Category Archives: News

Is It Your Connection Or Their Server?

We’ve all been there.  A video won’t load, or gets stuck buffering, or a webpage shows text, but no pictures, or a link times out completely.  Is there something wrong with your Internet connection?  So you call your provider to report the problem, but their tech support says there is no problem with your service.  Now what?

It might be the website you’re trying to access.  Websites don’t just exist out in the Internet; every site houses its data on a server somewhere, and that server can fall prey to hardware problems, maxed out connections, or even just a maintenance window that could cause the site to go down partially or completely.  Some sites will post messages for routine maintenance, but in the case of an emergency outage, their teams will probably be focused on fixing the problem.  How can you find out if the site you want is having a problem?

There are websites that track the status of some of the most popular Internet services, and can let you know immediately if any problems are reported.  A couple of good options are and  Both of these sites monitor things like Facebook, Netflix, Youtube, and many others, and show the number of problem reports for a given service.  There are also comments from people reporting, which include descriptions of problems and updates about fixes.  While nothing online is foolproof, sites like these can provide good information and put your mind at ease.

We offer fast, reliable Internet service with local support in your area.  To find out what options we can provide for you, contact us today!

Difference Between a Modem and a Router

What’s the Difference Between a Modem and a Router?

You may not generally give much thought to the hardware associated with your Internet connection.  That’s the beauty of today’s high-speed, always-on connections: you never have to think about them, just grab your device and get online.  But in case you’ve ever wondered about all those little boxes with flashing lights, here are the basics.

Most broadband connections (cable, DSL, satellite, etc.), use a modem.  The modem connects your computer to your ISP, and from there, to the Internet at large.  A basic modem does nothing more than that, and requires a computer to be plugged into it to use the connection.  More advanced modems may be a modem/router combination, and may offer WiFi as well.  You can find out what kind of modem you have with a simple call to your ISP.  Be aware that some broadband connections, like fixed wireless service, don’t use modems at all.

A router connects to your modem (if you have one) and shares your connection among all the computers and devices in your home.  A wireless router also provides WiFi connectivity for phones, tablets, and laptops.  For most people, multiple devices and WiFi are reason enough to get a router, but it can also add an extra layer of security.  Even if you only have one computer, a router acts as a hardware firewall, which helps protect your computer against viruses, malware, etc., without the vulnerabilities of software firewalls.  If your modem includes a router in it, you already have this protection without the second box.

Modems and routers are necessary parts of modern broadband Internet connections, so it’s good to be familiar with them.  If you’re looking for affordable high speed Internet service in your area, contact us today.

Take Control of Your Online Privacy

We’ve accepted the Internet into our lives so easily.  Everything is online now, we use it every day, so it’s important to understand what we’re getting into.

Social media is a great tool for staying connected, but because those sites are all about sharing, it can be tricky to strike the right balance of privacy and openness.  The most important thing to remember is that if another person shares something you posted, it is immediately out of your hands.  You can delete your own post, but not someone else’s.  Because of this, information posted on social networks almost never goes away.  Choose your privacy settings carefully, as they determine who can see and share your posts.  And, of course, think twice before you post anything – make sure you’re ok with it being around forever, just in case.

Nothing on the Internet is really free to use.  Search engines and social networks may not charge you any money, but they have to make a profit, and they do so by collecting information about your online activity.  Don’t worry, these sites don’t collect information about your identity or banking details.  They only note public activity: keywords you search for, links you click on, information you post on public profiles or status updates, sites you visit, and your computer’s Internet address, which narrows down your location.  This is usually used for targeted advertising, which is why you may see advertisements for a product or service you’ve searched for previously on another site.

If you’re concerned about websites collecting your information, you have a few options.  Read the site’s privacy policy, which will spell out what they will or won’t collect, and what they will or won’t do with it.  If you can wade through the legal language, this can ease a lot of worry.  Clearing your browser history regularly can help, too, by deleting cookies (bits of information that let a website recognize your computer, usually used for sites you visit frequently).  Most browsers now have a “private” mode, which deletes that information for you, but don’t rely on that to keep all your data safe.  There are also private search engines that get their funding from donations or non-targeted ads, which don’t collect any information on your activity.

If you’re looking for affordable high speed Internet service, contact us.

How Much Speed Do You Need?

When it comes to broadband Internet service, everyone wants the highest speed possible.  But do you really need all that speed, or are you paying for more bandwidth than you’re using?  On the other hand, if higher speeds aren’t available to you, can you make do with lower bandwidth?

The first thing you need to think about is what you actually do with your Internet connection, and how much bandwidth those activities require.  Do you mainly stick to plain web browsing, or do you spend a lot of time streaming movies?  Are you a gamer?  Does your job require video conferencing?

According to the FCC, basic web browsing and email requires between 0.5 and 1 Mbps (Megabits per second).  Streaming videos need at least 1.5 Mbps, and HD videos need at least 4 Mbps.  Video conferences and gaming also fall in the 1-4 Mbps range.

Now that you know how much bandwidth you need for your activities, think about your household.  How many people and devices will be using your connection at once, and what will they be doing?  Remember that your Internet connection speed is shared between all devices in your house.

The FCC classifies broadband service as Basic (1-2 Mbps), Medium (6-15 Mbps), and Advanced (more than 15 Mbps).  For a household with more than two devices being used at once, and running any high demand application, like streaming HD, online gaming, or video conferencing, they recommend Medium to Advanced speed, or at least 6 Mbps.  If you use more than one high demand application on at least two devices, they recommend Advanced, or a minimum of 15 Mbps.  However, for small households with only a couple of devices and limited high demand usage, Basic service can suffice.

If your service options are limited to Basic or Medium speeds, there are ways to get the most out of your connection.  Turning down your streaming settings will allow you to stream at a lower speed.  Limiting your use to one device for high demand applications can help them run better.

We offer fast, affordable broadband Internet service in your area.  Contact us today to find a plan that’s right for you.


Internet Protocol Version 6, IPv6 is the newest, latest protocol for internet communication.

IPv6 has more updated features than the previous version IPv4. IPv6 will have great improvement in routing traffic, offer stronger security along with a larger address space.

In today’s world, there is an explosion of devices used to access the internet. The old standard, IPv4, is becoming exhausted as the limited number available IP addresses are dwindling. IPv6 is the protocol needed to accommodate such a great demand.  IPv6 will allow improved traffic routing, scaling, and security. 

If you are considering choosing a dependable, local service to suit all of your online needs, we are your company! We offer competitive rates for business and residential customers, and we are also a leading provider of IT services. Our technology is top-notch and our friendly-professional are here to help you meet your needs.


Are Online Speed Tests Reliable?

Many people use online speed tests to check the speed of their internet connection, but are the results really accurate?  Several factors can affect and confuse your speed test results, some within your control, some not.  Here are some issues you should be aware of when interpreting your speed tests.

  1. “Up to” speeds

ISPs advertise certain speeds, but almost no ISP guarantees them.  Look carefully and you’re likely to find “up to” in front of the number.  A plan claiming “up to 20 Mbps” means that 20 Mbps is the maximum you can get at any time, not that you will always have exactly 20 Mbps every minute.

  1. Throughput is not Connection Speed

This is a little confusing.  Your connection speed is the rate at which your router communicates with the network.  Throughput, on the other hand, is the actual speed that you see as you use your various applications.  Throughput will always be slightly lower than connection speed.

  1. Overhead

The packets of data transmitted between your router and the network aren’t purely the information from websites.  Each packet has to include extra information about where it came from, where it’s headed, what programs and protocols it works with, etc.  On top of that, some of your connection must be dedicated to allowing your router to communicate with the rest of the network, which means your throughput cannot be fully 100% of your advertised speed, by limits of the technology.

  1. Devices, programs, and WiFi

Always make sure there are no extra programs running in the background of your computer when you run a speed test.  Along with that, make sure there are no other devices connected to your router, no phones, tablets, or other computers.  And for good measure, plug your computer directly into your router with an Ethernet cable.  These measures ensure that your speed test has access to every last bit of throughput, so you get the most accurate result.

  1. Servers can be overloaded

Another reason that your speed test results might be skewed is the speed test server itself.  If it gets overloaded with multiple connections, then the server can’t respond fast enough to give correct results.  This has nothing to do with your connection, and is out of your control.

Speed tests are an indication of your internet connection’s performance, but they aren’t prefect.  If you get a result that looks really off, wait a few minutes and try again.  One bad result isn’t cause for panic, but if it becomes a pattern, contact your ISP for help.

Reach4 Communications offers affordable high speed internet service in your area.  Contact us for more information.

Identifying Phishing Scams

Phishng scams are a nasty kind of spam email, designed to get access to sensitive information or spread viruses and malware.  Falling prey to one of these scams can result in identity theft, corporate security breaches, or infected computers.

Phishing emails have many of the same identifying markers as other spam emails.  Check the sender’s name and email address to make sure you recognize them.  If the email address looks strange, is misspelled, or doesn’t sound familiar, it may be a scam.  Some phishing emails say there is a problem with one of your accounts; in these cases, you can search the email address through Google or another search engine to find out if the address is legitimate.

Look at the subject of the email as well.  Anything that looks too good to be true or looks like an unsolicited offer should be a red flag.  Often, there will be mention of money or medicines at low prices; these are giveaways that the email is malicious.

If you end up opening a suspicious email, beware of any links it may contain.  Frequently, links in phishing emails lead to spoofed sites – websites that look like your bank or email account, but aren’t – or they download malicious code that can then be spread to other computers.  False links could trick you into giving up personal information or clearance permissions, leading to hacks to breaches.

Remember your common sense precautions.  Don’t open an email you’re not sure about.  Never give out passwords, banking details, or personal or other sensitive information in response to an email.  If you are worried about an account somewhere, go to that site and try to login.

Paying attention can keep phishing emails to a mild nuisance and allow you to enjoy your online experience.  For quality, affordable high speed internet service in your area, contact us today.

Difference Between Internet and WiFi

There’s an Important Difference Between Internet and WiFi

Many people use Internet and WiFi interchangeably, but that can get confusing when your connection isn’t working. Knowing the difference between your Internet connection and your WiFi network will help you figure out where the problem is.

When we talk about the Internet, we’re actually talking about the Internet Protocol, which is the language computers use to talk to each other. If we didn’t have that protocol, two computers wouldn’t be able to communicate, even if they were connected by a cable. That communication is the basis of all our Internet activity, because everything we do online is actually moving information from one computer to another.

When you visit a website, you’re actually accessing the server that website resides on. A server is a computer whose sole purpose is to hold information and serve it out when requested. Your computer sends the request, and the server pushes the website information back to it, so you see the website you’re looking for. The server is not the Internet, though. The Internet is all the connections and communications in between computers, the “web” or “net” that connects them all.

Your ISP, such as REACH4 Communications provides a physical connection to that net, in the form of a cable or wireless connection, using a modem. The modem translates Internet traffic for your computer so it’s easily understood. You can plug devices into the modem directly, or you can plug in a router to provide wireless connection – WiFi.

WiFi is a radio signal that continually broadcasts out to your devices. As long as your device can pick up that radio signal, and the Internet is on the other side of it, your device can connect to the Internet. However, that radio signal will still be there even if there is no Internet connection on the other end. So your device may show plenty of bars, meaning it has a great connection to your WiFi, but still not find the Internet, because the Internet signal is not being fed to that router.

If your device is connecting to your WiFi, but not the Internet, the problem is more likely to be in your Internet connection. If you’re not getting any WiFi signal, your Internet connection might be fine, but your router may have a problem.

If you’re looking for reliable, affordable Internet service for your home or business contact REACH4 Communications today!