New devices can be incredible, but new potential impacts and complications come with new tech. You’re probably dealing with head-scratching setups, bandwidth hogs, programming the proper settings, and protecting your privacy. So, we understand that new tech can sometimes be a headache or hassle.
The good news is that you can ensure your new devices don’t overwhelm your internet. And because you utilize S&T’s advanced Smart WiFi broadband network, you have a head start on maximizing your new tech’s speeds and innovations.
Let’s discuss some common issues to look out for when setting up new devices and technology in your home. Then, with a few simple steps and adjustments, you’ll be on your way to having the most tech-savvy digs on the block!
One of the most common sources of frustration for many internet users is bandwidth hogging.
Bandwidth refers to how much data an internet connection can transmit per second. Bandwidth differs from internet speed, which refers to the rate data is transmitted per second. You want high speeds and increased bandwidth capacity for reliable, fast, and productive internet.
Bandwidth hogging occurs when a device or internet activity uses lots of bandwidth, making everyone else’s internet experience sluggish.
Devices that use a lot of bandwidth include that awesome new smart TV you’ve just set up—especially once you’ve started streaming movies in high definition.
Or one of your family members has started recording and uploading more videos to TikTok, YouTube, or Instagram from their brand-spanking-new smartphone. That budding at-home cinematographer uploading and downloading videos is another infamous bandwidth hog!
If you’ve noticed an increase in slowdowns or general sluggishness with your internet after setting up new devices or tech at home, bandwidth hogging is a likely culprit.
Online tools are available to analyze bandwidth usage among all your devices and activities to help identify the source of bandwidth hogging.
Once you’ve confirmed that bandwidth hogging is your problem, consider upgrading your internet’s bandwidth capacity by improving your internet plan. Upgrading your internet speed can significantly increase your home’s bandwidth and should meet all your needs.
So contact the knowledgeable and helpful agents at S&T for more information about improving your bandwidth. We offer up to 1 Gbps speed, dramatically enhancing your home’s internet performance.
Check for Software Updates—and Install Them
Even though you can’t wait to start streaming on your shiny new devices or show them off to your friends, you should do a few things beforehand.
And the very first thing you should do after setting up a new device and connecting it to your network is to run a software update check.
Every tech device runs on software and firmware that the manufacturer and programmers regularly improve. Updating software is essential for security, as programmers always work to identify security weaknesses in their code or vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit.
Remember that your new device may have been sitting in a warehouse or store for months before you purchased it—and during that time, the manufacturer may have issued multiple software and firmware updates already! So you must ensure your software is up-to-date.
Most devices have settings that let their systems automatically check for software and security updates. You can also let the system install those updates automatically. Still, many people prefer to be prompted to install them first (especially if you don’t want to be stuck waiting several minutes or longer for installation to complete).
We consider staying on top of software, firmware, and security updates a high priority—it’s simply a step you cannot afford to neglect for any of your devices, old or new.
After updating your software and security, check your new device’s privacy settings for a few minutes. So much of your online activity leaves a digital trail that you might prefer to reduce.
You can start by turning off your “location.”
Many devices track your physical location down to your zip code or street address! Though some apps depend on your actual physical location to operate properly (i.e., navigation, weather, and other map-related apps), only some apps need your location to work well.
You can adjust your location settings to require permission from certain apps before they start tracking or even hide your location altogether. Every device is different, so check the options in each device’s settings or preferences before proceeding.
Other Privacy Settings
Next, check out other privacy settings and make some common sense adjustments. For example, many devices are digitally “spying” on you, tracking your browsing activities or seeing the kinds of TV series and movies you like to watch.
Smart TVs utilize a technology known as “Automatic Content Recognition” or ACR, which scans the titles of the streaming content you view and transmits that information for digital analysis—which then gets used to better “target” you with ads and other marketing materials.
Yes, we know it sounds creepy (though the practice does reduce the costs of smart TVs).
The good news is that you can disable ACR tracking on your smart TV. Of course, each smart TV is different, so check your device’s settings and follow the prompts to turn it off.
Additionally, some devices are even “listening to you.”
Smart speakers sit around waiting for their unique “wake word” to be uttered, hearing every sound in its range, including your voice.
Again, each manufacturer’s device is unique, so log in to your account and check out its settings or preferences. For example, you can limit how long to keep your voice recordings (i.e., the questions you ask Alexa, Siri, or Google) or turn them off entirely.
Wipe Your Old Tech Before Passing It On!
Finally, don’t forget to take some common sense precautions with your old devices.
It’s tempting to pass an older tablet, smartphone, or smart TV on to your kids or even to sell it. But remember that sensitive information and data could be there, too. And we’re not just talking about your browsing history!
Credit card information, Social Security numbers, and even personal photos can linger digitally for years on old devices.
Be sure to “wipe” the memory off your devices before you sell them, give them away, trade them in, or even trash them (preferably, recycle them at an appropriate facility). Look into the settings and features of each device or even invest in an app or other program to safely eliminate all of your data before you get rid of your old device.
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