How to Perform a Speed Test


When it seems the Internet isn’t running as fast as it should, you might want to look into running a speed test. However, what you do before you run it can have huge effects on the results (not to mention, it might be the reason for the slowdown in the first place!).
 

To properly conduct a speed test:
 

  • Make sure you’ve deactivated or removed any other devices from your connection. If you have a wireless network, make sure all phones, laptops and gaming devices are off or disconnected from the network. Oftentimes these devices automatically connect as soon as they are powered on.
  • If possible, ensure that the device you’re using for the speed test is wired to your modem (i.e. is not connected wirelessly). Nearby wireless networks can severely degrade the signal strength of your Wi-Fi and give you an inaccurately low reading. This is particularly common in apartment complexes, where there may be as many wireless networks as there are rooms.
  • Make sure you’ve stopped all downloads, updates, and web based software. You can resume these applications as soon as the test is finished. Keep in mind that many email and chat programs will continually “push” data out, so make sure these programs are closed as well.
  • Check where the test server is. For some online speed tests, you will be allowed to pick, in which case you generally want the server geographically closest to you. Other speed tests will automatically choose the server with the fastest response time.
  • Run the speed test from multiple websites. Any of the factors above can greatly impact a reading, so running multiple tests will give you an idea of your “average” speed and eliminate outliers. We recommend trying SpeakEasy or SpeedTest.net.

If you’re curious how your device usage affects your bandwidth, try running a test before and after disconnecting all or some devices. Or, try running Netflix at different quality levels. You may be surprised at how much more bandwidth it can consume while in high definition.
 
And as always, if you have any questions, or don’t think your speed is what it should be, give us a call! Our techs would be happy to help.

Socket Fiber Story: David Crane


 
David Crane, owner of well known Crane's Country Store in Williamsburg, MO, previously struggled with Internet service providers at his home.
 
His former satellite Internet connection couldn't keep up with his family. They'd have to power down devices at certain times of day to make things run slowly, and the speeds were terrible.
 
Fortunately, now that the Cranes have Socket Fiber, things are running much more smoothly. The family is using Apple TV, Netflix and more. David's wife is using the Internet for school work as well.
 
David also says he was pleased with Socket's technical support after equipment was quickly replaced following a lightning strike at his home.
 
Best of all, his whole family is able to use their many devices and not have to worry about having enough bandwidth.
 
"We've really used the power of the fiber-optic as much as we could," David says.
 
Hear David's story in this video.
 

Customize Your Web Browser With Add-ons!


Who doesn’t like customization? If you’re using Chrome or Firefox, there are some great add-ons that you can download to tweak your browser; anything from security and ease of use to simply making the tabs prettier.
 
Here are some of our favorites. If you have some to add to the list, let us know!
 
Firefox:
 
AdBlock Plus
 
Yup, it’s exactly what it says it is. Block ads on nearly any website you come across, with the option to toggle blocking based on the type of ad (say, animated flash ads or those annoying ads with sound).
 
Be warned that this may disable some sites – for instance, Hulu will display a notice saying that ad revenue pays for the video you’d like to watch until you disable the add-on.
 
Social Fixer
 
Wish you could block all those FarmVille posts on Facebook? This app can do that, along with hiding posts you’ve already seen, showing whole pictures by hovering over the thumbnail, and tweaking the font size for those with sight problems.
 
Be Quiet!
 
Automatically pause any music or other videos in your browser when you begin playing something else. Also adds the option to tie the play/pause button to a keyboard shortcut.
 
Chrome:
 
Google Dictionary
 
Double-click any word to view its definition in a small pop-up bubble. You can also set it to “translate” mode if you’re trying to learn a new language.
 
Search By Image
 
Right-click a photo online to “search Google with this image.” You’ll be able to see similar images and other places on the web where that image appears. Helpful if you’re trying to locate where an image originated from.
 
Google Mail Checker
 
A red icon will display in the corner of your browser with the number of unread Gmail messages you have. Clicking the icon will take you directly to your inbox.

 
After using these add-ons for a few days, you'll wonder how you ever got by without them... especially when you have to switch to another computer!

Kurt Bruemmer - Socket's You-Make-The-Difference Award Winner for May 2014!


Kurt BruemmerDescribed as “one of Socket's best kept secrets,” this month’s winner is Kurt!
 
After starting as Socket’s Director of Network Operations in 2000, Kurt eventually became Director of Operations, and then Director of Business Improvement and Control.
 
“Kurt is a crucial member of Socket’s team,” said a fellow coworker. “He’s recently taken on new responsibilities, and is always willing to help his fellow Socketeers however he can.”
 
“Socket is lucky to have him,” said the coworker who nominated him for the award.
 
Originally from Jefferson City, Kurt is a graduate of Helias High School and the Missouri University of Science and Technology (formerly the University of Missouri-Rolla). He now resides in Holts Summit with his wife, Sue, and kids Nick and Joe.
 
“The best parts about Socket are working with great people who like a challenge, work hard, and have fun,” said Kurt. “Plus, I get to learn new things and be involved in so many different aspects of the company.”
 
Congratulations, Kurt!

Socket Fiber Story: Danny Neudecker


  
For Danny Neudecker and his family, Internet service used to cause a lot of hassle.
 
Because they live just outside Fulton, DSL service was available but speeds were slow. So Danny switched to a mobile hotspot. But that came with a cost, too: data caps. Danny and his family had to constantly monitor usage and worry about overage fees.
 
So when Socket brought high-speed fiber Internet to Danny's area, he was one of the first to sign up. He even found that construction was simpler than he thought it would be.
 
"There were two places where they had to go under our driveway," Danny says. "They trenched out the line and filled it all back in."
 
With the fiber-optic connection, the Neudeckers are surfing the Web free of restrictions and limits. They're streaming movies and TV shows, which they couldn't do before. Danny uses the Web to find plans and videos on woodworking, and his wife looks online for craft ideas.
 
"It's completely different compared to something like DSL," Danny says. "If there's anything out there that someone's interested in, it's out there online and it's really handy when you can access it at a high rate of speed."
 
Hear Danny's story in this video.

What can a hosted phone system do for your business?


That's the question our guests had when they attended our latest Lunch and Learn session. Of course, a nice catered lunch is always a plus too.
 
Socket held an informational session on Hosted PBX, and how transitioning from a traditional phone system could save business owners both time and money while making their system more reliable. Our guests had plenty of questions - hopefully we were able to answer them all!
 
If you missed the event, but want to learn more about hosted phones, don't worry; our reps would be more than happy to schedule a one-on-one lunch to work through your current business needs. Give us a call at 1-800-SOCKET-3, or send an email to lunchandlearn@socket.net for more information on our next event.
 

Socket Attends the Ninth Annual Costal Electric Invitational


Socket was proud to help sponsor the Ninth Annual Coastal Electric Invitational on Monday, May 12th.  Representatives from Socket and Veterans United played together as part of the charity tournament benefitting Woodhaven, a community dedicated to helping adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities succeed.
 
Luckily, the storms held off until after the tournament was over, and our golfers were able to enjoy some lovely May weather.
 
For more information on Woodhaven and how you can help, visit their website at www.woodhaventeam.org.

Staying Safe on Craigslist


It’s garage sale season, and in these days that translates to the “online” version of a garage sale too – Craigslist.
 
There are usually some great local deals to be found on the site, but there are always a few bad apples as well. Here are some behaviors to keep an eye out for, both to protect yourself financially, as well as to ensure your personal safety:
 
If you’re buying:
 

  • Make sure to buy locally, and don’t wire or send money. There’s no regulatory body on Craigslist, so if you never receive your purchase, you’re probably out of luck.
  • Only do business with people who will meet face-to-face. Even if they say they are local, they may not be.
  • If you’re meeting with a seller to pick up a purchase, try to meet somewhere public, like a gas station or restaurant. If you’re required to pick something up from a home, bring a friend and let others know where you’re going.

 
If you’re selling:

 

  • Don’t use your home phone number, address, or real email in the post. Your number can be traced to your physical address, so use a cell phone instead. Additionally, Craigslist can mask your email if you choose to use it as a contact method, but NOT if you include it in the body of your post.
  • Don’t work with people who want to pay through wired funds, cashier’s check, money order, etc. If it turns out the payment is fake, you could be on the hook for the money.
  • Don’t ever accept more money than you’re charging – for example, someone gives you a $300 check for a $200 item and asks for a $100 refund. Chances are the check isn’t good.

 
The most important thing for buyers and sellers and alike is to trust your instincts. If something feels off, or too good to be true, it probably is!
 

Customer Kudos!


Our techs always love hearing from customers they've helped out. Even if it's their job, it's still nice to hear it was a job well done.
 
Take this email we received about residential tech agent Jesse M., for example:
 
"Just had a super nice young man from my internet service of Socket.net help me reconfigure my DSL modem, he was so patient with me and talked me thru it all, he made my day for me, what a wonderful young man he is, Thank You again Jesse. I have been with socket for many years and this young man should be commended for his patience and kindness, specially since I am an older lady but he was so kind and patient with me. God Bless him." [sic]
 
If there's a tech you'd like to tell us about, drop us a line! Send an email to kudos@socket.net, or complete our customer survey at www.socket.net/survey.
 

Socket Fiber Story: Jeff H.


 
For many rural residents, satellite Internet used to be the only alternative to dial-up. Customers would tolerate slow speeds and weather-related outages because they simply had no better option.
 
Jeff H. of Millersburg, MO was one of those customers. While his satellite Internet used to be sufficient for him, the satellite dish quit working one day.  A technician came out and fixed it right away.  "A day or two later I got a phone call," Jeff says. "I was told that I had to pay over $300 or pay a monthly service fee."  Jeff decided to do neither.
 
“When I said I wasn't interested, I was told to return all of the equipment. I couldn't believe they wanted me to pay to fix something that didn't even belong to me,” he says. “I dropped them and went without Internet for two years. I was OK with that because I was pretty much getting nothing anyway."
 
However, when Socket brought high-speed fiber Internet to town, Jeff decided to get back online. He’s back to surfing the Web, paying bills online, and now watching about 90% of his TV viewing online, too.
 
“Now that we don’t have to worry about data caps or speed fluctuations like we had with satellite, we can use Netflix and Hulu,” Jeff says. “We’re even able to watch TV and use other devices at the same time.”
 
Most importantly, Jeff’s happy to be done with satellite for good and is happy with his decision to sign up for Socket Fiber.
 
“It’s worked out really well.”
 

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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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