Charles K. Kao's 88th Birthday

  • Posted on: 4 November 2021
  • By: djoyce

Google honored Mr. Kao on their homepage today.

Fiber

“Kao founded the department of electrical engineering at the Chinese University of Hong Kong in 1970 before moving to Roanoke, Virginia, in 1974. In the U.S. he worked as chief scientist and later as director of engineering at ITT Corporation, the parent company of Standard Telephones & Cables. During this period, several important patents related to fiber-optic technology were filed.”

Read more on Newsweek about how the ‘father of fiber optics’ revolutionized the way data is shared around the world: https://www.newsweek.com/google-doodle-charles-k-kao-physicist-nobel-pri...

The Home Security Series: Vivint Smart Home

  • Posted on: 27 October 2021
  • By: djoyce

In this 3-part series, we'll be checking out the best home security systems on sale today.

Blacksburg, Virginia, 10/27/2021

Protected

The second brand in our Home Security Series is Vivint. It’s a bit more professional than our last feature, and with that comes a higher price. However, if you’re looking for a great professionally installed system, this may be the one for you.

Vivint offers many standalone products; including their indoor and outdoor cameras, smart locks, and garage door opener to name a few. Those all work great on their own, but Vivint’s greatest strength is when all the products work together and can all be controlled from one system. Vivint makes home automation a breeze, especially considering that the entire system is installed by a team of professionals. That means you won’t have to worry about the best placement of the devices on your property. Included in the home security package is outdoor cameras, interior flood alarms, locks, thermostats, and lighting.

Vivint not only specializes in home security, but they also have a medical alert system for seniors. Included in the medical system is an emergency pendant that can be fitted on a necklace, safety alarms, 24/7 monitoring, and indoor cameras to keep check on loved ones when you’re away. And if you have a doctor or therapist coming by for a visit, you can provide them with a unique code that they can enter into the smart locking system for easy access to your home. To learn more about their medical system, visit the link here: https://www.vivint.com/medical-alert-systems

When you have this many devices working together to keep your home and loved ones protected, you need a network that you can always rely on. When you’re connected to WideOpen’s fiber network, you’ll always have peace of mind.

To get in contact with Vivint for a free quote, visit the link here: https://www.vivint.com/

Stay tuned for our next post.

- The WideOpen Team

The Home Security Series: Ring

  • Posted on: 22 October 2021
  • By: djoyce

In this 3-part series, we'll be checking out the best home security systems on sale today.

Blacksburg, Virginia, 10/22/2021

Ring Doorbell Camera

Home security products on WideOpen's symmetrical fiber service have never worked more reliably and quickly. From cameras and locks, to fire alarms and smart lights, you can be sure these devices operate at their maximum potential. And because WideOpen's network doesn't experience slowdowns in peak usage hours, you can be sure your residence is protected - whether you're at home or away.

The first brand we’ll go over in this series is Ring. You most likely know this brand from seeing their small doorbell cameras on houses around your neighborhood - or maybe you even have one yourself. But did you know they offer a full suite of security products? They’ve even got their own security subscription with 24/7 protection for your home, and an app called Neighbors by Ring, which enables you and those in your area to keep up to date on important information, like missing pets and package thieves. Find out more about the app here.

Ring has a multitude of security devices including smart lighting to make it look like you’re home when you aren’t, and motion detected flood lights with built-in cameras. Their most popular product is, of course, their doorbell security camera. They currently have 7 separate doorbell cameras to choose from all with different features, wireless or wired, motion detecting enabled or not, and unique designs to match the look of your home. You can see all the doorbells available by visiting their site here.

Ring has recently announced a new security system called Alarm Pro, which features a built-in eero Wi-Fi 6 router to protect your whole home and your network – which of course will work flawlessly on WideOpen’s network. The new Alarm Pro features 24/7 monitoring, whole home motion detection, and a DIY set-up. You can pre-order this system now at this link.

Stay tuned for our next post.

- The WideOpen Team

A New Contender Joins the Streaming Game: Paramount+

  • Posted on: 19 October 2021
  • By: djoyce

Paramount+ combines shows, movies, and live TV programs on their new app.

Blacksburg, Virginia, 10/19/2021

Copyright 2021 ViacomCBS

Are you wondering where your Star Trek Series disappeared to? ViacomCBS is calling many of their popular series home to their new Paramount+ Streaming network. Paramount+ is the home service for Nickelodeon, CBS, CBS Sports, Comedy Central, Paramount Network, MTV, VHI Showtime, and BET.

Originally launched as CBS All Access in October of 2014, the service added a more diverse selection of content and rebranded as Paramount+ in March of this year. Their rebranding efforts included adding much more content; sports channels including CBS Sports, original series like 60 Minutes, and additional content for kids.

Last month they announced that they would be launching a new streaming bundle for both the ad-supported and premium tiers that include Showtime. They are competing head to head now with the mainline HDTV streaming service by adding the extended content from Showtime, on top of what’s already available on Paramount+.

Are you enrolled in an accredited university? Current students get 25% off their monthly subscription by filling out the form at this link. www.paramountplus.com/account/edu

To view everything available on the new service, visit their site.
If you like what you see, click here to try it out free for a week.

Enjoy the Fall season!

- The WideOpen Team

October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month

  • Posted on: 12 October 2021
  • By: djoyce

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) shares it's most important tips for staying secure online.

Blacksburg, Virginia, 10/12/2021

Keep your internet secure

It's 2021, and our online presence and personal devices have never been more important to us. From banking to social networking, working remotely, and even using cell phones as car keys and credit cards, there's no doubt that we rely on these tools more than we think. That is why it's so important that we keep them safe and secure, and what better time to update and review your preventative measures than Cybersecurity Awareness Month?

According to CISA.gov here are a few tips you can implement today:

Let’s start with the basics of “cyber hygiene,” easy and common-sense ways to protect yourself online.

  • Implement multi-factor authentication on your accounts and make it 99% less likely you’ll get hacked.
  • Update your software. In fact, turn on automatic updates.
  • Think before you click. More than 90% of successful cyber-attacks start with a phishing email.
  • Use strong passwords, and ideally a password manager to generate and store unique passwords.

    If you would like more information regarding staying safe online, check out the links below:

    National Cybersecurity Alliance

    Center for Internet Security

    Stay safe and have a great Holiday season!


    - The WideOpen Team

  • 2.4 GHz vs 5 GHz – How Do They Differ?

    • Posted on: 11 October 2021
    • By: djoyce

    Choosing the right router frequency can affect your upload and download speeds more than you think.

    Blacksburg, Virginia, 10/11/2021

    Your router uses radio frequencies to transmit internet to your devices. The difference between 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz WiFi comes down to two factors: bandwidth (speed) and range. The speeds you receive over WiFi also depend on which service you are signed up for.

    2.4 GHz wireless networks cover a larger range than 5 GHz networks. Signals of 5 GHz frequencies do not penetrate solid objects as well as 2.4 GHz signals, and this limits the reach of 5 GHz frequencies inside homes. So, is 5 GHz useful? Absolutely! If the router is near you (in the same room) you can take advantage of the faster speeds and less congestion.

    With a dual-band router, you can set it to transmit at both frequencies at the same time. In this case, you’ll have two networks that appear in your network list, with identical names, except for a "5G" or "2.4G" at the end. You can then connect each of your individual devices to either one of the networks. Check your specific model of router for compatibility and frequency capabilities.

    Your neighborhood can be next to get fiber! Community interest, signups and survey responses determine which neighborhoods will be connected next.

    WideOpen’s Rapid Expansion of its Fiber Network Underway

    • Posted on: 6 August 2021
    • By: Lhuber

    WideOpen delivers super-fast Gig fiber to Blacksburg and Montgomery County homes

    Blacksburg, Virginia, 8/4/21
    WideOpen Blacksburg announces it is now adding Fiber to the Home (FTTH) customers to their network at a record pace in Blacksburg and the New River Valley, and is starting to deliver Gigabit service to businesses including the Blacksburg New School.

    The company’s Blacksburg-area backbone was completed in early June. Since then, fiber construction has moved into several Blacksburg neighborhoods, and hundreds more Blacksburg homes are scheduled to receive fiber connections this summer. The company provides the fastest Internet in the region, and the expanded network can deliver Gigabit, 2Gig,10Gig, and 100Gig fiber services to connected businesses and residents.

    Andrew Cohill, WideOpen’s CEO, described the company’s current activities. “Our next generation fiber back-bone passes by nearly every business and residential area of Blacksburg. We have a complete network expansion roadmap for 2021 and 2022, and we will be connecting homes to our fiber network steadily as we complete new lateral network segments.”
    The company is also expanding its network in Montgomery County, and some residents in the Catawba Valley got connected in December and January. Most of those homes were on extremely slow DSL, and they are delighted with the speed of WideOpen’s rural fiber service.

    Lynn Huber, who coordinates the company’s Blacksburg project, said she has been getting thank you notes from new customers. “They are telling us their children can finally do their school work and participate in virtual classroom activities at the same time as their parents work productively from home.”

    WideOpen has been getting service requests from all over Blacksburg and Montgomery County. Potential customers are telling the company they want what WideOpen offers: excellent service, a choice of services and ISPs, connections that don’t drop, and lightning fast uploads and downloads. The WideOpen fiber network has been designed specifically to support homes and businesses that need high performance two way video support for services like Zoom, GoToMeeting, and Webex. Scott Hebdon, a new customer in the Catawba Valley area has been very pleased with the service: “I truly appreciate that the WideOpen team brought Gigabit fiber to us; it has made a tremendous difference to our children and their ability to do their schoolwork.”

    Huber described an important feature of the network. “Our network is fully symmetrical, meaning upload and download speeds are the same. When a customer fine tunes their new setup, they are shocked at the difference between their previous old-fashioned, copper-based network with slow upload speeds and WideOpen’s lightning fast wide open Gigabit fiber. Batches of photos, large files, and work documents move back and forth to the cloud without affecting any other internet activities.”

    WideOpen Blacksburg is a subsidiary of WideOpen Networks, and both companies are based in Blacksburg. WideOpen Networks provides the network back office technical support for the Blacksburg network, but the company also maintains and supports nine other networks in Virginia, Montana, and New Hampshire. The company has a national reputation for network design, construction, and management, and has designed and built modern fiber and wireless networks throughout the U.S., Canada, and the Caribbean.

    Telehealth is Rapidly Gaining Ground.

    • Posted on: 15 March 2021
    • By: Lhuber

    In January 2021, Parks Associates released a study indicating 41% of US households took part in a Telehealth visit in 2020; Half of all kids under 18 have a high degree of interest in continuing with Telehealth visits; and 29% of households expect to purchase a connected health product in the next 12 months.

    The industry leapt through 5 to 10 years of development in just a few months. Telehealth demand, combined with an increased use of smart fitness devices and a need for healthcare in a world subject to massive quarantine, contributed to rapid progress and increased Telehealth offerings by medical practices all over the country. There are more developments to come: Apple watches, Fitbits and other fitness wearables are potentially capable of detecting wearers are getting sick more than a week before the first symptom appears, according to a study conducted by Stanford Medicine's Healthcare Innovation Lab. Other studies are being conducted to see if these devices will be useful in detecting COVID-19 infections.

    Medicaid is getting in on the Telehealth movement and recently worked with Centene Corporation to create a partnership with the National Association of Community Health Centers. $5 million will be spent on equipment and providing "training and technical assistance to Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) to ramp-up their capacity to provide telehealth solutions."

    It has never been more important to bring a minimum of 100 mbps symmetric Internet services to more people. WideOpen Blacksburg installs new Gigabit networks that lower the real costs of telephone, TV, and Internet services for businesses, local government, Telehealth providers and residents. We include 12 pairs of fiber in every conduit for use by governments in any way they choose, including potentially providing service to those on limited income.

    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?

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