Blogs

PC Mag: "Best USB Wi-Fi Adapters for 2021"

  • Posted on: 22 February 2021
  • By: Lhuber

PC Mag has released their "Best USB Wi-Fi Adapters for 2021" survey. This is one of my favorite annual roundups of new technology!

As we carve out odd spaces for home offices, we're ending up in weird corners of kitchens, attics, or basements where Wi-Fi may not reach....

Read more: Best USB Wi-Fi Adapters for 2021

Apartment layout showing reach of wifi signal from Archer T4U Plus antenna
Find out how to reach those odd nooks and crannies without dropping a bunch of cash on a mesh system. Not that we don't like mesh systems: We love mesh systems, but sometimes they are overkill!

Serving Underserved Areas in Montgomery County, Virginia

  • Posted on: 7 December 2020
  • By: Lhuber

Picture of Mountain View near Catawba RdWe're working hard to bring high speed internet out to underserved rural clusters at the same time as we build out our in-town infrastructure. Construction has begun in this beautiful and remote area of Montgomery County. Seventeen more country homes will be lit with WideOpen fiber by Jan 1.

Can you tell where they are working?

Question of the month: Do I still need Comcast, Shentel, DirecTV or Dish for my television?

  • Posted on: 1 December 2020
  • By: Lhuber

images of streaming TV icons
You're welcome to keep your current TV service, but most WideOpen customers rarely keep a cable or satellite television provider for more than a couple months after having fiber Internet installed. Streaming top quality HDTV over fiber is as easy as a click of the remote. We offer a detailed TV guide (updated every few weeks) to help you make the best possible choice when selecting streaming providers*. The guide explains many of the available TV plans (from just a few local channels to full live TV packages) offered by the top tier providers including AT&T TV, Hulu Live TV, YouTube Live, Fubo, Sling, Pluto, and Philo live streaming TV providers. Have fun exploring a new world of entertainment including AMC+, Disney+, Netflix, AppleTV, Britbox, Amazon and HBO Max.

How do I watch streaming TV?

  • You will need a smart TV or a Wireless Device like a Roku Streaming Stick or Apple TV to work with your TV. Roku sticks cost around $30 and Apple TV devices are available for $100-$160.
  • Connect your new wireless device or Smart TV to your wireless services, by signing in with the same password you use for connecting to Internet in your home.
  • Smart TVs and wireless devices come preloaded with many TV provider and streaming apps. Take a stroll and scroll through your new device.
  • Choose the app (TV service) you want to try, then follow directions to enter billing information.
  • If adding an app to your device is not easy to configure, use Google to search with the
    following search terms: “How do I add an app to my (brand) TV or Roku”.
  • If you don’t see an app you’d like to use, find the smart hub or app store option on your device and use the magnifying glass to find the app.
    Most of these streaming services require credit card and address info even for the free trial. Be sure to cancel before the end of the trial period to avoid charges! It is easiest to cancel by signing into the provider on your laptop.

    How do I watch my local channels?

    All top tier streaming TV providers include local channels as part of their package. AT&T TV, Hulu Live TV, and YouTube Live are three of the most popular services for full regional TV coverage. WSLS, WDBJ7, PBS and all your favorite channels, and more, are a basic part of their streaming package.

    *As an Open Access provider we remain neutral and independent and offer standard and transparent pricing to both ISPs and streaming services on our network. We don't compete with the ISPs or streaming services so our customers can have maximum choice and freedom to change services with no interference or hinderance from us.

  • Blacksburg company to expand fiber internet network as competition grows in New River Valley

    • Posted on: 6 October 2020
    • By: Lhuber

    Blacksburg - Choices for internet in town are rapidly changing.

    WideOpen Blacksburg, the product of a company based at the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center, plans to deploy approximately 40 miles of fiber over the next year that will be capable of servicing up to roughly 8,000 homes in neighborhoods off...

    Read more at the Roanoke Times

    A Brief History of Internet in Blacksburg (and the world)

    • Posted on: 12 June 2020
    • By: Lhuber

    The evolution of electronic communications has repeatedly been marked by disruptive technologies. In the mid-eighties most electronic communications were made between monochrome terminals and mainframe computers. Crude modems were used to dial up and establish remote links to the mainframes.

    In the early nineties forward thinking companies like Apple were getting on the Internet and ditching their mainframe communication systems. Around the same time in 1993, Blacksburg, Virginia, began a revolutionary experiment to connect everyone in town to the Internet. Their first efforts were with modem-to-modem communications and they quickly expanded to Ethernet connectivity. In 1993 someone could live in Blacksburg and have a way to connect to the Internet with Ethernet. It was revolutionary. People moved to Blacksburg specifically for the world class connectivity.

    The first widely available modems were 300 baud (300 bits/second) devices. Faster smart modems which could automatically connect to a terminal session led to the rise of bulletin board systems (BBSs) that allowed users to dial in and communicate with each other. The first disruptive step was the creation of modem-accessible chat rooms, pioneered by AOL. While modems got faster and faster, most people outside of Blacksburg and university campuses were still dialing into a pool of modems to get to the Internet. In 1996, the average person with Internet access (there were only 20 million of them) spent less than 30 minutes a month surfing the web. Sometimes a web page took 30 seconds to load. Dialing on the phone for an internet connection required use of a phone line and patiently redialing to get past the busy signal.

    It was something of a revolution when DSL and cable modems were introduced into the area. With their arrival, everyone else not connected with the university was able to be "always connected" to the Internet. It was the beginning of the end of "internet sessions" and "terminal sessions". This was truly the second disruptive step in the ladder to a more accessible Internet (World Wide Web). Many of the dial-up Internet companies shelved their rooms full of modems, and moved onto other services. True open access to the internet essentially ended at that time.

    Today most people have DSL or cable modems which are hybrid systems using a combination of fiber for the backhaul and copper for the “last mile” to bring the electrical signals that they use to carry information to your home and business. While DSL is no longer considered fast enough for modern Internet connectivity, over time cable modem speeds have gotten better.

    Seven years ago a good Internet cable modem connection had speeds of 33 Mbps download and 5 Mbps upload. Today a good cable modem can have bursts of 500 Mbps download speeds. Unfortunately upload speeds have not improved as much over cable and rarely push up out of the 25 Mbps threshold . The download to upload ratios over copper wire today are a dismal twenty to one (20:1) at best.



    Nothing comes close to the symmetric speeds the customer gets with fiber, and only fiber holds the promise of open access to the internet. Blacksburg residents will finally have access to Fiber Internet as WideOpen builds out the network throughout the town. We're aiming for the gold standard for Internet connectivity of fiber all the way to the user. That is true today and will be true well into the future.

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    What are the True Benefits of Fiber to the Home (FTTH)?

    • Posted on: 12 February 2020
    • By: Lhuber

    Fiber is the best alternative for working from home, gaming interactively, streaming video and music, uploading media, speaking with contacts across the globe, monitoring security systems, or running a business from a residential neighborhood. A fiber optic backbone will cover and exceed a family’s needs for Internet, TV and phone — and typically raises home values in connected neighborhoods. There has never been a better time to FutureProof the home.

    A super fast, reliable Gigabit fiber network with resiliency and redundancy is what businesses and home users want and need. The WideOpen Concept keeps telecom, media and internet dollars in the community, which means more local jobs and a boom to the local economy. Because each community owns their fiber optic network, homeowners and businesses have true choice of multiple providers offering multiple services.

    The WideOpen Concept translates to business class service anywhere the network is implemented.

    Who wants Gigabit fiber?

    • Posted on: 11 October 2017
    • By: woadmin

    We're getting ready to identify our next neighborhoods for Gigabit fiber expansion. If you live in Blacksburg or Christiansburg, fill out the survey (the link is on the home page) and let us know. Tell your neighbors, too--we are looking for neighborhoods with a high interest in getting connected.

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    Fastest fiber in the New River Valley

    • Posted on: 3 August 2017
    • By: woadmin

    Our first two neighborhoods are now online with super-fast fiber connections. Residents are paying $69.95/month for a Gigabit fiber connection and a 1000 Meg down/1000 Meg up Internet service. We are now going to be looking for more neighborhoods in Blacksburg to bring the world's best Internet service. Follow the link on our home page to fill out the "I want fiber" interest form. We'll be bringing fiber to the neighborhoods with the highest response rate to our form, so tell your neighbors to fill out the form too. The next two neighborhoods will be launched in Late Summer of 2020.

    Gigabit fiber is here!

    • Posted on: 20 June 2017
    • By: woadmin

    We are completing the final equipment configuration on the network in our first two Blacksburg area neighborhoods today, and expect to start connecting customers with super-fast Internet in the next couple of days.

    What comes next?

    We will be using data from our survey (have you filled it out to let us know you want Gig fiber?) to identify where to build next.

    The picture below shows the first fiber to the home cabinet in the New River Valley.

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