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Email Providers

There are only two email providers that we recommend. If you already have a similar address as any one below, you’re in good shape:

  1. Google Gmail
    1. Ex. someone@gmail.com
  2. Microsoft Outlook
    1. Ex. someone@outlook.com
    2. Ex. someone@live.com
    3. Ex. someone@msn.com
    4. Ex. someone@hotmail.com
  3. Other
    1. You may also have a custom email account with a custom domain such as someone@my_business_name.com that is managed by Google or Microsoft.

All other email providers are bad with some worse than bad. However, if your account is working good enough, it can often be a bigger pain to change email providers than it is to just deal with the one you currently use.

If your email is working fine, no matter who you use, do not change anything! 

Many times people will use the email services provided by their Internet Service Provider (ISP) such Comcast, ATT, Mercury, etc. You pay them for your Internet service and also use them for your email.  

We have found that Internet Providers email services are, shall we say, less than optimal. But again, if it’s working for you, don’t change. If not, Google Gmail and Microsoft Outlook are our recommendations.

Check this out for all email tips and tricks.

Wireless Setups

What we mean by “wireless setups” are the wireless inside your home or business that you use to connect phones, tablets, laptops or even desktops to the Internet. 

The advantage, of course, is no wires. It’s a little unhandy to plug a network cable into your phone, laptop, or tablet and try to walk around with it. 

Things you need to know about wireless:

  1. If your Internet provider’s modem comes with wireless built in, use that and see how it works. 
  2. If your Internet provider does not have wireless or it doesn’t work very well, a wireless router is in order. We can offer assistance installing one, if needed. We can often set it up in the shop and all you need to do is plug it in. Sometimes we have to make a house call.
  3. Wireless “boosters” or “repeaters” are hit or miss. Sometimes they work, sometimes not. If distance or interference is an issue, it’s always an ongoing battle to get it working. A better option is to position the wireless device as centrally located as possible in the building or home.
  4. Failing that, a multi-access point setup is in order, which is outside the scope of this discussion.

Phones and Tablets

  • Samsung and Apple phones are the leaders in the field and we recommend one or the other. 
  • Apple has the cool factor along with overly high prices. They are no better or worse, feature wise.
  • Samsung sells more phones by volume. They are no better or worse, feature wise.
  • Apple products us the IOS operating system and Samsung uses the Android operating system. You can participate in endless arguments about which is better. Don’t bother. Pick what works for you, tap on the screen, get a feel for it. If you are used to one or the other, I would recommend sticking with what you know. 
  • Another factor to consider is which brand friends, family, or co-workers use along with what your cell service offers. There are some programs that are not available on both phones. If you need to use a particular application, make sure it is available on the phone you are going with.
  • We have found games run better on the iPhone.
  • In the end, both phones will probably do what you need to do. If your whole family or circle of friends use one type or the other, perhaps go with that. 

Cabling

We no longer install network cable, but are more than willing to provide references to vendors we have use. Wired is always more reliable than wireless and often times faster. Of course, for obvious reasons, sometimes wireless is the only option. For stationary workstations or laptops, wired is the best, if possible. 

Internet Service

Cable based Internet is the fastest and the one we typically recommend. However, your location plays the primary role regarding what’s available. Rural locations probably do not have cable Internet available and are relegated to towers beaming their Internet connection to their location. 

The quality of wireless Internet to the home varies from miserable to acceptable, most often leaning toward miserable.  Weather, obstructions, hill and dale, etc all play a role. However, to be fair, it’s not as miserable as it used to be. An excellent example is a client we had who lived in a black hole regarding Internet options. No service worked until the one he was using put up a new tower and pointed his receiver at it. Boom! From barely a 1Mbps download to 40. Quite an impressive improvement. 

When purchasing an Internet service, always ask what you might expect for a download speed. We consider anything less than 2.5Mbps nearly unusable. Our minimum is 5Mbps download speed. Cable might get 60 Mbps download minimum, which is typically sufficient for a single user or even two or three. There are 200 Meg services available, but frankly, a home user will not use all of it all the time, if at all. It’s expensive and if the page you’re visiting appears 10 milliseconds faster, is that worth the expense? The particular websites being visited, combined with other factors, may not even be able to deliver their content anywhere near that fast.

Faster is always better, of course. Whether it’s worth the price? You make the call. Because everything revolves around the Internet so deeply, the fastest connection you can afford is preferred, up to a point of diminishing returns. That point typically starts at 60 for home or small business users. If you are using CCTV over Internet, remote access, VPN, remote gaming, multiple movie streams at once, etc, things are different. The more bandwidth, the better. But that doesn’t apply to most home users.

When testing your Internet download speed, the proper way to do it is to use a wired connection to your Internet Service Provider’s modem and test it that way – no wireless unless you are specifically testing your wireless speed. The reason being is that wireless has a ton more variables that will cause it to run slower than the actual Internet connection to your house, building, or apartment. 

The Internet connection to your house is different than the Internet connection INSIDE your house. One can work great but the other may be broken or running poorly. It’s one of the things we troubleshoot on-site. We need to determine if your Internet problems are due to an inside or outside issue. Outside requires a call to your Internet Service Provider (ISP) where inside is your/our problem. Your Internet provider will not care if your internal internet connections are working or not. All they care about is if it successfully enters your home in a working state. What happens after that is no concern to them. 

Cell service is also a viable option, not unlike what your phone uses. However, and this is a big however, you may be limited in bandwidth. We are constantly confronted by clients who have the issue of maxing out their bandwidth allowance mid-month. This is most often due to Windows, your antivirus, various programs, manufacturers, etc constantly, relentlessly, installing updates and upgrades all the time, automatically. If an upgrade fails, Windows may download it again and keep trying – forever. A Windows version upgrade can be in excess of 4GB!

One customer had such a low bandwidth limitation, 1GB per month, that we had to shut off their update function. Dangerous, but it was either that or get a bigger data plan. We asked them to occasionally bring the computer in so we can install all the upgrades at once using our service. Streaming YouTube videos does not come for free when using a cell type connection with a limited data plan. 

Also, all Internet providers offer email service with their plan where your email will be something like “xxxxxx@att.net” or “xxxxxx@charter.net”. If at all possible, don’t depend on your Internet provider’s email service. Don’t use it except to log into your account to check on billing or some such thing. If you have a choice, go with a Gmail.com (Google) or Outlook.com (Microsoft) account as your primary email address. The email service provided by Internet service providers (ISP) is bad for reasons outlined above. 

We have an entire article about email here and security here

Contact us with any questions!