Socket Participates In 2016 Polar Plunge


 The 2016 Polar Plunge took place Saturday, February 20th at Bass Pro Lake, where there were five employee participants representing Socket.
  
 Our brave group was expecting to take a dive into frigid waters, but unlike previous years it was warm and sunny with a

     

completely thawed lake. To stand out from the other participating groups the Socket employees wore tropical themed costumes, which was a perfect fit for the weather. They were equipped with flower leis, hula skirts, and tropical masks as they took the plunge together to represent our company and support a great cause!  
  
 Socket is a proud sponsor of the Missouri Polar Plunge, which is a unique opportunity to raise money for Special Olympic athletes. All together there were 265 participants and $50,100 in donations. 
 
 Special Olympics transforms lives through the joy of sport, everyday, everywhere. They are the world's largest sports organization with nearly 16,500 athletes in Missouri alone. 
 
 To learn more about the Special Olympics, and how you can get involved, visit http://somo.org
   

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Networking Device Specs - What All Those Numbers Mean


When trying to determine how fast your device can connect over Wi-Fi, there are a couple of things to consider. First, your router needs to be capable of delivering certain speeds, and your connected device needs to be able to receive them.
 
Wondering how to read all those device specifications? We've broken down some of the bigger hurdles below. And don't panic! If it's overwhelming, feel free to give us a call - we're more than happy to walk you through it.
 
Here's an example of a networking specification:

 
802.11ac Wi-Fi Wireless networking, IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n compatible

The piece of this we're most interested in are the letters right after 802.11. So in this case, it's "ac". 
 
Wi-Fi Standards:
 
These are the different Wi-Fi standards, in order of their release dates:
 
Standard: Transfer Speed: Frequency:
a 11 Mbps 2.4 Ghz
b 11 Mbps 2.4 Ghz
g 54 Mbps 2.4 Ghz
n 130 - 450 Mbps 2.4 & 5 Ghz
ac 1 Gbps (1000 Mbps) + 5 Ghz

Most networks/devices are backwards compatible, but will usually specify.
 
The other factor we want to consider is the Wi-Fi operating range.
 

2.4 Ghz – A WiFi network operating on a 2.4Ghz frequency can broadcast very far, and isn’t affected much by walls, floors, or other physical barriers in your home. What does affect it, though, is everything else operating on that frequency. Many household items, like garage openers, cordless phones, and Bluetooth devices, use this same frequency – not to mention every other WiFi network nearby.
 
Houses are usually far enough apart that this isn’t an issue, but if you’re in an apartment building, dozens of separate WiFi networks and devices that close together can lead to mutually assured slow speeds.
 
5 Ghz – This frequency doesn’t have the congestion issues that plague 2.4Ghz, meaning that even in a crowded building, your WiFi will work great (even as your neighbors bemoan their dropped connections).
 
However, because the frequency is higher, your network’s range is going to be much smaller. Additionally, you may find that physical barriers like walls or doors can have a noticeable difference on your signal strength.

 
Right now, the fastest connection you can obtain is an 802.11ac (5 Ghz) connection. Because the technology is still new, devices capable of connecting over this standard aren't quite common yet.
 

5 Ghz Capable Devices Non-Capable Devices
Amazon Fire HD 8 Amazon Fire HD 6
Google Nexus 5 Playstation 4
HTC One Phones Xbox One
Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 Wii U
Samsung Galaxy Note III Nintendo DS
Samsung Galaxy S4 Nintendo 3DS
Macbook (after July 2013) iPhone 5
iPad Pro Samsung Galaxy S3
iPad Mini 4 Macbook (before June 2013)
iPad Air 2 iPad (Original)
iPhone 6 iPad Air (Original)

Something to keep in mind - connecting an older device to your Wi-Fi network (specifically 802.11B/G devices on an 802.11N network) can cause all the other devices connected to your network to run slower. If you have any really old devices on wifi, you may want to consider wiring them to your router, rather than using them wirelessly.
 
Finally, keep an eye out for "dual-band." What that means is that a device is capable of using both 2.4 Ghz and 5 Ghz frequencies. For a router, this means that newer devices can connect at faster speeds, but your older devices will still work just fine. Additionally, those older devices we mentioned earlier? Since they're running on the 2.4 Ghz band, they won't slow down your AC capable devices running on the 5 Ghz network.
 
Looking to buy a router?
 
If you're looking for a new router, we highly recommend purchasing a dual-band AC router for the best performance. For reference, Socket provides our customers with a dual-band AC Router.
 

Janet Moss - Socket's You-Make-The-Difference Winner for January!


Janet Moss with Socket
Congratulations to Janet Moss, Manager of Employee Satisfaction, on winning Socket’s You-Make-The-Difference Award for January!
 
Originally hired through a temp agency, Janet started as an assistant to the owners in 2002. Within a few months, she was the full-time liaison to HR (as it was managed by an outside company at the time). By the time Socket made the move to our current location, Janet took over completely as Manager of Employee Satisfaction. She prefers the more colloquial “HR Manager” though – it’s a little easier to say!
 
“Janet is always positive,” said a co-worker who nominated her for the award. “If she doesn’t have an answer for your questions right then, she’ll always get back to you in a timely manner.”
 
Though born in Chicago, Janet has spent most of her life in other parts of Illinois and Missouri. She (and her twin!) are the youngest of four girls, and she’s had a lifelong love of music, starting with learning to play the clarinet in childhood. She doesn’t play as much today, but she still loves singing and all kinds of music – from gospel to jazz and classical. She and her husband of 17 years, Waldon, live in Columbia with their boxer, Phinneas (also known as Phinn).
 
“We have a ton of great people here,” said Janet. “I love being able to help employees and meet all of the wonderful personalities that have come through over the years. Socket gives people the ability to grow and find their niche here!”
 
Congratulations, Janet!

Dave Sill - Socket's You-Make-the-Difference Winner for December!


Dave Sill was named Socket's You-Make-the-Difference-Award winner for December.

A Columbia College graduate and a Missouri native, Dave has been with Socket for over 15 years. In addition to his role as the go-to guy for tech and networking issues, Dave has also headed our video projects, with his efforts helping to launch our very first television offering early this year.

“Dave is 80% Socket, 20% Cyborg,” said a coworker who nominated him. “He helps everyone out, and keeps us going when everyone else is out of ideas.”

“Sill has the skills, period,” said another coworker.

When he’s not writing code, plugging things into our server room, or generally doing cool techie things, Dave can be found hanging out with his family. He’s recently added a 70-pound “puppy” to the household named Kilo, whom Dave is teaching “to not think of my forearms as playthings to be chewed on.”

“I really appreciate the nominations and votes for employee of the month,” said Dave, after learning he’d won. “We have a lot of standout players and I feel like a lot of people deserve it.”

Marcus French - Socket's You-Make-the-Difference Winner for November!


Marcus French was named Socket's You-Make-the-Difference-Award winner for November.
 
Marcus first applied to Socket in 2005, where he started as a tech support agent. He’s since worked his way up through the ranks (and picked up a few awards along the way, like his 2008 Socketeer of the Year trophy!).
 
Currently, Marcus is a Network Design Specialist, helping to coordinate fiber orders between our customers, techs, contractors and vendors. He also helps design networks and services to meet our customer’s needs.
 
“Marcus is full of useful information, and is willing to help others around him,” said a co-worker who nominated him for the award. “His knowledge on a multitude of positions and how they interact is stellar.”
 
In his spare time, Marcus indulges his more creative side with music production and animation work. He’s also a techie at heart – aside from tinkering with computers, Marcus is also a drone captain! His latest project involves working on a solar powered charging station for it between flights.
 
“I’m honored and amazed,” said Marcus. “I love being a Socketeer! I’d like to thank the Socket Family for everything WE do to ensure our customers receive the best service experience possible.”

Socket Visits The Fall 2015 Off-Campus Housing Fair!


Earlier this month, Socketeers visited Mizzou's Student Center as part of the Off-Campus Housing Fair!

In addition to handing out t-shirts, pens, candy, and raffling off a Chromebook, we also answered questions about Internet service and discussed things for first-time customers to look out for (like fine print and data caps).

Congratulations to our raffle winner, Caroline A., for winning our ASUS Chromebook!

We'll be back for the next Housing Fair in February - and we'll be sure to bring even more candy this time!

Theresa Oberle - Socket's You-Make-the-Difference Winner for October!


 

Congratulations to Theresa Oberle, Marketing Specialist, for being named the October recipient of Socket’s You-Make-The-Difference award!
  
Theresa first joined Socket as a marketing intern in June 2012. In July 2013, she returned to the company for a full-time position with Socket's marketing team. Since then, she's worn many hats - from coordinating Socket's appearances at local events, to managing our online reputation, as well as writing for our newsletter and blog. 
 
As one co-worker who nominated her for the award said, "Theresa has a genuine concern for Socket." Another said, "She never hesitates to lend a helping hand when she sees a need around Socket." 
    
In her free time, Theresa enjoys playing video games (one of her current favs is Undertale). She also makes sure her two bearded dragons are well-fed with plenty of bugs. 
 
"Socket is really awesome," says Theresa. "We get the freedom to try new things here and see what works. You don't get those opportunities at a lot of other places." 
  
Congratulations, Theresa!
 

"Fiber's On Fire" in 2015


 
According to a recent study released by the Fiber to the Home (FTTH) Council, in conjunction with research partner RVA, fiber deployments grew by 13% in the United States in 2015. Nearly 3 million homes were passed with fiber this year, bringing the total amount to around 26 million - and nearly 50% of those homes are now directly connected to that fiber network.
 
Customers with fiber to the home connections, at any speed, report 50% higher satisfaction than those on cable and DSL networks. It's just another reason we're focused on getting fiber access to as many places in mid-Missouri as possible.
 
Click here to read more about how fiber is changing the way we use the Internet.
 
 

How Fast Is Fiber?


When it comes to describing how fast Fiber is, it can be hard to visualize. So here's how Fiber speeds stack up, in terms of downloading some common types of files.
 
In short - fiber offers speeds that simply can't be matched by other Internet connections. It's the future standard, and a big reason for why we're rolling it out to as many homes and businesses in Missouri as possible.
 
Want a larger version? Click here to view the chart in a separate window.
 

Fall Adopt-A-Spot Cleanup 2015


Adopt-a-Spot Volunteers
 
Clark Lane always looks beautiful in fall colors. And now that we’ve done a little cleaning, it looks a whole lot better.
 
As part of the Adopt-a-Spot program, nearly a dozen Socketeers went out to pick up some of the wayside trash littering the areas between Paris Rd and the 63/70 interchange. All told, they brought back over 20 bags full of garbage!
 
The weather lately has been nearly perfect – and it’s important to collect as much trash as possible before nasty winter weather makes it difficult or unsafe. If you’re interested in getting involved, the City of Columbia has a variety of spots around town that could use some love. You can visit the city’s website for more information on the Adopt-a-Spot program, or email volunteer@gocolumbiamo.com.

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Who is Socket

Founded in 1994, Socket is a Missouri-based telephone and Internet service provider with the largest service area in the state.

Socket is a privately held company that provides families and businesses a choice for local and long-distance phone and Internet service. We combine the highest quality customer service with in-depth technical knowledge.

Our network serves more than 20,000 residents and businesses in more than 400 Missouri cities, and our customers enjoy simple billing and quick, friendly service.
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