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Weekend of October 4, 2019 – Hour 2

Steven in Pinehurst, North Carolina listens on NewsRadio 680 WPTF and asked: “VPNs – are the all the same? Why do some charge virtually nothing and others are close to $100? Is there a difference in the quality of the VPN service? What can you tell me?”

Steven, no they’re not all the same.

VPN vary depending on a lot of factors including the target audience and the technical specs.

For example, there are streaming VPN that are marketed at people who want to access streaming services in other countries, VPNs to get around restrictions like China’s famous firewall, VPNs centered in privacy, etc.

For example, privacy-centered VPNs based in the US are less appealing to customers and may have to offer cheaper prices because the US has far weaker privacy protections that other countries, logless VPNs are more popular than those that keep logs and may charge more, streaming-centric VPNs tend to cost more money because they need to be high speed and high data while many time needing to change IPs regularly to avoid falling into blacklists.

Different VPNs have different users and different advantages, but they are not by any means all the same.

Joe in Durham, North Carolina listens on NewsRadio 680 WPTF and asked: “Whatever happened to Google Cable? I remember when they were making a big deal about it in the Raleigh/Durham area a few years ago, but haven’t really heard anything about Google Cable since.”

Joe, do you mean Google Fiber?

If so, Google Fiber is still around. It still only serves a handful of cities and with some restrictions, for example in places like Chicago and Miami it only serves apartments, in other places like Atlanta and Austin it serves others as well.

They still offer free internet in public housing, and their gigabit plan otherwise costs around $70/month, which is not bad but not too unlike the competition these days.

They don’t seem to be expanding much, so they may be happy with their current footprint. The purpose of Google Fiber was likely more than just giving gigabit access to random cities, so whatever Google was trying to accomplish with it, it looks like they may think that they have.

There are lots of options for gigabit and other fast speeds these days so it may not be worth their investment anymore.

Mark in Windsor, Ontario listens on AM800 CKLW “The Information Station” and asked: “How do I know if it’s my router or my modem that’s causing issues because I have some devices that work and some say “connected” but no internet.”

Mark, if some work and some don’t, it’s your router. The routing a router does is in part routing internet requests back to the devices that made them, the modem doesn’t take care of that part.

The devices that don’t work may have their own settings issues too, so don’t forget to check those.

If you want to check and see if your modem is doing its job, plug your computer in via a network cable directly to it and check at the source, if you get a solid internet connection then your modem is working as it should and you can go ahead and replace your router.

Roger in Fairbanks, Alaska listens on Newsradio 970 KFBX and asked: “I live in rural Alaska and have an LTE phone with unlimited data. I get pretty good internet in the morning, but not a night. I’m far enough away from an LTE tower that I had to get a modified Yagi antenna that I point at the nearest tower – about 2 miles away – and an amplifier and I get pretty good internet. Maybe 500mb down and 300 up on a good day. Is there a better antenna and amplifier that I should get?”

Roger, if you get 500mb down and 300 up in the morning you’re doing better than most people and the signal quality is probably not the issue.

You may just be hitting a more congested network at night that is throttling users, that’s a common enough cause for slowdowns, but much more so if you are capable of getting 500mb downstream and 300 upstream from the same location in the morning.

Your solution is probably not a better amplifier, your current one seems to be doing a very good job already, your more likely solution is getting on a better network that won’t throttle your speeds too severely when it’s congested.

That usually means getting on a big name carrier, since most of the ones that license their spectrum tend to throttle to some degree, but you’ll have to research the ones in your area to find out what real options you have in your area.

Gene in Bossier City, Louisiana listens on 710 KEEL and asked: “I would like to ask about the Samsung Fold and all of the patents they have been eating up the office with and getting so many of them. What do you think of this new technology? I’d like to know of you think the foldable technology is going to take off or of it’s going to stall out and just become a fad.”

Gene, it’s hard to say. On the one hand there are people that would probably be interested in the large screen for practical reasons, viewing spreadsheets or data monitors would be easier on such a large screen, for example.

Then again it seems very awkward to hold for any use that isn’t looking at the screen.

The main obstacle is probably not even that, let’s put it this way: do you know anyone at all that is even remotely excited about a smartphone these days? We seem to keep having the same conversation over and over again and it goes like this: “it’s too expensive, mine still works”.

The biggest barrier the fold may face could be just the fact that modern smartphones are too expensive, and something that is extra expensive and untested on top of that is a tough sell for the general market.

Then there’s the other elephant in the room: tablets aren’t exactly doing too well, it may be possible that people don’t care that much about a bigger screen but just want a “big enough” screen instead.

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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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