There is nothing worse than having abysmally slow WiFi while you’re trying to work. If this describes your home office setup, here’s how to troubleshoot it.As the digital age moves forward, the demand for high-speed WiFi is growing. Video streaming services, like Netflix, are responsible for a significant portion of the demand. The citizens of London are using smart TVs, tablets, computers, and mobile devices simultaneously. A recent consumer survey concluded that 90 percent of people age 14 and higher use multiple devices at the same time. They are checking e-mail on a laptop while simultaneously conducting a video chat via a mobile device. The demands on a home office are even greater. For many, this results in slow WiFi that makes for an unbearable work situation. Read on to learn 7 potential reasons why you have slow WiFi in your home office.
1. Obsolete or Outdated EquipmentOne of the most obvious culprits of slow WiFi is the use of obsolete or outdated equipment. As the demand for WiFi grows, router technology is improving in parallel. If additional devices are added into your home, it is possible that your existing router does not have the capability to meet your wireless needs. The good news is that commercially available routers can handle the new demand. When shopping for a new router, you need to pay particular attention to the model designation. Models labeled “B” or “G” are older and likely do not have the bandwidth to meet your family’s needs. For example, “N” routers have maximum bandwidth capability of 4 x 40MHz. New “AC” routers, on the other hand, have a capability of 8 x 160MHz which is a sizable leap.
2. Wireless InterferenceOne common problem is having too many devices on the same wireless frequency. Wireless routers can connect to two different frequencies; 2.4 or 5GHz. Each frequency has different channels to connect to. In the case of the 2.4GHz frequency, there are 11 different channels to select from. You can try each one of the channels to find an uncongested connection with faster speeds. If the 2.4GHz frequency is slow, you want to give the 5GHz option a try. A dual-band router allows each wireless device to select the optimal frequency for performance. This is another feature to shop for when replacing an obsolete or outdated router.
3. Internet FreeloadersAnother way you can suffer from slow speeds is when internet thieves tap into your bandwidth. This often occurs in densely populated housing arrangements like apartment complexes. Internet theft is typically a byproduct of a weak password or poor router security. There are a few different free software programs that allow you to see what devices are connecting to your network. Start off by writing down the IP addresses for each wireless address that you use. Next, check what devices are connecting to your network and look for IP addresses that are not recognizable. If others are connecting to your network, it is time to improve your router security. At a minimum, implement a complex password using a combination of capital and lowercase letters, as well as special characters.
4. Router SecurityThe security settings on your router can actually result in slower connection speeds. This is a separate issue than internet thieves tapping into your router’s bandwidth. First, make sure that your network settings are not open. Also, use of the WEP network setting is discouraged because it is easiest to hack into. Two security protocols, in particular, are known to cause slower connection speeds. These protocols are WPA and TKIP. Industry experts recommend that you select the WPA2 with AES protocol. This is a newer setting that is known to promote higher connection speeds and is regarded as more secure than other protocols. Using newer capabilities ties back to the first section in which we noted the problem of using outdated or obsolete equipment.
5. Router LocationThis is one of the easiest things to change. Sometimes, you are simply trying to connect from an unreachable distance. Each router comes with a variety of technical characteristics including range. If you are out of range, or at the edge of coverage, slower connection speeds are likely to occur. Make sure that your router is located in an optimal position given its range capability. Like router security, there are free tools to help you find the best home. These tools show where the strongest WiFi signals are located in your home. If you cannot relocate the router, there are other options at your disposal. You can purchase a new router with greater range capability. Also, there are WiFi extenders that can boost the router’s transmission range.
6. Don’t Rule Out the Device You Are UsingThere are many cases where the router is not responsible for slow connection speeds. It is possible that the device you are using is the culprit. This is a simple experiment to perform. Break out another tablet or computer and try to perform the same task. If the new device is working properly, it suggests that the issue lies with the other unit and the router is working properly.
7. Contact the Internet Service ProviderIf none of these reasons pan out, you should contact your Internet Service Provider (ISP) for assistance. The issue may be attributed to the ISP instead of your equipment and devices. When you reach out to the ISP, they are likely to perform a series of remote tests to check your connection speeds. Also, they will perform a series of remote troubleshooting steps to try and alleviate the problem. If these steps are unsuccessful, the ISP may send out a technician to your home to investigate the issue. There are also independent IT solutions companies that can help you.
Slow WiFi – Wrapping It UpNothing is more frustrating than a slow WiFi connection. No businessman or woman wants an important video conference to drop off due to a shaky connection. The steps outlined in this article will help improve your connection speed. Replacing obsolete equipment or relocating your router are proven troubleshooting solutions. If you want to learn more about correcting slow WiFi in London, please contact us to schedule an appointment today.
You always hear about hackers attacking big companies in the news, but they come for the little guy, too. Check out these 10 cybersecurity best practices.
Do you think that because you have a small business, you don’t need to pay attention to cybersecurity best practices? That hacking attacks are only reserved for the big companies?
You need to think again.
In the UK alone, 43% of businesses and charities (yes, charities) have experienced a security breach in the last 12 months.
These attacks cost businesses about $92 billion each year. Not only are there financial costs, but these attacks can also do long-term damage to your business. Trust in your company will erode if you
What can you do to keep these threats at bay? Read these tips to find out.
1. Understand the Most Common Threats
There’s no way you can prepare for something you don’t understand. The first thing you want to do is to know and study the types of threats that are that hackers use to infiltrate businesses.
These are the most common ways hackers will try to breach your systems and steal sensitive data.
There are many types of emails that hackers will use to break into your systems. Some can be as simple as the classic Nigerian prince looking to give you a million pounds. Of course, you need to give your banking information to do that.
They’re more targeted and sophisticated. In real estate, for instance, hackers know when buyers are about to close in on a new home. They know this by hacking into other systems like your mortgage lender.
They’ll email you saying that in order to complete the sale, you need to deposit funds into a bank account.
There are many instances in just about every industry of these types of emails.
We depend on our computers for a lot of tasks, and we keep our personal information stored there.
Malware and ransomware are hidden in fake ads and emails. These programs can wreak havoc on your machine.
Ransomware is particularly destructive. It essentially holds your computer hostage until you pay a ransom, usually in cryptocurrency that cannot be traced.
If you don’t pay, the hackers will then destroy the data that’s on your computer.
Malware works a little differently. It works when you click on an unsuspecting link in an email, ad, or malicious website.
The software is installed on your computer that runs in the background, looking for information like banking information or items that they could use for ID theft. The software can also redirect you to websites that you would never visit.
2. Train Employees
The cause of most hack attacks isn’t someone running an automatic password generator to get into your systems. It’s your employees.
Your training program should be focused on employees, but should also include contractors and vendors who have access to your systems.
You need to let employees know what the common threats are, what they should do if they have questions, and how one wrong click can put the entire company at risk.
Since technology changes rapidly, your training needs to be ongoing. Once isn’t enough.
3. Have Standardised Office Policies
Taking your employee training one step further can have an even greater impact n your security.
These policies can be as simple as having checks and balances before money is wired at the request of an email. They can also detail what an employee should do if someone gets a suspicious email.
4. Keep Devices on You
Ultimately, cybersecurity begins with you and your actions. You set the example for your company. That’s why you want to have your devices on you at all times when you’re away from the office.
How would it look if important data was stolen because you left your phone on a table at a restaurant?
It wouldn’t look good and your employees would see that as careless.
5. Keep a Backup
Backing up your systems regularly is the first step in being able to respond to an attack. If your company has a ransomware attack, you still will be able to function because you still have the most important information.
It’s a good idea to back up your systems every week and keep them separate from your other network systems.
6. Have Cybersecurity Insurance
A cyber attack can still be costly even if you have a backup of your data. Having cybersecurity insurance is one of the underrated cybersecurity best practices.
Your business can be protected if you lose data, revenue, or if your data is stolen.
7. Change Passwords Often
Changing your passwords often is an overlooked way to protect your business data. You also want to be sure that your passwords are strong and easy to remember.
8. Keep Software Up to Date
When software is released, it’s not perfect. There are bugs and security flaws that have to be patched after the fact.
That’s why it’s critical to keep all of your systems up to date. If you don’t hackers can expose these security flaws and break into your systems.
9. Use a VPN
A virtual private network (VPN) is another way to protect your systems, especially if you have employees off-site.
A VPN lets you communicate and send data privately over a public, unsecured network. If you need to send data, a hacker could be looking to steal sensitive data on that unsecured connection.
10. Have a Plan in Case of Attack
These days, it’s not a matter of if you’re going to have some kind of data breach, it’s a matter of when. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have protocols in place to prevent them. You absolutely should and have a plan to respond to attacks when they occur.
For example, your first step might be to immediately pull the infected machines from your network. You can also have a procedure to notify customers and the authorities if sensitive data was stolen.
Cybersecurity Best Practices
You don’t need to be n cybersecurity expert to prevent hacker attacks. You do need to be aware of potential attacks and the methods hackers use.
Once you know that, you can move to prevent attacks, loss of important data and business. You can implement these cybersecurity best practices to keep your data safe.
We offer the top mobile and onsite IT support for homes and businesses in London. If you need help preventing or responding to a cyber attack, contact us today.
Learn how to set up a small business computer network for your growing business from our step-by-step guide.
With the average data breach costing $4 million, the price of a damaged reputation lost customers, or lawsuits might be too much for your company to bear.
If you haven’t set up your small business computer network yet, you need to do so carefully enough to protect your data and your clientele. Following best practices and standards will ensure that you network succeeds and that your company thrives.
Here are seven steps for setting up your network.
1. Start With Your Admin
Your first step to setting up a network will be to create an administrator. You need at least one layer of access between your average user and those authorized to change your network settings and set up passwords.
You should have only one administrator account on your network. Rather than giving out multiple people the same access, this way you can keep leakage down to a minimum.
Make sure they keep close watch of the username and password. Add multiple roles beneath an administrator if you need something in between average users and high-level admin.
2. Get Some Hardware
In order to physically connect the computers on your network, you’ll need to get the hardware to do it. Obviously, you need lots of cables. While wireless can be more convenient, it’s often slower than an ethernet connection.
Wireless can also be subject to all kinds of interference and lapses in service. Wireless networking is useful in small offices that don’t push much more data than what can be found in an email between computers. If your demands are much larger than that, with video, audio, or large image files.
3. Set Up A Router
All of the wiring for your computers will come to a central location. This will be a hub or a switch that can connect your computers, however, it can also be a router. That is the device that manages your internet connection and sends it between computers.
In order for you to use the connection you get from the cable or phone company and keep it strong between devices, a router is necessary. Using a router instead of a hub means that you don’t have to compromise signal strength as you add more connections.
If you’re using a wireless router, you’ll notice that your signal strength will diminish the further away your devices are from the router. You’ll also find that your signal can be deflected or blocked by physical structures in the way.
Switches often rely on a single machine to share the connection between machines. If you choose a switch over a router, when the switching machine is turned off, other machines on the system won’t be able to connect to the internet.
Your router can also provide a layer a security that hubs can’t in order to keep unauthorized users away.
4. Set Up A Network OS
You’ll need to have a specific software network operating system in place to manage the traffic on your network. Thankfully, this kind of software is built directly into the average operating system.
You need to have user groups with shared folders and devices that everyone can have access to. You need an interface and an OS so that new users can get the hang of it easily. If your small business will have printers and scanners on your network, you need to put a network OS in place.
5. Organize Your Resources
Assign a workgroup to every computer on your system. If you have three machines connected to accounting, you can add them to a workgroup called “accounting”.
This will allow admins to go in and work on groups that share resources, software, and even a network hub together. Organizing your network’s resources makes troubleshooting and expanding your network a lot easier.
You want to also keep your teams isolated if they need different access to different parts of your server system. You need to manage who gets access to check in data or code. You should manage that data only moves in the direction that you’ve set it up to.
If you don’t want people in your “Advertising” group to have access to “Accounting”, you can give them all separate access.
6. Set Up Shared Resources
If you plan on doing printing or sending files between computers, you need to enable file and printer sharing on your network. This requires enabling it on each individual machine.
Each operating system or version thereof will require a different approach. If you need help, you can consult the help files found online or via tech support over the phone.
Once that’s enabled, you then bring your shared resource from the backup server it sits on to each machine. For printers and scanners, you may need to search for them with a tool available in your operating system. Computers in your workgroup will able to access these folders and resources immediately.
7. Set Up Your Firewall
A firewall is one of your most basic security elements to ensure you protect your small business. Most operating systems come with a built-in firewall as do several routers.
Make sure you first set up the standard firewalls that come with the systems you use. Then install another third-party firewall so that you can manage and monitor traffic. Your firewalls can keep nefarious actors out of your system before they can even connect to your network.
A Small Business Computer Network Brings In Profit
Your small business computer network needs to be well organized and well protected for your business to run efficiently. Even the slightest bumps in the road will lead to slow productivity, lost profit, or glitches that you can’t recover from.
For more about what we can do to imporve your company’s cybersecurity, check out what we have to offer.
10 Troubleshooting Tips for Dealing With Slow Internet
Internet driving you crazy? Before you switch internet providers, try these troubleshooting tips to speed up your internet connection
Are you at the mercy of a slow internet connection?
It can be frustrating to have an internet connection that’s painfully slow. It can test your patience and impact your productivity.
In the UK, we rank 31st in the world for internet speed and we rank among the lowest in Europe. It’s improving, but it’s still not as fast as other countries.
Despite the infrastructure that’s already a little behind the times, there are some things you can do to improve a slow internet connection.
Read on for 10 tips to troubleshoot your internet connection.
A Brief Primer on How the Internet Works
When you’re dealing with a slow internet connection, you have to understand how the connection works. It’s not a matter of your Internet provider or your computer are super slow.
Let’s say you want to send an email to someone. When you send an email, the data is broken into packets. Each packet is at most 1500 kilobytes.
The packets then move through your wireless router, to your modem, then on to your Internet Service Provider (ISP). This gives you access to the Internet network.
From there, the packets move to a long-haul provider that will find the fastest route through the many networks that create the internet.
The data are then sent to the recipient’s internet service provider, through their modem and wireless router. The packets are then put back together on their computer.
If you really think about how far these packets have to travel, it’s mind-blowing that information can travel so quickly.
Data travels in a similar fashion across websites as well.
10 Troubleshooting Tips for a Slow Internet Connection
Since there are so many steps that create an internet connection, how can you even begin to troubleshoot a slow internet connection?
1. Check Your Connection on Different Devices
As you can see from the example above, there are at least a dozen cases of a slow internet connection. You want to start troubleshooting by narrowing down the problem.
You’ll want to check multiple websites on multiple devices. If you have a mobile device nearby, take that off of WiFi and try to access the same websites. If that runs fine, then you have to narrow down your connection between you and your ISP.
2. Run a Speed Test
Run a speed test to see how slow your internet connection is. SpeedTest.net is a great place to start. You’ll get a report of your upload speed and download speed.
You’ll want to compare that to the upload and download speeds your provider says you should have in your contract.
3. Reset All Connections
Resetting your internet connections can help solve the problem. First turn off your computer. Then turn off your wireless router and your modem.
Wait a minute or so and then turn on the modem, then the router, then restart your computer. You might find that the modem and router are the same device. The modem is what connects to your wall, and the router connects to the modem.
4. Connect Directly to the Router
If you still have a slow internet connection after rebooting your devices, try connecting directly to the router.
This will help you determine if there’s something wrong with the wireless connection or if there’s a problem between the modem and the ISP. While your device is connected directly to the router, run another speed test and see if there’s a difference in your connection speed.
5. Check for Coaxial Cable Splitters
You’ll also want to check your connection between the wall and your modem. You may be using a cable splitter, which can split the signal between your modem and your television cable box.
The splitter can dilute the internet signal and slow down your internet connection. If you see this, then you’re going to want to remove the splitter temporarily and connect your modem directly to the wall.
6. Turn Off Apps in the Background
The next place to troubleshoot is with your computer. Sometimes, large programs can work in the background and take up precious memory, which can slow your computer down.
Make sure these programs aren’t running in the background as they can also slow your computer down.
7. Test a New DNS Server
Trying a new DNS server can solve a slow internet connection. DNS is basically a phone number for a website or internet service provider.
While the browser reads google.com or www.geeks-on-wheels.com, DNS would show as a numerical value, such as 255.0.255.0.
You can change the DNS in the Network and Sharing centre on your Windows computer. You can change it to Google’s public DNS to see if there’s a noticeable difference in speed.
8. Check Your Computer
Your computer may be the issue. Do you find that your computer is generally slow when a lot of programs are open?
Does it have to stop and ‘think’ more often than it should?
That could be an indication that your computer could be the cause of the slow internet connection. In that case, the next step will help speed things up.
9. Upgrade Computer Memory
If everything your computer does is slow, then it might be time for a memory upgrade. This will enable your computer to handle larger programs and let you have several programs open at once.
10. Call in the Experts
If all else fails, you’ll need to call in the experts. First, start with your ISP and let them know what the issue is and what you’ve already done to correct it.
They may send someone out to look at your lines or they may tell you that you’re out of luck.
You can also call our Geek Experts to help you troubleshoot and fix the slow connection.
Fix Your Slow Internet Connection
A slow internet connection can be frustrating, and it can kill your productivity. While there are some things you can do to troubleshoot the connection, there are ways to speed up your connection.
Do you need help figuring out your internet connection? We’re here to help. Our Geek Experts will go to you and we have same day appointments.
You don’t have to tolerate a slow connection anymore. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.