Internet access

Why 2017’s net neutrality battle is crucial for the game industry

Two years ago the Federal Communications Commission’s net neutrality rules went into effect, giving consumers what was supposed to be a ‘free and open’ internet.

Unfortunately, the future of the FCC’s Open Internet Order (OIO) is in jeopardy and this is bad news for game developers.

What ‘net neutrality’ means

The primary goal of net neutrality is to ensure that no single U.S. internet service provider can arbitrarily decide to slow down (or speed up) a consumer’s access to/from specific content providers — regardless of the content or where in the world the content is coming from.

In 2009 the FCC started the process that would eventually make this goal a reality and they were immediately met with resistance by many cable companies, wireless providers, and lobbying groups.

Many court battles, protests, and 4 million public comments on their website later, the FCC was able to reclassify ISPs as a “telecommunications service” and the Open Internet Order was enacted in 2015. [For a more in-depth timeline of events check out http://whatisnetneutrality.org/timeline.]

Essentially, by classifying high-speed internet services under Title II of the Federal Communications Act, U.S. wired and wireless broadband providers like AT&T, Comcast, Cox, Time Warner, and Verizon were prohibited from prioritizing traffic from some sources over others.

For example, Comcast and Time Warner are part of a group of companies who own Hulu, a streaming service that competes with Netflix. Without the OIO in place, their broadband divisions could throttle the connection speeds to Netflix resulting in a poor streaming service for their subscribers. This would give those consumers an extra incentive to make the switch to Hulu which would directly benefit Comcast and Time Warner’s bottom line!

Does that sound too far-fetched to be true? Then read this report from Time that goes over the deal Netflix made with Comcast pre-Open Internet Order to pay them to make sure their subscribers “receive reliable, high-speed streaming service from the online video giant for years to come.”

The Open Internet is under attack, again

Telecom companies and associations fought hard to overturn the Open Internet Order, but even though the courts stood by the FCC’s Open Internet rules, many of those same organizations have continued to lobby against these rules to try and get them overturned.

This year they got their first big break when President Donald Trump appointed Ajit Pai as the new chairman of the FCC.

Pai, who has sided with ISPs in the net neutrality debate, quickly got to work and started the following multi-stage process of rolling back the current rules:

  • April 26: The Chairman announced he was submitting a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to accomplish that rollback to be voted on by the commission in May. An early proposal draft was published on the FCC site.
  • April 27-May 17: The filing draft was open to the public for comments. Although the site crashes multiple times (some attribute this to John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight revisit of this issue) the FCC did not push back their meeting and extend the deadline to file comments.
  • May 18: The…

Best Money Tips: Legit Ways to Get Free Internet Access

Welcome to Wise Bread’s Best Money Tips Roundup! Today we found articles on legit ways to get free Internet access, simple life hacks from Reddit, and cellphone secrets that can help you save hundreds a year.

Top 5 Articles

5 Legit Ways to Get Free Internet Access — Light Internet users should check out carriers like FreedomPop and Juno. [Well Kept Wallet]

21 Simple Life Hacks From Reddit — Not sure which side of the road your exit is? The location of the small exit sign on top of the larger road sign will tell you! [PopSugar Smart Living]

6 Cellphone Secrets That Can Save You Hundreds of Dollars a Year — If you have access to Wi-Fi at home and at work, odds are good that you don’t actually need an unlimited data plan. [Money Talks News]

Save More by Keeping a Running Count of “Profitable…

How to Pause Internet Access on Google Wi-Fi

Whether you need your kids to get their homework done or if it’s just dinner time, Google Wi-Fi has a feature that lets you “pause” the internet on their devices. Here’s how to set it up.

This feature doesn’t pause internet access for your Google Wi-Fi network, just certain devices that you specify. You can even create groups of devices and pause all of them at once with a single tap, as well as create automatic resume times.

Start by opening up the Google Wi-Fi app on your phone and tap on the tab with the settings gear icon and three other circles.

Tap on “Family Wi-Fi”.

Tap on “Setup” at the bottom on the next screen.

From here, you can either tap “Next” to create a group of devices to pause all at once, or hit “Skip” to skip over the group-creating process and pause devices one-by-one.

Hitting “Skip”…

Will Using a Network Switch Slow My Internet Down?

You pay good money for your speedy broadband connection, and it would be a shame if a poor hardware choice was hampering your network. Are network switches to blame for your slow connection?

We get a not-insignificant number of reader inquiries about network hardware, especially concerns over whether or not a network switch is to blame for home network problems—primarily issues with connection speed and stability. Despite the suspicion that so many people seem intent on casting towards the poor network switch, it’s very rarely the source of network problems.

Like all statements regarding technology, however, there’s always and exception or two. Let’s take a moment to rule out any of the problems you might have with a network switch that could actually impact your network speed.

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Your Switch Is Actually a Hub

Hands down, with very few exceptions, when we’re helping someone troubleshoot performance performance problems after installing a switch, the switch is….well, not a switch at all.

You can read more about the difference between switches and hubs here, but here’s the gist. A hub and a switch look physically similar: they have X number of ports (typically in multiples of 4 like 4, 8, 16, 24, and so on) with one reserved for use as an input or a totally separate port labeled “uplink”. Despite their nearly identical appearance, however, the guts of the two pieces of network hardware are quite different.

The old and ubiquitous Netgear EN104TP Hub is the bane of network administrators everywhere.

A hub is a “dumb” device in that it broadcasts whatever it hears on the input port to all the output ports. This leads to collisions between data packets and a general degrading of network quality. If you have a hub set up between your router and the rest of your network, you’re setting yourself up for a huge headache.

A switch, on the other hand, is much smarter. It actively manages the connections between the input port and the output ports, so you won’t run into the collision problem or any of the other issues that plague hubs.

If you purchased the device in question within the last few years, the chance is…