Saturday, 13 October 2012

How to Get Better Wireless Signal

Like all sufficiently advanced technologies, Wi-Fi can feel like magic. But Wi-Fi isn’t magic – its radio waves. A variety of things can interfere with these radio waves, making your wireless connection weaker and more unreliable.

The main keys to improving your wireless network’s signal are positioning your router properly — taking obstructions into account — and reducing interference from other wireless networks and household appliances.

Wireless Router Positioning

Your wireless router’s positioning can greatly affect your coverage area and the strength of your signal. Follow these quick tips to position your router for the best signal.

  • Place the router in the middle of your house. If you place the router in a room off to the side of your house, you won’t get as strong a signal on the other side of your house.
  • Position the router’s antenna vertically, so that the antenna is standing straight up. Many antennas can be adjusted and lie horizontally, but standing straight up is generally the ideal position.
  • Elevate your router away from floors. You’ll get better reception if the router is on a desk, not on the floor.

You should also pay attention to the kinds of materials the router is near. For example, placing the router on a metal desk or up against a metal wall will cause problems. Signals can travel through a wood desk easily, but metal will obstruct the signals.
Other types of obstructions can also cause problems. For example, if there’s a metal filing cabinet between your computer and the router, you may not receive a wireless signal. The same applies to other types of dense objects.

Interference From Other Wireless Networks

Interference from other wireless networks in the area can cause issues with your wireless signal. To determine whether interference is occurring, you can use an app like Wi-FiAnalyzer for Android. It will show you the wireless channels nearby networks are using and recommend the ideal network for you to use — one that isn’t being used by as many networks. This app will also allow you to walk around the area and see where you get the best signal and where the signal is weakest – you can do this with any other device, too.
If multiple wireless networks are competing for the same channel, this can cause problems. To fix this, you can change the wireless channel in your router’s web interface. You can do this even if you don’t have access to a wireless-analyzing app – change the signal to a different channel and then see if your wireless connection improves.

Interference From Household Appliances

A variety of household appliances can cause wireless interference, including cordless phones, baby monitors, and microwave ovens. Depending on the positioning of your wireless router, your networked device, and the appliance, you may even have the wireless network cut out when the microwave or cordless phone is in use.
Problems with cordless phones can be solved by replacing your phones with phones that operate on a different frequency, such as 900 MHz or 1.9 GHz. Cordless phones using the 2.4 Ghz frequency will interfere with wireless networks.
Problems with microwaves can often by solved by positioning the your devices such that the microwave isn’t between your router and the device. it’s also possible that a new microwave will help, if the new microwave has better shielding.
Other devices can also cause problems. For example, older Bluetooth devices can interfere with nearby Wi-Fi signals, although newer Bluetooth devices don’t.

Repeaters, Antennas, and Reflectors

If you need to cover a large area with a wireless signal and your router just isn’t cutting it, you can buy a wireless repeater or range extender. These devices repeat the wireless signal, extending its area. You don’t even need special devices for this – if you have some old routers around, you can use multiple routers to extend your Wi-Fi network.
Depending on your router, you may be able to attach an improved antenna that gives your signal additional range. You can also try building a Wi-Fi reflector that reflects the signal in a specific direction.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Speed Up Your Internet with Google Public DNS

Are you looking for a faster way to browse the Internet and have pages load faster? If so, you might be interested in trying out Google Public DNS, here we will take a look at adding it to your router or home computer.
DNS (Domain Name System) translates an IP address to an easy to remember hostname. If you use your ISPs DNS settings by default, it may not be the fastest way to get to your favorite sites. We have previously recommended the service OpenDNS as speeds are usually faster than your ISP and it offers several other cool options. Google has recently launched a free public DNS service, and we’ll take a look at setting it up on your PC or router.
Add Google DNS to a Window Computer
To add Google Public DNS to your Windows 7 machine, right-click on Network and choose Properties.
Alternatively, you can enter Network and Sharing Center into the search box in the Start Menu.
The Network and Sharing Center opens and you’ll want to click on Change adapter settings which is located on the right side of the screen.
Now right-click on Local Area Connection and select Properties. If you have a wireless connection, right-click on Wireless Network Connection and click Properties.
The Local Area Connection Properties screen opens and you’ll want to highlight Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) then click the Properties button.
The Internet Protocol Version 4 Properties window comes up. If you already have DNS settings listed, make sure to copy or write them down in case you want to switch back. Select Use the following DNS server addresses and type in the following for Preferred and Alternate DNS server:
Note: According to Google you can interchange the Primary and secondary address, but don’t use the same number for both.
Preferred DNS Server:
Alternate DNS Server:
Click Ok and then close out of the remaining windows and reboot your system, then you’ll want to test out the settings. Basically browse around to your bookmarked sites and make sure they display properly.
Add Google DNS to Your Router
In this example we are using a Belkin Wireless Router. Each router varies but the principle is the same. Go into your router configuration settings by typing the Router IP into your browser. Mostly in Home Router it will if you want to check how to get this IP Address then Go to Network Place Properties and Double Click the "Local Area Network" Click the "Support" tab and there you will find "Default" in the default column IP Address is you Router IP address
Open you Browser and put the IP and press Enter, Put the Username & password, Go to the WAN Configuration and find the DNS setting 
Now enter in the primary and secondary DNS addresses and apply changes. Again according to Google you can interchange the Primary and secondary address, but don’t use the same number for both. We set ours up as the following:
After you apply the DNS changes your router may need to restart, where in the case of a Belkin it is a 40 second reboot. After the router reboots, go through and test the settings to verify they work.

Five Mostly Used VPN Apps

Many businesses depend upon the ability to access their servers and documents from multiple locations. To enable that, many take advantage of the Virtual Private Network (VPN). When proposing this to end users, it is very often met with fear and uncertainty. It is change and people don't like change. To make that easier for end users, selecting the right VPN client is key. Some VPN servers (such as Sonicwall and Fortinet) require you use their own proprietary clients. But other VPNs allow the use of third party clients. As for the third-party clients, there are quite a lot of them out there. Some are free, some are cheap, some are worth your time, and some are not. I have gathered together five of the clients I believe to be worth looking into. Each client may or may not meet your VPN needs – that will depend upon the server you are running. But each client offers plenty of features and each offers different levels of user-friendliness.

OpenVPN Client

OpenVPN Client is a full-featured SSL VPN client that seamlessly integrates into an OpenVPN server. This client is as simple to use as any VPN Client and makes connecting to the OpenVPN server a snap. OpenVPN Client is free and is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux. For Windows, this client is compatible with all versions of Windows, including Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, and Windows 2000. Of course, you will have to have a working OpenVPN server to connect to. Fortunately, that server is incredibly easy to set up.

Gadmin VPN Client

Gadmin VPN Client is another means to connect to the OpenVPN server. This tool is part of the Gadmin Tools suite of administration tools (you can even install a Gadmin VPN Server GUI to help you easily set up an OpenVPN server).
This particular client tool is available only for the Linux platform, but offers tons of options for configuration. Of course, because of the amount of available options, Gadmin VPN Client isn't the best tool for users who are less familiar with how VPNs work.

Shrew Soft VPN Client

Shrew Soft VPN Client is an easy to use client for IPSec Remote Access VPN servers. This client is available for Windows 7, Vista, XP, 2000 (both 32 and 64-bit flavors) as well as the Linux platform.
This client was originally developed to connect to open source servers such as FreeSWAN and OpenSWAN, but now can connect to VPNs by Cisco, Juniper, Checkpoint, Fortinet, Netgear, Linksys, Zywall and many others. Shew Soft VPN Client is free.

VPN X Client

VPN X Client is one of two VPN clients on the list that has a price attached. That price depends upon the license type and how many licenses you need (check out the Pricing page and check outthis comparison matrix.) The VPN X Client will only connect to the VPN X Server. You will find the VPN X Server quite easy to set up and secure enough for small to medium sized businesses.

Viscosity VPN Client

Viscosity VPN Client is a cross-platform client (Windows and Macs) that makes connecting to an OpenVPN server a breeze and will only cost you $9.00 USD.
Viscosity is used in Fortune 500 companies, continuously monitors your OpenVPN connection, fully integrates with OS X's advanced DNS system, can work with AppleScript and Batch/Vbs scripts, and offers Smartcar/token (PKCS#11) support, multiple connections, proxy integration, IPv6, and more.
Bottom line
Having a VPN doesn't mean you have to use a client your end users can't grasp or will put you and your IT budget out of business. These five clients work with different VPN servers and offer different levels of complexity and costs. If you're looking for a new VPN client, or replacing your VPN architecture all together, give these clients a look to see if one of them will fill a hole in your IT infrastructure. 

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

How to Reconize Network Cable Category

Cables are commonly used to carry communication signals within LAN. There are three common types of cable media that can be used to connect devices to a network and they are coaxial cable, twisted-pair cable, and fiber-optic cable.

  • Coaxial cable

Coaxial cable looks similar to the cable used to carry TV signal. A solid-core copper wire runs down the middle of the cable. Around that solid-core copper wire is a layer of insulation, and covering that insulation is braided wire and metal foil, which shields against electromagnetic interference. A final layer of insulation covers the braided wire.
There are two types of coaxial cabling: thinnet and thicknet. Thinnet is a flexible coaxial cable about ¼ inches thick. Thinnet is used for short-distance. Thinnet connects directly to a workstation’s network adapter card using a British Naval Connector (BNC). The maximum length of thinnet is 185 meters. Thicknet coaxial is thicker cable than thinnet. Thicknet cable is about ½ inch thick and can support data transfer over longer distances than thinnet. Thicknet has a maximum cable length of 500 meters and usually is used as a backbone to connect several smaller thinnet-based networks.
The bandwidth for coaxial cable is 10 mbps (mega bits per second).

  • Twisted Pair Cable

Twisted-pair cable is the most common type of cabling you can see in todays LAN networks. A pair of wires forms a circuit that can transmit data. The pairs are twisted to provide protection against crosstalk, the noise generated by adjacent pairs. When a wire is carrying a current, the current creates a magnetic field around the wire. This field can interfere with signals on nearby wires. To eliminate this, pairs of wires carry signals in opposite directions, so that the two magnetic fields also occur in opposite directions and cancel each other out. This process is known as cancellation. Two Types of Twisted Pairs are Shielded Twisted Pair (STP) and Unshielded Twisted Pair (UTP).
Unshielded twisted-pair (UTP) cable is the most common networking media. Unshielded twisted-pair (UTP) consists of four pairs of thin, copper wires covered in color-coded plastic insulation that are twisted together. The wire pairs are then covered with a plastic outer jacket. The connector used on a UTP cable is called a Registered Jack 45 (RJ-45) connector. UTP cables are of small diameter and it doesn’t need grounding.  Since there is no shielding for UTP cabling, it relies only on the cancellation to avoid noise. 
UTP cabling has different categories. Each category of UTP cabling was designed for a specific type of communication or transfer rate. The most popular categories in use today is 5, 5e and 6, which can reach transfer rates of over 1000 Mbps (1 Gbps).

  • Optical Fiber Cabling

Optical Fiber cables use optical fibers that carry digital data signals in the form of modulated pulses of light. An optical fiber consists of an extremely thin cylinder of glass, called the core, surrounded by a concentric layer of glass, known as the cladding. There are two fibers per cable—one to transmit and one to receive. The core also can be an optical-quality clear plastic, and the cladding can be made up of gel that reflects signals back into the fiber to reduce signal loss. There are two types of fiber optic cable: Single Mode Fibre (SMF) and Multi Mode Fibre (MMF). 1. Single Mode Fibre (SMF) uses a single ray of light to carry transmission over long distances. 2. Multi Mode Fibre (MMF) uses multiple rays of light simultaneously with each ray of light running at a different reflection angle to carry the transmission over short distances.

Category Of Cables 

Almost anyone who has connected to the Internet through a broadband connection (like cable or DSL) has used an Ethernet cable to do it. You have connected your PC’s network interface card (NIC) to your cable modem, DSL modem, or home router with an Ethernet cable.  Because of the commonality of this, if I say “use an Ethernet cable” you have a picture of a cable in your mind. However, you should know that there is more than one type of Ethernet cable.

  • Category 1 (CAT 1, Level 1)

Category 1 cabling (CAT1), one of five grades of UTP cabling described in the EIA/TIA-586 standard, is used for telephone communications and is not suitable for transmitting data.
Analog voice (POTS) Basic Rate Interface in ISDN, Doorbell wiring
Maximum Rate of Data: Up to 1Mbps (1 MHz)

  • Category 2 (CAT 2, Level 2)

Category 2 cables, also known as Cat 2, or Level 2, is a grade of unshielded twisted pair cabling designed for telephone and data communications. The maximum frequency suitable for transmission over Cat 2 cable is 4 MHz, and the maximum bandwidth is 4Mbit/s. Cat 2 cable contains 4 pair of wires, or eight wires total. Though not an official category standard established by TIA/EIA, Category 2 has become the de facto name given to Level 2 cables originally defined by Anixter International, the distributor. Mainly used in the IBM cabling system for Token Ring networks.
Maximum Rate of Data: Up to 4Mbps (4 MHz)
  • Category 3 (CAT 3)

Cat 3 cable is an unshielded twisted pair cable (UTP). UTP is used in scenarios where electromagnetic interference is of little concern; the wire architecture shields the individual wires from crosstalk. In using UTP, network architecture spending can remain low while offering sufficient reliability for short- to mid-range signal transmission.

Voice Transmission Cat 3 cables are prominently used as telephone wiring, as it works especially well for voice transmission. Cat 3 is capable of supporting frequencies up to 16 MHz; this is more than sufficient for telephone calls.
This category was widely used among computer network administrators in the 1990s.

  • Category 4 (CAT 4)

Cat 4 was mainly used in token ring networks and the cable consists of four unshielded twisted-pair (UTP) wires, with a data rate of 16 Mbit/s, and performance of up to 20 MHz.
  • Category 5 (CAT 5 )

CAT5 (also, CAT 5) is an Ethernet network cable standard defined by the Electronic Industries Association and Telecommunications Industry Association (commonly known as EIA/TIA). CAT5 is the fifth generation of twisted pair Ethernet technology and the most popular of all twisted pair cables in use today.
CAT5 cable contains four pairs of copper wire. It supports Fast Ethernet speeds (up to 100 Mbps). As with all other types of twisted pair EIA/TIA cabling, CAT5 cable runs are limited to a maximum recommended run length of 100m (328 feet).
  • Category 5 (CAT 5e)

This category is an enhanced version of Cat 5 that prevents interference between one unshielded twisted pair to another twisted pair running in parallel within the same cable (Far End Crosstalk - FEXT).
As network and telecommunication applications become more complex, increased data transport is required to accommodate fast data transfer speeds. CAT 5 is typically used in Local Area Networks (LAN) and premise cabling. Category 5e cabling is an enhanced version of CAT 5 cabling. The main difference between CAT 5 and CAT 5e cabling is the specifications. The amended specifications provide full-duplex Fast Ethernet cabling. CAT 5e uses better insulation to improve attenuation and crosstalk performance. An additional plastic rib has been placed in the center of CAT 5e cabling to reduce crosstalk. A twist internal to the jack prevents untwisting and crosstalk to other wire pairs. Some of the benefits of CAT 5e interconnect include:
  • Speed: can carry speeds up to 100 Mb/second, will expand to 10 Gigabits/second in the future.
  • Bandwidth: greater bandwidth than CAT 3, 4
  • Distance: Cables support distances up to 50 ft
  • Price: CAT 5e cabling is much cheaper than fiber and coax cable
  • Reliable: the most implemented and proven standards
  • Size, weight and flexibility: smaller connectors allow for high port density, the cable is lightweight, and the jacket is flexible hp CAT 5e networking and telecommunications connectivity cables
  • Better noise immunity: twisted pair cabling and balanced transmission provide less noise

  • Category 6 (CAT 6)

Short for Category 6, Cat-6 network cabling is used as the cabling infrastructure for 10BASE-T (Ethernet), 100BASE-TX (Fast Ethernet),1000BASE-T (Gigabit Ethernet, or GbE) and 10GBASE-T (10-Gigabit Ethernet, or 10 GbE) networks. The Cat 6 standard provides performance of up to 250MHz (500 MHz for the newer Cat 6a standard) and can be used up to a maximum length of 100 meters (55 meters for 10GBASE-T networks).
The Cat 6 standard was first released in 2002 as part of the Telecommunications Industry Association’s TIA/EIA-568-B.2-1 document specification.  Cat 6 is backward compatible with the Cat 3, Cat 5 and Cat 5e cable standards, and as with Cat 5 and Cat 5e cabling, Cat 6 cables consist of four unshielded twisted pairs (UTP) of copper wire terminated by RJ45connectors. 
In addition to its support for higher performance than the Cat 5 specification, the Cat 6 standard also includes more stringent specifications for crosstalk and system noise. While Cat 6 is expected to supersede both Cat 5 and Cat 5e cabling in the future, all three types of cables continue to be popular for use in network installations.
Category 6 cables are by definition a twisted pair, 100 Ohm cable which has transmission parameters specified up to 250 MHz, Category 6 cable is also a recognized cable in addition to those specified in 4.2.2 of ANSI/TIA/EIA-568-B.2.

  • Category 6e (CAT 6e)

Category 6E cables also exceed TIA/EIA-568-B.2-1 Category 6 and ISO/IEC 11801 Class E performance requirements by substantial margins on all parameters. The AMP NETCONNECT Category 6 System complies with all of the performance requirements for current and proposed applications such as Gigabit Ethernet (1000BASE-Tx), 10 and 100BASE-Tx, token ring, 155 Mbps ATM, 100 Mbps TP-PMD, ISDN, analog and digital video, and analog and digital voice

  • Category 7 (CAT 7)

Category 7 cable (Cat 7), (ISO/IEC 11801:2002 category 7/class F), is a cable standard for Ethernet and other interconnect technologies that can be made to be backwards compatible with traditional Cat 5 and Cat 6 Ethernet cable. Cat 7 features even more strict specifications for crosstalk and system noise than Cat 6. To achieve this, shielding has been added for individual wire pairs and the cable as a whole.

The Cat 7 cable standard has been created to allow 10 Gigabit Ethernet over 100 m of copper cabling (also, 10-Gbit/s Ethernet now is typically run on Cat 6a). The cable contains four twisted copper wire pairs, just like the earlier standards. Cat 7 can be terminated either with 8P8C compatible GG45 electrical connectors which incorporate the 8P8C standard or with TERA connectors. When combined with GG45 or TERA connectors, Cat 7 cable is rated for transmission frequencies of up to 600 MHz.
Category 7a (or Augmented Category 7) operates at frequencies up to 1000 MHz, suitable for multiple applications in a single cable including 40 Gigabit Ethernet, 100 Gigabit Ethernet, and CATV (862 MHz). Simulation results have shown that 40 Gigabit Ethernet is possible at 50 meters and 100 Gigabit Ethernet is possible at 15 meters. Mohsen Kavehrad and researchers at Pennsylvania State University believe that either 32 nm or 22 nm circuits will allow for 100 Gigabit Ethernet at 100 meters.
 This cable type is a standard for Ethernet and other interconnect technologies, that are backward compatible with traditional Cat 5 and Cat 6 Ethernet cables. As it has more strict specifications for crosstalk and system noise than Cat 6 and Cat 5e, its cables and the wires, within are completely shielded. the cable contains four twisted copper wire pairs and supports up to 600Mhz.