Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I get my ACP benefits paid to me directly?
No, your ACP benefit is paid directly to your internet service provider once you give the provider your ACP application ID.
When did the ACP program start?
The ACP program launched on December 31, 2021, and provides $30 monthly payment assistance for high-speed internet to qualifying households. Households on eligible Tribal lands receive $75/month through this FCC internet subsidy.
Does ACP provide free government internet service?
For qualifying households, the ACP will provide an FCC-sponsored benefit of $30/month (or $75 for households on Tribal lands). That ACP benefit is applied to your monthly internet charges. If your monthly plan charge is $30 or below (or $75 or below for the Tribal benefit), your internet may end up being free. The term “free government internet service” is not completely accurate, however, as the internet providers are private. The federal government is providing payment assistance to private ISPs.
Does Social Security count as income for the Affordable Connectivity Program?
Income that counts toward your annual gross income for the ACP includes salary, social security benefits, unemployment, pensions, public assistance benefits, veterans’ benefits, workers’ compensation, alimony, child support, lottery winnings, gifts, and inheritances.
What is the ACP laptop program or ACP tablet program?
You can get one-time support of $100 off the purchase of a tablet, laptop, or other digital device if you qualify for the ACP. You must purchase the device through a participating provider, and you must personally contribute between $10 and $50 toward the purchase price. In other words, your device must cost a maximum of $150.
Can I get both Lifeline and ACP benefits at the same time?
Yes, you can receive assistance from both Lifeline and the ACP program at the same time. If you already get the Lifeline benefit, you will automatically qualify for the ACP. You can use both benefits for the same internet service, or you can apply them to different services such as cell phone and internet.
What is the difference between the ACP and Lifeline programs?
The Lifeline program is much older than the ACP, having started in 1985. Lifeline was originally founded to provide phone service but can also now provide broadband assistance. The Lifeline benefit is $9.25/month payment assistance. To be eligible for Lifeline, households must be at or below 135% of the federal poverty level or qualify for certain other federal programs such as housing assistance or Medicaid.
The ACP program internet benefit provides $30/month for households at up to 200% of the poverty level, or with a household member who qualifies for certain other federal programs such as SNAP. Qualifying households on Tribal lands receive $75/month from this FCC internet subsidy. Eligible households also may receive $100 toward the purchase of a digital device through an ACP-participating provider.
How to Maximize the Benefits of the ACP
- Know your needs: You don’t want to pay for speed you don’t need. If you work or study from home, you may need faster internet with unlimited data or high data caps. If you mostly browse the web and use email, a slower plan with less data will work for you.
- Check your local options: Enter your zip code here at CompareInternet.com to see a detailed comparison of pricing and plans. You may get a better price from one ACP-participating provider than another.
- Track your internet usage: If your plan has data caps, be very careful not to exceed those caps, or you may face extra charges. Most providers will have an app or portal where you can check your current data usage.
What is a Wi-Fi extender and how does it work?
A Wi-Fi extender is a device that helps increase the coverage range of an existing Wi-Fi network. It works by receiving the Wi-Fi signal from the router, amplifying it, and rebroadcasting it to extend the network’s reach into areas with weak signal strength.
What is a Wi-Fi mesh system?
A Wi-Fi mesh system is a network system that uses multiple devices (nodes) to create a single, wide-area Wi-Fi network. A mesh system can help provide better coverage in large homes or spaces with Wi-Fi dead zones.
What is an Ethernet cable?
An Ethernet cable is a type of network cable used for wired networks. They connect devices on local area networks such as PCs, routers, and switches.
What is a network switch?
A network switch is a device that connects multiple devices on a computer network, using packet switching to receive, process, and forward data to the destination device.
How do I set up a network printer at home?
To set up a network printer at home, connect the printer to your home network using an Ethernet cable or on a Wi-Fi network. Install the printer drivers on your computer, ensuring they are compatible with your printer model. Your computer will then be able to detect and connect to the printer, allowing you to print documents over the network.
What is the difference between a modem and a router?
A modem and a router are separate but interconnected devices. A modem connects your home network to your internet service provider (ISP) and converts the incoming signal to a format that your devices can understand. A router connects multiple devices within your home network and allows them to communicate with each other and access the internet.
Privacy & Security
How do I secure my Wi-Fi network?
To secure your Wi-Fi network, set a strong, unique password, enable network encryption (preferably WPA3), change the default network name, and keep the router’s firmware updated.
What is a VPN and do I need one for my home internet?
A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is a service that encrypts your internet connection and routes it through a server before accessing the internet. It provides privacy and security by masking your IP address and encrypting your data. Whether you need a VPN for your home internet depends on your specific needs for privacy, security, and accessing geographically restricted content.
Internet Service Provider
How do I set up parental controls on my home network?
To set up parental controls on your home network, you can use the parental control features available in your router’s settings. Access your router’s settings through a web browser, locate the parental control section. You will be able to block specific websites or set up time limits for internet access for certain devices.
How do I set up a static IP address for a device on my home network?
To set up a static IP address for a device on your home network, access your router’s settings through a web browser. Locate the DHCP or LAN settings section and find the option for assigning static IP addresses. Enter the MAC address or select the device you want to assign a static IP to, and specify the desired IP address. Save the settings, and the device will use the assigned static IP address on your home network.
How do I cancel my home internet service?
To cancel your home internet service, contact your internet service provider (ISP) and inform them of your intent to cancel. They will guide you through the cancellation process, which may involve returning any rented equipment and settling any outstanding balances. Be sure you know about any early termination fees if you are on a contract. Document any communication for reference.
What is a data cap and how does it affect my internet usage?
A data cap is a limit set by your internet service provider (ISP) on the amount of data you can upload or download within a given billing cycle. If you exceed this limit, your ISP may charge you extra fees or throttle your internet speeds. Not every ISP requires data caps: many providers offer unlimited data..
What is the average internet speed for residential users?
The average internet speed for residential users can vary depending on your region. In general, speeds can range from a few megabits per second (Mbps) to hundreds of Mbps for download and upload speeds. Here at CompareInternet.com, we’ll show you specific internet plans available to you so you can determine the speeds available in your area.
How do I switch internet service providers?
Switching internet providers depends on location and providers, but generally you follow the following steps:
- Research available ISPs in your area and compare their plans and pricing.
- Contact your current ISP to inquire about contract terms, cancellation fees, and disconnection procedures.
- Sign up for the new ISP’s service and schedule the installation or activation.
- Coordinate the cancellation of your current ISP’s service, ensuring there is no overlap.
- Set up your new ISP’s equipment and configure your network settings.
- Test your new internet connection to ensure it is working properly.
What is the best internet service provider in my area?
The best internet service provider (ISP) in your area depends on your location and the options available in your region. Here at CompareInternet.com, you can find ISPs in your area, read customer reviews, compare pricing and plans, and consider factors like reliability and customer service reputation to determine the best ISP for your needs.
Can I use my own modem and router with my internet service?
Yes, in many cases, you can use your own modem and router with your internet service. However, it depends on the policies of your internet service provider (ISP) and the compatibility of the devices.
Why is my Wi-Fi slow?
Many factors can lead to slow Wi-Fi, including signal interference, distance from the router, the number of devices connected, and the speed of your Internet connection.
How can I improve my Wi-Fi signal at home?
You can improve your Wi-Fi signal by moving the router to a central location, minimizing obstructions, switching to a less congested channel, or using a Wi-Fi range extender.
What is a good Internet speed for home use?
A good Internet speed typically depends on your activities. For basic browsing, a minimum of 1-5 Mbps may do, for HD video streaming, aim for 5-25 Mbps. Online gaming or streaming in 4K would require speeds above 25-100 Mbps.
How do I set up a home network with a NAS (Network Attached Storage)?
To set up a home network with a NAS (Network Attached Storage), connect the NAS device to your home network using an Ethernet cable or via Wi-Fi. Install any required software provided by the NAS manufacturer and configure the device’s settings, such as creating shared folders and setting access permissions. Once set up, you can access the NAS from other devices on your network to store and retrieve files.
How do I connect my smart home devices to my Wi-Fi network?
To connect smart home devices to your Wi-Fi network, follow the device-specific instructions provided by the manufacturer. Usually, you need to download the companion app for the device, power on the device, and use the app to initiate the setup process. You may need to connect to the smart home device’s temporary Wi-Fi network and provide your home Wi-Fi network credentials for it to join your network.
How do I extend my home network to a different floor of my home?
To extend your home network to a different floor, you can use range extenders or a mesh Wi-Fi system. Range extenders amplify the Wi-Fi signal from your router and rebroadcast it to extend the coverage area. A mesh Wi-Fi system consists of multiple interconnected routers that create a seamless network throughout your home, providing extended coverage and better performance.
How do I share files between devices on my home network?
To share files between devices on your home network, enable file sharing on the devices you want to share files with. You can do this through the operating system’s settings. Once file sharing is enabled, access shared files by navigating to the network or sharing section on your device and selecting the desired files or folders.
How can I prioritize certain devices on my home network?
To prioritize certain devices on your home network, access your router’s settings through a web browser. Look for Quality of Service (QoS) or device prioritization options. Enter the MAC address or IP address of the device you want to prioritize and assign it a higher priority level. A prioritized device receives preferential treatment for bandwidth allocation.
How do I set up a wired connection in my home network?
To set up a wired connection in your home network, you need an Ethernet cable and available Ethernet ports on your router and devices. Connect one end of the Ethernet cable to the Ethernet port on your device, and the other end to an available Ethernet port on your router. The device will automatically establish a wired connection with access to your home network and the internet.
How do I set up a home network with multiple routers?
To set up a home network with multiple routers, you can configure them in either a cascading or mesh network setup. In cascading, connect the secondary router to the primary router using an Ethernet cable and configure it as an access point. In a mesh network, use multiple routers that support mesh Wi-Fi and follow the manufacturer’s instructions to set up the network, typically through a mobile app.
Why is my Internet slow even though my Wi-Fi signal is strong?
Slow internet even with strong Wi-Fi can be caused by issues with your Internet Service Provider, a slow DNS server, or problems with the device you’re using.
Why does my Wi-Fi keep dropping?
Wi-Fi dropping can be due to various factors such as router issues, signal interference, outdated hardware or firmware, or problems with your service provider.
How do I set up a mesh Wi-Fi network at home?
To set up a mesh Wi-Fi network at home, you typically need a mesh Wi-Fi system that includes multiple interconnected routers. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to set up the mesh system, usually through a mobile app. The process generally involves connecting the primary router to your modem, adding secondary routers in desired locations, and using the app to configure the network settings. The routers will work together to create a seamless Wi-Fi network with extended coverage throughout your home.
How do I block certain websites on my home Wi-Fi network?
To block certain websites on your home Wi-Fi network, you can use the parental control or website filtering features available in your router’s settings. Access your router’s settings through a web browser, locate the parental control or website filtering section, and add the URLs of the websites you want to block. Save the settings, and those websites will be blocked for all devices connected to your Wi-Fi network.
How can I troubleshoot a slow Wi-Fi connection?
To troubleshoot a slow Wi-Fi connection, try the following steps:
- Restart your router and modem.
- Move closer to the router to ensure a strong signal.
- Check for interference from other electronic devices.
- Update your router’s firmware.
- Limit the number of connected devices.
- Use a wired connection for bandwidth-intensive tasks.
- Contact your internet service provider if the issue persists.
What is a guest Wi-Fi network and how do I set one up?
A guest Wi-Fi network is a separate network on your router that allows guests to connect to the internet without accessing your main network. It provides an additional layer of security by isolating guests from your local devices. To set up a guest network, access your router’s settings, navigate to the wireless settings, and enable the guest network feature. Configure the network name, password, and any other desired settings, then save the changes.
How do I check my Wi-Fi speed?
You can check your Wi-Fi speed by using our online speed test.
How can I limit the number of devices connected to my Wi-Fi?
To limit the number of devices connected to your Wi-Fi network, you can enable MAC address filtering on your router. Each device has a unique MAC address, and by adding the MAC addresses of the devices you want to allow, you can restrict access to only those devices. Access your router’s settings, locate the MAC address filtering option, and follow the instructions to add the desired devices.
What is the best Wi-Fi channel for my router?
The best Wi-Fi channel for your router can vary depending on congestion and interference in your area. You can use a Wi-Fi analyzer tool to scan for the least congested channels and select one that is not heavily used by other nearby networks. Using a less-congested channel can help reduce interference and improve your Wi-Fi performance.
How do I connect a new device to my Wi-Fi network?
To connect a new device to your Wi-Fi network, go to the device’s network settings and look for available Wi-Fi networks. Select your network from the list, enter the Wi-Fi password when prompted, and wait for the device to establish a connection. Once connected, the device will be able to access the internet and other devices on the network.
How do I find my Wi-Fi network’s SSID?
The SSID (network name) of your Wi-Fi network is usually printed on your router or provided in the documentation that came with it. You can also find it by accessing your router’s settings through a web browser. Enter the router’s IP address in the browser’s address bar, log in using the admin credentials, and navigate to the wireless settings. The SSID will be displayed there.
How do I change my Wi-Fi password?
To change your Wi-Fi password, you need to access your router’s settings either through your ISP’s app or through a web browser. If using a browser, enter the router’s IP address into the browser’s address bar, log in using the admin credentials (usually found on the router itself or in the manual), and navigate to the wireless settings. Look for the password or security key option and change it to your desired password. Save the settings, and your Wi-Fi password will be updated.
What is the range of a typical Wi-Fi router?
The range of a typical Wi-Fi router can vary depending on factors like the router’s power, antenna design, and environmental interference. In general, a standard Wi-Fi router can cover a range of around 100 to 150 feet indoors. This coverage area can be extended with range extenders or mesh Wi-Fi systems.
How do I set up a Wi-Fi network at home?
To set up a Wi-Fi network at home, you need a wireless router. Connect the router to your modem using an Ethernet cable, power on the devices, and access the router’s settings through a web browser. Configure the network settings, including the SSID (network name) and password, and connect your devices to the Wi-Fi network using the provided credentials.
How do I reset my router?
Generally, you can reset your router by finding the reset button (usually a small hole). Use a pin or paperclip to press and hold the button for about 10-15 seconds until the router restarts.
How can I monitor my home network traffic?
You can monitor your home network traffic by using network monitoring tools for insights on bandwidth usage, connected devices, and potential security threats.
How can I increase my home Internet speed?
You can try moving closer to your Wi-Fi router, disconnecting devices that aren’t in use, using a wired connection, or upgrading your Internet plan.
Internet & Wifi Basics
What does “SSID” stand for?
SSID stands for Service Set Identifier. The SSID refers to the name of your Wi-Fi network that you see when connecting a device.
What is latency in internet connectivity?
Latency, often referred to as “ping”, is the amount of time it takes for data to travel from one point to another. In internet terms, it’s usually the delay between the request of data and the response.
What is a firewall and why is it important?
A firewall is a security system that monitors and controls incoming and outgoing network traffic based on predetermined security rules. A firewall is important as a first line of defense against cyber threats.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of wireless networks?
Advantages include ease of installation, mobility, and the elimination of cables. Disadvantages can include slower speeds compared to wired connections, potential security risks, and interference issues.
What is an IP address?
An IP address (Internet Protocol address) is a unique address that computing devices use to identify and communicate with each other on a computer network.
What does “Mbps” mean?
Mbps stands for Megabits per second. It’s a measure of data transfer speed. The higher the number, the faster the Internet connection.
What is the difference between 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Wi-Fi?
These are two different Wi-Fi frequencies. The 2.4 GHz band has a longer range but slower speed, while the 5 GHz band provides faster speed but has a shorter range. Many modern routers offer both for you to choose based on your needs.
What is bandwidth in home networking?
Bandwidth refers to the maximum amount of data that can be transmitted over an Internet connection in a given amount of time. It is usually measured in megabits per second (Mbps) or gigabits per second (Gbps).
What is the difference between public and private IP addresses?
Public IP addresses are used on the internet and can be accessed over the internet. Private IP addresses are used within private networks and cannot be accessed over the internet.
What is a MAC address?
A MAC (Media Access Control) address is a unique identifier assigned to a network interface controller for use as a network address in communications within a network segment.
What is IPv6?
IPv6 (Internet Protocol version 6) is the most recent version of the Internet Protocol. It is designed to replace IPv4 and addresses the issue of IP address exhaustion.
What is a subnet mask?
A subnet mask is used in IP networking to divide an IP address into network and host portions. It helps determine which part of an IP address denotes the network and which part denotes the machine.
What is port forwarding and when would I use it?
Port forwarding is a method of making a computer on your home network accessible to computers on the Internet, even though it is behind a router. It is commonly used for gaming, running a web server, or for some types of video conferencing.
What is a static IP address?
A static IP address is an IP address that doesn’t change, as opposed to a dynamic IP address which changes every time you connect to the network.
What is QoS in home networking?
QoS stands for Quality of Service. QoS is a feature on some routers that allows you to prioritize certain applications (like video streaming or VoIP) over others to improve performance.
What is a good ping speed?
A good ping speed is under 20 milliseconds for online gaming and under 100 milliseconds for most other internet tasks.
What is the difference between Wi-Fi and the internet?
The internet is a global network of interconnected computer networks that enables the exchange of information worldwide. Wi-Fi is a wireless technology that allows devices to connect to a local network or the internet without cables. Wi-Fi provides the means to access the internet wirelessly.
How does Wi-Fi work?
Wi-Fi works by transmitting data through radio waves. A Wi-Fi-enabled device such as a smartphone or computer communicates wirelessly with a router. The router receives and sends data between the device and the internet or other devices within the local network.
What is Wi-Fi?
Wi-Fi is a wireless networking protocol that devices use to communicate without direct cable connections. Wi-Fi is an essential component of the way we use our digital devices. You can get Wi-Fi in public hotspots or from your home Wi-Fi network set up by your router.