iPad: Home WiFi Help


Your home WiFi network is unique, including its security features like its password. People at school cannot help you with your home network password, because that that uniqueness. If you’re not sure what the password is, ask the person who owns that network. If you’re the owner, and you don’t know the password, consult the documentation that came with your network or call your Internet Service Provider (“ISP”).

Here are some common technical support websites and phone numbers for ISPs in Arlington. (This list is not exhaustive and does not constitute an endorsement of any kind. Refer to your ISP’s documentation.)

Internet Service Provider Support Telephone Number
Cox 1 (800) 234-3993
EarthLink 1 (888) 327-8454
RCN 1 (800) 746-4726
Verizon 1 (800) 837-4966
Xfinity (Comcast) 1 (800) 934-6489

Speed and Stability

The more devices on a network, and the more internet-related things those devices are doing on that network, the slower each device will be. Some families find value in agreeing what activities will take place at what times, to help keep the network clear for critical tasks. Resources about having discussions around technology and the home are available in the Discovery Parent Media Academy.

Internet connect speed is measured in Mbps, or megabits per second. You can run a free speed test on your network by clicking here on your device while it’s connected to your network. The speed you are advertised may differ significantly from what speed you actually get.

Run connection speed test now

For example, one fiber optic ISP bills its fastest speed service as “gigabit,” and claims 950Mbps as its top speed. However, while someone might be able to get over 900Mpbs with his service pretty much any time because he has a fiber optic connection that is very new and very high quality, another neighbor right down the street might get only 389Mbps, which is the Washington, D.C.-area average speed for fiber optic service, because there are so many connections between the ISP and the average computer in our region that are not necessarily new and high quality.

Type of Internet Service Typical Speeds
High-End Fiber Optic 500-950 Mpbs
Fiber Optic 200-400 Mbps
High-End Cable Modem 100-300 Mbps
Cable Modem 30-100 Mpbs
DSL 1-10 Mbps

If you run a speed test, and see speeds much lower than these typical ranges, it’s likely that your network is overloaded. This may be because of when you ran the test (such as when someone is streaming a live video) or a hardware-related issue, ranging from your computer to the wires in your wall to the junction box at the curb.

In addition to speed, network connection stability is just as important. A phenomenon known as packet loss occurs when “chunks” of information get lost in the connection. You can test your network stability easily using a computer connected to the network:

  • For Mac users, hold down Command (⌘) and press spacebar to bring up spotlight search. Type terminal and press return. In the Terminal window, type ping -c 50 and press return. A series of lines will appear beginning with the phrase 64 bytes. Let it run for about a minute, and it will stop automatically. You will then see a set of information: “50 packets transmitted, X packets received, Z% packet loss.”
  • For Windows users, hold down the Windows Key and press R to bring up the run box. Type cmd and press return. In the Terminal window, type ping -n 50 and press return. A series of lines will appear. Let it run for about a minute, and it will stop automatically. You will then see a set of information: “Packets: Sent = 50, Received = X, Lost = Y (Z% loss).”

In both situations, 50 packets of information are sent. You should receive 50 back, the value X being 50. If it’s not, you’ll see that the value Z will not be zero. 0% is the appropriate rate of loss. Anything more than 0% indicates problems in the network connection. Note that packet loss is much more common on wireless connections than on wired.

When in doubt, contact your Internet Service Provider (“ISP”).