Monthly Fiber Update: December 2018

It’s the end of the year and many people are taking time to slow down, visit friends and family, and celebrate the holidays. We at Rock Island wanted to send out a wish to you and yours for a safe and happy close to the year. Happy New Year and all the best in 2019!

Next year is going to be a banner year for Rock Island. We’ll continue to roll out both fiber and LTE Fixed Wireless throughout the county faster than ever. We’re excited to connect more of our community and we hope you are too.

We’re currently serving about 4,500 customers between our LTE and Fiber products alone. Consider that for a moment. In just under 4 years we went from 108 fiber customer and 0 LTE Fixed Wireless customers to over 4,500 active Fiber and LTE subscribers. This has been both a historical event and a phenomenon in the county, and we are proud to have done this with you, for you, and because of you. Nothing feels better than a community coming together to solve a problem.

So thank you for your support – and to our customers, thank you for letting us serve your Internet needs. We simply couldn’t have achieved what we have without you.

All our best in the new year!

Fast Internet Slow?

It might be your connected devices

An odd phenomenon started to show up this year in our support department. We got calls from some of our fiber customers (even some of our 500 Mbps and Gigabit customers) concerned about slow Internet speeds.

We started to work these problems like any Tech Support problem – we open up our dashboards and start looking into the data. We check the modem, its connection to the Internet, the Wi-Fi radios, the ports and the switches, and what was odd was that everything looked okay.

It wasn’t until we scratched our heads and checked the number of connected devices on these networks that we got some clarity. The problem wasn’t with the customer’s Internet connection as it turns out; the problem was that there were too many devices on the customer’s network – all fighting for connectivity.

Believe it or not, this issue is happening all over the world. ISPs from San Juan County to South Australia are all seeing record amounts of devices trying to connect all at once to their customers’ networks. The statistics are staggering, and the numbers suggest that our county’s connected devices per network are higher than the national average. 

Number of connected devices on our Fiber and LTE modems.

With smart thermostats, smart appliances, wireless doorbells, security cameras, smart TVs and streaming devices – both music and video – and even connected smoke alarms all trying to communicate with each other and their related cloud services, the Internet can feel like dial-up speeds.

Some of our customers like to play video games too, and with some console games weighing in at over 100 gigs, a gamer in your home can crush your Internet’s performance for anyone else trying to work online.

Is this you? Most people think no. We’ve heard, “there’s just two of us here and we barely use the Internet.” After reading off their list of connected devices they’re shocked to discover they could have 15 or more connected devices on their network. It’s an eye opener.

Think about it. The average American probably has a computer, a cell phone and maybe a tablet or smart watch of some sort. They probably stream their movies through Roku, Amazon Fire or Apple TV and maybe listen to Pandora or a similar music streaming service. It’s easy to see two people in a home having over 10 devices without trying too hard. 

Got kids? Well you’re going to need a Gig. Our younger generations coming online seem to find new and amazing ways to suck down mammoth amounts of data on what feels like an hourly basis. 

For those of you on fiber, this is why we did it. The future is coming a lot faster than we imagined, and we’re all going to need as much bandwidth as we can get. 

Give us a call if you are interested in seeing the number of connected devices on your network. There are some tricks to getting more out of the bandwidth you have, and of course, if you need more speed out of the fiber you do have, we can always turn the dial up. 

Note: Rock Island is currently evaluating modems that deliver 10 Gigabits to the home. We expect to have this offering on our rate card some time in 2019.

That wraps up another edition of our Fiber Update newsletter. Thanks for your time and your support. It’s a pleasure and a great privilege to serve this county.

The Rock Island Team

P.S. – If you missed prior editions, you can read them here. If you prefer not to receive these updates, simply click the “unsubscribe from this list” link at the bottom of this email.