This update was posted on 12/23/2018.
WE UPGRADED OUR WEB HOSTING AND EMAIL SERVERS DURING THE LAST WEEK.

We had no choice as to timing because huge numbers of spam emails were being sent from hacked SLRmail.com accounts. The new system can now be reached from the saddlebaglakeresort.net website as before or it can be accessed through any browser at https://mail.kioskcenters.com. If you are using an email client like Thunderbird, Outlook or a smartphone app, it will be necessary to make one small change to the incoming and outgoing email server addresses by changing WWW.kioskcenters.com to read MAIL.kioskcenters.com. (CAPS were used to emphasize what needs to be changed. Case really does not matter.) Login credentials are the same and no incoming mail was lost during the transfer. If you have problems, please contact Bob Staib at 863-605-3920 from a phone which sends caller-id. (Unknown caller-ids are rejected by the system.)
While the full story behind this change is interesting, it is way beyond the scope of this posting.

1) 2018 was much kinder to us in Lake Wales than 2017! Hurricane Irma is a distant memory. We did have our fair share of bad thunderstorms this past summer, and we have learned from recently returned Snowbirds that several home antennas were hit by lightning. So, if you are just now returning and you have verified that everything is plugged in properly, and your service still does not work, please call the office at (863) 455-4200 to confirm that your account is turned on, all past due payments have been made, and that a signal is being sent to your home. If your connection still does not work, we will need to schedule a service call to find and fix the problem. There will be a $35.00 service call fee plus any needed parts to make necessary repairs. If you have returned to a different address your antenna will almost certainly need to be reprogrammed to talk to a different Access Point antenna than was used last year. We are continually upgrading the antennas on the towers and almost all of the old 130 megabit radios on the towers are now 450 megabit radios. While the new tower equipment will talk to your home in compatibility mode, you may want to ask us if you qualify to upgrade to the new higher speed system. Generally, the upgrade can be done for $100 depending on how your old equipment was mounted and whether the slightly heavier new equipment requires a more rugged mount.

2) New expanded rate structure: When we started KCnetwork in 2010, we offered one class of internet service. The "Home" class at $50.00/mo with a 40 gigabyte/month CAP. If your usage volume reaches the CAP, the service does not stop, the speed does not slow to a crawl, you are just charged $1.00 per Gigabyte for the extra usage. Since then we have raised the CAP by 10 gigabytes every year (the CAP is now 140 gigabytes/month) Two years ago we changed the price of the basic "Home" service to $53.00/month. This last year we revised the pricing plan to add additional classes of service to accommodate users needing additional bandwidth. This new rate structure is as follows:
Account Class: Sub Class: Price per Month: 2019 Gbyte CAP $/Gbyte over CAP Contract Required:
Home $53.00 140 $1.00 Month-to-Month
Commercial 1 Small Business $150.00 630 $0.90 Month-to-Month
Commercial 2 Medium User $300.00 1890 $0.80 12 Month and 30 days notice
Commercial 3 Large User $450.00 2835 $0.70 24 month and 60 days notice
Commercial 4 Super User $600.00 3780 $0.65 36 month and 90 days notice
When we first considered offering service to users with larger than "Home User" requirements, we realized we had to make a major commitment to expanding our system capacity. New gigabit Air Fiber feeds were installed to key locations this past summer and recently we upgraded to 10 gigabit system routers. Next year our present 3 year fiber contract will expire and we plan to upgrade to two multigigabit diverse routed fiber feeds which will increase our present 99.2% up time to a goal of 99.99%. The recently installed routers now do deep packet inspection (DPI) and have revealed that about 30 of the our "home" users are consuming much more than 140 gigabytes per month. An analysis of the traffic patterns for these users reveals that they have above 80% flows to Roku or other TV streaming devices for 12 or more hours per day. This seems to indicate that they are leaving one or more TV sets on, most if not all day. We want users to understand that this internet connection is a valuable resource and it can be either wasted or conserved. In our opinion 140 gigabytes a month is enough to provide TV usage, and we may raise the home CAP even higher to make normal TV viewing cost no more than the base rate. However, starting in early 2019, our website will allow you to log in and see what your usage has been for each of the last 3 months and Month-to-Date with a forecast of the total usage this month. Our purpose is to give you a tool to monitor your usage and to help you minimize waste. We want you to be able to turn as much of your internet usage into "need satisfaction" as possible. But, if for some reason, you need to use more than the CAP, you will simply be billed by the system for the extra usage.

The same set of website modifications will also allow you to pay your bill online and will automatically suspend service when your old "Paid Through Date" is reached. You will be able to log into your account and extend service.

3) "Unlimited Usage": Recently, it was called to our attention that AT&T has a new "Unlimited Usage" wireless rate. We got a copy of their contract and studied it carefully, we think you should study it also, so you can accurately compare other offerings with ours. What their contract appeared to say is that when you have used 15 gigabytes per month your speed will drop to 127Kilobits (about twice the old dial up speed). We calculated that if you use 127 kilobits 24x7 for a month, you could use 41 gigabytes. So, add the 15 gigabyte at higher speed and you have a total of 56 gigabytes as an absolute maximum possible usage in a month ... Hardly what one would call "Unlimited Usage" and certainly not able to support much more than 15 gigabytes of video streaming. (Maybe 3 hours on a 4K TV and 5 hours on a 1080P TV or 7 hours on a 720P TV). If you are interested in their service, please check their contract and let us know if we are wrong. We then examined the other wireless offerings and found that they all had similar terms, but maybe did not call it an "Unlimited Usage Plan".

4) Each of the last four years we have a time each fall when many users return to the Lake Wales area and they reconnect their equipment. We have noticed some common problems each year, and would like to discuss each to help ease the pain to both our customers and ourselves.

4A) the Backwards Router problem: Customers often connect the wire coming from their antenna into a Router output socket instead of into the proper Input socket. We will not spend much time talking about all of the problems this causes, except to say that your interner will run much slower than it should. There is one wire you need to check: Your outside antenna wire comes into your home and plugs into the POE socket of the antenna power supply. There is a short wire that plugs into the LAN socket on the same power supply and goes to the INPUT or WAN socket on the back of the router. This socket is usually off slightly to the side, often yellow in color, and almost always is labeled "WAN" or "Internet Input". We will be glad to put labels on all of your wires that are part of our antenna system to try to eliminate any confusion. Until this year the worst problem we have ever had with Backwards Routers was 4 at the same time. This year we had 37 and spent almost two weeks finding and fixing these issues rather than installing new users as was planned. It is almost impossible to explain to a new user why their new install is taking so long and that it is caused by a fellow user who connected their equipment wrong when they returned.

4B) The Cross Channel Interference problem: Customers often buy a router from Walmart or some other supplier If they take this device home, and plug it in, it might actually seem to work, it may get an IP address from our SLR Clubhouse cellphone Unifi system but run at 1/4 speed until the Unifi system learns it is an outside device and automatically blocks it.. But it will not work properly until we have set it up on the IP address that has been assigned to you and until the router frequency and bandwidth has been set so that it will not interfere with the tower feeds to other users or to yourself. This too has been a very common problem this year along with DirecTV DVR's and Hughsnet Routers that are on frequencies at the top of the 5,8 Ghz band instead of at the bottom or set in 80 megabit wide mode that makes the top half of the 5.8 Ghz band useless.. It takes a lot of time to track down the homes that are causing this cross channel interference, and of course the timing is impossible to schedule, but is very easy to avoid this problem if we just all follow the FCC best practice guidelines.

4C) the 2.4Ghz Wi-Fi band is overloaded in high density areas problem: Customers often try to stream video from router devices that are on the old 2.4 ghz band or from dual band routers that are too far away. We cannot give a full discussion of the 2.4 Ghz band here, but at first glimpse, it seems to have 11 channels, in fact it only has 3 real channels 1, 6, and 11. Because of the 2.4 Ghz band limitations, we recommend that you spend the extra $15-$20 to buy a "hard wired OR wireless" (dual band) version of any new streaming device or smart TV. Avoid buying any device that only works on the 2.4 Ghz band. People often feel that they don't want a bunch of wires and they want everything to run by radio. But, you never know where you will be living in a year or two or where the TV set will be located with respect to the nearest router. It is almost always possible to wire from a router to a TV if needed, even if you have to go down through the floor and back up near the TV. The TV will work "better" hard wired EVERY TIME. If the TV is close enough to the router to run by radio, and it works OK, great, use radio. But keep your options open. Don't save $15 on a Roku Stick or Fire Stick then turn around and have to buy a new $150 router to make it work."Radio only" streaming devices are just waiting for a situation where not being able to be hard wired will prevent satisfactory operation.

4D) A more technical version of the above: Radio waves obey a law of physics called "inverse squares". Simply stated, using this law a computer 5 feet from a router gets a very good signal strength, but when you move twice as far to 10 feet it is only 1/4 as strong. and when you move it three times as far to 15 feet it is only 1/8 as strong. By the time you get to a bedroom and add the losses involved going through a wall or two, you often have a signal that is too weak to provide desired quality. This principle is also why you can have a strong Wi-Fi signal in many homes all on the same channel. Because by the time the signal gets to the next house it is so weak just to be a little background noise. We have followed the FCC guidelines since the beginning and they work very well even in challenging situations such as Saddlebag, Breezehill, or Nalcrest where the homes or apartments are very close together. While the law of inverse squares says that the signal will fall off as the square of the distance in a perfect vacuum, in real life with other losses added in, it is more like the cube of the distance. The FCC recommendation that all inside the home routers be at the low frequency end of the band because these frequencies have the longest wavelength and therefore the longest range (paticularly through inside walls) .. Speaking of range, if you need more Wi-Fi coverage area, you really do NOT want to use a WiFi range extender. They double the interference and half the speed in a perfect world. In the real world, they are even more problematic. Almost unlimited range and full speed are available from "mesh-point" extenders and a compatible mesh router. If this is what you need. Ask us and we will point you to the proper equipment for your needs.

Using the above guidance, channel 1 on the 2.4 ghz band is for home routers and channel 36 at the bottom of the 5.8 Ghz band is for the 2nd band home routers. AVOID Tri-band routers. This 3rd band is really the top half of the 5.8 Ghz band, the same set of frequencies that are set aside for tower-to-tower communications. When you go to the store and buy a new router it needs to be set on a proper frequency or you run the risk of being a strong interference signal to a nearby tower, thus blocking the signal that is feeding a neighbor or yourself. There is no downside to everyone following a best practice set of guidelines. Everyone wins.

5) Never buy a new router without being sure it is dual stacked IPV4/IPV6 compatible The worldwide IPV4 internet addressing system is going away. Even though the exact date has not yet been announced, you want to be sure that, if you need to replace your router to get better streaming speeds, you also want to be sure your new router is IPV6 compatible, or you will need to replace it again. It is not too soon to replace the router now, we have been supplying IPV4 and IPV6 signals since 10/15/2016 and were one of the 1st in Florida to have IPV6. today, IPV6 is 10-15% faster than IPV4 and will continue to speed up as the rest of the world switches over.

6) the Home Security Cameras and the Cloud problem: We encourage the use of home security cameras. We even have a program that allows you to have free internet at your home while you are up north for the summer. call Bob Staib for details. But, like, Routers, you cannot just buy a camera system and plug it in. It will get an IP from the SLR Clubhouse cellphone system and may work for a few days until the UniFi system blocks the cameras. Even worse, you want to get an NVR recorder (usually about $200) to record the camera video traffic locally. Never connect the camera to a Cloud recording service (especislly one in China). We have a customer who has 6 such cameras that were sending 6 gigabytes per hour out over the web. That is almost the entire monthly usage CAP every day. Buy an NVR and all of the video traffic is inside your home and uses no web except for the tiny amount you use when you connect remotely. Why pay us several hundred dollars a month for cloud bandwidth when you can record on your own NVR for free? Some would say that using a China based Cloud service gives the Chinese Government video access to everything that goes on in your home. They would also say that if you have a Huawei home phone device they already have access to all of your phone calls. We dont know all af the details but while on the subject of best practices video and audio devices [ your home should be as secure as possible.