what that is. OMG! So, she digs around in her growing little pile of little scraps of paper where each log in and password is written down on a separate little scrap of paper. She fumbles through them and finds one that says "Comcast" on it and some strange thing that doesn't look like any Comcast wi-fi password I've seen them use. Plus, when I see what networks are available to use I see 2 different ones for Comcast and don't know which one is hers (her service tech didn't rename it). But that weird little "password" wouldn't work on either of them. Then she digs out the paperwork the tech left for her, where he had kindly written it all down for her. Thank God! The network name and the wi-fi password, written all down, I don't think he could have been much clearer for her.  I got her ipad working again.

She's been trying to log into her investment brokerage account and the screen looks all weird and there is a bunch of wording kind of covering where she puts her log in info. I have no idea why - other than she actually still uses the AOL program to access the internet, instead of IE or Firefox . So, I try logging into her account via IE, but she again has to dig through her little scraps of paper to find the password. But the password didn't work so I had to have it email her a temp password, and then log in her email, and since I was logging in via IE and not AOL, it wasn't saved in there, and of course she had no clue what her log in and password are. I get logged in and it works/looks fine and then change her password to a new one. So I showed her how to access it via IE (which of course she won't remember the next time she goes to use it). This whole time - the computer is crawling along like a snail. I am literally about ready to just throw it through the window, it's so ridiculously slow. I tell her you HAVE to get a new computer!. It's certainly not like she doesn't have the money (the account we logged into for her investments showed almost a million dollars LOL). Then she says "well, I don't know what to get". I said, just decide what you want to spend and go to Best Buy and buy anything they recommend in that price range (she only uses it for email, Facebook and a few websites she goes to). ANY computer you buy will be a 1000 times better than this one, I promise! By then I had run out of time to try to address the other items on her list. I had to get back home and get back to work. If I end up staying at her house for a while, if we build, I'll be able to get her all set up with a new computer, get her trained on it a bit and I'm going to put all her dang scraps of login/passwords on one list! Her reason for putting them all on separate little scraps of paper? Well, if a thief breaks in, it will be harder for him to steal all her logins/passwords then if they were all on one sheet! I told her any thief interested in her login/passwords isn't breaking into her house - or even leaving his house to do it! He's stealing them by hacking and virus. A thief coming to steal your jewelry and stuff (which already happened) probably isn't going to look for a piece of paper to steal. Oh, the joys of an aging parent!


  1. My mother is in her 60s and completely technology challenged! I love her so much, but sometimes she drives me Crazy!! It takes hours...

    1. my mom is 75 soon. I am really starting to see the signs of aging lately.

  2. Also, better ask if there is a waiting list to get the internet. I live in the country and finally was able to get DSL about 3 years ago, but now there is a waiting list, someone has to drop off before another is added.