Make the Shortest Month Long on Fun February can be a challenging month as the cold and darkness of winter drags on. To add more fun to its 28 days, consider activities like these: Make snow ice cream. Build a snowman (or snowwoman or snowpet). Take a walk in the dark with headlamps or flashlights. Enjoy an indoor picnic. Or explore a new creative hobby. Cornerstone Group © 2023 Contact Butler-Bremer Communications 715 Main Street / PO Box 99 Plainfield, IA 50666 Phone: 319.276.4458 24/7 Tech Support: 1.866.276.8253 Office Hours: Mon - Fri, 8am - 4:30pm Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Online: butler-bremer.com SPR I NG 2 0 23 Bits&Bytes A NEWSLETTER FROM YOUR FRIENDS AT BUTLER-BREMER COMMUNICATIONS 4 Reasons You Might Need to Buy a New Router Routers are often the forgotten workhorses of the home network. Many people pay no attention to them unless there’s a malfunction. That’s unfortunate, since getting a new router can be an inexpensive and effective way to improve WiFi range, get a stronger signal, and better handle the demands of all the users and devices in your household. Here are some reasons to consider replacing your router: 1. You’re experiencing frequent symptoms of an underpowered or overwhelmed router. These include network-related congestion issues, like slow-loading web pages or stuttering video playback, that can’t be chalked up to a slowbroadband connection. Another sign is not being able to get a strong WiFi signal everywhere in your home. 2. You’ve had the router for several years. Nothing lasts forever, including routers. One of the best ways to make sure your home’s WiFi network is as fast and reliable as possible with your current number of connected devices is to buy or lease a new router with up-to-date technology. 3. You’re not getting the internet speeds you expect from your plan. Some older routers have a speed cap limiting the maximum internet speed possible, which means your outdated router may be preventing you from receiving the full speed of your internet plan. 4. You want specialty features. Newer routers typically come with specialty features that were either missing from older models or were there but too difficult to access. For example, these features make it easy to set up Quality of Service rules (so that certain devices and/or applications on your network get bandwidth preference to ensure smooth operation) as well as “bedtime” enforcement where certain devices can’t access the internet during homework or bedtime hours. For help choosing a new router for your home’s WiFi network, stop by the BBC office to see our selection or call 319.276.4458. You may also want to ask about options for upgrading your internet connection.
BUTLER-BREMER COMMUNICATIONS • 319 . 276 . 4458 • but l er-bremer. com “Like” and “Follow” Us on Facebook to Stay in the Know BBC regularly posts a variety of valuable content on Facebook—including photos and videos—on topics such as these: • Updates on fiber network builds • Technology tips and tricks • Scams being reported in our area • Upcoming community events • Employee news • Customer alerts on service disruptions • Changes to office hours • Product/service offers • Holiday greetings and seasonal ideas If you’re not seeing BBC posts in your Facebook News Feed, there’s an easy way to change that! Simply go to https://www.facebook.com/butlerbremer and click on the “Like” and “Follow” buttons. This tells Facebook you want to see what we share and not miss a thing. We also encourage you to respond to our posts with questions, comments, and suggestions. Or if you’ve been particularly impressed by one of our employees, let us know so we can pat them on the back! This feedback about your customer experience helps us make our company even better. Protect Yourself from Social Security Scams The Social Security Administration (SSA) wants you to know that scammers are pretending to be government employees. They may threaten you and demand immediate payment to avoid arrest or other legal action. They may claim there’s been identity theft or another problem with your Social Security number, account, or benefits. Or they may offer to increase benefits, protect assets, or resolve identity theft. Don’t fall for it! If you owe money to Social Security, the SSA will mail you a letter with payment options and appeal rights. Payments are only accepted electronically through Pay.gov, Online Bill Pay, or physically by check or money order through their offices. The SSA will never: • Threaten you with arrest or legal action because you don’t agree to pay immediately. • Suspend your Social Security number. • Promise a benefit increase in exchange for money. • Ask you to send gift cards, prepaid debit cards, wire transfers, internet currency, cryptocurrency, or cash through the U.S. mail. The SSA only sends emails or text messages if you opt in to receive them and only in limited situations, such as when you’ve subscribed to receive Social Security updates and notifications by text or email or as part of enhanced security when accessing your personal my Social Security account. Look for these “red flags” of a possible Social Security scam: • The caller or sender says there is a problem with your Social Security number or account. • You receive a call, text, or email asking you to pay a fine or debt with retail gift cards, wire transfers, pre-paid debit cards, internet currency, or cash. • Callers threaten you with arrest or other legal action. Keep in mind that scammers may use “phishing” emails to try and trick you into revealing personal information by clicking on malicious links or attachments. They may also spoof the SSA phone number in Caller ID or create documents that look official but are fake. If you receive a questionable call, hang up and report it to the SSA’s Office of the Inspector General at oig.ssa.gov.
Does this sound familiar? Your son is making a hefty download of the latest video game while your daughter is watching YouTube videos and your wife is streaming a movie. Meanwhile, you’re trying to get some work done from home, and notice that your laptop’s internet connection seems to have slowed to a crawl when you attempt to Skype with a colleague. Before long, a bandwidth battle ensues over who’s a bandwidth hog and which online activities should get priority. As a reminder, bandwidth refers to the amount of data that may be transferred over an internet connection per second. Every internet connection has a specified maximum bandwidth—usually measured in megabits per second, such as 100 Mbps—and this bandwidth is shared by all the users and connected devices in a household. This includes background internet usage such as software that automatically updates. You can think of bandwidth as a highway with vehicles traveling on it; the highway is the internet connection and the vehicles are the data. The wider the highway, the more vehicles can travel on it at one time and the faster they get to their destinations. The same principle applies to data—the more bandwidth, the more information that can be transferred within a given amount of time. When your home’s bandwidth isn’t adequate for simultaneous use by several bandwidth hogs engaged in streaming, gaming, and video chatting, everyone in the family may experience slower internet speeds. That’s when frustrations can grow and bandwidth battles can occur. In the interest of promoting family harmony, BBC recommends you upgrade your internet plan. That way, you can all get the speed you need and won’t have to argue over who must curtail their online activity to free up bandwidth for someone else. BBC offers family-friendly internet plans with download speeds up to 1 Gig. To find out more, visit butler-bremer.com or call 319.276.4458. A Bit o’ Trivia About St. Patrick’s Day You may think of St. Patrick’s Day as simply a time to wear green and dine on corned beef and cabbage. But how much do you really know about St. Patrick and the holiday that honors him? Here’s a list of some interesting trivia: • St. Patrick was known as the Apostle to the Irish, for converting the nation to Christianity. • The Catholic Church has never officially canonized Patrick as an actual Saint. • The largest St. Patrick’s Day parade does not take place in Ireland, but rather in New York City, where about two million spectators turn out each year. • Guinness is the most popular Irish beer consumed on St. Patrick’s Day. • Congress proclaimed March as Irish-American Heritage Month in 1955. • Every year, the Chicago River is dyed green for the city’s St. Patrick’s Day parade. Speaking of green, you can save green on bill paying by not using checks and stamps. Sign up for BBC eBilling at butler-bremer.com. Don’t Let Bandwidth Hogs Cause Household Battles Cornerstone Group © 2023
715 Main Street / PO Box 99 Plainfield, IA 50666 Phone: 319.276.4458 butler-bremer.com Cornerstone Group © 2023 BUTLER-BREMER COMMUNICATIONS • 319 . 276 . 4458 • but l er-bremer. com Alli’s Hot Cocoa This recipe is from Alli Wilken, a member of the BBC team. It was a childhood favorite, and she continues to enjoy it today! 8 tsp. sugar 1 1/2 tsp. baking cocoa 4 c. milk Place all the ingredients except vanilla in a saucepan and cook over medium heat until marshmallows are melted, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Pour or ladle into mugs. Makes about 4 servings. (For extra richness, top with whipped cream.) LOVE STREAMING MOVIES? YOU’LL LOVE OUR INTERNET! What’s not to love about streaming movies at home? You get to pop some popcorn, cuddle up on the couch, and watch whatever your heart desires—whether that’s drama, comedy, action, fantasy, adventure, sci-fi, or romance. The last thing you need as a movie buff is buffering. To avoid the dreaded buffering wheel showing up on the screen, switch to superfast and reliable internet from BBC. CALL 319.276.4458 FOR FASTER SPEEDS HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY! 1 1/2 c. mini marshmallows 1 tsp. vanilla