Category Archives: Hardware

Why your wifi sucks and how to fix it

We all have experienced it. The WiFi connection drops during the most important online meeting of the year — and this is after investing in the most expensive router you could find at Best Buy. Like many businesses, your WiFi sucks. Here are the likely reasons and what to do about it.

Your neighbors: Imagine you go to a dinner party. As the night progresses, more people show up and the wine flows. The room fills up and the noise levels rise. After a while, you can hardly hear the person right next to you. This is happening in most commercial buildings all over the world right now for WiFi.

Most wireless networks are set up in the 2.4-gigahertz spectrum. This spectrum is like an overcrowded three-lane highway for data. Your neighbors could be in the same lane as you are. Or you could be trying to squeeze between the three lanes. This will result in poor performance. If you notice that your WiFi suddenly gets bad, it could be that a neighbor made a change to their network that has affected your network.

Ideally, businesses would join forces in an office building and create one high-quality WiFi network that everyone can use. With modern access points, it’s possible to create multiple wireless networks with the same device. This would remove all interference. Then we would all sing “Kumbaya.”

This problem is so ubiquitous that most enterprise-grade WiFi hardware have a feature that can take down rogue WiFi hardware. This is considered “rogue access point containment.” In other words, if you set up a WiFi device that interferes with mine, mine will shut yours down. This is radio frequency war.

The 5-Ghz spectrum is like an unknown highway with no traffic. Most higher-end WiFi devices support dual channels. This means they can create both 2.4-Ghz and 5-Ghz networks. With this feature, users have the flexibility to switch between networks if performance is compromised. Not all devices will work on the 5-Ghz spectrum, so it’s good to also have the 2.4-Ghz network option for them.

Other electronics: Microwave ovens and cordless phones are classic causes of 2.4-Ghz interference. Newer devices are more effective at keeping their transmissions from bleeding into the WiFi range, but if your neighbor has older devices that do not abide by the rules of “stay in your lane,” you could have problems. Either ditch the cordless or upgrade to a new model. Keep the microwave away from your networking equipment.

Outdated firmware: Just like a computer, networking equipment requires updating. These updates can introduce new features to your hardware to increase the quality of the network services. Start with this step before going down the path of replacing older gear.

Old routers: WiFi technology has gotten significantly better in the past few years. Features such as Airtime Fairness and dual-band networking dramatically increase the stability of the signal. Settings are important. A lower-quality WiFi unit, properly tuned will function better than a high-end unit with a low-quality installation.

Checking for channel interference is important when setting up new devices, so work with a professional on the setup. Many of these WiFi units have easy to use management panels that you might want to use yourself. Get a lesson from your IT professional and see what you’re comfortable with. It’s neat to see all of the devices connected to each unit. From there, it’s easier to understand why you are experiencing performance issues.

In the end, your network experience always will be better when plugged directly into the switch. WiFi still is evolving and is never going to be as stable as a wire. If you’re going to work in the same place consistently, then have it cabled. It’ll increase your productivity and rule out WiFi frustrations.

Does Your Business Need a Server? 3 Reasons Your Business Should Upgrade (or not) to Getting an In-House Server

It is more common than ever for offices — especially for larger companies — to possess two different types of computers: a computer on which individuals perform their daily tasks and one centralized computer that stores the resources all other computers on the network can access. The second type of computer is known as a server, and its function is to hold the information that’s on all of the computers, allow and deny access of various files to appropriate parties, as well as to provide a high level of security for the company’s information. While servers are regarded as a must for most businesses, does yours need one? If you think it does, is an in-house server the way to go?

Consider these three reasons as to why you should or shouldn’t upgrade to an in-house server:

1.     The Expense of In-House Serverskeyboard-254582_640

Servers can be costly, depending on which you decide to go with. It’s no secret that larger companies are more likely to have in-house servers than smaller ones. In-house servers often mean investing in expensive equipment and upgrades, as well as office space to store the server. Professionals generally need to be called in to maintain the equipment, or if your business has an IT department, problematic servers can monopolize valuable time best spent on other projects. For this reason, many companies are switching over to Cloud-based servers, which don’t require any physical equipment, but rather just payment for a service subscription. Plus, employers with a number of telecommuters also appreciate the ease with which their employees can access all materials from wherever they are, as long as there’s an established online connection.

2.     How Much Control Do You Want?iphone-macbook-air-man-162

When your server is located in-house, you have complete control over it. While Cloud-based services are known for being secure, some businesses may feel more comfortable having their server in a place they can physically access and safeguard in a way that makes the most sense for their company (there are a few ways to go about this).

3.     Dealing with Crashes and Downtime5528275910_8a11c076d8_o

We’ve all been through it: You’re working on a document, and the computer freezes. You go to restart it, and it shuts off but doesn’t turn on again. You take it in to be repaired, and hope and pray for a good outcome. Alas, all of your documents, including the one you were just working on, are gone forever. What a nightmare. One of the central ideas behind having a server is that all of your saved documents are backed up, all of the time. Thus, when your computer goes down, all hope is not lost.

At iSupportU, our team often recommends clients adopt a cloud-based approach. However, in cases where in-house servers are more fitting, we highly recommend working with such systems as a Network Attached Storage Device (NAS), Windows, and Mac OS X servers, which are simple and easily customizable. Either way, though, having a server is likely to save you both headache and heartache in the long run, even if you’re the only person accessing it. It will safeguard your files, making sharing easier across devices, and securely store information for the whole company. If you’re not sure whether a server — or which server — is suitable for your company, contact iSupportU. We’re here to help!

iPhone 6

“One More Thing” – A Recap of Apple’s Live Reveal

If you didn’t have a chance to keep up with the tweets and live streaming earlier this week of Tim Cook’s iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus Apple Pay and Apple Watch reveal, we’ve compiled a few key points worth noting. Here are the highlights of the next big things in tech right now:

iPhone 6

4.7” screen // 16 GB iPhone 6: $199: (on sale 9/19)iphone 6 and iphone 6 plus

  • 8 MP rear camera and an updated 2.1 MP front camera – that’s up to 240 frames per second.
  • Available in gold, white and “space gray”

iPhone 6 Plus

5.5” screen // 64 GB iPhone 6 Plus: $299 & 128 GB iPhone 6 Plus: $399 (on sale 9/19)

  • Apple’s new A8 processor
  • Retina HD screen with a 1920 x 1080p resolution
  • 8 MP rear camera and an updated 2.1 MP front camera – that’s up to 240 frames per second.
  • Available in gold, white and “space gray”

Apple Pay

Available in October

  • Apple PayiPhone 6 and 6 Plus users will be able to scan their credit cards using the Passbook App by creating a unique code stored in your device
  • Compatible with Visa, Mastercard or AMEX
  • Can be used at 200,000 + supported merchants – basically all you have to do is take our your phone and place it within the merchant sensors reach (the same way your scan your groceries at self checkout.)
  • Security + Privacy- no personal information on your purchases or billing info is collected by Apple or merchants

Apple Watch aka “One More Thing” aka NOT the iWatch

$349, Available in 2015

  • Navigation – touch screen and a “digital crown” wheel on the side of the watch – allowing for simple, precise adjustments and movements throughout the device
  • Hardware – Flexible and durable touch screen to allow for “hard press”
  • WatchKit – platform dedicated to the development of Apple Watch compatible apps
  • Customizable – 6 stylish interchangeable bands
  • The full collection details:
    • Apple Watch: stainless steel and space black stainless steel cases, sapphire crystal display collection,band choices include leather bands, a link bracelet, a Milanese loop, and a band made from high-performance fluoroelastomer
    • Apple Watch Sport: a light-weight aluminum case, durable display with ION X glass and fluoroelastomer band in 5 bright colors.
    • Apple Watch Edition: Six different 18-karat gold cases, display protected with highly polished sapphire crystal and a uniquely designed band for the fashion forward techie.

Now that you have the lowdown on the latest gadgets, you are fully equipped to talk tech with your friends without skipping a beat. And if you want to get a quick feel for the live event, check out this video from Mashable for a 90 second recap that basically repeats what we said above but in much cooler “Apple” style.

Crew Close-Up: Wyatt Russell

wyattAs our front of the house Mac of All Trades Wyatt works on non-business client relations. Seeing a happy, satisfied client is his motivation to passionately work with technology. But there’s more to Wyatt than dissecting Apple products all day. Movies, Indian Food and Lana Del Ray are among a few of his interests outside of the office. 

iSU and Career Thus Far

Describe your responsibilities here at iSU? I manage the front Consumer IT Department and I specialize in Apple computer repairs and support, as well as residential on site support. I started in June 2012. You could sum it up as management of non-business client relations.

Why did you choose to work at iSU? I chose iSU because of the people that work here and the environment. The cool people, smart people and nice work environment right on Pearl Street.

shaun & wyattHow would you describe the culture of iSU? The culture I would describe as one where I get to work with really talented folks and a lot of great clients. It’s a nice work environment, laid back – but we still get it done.

What has surprised you most about working with iSU? What surprises me is how much room there is for me to be able to create my own workflow without being directed – which is also a bit of a challenge. I gotta be a go-getter.

Tell me about your career prior to coming to iSU? I did my own Apple Computer consulting for a couple years before iSupportU.  Before that, I worked for Apple for a year, and before that, in the service industry for a long time – for about 10 plus years. I also did forestry for 3 years.

Beyond the Office

What is the best thing about Boulder? The best thing about Boulder, I suppose, is its a small town. You can pretty much do anything you want to do without having to drive. You don’t have to commute. There is a lot great of great stuff crammed into a small place.

When you are not at work, where can we find you? Out-and-about on the town socializing or on the couch.

What are some of your favorite things to do outside of work? I like to eat good food, enjoy the outdoors, watch great movies, and cook.

How would your fellow coworkers describe working with you? Fun and funny.

What three things do you always have in your refrigerator? Almond butter, yogurt, and KeVita

Describe your perfect meal. Indian food, Thai food, and Japanese food altogether at the same time.

What is the most recent concert you’ve been to? Steven Wilson at the Boulder Theater

Any embarrassing bad habits you’d like to share? Occasionally I listen to pop music…like Lana Del Ray. It’s a little guilty pleasure.

In A Nutshell

What is the most challenging aspect of your job? Its most challenging when I hit a wall and it takes more time than I would like it to, or if I am unable to solve a challenge for one reason or another.

What is the most fun aspect of your job? Learning new things about technology and people. The most rewarding part would be when a customer or client has a problem and I am able to resolve that problem and see how happy it makes them.

Sum up working at iSU in 3 words. Challenging, changing, technology.

iSupportU and LabTech Make IT Easy

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At iSupportU, we are always looking for new and exciting ways to improve the technology in your life. We recently rolled out our Managed Services offering that will help your IT systems stay healthy and up-to-date. There are many ways we can work with your business to fit into your budget – learn more about your options.

For Managed Services, we use a remote monitoring and management tool, LabTech, that allows us to easily remote into your systems, provide 24/7 monitoring, push updates and proactively manage problems. We can also monitor your antivirus and perform desktop backups.

We offer two plans for your PCs: Just The Basics includes monitoring, alerts, ticketing system access and a quarterly strategic consultation. The All In plan is more comprehensive; it offers everything Just The Basics offers in addition to antivirus install and licensing, desktop backups, monthly reports, and basic remote troubleshooting.

Put your mind at ease and let us manage your technology. Read more about our Managed Services offering or contact us for a quote.