Matt Walz owns Matt’s Computer in Jacksonville with his wife, Kelly. Originally a lounge for customers to access wifi, the shop now focuses on computer repair and networking. The shop is located at 1590 Pelham Road S., Suite 2, in Jacksonville and is open Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-5 p.m.. Contact Matt at 256-435-2522 or on Facebook at facebook.com/MattsComputerAndWiFi.
Are you originally from the Anniston area? I moved here to Jacksonville State University for college. I took my first programming job back in Virginia, but I did not enjoy it. I ended up floundering around for a little while, not knowing what I wanted to do until one day I woke up and said, “You know what? I have this education in computers, I enjoy it and I need to do something with it.” So Kelly and I opened up the business in 2006, and we have been in business ever since. It has been very rewarding.
Tell us about your first programming job out of college. The hours were great, and the pay was decent, but I did not like the confined spaces. I have that personality where I like changes in environment; I like being out and seeing customers.
Tell us about your business. We started the shop as Matt’s Computer and Wifi Lounge. When we started our business in 2006, the concept of having a place to go to use wifi was pretty on the cusp of technology. People did not have high speed internet in their homes, and wifi hotspots were a pretty revolutionary concept. We had a lobby out front with computers set up and places for people to sit. We had a fire in 2010 as a result of an air compressor that we use to clean out dust from computers. By that time, high speed internet had become more commonplace in everybody’s home, and there was no longer a need for the wifi lounge. One of the things I know very well is wifi networking, wireless networking. A lot of businesses I work with have a very large floorplan that requires seamless wifi networks. I educated myself in wireless networking and paired myself with partners, vendors and brands that have the equipment to do that.
What is wifi and how does it work? Wifi is wireless technology that allows your computer or other devices to connect to a backhaul network (“backhaul” meaning a main network that is tied to the internet). It is a means of getting your device connected to the internet in the shortest terms. With wireless wifi technology you can connect to your television, your phone, your tablet, your computer, your dishwasher, your refrigerator, your stove and all other things. It is simply a wireless radio technology that is an unlicensed FCC band frequency, so it is free for the public to use it without having to pay a licensing fee to the FCC.
What is the biggest issue you see people have with their computers? Probably the biggest issue would be not having proper antivirus protection on the computer and exposing themselves either directly or indirectly to some malicious software, or malware.
What is the biggest issue people encounter with wifi? There are a lot of limitations with different devices. If you only have the wifi provided to you by your internet service provider, and it is the basic device, your range is maybe 100 feet, and the number of devices is limited, and the performance is limited as well because it is the basic hardware package. A lot of people think they should be able to use their gaming console or high definition 4K television through their basic wifi equipment they got through their internet service provider. If the device is close enough to the box, it might work. Wifi is a half-duplex technology, which means it works very much like a CB radio; it works very fast, but it can only send or receive at one time. It cannot send and receive at the same time. The more advanced wireless radios that are available as aftermarket purchases that you can purchase through us have multiple radios and multiple antennas on them that allow more than one device to be sending and more than one device to be receiving.
Faith Dorn is a freelance writer in Anniston. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.