Monday, July 3, 2017

Only Pay Internet Providers for Uptime

Project Status: Thinking out loud

The Problem

Internet providers take advantage of people, at least in my opinion they do. In this case I'm speaking about home internet, mobile phone internet throttling is a big racket of its own and a topic for another day.

Any home internet I have ever had slowed down over time. When you sign on it seems pretty fast right away, but as time goes on your top speeds get lower and lower. So you call in and they say, "Oh no problem we'll see what we can do." They click some stuff and like magic it speeds back up for a little while and then the same thing happens over time.

In my opinion they know that there are a lot of people out there who don't understand their connection or how to even check internet speeds. I think they know they can take advantage of this and simply calling in to ask why speeds are slowing down is probably helpful to put you in a category of users not to throttle because that group of users know what's going on.

The Simple Idea

I would really like to monitor my home internet every so many minutes. Logging the download and upload speeds and watching how they change over time and during peak usage hours. That is actually pretty easy to do by itself.

Once having done that I could have it text/email me anytime it slows down. Unless I wanted to build a more robust system, I could have it text/email also when the internet comes back on after having been down for any period of time.

The more robust system would be to write a small app or webpage that receives the data every so many minutes. In this way the back-end side of the app/site would notice anytime data isn't coming in and would be able to alert the end user as soon as the network went down instead of waiting until it came back up to do so.

Take it a step further and that robust system could have a button to tap when the speed slows to a crawl. By using the internet or things (IoT) or a little home automation it could then power cycle the modem/routers which often does the trick. If after a bit that didn't speed things back up then another button in that app or on that site could allow you to call your internet service provider (ISP) directly.

The Pipe Dream Part

When signing up for internet we should be promised a minimum download and upload speed that we are paying for. Then expanding on the idea from above, we would need to be able to monitor our speeds and when the minimum isn't reached during any point in time our bill could be prorated to match paying for only what we were provided.

I don't mean to say pay for what we use, as most cell phone companies are somehow getting away with now, but not having to pay for internet that was supposed to be provided and yet never was.

Being Realistic

The hard part, and reason among many that this will likely never happen, is because a monitoring system setup by either the service provider or the end user could easily be tampered with to directly affect the monthly bill.

The solution would likely require both the service provider and the end user monitoring to reconcile with each other, or a third-party altogether. The motivation for the end user is high but very low for the service provider.

A service provider would stand to profit in the long run by gaining more users, but at some point that edge will be lost when other internet service providers follow suit and do the same.

What Can I do?

The best solution now is to periodically check your own internet speeds, here are the top three ways I know of:

Know what you are supposed to be getting from your provider, check often, and keep them honest by calling in and then checking more.

Related Products

If you are looking for a router to use on your home network which does some of the monitoring portion of the idea mentioned above, check out this NETGEAR Nighthawk AC1900 which boasts:

"NETGEAR Genie App – Easy-to-use dashboard to monitor, control & repair home networks."