Friday, May 16, 2008

WIMAX and HSPA Battle It Out To Usher In Next Wave of Ecommerce

Internet has permeated through all walks of lives, and this has tremendously increased the need for better connectivity. Lately, businesses regardless of being offline or online, view internet and its connectivity as an indispensable part of their business process. However, remote areas and their businesses had to be satisfied with the available connectivity, owing to chiefly, higher cost of laying cables where returns would be minimal for the service providers. Growing hunger for internet usage has spurred technology providers into action to produce a slew of connectivity tools. Among them, two distinct technologies called WiMAX and HSPA have emerged to fight it to the hilt for the larger share of connectivity pie.
Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access (WiMAX) is the technology that allows user to navigate the internet wireless. It is a telecommunication technology that can carry data to long distances either by point to point links or full mobile access. The key feature of this technology is that it operates on the same Broadband Wireless Access Standard of IEEE 802.16, which was set up in 1999. WiMAX also has the ability to extend local Wi-Fi networks over larger expanse of coverage area by up to 50 kilometers and its backed by Intel, world's largest semiconductor company.
Similarly, High Speed Packet Access (HSPA) too boasts of superior technology akin to that of WiMAX. In a nutshell, it is a collection of mobile telephony protocols that provide better performance over existing radio bandwidth. Equipped with state of the art 3.5G technology, it can touch amazing download speeds of up to 7.2 Mbps. HSPA should be proud to get the support from leading equipment vendors including Ericsson, Nokia Siemens Networks, Nortel, Alcatel and Lucent. Its proven ability to perform extremely well in any condition and download speeds has helped the technology to be absorbed across several countries in a short span of time.
Unfortunately, WiMAX was not without its own problems, in Australia, first WiMAX operator had to shut down its operation due to poor reach to long distances, contrary to its claim. On the other hand, HSPA service was able to produce the desire result in over 50 countries and 150 networks. For example, in some places subscribers could already watch streaming High Definition movies at 1Mbps. HSPA has also got a cost advantage over the other, per month charges as of now is in the realm of $30, whereas one has to shell out $10 more to get the same service from WiMAX.
Since majority of the people spend time outside their workplaces, e-mobility has become an inevitable tool in communication and business. Whether the winner is WiMAX or HSPA, wider expanse of area under internet connectivity through wireless services will enhance people to do day to day business, being anywhere in the world. High speed internet access through wireless technology will propel growth in all areas including business, education and healthcare.
Global internet wireless connectivity will also give an advantage for an entrepreneur who is away from the main markets to get reasonable remuneration for one's products or services. Real time e-mobility effects coupled with long distance internet coverage for one's communication suggests, Ecommerce will be the biggest gainer and is likely to increase its share in the world of business.
Toboc, a b2b portal, provides global trade platform for Importers and Exporters from the different regions of the world.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

What Are The Bandwidth Requirements For IPTV Implementation

Many see IPTV as the "next big thing". However, often both providers and users are unclear on one of the most basic tenants of IPTV quality functionality. The required bandwidth. So... just what is the minimum bandwidth which will give a "good" movie experience?

Actually, the question posed in those terms does not make a lot of sense.

As a matter of fact you must take into consideration the resolution in pixels of the video. Example, for a 16:9 broadcast the numbers are as follows:


The frame rate will be 24, to match the cameras used to film movies.

Then you should consider the codec in use to compress the image ..... and the bitrate you want to use.

Then you must move on to the audio part. Again you should use an appropriate codec and bitrate.

The TV set used plays an important role as well. For example, a 52 inch 16:9 LCD/plasma flat panel will show more artifacts than a 32 inch analogue 16:9 CRT TV.

Also the media could be a notebook or a mobile phone instead of a TV...

As stated earlier, this is a difficult question to answer and it all depends on your network design to be honest. Some providers have done HD quality streams at a constant 1Mbps and viewed it on a 50+ inch plasma .... which wow'd clients. One sample provider streamed a maximum 8 sessions on a demo from 8 different countries via MPLS ..... and has a multicast stream of about 2.5Mbps in HD.

MPLS helps ..... but you have to keep in mind that your network engineers should know multicasting extremely well, as well as QoS. Plus your equipment should not slack. MPLS means nothing if your network is engineered improperly. It also means nothing if your MPLS provider is clueless ..... and or peering with someone else who is not honoring packet coloring.

Generally speaking, there are quite a few variables as to how much bandwidth is required. On ITVN and Fios systems, 1.2Mbps seems to deliver 480 equivalent video and 5.1 audio. HD content usually requires at least 5 Mbps. The biggest issue normally seen is the consistent availability of bandwidth. If there are multiple users in a household or in the same area, the bandwidth fluctuations can cause buffering and degrade the picture quality. You may also see latency issues running ping tests or excessive pings.

To be able to truely predict (IPTV) Bandwidth Requirements on equipment selection and deployment it is useful to have a base starting point for simultaneous Multi - Play Service Delivery to the Digital Home.That makes sense as a Portofolio offering and not separating the streams vs. the whole package when predicting capacity.

The initial assumption would include 2 x Standard Definition (SD) and one High Definition (HD) TV streams ..... and let's say three Voice over IP (VoIP) phones along with some streaming digital audio/music.

Using H.264 this B2C basic scenario suggests a minimum bandwidth requirement of 15 megabits (not 6 Mbps) .

This most probably will increase as HD content is becoming more ubiquitous and HD-capable displays are appearing more and more in every home.

The planning folks within your orginization have to bear in mind that there'll be about three simultaneous HD streams - usually and nowadays the average number of streams per household. This means about 24 megabits give or take... without even considering the potential future applications (e.g. video telephony , personal broadcast). With potential future applications ..... the bandwidth required to the Digital Home may go up to 50Mbps!

As for planning from an Operator's point of view - understand that IPTV is a major investment critical to the success for your orginization. Not to be confused with WebTV which is a step before (full) IPTV.

With this in mind choose your Bandwidth Service Providers (BSP) carefully. There's more to consider than just cost. A stable Tier 1 provider with a solid SLA (Service Level Agreement) and QoS (Quality of Service standard) is a MUST.

Try to work with your chosen BSP on Capacity Planning and Backhaul. Validate 4 major critical investments: 1 to 6 months , 6 months to 1 yr. , 1 yr. to 3 yrs. and 3 yrs. to 5 yrs. Try to use a MPLS backbone to the full extent that you can. (Note: you may get lot of potential applications on top of it later on as likely move to "Intelligent" BackHaul.)

Again ..... make sure you take into consideration the HD implications as mentioned above which will double your bandwidth requirements per household served.

You'll incur significant investment if you plan to provide IPTV. It is not only about Fiber Optics to the Premises/Homes ..... but also the whole backhaul design plus the transport and enablement of such capacity. Thus my suggestion(s) to approach your BSP with some type of partnering arrangement (at least in the early stages) to share the Business Case in a fairly win-win proposition (keeping your initial costs lower).

Michael is the owner of FreedomFire Communications....including and Michael also authors Broadband Nation where you're always welcome to drop in and catch up on the latest BroadBand news, tips, insights, and ramblings for the masses.

Problem Diagnosis With Ping

The two most used tools, and almost always the first used to diagnose a network problem are traceroute and ping. The results they return are however most often misunderstood or interpreted in a way that leads to an incorrect conclusion.

Let's take the ping utility specifically. The common mistakes that is made is that whatever the ping result is, is due to the target of the ping. For example, if there is no ping response; conclude that the site is down. Or if there is packet loss or long return times, conclude that it is because of some problem with the target address. While both those outcomes could be the case, far more often than not, they are completely the wrong conclusions to draw.

The common causes of this misinterpretation are:

  1. Ping sends a packet to the destination address that typically will traverse several other network points to get there. A problem at any one of those points will cause a non response to the ping query
  2. In many cases web sites and other servers sit behind firewalls, and many, if not most, firewalls block ping packets. So while web traffic may reach the site, ping packets may not.
  3. The ping packet has a source (the system initiating the ping) as well as a destination, it may be that the source does not have a correct route path to the destination, or that the destination does not have a correct return route path to the source. This could be because of specific firewall rules, an error in the route tables 'somewhere' along the data path, or a specific routing policy deliberately put in place to block access.
The traceroute command can be used to help detect if 1. or 3. are the cause of the problem, which has its own issues, but more on that later. A positive result from either telnet and tcptraceroute will conclusively rule out 2. as a possible case.

Telnet can be used to open a connection any any port, not just the telnet default port. A successful telnet connection where ping has failed is proof positive that a firewall is preventing access to ping packets. Here is an example:

$ ping PING ( 56(84) bytes of data.

--- ping statistics ---

6 packets transmitted, 0 received, 100% packet loss, time 5008ms

$ telnet 80


Connected to

Escape character is '^]'.

You can see that the ping packet failed, but that telnet to port 80 succeeded in connecting to the server.

So too with tcptraceroute on port 80:

$ tcptraceroute 80

traceroute to (, 30 hops max, 40 byte packets

1 ( 8.557 ms 10.624 ms *


15 ( 289.162 ms 237.972 ms 242.171 ms

Another common error using ping is that the results of just a few ping tests are indicative of the condition of a data path. It may be true, but such a conclusion can only be relied upon over a statistically meaningful sample size. Also, to be truly accurate, the distribution of packets responses outside the acceptable level needs to be known.

For example, as single ping test of four packets where one packet is dropped, can not, in any meaningful way, be used to conclude that there is 25% packet loss on that circuit. Ten thousand ping tests, over several hours where there is say 5% lost has far more meaning; however consider if the test was done over 24 hours, and for one hour the target site was down. The 100% loss during that hour looks like a general 5% packet loss over 24 hours.

It is therefore important to review the record of the ping test and see if the distribution of any packet loss is regular or confined to a specific period, before a real conclusion can be drawn.

A third common error is that the cause whatever is result is gained is due to the target site. For example, say 5% packet loss was found when pinging, this by no means indicates that the problem lays with that site, rather, the problem could be with any of the points along the data path to that site, inclusive the source (my own computer):

$ traceroute traceroute to (, 30 hops max, 40 byte packets

1 ( 10.285 ms 13.316 ms 14.440 ms

2 ( 132.994 ms 135.387 ms 136.312 ms

3 ( 137.192 ms 141.296 ms 162.018 ms

4 ( 168.530 ms 174.358 ms 176.908 ms

5 ( 177.729 ms 188.233 ms 189.122 ms

6 359-ge-0-0-0.GW5.SYD2.ALTER.NET ( 197.691 ms 85.598 ms 156.625 ms

7 ( 158.108 ms 159.430 ms 160.260 ms

8 ( 305.124 ms 305.952 ms 306.775 ms

9 ( 313.518 ms 321.047 ms 321.868 ms

10 ( 405.111 ms 406.359 ms 407.241 ms

11 GigabitEthernet6-0-0.GW9.SAC1.ALTER.NET ( 331.091 ms 337.600 ms 341.527 ms

12 ( 357.930 ms 287.765 ms 310.755 ms

13 ( 311.606 ms 312.502 ms 313.587 ms

14 ( 341.277 ms 342.101 ms 342.931 ms

15 ( 344.380 ms 345.861 ms 346.689 ms

16 ( 261.317 ms 266.998 ms 346.689 ms

You can clearly see the number of hops the data must traverse. In this case there is no evidence of any problem along the data path. But if the traceroute looked like this:
$ traceroute traceroute to (, 30 hops max, 40 byte packets

1 ( 10.285 ms 13.316 ms 14.440 ms

2 ( 132.994 ms 135.387 ms 136.312 ms

3 ( 137.192 ms 141.296 ms 162.018 ms

4 ( 168.530 ms 174.358 ms 176.908 ms

5 ( 177.729 ms 188.233 ms 189.122 ms

6 359-ge-0-0-0.GW5.SYD2.ALTER.NET ( 197.691 ms 85.598 ms 156.625 ms

7 ( 758.108 ms 759.430 ms *

8 ( * * 806.775 ms

9 ( 813.518 ms * 721.868 ms

10 ( * 1406.359 ms 1007.241 ms

11 GigabitEthernet6-0-0.GW9.SAC1.ALTER.NET ( 731.091 ms 737.600 ms 1341.527 ms

12 ( 357.930 ms * *

13 ( 811.606 ms 812.502 ms 813.587 ms

14 ( 741.277 ms 742.101 ms 1342.931 ms

15 ( * * 746.689 ms

16 ( 761.317 ms 866.998 ms *

It would be reasonable to conclude that there was some serious problem between hop 6 and hop 7 that is causing the ping test to return its lossy result.

To conclude, we can see that ping:

  1. is a useful tool to indicate where a problem may be
  2. should be used in combination with other tests to eliminate false positives
  3. should not be used for small, isolated tests 4. is a good indicator of problems over sadistically meaningful sample sizes

Discover the Benefits of the OC48 Circuits

The OC48 is a high-speed digital network connection that is capable of transmitting at a speed of about 2.5 gigabits per second. This type of dedicated line is designed for large companies and universities with a large campus environment. The super speed allows for transmission of large databases over a busy network.

The OC48 is equal to 4 OC12s. To get an idea of the size this equates to approximately 1600 T1 circuits. The OC48 is engineered specifically for your location and can be used for voice or data. It can also be divided and used for both. The large bandwidth of the OC48 provides fast service for your network backbone.

Because of the large amount of lines and capabilities of the OC48 the pricing is based on the specific configuration. The OC48 allows for full Internet access to all streaming data and can handle many Internet connections at a time.

The OC48 is made for large and super-large applications and those requiring the maximum amount of bandwidth. This may include campus environments such as hospitals and universities. An OC48 can be used as the backbone in large installations.

OC stands for Optical Carrier. The OC48 is a group of fiber optic circuits. This allows the OC48 to support such high speeds. The OC48 is suitable for a large enterprise or ISP backbone. Fiber provides a stable and reliable method of delivery for these circuits both for voice and data applications.

OC48 bandwidth is the big story here. With speeds of up to 2.488 Mbps the OC48 is a logical choice when large applications are used. These can include streaming video, multiple large text files and graphics. The bandwidth supports any current application available today as well as future applications. For the business serious about its communication system, the OC48 is the best method for the price.

The costs for initial installation and setup are quite steep, usually over $100K, the fees are comparable with those of standard lines. The cost savings benefits potential is great, however, with most savings being recognized within about a year of start-up.

Space considerations are also an important part of the decision to use an OC48. The OC48 consists of a number of termination points, however, it uses substantially less space than the same amount of regular copper trunks would take up. This allows you to have the right amount of lines in the smallest space possible.

OC48 circuits are extremely reliable. These circuits are constantly being monitored from the central office. If any problems arise with a circuit the problem can often be easily resolved remotely. The large amount of lines with the OC48 means that you can bypass any lines that are having trouble, making communication seamless to the end user, who likely would not know of the problem.

Circuits are shared with users as they are available so you need not have one per person. In fact, in most voice T1 applications the general rule of thumb is to have one T1 per each 50 to 100 users.

The OC48 eliminates the need for most of your copper circuits. This will bring an immediate cost savings. You will need to keep some copper trunks as a backup in the case of a power outage or system problem. You may also want to consider the use of a UPS system or generator in the event of a power failure.

Many types of service plans are available for the ongoing service issues with your OC48 circuits. Be sure to choose a plan that gives you optimal coverage, particularly during your peak times. If you support an operation that is 24/7, as most large applications do, be sure to get a service plan that supports your 24/7 operation as well. This is like taking out an insurance policy for your communication system.

Article written by Van Theodorou, visit his site for both data and long distance for business services. He also has a very popular teaching on VPNs, call VPN Information.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Weather Balloons Boost Broadband

Weather balloons floating in the Earth's atmosphere at the moment could possibly be used to provide mobile phone and broadband services to Rural Britain.

An American company, Space Data, has had success with an innovative idea, whereby it attaches small phone masts to weather balloons. This then provides isolated areas with wireless internet access.

The Arizona based group has provided military and commercial clients for four years and are now prepared to link their idea with telecoms and broadband companies in order to bring their idea to the masses.

The working behind the novel wireless provider is that a very small transceiver is attached to the weather balloon that then rises to a total altitude of 100,000ft. According to the company, one balloon can produce a signal that is as strong as 80 mobile phone towers and could therefore enable a lot more people to have broadband internet connections. The company also believe that for the entire United States, 70 balloons would be all that was needed to provide everyone with wireless internet.

The balloons are released by local farmers and other land workers who are paid to deploy them. The balloons are released in areas that have not had wireless internet connections due to the companies who provide them considering it uneconomic, as there are few people in the area.

Around 20% of the United States is out of range for any wireless connection, and it has long been an issue in Britain that many rural areas are unable to receive a wireless signal or are expected to pay over the odds in order to get one, therefore, meaning that they have no option for cheap broadband. Consequently, if this idea was to take off, there would be a large number of people who would benefit.

Space Data are very productive at the moment and release around 10 balloons a day from places in South America that do not receive a wireless signal and is interested in providing its service for the UK. This service is one of many that have seen the potential and the financial benefits that the rural wireless connection market could offer.

Space Data have said that companies that are not offering rural areas a wireless connection are missing out on hundreds of millions of dollars a year. The group have said that they have tapped into a business that is potentially worth $10 billion market.

It would appear that there is a solution to the wireless connection problem, however, not a very long-term one, as the balloons last 24 hours before they burst. The expensive equipment then has to be retrieved; this is done using GPS devices. Environmental groups have said that they fear that the burst balloons could prove a threat to any animals that may eat the latex.

The limited time that the balloons last could prove expensive and difficult, however, if the company could arrive at an idea that would enable the balloons to last longer, then the skies the limit.

Space Data has decided to link their weather balloon idea with telecoms and broadband companies.

The weather balloons could mean that more people are able to receive wireless broadband connections.

Some rural areas in Britain are unable to get a cheap broadband connection as they have to pay over the odds just to receive a basic connection.

So What Is A Wireless Bridge Anyway

So what is a wireless bridge anyway?
In simple terms a wireless bridge is a device that allows two or more complete networks of users to transparently communicate to one another over long distances without wires. These networks can be in the same building but are normally in either adjacent buildings or with the proper antennas and line of sight bridges can even connect networks up to 30 miles apart. Wireless bridges connect to the wired network through the Ethernet port and replicate that data to a remote network bridge or access point via 802.11a/b/g wireless (Wi-Fi) protocol.

Point to Point (ptp) Bridging:
A point to point topology is the simplest to configure and connects two networks in two separate locations, normally a remote building or warehouse, via one wireless bridge in each location.

Point to Multi-point (point to multipoint, ptmp) bridging:
A point to Multipoint topology wirelessly connects multiple locations together allowing them to share the same network resources. The bridge at the main, central, location is called the root bridge or base station bridge and all data passing between the wireless bridge clients must pass through the root bridge first. These point-to-multipoint networks are used in wireless internet service providers (WISP), large corporate campuses, distribution facilities, school districts, public safety applications and many others...

What do I need to build a Point to Point Bridge Link?

Line of sight between the two locations. You may need to install a pole or tower on your roof top in order to achieve this. A site survey is recommended before installation. Select a wireless bridge: Here are some things to consider when selecting a wireless bridge.

Distance: Distance will determine what gain antenna will be required and if you need an external antenna or if an integrated antenna will be sufficient.

Wireless protocol: Do you want to use a bridge base on 802.11 standards so that you have interoperability with other bridge manufacturers or would you like something with a protocol proprietary to a particular vendor? There are some added security benefits when using a proprietary over a standard protocol.

Frequency: Do you want to use a licensed or unlicensed (2.4, 5-5.8 GHz) band?
Indoor or Outdoor: Indoor wireless bridges are less expensive but you will have to buy quite a bit of LMR-400 cable to connect to the outdoor antenna. This adds a great deal of signal loss and in the end you will need a higher gain antenna to compensate. An outdoor bridge can be placed right next to the antenna and therefore cuts down on the amount of cable you need to buy as well as the amount of signal loss.

Select a wireless antenna: If the bridge you selected does not already have an integrated antenna you will need to choose one now. For point to point links we suggest a directional panel, grid or solid parabolic dish antennas.

Peripherals: You will need to select the appropriate lightning arrestors and RF antenna cables to get you connected and protected.

Double it: Now double the amount of hardware you selected so that you have the identical setup on both sides.

Finally, select a professional installer in your area to run the appropriate cables, install any required poles or towers, align the antennas and configure the radios. If you have any questions about this let us know and we will assist you in finding a quality installer. If you want to try it out yourself go for it but DON'T FORGET to bench test the bridges before actually installing them in the field.

Click here for more info on a Wireless Bridge.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

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Monday, February 18, 2008

The Internet And Home Surveillance

In the past, many have often wondered how they can keep check on things at home while they were on a trip or vacation – hundreds of thousands of miles away. These days however, keeping tabs on your home while you’re away is quite possible. With the Internet and today’s technology – you can keep watch on your home no matter how far away you may be.

Although the technology may sound a bit out there at first, this day and age it certainly isn’t out of reach. The hardware used for surveillance is inexpensive these days, and ready to use all over the world. All it takes is someone with a bit of common sense and the curiosity to try new and exciting technology.

To use these types of equipment, you’ll need a reliable connection the Internet. The Internet is the heart and soul of distance surveillance equipment, enabling you to keep a check on your home from hundreds of thousands of miles away. If you are planning to invest in an Internet powered surveillance system, you should first make sure that you can get a high speed Internet connection to your home. Dial-up isn’t recommended, as the speeds are far to slow to broadcast video.

There are two solutions that you can choose from, each one varying in features and complexity. The first solution utilizes a personal computer. Several home surveillance cameras are connected together to a system that will survey their areas and record what they see at either a set rate per second, or going by movement they detect. Depending on the system you get, you may or may not be able to adjust these settings.

The computer will play back the video via the monitor, and record the video to the HDD, or hard disk drive. You’ll need to connect the computer to the Internet through an ISP (Internet Service Provider), in order to watch the video from a distance. To watch the video while you are away from home you will need to log into the computer with a unique username and password. You can log in at any time, and to operate the computer or watch the video images that the computer surveillance system has recorded.

The other solution you have available is much easier. Normally, this solution is used to check on a home through a single surveillance camera. Setting things up this way will allow you to use a single camera through your IP (Internet Protocol) address. By setting it up through your IP, all you need to do is check on things is to link directly to your IP. Once you have brought up your IP address, you can see live views through the camera. This method works similar to a webcam, in the sense that it streams video around the clock.

No matter which solution you choose, both are somewhat easy to use. Of course the second solution is much easier to use and setup, although it does have it’s downsides as well. Both have great things to offer you as well, including the ability to log in at any time. You can check video any time you wish, even chance your preferences based on what you need.

Anytime you need to monitor your home from far away, home surveillance and the Internet is all you need. The Internet is a common commodity these days, capable of doing far more than anyone ever thought possible. By investing in a surveillance system that utilizes the Internet – you’ll be able to keep a watchful eye on your home from wherever the road takes you.

Wireless Security Systems

With crime on the rise, home security systems are a must have. With burglars becoming more and more common, you simply must protect your loved ones as well as your possessions. There are several different types of security systems available for you to choose from. For your home, there are wired and wireless security systems available. Each one has its advantages and disadvantages, along with the differences in price as well.

The driving technology found with both wired and wireless security systems are quite different. Wireless security systems don’t need to be wired through the house; they will instead send transfer messages to the control panel through radio signals. When they were first introduced, wireless security systems were proved to be unreliable when compared to the wired systems. As time went by and more and more people looked into them, wireless systems began to take form.

When compared to wired systems, wireless security systems are a lot easier and more convenient to install due to the fact of there being no wires. Wireless systems can save you a lot of money, time, and effort due to there being no ripping of the floors or walls in your home. Wireless systems on the other hand are more expensive than wired systems and you’ll need to replace their batteries on a periodic basis. The primary advantage to wireless security systems is the fact that they are easy to relocate, meaning that you can easily shift them from one home to another.

Wireless security systems use the same components as other security systems such as the touchpad, control panel, cameras, detectors, and alarms. Wireless systems rely on radio frequencies that are transmitted by the door contacts, windows, and motion activated sensors. The touch pads that are located at the entrances to the home will provide activation and deactivation of the system. In the event of the power failing, a backup system will take over the wireless system and continue to provide security for your home.

To use a wireless system, all you need to do is input the code through the control panel. Normally, this is done prior to entering and leaving your home. Once the code is input into the control panel, the control panel will send remote signals to the rest of the system that will activate the alarms. Depending on the system you have, an alarm will go off either by motion detection or a window or door being opened.

If you look around you can find several different wireless security systems, many of which you can install yourself. Before you buy a system though, you should always consult a professional who can survey your home and suggest the equipment you need. Even though it may cost a bit more money, it will be more than worth it down the road.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Optimizing the Router for Better Wireless Connectivity

f you're downloading a large files and it's coming to it's end, you're receiving a Skype call from a client in London, without warning, your Wi-Fi connection drops, leaving your download and VoIP call in havoc. You'll retry the wireless connection, but your router, though blinking contentedly in your tense, seems to be off. After three hour, for no reason, your Wi-Fi connection miraculously resurfaces.

Wireless networking can be a easy and yet gives you a headache, It's great when it works and a mind-numbing frustration when it doesn't. A common complaint among many who have moved to Wi-Fi is that their wireless connection mysteriously fades in and out the frequency.

These steps will help you to create a stable, Always-on the wireless connections.

1. Replace your cordless phone. Cordless phones are among the worst sources of interference for wireless networks. They intend to transmit at a higher power output than Wi-Fi gear, making them louder and therefore harder to talk over, and they tend to transmit frequently, especially when the handset and base station are separated. Some 2.4GHz cordless phones let you select a channel, in which case you can try separating the phone's frequency from the frequency of your wireless network. For example, set your phone to channel 1 and your wireless router to channel 11. If your phone doesn't let you select a channel, try putting some distance between your phone and your router. Generally, it's not a good idea to place a cordless phone next to a Wi-Fi router. If this doesn't help, consider replacing your 2.4GHz phone with a 5GHz phone. This way, your phone and network won't be sharing the same airspace and won't interfere with each other.

2. Expand your wireless network. The farther you are from your wireless router, the greater the potential for interference to block or to slow your connection. For example, you may be able to connect just fine in your house, but on your patio, you may have an intermittent connection that disappears whenever your neighbor is using her cordless phone. The signal on your patio may be too weak to cope with the interference coming from the house next door. You can strengthen the connection with antennas or repeaters or you can use a power-line bridge to import the connection from your router to your patio and feed it into a power-line access point. Instead of the weak signal from your distant router, you now have a strong signal from an access point placed right where you want to buttress your coverage area.

3. Change channels. Interference is a likely cause of intermittent connections, such as the one described above. All 802.11b and 802.11g networks operate at 2.4GHz, in a small swath of spectrum once used primarily by ham-radio hobbyists. Today, these radios, plus other Wi-Fi gear, Bluetooth devices, cordless phones, microwave ovens, baby monitors, and wireless surveillance equipment, all crowd the spectrum. When these devices compete for the same airspace, they interfere with each other, potentially blocking each other's signals. Luckily, there are ways to sidestep and minimize interference in many situations. In the United States, 802.11b and 802.11g devices can be configured to operate at any one of 11 channels. Unfortunately, these channels overlap with adjacent channels, so you have only 3 non overlapping channels at your disposal: channels 1, 6, and 11. If you and your neighbor both have a wireless network, both of which are set to channel 6, you may experience interference. You can remedy the problem by resetting your wireless router to a different, preferably non overlapping, channel, in this case, either 1 or 11.

Md Shaffir offers the very best information and tips on gadget's and other technical reviews. Visit his website at Gadget-Junction, Gallery Of Rare art or

WiMax, Competitors Vie To Create Powerful EcoSystems

Several very interesting issues are at play in the rollout of wireless broadband technology. Indeed, the landscape that will dominate the next decade and beyond is being created now, as WiMax increasingly consolidates on one of two initial versions and steels itself for competition against other approaches.

The situation is fluid. Initially, the WiMax plan - to the extent that one existed - was for stationary and mobile versions to share center stage. Soon, however, it became clear that the mobile version could do just about everything the stationary version could. Thus, the impetus behind the stationary version began losing steam, said Monica Paolini, the founder and president of Senza Fili Consulting, in an IT Business Edge interview.

A lot of operators currently are deploying mobile WiMax. They are using it for fixed services. It's called mobile, but they can use it for both. On the other hand, fixed pretty much is just for fixed. Mobile WiMax allows you to roll out a network that supports fixed and mobile. The issue is having an infrastructure that can support all users. A lot of carriers will skip fixed WiMax, but offer fixed services using mobile WIMax technology.
The big issue is what operators will do after 3G. Mobile WiMax is one option. Two others, according to this piece in, are LTE (Long Term Evolution) and ultramobile broadband (UMB). So far, WiMax has gotten most of the press, though the technology may be hitting a speed bump. Earlier this month, The Wall Street Journal speculated that Sprint, which had publicly anointed WiMax as its 4G technology, may be looking to make a deal with Clearwire, a company that now has a proprietary version of the platform in the field and will roll out the standardized version when it becomes available. While such a deal may make sense, it could be perceived as a diminution of Sprint's embrace of the technology.

This is a sector in which partnerships and joint ventures will be vital. Paolini thinks that a battle between LTE and WiMax will not be decided by a drastic difference between the technologies, but by the direction in which the industry, as a group, decides to go.

Both LTE and WiMax use OFDMA [Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access]. Both have IP cores. There certainly are differences in the technology, but one is not a lot better than the other. Performance itself does not determine selection for mobile operators. It's more what the ecosystem is like, what the mobile community as a group wants to do.
Though the race will be close, one technology will dominate because of the fundamental support of vendors, service providers and others.
We expect whichever direction they take, they will move together because then roaming is much easier.
In this context, it's interesting that Paolini says it is likely that a new device will emerge. Cell phones and laptops are great, but neither is optimized to harness all the tremendous capabilities brought by wireless broadband.
But when you think about it, a laptop is a little too big to carry around all the time...most people just don't want to be bothered. On the other hand, a phone is a good device. Maybe a cellular phone has WiMax, but it is just an add-on that doesn't use the advantages of WiMax to the fullest extent. We need something in between, a data-centric device in a new form factor that allows you to capitalize on the advantages of mobile broadband. The other thing is to have consumer devices that have WiMax built in. It's a very good opportunity because the device is not likely to have a cellular interface.
The two points are connected. On one hand, she says the "ecosystem" - the intricate web of vendors, service providers, integrators and other assorted companies - will be influential in the relative success of WiMax, UMB and LTE.

On the other, she says a new type of device will be a deciding factor. Clearly, device makers, along with the companies that make the chips and other elements that are packed into them, are key members of any ecosystem. The immediate future of this sector would be easy to predict if one of the technologies was far superior to the others. This isn't so; it will be a confusing and hotly contested arena until one platform takes control. The key will be to follow the ecosystem.

Carl Weinschenk - EzineArticles Expert Author

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Broadband - Understanding the Jargon and How to Get the Best Plan

If you find yourself reading this article online, then odds are you are no stranger to the vast wilderness that is the internet. Uploads, downloads, blogs, videos, podcasts, pictures, forums, games, news, email, animation, flash, webmail, webcams and music can all make for a vast and limitless real-time environment that is constantly changing. It is often the seemingly inexhaustible amount of resources that has many net users tearing out their hair due to strolling performance and extended loading time for content. However, in many cases, the real culprit is not the content or the website itself, but rather the combination of an ill-equipped connection speed and an internet plan that does not adequately address specific user needs.

Before roaming free in the World Wide Web, every internet user must first choose a connection plan and connection speed that will be able to accommodate both their budget and their user needs. The following article seeks to outline some of the basic areas that novice users should address when deciding to connect to the internet. For some, it may seem like commonsense, but for those suffering easily avoidable headaches and long load times it may just make a world of difference.

Connection Speeds

Before beginning it would first be wise to explain the two types of connection speeds and how they fundamentally differ. All methods of internet usage around the globe only use either one or the other of these types of connections.

Kbps: Is the common acronym for 'Kilobits per second'. A Kilobit is one thousand bits of data - a 'bit' being the most fundamental form of binary code that makes up all information available both online and on your home PC. Essentially, a 'bit' is the building block of all computer technology and communication. In layman's terms it is simply the combination of 1s and 0s that form the language of computers.

Mbps: A much larger unit of data, Mbps refers to the term 'Megabits per second'. A Megabit is one million 'bits'. This form of data transference is used by every internet connection above Dial-Up speed.

Types of Connection

Dial-Up: The most basic connection available, a Dial-Up connection uses the existing phone line in a business or household to transfer data at around 56Kbps. This is the slowest connection currently available in Australia and is in the process of steadily being outdated due to faster connections being more widely and readily accessible for a lower cost.

ISDN: Is anIntegrated Services Digital Network and is twice the speed (at 128Kbps) of Dial-up. It can be difficult to obtain due to its reliance on what is fast becoming outdated technology. ISDN was essentially the technological stepping stone between Dial-Up and ADSL.

ADSL: Stands for Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line, also most commonly referred to when the term 'broadband' is used, and is a one-way connection where the download speed is much faster than the upload speed. This is a common trap for the average consumer because the speed of the connection is always referenced in terms of the maximum download speed (i.e how fast a page loads up / time it takes to save a file), rather than the much slower upload speed (i.e how long it takes to send an email / send a file to another computer)

Cable: The fastest connection available for both business and residential use (Fibre Optic connections, which are the next level up, are currently exclusive to business due to the high cost of installing and maintaining). Cable internet uses a similar system of connections to most pay television providers. It is completely separate to the household phone line and connection speed is substantially faster for both uploads and downloads. However, speed can be compromised by the number of separate households located in close proximity that use the same cable as only one cable is generally provided for a whole neighborhood. Generally cable runs at around 1.5 - 6 Megabits of bandwidth which is substantially faster than ADSL.

Connection Plans and Common Traps

To maintain a steady and consistently fast connection you need to take care in the selection of your plan. Having selected the telecommunications company with which you wish to subscribe for the service you then need to select a plan based on the cost of installing and maintaining your connection, the type of connection you wish to have installed, the speed of the connection, the download limit, if any, and the consequences if that download limit is exceeded.

The download limit or 'shaping' of your plan dictates how much information you can access from the internet within a month before being subjected to either additional costs (which can be significant) or slower connections (usually Dial-up).

According to Miles Humphrys, IT Manager for Corporate Executive Offices, one of the largest international chains of serviced offices throughout the Asia Pacific Region, a common pitfall when deciding on your internet plan is, "not knowing what it is that you, or your business, wish to use the connection for". According to Mr Humphrys, "Before connecting the business or user must first decide what their primary methods of usage will be. Will they be sending a substantial amount of emails? Downloading live videos or music? Or simply surfing for information? All these factors must be weighed up before signing up to a limited connection or one with a capped amount of usage. Nothing is more frustrating for a business, or home office, than being crippled by an incredibly slow connection because they have gone over their download limit during the day-to-day requirements of the business or user."

If you are unsure of the amount of data which you are likely to download in a month make sure you select a plan that gives you sufficient download capacity to enable you to then monitor your usage without fear of exceeding your limit. Make sure that your plan is flexible enough to then change if your download requirements are either substantially less or more than you expected.

"The one piece of advice that I would give for anyone looking to connect to the internet either now or in the future, above all, is to - read the fine print! The things to look out for are capped plans, download limits, shaping and especially 'extra charges'. If you see anything that looks a little odd, always ask questions or consult an IT Professional", concluded Mr Humphrys.

Karen Vosjan is the owner & operator of Domain Design, Australia's leading image driven portal featuring leading Architects and Designers, and showcasing their projects, and capabilities. For more details,visit:

Broadband + New Algorithm = Broadband x 200

Broadband users who are fed up with the slow speeds from their provider but have been told their existing copper telephone line can't deliver a faster service may be in for a pleasant surprise, thanks to a revolutionary new mathematical formula.

Australian PhD graduate John Papandriopoulos claims to have has invented a way to turbo-charge current ADSL broadband speeds, enabling speeds of up to 200 times faster.

The system uses new algorithms reduce the effect that cross chatter has on internet streams that share the same physical copper telephone line.

According to Dr Papandriopoulos, his new algorithm could offer broadband speeds of up to an impressive 250Mbps on existing telecoms infrastructure. This would be ideal, given the UK's current state of broadband. The majority of broadband users receive less than half the broadband speed advertised as "up to 8Mbps".

Using these algorithms dramatically increased download speeds, allowing broadband users the ability to download data at a rate of roughly 30Mbps. A practical example of this new speed is that you using it would allow a full-length DVD movie to be downloaded in less than three minutes.

Dr Papandriopoulos is currently applying for patents in both the US and his native Australia to implement the new algorithms into worldwide broadband internet servers. If all goes well, his invention may well become one of the hottest properties amongst broadband service providers.

Not only would this improve broadband at a world scale but would also save billions. BT are currently in developments of BT21CN (BT 21st Century Networks) which would consist of installing fibre optics to improve broadband speeds to up to 24Mbps at a cost of £10bn.

If this algorithm was to be implemented into the current network then BT would not require upgrading just yet as in theory the speeds would achieve significantly higher speeds without the need for fibre optics.

Britain is in much need of broadband improvement and Dr John Papandriopoulos may just have our answer.

If you are interested in taking advantage of current broadband internet technology then you should compare many cheap broadband providers available in your area.

Going Wireless With Satellite Internet

Satellite Internet access is the only reliable answer for the more than 30 million people that want to go wireless but still can't receive high speed Internet access through DSL or cable broadband. There are many advantages of going wireless when you are using an internet service. It's much easier to network your home or office computers with this system. One of the greatest benefits of wireless access is that you are no longer attached to a router with a cable. You can move your desktop or laptop computer anywhere around your office or home within the broadcast range of the wireless router. One of the other major benefits is the fact that multiple computers can access the internet at the same time. The entire office staff or members of your family can have simultaneous internet access. Many people that work from home or run home-based businesses prefer wireless access. Imagine a work day spent lounging by the pool while you tap away on your keyboard from the comfort of your favorite deck chair.

After subscribing to satellite service for internet access, you need to purchase a wireless router and hook it up to the satellite modem. Satellite services are normally broadband services. For the most part these work seamlessly with wireless networking equipment that has most often been used to create wireless networks for land based broadband internet services. The next step to take is to outfit your computer with a wireless networking card if did not already come with the built in capability.

Once you have your Satellite Internet system has been set up and tested by an installation technician you will be ready to connect your wireless network. You can now connect your satellite internet modem to the router by following the instructions that came with the router. The router will then begin to transmit signals to your desktop or laptop computer via infrared signals. You will need to configure your router according the instructions that came with your router. Once this is done, you are free to start surfing the internet with no strings (or wires) attached.

For more Satellite Internet news and answers, check out for more resources.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Will the 700 Mhz Band Bring Broadband to Rural Areas

Parts of rural America have broadband internet access and I guess you could say it is available to everyone if you consider the satelite services which cover the entire country which are ridiculously expensive for the initial setup and monthly service. There also is a patchwork of local providers offering wireless internet services off of water towers and grain elevators and buildings. These services are limited in the amount of bandwidth they can offer, not because the wireless gear is not capable of high speeds, but because the actual t1s or t3s to provide the backhaul to the internet are so expensive.

The nice thing about this particular spectrum is it will go through trees, walls, and just about anything for a long distance from a central broadcast point. So the cost of deployment is reduced because one central broadcast station will cover a large area and the cost of setting it up and providing internet access is spread over more customers. This is all contingent upon local providers being able to gain access to the spectrum in their area.

Google started a discussion about this spectrum and tried to influence the FCC to require the purchaser of the spectrum to provide access to third parties at wholesale prices. I am not sure what wholesale prices means but to a company like Verizon it means another chance to gouge anyone who wants put up the amount they will arbitrarily come up with.

I think if some company is going to rent a piece of this spectrum in their area it should be cheap, cheap to the point it is a negligible expense in the operation of an ISP\'s costs to provide internet access. The telcos like to promote themselves as service providers. If one of them gets this spectrum let them do a real service to this country and provide cheap access to everyone who is willing to do something valuable with the spectrum in their area.

Each election cycle politicians have spouted crap about bringing broadband access to rural areas. First of all, I do not think they really know anything about the business and the technology. Secondly, they have ignored the large group of small companies that have already been providing broadband access in rural areas. Finally, they have been all to happy to take money from telcos that maintain a stranglehold on access out to the internet by charging too much for broadband circuits to carry rural traffic to the internet.

Broadband – Securing your Wi-fi

Wireless networking is now common place, with many ISP’s providing cheap broadband that include a wireless hub as standard. Wireless broadband users enjoy the freedom of being able to surf the internet from any location in their house, from lounging on the sofa to the extreme of ‘surfing’ on the lavatory (handy if you can’t pull yourself away from an online poker tournament!)

Wi-fi can be set up in minutes and it has proved a household luxury that many would not choose to be without.

The average wireless hub is designed to suit the home computing market, so ease of use is a main priority. Most wi-fi products now come ready-to-use, straight out of the box; whilst this is great for the average computer user; the problem is that many won’t know how to secure a wireless network.

An unsecured network means that you are at risk from others accessing your network. This could result in either someone close by making use of your internet for free or at worst they could glean information from your wi-fi signal and possibly obtain valuable, personal data.

Steps to Secure your Network

Change your Admin Password on your Wireless Router
Manufacturers ship their wireless broadband routers with a default password for initial access. Once you have your wi-fi up and running, the first thing you should do is change your password. To do this, you will need to log in to the router. Your ISP should provide you the instructions on how to do this.

Turn Off SSID Broadcasting
Your wireless LAN will continuously broadcast your network name, or SSID (Service Set Identifier). This makes it convenient when connecting to your LAN, because you don’t have to know you network name, but this will also make your network visible to anyone within your network range. If you turn off SSID broadcasting, this will make you invisible to your neighbours and anyone else who might happen to be passing by.

Change WEP for WPA
WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) establishes security by encrypting data transmitted over the wireless computer network. The problem with WEP is that it’s a weak form of security that uses a common 60 or 108 bit key that is shared among all the devices on the network to encrypt the wireless data. Hackers are bale to crack WEP keys with the help of software that is readily available on the internet.
WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) is an improvement over WEP as it provides strong data protection by using 128-bit encryption keys and dynamic session keys that help guarantee stronger privacy and security.

Install a Firewall
A firewall acts as a barrier from the outside world that either blocks or allows information to pass through to your computer.

It only takes a small amount of time and a little amount of knowledge to ensure that your wireless broadband connection is secure.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

How To Fix A Wireless Network

There are many benefits to be gained from having a wireless network. Certainly one of the biggest benefits to those business people on the move all the time is that they can easily gain access to their emails whilst they are waiting for a flight or a train. But it is also great for those who work from home as no longer do they need to restrict themselves to be sat at a desk instead if they want they can go and sit outside in the sunshine and do their work. However there are going to be times when a problem occurs with the network and this can be extremely infuriating. So what can one do to fix a wireless network problem?

Below we provide you with a few steps which should hopefully help to fix your wireless network problem without having to resort to getting a professional in. Often the problem can be quite easily resolved by just going into the network settings on your laptop or PC and simply following the instructions provided to you reconnecting to the network should be easy.

However it is important that before you actually try to rectify the problem that has occurred you should only arrange to make one change at a time. In most cases if you choose to change several settings at once and then reboot the laptop in all likelihood the changes you have made will have no effect and the problem will still be there. But by doing the changes one at a time you will be able to work out what is actually working for you and what isn't.

The first thing that you should be doing before you actually try to reconnect to the wireless network at any time when you lose connection is to check to make sure that your laptop has a wireless adapter. Luckily in most cases today many of the latest laptops and notebooks will have their adapter internally installed. But if it isn't then you will often find it has an external adapter instead.

In order to carry out any repair the first thing that you should do is check to see if you are actually receiving a signal. With a large number of laptops, PC's and notebooks today you can get a software programs which not only tell you when connectivity has been lost but will also help you to re-establish it. All you need to do is click on the button which says reconnect to the wireless network and it will either connect you to the one you are currently on or it will connect you to one which actually has a much better signal.

However if you find that when you use the method above in order to fix a wireless network problem and it does not achieve your desired goal. Then you may find that the only way to regain connection is by actually rebooting your PC, laptop or notebook altogether.

What Are The Advantages Of T1 Over DSL

Here's the question many small to medium size businesses ponder... sometimes to the point of paralysis. "What are the advantages of a T1 are over DSL at the same bandwidth?"

The answer is really much simpler than one would think. The key word here though is... "think".

Unless your major and only concern is cost, a T-1 will win hands down. A T-1 is going to be more reliable. The big plus is if it does go down, the SLA (Service Level Agreement) and QoS (Quality of Service) negotiated with the provider mandates a quick response (as in a few hours) to start fixing any T-1 issues. Whereas a DSL could go down for days and there is nothing you can do about it. With DSL there's rarely any mandated response times for repairs.

Also a T-1 is usually more dedicated than DSL. For example the provider could have 200 customers or more out of one DSLAM... but the T-1 is all for you. You will therefore see less latency and bandwidth problems with your T-1 than you would with a DSL from the same provider. This may not be the case all over... but for most it is true.

Now here's a few facts to further confuse you (hopefully not... but be forewarned).

The DSL cost at about 1.5M is not that much less than burstable T-1 service (sometimes refered to as Full T-1 "as you need it"). This may surprise you, but in the long run (and you'd be foolish to pay full price rather than taking a 36 month term reduction), in this particular situation SDSL may not be that much less expensive even than Full T-1 services. But... and this is a BIG but .... T-1 is the better choice on a straight internet cost/benefit analysis. (not to mention performance issues).

Let me explain...

Internet access (as in internet or data only) is the biggest waste of T-carrier bandwidth for businesses who are not teeny tiny ISP's. The smart thing to do is take your total voice investment (monthly, installation, maintenance, hardware, etc.) and add it to your total internet/data investment. What you will find is that even if you need the full 1.544Mbps for internet/data, you will save thousands of dollars or more by fully integrating voice and data services.

Let me give you some examples of how you can do this:

1) Fiber optics. A very large infrastructure cost offset by a relatively small bandwith usage cost means fiber pays for itself within a couple of years. No brainer - unless there's no fiber to be found.

2) ADTS-E over T-3. Like T-1, DS-3 can also be purchased fractionally. Dedicating certain DS3 channels (1.544Mbps each) for voice and certain ones for data. Configured in this way, DS-3 is not going to be as expensive as you think, and you'll have the advantage of cost/benefit by bundling voice/data and internet through one pipe.

3) ISDN-PRI. Don't laugh, because I know what you're thinking: ISDN???? But your typical ISDN line is ISDN-BRI (2B + D) giving 64k x 64k at a set kbps D channel for signaling. However, ISDN-PRI is technically understood as 23B + D. Meaning 23 B channels at 64k + one D channel at 64k for signal. With intelligent CPE, i.e. a brand new PBX, you can dynamically allocate bandwidth back and forth between voice and data channels as needed. So if your internet requires the entire 1.544Mbps (it probably won't) at any given time it will be available. And when traffic subsides on the data side the channels are returned to be available for voice. ISDN-PRI runs piggyback over a T-carrier line. However, you need at least 1.544 Mbps for dedicated Internet access. Iin which case ISDN-PRI is a brilliant solution because you can provision up to 8 PRI's (that's a maximum of 184 B channels at 64k each) working together. That's a boatload of bandwidth capable of running switched and/or dedicated services dynamically allocated between voice/data and internet at a net savings over your current voice/data internet costs.

Given a reliability comparison between DSL and any of the technologies above, DSL will probably lose until its stabilized, if ever. However, the business rationale for increasing bandwidth must necessarily lean toward integration or become a ridiculous mess of wires, services, and vendors. That means at least T1 or something more.

Here's another overlooked factor ..... The consolidation of unnecessary vendors (through integrating your voice and data) is going to save you money, no matter what area of the business you're talking about. It will save you the confusion of terms, products, pricing, and simple communication factors. Further, your reliability increases because your point of contact/escalation is just a single person or team assigned to your account, and it's just easier in general to hold one company responsible (rather than many) when something goes wrong.

You'll have to get quotes to know for sure, but telecom service integration is the only way to intelligently make use of bandwidth at this time.

It must be pointed out that business applications drive business connectivity. Meaning that in the end the only thing that matters is what you're doing. The means to support the applications will present themselves as viable options along a cost/benefit scale. At that point you will be able to pick and choose according to your budgeting and bandwidth agenda. If you're not then able to decide on a technology, you probably need to hire a consultant.

Here's a tip. You can get that level of assistance to navigate the murky waters of deciding the right bandwidth no cost too. Simply request a free rate quote and requirements analysis assistance from

Bottom line is if your Internet connection is "Mission Critical" and your business depends on it, GET THE T-1!! If you just need it for basic email and web surfing .... and it wouldn't kill you if it was down for a day .... look at DSL. If you really want to make the smart play ..... opt for integrated voice and data over a T1 or DS3.

Michael is the owner of FreedomFire Communications....including and Michael also authors Broadband Nation where you're always welcome to drop in and catch up on the latest BroadBand news, tips, insights, and ramblings for the masses.

Securing Your LinkSys WRT54GC Wireless Access Point

Securing your wireless access point is imperative. There have been several cases where people drive up and down residential neighborhoods “stealing” WiFi access – what are they using it for? They could be downloading child pornography, using the open access point for terrorist activities, or perhaps they’re downloading copyrighted material like movies and songs. Regardless of what they are using it for, you want to ensure that your access point is secure.

Securing your access point is very simple, at a very high level you need to ensure that your computer contains the latest patches and updates to ensure it has access to the latest security services. You also want to make sure that your wireless access point has the latest updates as well.

You can visit the wireless access point manufacturer’s site to see if there are any updates available. They will also provide step-by-step directions for updating the firmware in the device.

Do not underestimate the web either – do a search on the hardware you are using and you will find a lot of information on securing that particular hardware.

So how do you secure your wireless access point and what technologies do you use?

The WRT54GC features all the latest wireless security settings such as WEP, WPA Personal, WPA2 Personal and WPA2 Mixed Mode. You can also choose between AES and TKIP encryption.

WEP – or Wired Equivalent Privacy is a method to secure wireless networks. WEP is not very secure, and has been cracked easily with readily available software within minutes.

WPA – or Wi-Fi Protected Access (and all flavors) is much more secure than WEP. WPA is highly recommended to be used, along with a pass phrase that is longer than a typical 6 to 8 character password. For installations that I have performed, typically we have chosen pass phrases that are between 8 and 63 characters long and that are dynamically (randomly) generated (most pass phrases that I select are 63 characters in length).

WPA2 – is more secure than WPA and fully implements the mandatory elements of IEEEE 802.11i standards.

AES – also known as the Advanced Encryption Standard is one of the options available to you to secure your wireless connection.

TKIP – known as Temporal Key Integration Protocol, is another security method to protect wireless access points. TKIP may be more secure than AES, but it may slow down the connection between your computer and the access point.

So how do you secure your LinkSys WRT54GC wireless device?

Assuming that you have already have access to the device and have set it up, adding security is simple.

Consider changing your starting IP address – the default 192.168.x.x is pretty common and is used as a default installation. You need to alter the LOCAL IP ADDRESS. This is found under Setup > Basic Setup. You can also set the Maximum Number of DHCP Users.

Next under the Wireless option name your SSID – make it original! Too many people use the default “LINKSYS” or “DEFAULT”. Use something that will not identify you or your location – I’ve seen some of my neighbors use their hobbies, not wise. You should also consider DISABLING the Wireless SSID Broadcast.

Under the same option, click on Wireless MAC Filter. Find out the MAC address for the devices that will connect to your access point, and enter them here. This provides an additional layer of security, even though MAC addresses can be spoofed. Remember to ENABLE the option and PERMIT PCs LISTED BELOW TO ACCESS THE WIRELESS NETWORK.

On the LinkSys WRT54GC there is also a button that reads “WIRELESS CLIENT LIST” clicking this will show you who is currently connected to your access point.

Finally clicking on WIRELESS SECURITY option, select the SECURITY MODE (recommended WPA PERSONAL or WPA2). Choose the ENCRYPTION (AES or TKIP) and enter the PASSPHRASE – you have up to 63 characters in length, use them all up! Finally set the KEY RENEWAL. I use 3600 seconds.

And there you have it – your wireless access point is now secure! The next step is to have your computer access the wireless device, for this you need to take some additional steps. The next part of this article entitled “Connecting Your Secured LinkSys WRT54GC to your Windows XP Laptop or Desktop” walks you through connecting your Windows XP laptop or desktop to the LinkSys WRT54GC that you have just secured.

Reliance Leading the WiMAX Charge in India

The Indian Broadband market is expected to expand almost exponentially over the next five to six years according to a report published recently and it would appear that the use of WiMAX (short for World Interoperability for Microwave Access) is leading the charge with usage expecting to rise to over 21 million users by 2014. WiMAX where installed correctly is designed to provide greater efficiency, development and utilisation of broadband services.

This echoes further additional reports that confirm that the Indian economy is flourishing and the demand for telecommunications networks and services has finally outpaced the availability provided for by what are euphemistically described as conventional legacy wired telecommunications.

It would appear that within the Indian marketplace that vendors, operators and system integrators are all coming together to engineer a bandwidth revolution, the like of which has never been seen before.

Leading the charge in this particular telecommunications sub sector would appear to be Reliance Technology Ventures; the VC (Venture Capital) subsidiary of Mumbai based Reliance AD Group.

One of reliance technology ventures sister companies reliance communications is at present one of India's largest CDMA (code division multiple access) suppliers and is now serving its intention to move into the GSM marketplace.

It has achieved this by its recent funding of a large undisclosed investment in E-Band, a San Diego based manufacturer and designer of multigigabit wireless communications systems.

Given the current rate of growth within the Indian marketplace industry experts are predicting with current levels of investment and expansion we may be at the beginning of what could possibly be one of the world's top three WiMAX marketplaces.

At the forefront of this expansion have been major carriers such as Reliance Technologies who are already running commercial WiMAX services in Bangalore. Should these initial tests prove to be successful and if you want to go on initial criteria and that would certainly be the case, they are predicting that by 2014 the accumulated WiMAX subscriber base in India alone will reach 21 million.

Partly because of its rapid expansion equipment costs the general market costs are dropping whilst revenues are rising. Costs in India are being driven down faster than in any of the major worldwide marketplace.

At present industry analysts state the penetration of broadband throughout India at present lies at an extremely low figure of .2%. With the new technologies and investment rapidly being made available for the industry, experts are predicting the market to double within the next couple of years.

It cannot be denied that globally, investment in emerging wireless technology services such as WiMAX is growing certainly more than any other similar mobile technology.

It is one of those things that you can get a rough estimation of how mature technology marketplace is when you sit back and analyze the number of hardware equipment manufacturers who are prepared to "jump in with both feet," desperate to claim vital market share.

Elsewhere in Asia, WiMAX is expanding and it would appear that from other marketplaces, certain Asian telephone companies are planning to run controlled tests of these services based on WiMAX technology in the United Kingdom next year.

Certainly it would appear that the initial WiMAX tests run by Reliance WiMAX in Bangalore are going well and that the costs of the Reliance Data Card are expected to drop accordingly.

Stephen Morgan writes on many technical issues and more on the above can be found at Reliance WiMAX and

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

New Wireless Technology Shows Promise of Flexibility and Economy

An increasing number of businesses, municipalities, and individuals are seeing the benefits of wireless Internet access. It's really no wonder that this type of technology is growing increasingly popular because of its flexibility and the fact that it offers an economical way to put a lot of different devices and their users onto the Internet or a Local Area Network. Wireless hot spots are great for flexible use and varying numbers of users. After all, how could there be a better way to supply Internet access to all of the computers in an office, as well as the laptops and Blackberry type devices that employees bring in and use on a variable basis? The same flexibility makes wireless hot spots an attractive thing to install in coffee shops, airports, libraries, and even homes.

There are currently several widely available varieties of wireless Internet access. The most common by far is Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi is a short range type of wireless networking that's commonly associated with the wireless hot spots you'd find in a coffee shop or bookstore. It's extremely cost effective and easy to set up just by hooking a wireless router into a broadband Internet connection.

G3 is another popular way to get onto the Internet wirelessly. A G3 network uses technology that's similar to the cellular technology that allows for the used of mobile phones. G3 technology allows smart phones and laptops to connect to the Internet over cell phone towers and while moving at extremely fast speeds like on a train or in a car(the Doppler effect can ruin some types of wireless connections even at relatively slow speeds) and over a very wide area. It's been the technology of choice for professionals who need to stay connected while on the go.

Now there's a type of wireless technology that could serve as severe competition to G3. This type of technology is called WiMax and it combines many of the best points of both Wi-Fi and G3 technologies. Like G3, WiMax can operate over extremely large distances- up to 30 miles. Like Wi-Fi, WiMax is extremely effective indoors- which is something that G3 technology doesn't do so well. WiMax is also much faster than Wi-Fi. The combination of speed and large coverage area makes WiMax extremely effective for providing large numbers of people with high speed Internet access.

One thing that WiMax doesn't do as well as G3 is provide mobile Internet access. That's because at the frequencies that WiMax carriers are currently licensed to operate at the Doppler effect is an issue, while the frequencies that G3 is licensed to use aren't as effected by the movement of the user.

However, this shortcoming of WiMax compared to G3 is simply a regulatory issue. WiMax would be just as good for mobile devices as G3 is if it was licensed to use the same frequencies. And there lies the major explanation for why it hasn't been widely adopted yet- lobbying on the part of companies that have a lot invested in G3 networks and don't want the competition of a technology that could serve more people in a wider variety of ways.

Of course there is the hope that the two technologies will be able to coexist- even possibly in the same devices- so that they can be used in the situations that suit them best.

A leader in technology reporting, Julia Hall has published articles about the latest digital devices and gadgets for over ten years. After graduating from MIT with a degree in electrical engineering, Julia turned down huge salaries from some of the most recognized fortune 500 companies in the world to pursue his dream of becoming a leading consumer advocate. Julia uses her expertise to cut through the too good to be true deals offered by high tech companies to reveal the real steals and the real duds that we're bombarded with daily. If you enjoy staying on the cutting edge of technology, whether for business or pleasure, but find yourself occasionally confused by the overwhelming information out there let Julia be your guide.

Broadband - What is 4G WiMAX

WiMAX (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access) is a new telecommunication/broadband technology aimed at providing wireless data over long distances in a variety of ways, from point-to-point links to full mobile cellular type access. WiMAX allows a user, for example, to browse the Internet on a laptop computer without physically connecting the laptop to a wall jack in the same way as Wi-Fi.

• WiMAX & Wi-Fi may seem similar (as well as sound similar), they are actually aimed at different applications.

• WiMAX offers a long range broadband which can cover many kilometres. This can deliver a connection from broadband providers to an end user.

• Wi-Fi offers a shorter range broadband of a couple of hundred metres. This allows an end user to access their own network.

Why? There are a few aspects of WiMAX that make it so important to the future of broadband technology in this country. Most importantly, the cost, WiMAX not only offers a far greater range at a far better bandwidth; it will also be available at around half the cost of existing wireless broadband services. Therefore, allowing affordability, this will expand the amount of broadband customers in the UK significantly. WiMAX will also allow broadband providers to keep up with demand for broadband on the go. WiMAX will also provide better security, reliability and high quality that will be able to support the ever increasing numbers of bandwidth heavy applications. Speeds of up to 10Mb/s at a wireless range of between 2 – 10 miles would be achieved, which is a significant difference to the Wi-Fi broadband available at the moment (for example at Wi-Fi spots).

4G (Fourth-Generation Communication System) is the follow up of 3G. Like 3G, it will include wide-area wireless voice telephony and broadband wireless data. Although, 3G was limited to the use of a mobile phone, 4G system will provide end-to-end IP solution where voice, data and streamed multimedia can be served to users on an “Anytime, Anywhere” basis at higher data rates. It will allow systems the capability of providing 100Mb/s and 1Gb/s, respectively, in outdoor and indoor environments. This also offers high security at affordable costs.

4G WiMAX will be available by early 2008 creating a true wireless broadband experience.

If you are interested in taking advantage of current broadband internet technology then you should compare many broadband providers available in your area.

Adair Cameron is an experienced writer based in the UK

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Helpful Advice On Wireless Internet Troubleshooting

You spent all of this money on this stupid wireless internet router and cards and now the thing doesn't work! Just relax. Let's do some wireless internet troubleshooting to find out what is going on and maybe we can solve your problem and get you up and surfing in no time.

Buying The Right Stuff

Wireless internet troubleshooting begins in the store where you are buying your equipment. All wireless routers and wireless network cards do not magically work together. The first rule in wireless internet troubleshooting is to make sure your equipment is compatible. Wireless routers only work with certain types of wireless network cards and that information is always printed clearly on the box. So when you are matching up the wireless router you want with the wireless network cards make sure you check the boxes and make sure it will all work together. If you are unsure then ask a clerk for assistance. Wireless internet troubleshooting is easier to do when you buy the right equipment.

Firmware Updates

When you are wireless internet troubleshooting the first thing you look for is connections and plugs to make sure everything is plugged in correctly. Then you check the indicator lights to see if everything is operating correctly. Sometimes when you are wireless internet troubleshooting you will notice that your indicator lights will just click to off every once in a while. When you reboot everything it works fine for a little while and then it dies again. This may be an indication that you need to update the firmware on your router. Firmware is a blast of commands that are sent to your router that update its internal brain and allow it to function properly. The easiest way to accomplish this is to simply call the manufacturer of your wireless router and have them walk you through the steps to update your firmware. Once you learn how to do it you can do it yourself and you should check for firmware updates at least once every three months.

Bad Modem

For some reason people refuse to believe that their internet provider has sent them a bad modem. Broadband modems are not perfect and they can go bad just like any other equipment. If you have tried everything else in your wireless internet troubleshooting then you may want to call your internet provider and have them check your modem. They can do that from their office and can tell you almost instantly if there is a problem. Broadband modems are like any other piece of electronic equipment in that they can fail too. So if you have tried everything else then do not rule out the broadband modem, call your provider and have them run a check.

Ralph Jarvis runs his own mail order business. His particular specialty is electronics and computers. Check out these great Wireless For Internet articles and resources or the more general Wireless Internet guides and resources.

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