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6 Surprising Secrets to Get a Stronger WiFi Signal

No WiFi

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Remember a time when you experienced a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day? You flopped down on the couch that evening preparing to escape from reality by binge-watching your favorite TV series. Then you got comfy with your go-to snacks and drink.

Ahhh! Life seemed as though it might be heading toward an uptick. That is until you discovered a weak WiFi signal disrupting the series you were watching. At this point, aw-shucks was not the first phrase that escaped from your lips.

When your WiFi is underperforming, “it’s tough” may resemble the biggest understatement of the year. Take heart. Reversal of worry, irritation, and exasperation remains possible. Below are six surprising secrets to strengthen that signal and drop potential frustration.

TIP 1: Reboot your router.

Just like people, routers need a reset from time to time. Reboot your router. Reboot means to unplug your router from its power source and any other equipment to which it may be connected. Next, wait 60 seconds. Then plug the router back into the power source and reconnect the router to anything else that it was attached to earlier. Pause for two minutes to give the router ample time to establish a wireless connection.

TIP 2: Update your router firmware through an app or by using the router IP address and your computer browser.

Routers also need updating because occasionally manufacturers make improvements or add features such as settings for parental controls. Update your router firmware through an app or by using the router IP address and your computer browser. If the phrase router firmware sends you into a frenzied “what is that?” or “how do I do that” panic, secure a long, deep breath. Think of router firmware as the device’s operating system. Then review these steps to update your router’s firmware.

TIP 3: Adjust your router antennas to reflect a perpendicular position.

If your WiFi router includes adjustable antennas, embrace both horizontal and vertical positioning. Pointing antennas both ways maximizes reception. Adjust your router antennas to reflect a perpendicular position.

Routers without an adjustable antenna contain an internal built-in antenna. Generally, that built-in antenna sends signals in all directions. Consider adding an external, directional antenna to bolster your WiFi signal. Then, point that external antenna wherever your weakest signal appears.

TIP 4: Keep your router out in the open for a strong signal.

It can be tempting to hide your router in a dusty nook, behind a couch or under your favorite pet. Other obscure places include a closet or back office. But, such concealment contributes to signal interference. Move your router away from extra interference culprits akin to baby monitors and microwaves. Keep your router out in the open for a strong signal.

TIP 5: Place your router in the room where you use your devices most.

The farther away your devices are from the router, the weaker the signal. Place your router in the room where you use your devices most.

Consider purchasing a WiFi extender. It will give you solid connectivity in many rooms. WiFi extenders prove valuable in large rooms and in structures with thick walls. Have a look at the best WiFi extenders for 2019.  

TIP 6: For better performance, connect your gaming console to your router.

Some apps like video chatting and gaming on a bunch of devices monopolize your network speed. For better performance, connect your gaming console to your router.

Running out to buy a new router solves WiFi problems if you purchased your existing router years ago. Yet, more often than not, cheaper and quicker solutions exist. Start with these simple tips to make life a little sweeter on a tough day.

New President Focus: Delighting Our Customers

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Since joining Smithville in mid-November of 2018 as its new president, I’ve been focused on taking Smithville’s already high level of service and seeing where we can elevate it to an even higher level. As many have experienced firsthand, we have a great team here at Smithville who consistently go far above in creating a high level of customer satisfaction and superior customer experience. We know that our customers have a choice and we are focused on rewarding our customers who choose us.

Smithville has already made a number of major investments, including building a new 100 gigabit-capable network to better serve both our residential and commercial customers. That technology vaults us up into the top tier of Indiana internet providers.

New, Effective Ways to Expand Best-Speed-Available Service

You may already be familiar with our ongoing project to transform the city of Jasper into Indiana’s first true “GigaCity” with symmetrical 1,000 Mbps (a gigabit) speeds and a very high degree of reliability. Smithville earlier completed a multi-million-dollar investment to upgrade our legacy copper-based customers with fiber-to-the-cabinet service, which has also improved speeds and reliability. We continue to look at new and effective ways where we can expand our services in the fiber arena.

We still are the state leader in providing “best-speed-available” residential service, which means you receive our award-winning home service at one price, wherever you are.

All these innovations are designed to bring you the best service we are capable of delivering.

Fast and Reliable. Great Value. Legendary Service.

And we’re not stopping there. As Smithville’s new president, I am privileged to let you know that we have a number of new innovations now being considered. We continue to actively explore how we can improve our service to our customers in every facet of our business. Darby and Cullen McCarty, our owners and executive leaders, positively built this business on the shoulders of a family that emphasized that customers come first. That tradition will be enhanced and continued. You will continue to see us focus on delivering fast and reliable internet, offering great value, and providing legendary service.

Thank you for choosing Smithville. I hope we have an opportunity to meet personally at community events to come.

Best Last Minute Deals on Affordable Stocking Stuffers

Do you need some festive and fun stocking stuffers for the kids (or the kids at heart) in your life? Come visit us at our Technology Powered by Smithville stores for affordable bestsellers to delight and entertain the family. Seven of our favorites stocking stuffers standout below. Also, remember that a gift card endures the test of time for those hard-to-buy-for folks on your list. #smithvillestockingstuffers

Product Name | Description

1

Whoosh Screen Shine Wipes

Did you know your phone is 10x dirtier than a toilet seat? Ewww!

Whoosh cleans devices, makes them shine, and resists fingerprints

Safe for all screens, and even works with glasses and sunglasses

Includes 30 individually packaged wipes and 2 polishing cloths

2

Holiday-Themed Popsockets

Expandable phone grip and stand

Secure grip so you can text with one hand, snap better photos, and watch cat videos hands-free

Repositionable and sticks to most devices and cases

Mount attaches to any flat surface with strong adhesive

3

PowerCube

Turns one electrical outlet into five

Includes surge protection

Doesn’t block other outlets

Modular system: so you can add as many cubes as you’d like to make a custom power strip

4

USB Notebook Travel Light

Powerful light source plugs directly into USB port

Flexible neck to adjust for the perfect amount of light

No batteries required

Great for travel, home, or office

5

Portable Power Bank

Available in 4400 mAh larger style or 3000 mAh smaller style with built-in device cradle

Includes USB cable for recharging

Never be caught with a dead cell phone or electronic device

Recharges a phone at least two times before it needs recharging

6

Wallet Ninja

Flat multi-tool that fits in your wallet with credit cards

Made from 4x heat treated steel

Lifetime guarantee to never rust, bend, or dull

Includes can and bottle opener, screwdriver, ruler, box opener, and more

7

USB Holiday Decorations

Available in Christmas Tree and Snowman

Plugs into any USB port

Color changes for festive holiday decor

Your 6 Practical Tech Tips for Thanksgiving

tech tips

Thanksgiving: a favorite holiday for many that serves up delicious secret-family-recipe-driven comfort food, followed by intermittent afternoon naps punctuated with football and family time. But like every holiday time, holiday travel, food prep, and the occasional family drama may add a tad too much stress. Try these six practical tips to improve your Thanksgiving experience.

1 Use voice assistants to help avoid touching your iPhone during turkey preparation. When using an iPhone, say “Hey Siri”. For Android users, “Ok Google” will activate your voice assistant. Once activated, convert recipe measurements like ounces to cups. Source: CNET
2 Let an easy-to-use cooking app simplify your life and reduce stress. Timer+ assists you in managing multiple cook times for different dishes. Set the timer to count down one time for boiling and mashing potatoes, another for roasting turkey and yet a separate time for heating sides. Source: CNET
3 Google Maps help you avoid Thanksgiving traffic delays and congestion points by identifying the fastest route and an alternate route. Source: CNET
4 Upgrade your kids’ (or kids@💗) games with hands-on technology that both educates and entertains. Check out the Tech Will Save Us products that allow you to build a robot, create a fitness tracker or invent touchpads and controllers. These products use everyday items like bananas or moldable clay. Source: Forbes
5 Soothe your soul with the best free streaming music apps. These include Pandora, Shazam, Spotify, iHeartRadio, Slacker Radio, TuneIn, SoundCloud, Google Play Music, Musi, Playlist, and 8tracks. Spotify’s Turkey Timer offers unique customization including entering your bird’s weight, selecting your favorite type of music, and voila – your favorite music plays for the length of the cooking time. For additional details on any of these apps, check out Lifewire. Source: Forbes
6 Modernize a family member who struggles with social media. Help Grandpa figure out Facebook. Take time to help a relative tweet on Twitter. Involve the teens – they’ll have your Instagram account up and running with memorable memes, goofy gifs, and fabulous family photos almost instantaneously. Source: CMIT Solutions

Whatever you end up doing on Thanksgiving, let technology simplify the day so you can celebrate and relax more!

Cares about Product Selection and Your Technology Needs

Ryan Lentz

Most store managers agree: the task of choosing the right products to sell carries with it a daunting connotation. After all, sifting through a smorgasbord of mind-numbing variables such as marketability, profit margin, consumability, popularity, quality, diversity and more requires some intense mental fortitude.   

Call it what you will: an uncanny skill or a quasi-sixth sense enabling selection of stellar technology products for the stores. Whichever description you prefer, Ryan Lentz has it.

Ryan manages both of the Technology Powered by Smithville stores, located in Bloomington (Clear Creek Crossing) and French Lick. Since May 2012, he and his teams have transformed the stores into technology treasure chests.

“My momentum is fired up when a mom stops in on a whim, hoping to find something that will encourage her daughter’s love for coding and robotics,” says Ryan.

“Selecting quality technology products challenges me. The continuous play involved in finding the exact product fit for the local guy who comes in to pay his bill and shop keeps me energized.  My momentum is fired up when a mom stops in on a whim, hoping to find something that will encourage her daughter’s love for coding and robotics,” says Ryan.

Who Else Wants the Best in Tech Products?

Technology Powered by Smithville stores carry (or carried) four of the five top products named earlier by a tech retail publication as moving the needle for tech retailers. Have a look at the top five winners below.  

Mobile Holders and Stands Any guesses on the leading product in this category? One word. Three syllables. Rhymes with swap rockets. Popsockets win for the correct answer!
Smart Home Doorbells, light bulbs, sensors. Offered in-store and online, Smart products such as the Skybell video doorbell, Smart LED bulbs, and the Champ water sensor alarm protect both our homes and families.
Instant Film/Cameras Not found in our stores. Based on comments from industry advisor Stephen Baker of The NPD Group, the popularity of instant film and cameras continues to trend down.
VR/AR Hardware & Accessories Available in our stores and online for watching 3D movies and playing video games, the Xtreme virtual reality headset provides hours of fun for kids.
Drones Though Smithville previously carried drones, the market shifted and intentional inventory depletion occurred on this formerly trendy product. Now, drones take flight toward specific commercial opportunities and niche hobby markets.

“When stacked up to the competition, our local stores are holding their own. I find that rewarding,” says Ryan. “Listening to customer feedback, regularly attending conferences and shows, and keeping an eye on what store products are moving contributes to that success.”

“At the end of the day, hitting a homerun depends on both play and work,” says Ryan.

The Secret to What Makes Ryan’s High-Tech World Fascinating

Outside of work, you may find Ryan at a baseball game cheering on his Cincinnati Reds. Passionate about fundraising for the Alzheimer’s Association in memory of his grandma, Ryan participates in the annual Bloomington Walk to End Alzheimer’s. Generally, he enjoys the familiar and simple when it comes to food, like a tasty tenderloin or hot dog.

However, he occasionally trades in the familiar for something new like a cereal milk milkshake while making his annual pilgrimage to Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show. “At the end of the day, hitting a homerun depends on both play and work,” says Ryan.

Introduce yourself to Ryan and his team members when you stop by either of the stores to pick up your tech essentials.

Just for Fun Survey: Counting Sleep When You Can’t Sheep

alarm clock

If you are getting your words and phrases turned around more often than not, you may be suffering from a lack of quality sleep. Lack of quality sleep continues to be a primary health concern for many Americans. Park Associates reports that 25% of US broadband households surveyed in 2018 are very concerned about sleep quality. That’s up from 16% in 2016.

Solutions for sleep deprivation may include the inexpensive, effective-for-some practice of counting sheep. On the practical side of the equation, choosing the right mattress to ensure your maximum comfort remains a popular product-based preference. Of course, there are Smart watches and exercise trackers – common tech favorites for monitoring your sleep quality.

What works for you? Select your favorite option from our single question Counting Sleep When You Can’t Sheep survey.

Initial Survey Results
Initial Survey Results

11 Must Have Doorbell Features

Skybell Video Doorbell

It’s back to school time. Checking to see whether or not your kids got off the bus doesn’t have to be a hassle. In fact, you don’t even have to be there in person to do so. Skybell Video doorbells have 11 easy-to-use features to protect your home and family.

Skybell Video Doorbell Features and Description

Features Description
1 HD Video

 

See your visitor up close with high density, 1080 pixel resolution and 5x zoom
2 Motion Sensor

 

Receive alerts even if your visitor doesn’t press the button (that’s additional security)
3 Live Monitoring

 

Monitor your front door at any time by starting the video from the app
4 Free Video Recording

 

Record each video to download or watch any time
5 Multiple User Capability

 

Allow multiple people to receive alerts to answer the door and/or enable multiple devices on each account.
6 Hear and Speak 2 Way Audio

 

Enjoy a full conversation with your visitor
7 Activity History

 

Review the day’s events while you were away (this includes missed visitors, answered video calls and motion alerts)
8 Color Night Vision

 

Feel safe knowing you can see a visitor at night in full color
9 Quiet Mode

 

Turn off your home’s doorbell chime from the app so it won’t wake up a sleeping baby or pet
10 Snap Photo Functionality

 

Capture a photo of your visitor with the touch of a button
11 Rugged Construction for Extreme Temperatures

 

Rest easy knowing the doorbell works between: -40 and 140 degrees F

The Skybell Video Doorbell is available in-store for $199.99 or online.

Gifts for Guys – Favorites That Are Sure to Win Dad Over

Do you need a great gift for Dad to help him celebrate Father’s Day? Come visit us at our Technology Powered by Smithville stores. We are currently featuring Gifts for Guys. Here are five of our favorites that are sure to win Dad over. If you are not certain which of these cool products he will like best, consider a gift card and let him choose.

Product Name Sale Price What’s It Look Like?
1 Aluratek 4-in-1 Emergency
Vehicle Safety Tool
$19.99 emergency safety tool
2 Wallet Ninja 18-in-1 Pocket Tool $5.99 wallet ninja
3 Powercube
customer favorite and best seller
$7.49 power cube
4 MagBuddy Dash Phone Mount $12.49 mag buddy
5 808 Audio Canz Bluetooth Speaker
available in black, blue and silver
$19.99 bluetooth speaker

Pricing valid through 6/30/18

 

Alternative to Keeping Rising Cable Costs Down

Cable costs are rising.  An article in the January 5th issue of USA Today explains why, as well as what you can do about it.  Besides the recommendations made in the USA Today article, another option for keeping costs down is Streaming TV.

Smithville offers four different platforms for Streaming TV: ROKU, Android (Google), iOS (Apple) and Amazon Firestick.  Need some help navigating through these options? Forbes provides a helpful comparison, which is summarized in the table below based on supported content, mobile device compatibility, TV compatibility, pros and cons.

ROKU Android (Google) iOS (Apple) Amazon Firestick
Supported Content Netflix, CinemaNow, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Google Play, HBO NOW, and more Netflix, YouTube, Pandora, HBO NOW, and more Netflix, Hulu, ESPN, iTunes, and more Netflix, Hulu, HBO NOW, YouTube, Amazon Video, and more
Mobile Device Compatibility Android or Apple iOS Stream from any iOS or Android device iOS Fire app can turn a Fire, Android, or iOS device into an Alexa remote
TV Compatibility Most high-definition TVs with an HDMI interface Most TVs with HDMI interface HD and UHD TVs with HDMI Any TV with an HDMI interface
Pros Use a mobile app to send content from your phone to your TV, including music, videos, and photos. Customers with compatible TVs can access 4K, HDR, and HD content for vivid picture quality Inexpensive and easy to set up and use For iOS device users, easy access to all content stored in iTunes. Supports video up to 2160p (4K) Alexa voice control, access to a wide range of content
Cons There have been a few isolated reports of customers needing to exchange sticks that were defective out of the box Content must be sent from a compatible device Android device owners won’t be able to take advantage of the ease of streaming content to their TVs, as they could with other streaming devices This device will only display up to 1080p resolution at 60 frames per second.

Source: Forbes