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September 2011 Newsletter: WIRELESS

Get More from your WiFi

Speed, Performance & Security

zonedirector-crop

Think of your wireless network as a highway with just a few lanes and many on/off ramps - kind of like the Merritt Parkway. Now you can imagine why managing this wireless network effectively makes a huge difference in efficiency - and frustration reduction!

Only one device on a channel can transmit at a time. So the more devices you have on your wireless LAN, the more competition there is for "airtime." Then there is radio frequency (RF) interference to contend with as well,  everything from other networks to cordless phones. Managing who transmits when is the name of the game in WiFi efficiency. Effective wireless networking is all about managing the Wi-Fi or RF spectrum.

A certain amount of interference will always be in the background of your network's operations. This is called a "noise floor," and in WiFi speak the range from the noise floor to the receive signal is called the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). Then there's the gap from the top of the interference to the receive signal, or the signal-to-noise+interference (SINR) measurement. That's the number that really matters. While this will fluctuate in response to random interferences, you can determine an area's general average measurement. Then you can change transmit signal strength and wireless channels to create the optimal function.

Add to the signal strength issues the complication of signal direction, as your WiFi antennas are omnidirectional. So they pick up all the noise in all directions, and your network has to sift through it to hear what's most important. It's like having to cup your ear with your hand to hear a person near you at a noisy cocktail party. But in WiFi, this is called "beamforming."

Ruckus developed and patented the technology of "on-antenna beamforming" which means each of the antennae in Ruckus systems beamform independent of each other. This is what gives the system better signal strength, which means better throughput along your WiFi "highway." A reliable independent review of the Ruckus ZoneFlex by Tom's Hardware tested the system with a setup of 60 notebooks and nine tablets all accessing a single point, conducted over three days against other leading manufacturers. The ZoneFlex gave the best showing in test after test, which was attributed to its thorough engineering and attention to the many factors that are involved in delivering quality WiFi service.

Setting up a high-performance WiFi system is complicated. It's a part of CONNECT's service where experience, attention to detail, and selection of the right vendor's hardware really matter. If you've been frustrated with your system, or are installing one from scratch, you owe it to yourself to consider the Ruckus ZoneFlex. Call us for a personalized review of your situation and a custom solution from our WiFi experts. [Top]


computer wireless networkWiFi System Design

Why Hire a Pro?

To get the most out of your WiFi (performance, speed, throughput, and security), you have to have more than just the right hardware. Without proper installation, your system will have deadspots you'll wish you had designed around!

Moving? Great timing!

If you are in the process of moving your offices or replacing old wiring for other renovation reasons, now is the perfect time to consider a new WiFi system. If your workspace is in an environment that's hard to wire (like a temporary space, or a historic building), a wireless network can be a very cost-effective solution to your networking challenges. Because you won't need to add and/or pull wires, you can also reach places that wires can't. If you think you may be moving soon, a wireless LAN can be moved fairly easily, reducing your moving costs. If your business is in growth mode, a wireless LAN can help you accommodate that growth with the simple addition of more access points, client LAN adaptors and extension points. They can also solve the problem of connecting several buildings without having to install hard-wired connections.

Dealing with Interference

Most wireless devices operate on 2.4-GHz radio bands - including cordless phones and many microwaves. So there is a lot of potential for interference. This means that constant changes in the RF (radio frequency) environment may make it difficult to troubleshoot WiFi problems. You may be having issues like inadequate range, spotty coverage, inconsistent connectivity and erratic behavior with your WLAN. Improving these problems doesn't have to be complicated or costly - but it does have to be designed correctly! Things we take into consideration include steering signals around interference, obstructions and obstacles for the best coverage and most consistent performance.

Custom Pays Off

Off-the-shelf WLAN products can be bought from a retailer, but while they'll be low-cost, they will also be low on functionality. You need security and performance, not to mention central management. Using the Ruckus system we recommend, CONNECT can create a system with stable, directional connections that reduce weak coverage areas, dead spots, and poor performance. What you'll get: smooth video streaming, clear audio and voice communications, and the highest possible throughput to each individual client - as well as secure guest access support. CONNECT can deliver a system that is fast to set up, designed for top performance, and includes the kind of robust security you need for your business. [Top]


Smartphone Safety

Do You Need Antivirus Protection?

android

Think of all those great new apps you now have at your fingertips with the new Android phones and tablets. Aren't they creative? Unfortunately, so are attacking hackers! Because the Android Market is an open one, any registered developers can create programs and upload them - without manufacturer's approval. So of course, malware is bound to show up.

Malware is being delivered disguised as surveys, games, and other applications you may think are legitimate. But then you download them, and…ZAP! Your login is stolen, or your banking information is no longer a secret. Or all of your contacts get sent a really embarrassing text message. It's not pretty. One recent Trojan was a fake Dog Wars game that sent each of the infected users' contacts a message saying "I take pleasure in hurting small animals, just thought you should know that," and then signed their phone up to get alerts from PETA! The Nicki Spy malware poses as an invitation to the new Google+ network, then collects everything from texts to your GPS location. Creepy.

While you need to exercise a certain amount of plain old common sense and good judgment before hitting "download" on your phone, you can also get a utility that alerts you when something doesn't look quite "kosher." Some free security programs include Lookout Mobile Security, Norton Mobile Security Beta, AVG Antivirus, or NetQin Anti-virus. Or you can pay WaveSecure Mobile Security for a subscription. Take the right precautions, and watch what you're downloading. If it acts quirky or seems suspicious, follow your instincts. [Top]


keySet your Laptop Security

Settings for WiFi on the Go

When you're away from your "home base" with your laptop, it's prudent to operate your machine with tighter security settings than you'd have in your office or home environment. After all, you'd never want to share the contents of your hard drive with everyone on Starbucks' WiFi, right? But constantly changing settings is more than you want to hassle with. Here's how to be wise, stay safe, and minimize the hassle factor too:

  1. Set It and Forget It: Go to your machine's Control Panel User Account and create separate accounts for the places you use your machine - maybe Home, Work, and Public are good accounts to start with. Log in to each account, adjusting settings in the Control Panel accordingly. Make sure to disable file sharing in your Public user account, and choose a strong password for the account for doubly robust security.
  2. Share Selectively: Any files you'll want to access from anywhere should go in the "Public Documents" folder if you're running Windows 7, or the Shared Documents folder if you're operating under XP. Simply right-click that folder, select "Share with...", select "Specific people...", and choose the users you want to designate.
  3. Be Discriminating: Sensitive files to be accessed only in safer locations should be safeguarded in your "My Documents" folder under the profile that's most protected.
  4. Add On Easily: Installing new software? Just log in as the Administrator, and click "Install for All Users." Then everyone gets access to software you've added to your machine's options. [Top]

Toner and Ink Specials

CONNECT sells toner and ink for almost all of the printers our clients use. We guarantee the best pricing, even over the office super stores, with $3.50 shipping on orders over $100. We maintain complete listings by client to make the restocking process simple. Compare pricing, call203.333.4444 or contact one of our sales associates. [Top]


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In addition to our national hosting and network solutions, we provide IT services throughout Connecticut and New York, especially in Fairfield County, New Haven County, Westchester County, and New York City. Whether you need computer support in Stamford or backup and disaster recovery in White Plains, CONNECT Computer is there for you.

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