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410 Broad Avenue
Stanton, IA

712-829-2111

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How to avoid Ransomware

Douglas Pals

With all this talk in the news about hacking and ransomware - we thought we would offer you an infographic to help keep you and your data safe - at home or the office. If you have a problem like this, remember we are here to help you. 

Scam Warning!!!

Douglas Pals

Please be aware of a threat we are seeing a lot. The threat can start by email, from a phone call or by following the wrong links on a website.

The result is something called ‘ransomware’ where the perpetrator of the scam locks up your computer until a fee is paid to them, or the scammer messes up your computer in some other fashion. 

The most prominent threat has been people posing as Microsoft employees calling customers telling them they have detected a problem with their computer.

They have not; they just hope you’ll bite and give them remote access to your
computer. A similar scam can start with an email to you with a link to ‘help fix the problem’.

If this happens to you hang up or delete the email! Don’t give them access. No one can detect a problem your computer might be having without your knowledge, not Microsoft, Google, or anyone else. 

If this happens to you or get contacted, please call us for help, if you need it.

How to improve your home WiFi

Douglas Pals

This short, funny and very informative video from Joanna Stern, personal technology expert from the Wall Street Journal, gives you all the info you need to know about the new fleet of WiFi routers. Sit back, watch, learn (and enjoy!)

WiFi is a household necessity; know more to get the most out of it

Douglas Pals

As important as WiFi (wireless Internet) is, knowledge about it is lacking. Since it’s unseen, to many it feels like magic. We aim to raise your level of WiFi IQ. Let’s explore some topics. WiFi is the only way to connect to the Internet for many devices such as tablets, and some newer laptops. Smartphone users will connect to WiFi when possible to speed up their connectivity or to avoid using their limited cellular data plan.

Bandwidth – Think of Internet bandwidth like it is delivering water. A 100 gallon connection can deliver more water more quickly than a 10 gallon connection. Equivalently, a 100Mb Internet connection can deliver more Internet more quickly than a 10Mb connection. The bandwidth capacity of the Internet connection to which the WiFi is connected is the most significant factor in how ‘good’ your WiFi will be.

WiFi Type Matters – Just because your WiFi indicator (the little fan-shaped icon on your screen) is showing a strong connection doesn’t mean it will be fast. Over the years WiFi technology has evolved. Old routers are just not as fast as today’s new routers. You may have heard of WiFi A, B, G, N or AC routers.

You don’t need to understand the features of each or when each version came out. Rather, you need to know if you don’t have an AC router today, your experience won’t be very good, even if you have a 100 gallon connection feeding your WiFi router.

What’s the deal with frequencies? Again, you don’t need to understand the geek-speak to make your WiFi experience better. Most AC routers are ‘dual band’ meaning they send out WiFi signals on two frequencies - 2.4GHz or 5GHz.

Before your eyes glaze over, all you need to know is 2.4 travels farther, but has less bandwidth, and 5 has a shorter range but more bandwidth. This combo is why routers are dual band, to give you the best WiFi coverage. Most newer devices (tablets, laptops, smartphone, etc.) select the frequency which will provide the best connection for you, and the device will switch frequencies if you change location or experience interference.

How many devices can I connect? Interestingly, while there is a limit, most often WiFi performance is influenced by what the devices are doing while connected to WiFi. If everyone is just checking or working on homework, no one will see any problems. But if 2 or 3 devices are streaming HD movies, others may experience slower connections if your bandwidth is limited.

IMPORTANT POINT – tying all this information together helps complete your understanding. If you have a 10 gallon connection, you would see slow downs, but if you have a 25, 50 or 100 gallon connection your experience will be much better.

Is Public WiFi safe?
Yes and No
• Most are safe for basic use
• Some prefer networks which require a password
• Best to not do secure activities like banking, shopping & payroll

How much Internet speed do you need?

Douglas Pals

Internet speed may be hard to understand. Imagine different sizes of hoses or pipes. Visualize how much water can flow through a garden hose. Now picture how much could go through a huge 4 foot culvert under the road. Clearly more water can go through the culvert at one time than a garden hose.

Water is like the data that flows through your Internet connection, and our Internet speeds are like different sized pipes. In this example, 5Mb is the garden hose and 50Mb is the 4 foot culvert. Water is easy to visualize because we know what it is.

Using the word picture from earlier imagine this: an email message is equal to a small glass of water (not much data). If you attach 2 large pictures to your email, it becomes like 2 gallons of water. Downloading software is like two bathtubs full of water. And, watching an HD movie on Netflix is equivalent to a city swimming pool full of water (A LOT of data). Picture how long it would take to empty the swimming pool with a garden hose.

With this word picture, it’s easier to see why we made basic Internet 50Mb for customers on Fiber. This way everyone in your house can do what they want - watch a Netflix movie, look at pictures on Facebook and research vacations. Contact us if you have questions about your connection!

Sun Interference may impact TV signal for short periods

Douglas Pals

Notice: Possible Sun Interference on TV Service February 26 thru March 10

Around the spring and fall equinoxes, the orbit position of the satellites which provide TV service to all providers, may allow them to be overpowered by the sun for a few minutes a day. Depending on when you watch and your channel choices, you may or may not see an issue. If you do experience interference, your picture may tile, freeze or be unavailable for a short period of time. The channel will return to normal in a few minutes.