Frequently Asked Questions

We want you to get the most out of your broadband Internet service, so our support team is ready to answer your questions. Call us at (775) 727–5312 or drop us an email. Before that, try checking out our Frequently Asked Questions – you might find the information you need.

If you are still having Internet problems, feel free to give us a call at (775) 727–5312 and a friendly customer service representative will gladly assist you.

Broadband Frequently Asked Questions

My internet is not working. What should I check?

If the connectivity issue is one device, versus all devices, the issue is likely that specific device.  Please consult the manual or contact the manufacturer.

  • If all devices are affected, the most common problems revolve around the router. Check the router for power by checking the lights to see if the power LED is solid and the data LED’s are blinking.
  • If your internet is still not working, try “re-booting” the router. Disconnect the power cord, wait for at least 60 seconds, and then reconnect it. Make certain the power switch is in the on position.
  • If you still have no internet connectivity, check whether the router has the most recent firmware? An upgrade can resolve connectivity issues. If you own your own router, log into your router-management console and click on update firmware.
  • If you still have no Internet, and are a wireless customer, check your Power Over Ethernet (POE) device. The POE (shown below) should have a green or blue indicator light but if not check that the wall outlet has power. *Please do not unplug any of the cables connected to your POE.
  • If the wall outlet has power, contact support at https://valleycom.com/about-vca/contact-us/ or Call 775-727-5312 option 3. Agents are available Monday-Friday 7am-8pm and Saturday-Sunday 9:30am-8pm.

Electrical cord, Input Power LED, To Router, To Outdoor Radio, Output Power LED

Does VEA/VCA throttle bandwidth?
  • No, there are no systems or processes in place to throttle bandwidth utilization for subscribers other than the speed tier that was selected.
Has VEA/VCA oversubscribed the network?
  • No, the network is not oversubscribed and we have been very careful to avoid that.
    • The backhaul service provider connections, where VCA gets its internet connectivity, are operating at about 70% total capacity during peak hours.
    • The mid-mile connections, the feeds to the towers and residential fiber systems, are operating at about 35% capacity at peak hours.
    • The last mile connections, specifically the wireless service to the residence, are operating at 25-30% of total capacity.

Why is my broadband speed less than what I am paying for?
  • The speed tier you selected is the maximum bandwidth, of which approximately 10% is needed for normal network overhead. Depending on the number of devices active in the residence a 40 Mbps service will typically return a 35-36 Mbps speed test.
Why does my broadband speed (bandwidth) fluctuate?

Speeds fluctuate for several reasons:

  • As equipment uses the broadband service each one consumes a portion of the total bandwidth. If there are many pieces of equipment (smart phones, streaming services, appliances) it is possible that the total bandwidth at a location is entirely consumed.
  • In-home WiFi connectivity is highly dependent upon how far your device is from the router, how many walls are in the way, and how many other WiFi devices exist. A wired device connected to the router works best for testing speed (bandwidth).
  • The speed test server can greatly affect the results. If you are testing with a server in Northern California, for example, there are a lot of service providers than can be in the mix.  There is a chance for bandwidth throughput bottlenecks and higher trip time, also referred to as latency.
What speed test server should I be using?
  • VCA has an Ookla speed test server. By using the Ookla smart phone application or by browsing speedtest.net your equipment will find the appropriate server, which typically will be the VCA server.
What is the best way to perform a speed test?

The Pure Speed Test – from https://medium.com (click link for more in depth information)

  • The objective of this test is to remove as many variables as possible, in order to obtain results that reflect your true connection capacity to your provider
    • Disable the WiFi on your router (you will need to be able to login into your router to do this, see manufacturer’s instructions.) *
    • Disconnect all hardwired devices from the router, such as printers and switches.
    • Connect just your computer with a network cable, aka cat5, cat6 or ethernet, to your router’s LAN ports. **
    • Disable any background activities such as Apple Photos, Dropbox, or Google Drive sync.
    • Head to speedtest.net and test your speed 3 times.

* If you can’t disable the WiFi on the router, make sure you are logged into it with the network cable, then temporarily change the Network Name (aka SSID) which will cause all wireless devices to disconnect. Don’t forget to change that back when you are done testing.

** If you do not have a network cable or a wired network connection on your computer, try to make sure that during the tests, the only device that connects to your router is your computer. However, the speed test may reflect your WiFi negotiations speeds, and not your provider, and because many variables impact your WiFi connectivity, this can drastically change from test to test. Just walking to another room can lower your speed by 50% or more… so when possible, hard-wire to the router to run this test.

What makes my ping times increase?
  • Higher ping times, or higher latency, are the result of the network traffic having to queue up similar to waiting at an on ramp to the freeway. If the freeway is completely full of vehicles you have to wait to enter into traffic.  There are several factors that increase the round trip ping time, or latency.  Many devices in the home that are consuming the entirety of your available bandwidth, noisy WiFi environment (a lot of wireless devices), high usage of the streaming or gaming server you are using, and extremely high usage of the network as a whole can increase the wait time and latency.
Why have my ping times been high at night and my system buffers a lot?
  • About 1.5% of the subscribers have reported high latency (ping times) over the past few months, both wireless and fiber without any clear commonality. The high latency times were the result of traffic having to queue up in the network core routers during delivery.
What is being done to resolve the high ping times?
  • After 100’s of hours of troubleshooting, testing, and adjustments the high latency (ping time) issue was addressed by adding routing hardware to the core network to process more “transaction” requests from the residential routers. This is similar to adding receptionists to answer and transfer calls to sales reps at a large sales firm; the number of sales reps didn’t increase but the ability to reach a sales rep has become more efficient.
Is there any work being done on the system to improve performance?
  • As with all technology based systems VCA continually monitors the operation of the network and performs ongoing maintenance to optimize the performance of the individual segments of the network. The Broadband Engineers are strategizing changes to the basic network structure, or architecture, of the WiMAX network.  These changes are intended to make the system perform more efficiently while also preparing for future growth.

COVID-19 Specific Q&A

Why can't Broadband Installers come inside my home?
  • The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.(From CDC website)
    • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
    • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
  • The health and safety of our members, consumers and employees is of paramount importance to VEA.
  • We want to operate out of an abundance of caution and minimize the risk of spreading COVID-19 as much as possible during this unprecedented time.
For Broadband (VCA), how can I contact support?
  • By visiting our website at valleycom.com under the “Contact Us” tab click on report an issue. This form goes directly to our internet support team.
  • Call (775) 727-5312 option 3 for internet/phone related issues or questions. Agents are available Monday-Friday 7am-8pm and Saturday-Sunday 9:30am-8pm.
How can I return my Broadband equipment?

For the interim please mail equipment to:

Valley Electric Association

           Attn: Broadband Returns

           800 E Highway 372

           Pahrump, NV 89048

Mailing the equipment allows our Member/Consumers to have an option to return equipment now vs waiting. We are currently working on a long-term solution for this process.

With many people working and schooling remotely, has there been any impact on the broadband system?
  • Broadband activity increased significantly as people began working and schooling from home. Broadband usage increased by about 20% over the course of a few days.
  • The overall bandwidth usage on the service provider connections, where VCA gets its internet connectivity, is only 70% of the total capacity. We are watching these connections closely and should it be needed additional bandwidth is available within a few days.
  • The rapid increase in usage prompted emergency maintenance windows on March 20th and March 27th to add hardware for the purpose of increasing the core network’s ability to process traffic requests, work that was being scheduled to alleviate the high latency issues on the network that have been experienced over the past few months.