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Internet vs WiFi

Do you use the words “internet” and “WiFi” interchangeably?  Lots of people do, but they’re not the same thing.  WiFi allows your devices to connect to a network, and that network then connects to the internet.  Read on to learn more about how the two work together.

The term “WiFi” refers to the wireless signal that gets broadcast from your router to your laptop, tablet, phone, or other device.  This wireless radio signal takes the place of ethernet cables that you would otherwise need to connect your router and devices together to create your home or office network.  As long as your device can pick up that radio signal, and there’s an internet connection on the other side of it, your device can go through your router to 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 have a great WiFi connection, meaning it’s connected to your router, and still not connect to the internet.

Your internet connection comes from your ISP, provided through a cable or a radio.  That connection usually comes into one place in your home, where it connects to your modem and/or router.  Most modems now have wireless routers built in to provide WiFi, but some connections require a separate router for wireless access.  Your modem translates information from the internet and relays it back to your device, and vice versa.

All your internet activity – browsing websites, sharing on social media, streaming music or videos, or anything else you do online – is about moving information from one computer to another.  Every time you click on a link or type in a URL, your computer sends a request to the server that houses that website.  The server pulls up the site and sends the information back to your computer so you see the site you were looking for.  Each way, the information gets filtered through your modem, allowing your computer or other device to communicate with other computers on the internet.

If your device has a strong WiFi connection but can’t access 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 still be fine, but your router may have a problem.

If you’re looking for reliable, affordable internet service, we can help!  Contact us today to learn what we offer in your neighborhood.

What Are All These Cookie Notices?

Over the last year, you’ve probably noticed that more and more websites are suddenly covered with pop-ups or banners talking about cookies and consent.  These notices are annoying and delay your access to your intended website, which is the opposite of the internet’s goal of being user-friendly.  So why does every site suddenly have these warnings?

First, let’s clear up some terminology.  A cookie is a bit of information that a website stores on your computer, allowing the site to recognize your computer when you visit it again.  This makes your internet experience much smoother and more convenient by keeping you logged into certain sites or remembering your settings and preferences.  In general, cookies don’t contain any personal information like your name or email address, but some can include records of your activity on the website, which can be used for targeted advertising. 

In the European Union, they decided that was a problem.  Under the EU’s internet privacy legislation known as GDPR, everyone has the right to control their data and how it’s used.  Where cookies are concerned, that means that every website must state that they use cookies and why.  Some of these policies offer a checkbox to opt out of using cookies on that site, but most state that your use of the site constitutes consent, much like terms and conditions. 

Websites have no borders, so even though this is an EU law, it effectively applies to the entire internet.  When an EU citizen visits a website based in the U.S., the same GDPR rules apply.  That’s why just about any website you go to these days follows the same protocol.  For now, it’s the best solution we have to maintain everyone’s privacy and right to control their own data.

Our affordable, reliable, high-speed internet service is available in your neighborhood!  Contact us today to learn what we can offer you.      

Optimize Your Home Network

We have more devices than ever and all those devices need an Internet connection.  How can you make the most of your bandwidth and home network?  Read on for a few helpful tips.

Router Placement

The best place for a router is in a central part of your home, so it can cover the most area with good strong signal.  The farther away you are, the weaker your signal will be, so try not to put your router at one end of the house.  If you have a large home, a repeater can increase the range of your router’s signal.  Also, remember that rooms like kitchens and bathrooms, which have a lot of metal pipes and insulation in the walls, can cause more signal degradation than other rooms.

Check Your Speed Wisely

It’s always a good idea to know what kind of bandwidth speed you’re getting.  To get the most accurate results, it’s best to use a third-party testing site like or  Make sure that no other devices are using your connection, including smart tv’s or streaming devices, and use an ethernet connection if possible.  A wireless device might show different results depending on what frequency it uses, so you might see one result on your laptop and another on your phone.

Add or Reset a Password

Just to make sure that you don’t have any freeloaders on your wireless network, it’s a good idea to keep it locked by a password and change that password periodically.  This isn’t something you have to do often, just a couple of times a year in case someone in the house gave out the password to a few friends too many.

Replace Hardware

If your router is more than about five years old and causing connection issues, it might be time to consider replacing it.  Upgrading to a newer router can give you more security as well as more wireless frequencies to choose from which can then give you better speeds on some wireless devices.

We can provide reliable, high-speed Internet access in your neighborhood.  Contact us today to learn what we can do for you!

Keep Your Information Safe While Holiday Shopping

It’s that time of year again!  The holiday season is upon us and more people than ever will be shopping online in the coming weeks.  But with several security breaches in the news in the last couple of years, the privacy of your sensitive data should be a top concern as you go about your holiday shopping.  Here are a few tips to help you keep your information secure.

  1. Verify your site

Make sure you’re shopping a reputable site.  Look for a padlock icon or “https” at the beginning of the URL to ensure the site is encrypted.  Double check the URL before you enter any payment information, just to be sure you didn’t get redirected to a shady site.

  1. Pay securely

Using your debit card can risk your entire bank balance if someone gets their hands on it.  Consider using a credit card, which will give you more resources in case of fraudulent charges and protect your bank account at the same time.  Another great and widely accepted option is Paypal, which offers secure payments and good resolution procedures.

  1. Be smart

A little common sense can go a long way when it comes to keeping your data secure.  Avoid using public wi-fi networks and stick to reputable sites instead of following the lowest price into corners of the Internet where you might not venture otherwise.

  1. Keep your eyes open

Check your account statements weekly until at least the end of January.  If any fraudulent charges appear, you’ll be able to handle it quickly and limit its effects.  After January, make sure to check your statements at least once a month as a best practice.

If you’re in the market for reliable, high-speed Internet service this holiday season, contact us today to learn how we can help!

Private Browsing Isn’t Really Private

During the last evolution in web browsers, one of the greatest innovations was the arrival of “private browsing”.  Some programs called it a “private window”, others named it “Incognito Mode”, but the gist was the same all over: use this new form of browsing and no one would be able to track your online movements!

Unfortunately, like most anything that seems too good to be true, that isn’t quite how it works.

Private or Incognito browsing does essentially one thing: it prevents your browsing history from being stored.  You can accomplish the same thing yourself by clearing your browsing history every time you close your web browser, but let’s be honest, nobody would remember to do that every time, and that’s why private browsing was invented.

Private browsing is great for some things.  It’s a great option if someone borrows your computer; in private mode, your browser won’t automatically bring up your email or social media accounts, so there’s no awkward signing out before they see something.  It’s also a great idea for any sites you don’t want other people stumbling on; secret engagement rings or anniversary gifts can’t be snooped from private mode.

However, you cannot use private browsing to look for a new job on your company’s network and expect it to stay a secret.  Private browsing only affects the individual computer you’re using.  If your company monitors their network traffic, they can see exactly where you go online and what you do, even if that private window doesn’t store the history on your machine.  If you’re at home, your own ISP can also see what sites you visit and where you click, despite that “incognito mode” window.

Private browsing is useful for using a shared or public computer, but it doesn’t hide everything.  Use common sense when it comes to your privacy and security.

We offer reliable high-speed Internet service in your area!  Call us today to see what we can do for you!

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.

VoIP Phone System

REACH4’s Hosted VoIP solution is a hosted PBX phone system that allows businesses to customize their communications. Hosted PBX delivers more functionality and flexibility than a traditional phone system, without the costs of managing and maintaining a PBX. Enjoy Lower Startup Costs and Monthly Savings. With a Hosted PBX system, there’s no PBX equipment to buy or lease, and no maintenance contracts or fees for account changes. Service is configured through an easy-to-use web portal with dozens of features and options for a truly customized system. All you need are IP phones and a voice gateway router.

With full control over our network, REACH4 is able to prioritize voice from end to end. We use best-in-class Cisco equipment to ensure crystal-clear call quality. Together that means that, unlike other providers, we can provide true Quality of Service.
All packages are customized to fit your business needs. We can deliver the right service with the right features at the right price. Save up to 40% on your business phone bill by choosing one of REACH4’s state-of-the-art voice options for your business.

For more information please contact technical support