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Gettin' Waat U Pay 4

Gettin' Waat U Pay 4
by Gary Woods

It seems like every night when I'm watching my Cox Cable TV they come on and tell me that they have the fastest internet speed in the country. Well up until a about week ago my internet speed was about 4 to 5 Mbps down and about 3 Mbps up. That's okay, but it's not great, so first I decided to look into what they say they give me.

This is actually kind of difficult to do because cable companies and people like Direct TV always want to quote you the tickler rate that you'll get for the first few months. But, to find the rate you'll be paying a year from now you've got to dig.

Anyway, it turns out I've got the Cox High Speed Internet Preferred plan which gives me 18 Mbps down for $53.99 per month. They also have the High Speed Internet Essential plan which has 3Mbps down which is slightly faster than dial-up and goes for $39.99 per month. Then, if you're really cool and need some serious speed they have the High Speed Internet Premier plan with 30 Mbps down for $64.99 per month.

All of that is a lot of numbers but the question I posed to myself was how come I'm getting Internet Essential speeds while paying Internet Preferred rates?

At that point I started looking around my office and home to find the bottleneck that was choking off all that performance I was paying for. Our computers are about 2 year old iMacs so that wasn't the problem. I had the house wired with Cat 5e cabling so everything except the iPads was going direct over Ethernet cables and not using WiFi and the Cox Modem had been replaced within the last year when we went to them for our Telephone service.

Then, I turned my attention to my 10 year old BEFSR81 Linksys Router. A router takes the signal from the modem and splits it into different channels that go to all the computers and devices you have in your home or office. Since they still sell this router new on Amazon for about $200 it hadn't occurred to me that it might be time to look into an alternative.

After a little hunting around I came up with the Linksys EA4500 which interestingly enough sells for about $165.00 on Amazon. This little jewel is part of a new series of routers put out by Cisco-Linksys. To put it mildly, the EA4500 changed everything. My download speed is now 24 Mbps with an upload speed of 4Mbps which is significantly faster than they say they deliver.

So, here's your assignment. Go to Google and search for "Cable Modem Speed Test." Or, just go to and click on it. If you've got Cox Cable and your speed is somewhere in the 4-5 Mbps range find out which plan you've got and then look into getting a new router.

If you have any suggestions or questions for me please drop me a note at or see my column on the Internet at or call me at (805) 729-0910

Gary Woods is the Computer Trainer for the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors. And he is a Broker/Associate at Home Realty & Investments, Inc