D & P BLOG

Back to the Future: 2019 Extreme Smart Home Edition Category: Blog

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Doc Brown and Marty McFly brought us glimpses of the smart home and imaginative technology in the classic film Back to the Future II. While it seemed so futuristic at the time, we now have technology available that makes our homes smarter than anything they could dream up in the 1980s. Plus we also have bionic implants (that don’t short circuit), hoverboards, and virtual reality video games we can play without using your hands. Great Scott!

The smart home of our future will improve our lives in a variety of ways. When we’re rushing around to get to work, we won’t worry about forgetting to adjust the thermostat. Smart thermostats that use artificial intelligence will adjust the temperature based on our location and activity. While we’re away, we can keep an eye on our pet with video monitors. We can be confident our package will be delivered safe and sound thanks to our smart garage door.

Smart devices will allow parents of the smallest members of the household - children and pets - to maintain peace of mind through advanced monitors, cameras, and pet care. We will be able to plan for smart toilets and mirrors, motion-activated lights, and voice-activated shower controls in our next bathroom remodel.

Our kitchens will be the brain of the smart home with a touch-screen hub that will let us search the internet, create shopping lists, and find recipes. It will also let us conduct a live video chat, watch dishes as we cook, and control other connected devices in the home like our thermostat, lights, and door lock.

Future homes will help our families breathe easier through smart purifiers, control the lights with our voice, safety sensors that monitor our guns, grills, and stoves and smart water valves.

Making Homes Smarter

The next generation of the smart home will utilize artificial intelligence, voice recognition, and more sophisticated and seamless integration of devices. Home technology should ultimately improve the lives of the people that live there. To truly be smart, a device should: 

  • Communicate wirelessly
  • Compile and analyze data without additional input from users
  • Be compatible with other smart devices
  • Solve problems faster and/or more efficiently than traditional counterparts

How will smart homes support this technology? Homes will need more internet bandwidth to support multiple devices, streaming, and safety features. For families that also have a home office, reliable and fast internet will become an indispensable feature.

What Makes the Internet Faster? Category: Blog

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A man using his laptop

Many internet service providers claim to have the fastest speeds available on the market, but what does that mean? While people are generally familiar with the experience of slow internet vs. high-speed internet, what actually differentiates the two in a technical sense? This article dives into the definition and metrics of internet speed to explain what makes one internet connection faster than another.

Megabytes Per Second

At the most basic level, the internet transfers information that is packaged in bits. "Bit" is shorthand for binary digit, and it's a number that can be either 1 or 0. Eight bits make up a byte, a thousand bytes make up a kilobyte, and a million bytes make up a megabyte. Internet speed is a measure of how quickly information can be transferred from the web to a user's computer. High-speed internet like DSL and Cable achieve download speeds of multiple megabytes per second (MBps).

What Affects Internet Speed?

Internet service providers provide customers with varying levels of 'bandwidth' that determine the flow of information their device is allotted. The larger the bandwidth, the more information can flow through a connection. The more devices on one connection, the slower the internet will be for all of them as they divide up the bandwidth. Other factors that can reduce a connection's MBps include worn/aged wiring or cable, unoptimized wireless, or bandwidth-hogging plugins.

How to Speed up an Internet Connection

There are a couple of tricks that can boost the octane of a connection. But first, make sure to have the right product that meets your needs. Basic high-speed internet packages might suffice for an individual but not for a family using multiple devices. Many streaming services, for example, require speeds of at least 5 MBps for optimum quality. Even more so, if you'd like to stream 4K resolution movies, then 20 MBps will be needed to make your streaming video look just like live TV. Streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, and Vudu will test your internet speed before streaming their content, adjusting the quality of the video to match. They recommend a bandwidth in the range of 5-10 MBps for 1080p resolution video and high-quality audio. Also, keep in mind that sometimes it's not just your bandwidth speed that may be affecting your download quality. If the wi-fi router in the home is more than three years old, consider investing in one that has more bandwidth capabilities. Other bundled services like TV and voice will not affect the internet bandwidth. If the bandwidth is still insufficient, users can try closing unnecessary applications and disconnecting idle devices.

Understanding how to measure and improve internet speeds can help maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of any internet connection. To learn more about our high-speed internet services for homeowners and business owners alike, reach out to D & P Communications today by filling out our contact form.

 

You Have the Need, the Need for Speed Category: Blog

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We’ve quickly moved from the days of weird buzzing, dial-up routers, and chat rooms to binge watching and headphoned gaming evenings requiring lots of data. If buffering (or glitching as the kids say) is a problem in your home, it’s time to take a look at your current home internet needs.

With so many options for internet speed, it can be a bit confusing and overwhelming to figure out what is the best fit for your home and your family.  How can you find the sweet spot between not enough (and that dreaded loading line or circle) or paying for too much?

Your family’s normal online habits will help you find the answer.

How Much Data Do You Really Need?

The Career Couple — 25MB Home

Sal and Jenny live simply. Sal’s ipad really only comes out in the evening or on the weekends to check email or listen to one of his audiobooks. He occasionally streams episodes of Sherlock Holmes from his Amazon Prime account while Jenny is catching up on work using her Surface Pro. They typically don’t have more than two devices connected to the internet at one time. A smart internet speed for them is 25MB.

 

The Mini-Van Family — 75MB Home

Luke and Laura are connected-and so is their toddler who asks Alexa to play “Baby Shark” a hundred times a day. Their smart 4K TV is streaming Netflix while their 8th grader is playing Minecraft in the den. They typically have 3-5 devices connected at one time and 75MB is the smart internet speed for their busy home.

 

The Empty Refrigerator Family — 175MB Home

Since the last season of Fortnite dropped, the teenage boys in this home only appear when they are hungry. Steve and Jessi spend a lot of time transporting their children from one activity to another, and the entire family stays connected on their smartphones and social media-even their cat has its own Instagram account. They can easily have more than 5 devices connected at one time and 175MB is smart for the glitch-free needs of their home.

 

The Jetson Family — 250MB Home

Dave and Janelle have often joked that there may be people living there that they don’t know about – the laundry suggests that may be true. Their family has multiple 4K TVs and they stream their favorite movies in HD. Their kids gaming habits could be compared to training for the Olympics, and glitching causes a red-level emergency. They want the ultimate experience and a smart 250MB will not disappoint.

 

Your need for speed service will determine the best type of internet for your home. If your family or small business has a need for higher speeds, then consider a speed upgrade and keep all members of your household happy and connected.

Shows Worth Binge-watching in 2018 Category: Blog

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A TV with channel and show selections

There's nothing like coming home after a long day to relax and catch the next episode of a great show. For anyone in between shows, 2018 has a massive amount of exciting shows to binge on, new and old alike. Read on to find what to binge next.

"The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story"

When "Glee" and "American Horror Story" creator Ryan Murphy announced he was creating a docudrama about the O.J. Simpson trial, it was a controversial move that gripped viewers. Now, the successful "American Crime Story" series has proved its worth and is picked up for a second season. This season, Darren Criss takes on the role of fashion designer Versace's murderer, Andrew Cunanan, for a gripping and captivating mini-series that tackles topics such as prejudice and homophobia. It premiered on January 17 on FX and can be viewed on demand through many TV services or streamed online through Internet and cable bundles.

"Heathers"

Michael Lehmann's acclaimed cult classic Heathers has seen its share of reimaginations, including a Broadway musical. Now the story is being reconstructed as a TV series that combines Mean Girls with murder. This recreation will merge black comedy with a gripping drama that will have longtime fans of the movie and newcomers alike on the edge of their seats. "Heathers" will premiere on Paramount Network in Spring 2018.

"One Strange Rock"

Perhaps best known for his acclaimed films Black Swan and Requiem for a Dream, director Darren Aronofsky is bringing a documentary series to TV cable viewers that will take an inquisitive, mystical look at the place humans call home. Filmed in over 40 countries and across six continents, this breathtaking miniseries premiering on National Geographic will remind viewers of how incredible, mysterious, and humbling our planet can be.

"This Is Us"

With the second season of NBC's "This Is Us" just recently finishing, this is the perfect time for viewers to catch up on a nationwide favorite. Covering decades of intertwined family lives and several people who all share the same birthday, this often tear-jerking drama reveals the ways in which we are all similar and different. The characters in "This Is Us" all mourn, rejoice, suffer, forgive, and grow in such authentic ways that it's hard for fans not to see a reflection of themselves.

With numerous new shows coming to TV and streaming services every week, it's never difficult to find something new to binge! To avoid missing out, call D & P Communications today at 800-311-7430 to set up TV and Internet services.

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