Is your broadband working for you?
Updated: May 11, 2020
I recently responded to a VO Facebook forum post about ISDN where I wrote that I had ditched the service and now use an internet IP & ISDN bridging product in its place. A fellow VO replied by saying if the internet goes down in the middle of a session ‘you’re screwed’ and, I can’t argue against that!
But there are ways to reduce the broadband and your home network from causing havoc when you really need to rely on it.
Most, if not all, home broadband packages are more than capable doing what we want from it - email, file transfer, video call and to connect remotely to a studio or client. But all these business needs are subject the other stresses on the connection by family members surfing the world wide web, gaming online or watching TV ‘box sets’ or movies. Then there’s the interruption your internet service provider (ISP) inflicts when they re-issue a new public IP address to your router every 28 days or so. Turning off and re-starting your router when you think your service has ‘gone down’ might satisfy your urgency to reconnect to the internet but it can make you wait longer as it sorts itself out particularly as it reissues internal IP addresses to each of the devices on your home network.
Whatever the colour or shape of the broadband router provided by your ISP its sole purpose is to act as your gateway to the internet. All ‘free’ boxes are ‘plug ‘n’ play’ connect them to the telephone line and forget about them other than to find the Wi-Fi ‘password’.
Consumer broadband boxes are fairly benign with few options for user configuration so you’re in the hands of the router issuing internal IP addresses to your devices using something call Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP). Business Broadband routers don’t necessarily offer any more functionality to tailor settings for your studio/office; you’re more than likely paying for quicker technical support for when things go wrong.
There are a few things that you can do to ease the pain of regular ISP re-boots, waiting for the router to reconnect after a forced off-on or having to save all your work on your computer just to reboot it to get a new network IP address for it to spring back in to life.
• Know the true speed of you broadband connection by testing it using – www.speedtest.com and if it’s not what you’re paying for talk to your ISP.
• Replace your free router. Buy a mid-range/high-end branded broadband router. I use a TP-Link VR2800 which is fully user configurable.
• Ask your ISP for a Static/Fixed IP address – this will be a one-time cost at circa £5 (five pounds) and it gives your router its own public IP address that will never change and if you upgrade the device or move to a new house using the same ISP the IP address will stay the same.
• Give each piece of equipment in your studio/office its own static/fixed internal IP address – this can be setup in the router configuration or manually on each device.
• Make sure all your studio equipment is connected to the router or a hub/switch by a network cable.
• Use ‘Powerline’ adapters to connect your studio/office to the router if they are some distance away from the box by the front door. If you need more ports, then use a 5/8 port hub/switch with it.
• Create a VLAN for your studio/office. Essentially you have a second network managed by the one router where all your data traffic is unaffected by what family members are up to. It’s not necessary but can help if you are a busy online household.
• Don’t use or rely on Wi-Fi for anything other than your phone or tablet in the studio/office.
• Change the DNS setting from of your ISPs default to the following - Primary 126.96.36.199 Secondary 188.8.131.52 these are for Google’s public DNS and they will speed up WWW searches.
• Source-Elements Source Connect Std/Pro users should try mapping/port forwarding ports ‘6000-6001’ to your computer with a fixed internal IP address this will remove the ‘ports not mapped’ message and replace it with ‘port mapped’ which, apparently make SC more stable.
Now whether or not you do any of the things above there will still be times when you internet services goes down and as with all outages they’re out of our control and they will leave us ‘screwed’ particularly if we’re in the middle of a live remote session.