Do You Need a Virtual Private Network?

Do You Need a Virtual Private Network?

As beneficial as the internet can be to empowering individuals and enriching lives, there are negative aspects to being online.

Privacy concerns, disclosed personal information and data, hacking and security breaches, and computer viruses still plague this internet.

Medina Fiber does far more than provide fast, reliable fiber internet.

We work tirelessly to deliver your high-speed internet service as safely and securely as possible. However, you still need to take steps to ensure your privacy and online security, too.

One of the most frequently cited recommendations to protect your privacy online is to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN).

But what exactly is a VPN, and how does it work? And do you really need a VPN?

Below we explain what a VPN is and discuss how it works, so you can make a more informed decision about whether to employ a VPN yourself.


What is a VPN?

A VPN is a private network that, once established and enabled, creates a secure “tunnel.” Through the tunnel, data sent and received by your devices online is transmitted to a private server, where the data is encrypted before moving throughout the internet.

In essence, then, through this process, your data is more protected and secure while you’re online.


How do VPNs work?

VPNs utilize applications to transmit and relay online data (emails, browser searches, messages, photos, videos, etc.), to secure servers via the encrypted data tunnels.

Once encrypted data arrives at these secure servers, it gets routed to its final destination, such as a website, email server, or social media app.

The VPN’s encryption process shields your I.P. address (your location online) and other sensitive personal data.

For example, instead of revealing your I.P. address, the VPN’s server’s I.P. address “becomes” your I.P. address, concealing who you are and providing extra protection.

Similarly, by using a VPN, the internet traffic you receive has gone through the same more protected process before reaching your devices.

This sounds helpful—but do I need a VPN?

A VPN is a solid online privacy and security measure.

While some cybersecurity experts still recommend them, technically, you do not need one.

Until recently, VPNs were more necessary than they are today. But technology and online security have improved markedly over the years, with many websites and apps employing strong data encryption, helping enhance online privacy.

People who regularly use public Wi-Fi, such as in coffee shops or airports, are more vulnerable to hacking and cyber-attacks.

VPNs can help protect your devices (and online privacy) in those situations. But you can employ other security and privacy protections that can safeguard your data and internet traffic without using a VPN.

Whether you use a VPN or not, please don’t forget other essential protections, like password managers, anti-virus software, and ad blockers. They can protect your identity and prevent your online activity from being tracked.
Of course, should you have more questions about online security and privacy, Medina Fiber can always help.

And to learn more about navigating the web more securely and staying safe online, follow Medina Fiber’s social pages.

Best Things to Do After Getting Fiber Internet

Best Things to Do After Getting Fiber Internet

So you’ve made the right choice, switched to Medina Fiber’s high-speed fiber internet, and already experiencing faster downloads and improved reliability while you’re online.


You may be wondering about some of the best ways to enjoy your new fiber internet connection.


Well, there are several things you can do to make the most of Medina Fiber’s fiber service and improve life in your home. Faster, more reliable internet opens doors to great entertainment, more efficiency, and even cost savings.


From getting rid of cable TV and enjoying streaming entertainment to living more efficiently through smart technology and staying better connected to loved ones, fiber internet provides a new world of convenience and amenities right in your home.


Below we discuss some ideas and suggestions to make your new fiber internet work for you!


Cancel Cable and Cut the Cord


Now that you’ve switched to fiber internet, you no longer need cable—or any additional devices, wiring, and clutter that takes up valuable space in your home. And you certainly don’t need its extra bills, either. So, you can now cancel cable for good!


And we’re not just talking about canceling cable internet service, but cable television service, too. Many streaming services are available for watching your favorite shows and movies online, even live news and sports. And with fiber’s quality and dependability, you can enjoy streaming them as you did with cable TV.


Sign up for Streaming Services


Since your internet connection through fiber-optic technology is faster, more consistent, and more reliable than ever, it’s time to take advantage of streaming services and outstanding entertainment available to you.


Hulu keeps you up-to-date on your favorite shows, both current and classic, while Disney+ streams old Disney films and new entertainment hits.


You’ll be hard-pressed to exhaust the number of movies and TV shows available to stream today.
You can select one of many live TV streaming apps available, too.


With a live TV streaming service like YouTube TV, FUBU, or Sling TV, you can watch live television programs, real-time breaking news and analysis, and live sports and games.


Stream Music Anywhere in Your Home


Streaming entertainment includes more than just movies, TV shows and live sports.

Today’s technology lets you fill your home with music through streaming music apps such as Spotify, Amazon Music, or Apple Music. These apps let you create playlists of all kinds. Mix your personal “greatest hits list” from a particular artist, or select a playlist from a specific music genre, whether yours is rock, classical music, country, or all of the above!


These apps can also introduce you to new artists and songs you may have never heard. They also create lists of music the app “thinks” you may enjoy based on your prior selections and preferences. And you can ask these apps to shuffle songs from your favorite bands to listen to while you multitask!


Use Smart Devices and Set up a Smart Home


You’ve made the smart choice to switch to fiber internet—so why not use more smart devices?


“Smart devices,” even inexpensive gadgets like Amazon’s Echo Dot with Alexa, can really make your home more pleasant than before. For example, when you pair your Echo Dot to your Spotify account, you can say, “Alexa, play songs from The Eagles.” Before you know it, you’ll be living it up at the Hotel California!


But don’t stop with these smart devices!


You can make your entire home a “smart home” and far more efficient. For example, smart thermometers can monitor air temperature and even humidity in different rooms in your house.


They can also adjust their temperature based on times of the day and other conditions, saving you around 30% off of your energy bills, according to the EPA!


Also, consider smart lighting devices, which do more than save you money—they can also make your home’s atmosphere more appealing.


Use Video Conferencing Apps to Talk to Friends and Family


Having a phone conversation can be rewarding, but it cannot beat the joy of seeing a loved one’s face and smile.
With faster internet through fiber technology, you can experience more than just a person’s voice through conversation. Using apps like Zoom or FaceTime can make you feel like you’re in the same room with your friends and family. You can stay in touch and remain better connected no matter how far apart you may be.


The above suggestions and recommendations are just some of the many ways fiber internet makes life more convenient and fun. So, try them out and keep exploring!


And for more helpful tips about how Medina Fiber’s high-speed fiber internet can make your home more livable, follow our social pages!

Best Laptops for Your College Kid

Best Laptops for Your College Kid

As one of life’s great transitional moments, heading off to college for the first time marks a period of growth, expansion, and exploration—and lots and lots of expenses! Outside of tuition and room and board, one of the biggest and most necessary expenses is acquiring a new laptop for your budding scholar.

But with so many seemingly endless numbers of brands and features, how do you choose which laptop to buy? Which specifications should you prioritize? And are there any budget options that are worth considering?

We’ve helped simplify your search by presenting several highly-recommended laptops—including some quality laptops that will help your budget.

And before your college student leaves the roost for good, you can test out and set up their new laptop at home by connecting to Medina Fiber fast, reliable fiber internet.

Our laptop suggestions are based on features we believe are most essential for college students. These features include a long battery life, a durable keyboard, lighter weight and ease of portability, and extra RAM to run multiple programs and applications at the same time.

The budget option on our list is sufficient for most tasks your college kid will regularly use, while some of the more expensive laptops will add more powerful features and higher quality components to perform faster.

Below we highlight some of the best laptops most suited to college life, including a budget option, so you can make a more informed decision—and they can head off to college ready to hit the books—and keyboard!

Three All-Around Best Laptop Choices for College Students

We begin with our three choices for ‘Best All-Around’ laptops from Dell, Lenovo, and Apple, three reliable and respected brands in the industry.

Dell XPS 13

Dell’s XPS 13 combines portability with easy functionality—and one of the best displays for its price point—to make an outstanding laptop to take to college. Its processor is powerful and you can customize RAM for up to 16GB and choose a hard drive with up to 2TB of storage, making this laptop a true workhorse.

Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 Carbon

Lenovo’s IdeaPad Slim 7 Carbon and its 14” display really stands out among its competitors. Its brilliant 2880×1800 OLED display showcases stunning contrasts and noticeably brighter colors. Its processor and RAM allows for seamless multitasking.

Even with its larger display, the IdeaPad Slim 7 clocks in at barely over two pounds making it easy to carry across campus. 

Apple MacBook Air M1

Apple prices its MacBook Air M1 with college students (and teachers) in mind.  That said, this model still features many quality components valued by Apple fans, including its Force Touch trackpad and Magic Keyboard.

Its processor, the M1 manufactured by Apple, consists of multiple cores to amp up the MacBook Air’s processing power, helping to make this an excellent Apple choice to consider.

2-in-1 Laptops for College Students

We recommend two 2-in-1 laptops below to give your freshman the option to use a tablet—an even more portable device—in addition to the laptop, but without the additional, separate expense.

Microsoft Surface Pro 7  

Switching easily from a powerful laptop to a sleek tablet, Microsoft’s Surface Pro 7 is still among the best 2-in-1’s on the market today. Its Intel Core processor (10th generation) will exceed the needs of most college students and its battery life is excellent, while remaining trim and quite portable for the punch it packs.

Lenovo Yoga 7i 

The second Lenovo on our list is the Yoga 7i. Boasting a 14-inch display, the Yoga 7i is unique among 2-in-1’s in its price range, and you’ll notice the extra screen space you can utilize on many apps and programs.

Like the Surface Pro 7, there is generous battery life to get them through most of their classes and study time throughout the day before needing to charge the device.

Budget Laptop Option for College Students

Finally, we suggest a budget-conscious laptop that will meet most of your college kid’s needs, while keeping more money in your bank account.

Gateway GWTN141

For about $500, Gateway, the venerable computer company you may remember from the days before Google was a household name, has built a solid laptop with many of the features your college kid needs most. With its stellar Intel Core i5 processor, the Gateway GWTN141can keep up with many other models on this list.

Its display is large and its battery can last about 10 hours between charges, making the Gateway GWTN141 a solid value.

Any of these laptops will serve your college student well for their first year of college—and quite possibly even for all four years.

Check them out for yourself—and once you’ve purchased and received their new laptop, don’t forget to give it a test-run on Medina Fiber’s high-speed fiber internet to get it all set-up before you drop your kid off at the dorm! 

And to find more advice and tips on devices and technology, follow Medina Fiber’s social pages!

How Fiber Internet Creates a Better Gaming Experience

How Fiber Internet Creates a Better Gaming Experience

No matter the type of game you play, be it an epic role-playing title, a city builder, a tactical battle simulator, or a global strategy game, a faster, more reliable internet connection can make all the difference. When you don’t have to worry about your connection dropping, you can focus on coming out on top against your competition. And the advantages of faster internet for gaming extend well beyond the technical aspects.

Better internet means connecting and communicating with fellow players (whether you’re playing on a team or against them). And if you’re a streamer, you can be confident you’ll stay connected on platforms like Discord, Twitch, or YouTube.

Using the high-speed fiber internet delivered to you by Medina Fiber, gamers can be confident their internet will keep up with their game—and create a fantastic experience!

But how exactly does fiber internet improve gaming? And why does fiber’s technological power give gamers the edge they need to best their opponents and fellow players? Can fiber actually make a difference in the results and maybe even “up your game?”

We’ll answer these questions and explain why fiber surpasses other kinds of internet to make for a superior gaming experience.

What Fiber Internet Is—and Why It’s So Much Faster Than Cable

First, let’s briefly discuss fiber internet and compare it to traditional “cable internet.”

Fiber internet is delivered by fiber-optic cables consisting of skinny strings of glass that use light to transmit internet data. Indeed, fiber’s speed comes close to the speed of light, easily surpassing cable internet speeds.

Cable internet, a once-great technology (roughly two decades ago now), uses standard coaxial cables composed of copper wiring. Unfortunately, copper wires cannot handle the same amount of data or transmit it as quickly as fiber’s cutting-edge materials.

Simply put, cable can’t keep pace with fiber’s data transmission through light or fiber’s consistently higher speeds.

Faster Download and Upload Speeds

The most basic and arguably essential part of any internet technology is its download and upload speed capabilities.

Download speeds clock the time it takes to transmit data, files, and other information from an online server to your device. Conversely, upload speeds refer to how long your device takes to share data, files, and additional information to an online server. These speeds are simply fundamental to any use of the internet, and they’re especially vital to gamers, whose every reaction and decision is made in just milliseconds—and often determine whether you win or lose!

Higher download and upload speeds make for a far smoother, less jittery, more stable, and more responsive gaming experience—in other words, the kind of internet quality that may give you an edge against fellow competitors. As a result, the faster your download and upload speeds are, the better you can game.

Faster speeds get you into games much quicker, especially after an update is released. With faster download speeds, you can be among the first into the updated game—and, if your play is savvy enough, among the first victors to achieve awards and recognition—and all the bragging rights you’ve justly earned!

Higher Bandwidth

While faster downloading and uploading speeds are important, they are almost useless if not combined with greater bandwidth capacity. In simplest terms, bandwidth is the maximum capacity any particular internet connection can have.

Copper-based wires in basic coaxial cords used for cable internet are limited. Cable’s older technology cannot handle too much internet data at any moment; thus, its bandwidth is lower than fiber’s. This leads to more frequent freezes and delays—often in the middle of a gaming session—and the crashes and drop-offs dreaded by gamers everywhere.

Fiber internet bandwidth is substantially higher than traditional cable. Even in larger households with several simultaneous internet users, fiber’s bandwidth shines.

So, the higher the bandwidth, the more data can be sent to and from your device for superior gaming performance—with enough bandwidth remaining to stream your games with friends.

Low Packet Loss

One of the most frustrating technical snafus gamers experience relates to packet loss. A “packet” is a tiny collection of data transmitted over a network between an online server and your device. Packets are critical to any internet activity, from something as simple as sending an email to posting and viewing videos and gaming. But with some forms of internet, these small data units don’t arrive at their destination, causing maddening slow-downs, freeze-ups, and even crashes.

Packet loss can also impact other aspects of gaming, including hearing your friends’ voices—or even your own—sound like a robot while you’re playing on Discord! Packet loss (and low bandwidth) weakens Discord’s connection causing this distracting and embarrassing (if sometimes hilarious) side effect. Because fiber transmits data at nearly the speed of light, it can handle large swaths of packets (and data) much more efficiently. As a result, packet loss is reduced and keeps you on your game while maintaining voice quality.

Low Jitter

Just as crucial as receiving all of your data and files through packets is ensuring that the data hits your devices in the correct order. Too often, with older forms of internet technology like cable, the data that your devices need to operate—and you need to game—arrives jumbled, a problem known in the industry as “jitter.”

Fiber’s superior capacity to transmit data at a near-light speed reduces jitter, especially compared to cable. Low jitter means that your data arrives correctly and in the proper order, creating a clearer, cleaner, smoother, and more reliable internet connection—and a much better gaming experience that won’t hold you back.

Low Latency

Finally—and to many gamers, the most crucial distinction—fiber internet ensures low latency. Latency is the time between a “request” sent from your gaming device to the game’s online server and then returned from that server to your device. Usually measured by the millisecond, the lower the lag, the shorter—and the better—the response time. So, latency is your internet connection’s response time for processing requests and delivering data back and forth.

Low latency means that your device and the game’s server better capture your agility, quick decision-making, and choices that can make all the difference to gaming outcomes. In addition, fiber’s inherently low latency means you can enjoy gaming online without nearly as much lag and stutter that too often plague online games.

Fiber’s advanced technology can significantly improve your gaming experience—and maybe even give you the competitive edge you’ve been looking for against your friends! It’s just one of the many ways that Medina Fiber keeps you connected and helps you stay ahead of the game.

And to learn more about how Medina Fiber’s high-speed fiber internet can make your online experience even better, follow our social pages!