1. What is Bandwidth?
  2. What can I do to lower my bandwidth usage?
  3. What is the difference between Static and Dynamic IP address?
  4. What is a firewall?
  5. What is a hub?
  6. What is a router?
  7. What is a static IP address?
  8. What is a VPN?
  9. What is a modem?
  10. What is an Intranet?
  11. What is Ethernet?
  12. What is a surge protector?
  13. What versions of Windows does ViaSat support?
  14. What versions of Internet Explorer does ViaSat support?

Q:  What is Bandwidth?

A:  If you think of the Internet as the information superhighway, bandwidth is how many lanes of traffic the Internet can handle. Bandwidth describes how much information can be sent over a connection at one time and is measured in megabits per second (Mbps).

There are several reasons a computer might use a large amount of bandwidth.  Some of these are:

  1. The machine has been compromised (broken in to—as with the recent SoBig virus)
  2. Peer-to-peer (P2P) applications like Kazaa are being used
  3. Graphics, movies, audio, video, or software are being downloaded
  4. A videoconferencing event is occurring
  5. Some Web applications are running (such as Real Player)

Your ISP monitors bandwidth to ensure the quality of your service. In order to make sure that all subscribers have the same opportunity for a good online experience, we monitor and control bandwidth use.  Controlling bandwidth also helps us control costs. Monitoring bandwidth also alerts us to network security breaches.  Use of a computer to scan other machines or as a file repository is reflected in a bandwidth spike.

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Q:  What can I do to lower my bandwidth usage?

A:  There are several ways to lower bandwidth usage. Here are a few examples:

  • Discourage users from joining peer-to-peer file sharing networks, such as Kazaa, BitTorrent and eDonkey. If users choose to join a network, disable the uploading (sharing) features of the network.
  • Limit the use of a web cam.
  • Limit downloads of full-length movies, software applications, games, large quantities of music, etc.
  • Limit the use of streaming audio or video, such as Internet Radio or YouTube
  • Limit the size of file attachments sent by email
  • Limit playing internet games
  • Check that all computers using the service run up-to-date anti-virus applications, and are routinely checked for spyware
  • If a wireless network shares the service, secure the wireless router from un-authorized use.

Don't operate a file, mail or web cam server (these items are not allowed by the Acceptable Use Policy)

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Q:  What is the difference between static and dynamic IP address?

A:  Proper IP addressing is essential for establishing communication between any two network elements. The fundamental rule is simple: every network element must have a unique IP address.

Network servers assign dynamic IP address on an as-needed basis; static IP addresses on a more permanent basis.

Most consumer internet service providers use dynamic IP addresses, including ViaSat

Q:  What is a firewall?

A:  A firewall is a computer that provides (through software or hardware or a combination of both) the ability to set rules for which computers can communicate to which computers, and the kind of messages they can pass to one another. Necessarily, every firewall must be able to act as a router. Generally speaking, the firewall will allow local computers to send anything out to the Internet, but severely restrict the kind of information that can come in. This is to prevent computers on the Internet (read hackers), from accessing your computers and printers. Firewalls can be configured to recognize computers on the Internet that should have access, and allow them to access computers and printers inside your private network. The most secure way to do this is using a VPN.

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Q:  What is a hub?

A:  A hub is just an intersection in the Ethernet network. There are also devices called bridges and switches that are similar to hubs. These devices can look at a message and decide which port(s) to send the message out on instead of sending it out everywhere. This can be used to reduce network congestion when a large number of computers are on a network.

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Q:  What is a router?

A:  A router is a simple computer that can direct traffic on the network. On the other side of the router, any message that was addressed to the router’s address would be passed in to the appropriate local computer; all other messages would be ignored. (You may be wondering how the router knows to which local computer a message should be addressed. The short answer is that each network card carries a worldwide unique Ethernet hardware address, and that this Ethernet address is what is actually used to route traffic. IP addresses are mapped to the hardware Ethernet address). Each router has at least two Ethernet network cards. Each network card is called an “interface”. Network cards with private addresses are private, internal interfaces, and those with public address are public, external interfaces.

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Q:  What is a static IP address?

A:  An IP address that remains the same each time a person logs on to the internet

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Q:  What is a VPN?

A:  A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is the most secure way to provide communication between computers on your private network and trusted computers across the Internet. There are three ways that your firewall can secure your VPN communication to the remote computer. First, the firewall can be configured to only trust communications received from certain addresses. Second, a special code can be used to encrypt all communications. The code uses a “key” to encrypt and decrypt the messages. Once the same key is provided to the firewall and remote computer user, the computers can communicate. The encryption key is generally unique in the world, and very difficult to determine by trial and error. This is the main feature of VPNs that make them highly secure. Third and finally, there is: the username and password. When a remote computer meets all three requirements, a VPN is established between the remote computer and the firewall. The remote computer then appears to all computers to be sitting on the local private network. It is “virtually” there. Keep in mind that if the remote computer is a firewall or router, then you are connecting two private networks together so that they appear to be one single private network. This configuration is called a Wide Area Network (WAN), and each private network is called a Local Area Network (LAN). Any number of LANs can be connected together through VPNs to form a single WAN.

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Q:  What is a ViaSat modem?

A:  The job of any modem is to convert the digital signal from a computer into a different kind of signal, usually proprietary, that can be transmitted long distances and then be converted back to the original format. Ethernet is a medium for carrying network traffic, just as air carries your voice. The maximum length for an Ethernet cable segment is 300ft or 100m. All Ethernet network communications are converted to some other medium for long distance transmission using a modem.

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Q:  What is an intranet?

A:  As soon as you have two computers with private address, you have a LAN. As soon as you have a LAN, in the strictest sense you have created an intranet. More typically, you would be considered to have an intranet once you have joined two or more LANs together across the Internet to form a WAN, or you have a Web server operating on your LAN providing internet services to local computers.

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Q:  What is Ethernet?

A:  Ethernet is the physical medium for carrying communications; much like air is the medium that carries your voice. Ethernet cards, Ethernet cables, and Ethernet hubs are used to create the physical network that connects computers together. Although Ethernet can be run on coaxial cable, the current standard is CAT-5, and most current devices only support this cable type. Data signals can be transferred on Ethernet at either 10 million bits per second (Mbps) or 100 Mbps. Most current Ethernet devices support both speeds, but some older equipment will only operate at 10 Mbps.

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Q:  What is a surge protector?
A:  A surge protector is an electrical device that protects a computer from spikes and surges in the power line and has outlets for several electrical plugs.

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Q:  What versions of Windows does ViaSat support?
A:  ViaSat provides technical support for Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7, and supports MAC platforms.

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Q:  What versions of Internet Explorer does ViaSat support?
A:  ViaSat provides technical support for Explorer 7 and above.

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