Archive for the ‘ Technology Explained ’ Category

Written by: Jason Gazaway

Upgrading your Wi-Fi hardware is critical to future-proofing your network. When the time for new components is at hand, it is important to select the products that fully support your communication and data transfer wireless_logoneeds. From fiber cabling to Wi-Fi routers, the choices abound and each one can have direct impact on your overall network performance.

Today, we are going to take a look at the foundational 802.11 technologies that can power your network. Despite very similar nomenclature, the varying forms of 802.11 are all quite different.

How to Make Your Choice

Being able to clearly articulate the differences between Wi-Fi options is a must in order to help your management and procurement teams approve the right products for your applications. Following are the factors you will want to educate teams about so that they can effectively evaluate any new wireless purchase:

  • Bandwidth

Bandwidth, measured in terms of Mbps or Gbps, determines the speed with which data can be transmitted across a network. As can be expected, a higher bandwidth rating delivers faster data transmission. Today’s 802.11 technologies offer bandwidths ranging from 11 Mbps to as high as 300 Mbps.

It can be easy to immediately believe you want the maximum bandwidth range but it is important to keep in mind your own use. The higher bandwidths are generally only needed by larger networks or those running intensive applications such as streaming video.

  • Frequency

The frequency, measured in Gigahertz, determines a network’s range. It also directly affects interference by other wireless elements such as cell phones or microwaves or by physical obstacles such as walls. Standard Wi-Fi networks run on either 2.4 GHz or 5.8 GHz (commonly referred to as only 5 GHz) frequencies.

Frequency is one of those features that definitely does not comply with the “bigger is better” concept. A shorter frequency actually has a longer range, although it is more susceptible to interference from other wireless devices. A longer frequency flip-flops those benefits to provide a shorter range but better protection against other wireless interference. However, 5.8 GHz networks are more likely to be impeded by solid interference.

  • Single or Dual Band

Most Wi-Fi technologies run on only one frequency but some tout the ability to run on both. Before you jump for joy and assume that is the best way to go, you better get the facts.

Technology that includes only one signal but says it is dual band does not actually give you both 2.4 and 5.8 GHz functionality at once—it simply gives you the ability to choose which one you want at any given time. Only 802.11n which leverages multiple antennas actually supports both frequencies simultaneously.

Knowing the different functionalities offered by the key Wi-Fi network features can

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Written by: Jason Gazaway

Is it time to upgrade your network? Perhaps you are installing an all-new network. Either way, one of the primary decisions you must make is what type of cable you will use. Copper cables have led the way for traditional computer networks but in recent years, an increase in the use of fiber cabling has been seen.Fiber Cables

Should your business build its network based on fiber technology? We think the answer is a resounding “yes”. But, we don’t want you to just take our word for it and we’re pretty sure your CEO won’t either. Instead, we want you to understand what a Fiber To The Office (FTTO) network can do for your business.

The Wonders—or Not—of Copper Cabling

To truly understand the benefits of fiber cabling, it is important to understand copper cabling. Copper rose to the top as the choice for computer networking professionals in part due to its affordable price tag. Even as fiber optic cables entered the marketplace, copper continued to dominate largely for this reason. In recent years, however, the rising cost of copper cabling coupled with the decreased cost of purchasing, installing and maintaining fiber cabling has all but eliminated this benefit.

Without a clear-cut cost benefit, the limitations of structured copper cabling have become more apparent to CEOs concerned with both performance and price, furthering the search for alternatives.

Among the problems noted with copper are:

Space Requirements
Copper can only transmit data up to roughly 100 meters. This requires multiple nodes to be placed throughout a building, taking up valuable space—and money.

High Energy Consumption
The hardware demands of a structured copper cable network necessitate additional hardware and infrastructure for cooling due to the level of heat produced. The heating and cooling both contribute to high energy use and costs.

Poor Expansion Options
Upgrades of a copper-based network require all new-cabling, making this option anything but a way of future-proofing your network.

Unpredictable Performance
Copper’s conductibility makes it highly susceptible to electrical interference, resulting in a higher-than-satisfactory risk of network interruptions.

When no other options existed, copper filled the bill well. Perhaps for some smaller businesses that have

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Written by: Jason Gazaway

As you may have heard, there is a new widespread security vulnerability out on the interwebs called “Heartbleed”.

Let me start out by saying that was not / is not vulnerable. We were aware of the Heartbleed vulnerability and took steps to confirm our status within 24 hours of when the vulnerability was made known to the public.  Our on-going promise is to take every precaution possible to keep our site and your information safe not only from Heartbleed, but any other attack.

Now that we have that out of the way, you are probably wondering, “What in the world is Heartbleed?”


Well, we can help with that. Since this is an ever-evolving situation, we will stick to the facts and the best ways to protect yourself and your personal data.

First off, what exactly is Heartbleed? (Ok, this is going to get VERY technical, but only for a moment…)


Heartbleed is a security vulnerability in OpenSSL software that lets a hacker access the memory of data servers. That means a user’s sensitive personal data — including usernames, passwords, and credit card information — is potentially at risk of being intercepted. The vulnerability also means an attacker could steal a server’s digital keys that are used to encrypt communications and get access to a company’s secret internal documents.

Now, most importantly, what do you need to do about it?

  • If you think you might have visited a site that is infected or is vulnerable to Heartbleed, you need to change your password, please wait until you get confirmation from the specific website/online store that the vulnerability has been patched. You can check a site with a tool called LastPass. We would recommend even if you use the tool to check with the company itself to confirm that they are safe and not vulnerable to Heartbleed.
  • You should be cautious about visiting websites that you do not trust.  Generally the risk is
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Written by: Jason Gazaway

Ok, I will admit it, I am a bit of a geek when it comes to gaming.  Now, I might not be as hardcore as some people, but I still spend more time than I probably should playing my PS3. Right now my obsessions are Injustice, The Walking Dead, and Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12. But enough about me, on to the topic at hand…

A couple of months back the epic battle of the ages began between the Sony Corporation and Microsoft with the official release of pre-orders for the new PS4 and Xbox One. Which both of these left the Wii curled up in the fetal position in the corner sucking it’s thumb. It was humorous to watch the rabid fans of each unit “dis” the intelligence of the other one. For the sake of keeping the balance of the multitudes, I will not state my personal opinion on which one is better, even though I am a tried and true PlayStation fan and believe that they have the best system out there, but that’s besides the point.  I will remain completely out of the argument…for now… (well, maybe)

The debate has seemed to heat up again as pre-orders continue to roll in more and more for each console.  The rest of us lonely souls, who do not want to pre-order, will have to wait for the ambiguous “holiday season” to get ours.  (Which the unofficial PS4 release date of November 13th was supposedly leaked out.) In the meantime, lets breakdown some of the major specs, besides the nifty new designs, on each of the units and then I will let you make up your mind. One of the biggest differences was the sharing capabilities – PS4 allows game sharing, Xbox One originally did not plan to. On June 19,2013, at the E3 Conference, Microsoft announced that it would be reversing its “always online” and game sharing restriction. Before this decision PlayStation released this great ad to assist those who did not understand the PS4′s stance on game sharing and to poke fun at the new Xbox:


Now this is not an all inclusive list, but a

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Written by: Craig Haynie

(This blog is an updated and extended version of a post, by our CEO, we released in September 2009)


If you’ve ever installed a network, either for your home, office or business, you’ve probably asked yourself- With so many different types of network cabling, what do I really need?  Is it a CAT5, 5E, 6, 6A, shielded or unshielded, UTP or STP? Do I need a patch/straight through cable or a crossover cable?  With so many different kinds of network cables to choose from, which one is right for your needs?

What types of network cable are available currently?

Cat5 has been replaced by Cat5E as the general standard networking cable in new installations, with the improved signal carrying capacity being the primary reason.  A Cat5 cable can support Ethernet and Fast Ethernet. Cat5E (Cat5 enhanced) supports Ethernet, Fast Ethernet, and Gigabit Ethernet speeds over short distances and is backward compatible with Cat5.  Cat5E cable also has improved durability, due to improvements in the quality of the PVC protective jacket. It is more than suitable for most data cabling requirements.

Cat6 is one of the newest versions of network cabling, and is very similar to Cat5E, but specifically designed to consistently deliver 1 Gigabit Ethernet. It is used in installations where a Cat6 Certified Network is required.

While Cat5E and Cat6 can support Gigabit speeds, Cat6A (Cat6 Augmented) is certified to 10 Gigabit speeds and is backward compatible with the all the existing standards, and is suitable for industries utilizing high-performance computing platforms to support very high bandwidth-intensive applications. 10G/Cat 6A applications would be server farms, storage area networks, data centers & riser backbones.

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Written by: Jonathan Stover

Navigating the jungle of terminology, acronyms and part numbers can be daunting in the field of telecommunications. Anyone attempting to determine and buy cabling can attest to this.  Improper data cabling will cause a logical error. With power cables, using the wrong type can cause physical failure such as fires and electrical shock. The stakes are higher. Luckily the abundance of documentation and regulation assure that anyone seeking direction to deploy the correct cord can find the information they need to choose the right cord and avoid common pitfalls, damage and injury that comes with electrical failure.

Common Terminology:

Amperage (amp): This term refers to the amount of electrons that are moving in the circuit. This is also “how much” electricity there is.

Voltage: This refers to how much force is behind the electrons, or how fast the electrons are moving.



When choosing a power cord there are (3) main attributes to be aware of:

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Written by: Craig Haynie

Ok, I found this one this morning and just thought it was cool. Select some text (using whatever method you desire), hold CTRL and Shift and press either < or > to decrease or increase the font size. This works in Microsoft Word, Outlook, and probably other Microsoft programs as well. I tried it in OpenOffice Writer and it did’t work there however.

Along similar lines, while in a web browser you can hold CTRL and press + or – to increase the font size that is being displayed.

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Written by: Craig Haynie

The internet is full of handy tricks, and you may have heard of this one already. But, I just accidentally stumbled upon it when I fat fingered the wrong key while trying to use another trick I learned a million years ago and thought I might share.

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Written by: Craig Haynie

If you are reading this blog article chances are you shop online. Personally, I couldn’t imagine a world without eBay, God bless Pierre Omidyar and the guy that had an affinity for broken laser pointers.

Those of us whose profession is in IT usually have a natural talent for sensing when it’s safe to buy from a website or not. It comes from seeing the ins and outs of what makes a website work, work better, and work securely. However for most it’s a shot in the dark. To get a feel for the security of the company you plan to buy from you should watch for these things:

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Written by: Craig Haynie

It is quite annoying to have to walk to the server room with a laptop and console cable in hand every time you need to make a change to your router, switch, firewall, or other network device’s configuration. Fortunately there are some easier and better ways.

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