Tips for making your internet quality match your rural quality of life
Rural life offers a lot of quality-of-life benefits: the privacy provided by larger home sites and distance between neighbors, the serenity of being far removed from urban traffic and noise, and the peace of living closer to nature.
But it also comes with tradeoffs, and one of the greatest can be your internet. If you live on the other side of the “digital divide,” traditional cable and fiber internet service providers may not serve your area.
Those challenges are even greater now, as the COVID-19 crisis takes work and school into our homes — and out of buildings that typically have robust internet service. A good home internet connection has never been more essential.
So let’s take a look at some common challenges for those outside the cable zone, and ways to solve them.
1. Finding an internet provider that can connect your home or business with fast, reliable service.
If you’re stuck with slow DSL or a wireless, tower-based service — or just getting by using your phone as a hotspot — don’t assume there isn’t a better option. Satellite internet has improved dramatically over the past decade and is available almost anywhere. Viasat Internet service has expanded in recent years with higher speeds and broader coverage. And throughout this crisis, we’re prioritizing home-based internet traffic so our customers can stay up to speed at work and school.
2. Making sure your data plan and speeds match your home’s needs.
A plan that doesn’t have enough speed or data is a frustrating experience for everyone.
Some things to consider before you shop for a new ISP: think about how many people are in your home, how much streaming your household does – Netflix, Pandora, podcasts, etc. – and the number of devices under your roof. Have these answers in hand when you start making inquiries.
Viasat offers just this kind of guidance to prospective customers, matching their specific needs to one of our plans. Plans start at 12 Mbps and go all the way up to 100 Mbps in some areas. The lower-speed plans are ideal for a two-person household that doesn’t do much streaming but wants unlimited data, while higher-speed plans can serve larger households with lots of devices, offering plenty of streaming and unlimited data.*
3. Managing your in-home Wi-Fi to get the most out of your service.
Even with good service and the right plan, Wi-Fi that’s unevenly distributed in your home can still sabotage the online experience – and your efforts to work and study from home. The good news is, a few small changes can make a dramatic difference in how your internet performs.
Most of us want to hide the router out of sight, but if it’s in a closet or cabinet, the signals likely aren’t dispersing to maximum effect. Instead, place it in an open, ideally central spot in your home – as high as you can get it.
Connect your devices to the router via an Ethernet cable whenever possible. You’ll get better speeds and ease congestion on your home’s wireless network.
If you’re not already on it, switch your wireless network equipment from the 2.4 GHz to the 5 GHz band. This article will give you the details you need.
Big houses with lots of rooms and old houses with thick walls can dampen your Wi-Fi signal. You may need to add some Wi-Fi extenders to maximize the signal. These devices rebroadcast the wireless signal from your router to areas where the coverage is weak or spotty. Some plug into the wall and others are desktop units. Get a thorough rundown on the options here.
For rural residents, the good news is that options for service are better than ever before, which means the quality of your internet service can complement the quality of life you enjoy. The even-better news? Those options will only get better: Viasat plans to launch new satellites that are expected to significantly enhance its existing coverage and speeds.
*For complete details and disclosures on our Viasat Internet plans, visit our website.
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Patti Rutkin is a fierce advocate of the customer experience. As the marketing lead for Viasat’s US residential business, she is responsible for raising awareness about Viasat’s home internet service within the communities it serves.