Better Broadband for Suffolk

Following on from our earlier post, ‘Backing Broadband for Suffolk’, we thought you might like to find out how the campaign is going.

According to the I’m Backing Better Broadband for Suffolk campaign…

On the 14 September 2011, following an investment of up to £10 million from Suffolk County Council, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport announced that the Suffolk Local Broadband Plan would be one of five counties to be the first to kick off their government-backed programme to make superfast broadband available across their areas.

We are now working to a Framework Delivery Model set out by BDUK to deliver superfast broadband to Suffolk.

That means that in the next six months leading up to March 2012, we will be developing the project to establish local requirements – this includes where as a county we already have broadband coverage, where the gaps are and where are the areas that will have maximum impact.

With more and more people across Suffolk calling for super fast broadband, to ensure either in business or at home they can access a whole range of services, the I’m backing better broadband for Suffolk campaign needs as many people as possible to get behind them.

If you haven’t already, please make sure you go to our their website, which is here and sign up to the campaign – it will mean you will receive regular updates from the campaign and what they need you to do to help show the need there is in Suffolk.

Getting to Grips With Your WiFi

Wireless working is great…when it works.transmit

But there are times when you just want to throw your router out of the window. Your wireless signal can be affected by all manner of things:

  • The distance between your router and the receiving computers
  • The way your walls and ceilings are constructed
  • What you have in your room
  • Interference from other electronic items (yours and your neighbours)

Locating the specific problem can be a complete nightmare. But with a bit of time and patience, you can succeed without it costing the earth.

Before you go splashing out on expensive antennas, boosters and repeaters, take a look at your home and carefully consider the best location for your router.

Undertaking a network survey

1. Locations for your router

Make a note of all the possible locations for your router, bearing in mind it is usually recommended that you place your wireless router as high as possible in a central location.

Depending on your broadband service, the wiring in your house and the ability to run extra Ethernet cable, there could be several possible locations for your router. If you have DSL and your house already has phone jacks in every room, any of them could be used as potential locations. But if you use broadband through your cable company, your choices will be far more limited.

2. Identifying potential interference

Interference is one of the main causes of wireless network failures, whether it comes from devices in your home or a near neighbours’.

A prime culprit is the 2.4ghz cordless phone because they operate on the same frequency as most wireless networks. If you have one, it might be wise to replace it with the newer 5.8ghz model or older 900mhz type.

But it’s not just cordless phones, interference could also be caused by wireless alarm systems, microwaves, wireless video and audio systems, baby monitors etc.

3. Wireless laptop detective

A great way of evaluating your home before setting up your network is by borrowing a wireless laptop. This will be able to show you the signal strength of all nearby networks. You can also download and use tools such as NetStumber.

Plug your router into any electrical socket (without connecting it to your router or installing it) and it should start to transmit. Then, walk around the house, with  your laptop to check out the signal strength in different locations. You can repeat the process, moving the router to different areas to find the best location.

But what happens when you’ve tried all of that and still can’t get a good signal?

Well, that’s the subject of our next blog post, so stay tuned to learn more.

Author: MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.

What’s Your Mobile Broadband Performance Like?

 

mobile phoneWhen you’re out and about and need to access the internet through your mobile device, the last thing you want to do is hang around while it waits to load.

Between September and December 2010, Ofcom conducted some research into assessing the performance of mobile broadband via dongles and datacards in comparison to the performance from fixed line broadband services.

It looked at a range of performance data including:

  • Download speed
  • Latency
  • Web page download times

You can access the full report from Ofcom here (opens PDF).

Results in a nutshell

Summarising the results, the average download speed achieved by mobile broadband users is 1.3Mbit/s, with basic web pages taking an average of 8.5 seconds to download.

In comparison, average fixed broadband speeds were 6.2Mbit/s, with an average web page download time of less than 0.5 seconds. Quite a difference.

Of all the mobile operators tested, O2, Vodafone and ‘3’ offered faster average download times than Orange and T-Mobile, with O2 on average being the fastest. Plus, O2 had lower average latency (i.e. the time it takes a single packet of data to travel from a users PC to a third party server and back again) than ‘3’, Orange and Vodafone.

The research, which measured performance in areas of good 3G coverage, looked specifically at mobile networks that use dongles and datacards. Ofcom plans to cover smart phones in future research.

Food for thought isn’t it?

Author: MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.

Backing Broadband for Suffolk

image

The website ChooseSuffolk is calling on everyone in Suffolk to get behind their Backing Broadband for Suffolk campaign.

The Government is making big decisions on our behalf about which areas of the UK will benefit most quickly from superfast Broadband.

We need to make sure that Suffolk has its voice heard loud and clear.

The East Anglian Times led with a story today (2/2/11) saying that 10% of Suffolk is in a web desert. Thanks to broadband “not spots” there are almost 67,000 people without acceptable access to the internet.

Looking at the countries rankings for broadband coverage, Suffolk’s performance is pretty poor:

  • Mid Suffolk local authority is ranked the lowest at 373 of 407 in the UK with only 26% of households with a usable broadband connection
  • Suffolk Coastal is ranked 348 in the country with only 31%
  • Whereas Ipswich is ranked 45 with 79% of households with a useable connection

Suffolk must be at the top of the agenda when these critical decisions are being made. Therefore they are calling on everyone in Suffolk, from all walks of life, to give their support and back the Better Broadband For Suffolk campaign.

You can back their campaign now by going to the MPM website and register your free vote by clicking on the logo (your details will not be passed to any third parties but you will be kept updated on the campaign).

Your voice will help us secure the investment our county so badly needs.

Here’s how Suffolk will benefit from Better Broadband

Better broadband won’t just help Suffolk’s families. There are many other areas of life that will benefit from a better service:

  • Business – Suffolk business, including some of the UKs leading financial services, biotechnology, tourism and high value food and drink producers need better broadband if they are to continue to be at the forefront of the nation’s economy.
  • Healthcare – Better broadband would enable online monitoring of your health, online diagnosis of medical conditions via online consultation and online supervision of drug administration. As well as being more convenient for you, the delivery of better healthcare online would help to improve the services delivered by the NHS at greatly reduced costs.
  • Education – Access to faster, more reliable services will enable our young people to reach their potential. Research shows that giving a child access to the internet via broadband results in an increase in GCSE attainment.
  • Entertainment – With some 750,000 living in Suffolk, better broadband will help families enjoy the benefits of the growing range of rich video-based entertainment services streamed over the Internet into the home.
  • Society – The people of Suffolk want to be able to enjoy the society of the future that reliable broadband will bring. Whether it is now with social networking and linking in with business or looking at tomorrow with voting on line or being part of the big society.

Make your voice heard and help us bring reliable broadband to everyone in Suffolk.

Vote now.

Solving Wireless Connection Problems

transmit

Going wireless doesn’t always turn our as easy as you would expect.

There are times when you just can’t get wireless devices to connect to your computer or you can’t get your computer to connect to the internet.

All if this can lead to frustration and sudden outbursts of despair. But before you throw your coffee mug across the room, sit down and have a look through this guide.

We’ve put this together to help you identify where your wireless connection problems are and how to fix them.

Instructions to get started

OK, the basics first. If you want to use wireless devices you’ll need:

  • Computer running Windows XP or higher
  • Wireless router or wireless modem/router

Right, let’s get started and take a look at a few of the issues that you might come across.

1. Dropped connection

Wireless or Wi-Fi networks allow you to use your computers anywhere within the range of the wireless device offering a far more flexible working environment. It’s unusual for your connection to drop once set up but if that does occur look out for a weak wireless signal, intermittent signal, or total disconnection.

2. Greater support

If you’re a Windows XP user you’ll need to download service pack 2 (SP2) or higher before adding wireless devices like a wireless router. This is because SP2 provides better support and troubleshooting tools for wireless networks.

3. Ethernet

When buying a wireless router always check to make sure it has plugs for Ethernet or network cables. If you do have a wireless problem this will be the only back you’ll have. You can use the wired connection to make sure the computer can connect to your network. 

4. Re-boot

If in doubt, switch it off and then on again. Yes, we’ve been doing that for years with our computers so it’s always worth a try with your wireless router. Performing this type of restart usually resets all your settings back to normal and clears the problem. 

5. Talking the same language

Wireless devices use a radio signal, normally at a frequency of 2.4 GHz. Problems can arise though because many household items use the same frequency (e.g. cordless phones, baby monitors, and radio controlled toys). If you encounter problems with disruption move the potential problem devices around until  they no longer clash.

6. Blocking your way

The radio waves from your wireless router could be blocked by the presence of metal. If you suspect your signal is being impeded you could either move the computer to another part of the room or, if that’s not an option, buy a wireless repeater to put in between the computer and wireless router. This amplifies the signal to help the computer pick up the router’s radio waves.

7. Nosy neighbours

If your computer tries to pick up your neighbour’s wireless network signal, go to the tool that views other wireless networks and select your network from the list. 

8. Device manager

If you’ve tried everything else and your computer still can’t connect to wireless, go to the Start Button, and do a Right Click on My Computer. Select Manage and in the Computer Management window, select Device Manager. Have a look to see of the green network adapter icon is missing. If it is, the driver for the wireless card or adapter needs to be installed. If however the network adapter icon has a red “X” or a yellow triangle and exclamation mark, you should remove the driver and reinstall it.

There you go – 8 ways to troubleshoot temperamental wireless connections. If you still have problems contact your local IT troubleshooting specialist who’ll be able to help you.  

Author: MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.

How Broad is Your Broadband?

band

We’ve all seen the adverts for super fast broadband and are well aware of the controversy of the ‘up to’ speeds that are advertised.

The speed (and reliability) of broadband is very varied depending on where you live in the country with many people unaware of what speed they are actually receiving.

How about your connection speed? Does the time of day have an effect on your broadband’s performance? Are there times when you simply can’t get online?

A fast and reliable broadband connection is vital for our daily lives be it for email, internet surfing or normal business communications. So can you be sure you’re getting the best speed?

If you live in Suffolk you’re in luck as it is possible to check your current broadband line to see if there is a better service you can use.

It’s not all about speed

As with most things you get what you pay for. Therefore the less you pay, in general, the slower the speed. Plus a leased line (i.e. dedicated line of just 2Mbps) can actually give you a better performance than a normal contended line (i.e. a shared line of say 6Mbps).

Of course nothing in life is that simple as leased lines are not cheap, but there are other options…

Types of broadband

“What! There’s more than one?” I head you cry.

Yes indeed. For every business there is a range of business broadband contracts available:

  • ADSL
  • ADSL 2+
  • SDSL
  • Bonded Broadband
  • Leased line etc…

Your local IT Support Company can help you review the options available to find your best fit. Not only that they’ll also make all the arrangements to transform  your internet experience.

So what are you waiting for? Don’t put up with your slow connection, check out your other options and get more from your broadband.

VPOP3 – Manage Your Email Without an Exchange Server

VPOP3 email For many businesses, managing their POP email without an exchange service seems like a pipe dream. Is it really possible to manage business wide communications in this way?

Well, yes it is.

There is a product available called VPOP3 which does exactly that. It allows SMEs to run their POP email via a PC using an application software that allows them to manage emails throughout their business like an exchange server.

A fully-featured Windows Email Server, VPOP3 is simple to configure, to use and is flexible enough to fulfil your requirements. With its built in spam filter (which detects 80% of spam and offensive email before it reaches your users) it can also detect and block email viruses using the avast! and Sophos antivirus engine.

What you can do with VPOP3

This feature packed technology offers the user a wealth of benefits including:

  • Virus scanning
  • Spam/content filtering
  • Standards compliant (POP3/SMTP/LDAP)
  • Remote administration
  • Webmail
  • Message archiving
  • Mail list server
  • Automatic responses
  • Multiple ISP support
  • Scripting

Plus the software is constantly updated and enhanced support your changing needs

It will work with or without an internet email account and on any type of internet connectivity – dial-up modem, ISDN, Broadband xDSL to permanent leased lines.

Why not try it out?

For more information about this service follow this link and click on the button shown below.

image

Author: MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.

BT Upgrades

BT upgrades There has been a lot in the press recently about broadband speeds and the such like. So what’s going on? Are the telecom giants actually trying to help us out with higher speeds and better connectivity?

Well, one such giant, BT, is in the process of a fibre rollout. But, at the same time, they are also continuing to upgrade exchanges for the slower ADSL2+ services. It has been reported that a further 199 exchanges have been added to its upgrade list which should benefit from up to 20Mbits/sec broadband by Spring 2011.

Hmm, there’s that phrase again ‘up to’ – but that’s another story.

It is hoped that when this latest rollout is complete, three quarters of the UK will be connected to ADSL2+ or fibre broadband lines. Plus they are trialling a ‘priority class of service’ for ADSL2+ business customers which will begin this autumn.

What’s your broadband like where you are? We’d love to hear your experiences and what speeds you’re getting in relation to what you were promised.

Author: MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.