2016 Art in the Park Coloring Contest Winners

Columbia's Art in the Park festival was the first weekend in June at Stephens Lake Park, and Socket was happy to once again host the annual coloring contest! 
Kids designed their own stores for $50.00 gift cards to Tiger Bounce House and Lazer Lanes. There was a lot of imagination involved, based on this year's entries!
The pictures are now decorating our office walls, and our employees voted on their favorites:

                3-7 age group: Ally, age 7, “Rainbow Store”
                8-11 age group: Madison W., age 9, "Books of All Places"
Congratulations to the winners!

Speed Tests - How to Interpret Them

You may have heard about Netflix’s new speed test at Fast.com – unlike other speed tests, it’s meant to specifically test your connection to Netflix’s servers.
This is good information to have if you’re trying to troubleshoot a poor Netflix connection. But if you’re trying to determine why your upload speeds are poor, or your VoiP calls are spotty, this test – and many others online – might not be of much help.
Some things to keep in mind if you’re using an online speed test:

  • Many tests, including Ookla’s, take an average of multiple results and display that as your speed. If you’re having dropped VoiP calls, your average speed isn’t nearly as important as how consistent that speed is.
  • If there’s a problem with your home WiFi network, your speed test could look poor when your internet connection is just fine. Make sure to test from a wired connection when possible.
  • Different speed tests use different algorithms for testing. It’s never a bad idea to try and test from a variety of sites.

Learn more here: https://potsandpansbyccg.com/2016/05/26/speed-tests/

Congratulations, Dawn Cole - You Make The Difference!

Dawn with Socket

Congratulations to Dawn Cole, Technical Support Agent, on being named Socket’s You-Make-The-Difference winner for May!

Dawn joined Socket less than a year ago, but has already become a core member of the Tech Support team, known for her patient and friendly manner in dealing with any problems that come her way. In addition to helping out any of Socket’s customers that call in, she also helps with training new employees, and is about to bring her talents to our Business Center.

“Dawn's customer service ethic is amazing, and her ability to empathize with customers' issues is unmatched,” said a coworker who nominated her. “Whether the call is truly tech support related, or the caller just needs someone to talk to, she handles it in a dynamic and friendly manner.”

Dawn graduated with an Associate’s Degree in Applied Science last year, and spends much of her free time with her two children, who she says “keep me on my toes for sure!” She also enjoys watching sports, fishing, and cooking on the grill for her friends and family. In the small amounts of time she has between all of that, she also indulges in her passions for gardening and photography.

“My favorite part of working at Socket is the people I work with,” said Dawn. “Everyone’s so nice, and there’s so much knowledge to be shared that I literally learn things every day. It’s a great company to work for and with.”

Congratulations, Dawn!

Socket Supports Local Food Bank At Float Your Boat Fundraiser

Saturday, April 30, a group of Socket employees participated in the 5th annual Float Your Boat fundraiser in support of The Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri at Bass Pro Shops Lake. Float Your Boat is a community-focused event that allows teams to build boats solely out of cardboard, decorate them uniquely, and then race them accross the lake in hopes that they don't sink before they cross the finish line. 
Socket got the chance to show off their masterpiece 'The Gravy Boat', and ended up winning their heat without getting drenched. Although our team didn't leave with a trophy for most intricate boat, they still had a lot of fun while raising money for our local food banks!
Socket is a Yaught Club Sponsor of the Float Your Boat event. If you would like to learn more about this fundraiser, or would like to find out how you could contribute to the local food banks, visit http://floatforthefoodbank.org .

Jimmie Petsel, Socket's You-Make-The-Difference Winner for April!

Congratulations to Jimmie Petsel, Field Services Technician, on winning Socket’ s You-Make-The-Difference Award for April!

Jimmie acts as the “eyes and hands” of our business center – he’s constantly on the road and off visiting customers' offices in order to find and test any physical issues, as well as handling installations for our new business customers.

“Jimmie goes above and beyond to help the customers and his coworkers,” said a coworker who nominated him for the award.

"Exemplar! Enough said," said another.

Born and raised in Columbia, MO, Jimmie is a proud graduate of Hickman High School and enjoys cooking in his free time – he’s also our resident chef (literally - with an associate’s degree in culinary arts!) After hearing about Socket from his friend and fellow field tech, Allen St. John, Jimmie decided to apply, and is now about to celebrate his second anniversary here.

“The people I work with make this job fun and entertaining,” said Jimmie. “The fact that anyone I might be speaking to on the phone, that I can go back to the office and talk to them in person… you don’t get that at some places I’ve worked. It adds a lot!”

Congratulations, Jimmie!

Cherie Verslues, Socket's You-Make-The-Difference Winner for March!

Congratulations to Cherie Verslues, Accounts Payable Specialist, on being named Socket’s You-Make-The-Difference award winner for March!

As a member of the Accounting team, Cherie’s job is easy to describe – “I basically pay Socket’s bills.” But actually getting that done is another matter! Whether it’s tracking down payments, or making sure everyone has their paperwork filled out on time, Cherie frequently ends up having to hound people – and she manages to do it with charm and kindness.

“Cherie works with great integrity and is always respectful to everyone she communicates with,” said a coworker who nominated her for the award. “It is a pleasure to work with Cherie!”

“She’s so awesome! She does a wonderful job making sure all of our bills get paid and the money gets where it needs to go,” said another coworker.

Originally from Michigan, Cherie has spent much of her adult life in Missouri, and graduated from Columbia College with a degree in Business Administration. In her free time (which she says is limited these days!), she enjoys refinishing and upcycling furniture. But much of her spring and summer days are spent at the ball field, watching her youngest son play baseball for Battle High School.

“I’m happy that I get the opportunity to work with such good people,” said Cherie. “And I’m proud of the work that I do here at Socket.”

Congratulations, Cherie!

2016 Rootin' Tootin' Chili Cookoff!

Socket participated in the 2016 Rootin’ Tootin’ Chili Cookoff on Saturday, February 27th at the Holiday Inn Executive Center. This year, we had a group of seven employees represent Socket and cook up some delicious chili!
With over 50 companies participating and 2,000 hungry chili eaters, the event exceeded its $85,000 goal and raised over $100,000 for the Boys and Girls Club of Columbia! A record-breaking year for the Chili Cookoff!
Socket loves to participate in charity events like this, because it is fun for everyone involved! It is also a unique opportunity to raise money for a great cause. The Boys and Girls Club helps at-risk youths achieve a healthy lifestyle and academic success after school and during the summer. It costs the club about $2,500 yearly to serve one child, but the club only charges the parents $20 per semester. Events like the Chili Cookoff support the club and instill a positive mindset into each and every club member!

If you would like to learn more about The Boys and Girls Club of Columbia, visit http://www.bgc-columbia.org

Chili Cookoff Picture

Robert Edwards, Socket's You-Make-The-Difference Winner for February!

Congratulations to Robert Edwards, Business Center Analyst, on being named Socket’s You-Make-The-Difference winner for February!
It’s difficult to say what Robert’s “official” title is – he’s been referred to as Socket’s Swiss Army Knife, acting as an RMA, our MIS Technician, and a Field Services Technician.
“On a typical day, I could be dispatched to a business customer’s location, or working on broken equipment, or fixing inner office issues,” said Robert. “Every day is different.”
“Robert is always willing to step up for any request given to him by any department, with no questions asked,” said a coworker who nominated him. “He's always willing to stop and help if you need it and he is just an overall great employee.”
Originally from Tallahassee, Florida, Robert spent 12 years in the military before moving to Columbia. It’s hard to miss him when he’s wearing his Florida orange and blue! Although he’s currently attending classes at Columbia College, he still makes time to play basketball with his sons and shoot some pool.
“I like being able to use all of my talents here,” said Robert. “I get to do a little of everything, be a jack-of-all-trades. It’s never boring!”
Congratulations, Robert!

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.


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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