6 Surprising Secrets to Get a Stronger WiFi Signal

No WiFi


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


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.

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

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

Cutting the Cord v2.0

Until just a few years ago, “cutting the cord” was the phrase used to refer to what parents did in order to emancipate children who were reluctant to leave the safety of the nest. It was, and still is, a phrase that indicated a move from dependency to freedom.

While this definition of “cutting the cord” still applies, that’s not the meaning that is being bandied about in every major news outlet today.

Cord cutters are the increasing numbers of households who have decided to emancipate themselves from traditional cable television subscriptions. Laden with hundreds of channels, these subscriptions are accompanied by a heavy monthly price tag — a fee that includes channels that go unwatched, month after month.

When alternatives to those traditional TV subscriptions began popping up a few years back, consumers started sitting up on their couches and taking notice. Netflix, Hulu and HBO Go were among the first, but since those early streaming days, streaming services have been popping up like prairie dogs. YouTube TV, Sling TV, Amazon Prime, DirecTV Now, PlayStation Vu are just a few of the services available. To move the metaphor from prairie dogs, these services are as fertile as rabbits.

How sweeping is cord cutting? According to a December 28, 2017 article in USA Today:

“Two trends power the ongoing TV transformation: the growing number of U.S. homes with high-speed broadband Internet service, and the slow decline in homes with traditional pay-TV service.

“About 82% of all U.S. homes get broadband now, up from 76% in 2012, according to the Leichtman Research Group. And broadband homes (94.5 million) now eclipse the number of homes with traditional pay TV (about 92.2 million), the research firm says.

“Meanwhile, pay-TV providers overall continue to lose subscribers. About 405,000 signed off in the third quarter alone. However, the growth in broadband-delivered live TV services such as Sling TV and DirecTV Now is helping offset those losses. More than 2.5 million now subscribe to them, Leichtman Research says.”

Recognizing that streaming TV is a trend that is swiftly becoming the new norm, Smithville has introduced Smithville Streaming TV. Available to its residential internet customers, this streaming option is a perfect complement to other streaming services, offering what they most often lack: access to local and network programming.

One of the strongest advantages of streaming TV is the ability to select a service that offers more of what the viewer actually wants to watch, cutting out the fat of unwanted channels and serving up a leaner, more desirable menu. One of the drawbacks, however, is the lack of network channels and local programming. For those individuals who have lived and died by the Big Three and their programming, this creates a major drawback. Think of those young adults who are loathe to cut the cord with their parents. To some older viewers, the thought of losing contact with major network programming is akin to how some young adults feel about doing their own laundry, making their own meals and remembering to wake up on their own. Daunting.

Smithville Streaming TV’s package includes major networks as well as local programming. Paired with another streaming service of the viewer’s choice, there is nary a hiccup in viewership. The biggest change? Monthly fees. Streaming services are significantly less expensive than traditional cable TV subscriptions. Even when choosing two or three streaming options, subscribers will save more and have access to (1) channels they want to watch, as well as (2) original programming that is not otherwise available.

Ready to get started? Before you do, make sure you know exactly what you’re getting into. While streaming has its strengths, for those who have been long-time TV subscribers, there may be a paradigm-shift pain point or two. To help with that, we’ve created a Cord Cutters Guide. It will provide insight into the changes to expect, the technology you’ll need, and the benefits you’ll reap.

Once you’re ready to cut the cord, give us a call at (800) 742-4084. Our customer service representatives can answer your questions and talk you through the process. A lot of us are cord cutters, too, at all levels. While we can’t do your laundry or make you Mom’s mac ’n cheese, we can help you emancipate to the freedom streaming TV allows.

Hold, Please

You know the rigmarole…

“Please hold. Your call is very important to us…” Cue the twangy off-key music. There is nothing more irritating than needing immediate service and being placed on hold, unsure when or IF anyone will pick up to address your problem.

If your call is so important, why are you on hold?

Average Hold Times

Did you know the average person spends 1.2 years on hold over their lifetime?

The help website, GetHuman, offers the contact numbers and strategies for speaking with a human for many larger companies. The average wait times are listed for several national telecommunication firms (as of mid-May 2016). They include:

Company Wait Times

AT&T: 13 minutes

Comcast: 29 minutes

DirecTV:  8 minutes

Hold time expectations are notoriously grim in the communication industry. Rather than waiting online, many customers hang up or try their hand at self-help, looking for solutions online. Unanswered phone calls are practically cliché for cable, television, and phone companies.

When You Call Smithville

One of the consistent comments we get at Smithville is the speed, efficiency, and friendliness of our customer service. You won’t be bounced to a call center on another continent. Instead you will speak with a local, knowledgeable support person who can address your problem immediately.

And, you may ask, how fast is “immediately”?
At Smithville, we answer our calls off from hold in 13 seconds. Not 13 minutes.
Of course, there is the occasional exception. But the average time to reach a live human being at Smithville is 13 seconds. Really.
That’s pretty fast.

Smithville Fiber is proud to employ Hoosiers helping Hoosiers. Quick and local service is just another reason to Switch to Smithville.

Less downtime. More playtime.

Four words. They mean a lot. Since 2008, when Smithville secured financing for fiber expansion, we took on an ambitious goal. We saw the incredible short- and long-term impact that fiber could have on communities, on businesses, on individual lives. With many decades of hands-on work with our legacy communications systems (much of which is still working well beyond the limits for which it was originally designed), we saw that the future of communications was fiber based.

What does that mean for you?

We set out back then on what has now become a $100 million project. We knew what a fiber platform would mean for our customers and for Hoosiers. So we began converting to a fiber platform. Now, some 2,500 miles of fiber later, Smithville has the privilege of introducing true Gigabit symmetrical fiber-based Internet – 1,000 mbps up and down – in the state of Indiana. We’re in the process of building Indiana’s first true GigaCity in Jasper, and we’re taking this latest fiber Gigacity technology to places like the Blue Ridge neighborhood in Bloomington. More will be coming.

Fiber means a lot to the state and to our customers. It brings many advantages. That’s why with Smithville Fiber, we can lay claim to the statement: “Less downtime. More playtime.” If you have fiber-based high-speed Internet at work, you can probably get more done in a day. If you have reliable Smithville fiber at home or at work, you have less downtime. That means you have more playtime, time to do things that you want to do.

That’s why many say that the “killer outcome” of fiber is more time. Time to work productively. Time to get things done with less frustration. Time to have fun online with your kids. Time to run home applications that improve your life. Perhaps most important of all: more playtime.

If you’re not yet a Smithville Fiber customer, we hope you’ll think about it. If you’re already a Smithville customer, we thank you.

I personally invite you to come back to this space regularly for more information. Thanks for visiting.