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AMD Tips Special Product Deals for 50th Anniversary

Best Buy will host a one-day anniversary sale on May 1 for select AMD products in the US. Other retailers will have special deals over the next month as well.

To commemorate its 50th anniversary, AMD is partnering with Best Buy to offer up to $150 discounts on select products, including AMD-powered notebooks, Ryzen processors and Radeon graphics cards.

The one-day anniversary sale is scheduled for May 1—the day AMD was founded—and will be exclusive to customers in the US; check this page on Wednesday for all the details. Other retailers will also offer special deals from April 29 to June 8.

AMD will also launch special “Gold Editions” of two products: The Ryzen 7 2700X and the Radeon VII graphics card, both of which received positive reviews from PCMag. Neither will get a discount, though. The selling point is really the packaging.

The Gold Edition Ryzen 7 2700X, priced at $329, will feature AMD CEO Lisa Su’s signature imprinted on the processor cover. The Gold Edition Radeon VII, on the other hand, will come in a special red and gold AMD 50th anniversary casing and be priced at $699.

Unless you’re a diehard AMD fan, that may not sound too enticing. However, the company has also bundled each product with free stuff. Customers who buy the special Gold Editions will also receive an AMD 50th anniversary game bundle with free access to two PC games: World War Z and Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 Gold Edition.

 

Fastest Mobile Networks 2018

We tested data speeds on AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless in 30 US cities. See which network is the fastest where you live.

We tested data speeds on AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless in 30 US cities. See which network is the fastest where you live.

In our last Fastest Mobile Networks survey of the 4G era, Verizon once again cements its position as the 4G leader. The nation’s largest carrier also runs the nation’s fastest LTE data network, with the fastest download speeds and lowest latency.

We’ve been drive testing American mobile networks since 2010, first 3G and then 4G, watching speeds grow and coverage expand. Yes, there are still dead zones out there—American cities have less reliable mobile coverage than Canadian cities, we’ve found. But we’ve seen steady improvement over the years, especially from T-Mobile, and Americans in major metropolitan areas can now generally assume a level of service they couldn’t a few years ago.
Faster Speeds Than Ever

Compared with 2017, we’re seeing faster, more consistent LTE connections on all four major US wireless networks. Peak speeds have jumped from the 200Mbps range to the 300Mbps range, average download speeds have bumped up by 10Mbps or more, and latency has dropped by 10ms. That’s an impressive change in one year, and it continues the trend of improvement that we’ve seen over the past several years of testing. See how speeds have changed over the past few years on our national results page.

2018 FMN Overall Scores

Much more than previous years, we saw many cities where the carrier with the fastest average download speeds didn’t win the award. We’re OK with that. Our speed score tries to balance all of the components of a mobile connection: downloads, uploads, availability, and latency. (For more details, see our testing methodology page.) As we get to a world where we can assume 20Mbps or higher download speeds on 4G in most cities, other questions arise: Where are those speeds most consistent? Where is the network most responsive, especially when you’re downloading pages made of many small files?

Our tests cover data speeds and reliability; we don’t make voice calls. But our awards for data service apply more and more to voice, too. All of the carriers other than Sprint now use voice-over-LTE, piping their voice calls through their data networks. So the reliability of those LTE data networks translates into the reliability of your HD voice calls, as well.

FCC Probing Carriers for Rural Internet Coverage Accuracy

The FCC said it was investigating whether “one or more major carriers” violated rules of a broadband program that plans on spending $4.5 billion to help bring 4G LTE access to rural residents.
An FCC program to bring high-speed internet access to US rural areas has been put on hold because mobile carriers may have submitted bad coverage data to the plan.

On Friday, the FCC said it was investigating whether “one or more major carriers” violated rules of the rural broadband program and supplied the incorrect coverage data.

“In order to reach those (rural) areas, it’s critical that we know where access is and where it is not,” FCC chairman Ajit Pai said in calling for the investigation.

A lot of money is at stake. The FCC’s program plans on allocating $4.5 billion to wireless providers over the next decade to help subsidize 4G LTE access in rural communities.

The goal is to allocate the money to rural areas in need. So the commission has been trying to formulate an “eligibility map,” which is based on coverage data provided by the mobile carriers. The only problem is that the carrier-provided data isn’t matching with actual speed test numbers the FCC has been receiving from 37 states.

“A preliminary review of speed test data submitted through the challenge process suggested significant violations of the Commission’s rules,” Pai said on Friday. “That’s why I’ve ordered an investigation into these matters. We must ensure that the data is accurate before we can proceed.”

Pai didn’t name which carriers provided the bad data, or specifiy how the coverage numbers were incorrect. But FCC commissioner Brendan Carr said he also supported the investigation. In a statement, Carr said he’s been hearing firsthand from rural residents and wireless providers across the US about the challenges of getting 4G LTE access.

“It’s more than a frustrating inconvenience. It limits access to economic opportunity, to a 21st century education, and to high-quality telehealth applications,” Carr said. “That’s why it’s so important to ensure the data underlying our broadband maps are accurate.”

The Best Gaming ISPs of 2019

Online gamers have more to worry about than just great throughput from their ISP if they want to win. See which broadband providers in the US have the goods for gaming.
Online gaming used to be a little niche in the world of play—now online is a given, and having an adequate connection to the internet is a must for everyone playing on PCs, consoles, and even smartphones.

While it’s been a couple of years since we looked at broadband internet service providers (ISPs) when it comes to gaming quality, one thing hasn’t changed. Almost any high throughput connection to the internet of any kind is going to be okay for today’s games. Most of the hard work is handled by the gaming device when it comes to rendering and gameplay.

But your twitchy trigger finger needs a very high quality connection to the internet. That means low latency and jitter on the connection—the hiccups on the line that could be the difference between your last minute frag, or someone else becoming king of the online hill.

Thus, don’t look to this story for a discussion of speed. We covered that last summer in the Fastest ISPs of 2018, and we’ll do it again later this year. Instead, below we’ll cover the already-fast ISPs that can make you a winner, no matter where you live in the United States.
Methodology

Typically this kind of boilerplate rundown of how we test comes last, but it’s too important to this story that you understand exactly what we’re talking about up front.

This is our fourth look at the Best Gaming ISPs, and the results come from our personalized PCMag Speed Test tool. Test it yourself to see how your own ISP compares.

Curious about your broadband internet speed? Test it now!

When you perform the test it records the name of your ISP, your location, and the usual info on the connection like download and upload speed. For our Fastest ISPs stories, we use the up/down number of Megabits per second (Mbps) to create what we call the PCMag Speed Index. That’s a score that lets us directly compare ISP to ISP for speed. The formulae is 80 percent of the download speed plus 20 percent of the upload speed, rendered in Microsoft Excel as =((0.8*100)+(0.2*20)); that’s our way of saying download is probably a little more important than upload, but we provide all the numbers so people can decide for themselves.

None of which really matters that much if you’re gaming and rely entirely on your ISP to make you the best there is. If you’ve got a measly little 1Mbps download speed, you’re probably fine for most games (though you’re gonna want a faster pipe for all the DLC and updates). As we said, the hard work—the rendering and so forth—is handled by the consoles and gaming laptops or desktops.

What gamers require is low latency. Latency is the average amount of time, measured in milliseconds, that it takes a packet to traverse the internet from your home, to a server, then back to you. The lower the number, the better. Low latency means less lag. Our Speed Test also checks the connection for jitter, which is itself a check on the consistency of the latency of the connection to the ISP. Low jitter and low latency are what you strive for.

The best way to look at the numbers on both is just simply add them up. We call it the PCMag Gaming Quality index. Lower is better for quality—the converse of speed, where higher is better. You can’t reach zero latency/jitter on any connection, ever, not really—but it’s good to strive.

The tests used in this story were all performed throughout 2018, from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31. We used 268,647 US-based tests to quantify the results (in all we gathered 375,884 tests worldwide). All results came from the PCMag Speed Test tool. For an ISP to be included in the regional sections it had to have a minimum of 100 tests. For the nationwide results we looked for ISPs with over 1,000 tests and those with service in several states.

Previous iterations of the Speed Test required a web browser running Adobe Flash and JavaScript to work. The latest version, implemented on PCMag.com in April 2017, supports HTML5 and works on mobile browsers. We’ve discontinued uses of the embedded test, which was limited to only a few US server sites that support the HTTPS protocol. Our international-user friendly PCMag Speed Test works on any browser and is not HTTPS specific. As such, some results for wireless carriers do appear in this story; speed-wise they are generally outclassed today by modern wired connections like cable and fiber. For more advanced testing of the nation’s major wireless carriers, we do our own city-to-city driving tests for the Fastest Mobile Networks.

And yes, we know that your own local gigabit+ capable mega-ISP is fantastic and you’re apoplectic it didn’t make the cut to appear in this story. I’ll say it again: ISPs need a certain number of results to be statistically valid enough to include. Not enough results = those ISPs don’t appear in the story. However, you should tell us and your fellow readers in the comments which ISPs are killing it when it comes to helping you make kills in your favorite games.
The Best Gaming ISPs in the US

One thing you can’t always count on year to year is the gaming quality of a connection. The latency on ISPs can be up one year and down another, sometimes with startlingly different numbers. That’s the case this year, as our previous No. 10 best ISP for gaming—Hotwire—is No. 1 for gaming for the first time.

Hotwire takes the award with what is close to the best PCMag Gaming Quality score we have ever recorded (but not quite the best, as you’ll see below). That said, if you’re lucky enough to live in some of the multi-dwelling units that Hotwire Communications specializes in, that’s the place to set up your big VR rig right out of Ready Player One.

Best Gaming ISPs 2019 – US – Quality

Verizon Fios, a long-time favorite in our Fastest ISPs on and off for years, does well here—there’s something great about symmetrical fiber-to-the-home (FttH) for gaming. This year, like last time, Fios is in second place, now with an improved index of 21.8, compared to 31.5 previously. The third place spot goes to Optimum, also improving its scores from a 38.8 down to 27.9.

We always like to compare the quality numbers above with the speeds our testers got from the same ISPs. The chart below shows ISPs in the same order above, but gives a pretty good indicator that speed and quality don’t always match up…though in Hotwire’s case, they certainly do. Hotwire’s got a smoking high PCMag Speed Index score of 339.8, over double that of Verizon Fios.

Best Gaming ISPs 2019 – US – Speed
Best Gaming ISPs 2019 by Region

The problem with comparing ISPs to ISPs is that the vast majority of us don’t get a lot of choice when it comes to broadband providers. You can’t exactly jump ship to another ISP that may have better scores. Thus we try to narrow things down to the top ISPs for gaming in the six major regions of the continental US. Maybe within just a few states you could pick and choose—or at least move, if quality connections are that important to you.
North Central

Includes: IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, MI, MN, MO, ND, NE, OH, SD, and WI

With numbers close to that of our top national ISP, the local provider FairlawnGig of Fairlawn, Ohio, is the ISP you’d want to have if you’re a pro-gamer moving to the states listed above. Of course, Google Fiber is in Kansas City, Louisville, and Chicago (via Webpass on the latter, which only services apartments and condos), but it probably won’t be expanding beyond where it is.

Best Gaming ISPs 2019 – US_North Central – Quality

Northeast

Includes: CT, DC, DE, MA, MD, ME, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI, VA, VT, and WV

The first consistent winner, Verizon Fios, is still the top choice for low-latency connections in the Northeast, even though we last did the story two years prior. Fios managed to push the quality score down to a much better 21.8 from the 30.9 it had previously. Maryland’s Antietam Broadband is second with a 27.8, just a hair ahead of Optimum’s 27.9.

Best Gaming ISPs 2019 – US_Northeast – Quality
Northwest

Includes: CO, ID, MT, OR, UT, WA, and WY

Ready to have your mind blown? Last time, Wave managed a score of 46.2 to win this area for gaming (which wasn’t saying much) but even improving that to 32.5, Wave couldn’t beat the top three. In reverse order, they are: Comcast’s Xfinity service (31.7); municipal ISP NextLight (31.4) of Longmont, Colorado; and DirectLink in first place. That’s a cooperative association ISP found in Canby and Mount Angel, Oregon, where members are owners. Apparently, ownership has its privileges: namely the absolute fastest PCMag Gaming Quality score we’ve ever recorded—a stunning 6.9. The jitter recording of 1.9 is practically perfect. The latency is just 5 milliseconds. It’s clear that if you’re a pro-gamer and need the best of the best, you’d best be moving to Oregon.

Best Gaming ISPs 2019 – US_Northwest – Quality

South Central

Includes: AR, LA, MS, OK, and TX

Fios was the previous leader here but selling off its networks piecemeal to Frontier put that ISP into the spotlight for the South Central US for the first time. But only in second place. The better ISP this time around is Google Fiber, which has service in Austin and San Antonio, Texas.

Best Gaming ISPs 2019 – US_South Central – Quality
Southeast

Includes: AL, FL, GA, NC, SC, and TN

Hotwire is the clear winner here ahead of EPB Fiber Optics, the local municipal network of Chattanooga, Tenn., much beloved as one of the first gigabit cities in the US. All the fiber means EPB’s got a Gaming Quality score of 17.1, out-ranking most others (except Hotwire).

Best Gaming ISPs 2019 – US_Southeast – Quality

Southwest

Includes: AZ, NM, NV, and CA

California alone should be cornering the market on gaming-quality ISPs, but the southwest US perhaps isn’t the best place for gamers. The top ISP you could use is the Bay Area’s Sonic, which replaces Verizon Fios in this region as No. 1. CCI is still at the No. 2 slot, with an improved quality index (21.8 vs. 30.6 last time). Verizon Internet (not the Fios brand, which it mostly sold off in this area to Frontier) managed to do okay anyway in third with a 22.8—a better score than Fios got last time.

Best Gaming ISPs 2019 – US_Southwest – Quality

Wondering about the other two states in the union? In Alaska, the only ISP with enough responses to include is GCI; it came in with a pretty dismal quality score of 66.3. Hawaii’s top ISP for gaming is Hawaiian Telecom, with a quality rating of 52.4; Spectrum was right behind at 55.4.

Network Cables provider

Despite advances in wireless technologies, many computer networks in the 21st century still rely on cables as a physical medium for devices to transfer data. Several standard types of network cables exist, each designed for specific purposes.

Coaxial Cables
Invented in the 1880s, “coax” was best known as the kind of cable that connected television sets to home antennas. Coaxial cable is also a standard for 10 Mbps Ethernet cables. When 10 Mbps Ethernet was most popular, during the 1980s and early 1990s, networks typically utilized one of two kinds of coax cable – thinnet (10BASE2 standard) or thicknet (10BASE5). These cables consist of an inner copper wire of varying thickness surrounded by insulation and another shielding. Their stiffness caused network administrators difficulty in installing and maintaining thinnet and thicknet.

Twisted Pair Cables
Twisted pair eventually emerged during the 1990s as the leading cabling standard for Ethernet, starting with 10 Mbps (10BASE-T, also known as Category 3 or Cat3), later followed by improved versions for 100 Mbps (100BASE-TX, Cat5, and Cat5e) and successively higher speeds up to 10 Gbps (10GBASE-T). Ethernet twisted pair cables contain up to eight (8) wires wound together in pairs to minimize electromagnetic interference.

Two primary types of twisted pair cable industry standards have been defined: Unshielded Twisted Pair (UTP) and Shielded Twisted Pair (STP). Modern Ethernet cables use UTP wiring due to its lower cost, while STP cabling can be found in some other types of networks such as Fiber Distributed Data Interface (FDDI).

Fiber Optics
Instead of insulated metal wires transmitting electrical signals, fiber optic network cables work using strands of glass and pulses of light. These network cables are bendable despite being made of glass. They have proven especially useful in wide area network (WAN) installations where long distance underground or outdoor cable runs are required and also in office buildings where a high volume of communication traffic is common.

Two primary types of fiber optic cable industry standards are defined – single-mode (100BaseBX standard) and multimode (100BaseSX standard). Long-distance telecommunications networks more commonly use single-mode for its relatively higher bandwidth capacity, while local networks typically use multimode instead due to its lower cost.

USB Cables
Most Universal Serial Bus (USB) cables connect a computer with a peripheral device (keyboard or mouse) rather than to another computer. However, special network adapters (sometimes called dongles) also allow connecting an Ethernet cable to a USB port indirectly. USB cables feature twisted pair wiring.

Serial and Parallel Cables
Because many PCs in the 1980s and early 1990s lacked Ethernet capability, and USB had not been developed yet, serial and parallel interfaces (now obsolete on modern computers) were sometimes used for PC-to-PC networking. So-called null model cables, for example, connected the serial ports of two PCs enabling data transfers at speeds between 0.115 and 0.45 Mbps.

Crossover Cables
Null modem cables are one example of the category of crossover cables. A crossover cable joins two network devices of the same type, such as two PCs or two network switches.

The use of Ethernet crossover cables was especially common on older home networks years ago when connecting two PCs directly together. Externally, Ethernet crossover cables appear nearly identical to ordinary (sometimes also called straight-through), the only visible difference being the order of color-coded wires appearing on the cable’s end connector. Manufacturers typically applied special distinguishing marks to their crossover cables for this reason. Nowadays, though, most home networks utilize routers that have built-in crossover capability, eliminating the need for these special cables.

Other Types of Network Cables
Some networking professionals use the term patch cable to refer to any kind of straight-through network cable being used for a temporary purpose. Coax, twisted pair and fiber optic types of patch cables all exist. They share the same physical characteristics as other types of network cables except that patch cables tend to be a shorter length.

Powerline network systems utilize a home’s standard electrical wiring for data communication using special adapters plugged into wall outlets.

cctv installation and services

CCTV (closed-circuit television) is a TV system in which signals are not publicly distributed but are monitored, primarily for surveillance and security purposes.

CCTV relies on strategic placement of cameras, and observation of the camera’s input on monitors somewhere. Because the cameras communicate with monitors and/or video recorders across private coaxial cable runs or wireless communication links, they gain the designation “closed-circuit” to indicate that access to their content is limited by design only to those able to see it.

Older CCTV systems used small, low-resolution black and white monitors with no interactive capabilities. Modern CCTV displays can be color, high-resolution displays and can include the ability to zoom in on an image or track something (or someone) among their features. Talk CCTV allows an overseer to speak to people within range of the camera’s associated speakers.

CCTV is commonly used for a variety of purposes, including:

Maintaining perimeter security in medium- to high-secure areas and installations.
Observing behavior of incarcerated inmates and potentially dangerous patients in medical facilities.
Traffic monitoring.
Overseeing locations that would be hazardous to a human, for example, highly radioactive or toxic industrial environments.
Building and grounds security.
Obtaining a visual record of activities in situations where it is necessary to maintain proper security or access controls (for example, in a diamond cutting or sorting operation; in banks, casinos, or airports).
CCTV is finding increasing use in law-enforcement, for everything from traffic observation (and automated ticketing) to observation of high-crime areas or neighborhoods. Such use of CCTV technology has fueled privacy concerns in many parts of the world, particularly in those areas in the UK and Europe where it has become a routine part of police procedure.

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