Shaun Crawford - Socket's You-Make-the-Difference Winner for June!



 
Congratulations to June's You-Make-the-Difference-Award winner, Shaun Crawford!
 
Shaun is one of our Field Technicians, and most of his work involves repairing and splicing fiber. That can mean anything from highly delicate work with hair-thin wires, to labor-intensive hauling and digging in the hot sun – and regardless of what gets thrown at him, Shaun does it without complaint.
 
After starting at Socket in May 2014, Shaun ended up moving over to the Field Services department just a few months later. Judging by their nominations and votes, his fellow field techs are glad to have him.
 
"He goes the extra mile to get things completed for Socket," said a co-worker who nominated him for the award.
 
Shaun is originally from Osage Beach, and is working on a CIS degree from Columbia College. When he's not being awesome at Socket, he enjoys drumming, skating and reading.
 
"I'm happy someone from Field Services was honored," said Shaun. "I really like the people I work with here, and everyone is really cool."

Major Improvements to DSL Service


Socket is investing substantial time and resources toward improving its DSL services through the use of new technology and equipment. While many in the telecommunications industry are trumpeting the death of copper for delivering high-speed Internet, Socket continues to find ways to meet its customers’ needs where copper is the most cost effective way to provide service. Known as VDSL, for “Very High Bit Rate DSL,” the upgraded service enables Socket to offer improved connection speeds to businesses and homes.
 
Socket began testing its VDSL service in late 2014. The upgrade required Socket to install new equipment at every point where its service originates. The new cards, coupled with new modems able to interpret the VDSL signal, give Socket VDSL customers top speeds of 50 Mbps, with averages landing somewhere between 20-30 Mbps. Compared to the 10-15 Mbps average speed that regular DSL, or ADSL, provides, this is a significant jump.
 
“In terms of our Internet service, speed is of utmost importance to our customers,” said Carson Coffman, president and co-owner of Socket. “We’re continuing to build our own high-speed fiber-optic network throughout Missouri by laying our own fiber. But we still find cases where this new VDSL offers speeds which are more than fast enough to satisfy our customers’ needs today.”
 
Brian Kirmse, president of Witt Print Shop in Columbia, recently upgraded to Socket’s VDSL service. He says the upgrade has drastically improved his business processes. “Being a commercial print shop, we deal with very large files every day from our clients,” said Kirmse. “With this upgrade, our uploads and file transfers go so much faster. That has saved us time, and for our business, time is money.”
 
VDSL, just like ADSL, is affected by how far a particular site is physically located from where the signal originates. The closer a particular home or business is to the point of origin, the faster the signal. Socket uses a complex algorithm to predict whether the service is available to potential customers and what Internet speeds they can expect.
 
Socket now offers high-speed Internet service for both commercial and residential clients. Packages start at $40 monthly and offer speeds up to 50 Mbps. To find out what’s available for your business or home, visit www.socket.net/prequalify.
 
 

Socket Sends Representative to International Research and Development Conference


Socket participated in an international research and development conference in Washington D.C. Its goal: to continue to operate on the leading edge of telecom and Internet technology.
 
The conference, called SIPNOC for Session Initiation Protocol for Network Operations Centers, focuses on the advancement of Internet Protocol or IP communication products and services. Brian Taylor, Socket’s Outside Network Administrator attended the three-day conference among the top minds in technology world.
 
Taylor helps manage Socket’s network, troubleshoots problems and researches and develops new technologies. During this conference, Taylor participated in discussions about the challenges of deploying and implementing SIP-based communications technology, and learned about best-practices and strategies which enable successful and profitable operation of SIP-based services and application.
 
SIP is a form of VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) that can, for some businesses be a cost-effective alternative to traditional telephone service. Businesses can also utilize SIP to route calls between extensions at different location. Learn more about SIP.

Socket Sponsors the 2015 Fulton Street Fair!


Socket was proud to help sponsor the 12th Annual Fulton Street Fair last weekend, and we had a blast handing out balloons and throwing candy in the Grand Parade!
 
While there, we were able to talk to Fulton residents about our expanding Fiber network, and how they could add their area to our list of potential places to build next. We were also able to tell our current Fiber customers about our new television service, featuring over 150 channels!
 
While rain initially threatened, the clouds cleared up just in time for the festival to open. Warm weather made it the perfect weekend for live music, fantastic food and an amazing crowd.
 
If you missed this year’s festival, get the next one on your calendar! Visit www.fultonstreetfair.com to learn more.

Sam Johnson - Socket's You-Make-The-Difference Award Winner for May!


Congratulations to this month’s YMTD award winner, Sam Johnson!
 
Sam is one of our Service Delivery Specialists, but finds himself with a variety of titles, depending on what needs to get done. His primary responsibility is to get new customers’ services working, which can involve everything from building out the service, configuring all the equipment for it, and walking our field installers through how to set it all up as smoothly as possible. That’s in addition, of course, to whatever else might pop up, like battling email spam or driving out to fix failed equipment.
 
“I don’t know that there’s any such thing as a ‘typical day’ for me,” said Sam.
 
In his free time, Sam enjoys playing video games, being outdoors, and “anything automotive.” Spur-of-the-moment trips around Missouri and the surrounding states have become a more common occurrence these days, too.
 
An Electrical Engineering graduate from the University of Missouri, Sam ended up applying on the recommendation of his friend and roommate at the time. As it turned out, Sam already knew quite a few Socketeers from his days at Rock Bridge High School. “It’s been an interesting place for a reunion… from the people I’ve reconnected with, plus the ones I’ve met here, I’ve learned from some of the best people imaginable [at Socket].
 
“It’s an honor to win this award for a second time,” said Sam. “It’s nice to know that my work’s appreciated!”
 
Congratulations, Sam!

Summertime Blood Drives Save Lives


For the American Red Cross, summer can be a difficult season for blood drives - especially in a college town like Columbia, where many donating students leave once school lets out.
 
That's just part of the reason Socket is happy to host a Red Cross blood drive in our headquarters every summer. Today's blood drive had 22 people volunteer to donate, with 16 units of blood collected. Every donation can save up to three lives, so every pint matters!
 
If you haven't donated blood recently, keep in mind that blood is often most desperately needed in the summer, when donations typically drop off. To find a blood drive in your area, visit www.redcross.org/blood.
 
 
 
 
 

Still Having WiFi Problems? Try This!


Having WiFi woes? There are a variety of reasons your wireless speeds might be suffering, but if you’ve exhausted the abilities of WiFi extenders or just how close you can sit to your router, there’s another option for improving network performance.
 
Bear with us – while it can sound a bit technical, it really just breaks down to there being two kinds of WiFi networks. Not so bad, right?
 
There are two main frequency ranges used in WiFi networks – 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz. While 2.4Ghz is far more common, there are certain advantages (and disadvantages) to using the 5Ghz range. Here’s a simple breakdown of how they differ:
 

2.4Ghz – 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.
 
5Ghz – 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.

 
If it sounds like 5Ghz is a better fit for your home WiFi network, there are two main things you’ll need to make sure of before you make the switch; your router needs to be able to support 5Ghz, and your devices need to be able to receive it.
 
Most routers are either 2.4Ghz only, or they are dual-band (meaning they support both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz). Check for the term “dual-band” on your router’s packaging, or do a quick Google search for your specific router model number.
 
What can be more difficult to determine is whether or not your devices can receive it. For many consumer electronics, it’s hit or miss; for instance, the iPad and many laptops produced in the last two years are dual-band. However, the iPhone, Xbox 360, Playstation 3, and older laptops are not.
 
If you don’t have a lot of devices and still want to try out a 5Ghz network, USB adapters are available for your laptop that look a lot like a thumbdrive. Of course, you’ll then have a long bit of plastic perpetually sticking out of the side of your device.
 
If your WiFi issues are severe enough, that may be a fair tradeoff.

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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