How to End Peak Hour Slowdowns

How to End Peak Hour Slowdowns

It's an aggravating experience far too often felt by far too many cable, DSL, or satellite internet users across America—the moment you finally get some time to unwind and enjoy your home internet, it's painfully slow and sluggish, sometimes to the point of being all-but inoperable. So why does this happen to so many internet users, and almost always around the same time of the evening? And what, if anything, can be done about it?

Well, thanks to advances in internet technology, the good news is that you don't have to suffer the peak hour slowdowns plaguing so many residential internet customers. Below we explain ins-and-outs of peak hour slowdowns—and how switching to FPUAnet Communications’ fiber is the simple solution you've been hoping for!

Peak Hour Slowdowns—What They Are and Why They Happen

Let's begin by briefly discussing what a peak hour slowdown is. As the name suggests, it is simply the period of time when internet usage in a given area (such as your neighborhood) experiences its highest internet traffic from simultaneous, multiple users.

Though it can vary somewhat, peak hours of residential internet traffic are typically between 6:00 PM and 11:00 PM. In other words, peak hours are the times most Americans are home from work looking to binge their favorite TV series, catch up on social media, game with their friends, or watch and post videos. And just like you and your household, your neighbors down the street or across town are also streaming away at the same time!

With older but still common forms of internet like cable, DSL, or satellite, peak hour usage can overwhelm an internet network. This leads to buffering, slowdowns, or connection problems—and mass frustration, just when most families are looking to decompress. 

Why Cable Just Can’t Handle Peak Hour Internet Traffic

While cable internet served its purpose in improving home internet speeds and service when it was launched and became widely available in the mid-to-late 1990’s, it continues to rely on old technology to provide internet—copper or coaxial cable. Those cables were originally developed to transmit television signals, not internet data.

Today’s families stream far more data at once than they did in the 1990s, and cable struggles to keep up when nearly every home on the street is trying to stream, game, and more all at the same time. With cable, multiple households typically have a shared connection to the network, which means the more your neighbors use the internet, the less bandwidth is left over for you.

Switching to High-Speed Fiber Internet Is the Solution to Slowdowns!

Unlike cable and other older forms of internet, fiber’s underlying technology and sophisticated components can handle substantially more internet at any given time. Fiber doesn’t suffer from inadequate bandwidth like cable does, because it can transfer huge swaths of data to your home’s connection in mere milliseconds along its glass-like strands of fiber optic materials.

Even more importantly, our fiber delivers a direct, private line to your home. That direct connection ensures that all of your home’s available bandwidth is actually yours and not shared with anyone else—including your neighbors! That direct line to your door from our fiber network puts an end to peak-hour slowdowns altogether.

Plus, with speeds of up to 1 gig per second, fiber can provide everyone in your home with more than enough bandwidth to binge TV and movies, enjoy online gaming, video call with loved ones, and stream videos—even all at the same time!

When you’re ready to end peak hour slowdowns and upgrade to fiber, contact the friendly customer service representatives at FPUAnet Communications. Our knowledgeable agents and technical experts are here to explain in more detail how our fiber network can make all the difference in your internet service and answer any questions you may have about our plans.

And follow FPUAnet Communications’ social pages to learn more about our advanced fiber network! 

Among Us: What Parents Need to Know

Among Us: What Parents Need to Know

Few parents can go more than a day without their kids talking about their favorite online games. Fortunately, there are many positive benefits to kids playing online video games in moderation, including improving problem solving skills and cultivating social cooperation. And many gamers (and their parents) believe that one particularly popular game does both quite well—Among Us.

One of the most popular games available today, Among Us is an online murder mystery game played by millions of people around the world. In today’s blog, we’ll give an overview of this game with a special focus on what parents need to know before deciding whether or not this game is right for their families.

The Background and Basics of Among Us

Set aboard a spaceship in outer space, Among Us is a “social deduction” game in which one team of players needs to bluff and deceive their competitors into thinking they are not “the bad guys” (and then eliminate those now-deceived competitors), while the “good guys” tackle each game’s tasks and/or eliminate the enemy first—if they can figure out who the enemy actually is before it’s too late!

To survive—and win—the “good guys” must use their deductive reasoning and shrewd reading of social cues to determine who is their true ally and who is their enemy. Conversely, the “bad guys” try to win by outwitting—and eradicating—the heroes through cleverness and outright deceit. 

Among Us is free to play on Android and iOS, though players will view ads on the app. To play the game on a laptop, a PC version costs $5.00.

At a minimum, four players are needed, and as many as 15 participants may play in any one game. Thus, your kid will either need to play with at least three other friends (or siblings) or play it in public mode with other people on the internet.

A Truly Global Phenomenon

First released in 2018, Among Us largely flew under the radar among gamers until the Covid-19 global pandemic sent most of the world inside and hunkered down in relative isolation. Perhaps the game’s considerable social emphasis was the cause of its explosive growth in popularity during the doldrum days of 2020.

Whatever the reason, there’s no doubting its massive worldwide following today! Even a few years after reaching its peak monthly player record, Among Us still regularly clocks in at over 45 million total monthly players.

Gameplay Overview of Among Us

In Among Us, players divide into two teams: “Crewmates” (the game’s heroes) and “Impostors” (the game’s villains). The two primary goals for the Crewmate team are to tackle and finish each game map’s tasks and begin to identify—and eliminate—the Imposters attempting to sabotage the Crewmate’s mission. As the game’s baddies, the Impostors' singular goal is simply to hunt down and kill all the Crewmates while “hiding in plain sight.”

The tricky part is that, on the surface at least, Crewmates and Imposters look exactly the same! Imposters don’t just run around rampantly like monsters in other games. Their sneaky, clever ways of infiltrating the Crewmates make these villains exceedingly hard to identify and capture.

If the Crewmates finish all their assigned tasks for a game’s particular map, or catch and eliminate all the Imposters before that happens, the Crewmates win. On the other hand, if the Imposters kill all the Crewmates first, the Imposters win.

Age Appropriateness and Parental Considerations of Among Us

Like with all other games (and just about everything else in parenting), the age-appropriateness for Among Us will vary based on the individual child and the discretion of the parent.

The Apple Store (for iPhones and iPads) rates the game suitable for ages 9+, while the Google Play Store (for Android-based devices) puts it at 10+. Some commentators, like Common Sense Media, suggest that Among Us is most appropriate for children aged 10 and older. 

Common Sense Media cites the Among Us theme (it is a murder mystery after all), some violence (though, as discussed below, this is relatively “cartoonish” in nature), and the deceptive elements all rising to a more mature level than other games younger children may play. 

Additionally, as with just about any game that includes in-game chatting, the chat feature can also get problematic, as some players employ foul language or even engage in occasional bullying during gameplay.

In terms of violence, it’s worth noting that the Imposters will hunt down and kill the Crewmates as part of Among Us’ game-winning goals. That said, the characters do not appear to be human. They’re almost jelly-bean-shaped, or sometimes likened to Teletubbies. Even the characters’ “deaths” are depicted as simply floating out into space (though some blood appears).

The Benefits of Among Us

Many children love Among Us simply because it’s fun. Fortunately for parents, it also teaches some valuable, real-life skills!

The game forces players to look below the surface, both for achieving the goals of each map, and more importantly for discerning who is an ally. Players cannot take anything at face value and must learn to think critically and practice deductive reasoning.

Among Us also provides opportunities to practice cooperation. Team building and collaborative communication are crucial elements of the game, just as they are in real life.

As with anything else, you’ll want to consider the maturity level of your own kids before letting them log on to play—but if you do, maybe join them for a game or two. You just might find a fun way to bond with them over a newly shared love for the game!

And with high-speed internet from FPUAnet Communications, you’ll have all the bandwidth you need to enjoy the game together—or to get some work done on your own devices while your kids play in the other room!

Call (772) 468-1697 today to ensure your household has the speed you need to enjoy your favorite games, work and learn remotely, and more. We’re honored to keep you connected!

Don’t Lose to Lag: A Gamer’s Guide to Latency and Ping

Don’t Lose to Lag: A Gamer’s Guide to Latency and Ping

When you're in the midst of an intense match, every millisecond counts. But your lightning-fast reflexes don’t do much good if your internet connection can’t keep up! In today’s blog, we’re talking about the secret sauce for a flawless online gaming experience: low latency and ping.

(Spoiler alert: You’re about to discover why gamers in FPUAnet Communications prefer our fiber internet to power their fun!)

What Is Latency?

Let’s begin with some basic definitions, as both latency and ping are terms that are fairly technical. Latency and ping are often used interchangeably, but they’re actually separate (though related) concepts.

First, latency is the amount of time (measured in milliseconds, or “ms” for short) it takes for internet data and information (i.e., a “data packet”) to be sent back-and-forth from one designated point to another.

To put it in gaming terms, latency refers to the total time it takes anything a gamer “inputs” while playing a game on his or her device (and internet) to be received by the game’s server and returned back to the gamer’s device. In Fortnite, for example, that could be a “command” for a character to run in a particular direction or use a skill.

Those commands (or inputs) are sent from a player’s device and internet to Fortnite’s servers and then returned to the player’s home internet and device on the screen. What matters is just how fast that happens, and if there is any delay.

Low Latency (Good!) and High Latency (Bad!)

To reiterate, the measure of the time that round-trip of gaming data takes is called latency—and the shorter amount of time that trip takes, the better! Gamers need the response time of their own inputs and the game’s servers’ responses to those inputs in return to be as short as possible—even undetectable by the user.

This refers to “low latency,” which gamers (and other savvy internet users) value highly. The lower the latency, the faster the response time—and the better the experience for players. Typically, gamers will want latency to be 50ms or less. Ideally, however, 20ms or less is the sweet spot, with single digit latency being the “Holy Grail” for dedicated gamers.

On the other hand, “high latency,” which refers to longer, even delayed responses to a gamer’s inputs can be deeply frustrating and lead to dismal user experiences. Gamers will notice problems when latency exceeds 100ms (or to some particularly-discerning players, even when latency is higher than 50ms). Games will be practically unplayable when latency is higher than 200ms.

That’s why gamers must always consider an internet connection’s latency to optimize their play. And measuring that latency is where ping comes into play!

What Is Ping?

We now turn to ping, which can refer to two ideas in computing. But remember, it’s common to use the terms ping and latency interchangeably. So, first, in common parlance, ping can, like latency, refer to the delay of travel time of data being sent over an internet connection. (This is also sometimes called “lag.”)

Additionally, however, there is a second use of ping that is different but interrelated to latency. In that other context, ping also refers to a utility program on internet-connected devices that sends out a signal to measure the length of time it takes for a user’s device to hit (or “ping”) a server. 

You’ve probably heard that you should “test your ping.” Well, testing ping involves using that built-in utility to measure the response time and even diagnose any network connectivity problems. To keep things simple, ping is usually tested as part of a speed test to help you predict your latency during game-time.

We know these terms can sound redundant or even confusing. What’s important to remember, however, is that gamers will want low latency, low ping, and minimal lag for a better experience no matter what terms are used!

Why Gamers Need Fiber

Having explained these terms, we next turn to why fiber is simply the best technology for gamers to drastically minimize latency and ping.

Compared to older forms of internet like copper-wired coaxial cable, fiber’s advanced materials can send data over an internet connection at nearly the speed of light. That means that fiber’s speeds routinely hit or exceed 1 gig per second! And in general, the higher the download speed, the lower the latency.

But fiber’s exceptional download speeds are just the beginning. Fiber’s generous bandwidth also plays a role in improving latency and ping, as the greater the bandwidth capacity, the more information can be transmitted back-and-forth over an internet connection at any one moment. That allows more data to seamlessly transfer in fewer milliseconds, dramatically lowering latency and improving the response times gamers experience.

How Much Internet Speed Do I Need?

Use our internet speed calculator to get a personalized internet speed recommendation based on how you use the internet.



So if you’re ready to rid yourself of high latency and the delayed response times due to slower, inferior internet reach out to FPUAnet Communications today. Our knowledgeable agents can answer any questions you may have about our advanced fiber network and plans. And for more tips to optimize your gaming experience, follow FPUAnet Communications’ social pages!

Five Tips for Scoring an Esports Scholarship

Five Tips for Scoring an Esports Scholarship

Though many parents may be skeptical about their teen’s passion for video gaming (and the seemingly extensive number of hours they play them), they might be surprised—and even impressed—by the economic opportunities brought about by gaming, especially in competitive esports. Perhaps the most eye-popping impressive statistic parents and their college-bound kids should be aware of is the tremendous amount of esports scholarships available for college: $16 million according to the most recent data!

Below, we provide several tips for gamers who want to take their hobby to the next level and help them pay for their college education through esports.

When combined with their skills and many hours of playing on FPUAnet Communications’ advanced fiber network—the fastest, most reliable internet a gamer can utilize—these tips may help students outperform the competition and get a well-merited scholarship for their future.

Tip 1: Join a Gaming Club and/or Compete for a Spot on a High School Esports Team

If possible, join a gaming club and/or compete for a spot on a high school esports team. Joining a gaming club or playing on a high school esports team puts you in direct contact with players you’re not used to playing against, which are probably your friends and other family members. Those players already know your abilities and weaknesses—and you know theirs.

Thus, to truly get ahead, you need to start playing against different people, and in a more competitive arena. Joining a gaming club can start you on the road to more competitive play, improved tactics and skills, and college-level esports.

Similarly, high school gaming teams provide an environment comparable to competitive esports at the collegiate and professional levels. They also teach additional gaming skills and techniques you might not be well versed in, introduce you to other games you haven’t yet mastered, and give you actual tournament experience—all the factors, in short, that collegiate teams are looking for and that improve your chances of achieving an esports scholarship.

Tip 2: Record Your Gaming Sessions

As you continue to hone your gaming skills and gain more experience playing competitively, we recommend you record your gameplay. It’s simple to do and there are many apps available to create recordings of your games, so check out their features and make a few practice recordings.

Recording your gaming sessions lets you see your progress—and learn from your own mistakes. It also allows you to “show off” your skills and achievements to others and gain feedback from them, too. Even more importantly, esports recruiters, especially coaches, will want to see examples of your esports play (see Tips 3 and 4, below).

Tip 3: Create an Esports “Highlight Reel”

Having tested your mettle in a gaming club or on a team, and recorded and reviewed your sessions to improve your gameplay, consider creating a highlight reel of your best gaming experiences. This is similar to what other high school athletes in other sports like football and basketball do. It takes some time to learn to edit and splice a highlight reel, but it’s a useful skill for self-marketing—and for other areas of life, too.

But don’t just think of a highlight reel as a braggadocious ego trip. An esports highlight reel can be used to pique the attention of esports recruiters and coaches, who are always scoping out rising talent and who need a quick pitch that stands out from the rest of the pack.

Tip 4: Reach Out to College Esports Coaches

Dedicated esports players should attempt to contact esports coaches as early as they can during their college search and application process—preferably even before the application and scholarship process begins, if possible. While esports coaches and recruiters follow Twitch and similar esports platforms to find and assess players, would-be esports scholarship winners should take the initiative and reach out directly to coaches.

Putting yourself on an esports coach’s radar early—and continuing to share progress, achievements and wins with them through your highlight reels—can have an enormous impact on scholarship success. Be confident and assertive in your communications with coaches, but don’t overdo it, either. Striking the right balance between self-confidence and humility is also key, so be mindful of your approach.

Tip 5: Think Beyond the Game

Finally, remember that most colleges aren't just looking to train professional gamers. Indeed, many colleges award esports scholarships to gamers with tangential interests like video production, coding and programming, graphics design, and marketing.

Resourceful applicants should highlight these gaming-related interests and any experience they may have in them in their college and scholarship applications and essays. These additional interests and experiences help candidates stand out—and may just be the decisive factor.

By joining up with other gamers you don’t usually play against, competing on high school teams, improving your gameplay, and showing off your talents online and to coaches, you’re well on your way to winning an esports scholarship. Above all, stay positive, keep challenging yourself, and keep playing!

With FPUAnet Communications’ fast fiber network, you’ve got the speeds and the bandwidth to handle just about any game. And with any luck—and some hard work—all that distortion-free gameplay may pay off in the form of a generous esports scholarship, too! 

Follow FPUAnet Communications’ social pages to keep up with esports and to learn more about online gaming. Feel free to reach out to our friendly experts if you’re interested in an upgrade to make your gaming experience even better!