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Weekend of August 21, 2020 – Hour 2

Tech News and Commentary

Mike in Calgary, Alberta listens on the Podcasts and is calling via the App and asked: “My cable company is offering 1GB Internet speed. I currently have 300 gigabit and I find that working fine. However, I’m trying to get more smart things involved and wondered if this 1GB would be useful for adding to the devices and do I need special devices to get full benefit of that 1GB speed?”

Mike, first, you say you have 300 Gigabit. I’m going to assume that you mean 300 “Megabit.” Now, to be honest unless they’ll charge you less for the faster connection (which sometimes happens due to their nonsensical signup offers) it doesn’t sound like it be worth switching for you.

Smart devices are fairly low bandwidth and they also generate pretty low traffic. Turning on a light bulb or opening a garage door is a short burst of a signal, so it won’t really have much of an effect on your overall network speed and it won’t require anything too fast.

The services that do use more bandwidth like audio and video streaming (which can be triggered by some smart devices like smart speakers that can start video and audio services) still don’t require more bandwidth than you have now.

The exception would be if your household has several users who may be likely to stream 4K content or play certain online games for which lag can be an issue, but even those things would work just fine on your current connection if they weren’t all being done at the same time by several people.

To give you an example, I live alone – except for when my son is with me every other weekend. I get all my entertainment by steaming service. I don’t have cable. And it’s 4K. I also have a couple of Ring cameras, several smart speakers and a house full of wifi switches. My Internet speed is 25megabit, not very fast at all. And I rarely have an issue with buffering. Even when my son is in his room and we are both streaming HD content at the same time. So even with the 300 megabit you have, you’re probably covered.

Now, if you do go with the Gigabit service, you may need better network equipment than you have now to full take advantage it, but if you do get the speeds you’re supposed to get today then you most likely already have gigabit equipment and won’t have to replace your router, modem, or other network equipment like access points, or switches. Hope that answers your questions, Mike!

Dan in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania listens on WDEL and asked: “My son is going to college and I’m interested in choosing a laptop or Chromebook that would best meet his needs in college. Would like recommendations for an adequate device at a cost value.”

Dan, to be honest we probably won’t be able to answer your question with just what you told us so far, but we’d be happy to try again if you send us a followup with more specific information.

The kind of computer your son will need will depend greatly on what he’s going to be studying and how the school will distribute their content and what they will require of him.

For example, a Chromebook will work well for most if not all online services since it’s little more than a Chrome browser with a keyboard and screen, but your son won’t be able to install third party software on it.

That may work well if he’s majoring in English, for example, and he can get away with using Google Docs, but it won’t work well if he’s majoring in Electrical Engineering and needs to interface with sensors or electronics.

The catch is that, the divide isn’t always as clear as that. For example, the school may require certain software that will only run on certain operating systems even for majors that are not technical in nature.

Your best bet would be to listen to what the school says, your son will probably either get some basic guidance on what he needs or at least he should be able to ask what he shouldn’t get if anything isn’t going to work.

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Written by Dave Graveline

Dave Graveline

Dave Graveline is the founder, Host & Executive Producer of "Into Tomorrow" in addition to being President of the Advanced Media Network".

Dave is also a trusted and familiar voice on many national commercials & narrations in addition to being an authority in consumer tech since 1994. He is also a former Police Officer and an FBI Certified Instructor.

Dave thrives on audience participation!

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