Your computer network is vital nowadays. In most cases our lives enter hisgh levels of turmoil and stress if we cannot access the internet in any way. If 4G and Wi-Fi are not responding then there really is no alternative other than to try going somewhere else to get a signal or Wi-Fi reception. Because of this, network faults are treated with the utmost urgency. If you have a network in yoru office that is suffering from reliability problems or your internet connectivity is unreliable then we can help you in many different ways.
The office environment tends to have at least one Wi-Fi SSID on their network and possibly as separate WiFi network for guests and mobile devices. If you are in a larger office you may have several different networks for different devices such as telephone handsets, wireless access points and desktop and laptop computers.
A firewall is placed at the perimeter a computer system or network and is designed to block unauthorised access whilst allowing pre-authorised traffic. A firewall is designed to stop all unwanted software and internet traffic by blocking every type of service to every device on your network except what you actually require. Because fo this a firewall can increase productivity by blocking recreational use of the internet, but if your settings are too severe it can also decrease productivity and morale by increasing requests made to your IT provider to request changes on an ongoing basis. UTM Gateway devices scan internet traffic for unwanted code such as viruses and ransomeware so that your rules do not have to be so severe and allow your staff to use more of the internet with less risk.
A firewall lives between your network and the internet and can control services such as wireless access, remote access/vpn, email spam, internet traffic and external access to local services such as the email server and local web pages.
Everybody needs to be able to work from home in the modern world and remote access is the key to allowing productivity to flourish under these new conditions. Staff should be able to use their usual telephone extension seamlessly from their home office and should also be able see their emails and files from their home computer or business laptop. Modern IT departments also need remote access to computers that are 'on the road' so that they can address any requested changes that remote or mobile users may make.
Remote access can be provided at very low cost with a solution like a DrayTek Vigor, or can be an integral part of your purchasing strategy such as Microsoft Direct Access which demands that every machine be of either educational or enterprise edition. One advantage of the Microsoft system is that users are always connected as long as they have internet access and so can be remotely administered or updated at any time, such as with the Mictosft update Server WSUS.
Ethernet is the standard inter-computer communications system used by all of us connecting to the Internet and each other. It allows for excellent local area and wide area connectivity and manages all of our requests by checking that they arrived and reporting back. Because of this it can support everything from simple emails or chat all the way through to streaming video for movies and video games.
Ethernet can be sent across Wi-Fi or copper cables in your home and by copper cables around your neighbourhood. It can also be broadcast to satellites via satellite dishes or sent across the ocean by fibre-optic cable.
Since its commercial release, Ethernet has retained backwards compatibility due to a sensible and well-tested programme of development. Features such as the 48-bit MAC address and Ethernet frame format have influenced other networking protocols. The primary alternative to wired networks is Wi-Fi, a wireless protocol version of Ethernet that allows Ethernet to travel via radio waves.
Wi-Fi is by far the most popoular form of Ethernet in daily use by us end users. We use Wi-Fi everywhere we can, especially if 3 or 4G networking connectivity is unreliable or intermittent. Wi-Fi using WPA or WPA2 encryption with AES is a secure and reliable way of providing Internet connectivity to a room full of users who want individual, isolated Internet freedom or who wish to interact with each other on a local area wireless network.
WiFi is airborne communication technology and so any intruder to that network already has physical access to the network (layer one) unlike wired-Ethernet, where an intruder must first gain physical access to the cabling before any attack can be mounted. To balance this, Wi-Fi has adopted various encryption technologies since its inception to obscure data being transmitted. The early encryption WEP (the unfortunately named Wired Equivalency Protocol) proved far too easy to break and so was quickly superseded. Higher quality protocols (WPA, WPA2) soon came along which gave a palatable feeling of security to Wi-Fi users. The original incarnation of (WPS) WiFi Protected Setup, had a security flaw that allowed attackers to recover the WLAN password and so compromise the network but since then the Wi-Fi Alliance has updated the certification program to ensure all newly certified devices resist attacks.
WPA2 (Wi-Fi Protected Access encryption) is currently considered to be secure, assuming that the pass-phrase being used has been randomly generated or is difficult to guess. Another measure to deter unauthorised access is to hide the WLAN name by disabling the SSID broadcast on the WAP (Wireless Access Point) or wireless router. Although effective against the casual intruder, it is generally ineffective as a security measure due to the SSID being broadcast as clear text in response to a client SSID query. Another method is to only allow computers with known MAC addresses to join the network, but determined eavesdroppers may still be able to join the network by discovering and spoofing (impersonating) an authorised address
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