Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Unlimited data - can it replace your home broadband?

The FCC has recently released an inquiry on the current state of broadband in the U.S. One of the questions they raise is whether or not it's necessary to have a wired broadband connection (fiber or cable) and to reach the previously set targets of 25 Mbps down and 3 Mbps up for home users. Or is a cellular connection enough?

This report from 2016 shows that the U.S. lags well behind most of the rest of the world in cellular data download speeds at around 10 Mbps.
See how painfully slow 4G LTE is in the U.S. compared to the rest of the world
That's also about what I've gotten on personal tests on Verizon in my area.

But there are also questions about data caps and throttling. So, along come new unlimited data plans from the major cellular carriers.

You can see there are limits on mobile tethering. So, the data is not unlimited if you want to use it with a tablet or PC. Plus there are limits on video quality and the data can be throttled even if you stay under a given level.

This may be good news for some cellular users. But it doesn't look like an adequate replacement for high speed broadband, particularly in areas with spotty cell service.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Passwords Guidelines Changed

Finally the guidelines about passwords that made me crazy - change every 90 days, include an upper case, lower case, number and other character - are being changed as we see in this NPR article.
Forget Tough Passwords: New Guidelines Make It Simple

I'd often thought it couldn't be terribly secure if we had to write it down to remember it. Of course, I find the best solution is still a password manager.

Here's some information and a review of some of the best rated ones from PC Magazine:
The Best Password Managers of 2017

I use LastPass and have generally been quite happy with it but it can be a challenge to use with mobile apps and sites.