Internet access

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…

6 Things Americans Should Know About Net Neutrality

Net neutrality is back in the news, as Ajit Pai—a noted net neutrality opponent—takes the reins of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Here’s a brief explanation of what net neutrality is, and what the debate over it is all about.

1. IT’S NOT A LAW; IT’S A PRINCIPLE

Net neutrality is a principle in the same way that “freedom of speech” is. We have laws that enforce net neutrality (as we do for freedom of speech), but it’s important to understand that it is a concept rather than a specific law.

2. IT’S ABOUT REGULATING ACCESS TO THE INTERNET

Fundamentally, net neutrality is the principle that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) should not be allowed to prioritize one kind of data traffic over another. This also means they cannot block services purely for business reasons.

To give a simple example, let’s say your ISP also sells cable TV service. That ISP might want to slow down your internet access to competing online TV services (or make you pay extra if you want smooth access to them). Net neutrality means that the ISP can’t limit your access to online services. Specifically, it means the FCC, which regulates the ISPs, can write rules to prevent ISPs from preferring certain services—and the FCC did just that in 2015.

Proponents often talk about net neutrality as a “level playing field” for online services to compete. This leaves ISPs in a position where they are providing a commodity service—access to the internet under specific FCC regulations—and that is not always a lucrative business to be in.

3. INTERNET PROVIDERS GENERALLY OPPOSE NET NEUTRALITY

In 2014 and 2015, there was a major discussion of net neutrality that led to new FCC rules enforcing net neutrality. These rules were opposed by companies including AT&T, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Verizon. The whole thing came about because Verizon sued the FCC over a previous set of rules and ended up, years later, being governed by even stricter regulations.

The opposing companies see net neutrality as unnecessary and burdensome regulation that will…