When to call your communications carrier and when to seek help elsewhere

You don’t call the electric company when your electrical outlet doesn’t work or when you need a new outlet put in? You call an electrician. You don’t call the water company when you want to change out a toilet or have a plumbing problem? You call a plumber. So when you have an Internet problem or need to expand your Internet within the home, don’t call your communications carrier, i.e. Verizon or Xfinity?

Verizon and Xfinity spend millions of dollars on advertising and they make themselves sound like once they sell you their service your home is all set for getting high speed Internet “no matter what”. They don’t tell you that you are buying a service, nothing more, and that there are many internal factors that affect the way that service will work for you.

When there is a problem outside of your home at one of their boxes, and even between your house & the cable modem/router hook up, they may fix it. When there is a problem within your home, that is not a bad router or DVR, you are on your own. We often recommend to our customers that you contact your service provider if your router or DVR seems to be the problem because you are renting those from your carrier, therefore they are responsible in providing you working units. However, if your service provider finds that both are working, then they can no longer help you, and it’s time to move on.

Their technicians are trained to set up your service and explain how it works. They are trained to recognize a bad router or DVR. They are not trained to analyze your internal network infrastructure to identify why you don’t get the full speed to different rooms. They will not run cables through your walls. They do not understand your existing network and AV system, so they might just rearrange things to put in their product, because that’s what they were hired to do, set up THEIR system.

Understanding what your communications carrier offers you will help you avoid wasting tons of time and money. For troubleshooting Internet problems, we suggest you go to their website (yes, you’ll have to use your cell phone if you have no Internet) and go to their support page. Go through their questions and find out if the problem involves their service or their product and do what they tell you to do. Note: Complete outages are generally a carrier problem. Poor speed inside the home is rarely a carrier problem.

Communications carriers are used to people calling them with problems. You can call and they can tell you if the Internet is down in your area. If it isn’t, they can run a diagnostic on your home. Calling them to complain about slow Internet or its reach throughout your home will be a complete waste of time. This is when you seek out a network specialist to identify how you can improve your home’s infrastructure. Sometimes it is a simple router move (which may or may not involve new cabling). Other times it is more than that, i.e. installing additional access points and other networking products. This is not something that Verizon or Comcast can or will tell you, so don’t take a day off work to wait for them to tell you they can’t help you.