Smarter Homes Presents

Frequently Asked Questions:

Cable TV, Internet, and Phone

Let me guess - you purchased a high speed, multifaceted internet bundle and you ended up with an inadequate connection, a cable package that doesn’t match your needs, and an unreliable phone line you didn’t even want. Or some combination of the three.

I’m here to break the issues down, service by service, so that you understand what’s really at play when it comes to internet, phone and cable TV providers. Each service provider has pros and cons - different niches they excel in and areas where they fall short. Often times, without you knowledge, there are third party subcontractors involved.

It’s important to all of us at Smarter Homes that you know exactly what’s going on because having the knowledge to make informed decisions gives you back the power. After all, our motto is that a failure to plan is a plan for failure, and planning takes knowledge.

You don’t have to compromise your wallet for your wishlist, with bundled packages that include unwanted products and features. By building a personalized network of phone, internet, and cable, we can help you find a cost-effective combination that fits your needs.

Smarter Homes owner and operator Peter Sandford hosts "Frequently Asked Questions: Cable TV, Internet, and Phone" ... an explanation of internet woes, service providers, and bundled packages.

Let’s dive into the issues:

Wi-Fi

What’s the problem?

Nine times out of ten, people call a service provider as soon as they move into their house. They pick a provider that they think is in their area or that they're familiar with. The provider will come out, install the products, and get out as fast as possible. Soon enough, the homeowner will discover their network is falling short.

What most people don’t realize is that companies like Spectrum hire third-party subcontractors to install their equipment and get it configured with Spectrum’s service infrastructure. These subcontractors are often paid a flat fee which means there is no motivation to spend extra time on service configuration, home assessment, or quality control. In the end, you’re left with stock equipment that you're essentially leasing from the provider, often installed as quickly and easily as possible, and it only goes so far.

If the home is not pre-wired, they drill holes through your exterior wall to access the service location. Since Wi-Fi degrades as it moves through walls, you lose a percentage of the connection the further you travel across the house. You end up with an office, living room, or bedroom across the house that’s totally lacking solid Wi-Fi connectivity.

On top of low-quality equipment and degraded connection, you may also be paying for too much download speed and never coming close to reaching your quota.

What’s the solution?

You don’t need to lease low-quality equipment! Don’t get trapped into the misconception that leasing is your only option. We can help you build your OWN, cost-competitive system. When we put an infrastructure in place that allows the homeowner to provide their own equipment, the result is a drastic increase in the overall quality of their system. Instead of having one or two pieces of gear that handle everything, such as an all in one modem router or provider supplied Wi-Fi hotspot, you can dedicate a modem that acts as your network security gateway. This provides a much more reliable connection and is less susceptible to hacking.

With a managed network like this, specific pieces of equipment are designated to specific tasks, allowing space for hundreds of IP addresses, designated exclusively to your home.

If you think about this system like a highway, this means everyone’s devices have their own lanes to travel in. As soon as you open your device or turn it on, it goes right back to its assigned route with a straight path to connection and data; no more bumping other devices offline so that it can grab connectivity.

Another benefit of having a system like this is that we can design and distribute Wi-Fi access points, or APs, throughout the house to generate signal in key areas. With our APs in place, degradation becomes a non-issue. Don’t let your home’s square footage determine the quality of your internet connection.

We’ll help you calculate the number of devices on your network so that you have a precise understanding of how much bandwidth is necessary. Then, we can prioritize that bandwidth to certain devices - say dad’s office computer - and make sure that they receive proper internet connection no matter how many kids are upstairs playing Xbox live.

Phone

What’s the problem?

If you’re looking for a reliable landline phone, AT&T is fantastic. That’s because it pulls power from the main phone line coming into the house. If your home loses power in that inevitable, post-apocalyptic situation and cell phone towers are down, you'll still be able to make a phone call via the landline phone. The downside of AT&T? Their internet leaves much to be desired. You're not allowed to provide your own modem. You can provide your own router but it’s nearly impossible to bridge and optimize its performance without a regular reboot. When you choose AT&T for it’s phone reliability, you trade off great Wi-Fi in the home.

But maybe you aren’t looking for a landline provider. Maybe you just got sucked into buying one under the guise that bundling internet, cable, and phone was the cheapest option. After that introductory period ended, your bill went up and now you’re paying a monthly phone service fee for a phone you don’t want, need, or use.

What’s the solution?

Let us come in and install a modem for you that you own. You’ll save money on monthly equipment rental fees and you’ll have higher reliability. Then we can manage a solid Wi-Fi network that’s separate from your landline. You don’t have to bundle to save. Especially because most service providers aren’t focused on home phone quality these days. They only want to lasso you into a bundle so that they can make more money after that introductory period. If a home phone is still something you need, we’ll help you identify your best option. However, you don’t need to pay for an unwanted service just to save on your internet.

Television
What’s the problem?

If you've got a cable box for the sole purpose of recording, you’ve probably run into some or all of the following problems. You don’t have the option of whole home DVR on a cloud. You literally have to record your shows in every room that you want to watch them in. That’s a time-consuming pursuit, all for the sake of watching your favorite sitcom. On top of that, what you watch in one room doesn’t carry over to another. In other words, you can’t pause in the bedroom and continue in the living room.

It all feels a little outdated. Even the fact that you have to have a physical cable box at each TV is not long for this world.

What’s the solution?

Streaming platforms are the future. There’s no way around that. Pretty soon we’ll be visiting a Disney or ESPN app to find the content we’re after. However, until your favorite channels and programs comply, you still may need good ‘ole fashion cable for a while. There’s no reason you can’t also have the streaming platforms you need, all consolidated on a smart, app-based system, such as AppleTV 4K, paired with your favorite cable provider.

We've seen a lot of people find success by taking their favorite TV provider, matching it with the highest speed Spectrum or Google Fiber package, and then using an integrator like us at Smarter Homes to spread their Wi-Fi throughout the house. Combining those two bills long term is basically the same price as a provider suggested bundle. It allows you to really dial into what TV shows and content you actually value, whether it's a cable box method or an app based system. This is the future of home viewing entertainment.

I hope this article has helped you understand service providers a little better. You have more options than you think. If the best plan of action is still unclear, give me a call at 512-775-6101 anytime and we can strategize the best solution for you and your home. Everything we do at Smarter Homes starts with the education of our clients. Equipping you with the knowledge you need to make your home efficient, easy, and entertaining is just as important as installing the technology that makes it all work together.

Peter Sandford

Owner & Operator

Smarter Homes