Work From Home trends for ISPs in 2022

Anticipating your subscribers' needs

With more and more people working from home (WFH), having efficient and reliable Wi-Fi has never been more crucial. Understanding current WFH trends will help Internet Service Providers (ISP) anticipate their subscribers’ needs and ultimately, provide the best possible service. 

The volume of Americans who work from home has dramatically increased since the onset of the pandemic. While it was merely a temporary adjustment for some, WFH has become a permanent practice for nearly half of the country’s workforce.  

According to Gartner, a technological research and consulting firm, 48% of employees will work remotely or follow a hybrid model in the post pandemic world. On a global scale, a 2022 study from Owl labs found that 62% of workers between the ages of 22 and 65 claim to work remotely at least occasionally. 

Your subscribers need Wi-Fi that can handle telecommunication demands 

Telecommunication services like Zoom, Slack, and RingCentral are integral to any business’s success in the WFH era. This is evident in the stark increase of video-based communication use. For example, at the end of 2019, Zoom only averaged 10 million daily users, but come mid-2020, the average amount of daily users shot up 300 million. 

Zoom became so ingrained in the day-to-day of America’s workforce that the New York Times listed “Zoom” as one of the phrases that defined 2020, and TIME listed “on mute” as one of 2020’s defining phrases, which denotes a person speaking while muted on a Zoom call. Long story short, Zoom and other video-based communication platforms are ubiquitous in the WFH era. 

So, what does this trend mean for ISPs? While it’s obvious that ISPs should ensure they’re offering Wi-Fi that can run the minimal rate of Mbps that video calls require, subscribers may not think to divulge all the necessary information. For instance, a subscriber who WFH may tell you they use Zoom daily but glance over the fact that they also need to run their browser to take notes or screen share during their calls. Getting these details from your subscribers is an important step to providing them with adequate connectivity while offering the lowest possible rates. 

The rise of the freelancers 

The pandemic not only catapulted America’s workforce out of the office and into their homes, but it also changed the landscape of employment. In fall of last year, Forbes reported that more than 59 million Americans had performed freelance work that year. That means that more than one-third of working citizens are independent contractors, most of whom rely on the internet for their labor.  

The bulk of these freelancers (75%) are artists. What does that mean for ISPs? Of course, most creative design software programs, like any one of Adobe’s applications, don’t require internet to operate. However, most freelancers have to upload their completed projects online in order to deliver them and ultimately get paid. That means that any freelancer working from home will require fast uploading times (unless they want to wait 22 hours for their Premiere Pro project to upload to Google Drive). 

On the flip side, high downloading speeds are equally important for freelancers. Creative applications periodically need to update, and it’s not uncommon for freelancers to collaborate on projects, which can require downloading files.  

Vilo Living for ISPs 

Understanding your subscriber’s specific needs is essential to providing unparalleled internet service. If you’re looking for a way to provide consistent Wi-Fi throughout a subscriber’s home so that they can work from their couch or their kitchen, Vilo Living’s Wi-Fi Mesh System is the most affordable mesh system on the market.  

Vilo Living’s ISP Portal allows ISPs to quickly check to see which devices are using the most bandwidth, which will come in handy if you have a subscriber trying to do freelance work in a home with Fortnite-playing kids. The Portal also gives you network insights so you can resolve certain issues without a truck roll. To learn more about how Vilo Living can help you accelerate your business, click here.  

Anticipating your subscribers’ needs in 2022 – Vilo Living’s Wi-Fi Mesh System

Five common misconceptions about home connectivity  

Five common misconceptions about home connectivity

Let’s say it’s five o’clock on a weekday—everyone’s home from work or school. To decompress, you all reach for your Wi-Fi devices of choice. But with everyone online all at once, the connection starts faltering. HBO Max keeps pausing to buffer, the PS5 game is lagging, and nothing’s loading on Instagram. In a scenario like this, the solution may not be to buy a more expensive router or pay for the fastest internet speed available. Every household’s internet needs will vary and finding the right fit for your home can be confusing. To help clear things up, we’ve compiled a list of five common misconceptions about home connectivity. 

1. I need the fastest internet possible 

When it comes to internet speed, faster is arguably better, but paying for unnecessarily high internet speeds means throwing money away every month. Internet speed, the time it takes for data to transfer from a server to your device, is measured by megabits per second (Mbps). Five to 10 Mbps will typically give you a smooth viewing experience with YouTube or Netflix. But if you want to stream something in 4k or HDR, your internet will need to operate at a minimum of 15 – 25 Mbps.  

The best place to start is assessing how many Wi-Fi devices are in frequent use in your household and what kind of tasks they perform. From there, you can estimate an appropriate speed for your home and avoid overpaying for frivolous megabits per second.  

There are plenty of online resources that can help you decipher your household’s optimal internet speed, like highspeedinternet.com’s “What is a good internet speed?” chart. 

2. A more expensive router means better connectivity 

And that brings us to the next common misconception: A more expensive router means better connectivity. Of course, this principle of higher prices equating to better services has never been a good rule of thumb, but especially not when it comes to internet services.  

If you’re getting the appropriate internet speed to your household and are still having issues with connectivity, a more expensive router won’t fix it, but a Wi-Fi Mesh system will. A Wi-Fi Mesh system uses several wirelessly connected routing devices to broadcast a Wi-Fi signal throughout an entire home. This consistent spread of signal eliminates dead spots and lets you roam free without having to connect to a different network or resort to using cell data. 

When it comes to Wi-Fi Mesh systems, Vilo Living is the best in the business, offering an excellent mesh system at an affordable cost. The Vilo App is also ideal for household connectivity as it lets users monitor their devices, has an intuitive parental control feature, and more.  

common misconceptions about home connectivity
Vilo Living’s Wi-Fi Mesh system eliminates dead spots and allows you to roam free.

3. My device won’t connect so it must be a problem with my internet  

Since routers represent the only physical manifestation of internet in your home, it’s easy to see them as the source of all connectivity-related problems. Another one of the common misconceptions about home connectivity for many internet users is that if their device won’t connect, it must be a problem with their internet. While there are scenarios where this might be the case, there are plenty potential issues you can resolve without having to contact your internet service provider (ISP). 

If you have a device that won’t connect to Wi-Fi, try focusing your efforts first on the device itself. Often the solution is as simple as turning the device off and back on. You can also reset your device’s network’s settings or have the device “forget” your Wi-Fi and reconnect a few seconds later.  

4. Bigger ISP brands means fewer complications 

Let’s face it, convenience sells. It’s why Starbucks made almost 30 billion USD last year—people don’t want the hassle of making their own cup of coffee. For consumers, the less complicated the better, and Wi-Fi is no exception. Many internet users don’t care to know what type of Wi-Fi they’re getting, and not even necessarily what speed—just as long as it works.  

That’s one of the reasons why so many internet users prefer ISPs they’re familiar with like COX, Comcast, and Xfinity. They know the name means they’ll get to watch Netflix and shop online. What many fail to consider, though, is that smaller ISPs offer the same, if not better network quality for more affordable prices.  

Perhaps the most appealing aspect of these smaller ISPs is that they offer more personable services. In other words, when you call your ISP with an internet issue, a real person will answer the phone. Forbes reported in 2019 that the majority of customers prefer speaking to a real person on the phone, as opposed to an automated assistant. While the prospect of having a personable internet service experience may be new to you, it will be a welcomed change of pace. 

5. All Wi-Fi is the same 

For many people, Wi-Fi is a mysterious invisible force that connects their devices to the cyberworld, so it’s understandable when someone assumes that all Wi-Fi is the same. But in reality, Wi-Fi signals come in the form of 2.4 Ghz and 5 Ghz frequency bands. Wi-Fi networks use either of these frequencies to transmit data between routers and smart devices. 

The most common Wi-Fi frequency band is 2.4 Ghz. The only problem is that other devices in your home, like your microwave or television remote control, often use this same frequency which can interfere with your connectivity.  

Wi-Fi operating with 5 Ghz frequency bands was developed to overcome this interference problem, but there’s still a list of pros and cons between the two frequencies. For instance, the 2.4 Ghz frequency has a wider range than the 5 Ghz, but the 5 Ghz is significantly faster.  

Any way you want to spin it, though, the Vilo Wi-Fi Mesh system provides the best of both worlds with its simultaneous dual band design. So if you’re still unsure which kind of Wi-Fi is best for you, you can be reassured that you’re getting the best of both options with Vilo Living.  

Still, in some extreme instances where Wi-Fi may be insufficient, you might need hard-wired internet connection, otherwise known as “Ethernet.” While Wi-Fi and Ethernet have their pros and cons, the bottom line is that Ethernet is more reliable and will transfer data from the internet to a computer faster than Wi-Fi. So, if you’re a professional online gamer and can’t risk losing connection even for a second, having hard-wired Ethernet connection might be the best option.  

Get the internet that’s right for you 

Every household’s internet needs vary. For some, connectivity is simply a means to an end, for others, their livelihood depends on it. Whatever the case may be, clearing up these misconceptions about home connectivity is a great first step to understanding your unique internet needs and, ultimately, getting the internet service that’s right for you. 

How can a customer-facing app improve your subscriber’s experience? 

Thanks to the Vilo App, your subscribers can enjoy a sophisticated level of control over their Mesh Wi-Fi experience. From parental controls to usage reports, the Vilo App empowers subscribers to a degree previously unattainable in the Mesh Wi-Fi system market. And the more control the subscribers have over their network, the less Internet Service Providers (ISP) have to worry about. Before jumping into all the app’s eyebrow-lifting features, though, take a moment to consider the ever-growing appeal of mobile apps in general. 

On a global scale, over 230 billion mobile apps were downloaded worldwide in 2021, an almost 40% increase compared to 2016’s 140 billion downloads. And with the global market for smart home devices (home devices that connect to an app) projected to reach USD 11.7 billion by 2028, it’s clear that apps that make home life more convenient are of particular interest to users. 

Thanks to the Vilo App, ISPs can offer their subscribers a convenient and hassle-free way for them to take more control over their home’s Wi-Fi. Let’s take a look at some of the specific reasons why your subscribers will love the Vilo App. 

Parental Controls 

The Vilo App’s “Parental Control” feature is a great way for subscribers to ensure that their children are safe while surfing the net. With this feature, your subscribers can:

  • Set schedules for each day or week to control their online usage.
  • Blacklist any adult sites they do not want their child to visit or stumble upon.
  • Enable and disable internet access for their children’s devices.

Guest Wi-Fi 

Another beneficial aspect of the Vilo App is the “Guest Wi-Fi” feature. It allows users to set up a separate SSID and password. Create a guest network to share with friends and family when they come to visit or have a separate network set up for certain devices. You don’t have to remember to turn it off with the option to set network duration. 

Keep Track of Devices 

The Vilo App keeps track of your subscriber’s devices in real-time. From the app, they can see which devices are connected and if any have gone offline. This feature is ideal for households with multiple devices and any user looking for increased control over their devices and Wi-Fi network. 

Block Stranger’s Devices 

The Vilo App lets you block any suspicious device, so your subscribers can worry less about cyber criminals looking to steal personal information. Users can block them immediately when they identify an online trespasser. Bottom line: the Vilo App empowers subscribers to take control of the security of their Wi-Fi. 

Usage Report 

The Vilo App’s “Usage Report” feature shows your subscribers the usage data for their overall Wi-Fi network as well as for individual connected devices. The fact that users will be able to see today’s, this week’s, and this month’s usage data will make them feel like a genuine sense of ownership over their network. 

Custom SSID and Password 

Do you ever get subscribers calling you begging you to change their Wi-Fi Network’s name and password as soon as possible? Maybe they just broke up and they don’t want their ex to know their Wi-Fi information. Maybe a nosy roommate discovered their information and now they want to change it. Whatever the case, Vilo’s App allows subscribers to change their network’s SSID and password with ease—no phone calls required. 

Put the World in Your Subscribers’ Hands 

Wi-Fi is a critical part of the lives of millions. In the US, for example, 97% of Americans use the internet. And as more and more are relying on smart home devices, as was previously mentioned, internet users are looking for a way to take charge of their own signals. Offer your subscribers control over their internet with the easy-to-use Vilo app. Empower your subscribers with the Wi-Fi autonomy available only with Vilo Living. 

What is Wi-Fi Interference and How to Work Around it?  

Angry woman staring at the router

Who doesn’t need Wi-Fi in this modern era where we use the internet for our day-to-day tasks such as shopping, watching TV, and looking up weather updates and directions for a place?  

With the advancement of technology, we use smart home devices for everything. Good Wi-Fi connectivity has become a basic need for life only next to air, water, food, clothing, and shelter.  

With a surge in video streaming (SVoD) compounding at 8.89% annually, there is a need for an affordable, reliable, and seamless Wi-Fi network that is capable of handling multiple devices. 

But all Wi-Fi issues are not device-related, or firmware related. No or Slow internet can also arise by having some devices that are close to your network.  

In other words, you should be able to attend a video call on Zoom while your kids upload a video of their project on YouTube and your wife should be able to watch movies on Netflix simultaneously.  

Signs of Wi-Fi Interference   

The following cues indicate the presence of external signals which impedes the performance of your Wi-Fi network:   

  • Low signal strength even if you bring your phone or laptop near the broadcast device   
  • Slow transfers of files between computers if done through Wi-Fi   
  • Frequent disconnection   
  • Slower internet   
  • Not able to pair with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi gadgets   

Reasons behind Wi-Fi Interference:   

Below are the possible factors for Wi-Fi interference at your location:   

Nearby Wi-Fi Networks   

When there are many networks around your apartment, this puts the capacity of wireless at risk. Wireless networks use two frequency bands – 2.4 and 5 GHz. 802.11b/g wireless networks operate on the 2.4 GHz band, 802.11a networks on the 5 GHz band and 802.11n networks on both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands. 

If the wireless adapter installed on your PC/laptop/tablet/smartphone is intended for the USA (e.g., in Apple devices), you can only use channels from 1 to 11 on it. So if you set the channel number to 12 or 13 (and if the channel selection algorithm automatically selected one of them), the wireless client (iPad/iPhone) will not see the access point. You need to manually set the channel number from 1 to 11 in this case. 

Physical Obstructions   

You must have discovered that the no-signals issue persists at certain corners of your area. Due to physical hindrances, Wi-Fi signals stop reaching your device. These hindrances may include wood, mirror, metal, synthetic material, bricks, marble, glass, water, and concrete. You will be surprised to know that even TV is another major cause of weak Wi-Fi signals.  

Microwaves   

Surprisingly, microwaves intrude with Wi-Fi like other wireless devices because they work on the 2.4GHz spectrum. Specifically, the less expensive or older model microwave is more likely to interrupt Wi-Fi performance. Thus, you may encounter internet interruptions when the microwave is plugged in.  

Satellite Dishes   

When satellites have incorrect, old, or deteriorating wiring, chances are there that they might leak or render signal interference in the area.  

Monitors and Displays   

Some displays radiate harmonic interference—particularly between channels 14 and 11 within the 2.4 GHz band.   

Refrigerators   

Refrigerators can act as a barrier regardless of the ice around them. These motors are attached inside the fridge and can interrupt the Wi-Fi signals, thus leading to slow internet and frequent disconnection of Wi-Fi.   

Hearing Aids   

Hearing apparatuses also can act as a barrier. When anyone with a hearing aid living around reaches within a range of a wireless broadcasting device disrupts the signal.   

Aquariums and Christmas Tree Lights   

Aquariums and Christmas tree lights often operate in frequencies that stagger Wi-Fi signals. When frequencies match, they usually overlap and cancel out each other. Therefore, they are the primary cause of Wi-Fi signal interference and disrupted internet connection.  

Cordless Wi-Fi Phones   

In general, a cordless phone operates on a 2.4GHz range. Whenever the phone rings or anyone talks on the phone, you may face Wi-Fi interference. Keep in mind that this disruption is only because of the Wi-Fi multiplicity. However, DECT (Digitally enhanced cordless) phones are not affected.  

Bluetooth   

Wireless Bluetooth devices such as keyboards, headsets, mice, etc., can interrupt Wi-Fi signals. The technology used by Bluetooth is known as frequency hopping which skips a 2.4 GHz band more than 1600 times per second. Bluetooth devices reach the frequency range of another device with a Wi-Fi connection. Thus, it can create delays and damage some of the Wi-Fi traffic.   

How to Resolve Wi-Fi Interference?  

Now that you know the causes of Wi-Fi interference, you may look for its solutions. Following are some tips that would be helpful: 

  1. Unplug the devices and kitchen appliances when you are not using them.   
  1. Do not use too many wireless devices at the same time.   
  1. Consider using a different wireless band or multiple wireless frequencies. It is advisable to use the newer 5 GHz Wi-Fi frequency not used in various congested areas.   

The 5Hz frequency can carry more data and therefore provide faster speeds. However, routers that can broadcast 5Hz frequencies are expensive.   

  1. Upgrade your firmware to the latest version. Upgrade your device to the latest Wi-Fi technology (newer technologies and configurations can avoid the susceptibility of earlier solutions). 
  1. Avoid placing wireless access points, such as routers behind or near the TV, fish tanks, and Christmas lights.   
  1. Do not place the Wi-Fi broadcasting device near the fridge.   
  1. Do not place your Wi-Fi device next to hard walls made of concrete or metal. 
  1. Choose the design of a Wi-Fi network wisely because it has a lasting impact on the capability and coverage.   
  1. Make sure within your space that the electrical fittings are set properly.  Poor electrical connections result in broad RF range emissions. 

In a Nutshell   

Wi-Fi interference can become a big nuisance as it impacts your productivity and often puts you in trouble. Being aware of your surroundings and taking possible precocious measures helps to overcome poor Wi-Fi strength due to interference. As your needs grow it may be time to upgrade your devices and use an internet package that delivers more total speed for all your devices. Reach further using a Mesh Wi-Fi system and replace your routers that will intelligently route traffic back to your modem providing complete home coverage in a single Wi-Fi network that reaches everywhere you need.  Improving the Wi-Fi coverage requires more Wi-Fi access points spread out in each room of the home. This gives your Wi-Fi enough strength to penetrate the network via the Vilo Mesh system.  

To get affordable, seamless and secure Wi-Fi coverage, get Vilos and plug them into your modem or talk to your ISP for installation.

How The Construction of Your Home Affects Your Wi-Fi 

When analyzing their Wi-Fi needs and looking for ways to improve speeds, few people think to look at the construction of their home. It is a little-known fact that the construction of your home greatly impacts your Wi-Fi signal throughout the home. Whether you are looking to enhance your home Wi-Fi or weighing the benefits of a home remodel, there are several factors to consider when it comes to Wi-Fi and how your home is constructed.  

Housing Materials and Wi-Fi Issues 

Concrete  

If you currently have concrete walls in your home, you no doubt know the struggles that come along with them. Concrete and Wi-Fi do not play well together, concrete completely hinders Wi-Fi’s ability to move and makes it difficult to get a strong Wi-Fi signal throughout a home. When a signal cannot pass through the walls there are few ways to get it to penetrate throughout your home. It does not matter how good the Wi-Fi is coming into your home, the further you get away from the router the weaker your signal is going to get, and while this is true of all homes, those made of concrete take this to the next level.  

Brick  

Brick walls are very similar to concrete walls and how Wi-Fi travels through them. Brick does not play well with Wi-Fi and blocks a lot of the signal from passing through. Although brick is a popular home construction material, especially in colder climates, it makes for a more difficult home Wi-Fi setup. The homeowner will most likely need several mesh routers strategically placed around the home to get good coverage. While more involved, with a mesh Wi-Fi system even the most difficult of home designs can have good Wi-Fi coverage with a mesh Wi-Fi system.  

Drywall 

In contrast to concrete and brick walls, drywall plays very well with Wi-Fi. Drywall does not block the pathway of Wi-Fi signals; in contrast, it lets a good amount of the Wi-Fi signal pass through. The percentage of Wi-Fi lost while passing through the walls is minimal and you will still be able to get a decent Wi_Fi signal. This of course still depends on  

However, one more element affects Wi-Fi signals even more. When your drywalls are unnecessarily thick, they cause Wi-Fi issues. Wi-Fi signals do not pass through them quickly thus leading to slow Wi-Fi speeds.

Wood 

Wooden floors, walls, and structures in homes are very common. While not as drastic as the aforementioned material types, wood still has an effect on Wi-Fi signals. A thin wood will most likely not have a noticeable effect on your Wi-Fi. However, you might see slow Wi-Fi speeds when the wood used is thicker  

The Solution  
 
While the construction of your home can slow inhibit your Wi-Fi speeds it is not the end of the world, a mesh Wi-Fi system is the best way to combat this. A mesh Wi-Fi System is the best way to ensure stable Wi-Fi signals all-around your home no matter the size and can help fight against the materials blocking signals. It may be more involved, but with a mesh Wi-Fi system, even the most difficult of home designs can have good Wi-Fi coverage with a mesh Wi-Fi system. 

Why A Mesh Wi-Fi System is Better Than an Extender 

Nowadays, people are often replacing their Wi-Fi extenders with Mesh Wi-Fi systems, and the question is, “why?” 

A Wi-Fi extender and a Mesh Wi-Fi system are similar in that they both work to enhance the Wi-Fi signal in a user’s home. They aim to strengthen and enhance the quality of Wi-Fi signals. However, Mesh Wi-Fi Systems are becoming increasingly popular due to their quality and added features. 

We did an in-depth analysis of both Mesh Systems and Extenders to give you further insight.  


 Looking for better wi-fi signals

Wi-Fi Extenders 

A Wi-Fi Extender acts as a booster for your already installed Wi-Fi router. It broadcasts the signal to other parts of your home. Wi-Fi extenders are also cheap and easily installable, however, there are some drawbacks as well.  
 

Drawbacks Of Wi-Fi Extenders 

  • Network Switching 

When using an extender, your network appears as two different networks rather than one. Moreover, the device keeps switching between the networks frequently while you’re roaming around the house. At times you may need to manually switch to another network, this can be inconvenient if on a call or teleconference at the time.  
 

  • More Suitable for Small Housing Only  

Wi-Fi Extenders don’t typically help if you live in a larger home. For instance, you’d most likely need to have multiple extenders to get coverage to all areas of your home meaning you’d have multiple different networks and would be constantly changing to different networks.  

  • No Added Features  

A Wi-Fi Extender is just that, an extender and nothing more. It gives the user no added features or controls over their network.  

All these weaknesses make Wi-Fi extenders less benefitting for users. That is why people are switching to Mesh Wi-Fi systems. 

Mesh Wi-Fi Systems 

Mesh Wi-Fi Systems are newer to the market but are growing rapidly in popularity. It consists of multiple routers installed at various places throughout a user’s home. These routers work together, wirelessly, to provide a blanket of Wi-Fi signal across the home. They can easily cover large areas in a consistent signal, and best of all they work together on one network so there is no need to change networks at any point, regardless of where you are in the home.  

While a Mesh Wi-Fi system is typically more expensive than an extender, it usually comes with added features as well. 
 

Advantages Of Mesh WiFi System 

  • No Switching 

Your connected devices will automatically switch to the nearest router and keep a strong consistent signal to your device with no inconvenience to the user.  

  • Cover Large Areas in Wi-Fi  

Multiple Wi-Fi points make it possible for you to have a reliable Wi-Fi signal across a larger area. For example, a Vilo 3-pack covers up to 4,500 square feet in Wi-Fi signal. You can go to any part of the house and use your devices with ease.  
 

  • Added Features 

A lot of Mesh Wi-Fi Systems come with additional features as well. For example, The Vilo Mesh Wi-Fi System comes with an easy-to-use app that gives users access to free Parental Controls, Guest Wi-Fi, and more.  
 

The Final Verdict 

Through this analysis, you can clearly see the benefits and reasons for choosing a Mesh Wi-Fi System over an Extender for your home network. With improved coverage, seamless connectivity, and added features, a Mesh Wi-Fi system is the solution your home Wi-Fi needs. Check out Vilo here to learn more about the most affordable Mesh Wi-Fi system.  
 

How Parental Controls Keep Your Family Safe

These days, the internet and smartphones are the need of the hour. From running businesses to conducting research and studies, reconciling legal or tax issues, or even keeping an eye on your healthy lifestyle and fitness problems, the internet touches nearly every aspect of our lives. And furthermore, our kids are using more smart gadgets in day-to-day tasks as well. But what happens when you do not have enough time to keep a check on what your children see on the internet? This is where the Parental Control tools from Vilo and others come into play to help you protect your family online.

With the help of these tools, Parents and guardians can manage what their kid surfs on the worldwide web. Parental control tools are great for screen time management, providing content blockers, or blocking entire websites. 

Of course, as a parent, you will still want to look carefully at everything they work on to know if you need a more effective way to disable some of the sites/apps or not. And before making any decisions, you first need to consider the maturity level and age of your kids to decide what they should avoid watching and what sites they must not access. 

How Parental Controls Ensure Online Safety

In this age where everything is open and accessible to every single user, the importance of online safety has increased. You may ask whether it is okay to allow your children to use the internet without any restrictions. The simple answer is no, the internet is not a safe space for our children, so we do need to take measures to ensure their safety online. Are parental control options useful for your family? Absolutely.

As per a study by Pew Research Center in 2019, 52 percent of parents rely on parental control options to limit access to individual sites. This research supports the fact that parental control features work favorably for parents. 

These tools enable healthy online practices in minor users and make you confident in protecting your devices and internal network. Besides controlling screen time and constraining explicit content, parental controls also minimize the chances of data stealing and cybercrime by keeping your minor or adult kid from accessing every other site prone to data breaches. 

Parental Control Tips:

  • If your child is a teenager, you can discuss with and help them understand the importance of parental control tools and how to be safe online where they are deemed responsible enough to be allowed.
  • Make sure you clearly label devices so that you know which smartphones and devices are used by your children in your household network and can effectively manage parental controls for these devices.
  • Try to ask children about their ‘online day’ naturally. You can bring this topic up when they tell you about their day at school.  
  • Keep in mind that children can circumvent numerous technical parental controls as there are a lot of guides on how to disable parental control tools.
  • Ultimately the greatest “tool” you have for making sure your child is safe online is a trusting relationship with your child so that they know what dangers to look out for and feel comfortable coming to you for help when they find something suspicious.
  • Be mindful that you only have access to the parental controls on your child’s devices. There is no guarantee that your child’s friends have these tools enabled on their devices as well. 

How to Enable Parental Controls on Different Apps

Here is a list of a few apps that give knowledge on enabling parental controls and ensuring online safety by using free tools on some apps and devices. 

  • iPhone Parental Controls

Prohibit specific apps and content. Establish screen time limits. If your children have their iPhones, add their devices to your ‘family’ by using the phone’s Screen Time settings. 

  • YouTube Safety Mode

The YouTube safety mode prevents mature content. Go to settings and hit the “Restricted Mode” to turn the on safety feature. 

Social Network Privacy Settings

If you allow your children to have social network accounts, you can always friend them through your own accounts and help them filter out who can and cannot follow them. You can also help your children set up their accounts and keep your child’s information and activity restricted to their friends only for additional privacy and security. Decide who can find your children on social media by opening social network account and applying appropriate settings.

Make sure you and your children know where the “Block User” and “Report” tools are and learn how to identify suspicious accounts that might try to get in contact with them, and how to identify suspicious accounts that post fake, inappropriate, or malicious content as well to help prevent them from following those accounts.

Parental Controls in Vilo Living 

With the Vilo Living app, you have the following options for parental controls for any devices while they are connected online within your home network. 

Allow Internet Access:

Allow or disallow internet access to selected devices. This feature allows parents to quickly turn off internet access for your children’s devices in the case of needing an immediate online time-out.

Schedule Off Time:

This option lets users schedule single or multiple periods when the selected device will not have internet access such as during studying or resting times. Hit the “Add a Schedule” button, modify the start and end times, and click “Okay”. 

Block Websites:

You can also block harmful sites in the Blocked Website section by clicking “Add a URL.”

5 Easy Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

Happy Earth Day from Vilo! Learn 5 new ways that you can reduce your carbon footprint and improve your quality of life!

Happy Earth Day!

We know what most other carbon footprint listicle suggestions are; eat beans instead of meat, bike more, stop buying so many clothes, turn down your thermostat, etc. But what if you already don’t eat much or any meat, work from home, score your fashion from more sustainable second-hand stores, and are actually really cold?

Here at Vilo we came up with 5 more ways that you can easily reduce your carbon footprint and even improve your quality of life.

1. Travel via VR

We get it. Our travel bucket list is long too. But the flights and taxi rides involved in international travel are not only expensive in terms of dollars, but carbon output as well. Slim down your dream destination list to the places that you truly care about experiencing in person, and visit everywhere else via VR! Oculus has a list of 11 VR Apps that can take you all around the world on guided tours from Tokyo to Kenya. And with many countries still not allowing international travelers, VR might be the only way you can wander around Harajuku for a while.

But you can wander wherever you want in your home and stay connected to the internet with the power of Vilo Mesh Wi-Fi.

2. Shop with a Carbon Offset Browser Extension

Neutral is a new startup that calculates your carbon footprint from online purchases at retailers such as Amazon. It’s an extremely easy way to see and immediately offset your impact on the environment.

3. Get an Electric Blanket

Did you know that electric blankets are vastly more energy-efficient than space heaters or even central heating? Not only will you save on your carbon footprint, but you will also see a clear difference on your next heating bill when you switch from using a space heater to an electric blanket to keep warm this year. Plus if you have a household where people have very different temperature comfort zones, even the household members without electric blankets will be happier.

4. Switch to Tone Changing Smart Bulbs

You’re probably already saving money and carbon by using LED lightbulbs, but do you have kids who always forget to turn lights off after they leave the room? Or do you have a lot of lamps that are just a little inconvenient to walk around and turn on and then turn off manually all the time? Smart bulbs such as LIFX A19 Mini Day and Dusks paired with home assistant speakers offer a huge quality of life improvement to virtually everyone. Easily control your home lighting from anywhere, set up fun phrases for mood lighting or night lights, and set lighting schedules that fit you and your family’s lifestyle.

And with Vilo, you can easily set up a Guest Network to keep your smart devices separate for added network security.

But how does this impact your carbon footprint besides being able to turn off the lights a little easier?

And why do they need to be tone changing specifically?

Let’s go down to the next item on this list- and the most impactful change you can make to not only the environment, but your quality of life and even health.

5. Get More Sleep

Seriously.

The easiest way to cut your carbon footprint is to get more sleep. And it’s incredibly beneficial to you as well.

Around the world including in the US, the difference in energy use between daytime and nighttime is huge. The Japanese Ministry of Environment found that 20% of Japan’s electricity is consumed within an hour of going to bed. But staying up late doesn’t come as a cost to only the environment. There is a huge health and economic cost as well to being sleep-deprived.

Even though the vast majority of Americans report wanting to get more sleep, insomnia and sleep problems are one of the most common health concerns. Over the last few years in particular, sales of melatonin have skyrocketed.

So what does this have to do with smart lights again?

You’ve probably heard that you should block blue light at night and may even have a red nighttime screen filter on your smartphone. Our brains have a little section called the pineal gland that controls our natural melatonin production based on the environmental light around us. This is why daylight makes us feel more alert and many people have Seasonal Affective Disorder.

With tone changing smart lights that can be scheduled to automatically shift from energizing blue-tinted white light to relaxing warm evening light, you are effectively reprogramming your own circadian rhythm. They really make going to bed early so easy. And if it’s easier to go to sleep even just an hour earlier, not only will that have a massive impact on your carbon footprint, but huge health and economic benefits.

We love re-watching The Office as much as anyone, but is one more episode before bed really worth it now?

Or if it’s your kids who are staying up late, just use Vilo Parental Controls to turn off the Wi-Fi to their devices at bedtime.

How To Improve Subscriber Experience With A Mesh Wi-Fi System

As an ISP you are most likely always looking for ways to better serve your customers. From improved connections and speeds to overall customer service experience, ensuring your customers are happy is a guaranteed way to ensure the success of your business. However, in order to improve your subscriber’s needs, you must first understand what those wants and needs are.

1 – Whole Home Coverage

These days people want to be connected in all corners of their homes, from the living room to the back corner office, people want to be connected. This is why whole-home coverage is essential for modern households. How do you accomplish this?

With a traditional single router, your customer’s home network is limited:

  • Limited signal coverage, single AP.
  • If using extenders, need to manually switch between networks.
  • Poor signal strength to support IoT devices. 

With a Mesh Wi-Fi system, these problems are quickly solved

  • A 3-pack of Vilos covers 4,500 sq ft
  • Seamless connection – no need to switch to another network
  • A 3-pack can connect up to 120 devices
  • Cost-effective (starts at $25 USD per router)

But that’s not all…

2 – Control Over Their Network and Settings

Most router setups don’t allow customers to have direct access to their network settings, let alone additional features such as parental controls and guest networks. Features such as these not only gives your customer further insight into their own network it is an additional selling point for the ISP. By offering add-on services ISPs are able to offer an enhanced service and often at an enhanced price.

With the Vilo App customers can easily:

  • Configure Parental Controls
  • Customize Wi-Fi access & set up Guest Wi-Fi
  • Manage connected devices & monitor usage
  • Change SSID & Password 
  • And more!

By how can you be one step ahead of the customer in network management?

3 – When Issues Arise, You (the ISP) Can Quickly Fix Them

The Vilo ISP Portal allows you to quickly & remotely troubleshoot network issues without having to do a truck roll.

You can:

  • Run speed tests
  • Reboot router
  • View signal strength & history
  • Detect channel interference & change channels
  • Push firmware upgrades
  • And so much more!

With a Vilo mesh Wi-Fi system, you can give your customer the ultimate home Wi-Fi experience while reducing your expenses and truck rolls.

Learn more about Vilo for ISPs here.

How Much Internet Do You Really Need?

We see ads for “fast internet” everywhere, but what is the difference between a 20 Mbps and a 200 Mbps internet package? You may be surprised to learn that you might not be able to notice the difference in speed at all, depending on your household size and average bandwidth use.

Since 2007, the average internet connection speed has gone from around 4 Mbps to 19 Mbsp. While both of those numbers might seem tiny, there is a massive difference in internet quality between these two points. But depending on how many household members like to watch Netflix on their SHD smart tvs at the same time, you might not notice a marked increase in quality after even 20 Mbps.

Why?

Mbps stands for “megabits per second” and typically refers to the total volume of data that you can either download or upload at any given second. If you’re trying to go beyond your bandwidth means, you’ll notice delays in page loading, frequent buffering stops on videos, and possibly won’t be able to show your face on video calls at all. This means you need as many Mbps as you can afford to get the best quality experience for all of these things, right? Nope.

Each webpage or app only contains a limited amount of data that needs to be transferred at any single moment. Netflix for example, recommends that to enjoy their shows and movies, you should have the following bandwidth:

Yes, you’re reading that right. You only need 15 Mbps of bandwidth to be able to enjoy UHD Netflix streaming. And this is one of the largest bandwidth hogs of the internet. But, if you were to have a 15 Mbps plan and then tried to run any other apps or do any other browsing at the same time as streaming a UHD show, you would notice dips in quality and extremely slow browsing. This is because you have reached your bandwidth capacity.

That means that if you have multiple household members who use data intensive applications such as Zoom, Netflix, TikTok, Facebook etc. at any given time, you would all probably benefit from having a plan that could accommodate everyone at your peak times.

And that’s just for download speed. Most plans barely even talk about their upload bandwidth, but if you are someone who makes a lot of video calls to family members or for work, or you want to have a side hustle as a Twitch streamer, you need to check the upload bandwidth capacity separately.

And even if you do have a 5 Gbps plan, if you have terrible ping times you’re still going to suffer from slow page loads or video buffering.

Ping time (also known as latency) is how long it physically takes for the data to transfer between the server and your device. This is arguably more impactful than bandwidth especially after around 25 Mbps, but is affected by physical distance as well as any devices (ex modem, router, extender, or mesh system) in between your screen and the original server where the data originates from. This is why having a good router and seamless Wi-Fi coverage throughout your home (such as with the Vilo Mesh Wi-Fi System) is critical to improving your internet experience.

You can check out how much your average bandwidth usage is at peak hours by checking the Vilo App!

Just go into your Network -> Usage Report (make sure reporting is turned on in the settings) ->select your Wi-Fi Network as a whole to look at in detail, and check out what the peak data usage hours are for today, or what it was in total for any day over the last week or month.

Note that this is reported in Mbph (Megabites per hour) in the day view, but you can come up with a rough estimate of how much bandwidth your household uses by just dividing that by 6 (this assumes you aren’t just flipping at lightning speed through 1 Mb pages every second, but rather every few minutes with some extra leeway for larger pages, streams, or applications).