2016’s Top 5 Cable Modems

2016’s Top 5 Cable Modems

Which of Amazon’s best-rated cable modems is best for me? Should I rent or buy? HSI investigates. Looking to purchase your own cable modem or upgrade existing hardware? If you want increased affordability and speeds from your broadband connection, purchasing your own modem can be an easy, cost-effective way to optimize your home network. For those without a tech background, however, the equipment landscape can be a confusing wilderness of foreign terminology. We’ll attempt to breakdown some of that technology jargon and discuss the main factors you should consider when purchasing your own cable modem. Once we’re through, you’ll have your own home network up and running with confidence of an IT pro. Modem? Router? Modem Router? What’s the difference? Modems are the units that receive the internet signal from your provider and turn it into a data signal that devices like your computer can read. Their function is quite different from that of routers, which are responsible for connecting multiple devices to that data signal and are the backbone of your Wi-Fi home network. You might be wondering why it’s preferable to have two devices. Wouldn’t it be easier to just have a router that is also a modem? Yes and no. There are units that combine the functionality of a modem with a router, but most experts don’t recommend them for two reasons. If you decide to change the type of internet service you have (DSL to cable or vice versa), you’ll have to buy a new modem. Some portions of the equipment are prone to malfunction and it’s much costlier to replace a combined modem/router than it...

The Next 10 Cities to Get Google Fiber

Where will Google Fiber go next? You’ve heard the rumors, but don’t panic. Fiber is far from dead. Here’s a peek into Google’s plan to deliver 5G and where we think they’ll take it first. Google has officially announced a halt to all fiber to the home development for the next six months, but this certainly isn’t the end of the road for Google’s gigabit internet service. Google has filed a license with the FCC to begin testing fixed wireless in 24 cities across the country. The company is taking to the skies, hoping to utilize 5G technology to bring gigabit speeds without the messy bureaucracy that has made developing fiber for the home such a difficult endeavor. If fixed wireless enables Google to move beyond their current city criteria, we believe some key areas could become the next lucky recipients of inexpensive gigabit internet. We crunched the data and expanded beyond the current list of cities Google is exploring to see where fiber might go next. Our research revealed that each of the current Google Fiber cities share a set of interesting qualities such as: Lack of Current Fiber Coverage & Speed: Google leans towards bringing fiber to cities that have less coverage than typical, where an affordable, fast internet can make a big impact in the community. They’ll also reap the benefits of plenty of potential subscribers with less competition. High Education: Google buildouts so far have focused on cities with a higher than average level of college degrees. High Income/Wealth: While Google has certainly shown a commitment to investing in underserved communities, this is a business so the...
Fixed Wireless. Mobile Broadband. What’s the Difference Anyway?

Fixed Wireless. Mobile Broadband. What’s the Difference Anyway?

Feeling confused by all the tech terminology? You’re not alone. So, what is the difference between fixed wireless and mobile broadband? Keeping up with technological advances these days can be more of a challenge than keeping up with the Kardashians. As the internet evolves, so do the networks that deliver it into your hands. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by a recent influx of jargon about fixed versus mobile or cellular versus wireless, you’re in good company. Let’s tackle this tangled web of technological terms together to gain a better understanding of recent network advances and what the future of the internet might look like. What does 5G mean? 5G is short for fifth generation and, while the term is most often associated with 4G networks like those utilized by cell phone providers, it actually encompasses a much broader meaning. 5G networks are those that use the next iteration of technology to deliver internet, whether it be via mobile or fixed broadband. Currently, many mobile wireless providers use 4G technology, which has improved upload and download rates over previous 2G and 3G technologies. The industry anticipates that 5G networks will utilize higher frequencies to deliver faster internet speeds, possibly via fixed wireless. The important thing to remember here is that 5G simply refers to the next step in the technology that delivers internet, not to anything specific about the type of network, devices, or the method that will make it possible.   What is fixed wireless? Fixed wireless is fairly new, and despite the way it sounds, it doesn’t utilize a cellular network like your mobile phone does. This approach...

7 Ways to Stream Football Games This NFL Season

Looking to score NFL coverage without paying for cable? Look no further. Thursday marked the beginning of the NFL football season, with the Panthers and the Broncos facing off in a repeat of last year’s Super Bowl match. (Spoiler Alert: Same game, same result as last year.) But if you’re a sports fan who has recently cut the cord, you may have been forced to get updates from Broncos fan down the street and you’re probably asking yourself an important question: What can I do to stream the biggest games, so I never miss out? It used to be a pretty complicated endeavor to piece together coverage, but cord cutters are getting a comprehensive streaming experience for the first time this season, without suffering heavy losses. This is thanks to some recent deals through Sling TV, DirecTV, and Twitter that’ll bring an array of options to watch the big game to a wider audience. So pick a method for streaming the games you want and settle back with your snacks. Fantasy football season is about to begin, and you’ve got a front row seat to NFL programming. Before we embark on an exploration of your options, note that you’ll need the following networks: Sunday Afternoon Games: CBS Fox  Sunday Night Football: NBC  Thursday Night Football: NFL Network CBS NBC Option 1: Get an Antenna Cost: Free Pick up the games featuring your favorite NFL team by tuning in with an indoor or outdoor digital antenna. While you might miss out on market games, you’ll be able to pick up significant coverage from the major networks like CBS, FOX, and NBC. Drawback: This won’t get...

XFINITY by Comcast vs. Windstream

You just want the fastest speeds at the most affordable price. Why does it have to be so difficult to pick a high-speed internet provider? At HSI, we don’t think it has to be. We’ll give you side by side brand comparisons with a complete breakdown on services, equipment, and satisfaction ratings so you can make the best decision for your connected home. Should you choose Xfinity by Comcast or Windstream as your high-speed internet service provider?  Comcast is the largest cable provider in the U.S., serving roughly 113 million customers across 39 states. This telecom behemoth operates a coaxial cable network that delivers high-speed internet, TV, phone and home security services under the brand name XFINITY. For more information about XFINITY, visit our Comcast provider page. Windstream serves 10 million customers in 20 states, focused mostly on the South and in more rural areas. Its main internet service is provided on a DSL network utilizing existing phone lines to provide customers with connectivity. For more information about Windstream, visit our Windstream provider page. As we look at side-by-side comparisons of these two internet service providers, keep in mind that this is also a comparison of two different types of service. Cable differs from DSL in that it offers superior speeds and is more efficient because it uses a coaxial cable to deliver internet rather than the phone lines as DSL connections do. While Windstream does offer faster internet via a fiber network, those speeds are only available in three metro areas (Lexington, KY; Lincoln, NE; and Sugar Land, TX). Since Windstream’s fiber product, Kinetic, has such limited availability, your...
5 Simple Ways to Watch College Football Online

5 Simple Ways to Watch College Football Online

How do I watch college football games without cable TV? For years, cable TV subscribers have hesitated to cut the cord. One primary reason is sports coverage, which has been notoriously difficult to stream. College football—a popular favorite among sports fans—remained elusive until recently, when a few major deals with streaming providers paved the way for comprehensive game day coverage. While the landscape of college football still looks like a kaleidoscope of piecemeal options, it’s now possible for cord cutters to get comprehensive coverage for most conferences. We’ll detail each option for watching the big game without a cable TV subscription, then specify costs and limitations of the college football streaming services.   Option 1 Line-up Local Coverage with an Antenna Cost: Free Limitations: Major Networks Only You can pick up most of your local networks with an old-fashioned antenna, but you’ll be stuck with whatever they decided to dish out. ABC has the most college football coverage, but you can also catch a few games with NBC, CBS, and FOX. Once that antenna brings all your favorite hard-hitting action right into your living room, you’ll never see this small piece of unsightly metal the same way again.   Option 2 Stream Sports with SlingTV Cost: $20/month Limitations: ESPN, Major Networks Dish offers SlingTV, a streaming service that is changing how cord cutters watch sports. Grab a monthly subscription and stream selected networks and channels to any device or on your TV. ESPN offers around 50 percent of all college football games, so you’ll be guaranteed a good chunk of coverage even with Sling’s lower-end package. You can stream...

Time Warner Cable vs. Verizon Internet

If you’re trying to pick between Time Warner Cable and Verizon internet, you’ve come to the right place. Each provider’s strengths and weaknesses differ, which can make it hard to easily distinguish which company will give you the type of internet service you need. This quick overview and comparison will help eliminate some of that confusion. Time Warner Cable (TWC) is one of the largest providers in the U.S., serving close to 12.7 million internet customers. Additionally, as of 2016, TWC is a division of Charter Communications, which may help expand the company’s services beyond its current 29-state reach. Verizon, on the other hand, is widely known for its wireless cellphone service and fiber-optic internet, Fios. The company’s internet services reach 13 states, and as of the beginning of 2015, Verizon serves 7 million internet customers, 1.9 million of which are DSL subscribers. Before taking a closer look at how the two providers stack up, note this: TWC and Verizon provide two different types of internet services. TWC is a cable internet provider, meaning the connection operates over existing cable television lines that run through your neighborhood. Verizon High-Speed Internet — not to be confused with Verizon Fios — is a DSL service that runs over copper-based phone lines, so you’ll be the only customer using it. Though the latter individual internet line sounds appealing, DSL is actually much slower than cable — and much cheaper. In the digital age of ever-increasing bandwidth demands, you want a plan that’s not only affordable but reliable, too. We’ve given you side-by-side comparisons of both internet brands, so you can make the...

20 Best Cities to Bootstrap an Online Business

  Trying to get your start-up to stay afloat in an online sea of competition? Many bootstrapped startups make the mistake of launching locally without considering whether their city has the resources and the support to ensure success. Others jump into the seemingly obvious – and prohibitively expensive – choice for an online-centered tech company: The San Francisco Bay area. We’ve taken a hard look at cities around the country to determine the optimal location for your online business, where you can have the best of both worlds. Startups are often strapped for cash, so we’ve focused our selection criteria on affordability and a lower cost of living, as well as access to a highly educated workforce. You’ll notice that many of the cities that made our list are located in the suburbs of a major metro area, where an online business can still get speedy internet without paying big city rents. Watch out, Palo Alto. Your tech talent might get tired of the traffic and move to Des Moines. While some of the data we utilized is detailed below, please note that we also considered factors such as clean air, walkability, politics, and much more. So start packing boxes and take your business to one of the following cities, where you’ll have a better chance of making a start-up successful. “Low cost, high quality of living.  There are plenty of places that are cheap, but don’t have many resources available, and there are plenty of places that have high quality of living, but are too expensive.  Finding the right tradeoff of the two, having high quality of living...
15 Free Apps for Students That Should be on Your Smartphone

15 Free Apps for Students That Should be on Your Smartphone

Headed back to school? If you’re a student, you shouldn’t go anywhere without these free apps that make studying for school simple. Students everywhere are busy stocking up on supplies as they head back to school this month. If you’re a college student, you might be looking to score some sweet deals on textbooks or a Keurig that’ll make those late-night study sessions survivable. Don’t forget, though, that some of the most important tools and resources are available online for a song. These 15 apps are free, top-rated resources that’ll help you score the right notes. Yep. We said FREE—a word that is certainly music to a starving student’s ears. Each section below highlights apps from a particular category, along with a short description, fun feature, and links to download these student-friendly apps directly to your smartphone. And every one of these electronic resources are well-established favorites that have received four stars or more in user reviews in the app store. So get ready to learn a thing or two with virtual tools designed with the cash-strapped student in mind.   Books & Resources   Scrib’d Readers rejoice. This free app is one of the best e-readers around. While you’ll have to pay a subscription fee for access to the books, it’s a terrific value. A monthly fee of $8.99 gets you access to any three electronic books and one audio book, plus freebies like sheet music, comic books, and documents. Fun Feature: The editor recommendations are like having a librarian in your pocket. Get it Now: iTunes Store, Google Play   Coursera If you’re not really what sure...