Cyber-security: How to keep your children safe!

The Internet is a great resource for you and your family. At the touch of a button, you have access to a world of knowledge and entertainment. Sadly, the internet is also a dangerous place to hang out – particularly for children. Nearly 60% of teens have received an email or instant message from a stranger – half of them have replied. With summer approaching, the potential for children to wind up on dangerous sites increases since kids have more free time and that usually means more screen time.

So what can you do? Just to get started, let’s list some things you can do almost immediately to help keep your kids safe while they’re online.

It won’t take a lot of time to try these suggestions, and while we’ll talk later on about setting up parental controls through your Race router, the following steps can give you some peace of mind until you can do so.

    1. Place computers in a common area of the house:
      Don’t allow kids to have a computer in their room. You’d be surprised by how much the mere presence of a parent who may or may not be looking over a child’s shoulder while they use the computer can keep a child in line. They have no way of knowing if your eyes are good enough to see across the room, now do they? Make sure the computer’s screen is visible from other parts of the room and isn’t turned toward a wall.
    2. Set reasonable time and usage limits:
      Set rules about what your child can and can’t do when on the internet. Set time limits on their computer use. If they say they’re researching homework, maybe you don’t include that in the time limits – but make sure they’re using it for homework.
    3. Discuss the dangers of the web with your child:
      Sit down and discuss the dangers of the internet. Talk openly and honestly about what’s out there and the kind of stuff they want to avoid. Forewarned is forearmed.
    4. Teach them to protect their privacy
      While they won’t fully understand the consequences of revealing personal information online, you should still make sure your children know:
      * Never to give their name, phone number, e-mail address, password, postal address, school, or picture without your permission
      * Not to open e-mail from people they don’t know
      * Not to respond to hurtful or disturbing messages
      * Not to get together with anyone they “meet” online.
    5. Keep the youngsters out of online chat rooms, and do your best to reinforce the old rule, “never talk to strangers.”:
      Chat rooms are a popular place for sex offenders to meet their prey. If possible, keep your kids out of chat rooms altogether. Make sure your child knows that no matter how nice an online “friend” may seem to be, they are still a stranger, and may not be who they appear to be. ​
    6. Know Passwords:
      Be upfront with your children that you will need to have their passwords for all of their devices and for all of their social media sites. Once you have the passwords, check these sites regularly to see what your child is seeing and posting.
    7. NEVER let your child upload or download photos without your permission:
      Online predators will often send photos supposedly of themselves or request photos of the child.

Turn your ISP into your ally
Before buying any safety product, experts recommend that you work with what you’ve got, starting with your Internet service provider – hopefully that is us at Race Communications!

Your Gigafy Me router includes free parental controls that can limit children’s access to websites and communication features (e-mail, instant messaging, chat) by the time of day and other variables. If you don’t have a router rental through Race, give us a call to have that added or if you have any questions about these features.

“Gigafy Phelan” is underway – here’s what to expect!

As Race works to gigafy the communities of Phelan, Pinon Hills, and Oak Hills, the company has begun to revamp existing processes. Starting with the release of Mint zone, homeowners who placed their order with Race immediately received their final in-home installation date. The installation date given was 90 days out from the time the order was placed to ensure that the line extension (aka “drop”) from the street to the home was complete. This timeframe also allowed for the completion of service testing.

As of September 13th, homeowners who have had their drop completed in Mint received a call moving their final installation date by almost 30 days. This process has worked extremely well and Race intends to continue following this model. Our company does NOT believe in overpromising and underdelivering. We want to set realistic expectations with our customers so that they can be pleasantly surprised should their installation date be moved up.

With a new release (“Gold” zone on 9/20) right around the corner, we want to make the process easy to understand and we want those ordering to be aware of what to expect in the coming weeks.

Bringing our services to a community is a resource-intensive project that requires careful research and planning. We hope that most residents have filled out an inquiry form by now (if not, be sure to do so). Residents who have submitted an inquiry will receive an e-mail from Race 24-48 hours before the order form is released for their address and zone. This e-mail will contain a step-by-step to placing an order and will give residents in the area a reminder that the order form will soon be released.

Once a zone is released, residents in that zone can go to our website to place their order. Residents can also call 877-722-3833, but be aware that hold times can be longer around a release date due to a much higher volume of calls than normal.

For order instructions, be sure to visit this blog post – it has a visual guide and thoroughly explains the order process.

Once your order is placed, a sales team member will give you a call to explain the next steps and schedule your installation. Don’t be alarmed if the appointment is scheduled 90-120 days out. This is just to ensure that our contractors have enough time to complete the line extension (drop) to your home.

Here is a quick breakdown of what happens once your order is placed.

  1. Your order is processed:
    Once you’ve placed your order either online or over the phone, the order will be sent to our in-house Customer Service team. Within 24-48 business hours, you should receive a welcome call that will review your order, confirm your selected services and schedule your in-home installation.

Speaking of next steps…

Let’s discuss – Aerial vs. Underground:
For many of our zones, we know beforehand whether your property is an aerial or underground drop (this is why we ask for your address at the start of every form and call). This is all determined in our engineering and construction phase. Now it’s important to know the difference between these two terms. They will dictate how your services will be installed.

  1. Aerial DropsThere are a number of ways an aerial drop can be completed. The most common way we install our aerial drops is a Race technician will install a line from a telephone pole to the side of your home and connect the fiber optic cord along the existing utility line to your home. Aerial drops are usually done within 7-10 business days after your order is placed, but in newly released zones it can take up to 4 weeks. Once the drop is completed, our scheduling team is notified by our contractors. Please allow 2 business days for the drop to be marked as complete as testing must be done to ensure the drop was successful.
  2. Underground Drops: If your home has been deemed an underground drop or you have chosen to be underground, make sure your conduit has been approved by a field engineer. If you do not have conduit, that’s fine too! Our contractors will dig a trench and place a conduit for you – the only downside is this may take a little longer than an aerial drop.

I’ve gotten my fiber lines dropped, what should I expect next?:
You’re almost there! Welcome to the final step of your Race installation process! If your drop and testing have been completed, we will do our utmost to move your installation date up so you don’t have to wait.

A Race technician will be present for this step, we like to refer to this as the “Day Of” or “In-Home” Installation.

For the day of install, it’s really helpful if you know where exactly you want your equipment to permanently be. Remember, once the technician installs the equipment, you cannot move it again.

The first piece of equipment the technician will install will be the Optical Network Terminal (ONT), which is a piece of equipment that takes the fiber optic cable and converts it into an Ethernet connection. After the ONT has been installed, the technician will install any other equipment you may have ordered such as a DVR or set-top box. Once all your equipment is in place, it’s time to run a speed test to make sure your Race services are up to par. Once that is done, the technician will show you how to access your network and provide you with your login information.

Congratulations! You are officially connected to your new Race services. Now it’s time for you to upload, download, surf and stream at never before seen speeds. If at any point in time you have any questions about your products or any of our services, feel free to visit our website at race.com or give us a call at 877-722-3833.

Thank you for choosing Race!

The battle for better connectivity in Rural California

Over the last decade, California’s urban centers have become technology hubs, cities where free Wi-Fi and fiber-optic lines are ubiquitous. But in low-income neighborhoods, across the state’s inland regions, and in rural communities — often home to large migrant populations — families struggle to connect at all.

Some elected officials see that reality as proof that a digital divide is leaving many people behind. And they’ve set out to remedy it.

In 2007, the state established the California Advanced Services Fund to offer companies incentive to help bridge the gap. The program has allowed broadband providers to apply for nearly $300 million in grants to bring fiber optic, copper, and other cable lines to some of the poorest and hardest-to-reach regions in the state.

The goal was to connect 98% of the 12.9 million homes across California, one that as of 2016 was within a few percentage points of being fulfilled. But while nearly 12.3 million homes in urban areas had some form of wireline broadband service by that year, less than half of roughly 680,900 households in rural areas had been connected.

This month, the reboot of the CASF program, which began in 2017, continues, with a new round of comments and suggestions landing at the California Public Utilities Commission. While incumbent and independent providers such as Race attempt to navigate the new bill, many California residents continue to pay too much for poor internet service. Many of the issues boil down to incumbent providers not fulfilling their end of the deal.

For example, when the CPUC allowed Frontier Communications to buy Verizon’s wireline systems in California, it imposed a long list of conditions, including commitments made as part of settlements reached with organizations that objected to the deal. Some of those obligations required Frontier to upgrade broadband service to more than 800,000 homes. In a recent complaint filed with the CPUC, the California Emerging Technology Fund claimed that Frontier “does not intend to honor” its commitments, including, among other things, the upgrade schedule it offered in 2016.

In addition, Frontier Communications failed to meet California phone service repair standards in 2017. It’s supposed to restore service within a certain amount of time 90% of the time in any given month, in every one of its Californian service territories. According to two draft resolutions currently with the CPUC, two of Frontier’s three subsidiaries missed the mark every single month.

Race Communications is dedicated to providing reliable, high-speed internet and advanced communications at an affordable price. Working in partnership with the California Public Utilities Commission and a number of non-profit community advocacy groups, Race focuses much of its efforts towards building out fiber networks and offering gigabit internet service to communities throughout California. As the battle continues for better connectivity, Race will continue to work towards its goal and mission to provide the best in Internet technology and customer service.

sources:
latimes.com/politics/la-pol-ca-digital-divide-rural-communities-20180118-htmlstory.html
https://www.tellusventure.com/blog/page/3/

What is affecting your Wi-Fi speeds and what can you do about it?

You recently got installed with the latest in Internet technology, and you are officially “Gigafied”, but what gives? Why are your speed tests not showing 1,000Mbps? If your home Wi-Fi doesn’t seem to be functioning as well as you think it should be, there are some factors which could be affecting your connection. Before you call Race or a professional, lets talk about some of the things you can try to optimize your Wi-Fi connection:

  1. Your equipment – Saving power can be a good thing, but when your computer is running on battery or “power saving” mode, it can affect your bandwidth. Check your computer’s settings and make sure your device is not in power saving mode, and try to stay plugged in as much as possible. Also be aware that your computer or device may not be capable of gigabit speeds. A lot of laptops have a cap of 100Mbps due to their chip set.
  2. Distance – while thick walls and obstructions can also be an issue, the distance from your router can be just as much of a problem. If you are trying to connect a large home, it might be a good idea to invest in a signal booster or secondary router. Here’s a rule of thumb: Just by doubling the distance between router and client you can expect throughput to shrink to one-third of its original value. A wireless repeater, which will set you back $20-$100, should boost your signal noticeably.
  3. Obstructions – Thick walls, large bookshelves and stairs can also affect your speed. Try to place your router in a central, yet unobstructed location for optimal results.
  4. Other networks close by – An area with a large amount of different Wi-Fi networks may suffer from poor signal strength because of all the conflicting transmissions. This may be the case in office buildings or apartment complexes. Try switching to a different transmission such as the 5.0 network that Race offers.
  5. Appliance interference – Did you know your microwave could be making your internet slow? That sounds strange, but it can be the case sometimes that household appliances operating on the same frequency as your router could slow down your Wi-Fi. Check to see whether your connection is stronger when appliances such as cordless phones, microwaves, and security camera are off.
  6. Who is the bandwidth hog? – Many people share their Wi-Fi with family members, roommates, or colleagues, but keep in mind that their internet activities could be affecting your speed too. If someone on your Wi-Fi network is hogging bandwidth by constantly downloading or streaming, this could be a reason why your connection has slowed
  7. Firmware or driver issues – An often forgotten problem (that is easy to remedy) is outdated firmware. Make sure your router’s firmware is up-to-date.  Expect bandwidth, feature set and resiliency to signals to increase with the first few firmware updates.

Keep in mind that Wi-Fi speeds won’t ever hit 1,000Mbps as most computers on the market are unable to handle the speed, but you should be able to consistently see speeds of 200-600Mbps depending on your gear and number of users in your home.

The Fiber Path to Your Home

Race_The Fiber Path to Your Home_2

Many Race Customers are very happy with their internet speeds once they get installed.  Here’s a simple infographic showing how fiber is connected to your home.
Remember: Fiber-optic is NOT like copper wiring that most internet service providers use.  With Fiber, customers do not lose broadband speed or capacity during peak usage times like with copper.  Your home will have a dedicated internet signal with symmetrical download and upload speeds.
  1. Fiber Optic cable is run via an aerial or underground drop to the “clamshell” which is installed outside of the home.
  2. The “clamshell” unit on the outside of the home houses the fiber cable that is run through the wall and connected to the Optical Network Terminal (ONT).
  3. The ONT converts the laser light signal from the fiber into an electrical signal.  CAT 5 or 6 cable is then run from the ONT to the router.
  4. If using our Race router, you will be able to hardwire devices using CAT 5 or 6 cable or utilize it’s 2 channel WiFi signal to connect to the internet.
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