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4 Reasons Why Your Wired High-Speed Internet Connection Might Be Slow
23/05/2017

Many people assume that using a high-speed Internet service through a wired connection guarantees fast web browsing and file downloads. Here are four reasons why your wired connection might be unexpectedly slow. 

Many people use a high-speed Internet service through a wired connection to browse and work online. Even with this setup the connection can be unexpectedly slow, leading to consistent delays in loading web pages and downloading files. Occasionally slow connections occur because many different technologies need to communicate with each other to get data from the web servers to your computer, however when waiting is the norm rather than the exception there might be other factors at play.

Here are four reasons why your wired connection might be unexpectedly slow:

1. Your Network Hardware Might Not Support a Fast Connection

Networks use hardware, such as cables, switches, routers, and network interface cards to connect to the Internet. If you are paying for an Internet service provider (ISP) plan that promises a fast download speed but your connection is always slower than that rate, it is possible that your hardware is a factor. For example, your router or your computer's network interface card might not support a data transmission rate equivalent to what your ISP offers.

The configuration and condition of your network hardware can also affect the speed of your Internet connection. Common problems include improperly configured routers and even older or incorrectly crimped network cables.

2. Your Web Browser Could Be Bogged Down by Add-Ons or Applications

Web browsers often have add-ons, such as toolbars and extensions. While some add-ons do not consume much bandwidth, others use a considerable amount. If your browser has several of the latter, they might be bogging down your browsing speed.

The security measures taken to help protect you from online threats can also affect your browsing speed. For example, before allowing web pages to display your security software might scan them for malicious code causing delays.

3. Your Computer Might Be Infected with Malware

A slow Internet connection might be the result of your computer being infected with spyware. Spyware runs in the background without your knowledge. It collects information about the activities on your computer and sends the data to hackers through your Internet connection. Sending the data consumes your bandwidth, so your Internet connection slows down.

Similarly a slow connection can result if your computer is part of a botnet, which is a large group of bot-infected machines under the control of hackers. When your computer is part of a botnet it will periodically communicate with the hackers' server which can slow your Internet connection. Even more of your bandwidth might be consumed if the cybercriminals use your machine in a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack.

4. Your ISP Could Have a Problem

Your Internet connection could be slow because of an ISP issue. Your ISP might have a software or hardware problem in its facility that is interfering with routing signals to you.

Alternatively, the problem might reside in the miles of underground and above-ground cables that the ISP uses to transmit data. For example, if you have subscribed to your current ISP a long time, the cable leading into your office building might be outdated or in poor physical condition.

Do Not Let a Slow Internet Connection Hamper Your Productivity

Constantly waiting for web pages to display and files to download is frustrating. Even worse, the time you spend waiting adds up hindering your productivity. If your high-speed Internet connection is always slow contact us, we can troubleshoot and address the problem.

3 Reasons to Drop your Traditional IT Infrastructure
02/05/2017

With Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), companies can easily deploy and maintain their entire infrastructure in the cloud.

IaaS is a type of cloud computing, in this model the service provider manages all of your company's virtualised IT infrastructure, including cloud-based servers and storage solutions. IaaS offers a number of benefits that traditional IT infrastructure solutions lack, however some companies unfamiliar with the technology are hesitant to make the switch.

Here are three reasons why IaaS might work for you:

1. Deploy Infrastructure Faster

Purchasing and deploying physical equipment can take weeks and sometimes even months. Ordering, assembly, shipping, configuration, and installation all require time and resources. With IaaS, all you need to do is fill out a web form, requests are processed quickly and to your specification. Your company's system administrator can provision and configure a new virtual server in a fraction of the time.

2. Scale Resources Easily

Scaling has different meanings in the world of IT. In this context it means adjusting resources such as processing power, memory and storage. A major strength of IaaS is its ability to scale in real time with the needs of your company. The ability to scale is simply not supported by physical IT infrastructure.

IaaS offers two scaling solutions. One is basic manual scaling, allowing companies to adjust their own computing resources. The second is dynamic scaling which automatically adds and removes resources as your needs change.

3. Cut IT Costs

Purchasing and maintaining physical infrastructure can be extremely expensive. After the up-front costs for the hardware itself, companies must account for ongoing operational expenses. These include hiring and training qualified staff, renting or purchasing space, and electricity for powering and cooling the hardware. Physical infrastructure also limits your ability to quickly and cheaply adapt to changes in the business environment. Forces such as economic instability and the rapid pace of technological advancement make it difficult to estimate future needs.

Companies find that eliminating the need to manage physical infrastructure results in huge cost savings, giving companies the freedom to redirect resources where they belong: on growing and expanding their business.

Is It Better to Shut Down Desktop Computers or Let Them Sleep?
25/04/2017

Whether it is better to have your employees shut down their desktop computers at the end of the workday or let the machines slip into sleep mode has been the subject of debate for many years. Here is what you need to know to decide which practice is best for your business.

The end of workday is near and your employees are about to leave for the day. Is it better to have them shut down their desktop computers or simply let the machines slip into sleep mode? This question has been the subject of debate for many years. If you search the Internet, you will find discussions supporting both practices. So, which practice should your business follow? To answer this question you need to know some facts as well as the benefits of each.

Just the Facts

When the shut down versus sleep debate first started, desktop computers were not as advanced as they are today. Technological improvements have eliminated many of the arguments used by debaters on both sides of the issue. Here are the facts when it comes to modern desktop computers:

  • Shutting down and restarting a computer every day will not damage it. Modern computers are built to handle 40,000 on-off cycles before failure, according to ENERGY STAR. If your employees shut down and restart their computers once a day every day their machines will not reach the 40,000 threshold for 109 years.
  • The extra electricity used when you press a computer's power button is negligible. It is so tiny that it does not cost any extra money, according to the Saving Electricity website.
  • Leaving a computer on all the time will not cause it to overheat. The cooling systems are designed to keep the machines at a safe operating temperature no matter how long they are left on, provided they are kept clean and air can flow around them. Dust and blocked air vents are the main causes of computers overheating.
  • Letting a computer run nonstop will not cause its hard drive or fans to fail. Although it will cause a bit more wear because they are moving parts, there is no conclusive proof that this leads to failures.
  • Turning off a computer will not protect it from power surges. If a computer is not plugged into a surge protector, a power surge can damage a computer, regardless of whether it is turned on or off. (Even with a surge protector, a computer is not completely safe if the surge is large.)

Knowing these facts simplifies the shutdown versus sleep debate. They are moot points so you do not have to consider them when deciding whether to have your employees shut down their computers or let them go into sleep mode.

The Benefits of Shutting Down Desktop Computers

Shutting down desktop computers at the end of the day has several benefits, one of which is that you can reduce energy consumption. The amount saved will vary depending on a variety of factors including make, model, and performance of your computers; whether they are ENERGY STAR certified; and how many you have. According to the Savings Calculator for ENERGY STAR Qualified Office Equipment, medium-performance desktop computers that are ENERGY STAR certified consume 0.8 watts per hour when shut down and 1.8 watts in sleep mode. The calculator also provides a ballpark figure for their non-certified counterparts: 1.0 watts when shut down and 2.3 watts in sleep mode. You can save energy by shutting down computers instead of letting them sleep, although the amount saved per computer is only around a watt per hour in modern machines.

Another benefit of shutting down computers is that rebooting them at the beginning of each workday gives them a fresh start. When a computer is powered on for a long period of time its operating system and applications tend to accumulate all sorts of cruft (e.g., temporary files, disk caches). Cruft can slow down the computer and cause other types of problems. Rebooting the computer resolves these issues. As a result the computer will typically run more quickly and with fewer errors.

The Benefits of Using the Sleep Mode

Letting desktop computers slip into sleep mode at the end of the workday offers several advantages. When computers are turned off employees need to wait for their computers to reboot, after which they need to open all the applications they want to use. With sleep mode employees do not need to wait for their computers to reboot and the applications they had opened when they left work will be running and ready to use boosting employee productivity.

Another advantage of using the sleep mode is that you can often schedule operating system maintenance tasks (e.g., security scans, software updates) to be performed during off-hours, without the hassle of using Wake on LAN technology. When the scheduled time arrives the computer will wake itself up and perform the maintenance task. Similarly IT service professionals can use a remote connection to wake up computers during off-hours without any WOL hassles. They can then perform maintenance tasks (e.g., application updates), roll out upgrades, and fix computer problems.

Which Practice Should Your Business Follow?

Even though the technological advances in modern computers have eliminated many of the points of contention, the shutdown versus sleep mode debate continues, however the bottom line is that one practice is not inherently better than the other, it is simply a matter of preference. When deciding whether to have your employees shut down their desktop computers or let them go into sleep mode you should consider what is best for your business. For instance, if you have a lot of computers and are concerned about energy consumption, have the employees shut them down. If IT service professionals need easy access to your computers during off-hours or you are concerned about employee productivity let the machines slip quietly into sleep mode at the end of the workday.

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