Many employees are bringing their office computers home to work remotely. The biggest problem we are seeing is connecting printers to these systems. If you are having issues getting your printer to work please follow these steps:
Step 1 – Hardware
If your printer is connected via USB cable disconnect it from the office computer before proceeding.
If your printer is wireless make sure both computer and printer are on the same wireless network.
Step 2 – Software (Drivers)
Windows 10 can auto configure many printers but not all. If your printer did not auto configure or you have a multi-function scanner/printer/copier please visit the manufacturer’s web site and download the proper driver and setup package for your device.
Just when you finished getting use to the last wifi technology a new one is about to take over. If you have a laptop or cell phone it’s currently using the 802.11ac (or older 802.11n) standard. In non tech terms these technologies determine the speed and range of your devices network connection. You can see how this has evolved over the years with the chart below.
Now a new standard is about to breakout which will provide even more speed and range. Called 802.11ax it promises 4x the speed, improved performance in congested environments, better range, and battery life improvements for mobile devices. Some devices are already out using the draft specifications but we should see much more in Q1 of 2019 when everything is finalized and everywhere in 2020.
Do I need to hold off on my wifi purchases?
If you are consumer the simple answer is no. Having an 802.11ax device will not matter if the wireless network does not support it. If you are a SMB looking to upgrade from an older 802.11n wireless infrastructure the answer is also no. 802.11ac Wave 2 devices should do the trick.
If you are a larger business with multiple wifi access points and a complex infrastructure then maybe. 802.11ax will see the most benefits in congested wireless environments such as cities or large office parks or where distances are greater (e.g., campus environments). If you can wait a year we would recommend waiting to upgrade when the standard is finalized, products are released, and the first firmware updates have been put out (fix those version 1 bugs).
Like always, if you have any questions about technology or your wifi environment please feel to give us a ring at 781-679-0660 or via email.
One of our most common issues we run across is wireless connectivity problems. These may be reports of wireless speed being too slow, connections dropping, short ranges, low quality audio/video, etc.. There are many reasons why your wifi connection is poor and here are a few of the top ones:
Too many devices on the network using too much bandwidth
Does your office (or home) have desktops, laptops, tablets, smartphones, smart watches, cameras, personal assistance devices (e.g. Alexa), TV boxes, audio steaming systems, or any other Internet of Things (IoT) items connected to the wireless network? Now are any of them streaming 4K video from Netflix, running video games online, or listening to music? Each device connected to your network will take a slice of the bandwidth pie. If you are seeing performance issues try turning off the bandwidth eaters to see if there is any improvement. If so, time to purchase more speed from your Internet provider or manage your usage better.
Too many networks
Is your office in the city or a commercial park? Do you live in an apartment? You may be experiencing too many overlapping wireless networks. If your network channel overlaps with other wireless networks then you may see slowness, network drops, and other issues randomly throughout the day. Go to the app store and install a wifi analyzerand see what your wireless environment looks like. If your network overlaps others log into your router or access point and move to a less busy channel and, if you have it available, use the 5GHz range instead of the 2.4GHz. Below is an example of a congested wireless environment.
Your physical environment can make or break your wireless signal strength. What is between your wireless access point (WAP) and your laptop makes all the difference in the world. Some common items that cause problems are:
Microwaves and older portable phones (not cell phones)
WAP placed behind or near a brick wall, chimney, lighting fixtures, metal framed wall, pipes, air ducts, solid wood/metal doors
WAP placed near electrical boxes
WAP placed in basement, false ceiling, or in attic
WAP antennas not pointed / placed in correct manner
Here are some visual examples of poor placement of WAPs.
To make your wireless signal better move your access point to better location (line of sight with the devices you are using) and make sure any external antennas are configured correctly.
When was the last time you updated your Wireless Access Points? When was the last time your Internet provider replaced your wireless router? If is has been a while you may be using outdated wireless technology. If your access point says 802.11 (n , g, or b) and not 802.11ac then you have an older access point. If you are reading this article in 2018 then 802.11ax may be rolling out as the latest and greatest.
You also want to make sure that if you are purchasing a new WAP that it has multiple antennas (external or internal). This may be shown as 2×2, 2:2, 3×3, 3:3 (the number is the amount of antennas). The more antennas the more pathways for your wireless devices to communicate as long as your devices supports it. Many laptops are 2×2 but phones may only be 1×1.
I always get asked which phone I recommend for business and general use. With all the mobile devices that answer changes all the time. This month however Motorola just released the Droid Turbo 2. This phone has two great features no other phone can touch (right now) which make it perfect for business use (especially if you travel).
The Droid Turbo 2 has a special multi layer screen which is indeed uncrackable (many have tried). While it will scratch and ding it will not break. If somehow you manage to do it you can get it replaced for free.
Fast Charging for Lots of Extra Juice
How does 15 minutes of charging for 13 HOURS of battery life sound? Sounds good to me. You should be able to get more than 24 hours of use before having to charge (they claim up to 48 hours).
The only catch is that you need to be on Verizon to purchase it and it is very expensive if you do not have a plan.
To Sum it all up
While this phone may not be the lightest or best looking it sure is a workhorse which looks perfect for people looking for a phone that works no matter what time of day. I use the older version and look forward to the upgrade.модульные дома под ключ
As you may know by now Apple just released the latest version of its smartphone operating system, iOS7 and some new models. Since then we have had a few clients ask us “what phone should I get?” or “what is the best smartphone?”. The quick answer is that if you use a Mac, iPad, and generally live in the Apple world stick with the iPhone. If not, buy an Android phone, but only models with the latest software.
Android Can / iPhone Can’t
If I wrote this article last year I would probably lean towards an iPhone for use in business. However Google’s upgraded Android software and a new generation of great Android smartphones have been released tipping the scale. When buying an Android phone it is very important that you get one with version 4.1.2 or greater of the operating system (the latest version is 4.3 with 4.4 around the corner). Anything older and your experience will be much different (in a bad way). So what does Android have over iPhone that will help business productivity?
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Google Now– Google Now learns about you and your daily travels. It learns where you work and where you live. Then it tells you how long it will take you to get there (or any place you travel frequently) and when to leave. It knows your car rental, tracks your packages,and updates you on your airline airline reservation status. Most of the time it requires no input on your part. It can extract this data from your email and your environment.
Widgets– Widgets allow you instant visibility to things such as your inbox and calendar (and much more). No need to click on an icon first to see who emailed you or to take a look at what appointments you have today. Think about how many times you check your email per day and subtract a few seconds for each time you do not have to click on an icon to see who emailed you.
Built in USB drive– Plug your Android phone into a computer’s USB port and it shows up as another drive (like a flash drive). A quick and simple way to transfer large files, music, or anything you may need. The standard micro-USB port means you can find a connection (and a recharge) most anyplace.
Expandable and Repairable – Need more storage, just plug in an SD Card. Battery died, just replace it. iPhone cannot do either.
Better Sharing– With iOS your sharing options are limited (Message, Email, Twitter, Facebook). With Android you can share with any app that has sharing enabled (Microsoft and Google cloud storage, Instagram, Kindle, etc.). On top of that some of the new Android phones support NFC which allows you to touch two phones together to transfer data instantly.
Voice Recognition – iPhones has Siri, which nobody uses. I have yet to meet an Android user that does not use the speech recognition on a daily basis. It is that good. Make appointments, get directions, ask questions, etc.
Separate Profiles (Android 4.3 Only)– If you use your phone (or tablet) for work and business you know that sometimes mixing the two can be a headache. What you may not know is that if you sync your phone to your business network you hand over some control to your company. If you lose your phone, the one with both work information and all the pictures of your family, your IT department can erase everything (sorry family). With the latest version of Android you can have separate work and business profiles (or profiles just for your kids).
Extensions / Sync– With Android your web browser bookmarks you use on your PC (must use the Chrome browser) are on your phone (and tablet). Use an extension such as ‘Chrome to Phone’ to send map directions from your PC to your phone and automatically launch the navigation app. Google Keep is a great quick note taking app that also syncs between all your devices. It is the little things that save you time and increase productivity.
What Phone do I Purchase?
There are lots and lots of Android based phones. Most are so-so but a few stand out above the crowd. Which one is best for you depends on personal preferences (screen size vs camera quality vs cost, etc.). The top three as of today are:
Samsung Galaxy S3 / S4
Motorola Droid Maxx
Both the iPhone and Android phones work great. iPhone is not horrible and Android isn’t a solution to everything. The constant changing nature of technology may make this article obsolete in a year. However, right now Android leads the way. Outside of the US it is by far the #1 phone type and you can ignore Blackberry and Microsoft phones (both dead ends). I hope you enjoyed this article and if you have any questions about integrating a little bit of mobility into your business please contact Wireguidedanytime.
One of the biggest annoyances when you travel is that the wireless signal in your hotel room is too weak (and probably insecure). Most rooms have a network jack but that is useless if you want to get online with your tablet or use the wifi on your phone to make calls to avoid roaming charges. It is also not very convenient if you want to get online anywhere else in your room besides the desk (e.g., your bed).
Solution: Nano Wireless Routers
Nano Wireless Routers are tiny devices that plug into a network jack and provide wireless access to a small area (e.g., your hotel room). They are only a few ounces and are smaller then a credit card. They can be powered by a standard wall outlet or from a USB port on a computer. The best part is that they are not expensive at all ($25-$50).
If you would like more information on Nano Wireless Routers or how to keep your computers secure when traveling overseas please contact Wireguided.
When helping small businesses one of the first things we ask them is where do they purchase their hardware from. In most cases, for businesses with under 15 employees, it is at the local retail store (e.g., Staples, Best Buy, etc.). From an IT standpoint there are a few key reasons not to do this:
1. Preloaded software (Bloatware)
Computers purchased at retail stores, or from the consumer section on vendor websites, contain all sorts of preloaded software. Everything from add-ons to your web browser to games and various applications. All these applications add to the boot time of your system, eat up resources (such as memory and disk space), and generally interfere with a clean environment for your employees to work.
The warranty for most PC’s purchased at the store are for 15-30 days (full refund) and then the manufacturer’s warranty which is usually a year of mail in hardware replacement. I don’t know about you, but an employee sitting around for a week or two without a PC, while waiting for replacement, sound like a good way to lose money. Most PC’s purchased though a business vendor or direct from the business section of a company’s web site, have much better warranties for lower costs. At Wireguided, all PC’s purchased for our clients come with a minimum next business day on site repair or replacement warranty. Usually for less then a stores ‘add-on’ or ‘extended’ warranty.
3. Network stability
Retail PC’s can have any number of parts inside of them, even the same makes and models. Different network cards, video cards, etc.. As your business grows these various parts can have negative effects on automatic updates or when trying to standardize desktop environments.
4. Wrong Operating system
Why is that PC at Best Buy $100 less expensive then the one my IT person wants to buy? In many cases it is because computers bought at the store have the consumer version of the operating system which may not work in a networked environment with a server (e.g., Windows 7 Home vs. Windows 7 Professional).
If you would like more information on purchasing business ready computers please contact Wireguided.
Bye Bye netbooks. Tablets are the new hot item to have. The question is, should you buy one now? That question is even more important if you are thinking of using them in your business.
There are a bunch of new players in the tablet arena. iPads, Android based devices (Motorola Xoom), and even RiM, the makers of the blackberry, are getting in on the action. Then there are the countless others such as Acer, Asus, HP, Dell, Toshiba, and Sony. As a business or a consumer choosing the right one is a daunting task. Prices can range from $400 – $1,200 so making the wrong decision can be costly.
As with any new technology a few things will happen over the next few months. Some tablets will fail, and be pulled from the market. Prices will fall, and the 2nd and 3rd generation will be released. We’re in the middle of the first generation which means, as a business owner, you should wait.
The second generation of Android based devices and 3rd generation of iPads should be coming out in the September / October time frame to take advantage of the back to school rush and ramp up before Christmas. This is a good time to reevaluate the purchase of a tablet. New, more powerful processors will be coming out (2x as fast),4G support will be more widely available, devices will be lighter, and bugs will have been fixed. Also, if you are thinking about an Android based tablet, more applications should be available by then.
Over the next few months I will have more articles on tablets. The next one will focus on how to best utilize them in a business setting (besides playing Angry Birds on them).
Voice over IP (VoIP) has been gaining steam for a few years now. With new products from such names as Cisco, small and medium sized companies can now turn their old phone systems into powerful business tools. Switch to a SIP provider and you could also lower your phone bill by 30-40%.
What is VoIP?
Voice over IP is the technology that uses your computer network infrastructure to deliver phone service. No more separate phone cords and network cables. You just plug your VoIP phone into your computer network jack.
Why is it important to my business?
VoIP’s major advantages over the old phone systems (PBXs) are the following:
Services – With your phones going over your computer network, you now have the ability to integrate the two. Voicemail sent to email, clicking on numbers in web pages and having your phone ring, seeing if someone is on the phone/out of office via Outlook, using your phone as a time card system, even monitoring security cameras from your phone are all possibilities.
Connectivity – With certain VoIP phones, you can bring them home or take them on vacation. They will connect to your business network automatically. When someone dials your business number or extension, your phone will ring. No matter where you are.
Manageability – Your IT department can now easily manage your phones. Modern interfaces allow quick adds/changes which can also be performed by remote support staff.
Cost – There are many ways VoIP saves your business money. If you have new construction, there is no need to install a separate phone network. A new VoIP system costs many thousands less than tradition PBX systems, which start in the five figure range. 30-40% lower phone bills are also a great plus when using a SIP provider for phone service (phones service via the Internet).
VoiP technology has finally matured. It is now a proven technology which is used in many fortune 500 businesses (side note: If you watch ‘The Office’, those are Cisco VoIP phones). The price has dropped dramatically to make it not only affordable, but the preferred phone solution for businesses of all sizes. If your phone system is starting to show its age or your business is moving, now would be a good time to give VoIP a look.
If you would like more information on VoIP or SIP please contact Wireguided.