Q and A
by Matt Stephens
Good morning, afternoon, or evening to all of our valued customers! You may have seen last month's article on the frequently asked questions (FAQ) regarding our new spam and virus filters. This month, I'll do something similar.
There are few questions that we receive on a regular basis regarding one specific topic. But, there are a few questions we get that cover every angle of the dial up and DSL world. Here is a conglomeration of those questions. I hope you find them helpful. If you don't find the question you want to know the answer to, feel free to call our tech support office, and we'll be happy to help you!
Q: What is Broadband internet?
A: Broadband internet is a connection that is high speed. The term "Broadband" refers to sending larger amounts information than is possible through a conventional connection such as dialup. Broadband comes in different forms:
"DSL": Digital Subscriber Line. This form of broadband is generally provided through your phone company with the help of an internet service provider such as Blue Mountain Internet. The downside to DSL is that if you are over a certain distance from the central phone office, the signal degrades and you are unable to receive it. If you are a Qwest customer, call BMI and we can test your line to see if you are within a 'receiving distance' for DSL.
"Cable": Cable internet is provided through your cable company. Companies like Charter, ComCast, and AT&T offer cable internet. The downside to Cable internet is that it's a 'shared' connection. It has the potential to be a very slow service if it is 'shared' among many in your neighborhood. DSL is a line directly to your house. Cable is a line to a shared box that gives service to many people in a close proximity.
"Wireless": Wireless Internet is a radio transmitted service that uses a radio antenna on the outside of your house to send and receive signals from a centralized point. This works in a similar way as your TV remote control. Information is sent through air waves.
"Satellite": Satellite internet is very similar to Wireless. The distance the signal must travel is much further though. The downside to wireless and satellite is physical obstructions. That tree that blooms every spring could cause problems if it's in the 'line of sight'. Also, snow covering the satellite dish can cause connectivity problems. A light coating of Pam cooking spray would solve that one though.
So now you know what Broadband internet is. Welcome to the new age of fast communications!
Q: Why does my email take so long to come in or go out?
A: Well, this could be caused by many things such as a slow connection speed. However, if that was the case, everything else would be slow as well. The most common answer to this question is Anti-Virus software. If you have your anti-virus software set to scan your email, it will slow you down, and often time-out when you are sending or receiving messages. The process to disable the email scanning function of your anti-virus software is different for every program, but you should be able to find instructions for doing this on the manufacturer's web site, or give us a call and we can try to help you.
A side note to this: Email anti virus scanning with your @bmi.net address is redundant. Our email servers have anti-virus software on them, so you don't have to worry about disabling the scanning feature of your particular software...your email is scanned and SAFE before it gets to your virus scanner on your Anti Virus program. If you use other email addresses, however, you should think twice about disabling your anti-virus email scanner.
Q: Every once in a while I get an "invalid username or password" error. Why?
A: This is not an easy question to answer. I am not aware of anyone that has been able to figure out for sure why this happens. Sometimes Windows will not send the password information, or the password will change in your computer. When this happens, our servers do not get the information and it generates the error. A lot of times when this happens, the user will try different passwords thinking the original one doesn't work any longer. This is not the case however. Simply re-type your password and you should be back up and running. If you are still unable to get online, call our office for assistance.
Q: Is there anything I should do before calling tech support when I have a problem?
A: There are a couple of steps that could help us get to the heart of the matter faster. First of all, look for the error message. If something isn't working you will get an error message on your computer. It might say "Page cannot be displayed" or "error 691: the username or password is not valid on the domain". These error messages tell us what is wrong, so we can find the answer for how to fix it. Giving us the error message will save BMI and you time and questions.
Also, try shutting your computer all the way off and then restart it (just restarting it will not clear the memory if that is the cause of the problem). Once it's been restarted, retry what you were doing and see if it works. If these two "quick fixes" don't solve the problem, than call our office and one of our techs will be very happy to help you resolve the issue.
Over the past three years, I have heard many questions. And just when I think I've heard it all, something new comes up. I may not have all the answers yet, but if you keep calling in, someday I will!
Probably the most common statement I hear from customers is "I feel dumb for asking" and my response to this is don't. Just because you don't know the answer to the issue that plagues your computer, you should not feel dumb. Computers are an ever changing industry that you, the end user, are not able to keep up with. That's what we get paid for. Without your questions, our local unemployment line would be a little bit longer than it is now. Keep using your computers.
Keep playing until you break something. Keep calling us when you can't figure out how to fix what you broke. We are happy to help each and every one of you. If we don't know the answer, we can at least point you in the right direction to find the answer!