One of the hardest things to troubleshoot in the realm of networking is wireless connectivity. There are a number of things that you can do in order to resolve wireless issues quickly and with little technology expertise.
First of all, if you are unable to establish a wireless connection, there are a few basic troubleshooting steps you can take. The easiest task to complete is to simply reboot your device (laptop, smart phone, iPad, etc.). Sometimes, that will resolve the issue and you can get connected. The second thing to try is to reboot the nearest wireless access point (WAP). If you reboot that device, many times you can then connect as expected. After rebooting your device and the nearest access point and the issues isn’t resolved, the next step would be to remove the wireless connection from your device and try to connect again. This is true even if you were previously connected but just cannot access the network now.
To recap, the troubleshooting steps are as follows:
- Restart the wireless access point
- Reboot your device
- Remove the wireless network settings from your device
- Disable your wireless card
- Re-enable my wireless card
- Re-connect to the network
Granted, that is a lot of steps but it will usually resolve your issue.
Another thing that may be necessary is physically relocating the wireless access point so that you are in closer proximity to where you intend to use your device. In a business environment, this may not always be the easiest task to complete, as there typically is a dedicated Power over Ethernet (PoE) network connection to where the access point is plugged into the network.
In a business environment, more work goes into completing a wireless site survey. Specialized tools and utilities are necessary in order to optimally locate WAPs for coverage. If you do not have wireless access and are looking to implement it, completing a site surveys will save you time and frustration down the road. One item that is reviewed during such a survey is the makeup of the actual building itself. If there is a lot of “brick and mortar”, you will need to have more access points installed than one that is made up predominantly of drywall and drop ceilings. Wireless signals are able to easily penetrate this type of material but the thicker the material, the more difficult the signal has of making it through.
Another item reviewed during a wireless site survey is the type of coverage you are looking for. If you want to have “access everywhere”, you probably will need additional access points. Whereas, if you only need access in “most” locations, you can typically use a few less devices. For the access in the most often used locations, a centrally located WAP can typically be sufficient but, as you move further away from the access points, you will not have connection at all or will have limited connection speed. For instance, if you have a 300 foot hallway and you only need access in the majority of areas on either side of the hallway, you can probably install two or three at specific intervals. If you require access in the very corners of the far ends of the hallway, you may need to put in additional devices, which will increase the range.
Now comes the fun part – are you going to be moving down the hallway and need constant communication or are you able to drop your connection for a second or two? For those that need a constant session from one end of the hall to another, you will need a more advanced wireless network that will be centrally managed. A controller will allow the access points to “talk” to each other as you go from one device to the next. If you don’t have a network that has the access points talking to each other and they are all simply connected to the network to provide wireless service, you will lose connection from one access point as you leave the range of that WAP and will then pick up another access point as you move into its available range. During this change of access points, you will temporarily drop your network connectivity. When having a wireless site survey completed, this scenario will be reviewed and steps will be taken to ensure that you will never be too far away from any access point and you won’t lose connection.
If you are interested in discussing the pros and cons of a wireless site survey, please contact Trigon at firstname.lastname@example.org or (484) 323-5000.
Google has announced that they are going to start providing Internet connections to customers in Kansas City, MO that is 100 times faster than any current broadband connection available, according to the http://news.yahoo.com/google-unveils-broadband-internet-163839249--sector.html article. The offering will also be available to customers in Kansas City, KS, as well.
The article describes the amount of TV shows that can be recorded at the same time, save so many hours of HD programming, as well as the ability to use voice activation for controlling the TV from a tablet or smart phone. The price for the service without the traditional TV channels is $70 a month but a complete package will cost $120 a month. The $120 per month service includes all major broadcast TV networks, 1 GB per second Internet speed and 1 TB of space in the cloud.
So besides the great TV service that will provide HD quality viewing with the ability to search not only on-demand programming, but also live programming as well, you will have speeds for downloading content that are unprecedented. You no longer will have to wait for those pages to load or share bandwidth between your TV downloads and Internet downloads. In the past, the Internet connection was the bottleneck but with speeds of 1 GB per second, your wireless G connection running at 54 Mbps is now the slow link in the home. To take complete advantage of the Internet, you may need to upgrade not only your home wireless router, but depending on the age of your computers, the network card in them. Granted, if your computer is only a couple years old it most likely already has a GB NIC built-in or a laptop with wireless N, but many people that I know still only have a wireless G router.
What do you think about this? Are you now itching to see when Google will be providing their Fiber broadband Internet service in your area? If you are one of the lucky ones that live in Kansas City, will you be ordering the service or will you wait until the inevitable “bugs” are worked out of the system before adopting? Are you interested in seeing if your company would be able to take advantage of this once it does come to your area? Talk to us about our Philadelphia Networking & Infrastructure IT Solutions and we can make sure that your network is ready. You can also take advantage of the many IT Solutions for Philadelphia that we offer, as well.
More and more mobile devices have been flooding the market from cell phones and tablets to televisions and laptops. With this increase in the amount of mobile devices available and media content being consumed by users of these devices people are starting to notice that a new standard for wireless will be needed soon. This new standard will bring about faster data transfer speeds of up to a gigabit and will also bring on and improve upon an existing technology called beam forming. Beam forming capable devices allow a beam of data to go from the access point to the device which allows it to circumnavigate barriers more efficiently.
Qualcomm has been demonstrating some of the speeds available using mobile devices. The idea is that mobile devices such as phones and tablets will be the first to adopt this new standard seeing as how in many cases tablets are replacing desktop and laptop computers in homes and with the increase in the number of internet capable televisions. Qualcomm is hoping to have a product available sometime this year and 802.11ac should be standardized by 2013.
So what could all this mean for consumers? Well faster download and file transfer speeds between devices on the network. Additionally due to the increase in speed and bandwidth batteries on mobile devices should be more efficient as well. Technology is always pushing forward so let’s see what happens with this standard between now and when the first devices start being released. If you would like more information on wireless networking for your company feel free to contact us and let us assist you with your networking needs.
- by Chad, "The Dream", Weaver.
I wanted to finish up my series on wireless networks with just a little bit more on open and or WEP encrypted networks. You won’t always have a choice on which network you are going to connect to but there are some important things you should consider when doing so. When you are connected to either of these networks your traffic isn’t protected from prying eyes. WEP, a little more so, but it uses the same key to encrypt the traffic, which allows a listener to be able to decrypt the stream with almost no effort to ready what is being transmitted. So if you want to keep what you are doing private, whether it is changing your Facebook status, or tweeting about the great cup of coffee you are now drinking at a coffee shop, you might want to take a couple extra steps.
Now a little while back there was an add-on released for Firefox web browsers that would allow anyone running Firefox and this add-on to watch the traffic in the air for session data with popular websites. I don’t want to give any one any ideas about this so I won’t even mention its name. It is still around and has plenty of downloads out there. Not only were they able to see these sessions they could “sidejack” or step in as the user effectively taking over a session as that user including sites again like Facebook Twitter, Flickr and so on. Now to get started; this works best on an open network like a coffee shop or airport where the network is gated by a website providing access once terms are accepted.
So what can you do to keep your awesome status updates your own or those hot tweets about the weather or what-not all yours? One way is to be sure you are using SSL when connection to websites, this is even more important when connection over wireless networks. This encryption prevents data from being read as all transfers between you and the website are encrypted with the help of a digital certificate. So make sure your address bar reads HTTPS rather than HTTP to make sure you’re using this method, also look for the padlock icon to verify the site is secure. One of the biggest flaws with this is that the websites don’t always use HTTPS for every page usually only encrypting the data during login protecting your password but not you against attacks like the one I mentioned above that only needs to have your session information, which is then returned to you unencrypted in some occasions.
Now how can we do better, the first option is VPN, if you can establish a VPN connection to a trusted location and send all your traffic down that new tunnel then everything you will be doing is secure between you and that endpoint, protecting you completely. There are online servers that provide access to VPN servers in various locations across the globe for this and other purposes. This way is 100% secure to their servers so anyone trying to read your wireless traffic would be unsuccessful. You could even create one to your home network using different programs which I won’t go into here.
The next method is to use SSH to encrypt your web traffic by sending all web traffic down an SSH tunnel to a more secure trusted endpoint and from there accessing the internet. This can be done in various operating systems, including Windows Mac and Linux. You can run a small SSH server at home and build a tunnel to it, and then when you are on the road use this to protect your web browsing traffic. Another way and one I have tested myself, which is also sort of fun in a nerdy sort of way is to use an Amazon EC2 cloud server to build the tunnel too, and direct your web browser to use this tunnel for internet traffic through a SOCKS proxy. I used a free micro instance in the cloud and started it up, I have also built and installed other pieces of software on this server but the base install is all you need to protect your traffic for web browsing needs. After you get through the process of logging in creating your key pairs and launching your first instance, just be sure you pick the micro if you want to do this 100% free. You can use your SSH client to create a tunnel through SSH specifying a local port to bind to the tunnel. In this example, 8899, but you can use whatever port number you wish. In your web browser, go to your proxy settings and chose manual settings SOCKS proxy at address localhost and the port number you created the tunnel at. And like magic all your traffic to the web will go through this tunnel to the Amazon cloud before going to the internet. This will protect your internet traffic from any prying eyes, and if you use a site to find your IP you will see that it is changed to the IP of your cloud instance. This has a nice side effect of bypassing some web filtering services also as the traffic would not be coming from the port for HTTP and would be unreadable as it is over a SSH tunnel anyway. If I hear that anyone is interested in a step by step in creating such a proxy I shall make a good write up on how to get it started.
Remember when you are using public networks unless you are protecting your data in some way everything you are doing is well public. If you are not do, not do anything you wouldn’t want anybody to see or have access to, including anything involving private data, work data and anything you wouldn’t want to be public knowledge. Be safe. If you'd like to know more about the secure solutions Trigon Technology provides, be sure to contact us post haste!