Category Archives: Wireless broadband

It’s Time We Had A Chat About Router Channels

Granted, router settings aren’t the sexiest of topics. But when you consider the merriment that a router in good working order can bring to your life, you soon discover that spending a few minutes reading something turgid on the subject is probably worthwhile.

Channels are signal bands that different devices use to connect to your router to tell it that they are there. Your laptop might link to your router on one channel, while dear old Amazon Alexa might on another.

Most routers have three independent, non-overlapping channels that don’t interfere with each other, 1, 6, and 11. Devices transmitting on these channels will, therefore, carry on communicating to your router, oblivious to the fact that other devices are also sending information too. That’s what you want.

Channel Setting Problems

The problem comes when the automatic settings on your router lead several devices to connect to it using the same bandwidth. Two or three is usually okay, but the more devices you add to a particular channel, the less stable your connection. In the worst case scenario, some devices won’t connect at all while others are in use on the same channel.

Rather than spending hours fiddling around with internet settings and getting nowhere, it usually pays to go into your router settings and look at which devices are connecting on which channels. If you find that you have a bunch of devices all running through channel 6, then consider moving some of them to 1 and some to 11. Doing that will help to spread the load, reduce interference and, hopefully, restore reliable internet connectivity.

Neighbouring Networks

Okay, here’s where things get a little trickier. Even though the data being sent by neighbouring networks is encrypted, and even though you can’t use their router to send and receive data to the internet without a key, their signals can still interfere with yours.

People who live in flats, for instance, often find that their internet connections are unstable. Blaming the overall internet speed probably isn’t correct, but blaming your neighbours might be. Signals from your neighbour’s devices interfere with your own, causing your channels to become thick with interference, leading to dropped internet connections.

So what can you do about it?

You’ve generally got two options: you can either spend hours manually conducting experiments to see which channels work and which don’t, or you can use special programmes that automatically scan current channel usage in your vicinity and then tell you the optimal one to pick.

When boffins came up with the modern router, they didn’t envision just how many different signals would have to cram into such as small space on the electromagnetic spectrum (used for WiFi). But as the proliferation of devices continued, and more people used high-bandwidth broadband, people are going to have to learn much more about channels, including how to troubleshoot problems.

Knowing about channels can save you potentially hours wasted looking for a solution in the bowels of Windows 10 network settings and simple deal with the problem on the router itself.

Keeping Customer Data Safe In Your Business

You’ve got a business, and you’ve got plenty of customers milling in and out of it every day you’re open and operating. Even when you’re closed, you’ve got an ecommerce website that allows people to order what they want from you whenever they want, allowing you to ship out products or services as soon as you’re next able to. It’s a great element to have to your business, and increases your exposure, outreach, and potential sales from these by tenfold.

But that means you’ve got a lot of data to keep track of at the same time. And this data is very important, so you need to keep it safe. So here’s just a couple of details to remember about storing customer data, in the safe and right ways.

 

Always Give Customers an Option

Whenever a customer comes through your ecommerce site, give them plenty of choice over how their details are used. Let them know how their information will be used whilst they’re on the site. Let your customers know they have the option to store their credit or debit details when they use your site, and that they also have the option for the system to forget all about their card. After all, it’s completely up to the person shopping with you whether or not you have their details on file, and you shouldn’t want it any other way.

Move On From Physical Storage

If you’re using physical storage to keep a track of your customer details, you might be missing a trick here. Not only do things like hard drives, USB sticks, and filing cabinets all have a maximum capacity to them, but they’re also quite hard to sort through. Flash drives alone have a huge risk to them, in that the data stored on them can be lost at any moment, and pieces are chipped away every time you log one in and out of your computer. And then you’ll have to look up a guide like https://setapp.com/how-to/usb-data-recovery.

So use cloud storage, or server based storage, instead. There’s a lot more room for expansion, and you can invest in private storage that only you have access to. End to end encryption, as well as the ability to search for the right files in seconds – it’s a real upgrade to have a look into at least.

Keep Outside Connections to a Minimum

If you’re looking to stay safe and secure in the modern day and age, you need to be sure as few people as possible have access to your company files. Especially the customer details you have stored for ease of access on both sides of the screen. So make sure only a select few people have the passwords or keys to the storage, and make sure only secured WIFIs have access.

Customer data is a priority. Security is a big part of maintaining business longevity, so it needs to be something you prioritise in your quest to take your company higher.

1257 Miles in an Electric Car – Part 1 – A Plan is Hatched.

Holzhausen’s drawings of the Model S
Holzhausen’s original drawings of the Model S

10th July 2017

I was sitting in my office in Martlesham on the 10th July 2017 chatting to a colleague about Tesla cars. The conversation had started after he noticed the framed artists sketch hanging on my wall.

I have driven a number of Tesla Model S cars in the past from the excitable P85+ to the ‘Insane’ P85D. They are very exciting cars to drive, not just because they are fully electric and pack extremely powerful single gear motors, but because you feel your are riding on the coattails of automotive history, participating in an irreversible shift change in motorvehicle technology. It’s very exciting!

The conversation moved on the the Model X and Model 3, Tesla’s entries in to the SUV and ‘affordable’ markets. The Model X has recently appeared in the UK, the Model 3 is two years away from being available. We continued to chat for the rest of lunch, but the seed was planted.

That evening I wrote an email to Tesla’s press office requesting the loan of a Model X for review. Nothing specific, simply available dates.

The next day I received a reply from Tesla, it’s explained that things were very busy with the Model X, but the 5th and 6th of October was available for a test drive, did that suit? I puzzled for a while, in the past I had been loaned vehicles for a little longer, to give me time to get to know the vehicle, two days seemed a bit short to get a proper review in place. So, I followed up with an email, requesting a little longer.

I quickly received a reply from Tesla asking what my plans were? OK, good question, time to put on my thinking cap.

15 July 2017

My initial idea was driving from Lands End to John O’Groats, but after a little bit of Googling, I discovered that this had already been done in a  Tesla and well documented on YouTube, there was nothing original to achieve in travelling down this this ‘road’.

But wait a minute! Was there? I live about 40 minutes from Ness Point, the most easterly point in the UK. Nestled in Lowestoft, Ness Point at first glance seemed a little unloved. Some thought and effort has been made to build a stone circle, with plaques showing distances to well known points in the UK. It’s quite nice, but the surroundings aren’t that impressive, but it seemed like the obvious starting point for a challenge and wasn’t too far from home.

Now to find the most westerly point of the UK.

Ardnamurchan Lighthouse sits on the most westerly mainland point of the UK accessible by a short ferry ride at Corran and a two hour drive along single track roads across an extinct volcano. There even appeared to be a ‘rapid’ charge point a few miles away at Kichoan Pier, which would set a challenge outside of Tesla’s ‘Supercharger’ network.

The plan was hatched, but it was just the beginning.

Matt Porter
The Gadget Man

The Gadget Man – Episode 105 – On the Sofa with Sarah Lilley at BBC Radio Suffolk

As I continue to ride the wave of euphoria of completing the 1200 mile east to west  Gadget Road Trip with my lifelong friend Andy. Today I joined BBC Radio Suffolk’s Sarah Lilley on the Sofa in Ipswich and explained how the challenge came about and how it felt to drive 1200 miles in an Electric Car and why I love Gadgets!

I also talked about how I met Vanessa, how I listen to music and an ill fated trip to Tunisia in 1996.

Listen in to the stream, bookmark the site, we have a LOAD of reviews coming up over the next few weeks, so stay tuned!

Gadget Man – Episode 97 – Working From Home

Fantastic to be back on BBC Radio Suffolk this week, even more special that I was invited to James Hazell’s home for a very special outside broadcast, where we talked about effectively working from home and I got to play Star Trek Pinball!!

Thanks to James and Isaac for the invitation, fabulous fun!

Listen, Like, Subscribe and Share!!!

 

The Gadget Man – Episode 84 – Loop – Real-time energy monitoring for your home

The price of oil is never far from the news these days, especially as it has a direct effect on the price of petrol, diesel and domestic fuel.

Loop Real-time energy monitoring
Loop Real-time energy monitoring

There has always been a direct correlation between the price of oil and electric and gas bills and the feeling that we as consumers are somehow trapped with a provider because it seems so difficult to move to an alternative.

 

Well, it looks like Loop have the answer to this problem by supplying a very nifty bit of that monitors your gas and electric usage and after a period of monitoring will be able to find a cheaper provider based on your usage.

It’s very simple to set up and I will cover all of this further in a full review soon. In the meantime, listen in to the stream to find out more about Loop.

 

The Gadget Man – Episode 65 – Transcend WiFi 32GB SD Card

People who know me will know that it isn’t easy to render me speechless, but after trying out my gadget this week, I can honestly say I was! I’m talking about the Transcend WiFi SD Card, a very impressive exercise in both miniaturisation and usefulness.

Transcend Wifi SD Card
Transcend Wifi SD Card

Most of us will be aware of SD Cards, we use them everyday in our cameras and they are an established way of transferring photos and videos from these devices to our computers, which is kind of where the main problem lies. SD Cards can be very fiddly, more so if you are an active photographer. There is definitely going to be an occasion when you drop or worse still lose your card during handling.

It seems as though Transcend have come up with a very elegant solution to this problem by embedding WiFi technology into the card itself! This is an astounding feat of engineering and works very nicely. Users are able to browse their photos using either an iPhone or Android handset via a downloadable app or if using a computer can connect directly to the card and download the photos using a web browser.

The only stipulation is that your digital camera is supported (click here to view the list) and that the camera is kept powered up during the process.

During the recording of this weeks episode I took a photo of presenter Mark Murphy live on air using the card and shared it on Facebook.

At around £35, the card is in my mind a bargain and I would heartedly recommend it to budding photographers who want to share their memories both quickly and smoothly.

Thank you very much again to Mickaela Noone from Transcend for her assistance.

The Gadget Man – Episode 50 – Huawei E5756 MiFi Hotspot from Three

This week we chat about MiFi’s or mobile wireless which allow you to connect your laptop and gadgets to a wifi network anywhere where you can get mobile coverage.

The Huawei E5756 is perfect for people who commute a great deal or even better for long family journeys as it gives you a wireless network, so you can stream music, upload files and browse the web.

Listen in to find out more about the Huawei E5756.

Many thanks again to Jocelyn at Cow PR for supplying us with the E5756 and the Sim card too!