The Best Unlimited 4G Data Plans for Broadband

We’ve talked quite a bit recently about the demand we’ve seen for 4G broadband, especially in more rural areas around Winchester and Hampshire.

In previous weeks we’ve shared our favoured pieces of kit for 4G routers. This week we’re going to talk a bit about the data plans needed for 4G broadband.

Many of our clients ask us about the best unlimited data sim plans for their 4G routers. For people swapping from traditional broadband over to 4G, this is next on the list of ‘need to know’ following hot on the heels of coverage.

We are pleased to be able to offer our clients an unlimited 4G data plan solution through Utility Warehouse.

Who are Utility Warehouse?

 

Whilst they may not be as well known as some of the big networks, Utility Warehouse uses the EE network which you all will have heard of.

Wherever there is good 4G signal with EE, we can provide a superior external antenna and mobile router to give you better upload and download speeds.

Did you know the emergency services use EE?

EE is the network currently used by the emergency services for their radio communications. It is one of the most reliable networks that you can use.

What’s the deal?

Other networks are of course available, however they often cost a little more as well as locking you in to a longer contract.

Our deal with Utility Warehouse is only on a 30-day rolling contract, which gives you the peace of mind that you can enjoy unlimited data whilst not being locked into a lengthy contract.

Is your home suffering from a slow BT Openreach connection?

Slow internet is frustrating at the best of times, but add in the stressors of working from home, remote learning and Zoom calls dropping in and out and you’re bound to be tearing your hair out.

For homes suffering from a slow Openreach connection, the speeds offered by Utility Warehouse Mobile will solve many of the issues you’re facing.

Can you get 5G through Utility Warehouse?

Many devices are crossing over to 5G so it’s natural that the question of whether something is 5G compatible is on your lips.

At the moment, 4G is the only option through Utility Warehouse, although we understand that 5G will hopefully be added in early Spring.

Want to find out more?

If you would like more information on the 4G Broadband service we can provide through Utility Warehouse, please contact us directly.

You can also find out more about our Utility Warehouse service offering by clicking here: https://uw.co.uk/?position=F62402

If you’re unsure about making the switch to 4G broadband or you’re not sure if it would be right for you and your home, have a read of our website. You can also give us a call – Our Wi-Fi experts would be happy to chat through the options and ascertain whether 4G broadband could solve your Wi-Fi woes. You can reach our Hampshire office on 01962 657390 – We look forward to chatting with you!

 

Amplifi Alien – The New Wi-Fi 6 Router from Ubiquiti

In this week’s blog we’re going to take a look at the new Wi-Fi 6 router from Ubiquiti – The AmpliFi Alien. With attractive performance features, this router could be great for a busy household working and learning from home as well as the intrepid gamer.

This Tri-Band Wi-Fi 6 router brings a revolutionary Wi-Fi 6 benefit into your home along with an elegant design.

What are the key features of the AmpliFi Alien?
  • Wi-Fi 6 compatible
  • It has a scalable mesh system. This is great for gamers! The Wi-Fi 6 standard Mesh system can easily cover any home, providing 4K/8K UHD streaming and online gaming to multiple users in any room
  • It has true Gigabit mesh
  • An 8×8 super antenna system
  • You could get up to 4 times your current network capacity (compared to an AmpliFi HD)
  • Boost your coverage by up to twice your current network (compared to an AmpliFi HD)
  • Reduce battery drain in mobile devices
  • It has 2.4/5 GHz Wi-Fi 6 and 5 GHz Wi-Fi 5 radios
  • From this single unit, they deliver a total capacity of 7685Mbps and 16 spatial streams
  • Build a virtually unlimited Wi-Fi capacity within your home by easily meshing multiple units over the air
  • It has a convenient touchscreen which displays the network status and provides instant controls
  • The AmpliFi Alien has a single Gigabit internet interface and internal power supply
  • It is integrated with a LAN switch with 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports
  • You can use Wi-Fi 6 for wireless connectivity and the LAN ports for local wired connectivity
  • It takes just one minute to set up using their easy-to-use app.

 

What performance features could make the AmpliFi Alien a good choice for remote working and home learning in a device heavy household?

There’s a lot of households across the UK that are suddenly finding themselves in a network nightmare at home. Families where both parents are working from home, plus multiple children doing home learning lead to multiple Zoom / Microsoft Teams / Google Meet video conferences all needing to happen at the same time. And this can cause some big issues with internet and Wi-Fi. The AmpliFi Alien has some performance features would be enticing for anyone currently in this predicament.

  • The Ubiquiti AmpliFi Alien is optimised to provide your home network with the highest possible performance – Irrespective of how many users or devices are connected at the same time
  • The AmpliFI Alien can eliminate dead spots and increase the total capacity in your home network by 4 times through utilising MU-MIMO and OFDMA for communication across 12 Wi-Fi 6 spatial streams
  • Got a video meeting you just cannot have interrupted by lag or loss of video? The AmpliFi Alien has 5Hz radio with Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) speeds which you can choose to dedicate to performance critical devices
  • Using the above features can help you to avoid competing for bandwidth with any other devices on your home network
Sounding good, but worried you don’t have the technical know-how to set something like this up?

The AmpliFi Alien comes with the AmpliFi App – A simple app that allows you to set up your network in just a minute. It’s user friendly yet full of controls and statistics to enable you to configure the AmpliFi Alien for your environment.

For more information and detailed specifications on the Ubiquiti AmpliFi Alien, head to their website.

What other products are in the Ubiquiti AmpliFi range?

The AmpliFi Alien is the latest router that Ubiquiti have added to their extensive range of Wi-Fi products. You can find out more about their range of products by heading to their website, plus see real-life reviews of how Ubiquiti AmpliFi products have changed home networks for the better including all the stats.

 

We don’t know about you, but we’re pretty excited to see the AmpliFi Alien in action!

 

 

Optimise Your Home Network for Remote Learning and WFH

Got network issues at home? Haven’t we all. Suddenly the majority of households are relying on their Wi-Fi a lot more.

 

Many of us are now working from home – We’re sat on Microsoft Teams, Google Meet or Zoom. Video calls for work aren’t the only thing clogging up your network – Odds are you’ve also got children sitting on virtual lessons, learning remotely.

We’ve gone from using our broadband to stream movies, scroll social media, send some emails and play games to families all using the bandwidth at the same time for multiple video conferencing all at once. Plus all those leisure activities on top!

So what can we do about it?

Understand Your Bandwidth

Here’s a little metaphor for bandwidth, in case you’re not familiar. Imagine you’re drinking through a straw. If you’re slurping on a diet coke, then it’s a simple suck. If it’s a milkshake you’re drinking then you’re either going to need more suction, or a bigger straw. Coke is speedy, milkshare can be slow.

If you’re sending a quick text-based email, it won’t need much bandwidth. If you want to press play on a 4K video and watch it immediately, then you’re going to need a bit more bandwidth.

Right now, with Zooms and other video conferencing taking centre stage in our home networks, we’re needing both upload and download bandwidth. For effective video conferencing you need both upload and download bandwidth capacity (you’re watching and transmitting video at the same time so you need Mbps both up and down).

Try doing a speed test (upload and download). To handle 2 or 3 Zooms at once, you’ll need around 11Mbps upload speed. Yo can also talk to your ISP to check how much upload bandwidth you have on your current plan. .

What Is Your ISP Giving You?

The more capacity you have, the bigger your bill will be.

If you are really struggling with your network, then consider chceking your plan with your ISP, and if needed, upgrade it to include more upload bandwidth. It’s also worth noting that you should also make sure that your ISP is capable of delivering these bandwidth promises. Most speeds to vary and are rarely guaranteed.

You may also want to check whether your ISP is ‘throttling’ you. If you are using (or trying to use) too much data, they may be restricting how much milkshake gets through your straw by biting on the end of it. Sometimes there is the option to pay a fee to stop them throttling you.

QUICK TIPS
  • Check your plan with your ISP
  • Consider upgrading bandwidth, if possible
  • Check you’re not being throttled
  • Check if your ISP offer dedicated fibre lines to each house or whether it’s shared between a cluster of homes

What If You Can’t Upgrade Your Plan To Get More Bandwidth?

Sometimes it’s not as straight forward as just upgrading your plan. It may be too expensive, or it may not even be possible in your location. Thankfully there are some things you can control within your home.

Let’s think about the devices that may be taking up bandwidth, but may not be needed all the time.

  • Smartphones – If you’re working on a video call or doing remote learning, then you probably don’t need your phone. It’s always doing things in the background. Switch them to Airplane mode when they’re not being used, or you know there are several of you trying to use video.
  • Smart TV’s – Let’s face it, Netflix and productivity don’t really go hand-in-hand (unless your Toddler is watching it while you work!). Any TV’s that are not in use, need to be powered down (not in sleep mode).
  • Wi-Fi enabled smart devices – Our homes are full of these nowadays. Anything using WI-Fi and running in the background can be switched off to try and save as much bandwidth as possible.
QUICK TIPS
  • Create a video schedule for your family and try where possible to avoid conflicts (both online, and offline…)
  • Schedule back-ups and auto-updates for during sleep time
  • Ban Netflix etc at capacity-critical times

What if none of this helps much – What then?

Consider Getting Wired

There is another way to optimise your home network – And that’s to run wires with ethernet cables.

A wired connection is always going to provide you with more reliability. It’s usually faster than wireless too!

We’re not suggesting installing wires all over your house – The situation we find ourselves in currently is only temporary. But if you’re happy to run cables along your skirting boards for a couple of months then great!

QUICK TIPS
  • If you can work close to your router then you can keep costs down by using a simple and relatively short ethernet cable from router to laptop.
  • If there’s no improvement when wired in, consider checking if your router is working how it should be.

For more ways to troubleshoot Wi-Fi problems at home, check out our previous blogs. You might find these ones particularly helpful!

Troubleshooting Your Home Wi-Fi

When Should I Use an Ethernet Cable?

Common Wi-Fi Problems and How to Fix Them

 

Staying Connected for Remote Learning

 

Staying Connected for Remote Learning

The importance of being well-connected in 2020 is continuing into 2021 – No surprises there!

This week has seen the nation face another complete lockdown, with the majority of primary and secondary school pupils back to remote learning from home.

But what about all the families that can’t afford internet at home, or don’t have enough data for their children’s home-learning needs?

If you are home-schooling but can’t afford broadband or the additional mobile data needed to meet remote learning requirements, you may be able to get government assistance.

Under a new temporary scheme, schools, trusts and local authorities are able to request an increase in mobile data for those children and young people who meet the criteria.

Disadvantaged children can get help to get online via free mobile data increases or 4G wireless routers. These will be provided by the Department for Education and can be applied for by schools, trusts and local authorities.

What is the criteria for getting help with internet for remote learning?

Schools, trusts and local authorities can ask for support if each of the following applies:

  • Your school is experiencing disruption to face to face education
  • You are responsible for disadvantaged children who do not have access to the internet at home
  • Your school has been invited to order laptops and tablets
How can I increase my data allowance on my mobile phone to use for remote learning?

On certain networks, this temporary scheme allows mobile data to be increased. The mobile ohone can then be used as a hotspot so that other devices can also connect to the internet, helping to aid young people to access remote education, if their face-to-face learning has been disrupted like so many have.

This support is available to all schools with children in years 3 to 11 and is currently available on the following networks

  • Tesco Mobile
  • EE
  • Three
  • Smarty
  • Virgin Mobile
  • Sky Mobile

You can find out more information on how to ask for a mobile data increase by clicking here.

What if increasing mobile data isn’t an option?

In some cases, increasing mobile data may not be a viable option. In these situations schools can request 4G wireless routers.

Schools, trusts and authorities in England can ask for 4G wireless routers for:

  • Disadvantaged children in years 3 to 11
  • Who are experiencing disruption to face-to-face education
  • Who do not have internet access at home

More information on how to go about ordering a 4G wireless router through this government scheme can be found here.

 

The government website has plenty of information regarding internet access for remote learning and how to go about requesting support for these needing access: https://get-help-with-tech.education.gov.uk/internet-access

 

If you already have internet in place, but are finding that it’s not quite working well enough for the online lessons, maybe one of our previous blogs can help.

Troubleshooting Your Home Wi-Fi

Access to the internet has never been more important than now – For social interaction with friends and family, team meetings on Zoom and virtual lessons on Microsoft Teams and Google classrooms.

Here at Geekabit we know it’s so imperative that we stay connected. You might not need the government help, but could do with getting your home Wi-Fi up to scratch. Or perhaps you’re intrigued about 4G mobile broadband and want to know if it’s right for you – Please get in touch and our Wi-Fi experts will be happy to help.