The Summer Slowdown: Preparing Your Home Internet for Increased Demand
[6/28/2022] The summer television viewing season isn’t what it used to be.
Once known for endless reruns and launches of shows that studios deemed less likely to be successful, the world of streaming entertainment and the production houses it created are churning out phenomenal content you’ve just got to see.
The trouble is, lots of other people want to watch it too! And quite often, they’re streaming at the same time as you. And with kids out of school for the summer and many people heading indoors to escape the heat, internet usage increases during the dog days of summer. Unfortunately, along with the increased demand, streaming picture quality and overall reliability often decline, frequently turning what should be a relaxing evening into a frustrating experience.
And with new premieres coming this summer, like HBO Max’s House of the Dragon (the prequel to Game of Thrones), you can be sure that your neighbors (and maybe you too!) will be streaming away the second these shows hit screens.
So what can you do to prepare for all of this increased demand? Or are you doomed to suffer repeated buffering, pixelation, and loading errors during the summer slowdown?
Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to improve your internet connection and performance, even during the summer’s high demand. And your friends at DayStarr are standing by to help you learn more about high-speed fiber internet and suggest adjustments inside your home to improve your Wi-Fi’s range and overall streaming experience.
Below we suggest five tips to help you beat the summer slowdown so you and your family can enjoy a better streaming experience.
Tip #1: Upgrade to Fiber Internet
The single best thing you can do to improve your internet speed and connection is to upgrade to fiber internet. A technological wonder, fiber internet utilizes fiber-optic cables composed of ultra-thin, tiny strands of glass and other materials that transmit internet data near the speed of light.
As a result, fiber internet’s speeds exceed cable internet, which uses older technology and copper-based materials that cannot compete with fiber’s highest speeds.
Getting a dedicated fiber internet line through DayStarr directly to your home means you no longer have to share bandwidth with your neighbors.
Tip #2: Select the Bandwidth to Meet Your Family’s Needs
Once you’ve upgraded to fiber, talk to our team about which level of broadband you need.
This will vary from household to household, and our experts can help you determine what will provide the proper amount of bandwidth. If you have multiple people in your home, be sure to choose a plan that offers enough bandwidth for the whole family to use it simultaneously. This tip will help keep the high-speed internet flowing into your home and devices and help keep the peace in your family!
Tip #3: Consider Whole-Home Coverage
Now that you have a perfect fiber internet plan for your needs, you should consider whole-home Wi-Fi coverage. You can use Wi-Fi extenders and other technology to “extend” the Wi-Fi throughout your house—even in harder-to-reach rooms upstairs or even on your back porch.
With the right setup, you may even get a strong enough Wi-Fi signal in your backyard for outdoor movie nights! Of course, our experts can help you set up whole-home coverage, too, so be sure to reach out to our customer service specialists.
Tip #4: Optimize the Position of Your Wi-Fi Router
After you’ve set up your fiber internet service, bandwidth plan, and whole-home coverage, make the most of DayStarr high-speed fiber internet by optimizing the location of your Wi-Fi router in your home.
Remember that obstructions like too many walls and windows can interfere with and weaken the Wi-Fi signal and reduce streaming quality as it disperses through your home.
The simplest way to assess your Wi-Fi router’s placement is to run speed tests throughout your home (where your devices are most frequently used to stream). Speed tests let you experiment with your Wi-Fi router’s position—and making even minor adjustments, like elevating the router or separating it away from other electronic devices, can make a significant difference in streaming performance. And, of course, our friendly technicians are always around to help you, so feel free to contact us!
Tip #5: Utilize Parental Controls
Finally, don’t forget about parental controls! This is much more than limiting or even policing content your kids may use. Parental controls let you prevent your children from using online devices during certain times of day or night, which both reduce their screen time (something all parents aim to do) and increases the amount of bandwidth for you to enjoy!
Parental controls may be included in your service plan or as an add-on option for you as a managed Wi-Fi perk, so check out your package’s features or reach out to our team to see what may be available.
By implementing these tips, you can significantly improve the picture quality and reliability of your streaming experience, even with the increased internet demand and higher usage of the summer. So sit back, relax, and enjoy a summer of streaming!
Smart Thermostats for Summer Savings
[7/01/2022] Summer brings long days of sunlight for outdoor fun, vacations at the beach or lake, and time for afternoon lounging.
But summer also brings blazing hot temperatures and humidity, which mean increased energy costs. Since inflation is creeping into almost every corner of our lives and prices are staying high with little relief, families need all the savings they can find.
Fortunately, technology can help you save money at home in unexpected ways! For example, “Smart Home” technology uses the power of the internet to help monitor, regulate, and control many features of your home or office. From improved entertainment options to automated, time-based dimmable lighting fixtures, Smart Homes can make your life more efficient and save you money.
However, one of the best ways to save money this summer stands out: lower energy bills.
Smart Home technology can create these savings, specifically through “Smart Thermostats.” According to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Energy Star program, “a smart thermostat is a Wi-Fi-enabled device that automatically adjusts your home’s heating and cooling temperature settings for optimal performance.”
The Energy Star program found that homeowners can save upwards of 30% on their energy bills by utilizing a smart thermostat (significant savings this summer when you need it most!)
Many smart thermostats can be connected to and controlled by voice-activated technology you may already have in your home, such as Apple’s Home Kit (along with Siri, of course), Amazon’s Alexa, and Google Assistant.
And with the high-speed fiber internet provided by DayStarr, you can be assured that your smart thermostat and other “Smart Home” devices will stay connected to your Wi-Fi so you can be more in control of your home and your budget.
Below, we highlight three of the best smart thermostats to cool your home this summer and keep money in your bank account!
Our first option is one of the original smart thermostats—the Google Nest Learning Thermostat. Note the word ‘Learning’ in its name—that’s because, over time, this smart thermostat learns your temperature preferences in different rooms and at various times of the day. Its large, round LCD screen is elegant (in a retro way) and easy to read. Overall, it may just be the best option on this list.
Known for its versatility, the Ecobee Smart Thermostat is another excellent choice. The Ecobee brims with features to make your home more comfortable and help you better regulate its energy efficiency. For example, its remote room sensors can work with multiple rooms at different temperature and humidity settings to adjust conditions depending on needs and usage. The Ecobee’s touchscreen and smart speaker make it easy to operate and program, and its voice commands sync well with most other smart home devices and brands (e.g., Google, Apple, and Amazon). Note that it can be a bit pricier than Nest, but you may prefer its features.
Though it is the least expensive option on this list, the Amazon Smart Thermostat still packs a power-saving punch and makes for an excellent budget selection. You can set your temperature with your voice and receive notifications on your energy usage.
As you’d probably expect, it syncs brilliantly with Alexa, though it does not work with Apple’s HomeKit or Google Assistant. While it lacks the broad array of features of both the Nest and Ecobee smart thermostats, you may find that the Amazon Smart Thermostat fits your family’s needs for the price.
You can be confident that any of the smart thermostats outlined above will help break the summer heat in your home and ease the pain in your wallet! It’s just one of the numerous ways our reliable fiber network can make your home more efficient and comfortable through “smart home” technology.
Kid-Friendly Tablets for Summer Learning (and fun!)
[7/01/2022] While most kids can’t wait for the summer holiday off from school and studying, we know most parents are…less excited about it. And parents can downright dread the infamous “summer slide”—the inevitable drop-off of learning progress that comes from their child’s lengthy time away from the daily school learning structure.
Thankfully, technology can help alleviate this concern. The internet offers a variety of online tools. And technology enables learning and studying outside the structure of a classroom. Today, many kid-friendly tablets are available that are easy to operate and help your child access and utilize those materials during their summer break.
When the right tablet combines with reliable high-speed fiber internet provided by DayStarr, you’ll keep your child’s learning and educational enrichment up all summer long.
With an eye toward parental control, durability with protective cases against drops, and general ease of use, we’ve compiled a list of the best tablet options for your children.
We include our best overall recommended option and suggest tablets based on operating systems you may prefer or educational resources and libraries your child’s school may utilize. We hope one of these tablets will keep your kids engaged in learning while having fun this summer.
Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids Edition
Sporting an impressive 10-inch display size and numerous parent-favored features, Amazon’s Fire HD 10 Kids Edition may be the best overall option on this list.
Its built-in protective case can be easily handled and held by your child. The tablet is made from durable and sturdy rubberized material, so you have extra peace of mind when the inevitable drops and slips happen.
The Fire HD 10 Kids Edition also has parental controls to help you monitor and control tablet usage. We also love Amazon’s generous replacement policy, which lasts two years from the purchase date. Amazon also makes this tablet in a smaller size, the Fire HD 8 Kids Edition, so check that out if you’d prefer a lighter option.
If you’re looking for a Chromebook tablet for your child, the Lenovo 10E is a solid choice.
Its battery life clocks in at over 16 hours, ensuring plenty of time for homework and play, on just a single charge. The Lenovo 10E also features a powerful Dragontail Pro glass screen, which helps make the tablet more durable. If your child’s school uses the Chrome Ecosystem for some of its educational resources, the Lenovo 10E could be the best option on this list.
Apple iPad (9th gen, 2021)
Now, we know what you’re thinking— “do I really want to put an iPad into my kid’s hands for their first tablet?”
Well, hear us out because, as you likely know, an iPad offers more features and can be used for many different purposes. Investing in an iPad for your child may be a better longer-term purchase as they age and grow. And by choosing an earlier model like the 2021 9th generation iPad, you can save money, while enjoying Apple’s outstanding quality, speed, and apps.
You’ll just probably also want to invest in a protective iPad case to take care of the investment!
Samsung Galaxy Tab A7
For parents who prefer an Android-based device for their child, Samsung’s Galaxy Tab A7 boasts loads of features at a more competitive price than Apple’s iPad.
Utilizing Android’s latest software (currently Android 11) and all the app options available in the Google Play Store, your child will have a powerful tablet to use for learning while enjoying its versatility.
The Galaxy Tab A7 also lets parents enable controls and settings to add extra protection and safety for their kids’ browsing. You can monitor and limit their device usage and screen time, as well.
While technology is always changing and improving, we believe you can be confident that any of the above tablets will help make this summer more enriching for your child while sustaining their educational progress. And once you’ve selected their tablet, be sure to connect your child’s new device to our high-speed fiber internet so they can start exploring!
Don’t Rely on Snail Mail. E-Pay is Fast, Reliable, and Secure.
[6/14/2022] DayStarr customers’ full range of digital services already know the value we deliver through our state-of-the-art, fiber-based broadband solutions.
But we encourage our valued customers who are still paying by check or money order to consider taking another digital step.
We’d like you to explore the advantages of electronic billing and payments (e-pay) and automatic payments (autopay)!
E-pay means you receive your invoice each month by email or text and can pay online by mobile app or on our website. Autopay means payments happen automatically, at the same time, and from the same account each month, based on how you set it up.
You can choose e-pay and autopay together or only use e-pay, but either way, the result is easy, fast, and secure processing of your monthly DayStarr bill.
Here’s a bit more on the advantages of digital payment options.
Avoid Late Fees with AutoPay
Have you noticed how long it can take to send and receive physical mail?
You’re not alone.
In October 2021, the USPS announced new service standards that lengthen the delivery time for first-class mail to five business days.
We hear from customers it now takes up to seven days or more for mail to be delivered.
Here at DayStarr offers both electronic billing and autopay. You can sign up to receive and pay your monthly bills through any internet-connected device with a few clicks.
It’s easy to have your bill automatically paid from the bank or credit union account of your choice. In addition, you can select a recurring day for the bill to be paid each month.
Autopay saves time and eliminates the need to write a check. And don’t worry, you can switch payment methods anytime you wish. In fact, you can go back to using paper, pen, and post office anytime you wish.
The Security of E-Billing and AutoPay
In addition to being convenient and timely, digital payments add another element that snail mail simply can’t match: security and peace of mind.
At DayStarr we use industry-standard software and services to ensure your payment and your personal information are secure. It’s much safer than signing a physical check and sending it through mail service where it changes hands many times.
The hassle-free convenience of electronic billing and autopay is available to our customers who rely on us for our fiber internet, streaming TV, digital phone, and business services.
Register HERE to get started. You can also call us at 989-720-6000.
Together we can eliminate unnecessary late fees and add even more value to your digital relationship and experience.