How Public Venues Can Make Money on Wi-Fi Offload with Google Orion Wi-Fi

Imagine you could make money, just from your business having strong, reliable Wi-Fi – At the same time as offering customers better mobile reception inside your venue.

Google’s Area 120, an in-house incubator, has recently launched Orion Wi-Fi in the US which will enable public venues like shopping centres, grocery stores, shops, restaurants, conference venues etc to offer those using a smartphone the opportunity to automatically connect to their Wi-Fi via their mobile provider, to get better reception.

Google Orion acts as the intermediary between the public venue and the mobile provider, ascertaining whether the price and the signal strength is worth giving their customers access.

Why would mobile providers want to do this for their customers?

You may be wondering why mobile providers would decide to pay a public venue for their customers to use the Wi-Fi available.

Often, public venues like grocery stores, shopping centres and conference venues don’t have great 3G/4G/5G reception for those wishing to use their smartphones.

For customers to get better coverage direct, mobile providers would have to install more masts to try and cover these areas, which of course costs money.

An easier and cheaper alternative is to pay the public venue for their customers to use their Wi-Fi. The end user’s device would be picked up by Google Orion, which performs a rapid negotiation of cost and Wi-Fi strength between the venue and the mobile provider. The device would then automatically connect to the venues Wi-Fi upon entrance giving better reception.

The end user doesn’t drop their signal and remains happy with their mobile provider.

How would this Wi-Fi offload scheme work for public venues?

This Google Orion Wi-Fi device could be the first step towards indoor wireless communication being everywhere you go. And with public venues being paid for making their Wi-Fi available to mobile providers and their customers, there is even more reason to make sure your public Wi-Fi is up to scratch.

If you are a public venue and would like to make your Wi-Fi available to anyone with a smartphone walking into your business, you would sign up to become part of the Orion Wi-Fi service via their new portal.

You would connect via your Google account and then set up Orion Wi-Fi to work with your Wi-Fi network. According to Google, it is set to work with most commercial and enterprise Wi-Fi systems including the majority of AP’s and Wi-Fi controllers.

This isn’t yet in the UK, but presumably a person entering your venue on a participating mobile provider contract would then be able to connect automatically to your Wi-Fi. They would be happy that they have a good connection, associating your brand with good reception, the mobile provider would be happy that their customer can stay connected indoors, and you as a venue would be happy as you would be paid for making it available.

Current issues with Wi-Fi offloading

There are generally two main problems with Wi-Fi offloading:

– The quality of the Wi-Fi – It’s not great if end-users are handed over from their patchy mobile network to a bad quality Wi-Fi option instead.
– Connecting – End-users may be unlikely to spend time manually connecting to a different network when entering some public venues.
In theory, Google Orion addresses both of these issues and so it wouldn’t be surprising if every mobile provider would be interested. The prospect is that this could make Wi-Fi roaming even more powerful.

Are there any negatives to using Google Orion Wi-Fi?

ne plus about venues offering their own Wi-Fi portals to guests is the opportunity to collect data and engage new people. If they were to give up this chance to collect contact details and other personal information about their guests that they could use for future marketing purposes, they would need the appropriate compensation via payment from the mobile provider.

Of course, what would be even better, is if Google Orion Wi-Fi later offered both – Guest engagement and auto-connect. Maybe that will come.

Exciting developments on the horizon for new Wi-Fi technology

With current developments in the Wi-Fi industry starting to trickle through, it wouldn’t surprise us if there was real demand for Google Orion Wi-Fi.

With the arrival of a new Wi-Fi standard (Wi-Fi 6) as well as a wider Wi-Fi spectrum (1.2GHz in the 6GHz band), it would make perfect sense to offload mobile customers struggling with indoor reception onto reliable public Wi-Fi.

We’re hearing lots about 5G, but it will inevitably have difficulty reaching all indoor users as well as indoor cellular 5G systems being expensive.
Perhaps, as Google have intimated, now is the perfect time for a paradigm shift to Wi-Fi.

You can read more about it on the Google Orion Wi-Fi website here.

What’s The Difference Between 5G and 4G?

Wondering exactly how 5G is different from 4G? As the UK begins to embrace 5G technology, this is a question that more and more people will be asking.

There are actually many differences between 4G and 5G, but in this blog we’re just going to cover the main ones which will affect us the most.

1. What’s the difference in speed between 4G and 5G?

As with many technological advancements, one major difference between 4G and 5G is speed. 5G is much quicker than 4G – It is the fastest available form of cellular connectivity. Current real-world speeds of 4G are around 20-40mbps. In contrast, likely real-world speeds for 5G will be 300-500mbps, with theoretical speeds of up to 1Gbps. That’s a pretty big difference.

This is welcome news to those who have slow internet or connectivity problems – The new high speeds brought to us by 5G will make it a quick solution for many.

2. Will there be an improvement in latency when using 5G?

Commonly referred to as ‘lag’, latency is another improvement that 5G brings. Depending on signal strength, the typical latency of 4G is between 10 and 50 milliseconds. 5G will be more like 1 millisecond, or possibly even less. That’s quick!

But what does this actually look like in real terms? Well, imagine you are browsing the internet on your phone. The latency (or lack of) on 5G will mean that normal websites will be super responsive. What about video streaming on demand? 5G means that 4K video will become the norm.

3. When will 5G be available to me?

5G has actually been around in some places since last year (2019) when the initial 5G masts were introduced and turned on. Some users in London, Cardiff and other large cities were able to roam 5G zones.

However, 5G masts come at a high cost, as do other 5G technologies, so the rollout across the UK has been slow. 4G has of course been widely available for a long time, but the availability of 5G is slowly being increased across the UK so more consumers and businesses will start to be able to take advantage of the increase in speed and power. Those outside larger UK cities will have to remain with 4G.

4. Is the technology behind 4G and 5G different?

Perhaps it’s obvious, perhaps it’s not, but there are actually major differences between the technology behind 4G and 5G.

Due to 4G being commonly available for a while, the technology behind it and thus the hardware and devices available have had the chance to be refined. This means that the costs associated with this are lower.

As 5G is so new, the hardware to use it such as modems, masts and antennae are much modern and thus, more expensive.

As with most technological advancements, it’s inevitable that we will get to the stage of 5G that we are currently at with 4G, where it will be more cost-effective and les pricey. This isn’t likely to happen for a number of years however. The more that mobile phone manufacturers out 5G modems into their devices, the more 5G will be used and the more widely available it will become.

5. What are the differences in wavelength between 4G and 5G?

So far, the power and speed of 5G is making it sound pretty great, with only availability and price being a slight stumbling block. But it’s not as perfect as it seems. Whilst 5G is undoubtedly a great advancement in cellular and connectivity technology, there are some things to consider.

In terms of wavelength, 5G is very different to 4G in terms of varation and versatility. What’s different about 5G is that it has a few different variations of wavelength, from low-band to millimetre wave.

Low-band 5G – This might be the slowest form of 5G, but it can travel long distances. Low-band 5G is the most similar wavelength to 4G.

Mid-band 5G – This is the ideal in-between: A slightly faster form of 5G and the most common form of 5G transmission. It’s a bit of the best of both worlds – It provides pretty high speeds, but can also cover a medium size area with minimal masts.

Millimetre 5G – This is by far the fastest form of 5G, but it comes with its limitations. Millimetre wave might be able to achieve high speeds pf up to 1Gbps, but in order to achieve this it requires line of sight to the device. This means that there would need to be 5G masts on every lamppost for this to be effective – Something that will cause the rollout of this technology be very slow, and very costly.

Of course, this is rather different from 4G, which although has a smaller range of wavelengths and not as versatile, but far cheaper for mobile operators to roll out.

Perhaps the common approach to this will be to introduce the mid-band 5G into wider areas, with city centres having a few millimetre wave spots.

6. What will the uses of 5G be compared with 4G?

Hands up if you use 4G in your everyday lives… Yep, us too. We know too well how useful it is, and what we use it for whether it’s browsing, streaming or making video calls to colleagues, friends and family (we’ve done enough of that over the past few months to know how valuable it is).

Everything that has been possible with 4G, will be furthered more by 5G. The IoT (internet of Things) will benefit from 5G through smarter and more efficient connectivity for smart devices.

Due to 5G having a better internet connection that 4G, it will also mean that 5G could be used as a fixed line alternative in some scenarios. This means that homes or businesses that struggle to get fibre broadband lines could use a 5G router instead.

Hopefully this blog will have explained the biggest differences between 4G and 5G, and what we can expect from this technology over the coming months and years. There’s no doubt that it offers increased speed and power – Let’s see if the price and availability follow suit.

The Security Risks of Free Public Wi-Fi

Public Wi-Fi is now very common-place in British cities, in fact cities all over the world. You won’t find many places that don’t offer some kind of public Wi-Fi when you’re walking through Winchester, London, Cardiff, anywhere! Consumers are willingly, and gratefully, connecting to these networks assuming that the networks are secure. Unfortunately, that assumption may well be misplaced.

Social media intelligence research has shown that these networks lull users into a false sense of security. These users assume that there are the necessary security protocols in place, but in reality they actually are not in upto 90% of cases.

Someone who intends to cause harm will find it relatively easy to gain access to all sorts of information and data that should be protected.

One of the problems lies with businesses wanting to set up their Wi-Fi themselves. A common misconception by well-meaning businesses who just want to offer their customers a good service, is that by installing a router and password protecting it will be enough to make it secure. However, when you’re handing our the password to all of your customers, you’re enabling anyone with the password and connection to access all the devices in the network. So not secure at all.

This approach is well-meaning, but unfortunately rather naive, and not one that is limited to small businesses. Even large companies and established chains have trouble with this kind of network security.

Having a default username and password for multiple end-connected devices can also cause big problems.

Imagine you walk into a cafe, you buy a coffee, and they give you the Wi-Fi password on your receipt. You sip your coffee, take your phone out of your pocket and log on to the most common web address for their router. Easy access. You could then type in the default username and password, eg. ‘admin’ and ‘password’ and bam, you’re inside their router.

This all sounds a bit malicious, and while there are undoubtedly people out there who would attempt to access private and personal data and information, it’s not just this that can cause harm.

Someone could innocently log in with their device and unwittingly share a virus from their laptop, infecting every other device on the network that have default passwords. Scary stuff.

Even more scary when you consider that upto 83% of the population have accessed their email accounts, shared media online and accessed their bank balances on public Wi-Fi services.

There are also risks from ‘man in the middle’ attacks where someone hacks into the original network, and then rebroadcasts a wireless network with the exact same name. A threat very difficult for end users to ascertain.

These users will then connect to the threat network and unbeknown to them, type in all their bank information to the wrong website.

The public are always going to want to use public Wi-Fi and even with these possible threats, people will still connect and go about their online business. Really, the responsibility of security lies with businesses themselves. They need to make the assumption that users will not necessarily be doing the right thing, or protecting their sensitive data, so the businesses need to make their networks properly secure. Self-made public Wi-Fi services through a standard router and password aren’t enough in today’s internet climate.

Coffee shops, restaurants, shopping centres, airports. There are so many public places that are offering an insecure service. Airport customers are taking huge risks according to the experts. When you were last in an airport, did you log on? Maybe you were travelling for work, so hopped on your laptop before making your way to the departure lounge.

Airport wireless networks rely on one simple check box as part of their terms and conditions, but this is more to protect them rather than the end user.

Next time you connect to a wireless network at the airport, open your network section and see how many devices are on that network. There will likely be hundreds of devices listed there, and all you need is one of those to have malicious software on it for it to cause damage.

In general, the consumers expect the utility of having access to Wi-Fi without the understanding of security issues.

That’s where your business can step up. Coming across a secure public Wi-Fi system is actually quite rare so if you’re reading this wondering if the service you are currently offering is secure enough, it’s time to let the professionals have a look.

Don’t hesitate in getting in touch with our Wi-Fi experts here at Geekabit. Operating out of Winchester, Cardiff and London, we can help your Hampshire, Wales or London based business be one of the secure few rather than the potentially threatened majority.

Get in touch…

London Office – Tel. 0203 322 2443
Cardiff Office – Tel. 02920 676712
Hampshire Office – Tel. 01962 657 390

#NewYearNewWiFi

Who’s currently trying to keep to some New Years Resolutions? We’re over a week into January now, and most people seem to have some kind of aim they are trying to stick to.

This year the hashtag #newyearsameme seems to have been particularly prevalent, with many celebs and social media influencers opting to move away from the traditional time for new years resolutions and instead promote a focus on being happy in your own skin. No crazy diets, no impossible exercise expectations, no ‘be more this’ or ‘become less that’.

I think this is great, although I do also believe that it’s healthy to have goals and ambition, and if they are realistic and achievable then I think New Years Resolutions can be a really positive thing!

I’ve been reading all sorts of lists of resolutions on the internet in the name of research – Ideas on how to introduce exercise into your routine, how to cook healthy balanced meals, to try and read more, get fresh air and – possibly most popular – get offline. Whether that’s heading out for a walk without your phone, or actually switching off your router, the push seems to be on being online less. Many of the lists told their readers to turn the Wi-Fi off, unplug the router, turn phones on airplane mode – Basically use any means possible to get offline.

You may decide that this is the resolution for you, but here is our twist on it…
If you’re going to be making more time in your personal life to be offline, at least make sure your connection is a good one when you are connected. Especially when you are working.

Your business needs Wi-Fi to function well and unplugging your router might sound on paper like it’ll provide your employees with some zen, but it’s actually going to cause frustration and certainly not going to help business practices or keeping things going.

That’s probably a bit extreme (like you’re going to unplug your router!) but slow internet that keeps dropping out will certainly cause frustration too. Your employees will be more productive and work more efficiently if you have a fast and reliable connection.

Have your employees or co-workers been complaining about slow internet speeds? Trying to download a document but it’s taking ages? Having to call back clients while you wait for your computer to catch up?

If these things are something your business has struggled with recently, then don’t delay in getting it sorted out. Start the new year fast and fresh!
And if you’re not the boss but you’re reading this thinking YES then save the link to this blog and slide it into their DM’s…

It might be a new year and the same you, but let’s make 2019 #NewYearNewWifi

We’ve written many a blog on the benefits of Wi-Fi for your business (go on, have a scroll, we won’t tell…). Wi-Fi really is one of those tools that you really can’t afford to mess about with.

So why not give us a call and see how we can help your business in 2019 – From designing your network and installation, to fault finding and fixing, we’ve got Wi-Fi experts working out of London, Winchester and Cardiff waiting to get your business online, fast.

London Office – Tel. 0203 322 2443
Cardiff Office – Tel. 02920 676712
Hampshire Office – Tel. 01962 657 390

#NewYearNewWiFi

Christmas Lights and Wi-Fi – Our Top Tips to Stay Festively Connected

Christmas well and truly arrived in our house this week! Apparently the 1st of December was National Christmas Tree Day as well as National Christmas Lights Day – Makes sense seeing as you tend to put them up at the same time!

Which is rather fitting as my family and I also go out on the 1st December and choose our Christmas tree – We like to get a real one, and my eldest boy loves to pick it out.

So our tree stood in our living room all of Sunday and by Monday afternoon it was really crying out to be decorated. I found a Christmas playlist on Spotify (‘Christmas is Coming’ – Check it out, you won’t be disappointed) and fought the knot of tree lights to get them on the tree and twinkling.

But as soon as I turned them on, Buble started buffering and it made me remember an article from last year that said how Christmas tree lights could affect your Wi-Fi!

I think in my case it had less to do with the tree lights, and more to do with the fact that I had 3 devices running off my router – My phone playing Spotify through my Bluetooth speaker, my laptop on in the corner of the room, and my smart tv turning the screen into a log fireplace through Amazon Prime Video. Festive? Yes! Wi-Fi consuming? Oh yes!

This potential issue with Christmas lights pops up every year though and it’s worth mentioning again just to prevent any interference happening. No one wants to choose between functioning Wi-Fi and a Christmassy home do they!

So, could Christmas tree lights really affect my Wi-Fi? Here’s the science bit…

Christmas lights emit a very weak electromagnetic field which can theoretically interfere with the radio waves being transmitted from your router, thus affecting your Wi-Fi speed. If the lights were to transmit electromagnetic radiation at or around the same frequency, then yes, they could slow down your Wi-Fi.

Between the LED or lamp being completely on or off, it can exhibit negative resistance which in turn causes radio energy. This happens less with modern day lights than older ones though (see below for more info on this).

Is your tree lit up to give a soft glow, or does it look like something fresh out of Blackpool illuminations? The more lights you have, the stronger the electromagnetic field will be.

And closer the router is to the lights, the higher the chance of interference.

Here are our top tips to stay festively connected…

 

Rule #1 – Don’t place things on top of your router

Just don’t do it. This doesn’t just go for decorations, but in general.

Don’t put Christmas lights or anything else directly on top of, or too close to, your router. I can’t personally see the appeal of adorning it with twinkly lights or putting decorations on top of it but each to their own.

While it has been reported that routers that were placed too close to Christmas tree lights could be negatively affected by signal interference, if they’re not directly next to each other or on top of each other, it should be fine.

 

Rule #2 – Use a main plug socket

Christmas is one of those times of year when you’re struggling for socket space and digging out all the extension cables you can find to be able to power Christmas tree lights and all kinds of other lit decorations.

But don’t be tempted to unplug the router and plug it into the extension. It will work a lot better, and faster, if it’s plugged into a main socket.

 

Rule #3 – The more modern the lights, the better

There are generally 2 types of light whose qualities have the potential to cause interference.

Older types of Christmas lights that are arranged in a string of low voltage lamps in series with each other and are designed to blink can cause radio interference which can lead to dips in Wi-Fi speed.

More modern Christmas lights use solid-state LED’s and have an external control for flashing which don’t create radio noise. However, it’s worth noting that some LED’s have a chip inside the bulb to control the blink and these devices can also cause interfence.

On the whole though, modern lights are definitely less likely to cause you a Wi-Fi problem, so maybe save yourself the annual horror of trying to untangle your 10 year old string of lights and treat yourself to some new ones.

 

Rule #4 – Don’t put your router in ‘high traffic’ areas

Tis the season for family gatherings, friend get-togethers and all sorts of festive shenanigans. Not to mention the big man in red tumbling down the chimney! Humans are great signal absorbers, so put the router in a place where it won’t get blocked by partying people or round bellies that shake like jelly.

 

If you’re Wi-Fi geeks like us, and your tree isn’t up yet, why not do a little experiment? Test your Wi-Fi and download speeds before and after putting up the Christmas tree with the lights turned on. We’re pretty sure the results will be rather negligible – But let us know your results!

Could Basic Wi-Fi Help in the Detection of Weapons and Bombs?

Could Basic Wi-Fi Help in the Detection of Weapons and Bombs?

When you say Wi-Fi nowadays, you automatically think of how you connect your personal devices to the internet, be it smartphone, laptop or music player.

But there is so much more to our beloved Wi-Fi than that.

Researcher’s claim that basic Wi-Fi could aid in detecting bombs and other weapons, with this discovery helping to cut down on the need for expensive scanning technology that is currently used today.

Rutgers University researchers have said that public places such as schools, universities and museums could detect guns, bombs and explosive chemicals using a pure and simple Wi-Fi network.

The researchers have revealed that using Wi-Fi technology, they have managed to develop a method of detecting what is inside a bag using wireless internet signals, without having to actually look through the items.

The system used comprises of a Wi-Fi enabled device equipped with between two and three antennas. The device uses a Wi-Fi signal to bounce signals off the objects in a person’s bag, creating a picture of what’s inside.

Researchers claim that this is such an accurate method that it can even predict the volume of liquids in bottles or other vessels, shedding light on whether they could be used as a makeshift bomb.

Researchers saw impressive results in their tests. In their experiments using 15 types of object hidden in six different bag types, they reported a 99% accuracy rate for dangerous objects, 98% for metal objects (such as cans) and 95% for liquids. The easiest bag type to scan was backpacks, with a 95% success rate of predicting what was inside, however when an object was wrapped up inside a bag, this success rate dropped to 90% – Still an impressive result!

Unfortunately in this day and each there seems to be a growing need for protecting people from weapons, and study co-author and professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in Rutgers-New Brunswick’s School of Engineering Yingying Chen said “This could have a great impact in protecting the public from dangerous objects.”

Specialist equipment used for detecting dangerous items in a bag could be replaced if this Wi-Fi system is deployed, drastically reducing the cost by using Wi-Fi signals in this special way.

This technology is generally already in place, and scans could also be completed by existing security staff without the need of additional training. It also gives more privacy to those passing through these places by allowing screening to happen without bags being opened – what school pupil wants to empty their backpack in front of all their peers, with or without a weapon in transit?

When we talk about security scanning, our thoughts go straight to aiports but there are other large public areas that also require security screening where it’s not so easy to set up screening infrastructure, logistically and financially.

In addition, without that type of screening technology in place, they would rely on manpower to physically check bags. This method of using Wi-Fi propose by Chen would reduce manpower and expense.

With the aviation industry being the biggest user of security screening, it is one of those set to benefit most from this technology. Trials and already being being held at a number of US airports so watch this space.

Who knew Wi-Fi could literally save a life?

 

 

With thanks to http://www.itpro.co.uk/wifi-hotspots/31704/basic-wi-fi-could-be-used-to-detect-weapons-and-bombs?utm_source=Open+Reality+Group+Mailing+List&utm_campaign=0d912db0f1-WiFi_News_August_2018&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_0463a15185-0d912db0f1-1204581781 for the image.

7 Wi-Fi Performance Challenges in Hospitals

Wi-Fi is viewed as essential to operations for Hospital Chief Information Officers – not just any old Wi-Fi will do. The healthcare environment is a niche one and demands a “medical-grade” WLAN – the availability and Wi-Fi performance are required for critical communications and biomedical devices. BYOD (bring your own device) is commonplace in hospitals so it is highly important for IT leaders to be able to deliver pervasive connectivity and support high levels of roaming while managing security and regulatory issues that comes with that.

It’s not an easy network to manage and unfortunately there a number of persistent problems will make it difficult for hospital CIO’s to be able to achieve the necessary service levels whilst still seeing reduced costs, increased operational efficiency and improved staff productivity.

This blog details the seven biggest Wi-Fi performance challenges hospitals face.

1. Inadequate Design

In order to support specific facilities or applications, some hospitals implement Wi-Fi incrementally. while this was once sufficient, these designs now contribute to a fragmented WLAN infrastructure. Poorly designed WLANs that are simply incapable of meeting the demands of the medical environment are also seen in many hospitals.

2. Harsh Environment

Hospitals are the epitome of Radio Frequency (RF) blockers. Firstly, they are some of the most sophisticated buildings on earth and constructed from numerous materials that do not aid the RF including masonry, concrete, not to mention lead-lined radiology rooms and elevator shafts all over the place.

Obviously there are many services of equal importantance to Wi-Fi that demand there own transmission – Thousands of miles of copper and ducting for air, water, oxygen, ventilation and many more are hiding behind every wall and ceiling.

Quite simply, all of this contributes to a horrible environment for RF. it is extremely difficult to stop dead spots, and it’s not possible to predict attenuation from room to room.

In addition to in-built frequency blocks, there are constantly new medical devices introduced that use Wi-Fi, creating interference on the spectrum used by other devices. The medical environment is a dynamic one and constantly changing.

3. High Bandwidth Demands

Imagine the memory taken up on your phone by photos and videos, and then those that are stored on your laptop. Now picture the resolution and number of images that a hospital CT or MRI scanner creates in just one day, and how they are communicated between devices. as technology moves forward, so does the resolution of medical imaging which has improved on a logarithmic trajectory. Today a hospital’s picture archiving and communication system (PACS) uses many terabytes of storage every day, for example, at 5-20 Mb per slice and 300 slices per scan, we’re talking several gigabytes to pull one full series of images from an MRI or CT scan to a mobile device at the point of care.

Video usage in hospitals is also on the up. We’re beginning to see more telemedicine now with remote consulting, plus of course the biggest user of all: Patients and guests with their tablets and smartphones.

Whilst you could minimise public Wi-Fi and prioritize mission critical applications, if the Wi-Fi is unusable by patients and they can’t stream Netflix whilst resting in their beds, the poor nurses wouldn’t hear the end of it.

4. More IoT Devices Means More Airtime

In the case of IoT (Internet of Things) devices there are 2 main problems. Networks are constantly having more and more internet ready devices added, which thus cause more traffic. Generally the amount of data from each of these devices is quite small, however making sure that all of these devices stay online, with the additional of diffculty of most of them always moving around, uses a lot of airtime. in addition to this, because it is a medical environment and thus these devices may have sensitive information on them, the number of SSIDS (Service Set Identifier) increases which also uses up airtime even more.

5. Quantity and Diversity of Devices

There are also problems with hospital IoT devices themselves. It’s all well and good having reliable Wi-Fi, but what if the device itself doesn’t connect? Issues with hardware and device drivers that prevent devices from connecting to the WLAN are reported by CIO’s as big issues. As previously mentioned, there are growing numbers of wireless-enabled biomedical devices with new ones being introduced on quite a regular basis, and these then also compete with smartphones and tablets for wireless network access. the problems lie with many hospitals struggling to scale their WLANs effectively to meet escalating bandwidth requirements.

6. VoWLAN Issues

In the hospital environment, communication between departments and colleagues is paramount which brings in VoWLAN (Voice Over WLAN – Seding voice messages via Wi-Fi). For this to be successful, there needs to be seamless transitions between access points (APs)in order to prevent dropped calls as doctors, nurses and staff roam throughout the facility. Doctors and staff need to be able to communicate effectively – Issues with bottlenecks and other WLAN throughput issues cause jittery voice connections and overall poor voice quality which obviously needs to be avoided.

7. Security and Regulatory Compliance

As with all Wi-Fi networks, security and regulatory compliance requirements must be met. Many CIOs report that this also exacerbates WLAN challenges. We’ve recently seen the importance of meeting GDPR compliance and so hospitals must implement an integrated policy enforcement strategy to ensure that user-owned devices accessing the network meet these standards for protecting sensitive patient data.

Here at Geekabit we offer Site Surveys, Wi-Fi Planning and Design and Installation to take you through the entire process. Find out more about wat we do on our website here; https://geekabit.co.uk/what-we-do/

If you think we might be able to fix your Wi-Fi issues then contact us on one of the below; We serve clients across Europe from our offices based in London, Cardiff and Hampshire.

Contact us:

London: 0203 322 2443 | Cardiff: 02920 676 712 | Winchester: 01962 657 390 | info@geekabit.co.uk

 

 

With thanks to https://www.openreality.co.uk/blog/7-wi-fi-performance-challenges-in-hospitals/?utm_source=Open+Reality+Group+Mailing+List&utm_campaign=0d912db0f1-WiFi_News_August_2018&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_0463a15185-0d912db0f1-1204581781 and for the image.

What’s The Worst Excuse for Bad Wi-Fi You’ve ever Heard?

When you get home from a lovely week away, ready to catch up with emails and get back to work only to find that your internet is out… Nightmare!

We went to Devon for a week, which was lovely. In-keeping with our digital detox from the other week, our beautiful little countryside cottage had awful Wi-Fi which nudged me in the direction of avoiding social media, which turned out to be rather refreshing.

However, once home, I was keen to get back online – Yes to share a few photos, but also to get back in the zone of work before Monday arrived.

So I switched on my laptop, connected to the router, but no web pages were opening. The Slack app wasn’t letting me read my messages on my phone. No online video streaming on the TV to distract the kids!

What was going on?

I sent a text to both my neighbours – One was fine, but the other had had no phone line or broadband earlier in the week either.

Time to contact our broadband provider. After a few text messages, it transpired there was a fault on our line and they would have to send an engineer out. This would hopefully be within 72 hours but could take up to 5 days. Of course, this was Friday afternoon, and of course, the 72 hours doesn’t include the weekend. Time to text the boss.

Thankfully the engineer arrived on Monday morning and fixed the issue.

And the problem? Rats! Apparently rats had gnawed through the cables and they had to be replaced.

I work from home most of the time so it’s pretty important that I have a reliable internet connection. Didn’t think I’d be getting back from holiday and straight away having to tell the boss that I couldn’t get online because of rats chewing cables. It’s a bit “The dog ate my homework, miss” isn’t it?!

Anyone else had a rodent related outage? What’s the worst reason for bad Wi-Fi you’ve heard? Or used?? We’d love to hear them.

Here at Geekabit, we can’t control rats getting in to external cabling, but we can do a lot of other things to help improve your Wi-Fi. Check out our website and see what we can do for you and your business.

https://geekabit.co.uk/what-we-do/

You can also contact us on any of the below; We serve clients across Europe from our offices based in Hampshire and London.
Contact us: London 0203 322 2443 | Cardiff: 02920 676 712 | Winchester: 01962 657 390 | info@geekabit.co.uk

 

With thanks to http://rodrepel.com/blog/blog/outages-due-to-rodents for the image.

What lengths would you go to, to improve your Wi-Fi speed?

Here at Geekabit we’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for Wales, and now even more so with the boss recently making his beautiful Welsh lady his wife. So when we came across an article about the residents of Michaelston-y-Fedw digging a 15 mile long trench in order to be able to lay super-fast cables, it really made us smile.

The Welsh residents of this small village just a stones throw from our Cardiff based office, were desperate for faster Wi-Fi (aren’t we all, sometimes?) and took matters into their own hands.

With a population of just 300, it’s probably not at the top of service providers list for super-fast cabling, but that doesn’t mean that these villagers weren’t as exasperated as the rest of us when it comes to slow Wi-Fi.

They described their internet connection as feeble, and so decided to dig the trench needed for fibre broadband cables themselves.
It took thousands of volunteer hours from farmers, teachers and retired people from the tiny Welsh village – A huge community effort, which has resulted in the first households being connected successfully. By the Autumn, 90% of homes in the village should be enjoying a massive improvement in internet speed, having gone from 4Mbps to 1000.

Like so many grand schemes, the original plans were hatched in the local pub. Landlord Ben Longman had recently paid for high speed broadband before realising that it wouldn’t work.

With the whole community seemingly disgruntled with the poor Wi-Fi, they went on to set up a community interest company and secured a Welsh government grant.

It was decided that costs for each household should be kept to an absolute minimum so the villagers rallied together to complete as much of the work as possible themselves. While some of the work was completed by local farm workers who were hired to help with the dig, much of the digging efforts was completed by villagers who excavated trenches from their home perimeter and up to the external wall where the fibre needed to enter their home.

It’s an incredible community achievement, with organisers commenting that they almost couldn’t believe what they had managed to do when they all came together.

It now takes less than a minute to download a film, when it used to take a few days. Imagine settling down to watch a movie, only to have to wait until the following night!

One of the men, and husband to one of the organisers who helped with the project was 71 year old Jum Dunk who had lived in the village for over 4 decades. Taking part in the dig led to him making new friends that he hadn’t met before – It might be a small Welsh village, but the initiative brought together people from all different walks of life that may not have had the opportunity to meet.

And if you’re thinking that fast Wi-Fi isn’t quite enough of a reward for digging a 15 mile trench, you’ll be pleased to know that each household that applied before 30 April were connected free of charge with their first year’s service also free.

Here at Geekabit we are so community minded, and just love hearing of success stories like this where people show what can be achieved when we come together. And even better when it’s in our own field too.

 

Original article from https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/jun/27/welsh-village-residents-dig-15-miles-trenches-faster-wifi-michaelston-y-fedw

With thanks to Yahoo Tech for the image.

Digital Detox Destinations

Our Director, Steve, has recently got married and has just got back from his honeymoon – A celebration of his nuptials but also a much needed break from the digital demands of his world. While I (and probably his new wife, too) insisted that he switched off whilst he was away, I wouldn’t be surprised if he had the odd sneaky peek at emails just to make sure that we were ticking over okay.

Which got me to thinking… Is there anywhere left in this world that forces you to have a proper digital detox?

As Brits, we have what can only be described as an addiction to the internet. Any moment we stop and sit down like waiting for a train or a bus, you’ll find heads pointed down at brightly lit screens, eyes devouring the media on the screen. A lot of times, they don’t even need to sit down!

We go to the pub to catch up with friends in person, see each other face to face, but still pull out our phones and ask ‘What’s the Wi-Fi password?’

A staggering 99% of young Brits (16 to 35 years old) use the internet (who are the other 1%? What do they do with their time?). What’s even more staggering is that these internet users are consuming media online for 10 hours per day, with the majority being viewed through a smartphone or tablet.

So it would seem that Britain really could be in need of a Digital Detox, and somewhere where it’s not left merely to willpower alone. With an internet addiction like this, there really is no other way than Cold Turkey (not one of the destinations, I’m afraid…)

Akamai, content delivery network and cloud services provider, have compiled a list of countries that would fit the bill.

Due to a lack of infrastructure, these 35 countries have a user penetration rate of less than 20% – This means that only 1 in 5 of the residents of these countries can access the internet.

1. Guatemala
2. Honduras
3. Nicaragua
4. El Salvador
5. Senegal
6. Burkina Faso
7. Mali
8. Ghana
9. Cote d’Ivoire
10. Benin
11. Algeria
12. Libya
13. Sudan
14. Eritrea
15. Ethiopia
16. Cameroon
17. Uganda
18. Rwanda
19. D.R. Congo
20. Malawi
21. Zimbabwe
22. Zambia
23. Namibia
24. Madagascar
25. Mozambique
26. Angola
27. Yemen
28. Pakistan
29. Turkmenistan
30. Nepal
31. India
32. Bangladesh
33. Sri Lanka
34. Myanmar
35. Indonesia

Obviously, there are some countries on this list that it’s not possible to visit due to the foreign office advising against travel to certain places because of civil unrest, war and poverty. Obviously these reasons also impact why internet usage is so low.

However, there are countries on this list that are the perfect retreat for a bit of solitude and well worth a trip. Telegraph Travel pinpointed some of them earlier this year, including a beach holiday in Nicaragua, a walking holiday through the Himalayan foothills of Ladakh, India, and a three-day trek from Kalaw to Inle Lake in Myanmar.

You could also do some lemur spotting in Madagascar, hop between islands in Indonesia, visit the rock-hewn churches of Ethipoa, track down the breathtaking sight of mountain gorillas in the DRC, or explore the utterly desolate coastline and desert of Namibia. They might be the most photogenic of opportunities, but you won’t be posting those pictures on Instagram until your feet are back on British soil.

There are plenty more incredible travel destinations on this list too like Guatemala, Senegal, Malawi, Mozambique, Turkmenistan, Sri Lanka and Nepal.

This list is of course not definitive, and there will be other internet-free places just as worthy of a holiday to satisfy the needs of a detox from digital life. You might want to scream from the top of the Facebook mountains about meeting Kazakh eagle hunters but you’ll be far from towns, roads and mobile reception in the real-life Altai Mountains. (The reason this one didn’t make the list is due to most of the population living in Ulaanbaatar which has excellent connectivity).

Other areas off the beaten track and away from the pulls of digital media could be Russia’s far east where you’re more likely to meet a bear than a person, Chilean Patagonia, the USA’s largest protected area Wrangell-St Elias National Park in Alaska, and The Yukon in Canada which is 80 per cent Wi-Fi-free.

Shockingly, Steve didn’t choose any of these destinations for his honeymoon… I can’t think why?

 

For more information on the last places on Earth with no internet, and where we found this list of countries, head to The Telegraph https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/lists/the-last-places-on-earth-with-no-internet/

With thanks to https://www.iconspng.com/image/56627/no-wifi-here-quiet-zone for the image.