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b2ap3_thumbnail_internet-issue.JPG

There are few things in life as frustrating as an "Address Not Found" message in your Web browser. Timed-out connections, a little red X in your network connection icon, or an "Internet Explorer cannot display the Web page" error screen all add up to the same dismal problem -- something's wrong with your Internet connection.

 

Finding and fixing the problem is never easy, mainly because there are so many places where something can go wrong. We're going to walk you through five relatively easy steps that will solve the majority of broadband Internet connection problems, no matter what kind of Internet service you use. We'll have you up and running, reading celebrity gossip and updating your Facebook status in no time.

It may seem obvious, but one of the easiest troubleshooting steps you can take yourself is to check all the cables and connections involved in your Internet connection. This is true no matter what kind of connection you have. Even if you're sure nothing has changed, it only takes a minute to make sure.

Start where your Internet service enters your house. This might be your cable company's line drop, a satellite dish antenna or a phone line. Make sure the cable is connected securely, and any cabling that runs outside the house hasn't been damaged by weather or chewed on by birds, bugs or squirrels. Just be careful if there are any electrical lines around -- and if you see damaged lines of any kind, don't touch them, just call the cable or phone company.

Next, follow the cables through your house, checking connections at every appropriate point. If you use a router, check those connections, too, and make sure the correct cable is going to the correct place. If your router feeds several different computers or gaming systems, it can get confusing to keep track of which cable goes where.

If the cabling and connections seem OK, the next step is to power cycle your modem.

Power cycling might sound exciting, but it just means turning your modem off, waiting a few seconds, then turning it on again. This works regardless of your connection type, whether you get your Internet via cable, DSL or satellite. The easiest way to turn it off is to disconnect the power cord where it plugs into the modem itself (they don't always have on/off switches, but if yours does, that should work, too). Wait about 30 seconds, and then plug it in again. Sometimes, that's all it takes. Once the modem has cycled through its usual boot-up sequence, you may find your connection works again.

If this doesn't do the trick, a more elaborate power cycling sequence might. You'll have to turn off every device on your network, then power them on again in a particular order.

First, shut off your computer, then unplug the power cords from your modem, router, access point and hub. When you turn things on again, follow the signal from the modem toward the computer. In other words, power up the modem first, then power up your router or hub, then turn on your computer last. As you turn on each device, wait for it go through its boot-up sequence before powering up the next device in line. You can determine the status by watching the lights on the device itself.

Still no connection?

Satellite Issues

If you access the Internet with a satellite service, you have your own set of issues to deal with. The first potential issue is line of sight. Satellite Internet connections use a special two-way dish, and the dish has to be pointed directly at the satellite at a very particular angle. The problems start when anything gets between your antenna and the satellite.

Overgrown greenery, snow and ice or leaves and other debris could be blocking your dish, so you'll have to get to the dish to clear it off. This can be especially difficult if it's mounted on the roof.

Odd as it may seem, weather hundreds of miles away can also affect your satellite connection. Because the satellite is over the equator, your dish points south (that is, if you're in the Northern Hemisphere). The farther you are from the equator, the less direct the line of sight is. Your dish has to send and receive signals through a long stretch of atmosphere to the south, so southerly storms many miles away can still cause interference.

If there's nothing in the way, and the weather is clear from your roof all the way to Guatemala, your dish might be misaligned. If it isn't pointing in the proper direction, your connection will fail. Satellite dish antennas require much more precise adjustment than TV dish antennas do - it's probably a good idea to call your Internet service provider for help, rather than trying to adjust it yourself.

And on top of that, the problem might be beyond everyone's control. Sunspots are massive flares on the surface of the sun that send intense blasts of energy at the Earth. That energy can severely disrupt satellite communications.

Common wireless problems

If you use a wireless access point or wireless router to access the Internet with a laptop, then the wireless connection might be the cause of your problem. You may have to use a wired connection to your network until the wireless problem is solved. You'll also want to have a copy of your wireless access point or router's user manual nearby.

There are two main potential issues with wireless connections: configuration problems and security problems. Consult the user manual to see how to access the wireless device -- this is usually done by typing the device's IP address into a Web browser. From there, you'll need to check the manual to find the proper settings. You'll probably have to call your Internet service provider (ISP) for assistance, because the necessary configuration will vary tremendously depending on the type of network you have and the type of connection provided by your ISP.

The wireless device's security settings could also be causing problems. You can access these settings the same way you accessed the configuration. If you have a wireless security protocol enabled, you won't be able to access the wireless device without using the proper password. You can set and reset the password the same way you can change the other settings.

If none of these steps have solved your connection problem, there are still a few last-ditch efforts you can attempt.

Chances are, part of your home network involves cat5 or cat5e Ethernet cables. If you're using the wrong kind of cable, it could defeat your Internet connection efforts. Crossover cable should only be used to connect two computers directly. If you're connecting devices with a hub or router, straight-through cables should be used. How can you tell the difference? Sometimes crossover cables are labeled by the manufacturer. If not, it's a bit technical to figure out (it involves checking the pairs of wires at the connectors). If possible, just try a different cable to see if that helps.

 

The problem might be with the computer you're trying to connect to the Internet. Network configuration troubleshooting depends on operating system, connection type and other factors. If your computer has a network icon, it might displays a red X or other error message if there's a problem. If there's no error message and your connection still won't work, some operating systems have the ability to self-diagnose to determine if there's another issue.

If everything else seems to be working OK, then the problem might be with your ISP. Contact its technical support line and ask. If the ISP isn't suffering an outage (they do, from time to time), technical support representatives might walk you through some of the steps you already went though, and they may even be able to test your connection or reset your modem.

Ed Grabianowski "Top 5 Ways to Troubleshoot Your Broadband Internet Connection" 30 April 2009.
HowStuffWorks.com. <https://electronics.howstuffworks.com/how-to-tech/5-ways-to-troubleshoot-broadband-connection.htm> 19 April 2018

Image via http://www.nanohub.in/internet-email-issues.php

Microtechs 24/7/365 White label Technical Helpdesk

In today's world, a rock-solid IT infrastructure is key to every successful business. At Microtechs we have the experience and resource to ensure your company has the support it needs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. We can provide an immediate response from our state of the art Technical Operations Centre which is based in the heart of Surrey.

With our rapidly expanding team, all specifically trained, working 24/7/365, we can provide excellent customer service and technical support. All our services are available completely white labelled, ensuring a seamless extension to your company.

Through our services you can extend your hours to 24/7 or simply use us as an over flow assistant during office hours. This is all tailored to your business needs. 

How does Outsourcing your helpdesk benefit your business?

1.         It reduces your staffing costs. Why hire another member of staff, if you can outsource all your calls for less? We are normally between 25-50% cheaper than an in-house option.

2.         It expands your opening hours. We have a technical operations centre which is open 24/7/365.

3.         It will improve your customer experience. Are you taking multiple calls from clients, but can’t get back to them as quick as you would like? Well now you have a team of 30 staff taking your support calls for you. Have an important meeting? No problem, your help desk has your back.

We work with over 100 IT & Telecoms Businesses who trust us to deal day to day with their clients.

Feel free to call our friendly solutions team, who will be happy to discuss further and help tailor a solution to you.

Call us now on 01483 407417

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According to industry figures, fibre installation needed for 5G is being hampered by government policies

Could the government policy and regulation really be hindering the UK move towards 5G? Well, according to an event hosted by law firm Herbert Smith Freehills, 50% of attendees ­– which included representatives from major telecoms, broadband and technology companies – argued that government policy and regulation are the reason for the 5G standstill we now find ourselves in. But why and how? Whether knowingly, or not, the government fails to lend itself as an enabler in installing new large-scale full fibre infrastructure investment in the UK, which, is instrumental for a successful 5G rollout.

The event saw many telecommunications experts coming together to discuss this and similar issues, exploring such avenues as funding and economical challenges. Though the aforementioned factors proved to be the predominate ones, 4% blamed market conditions and structure.

With fibre optic infrastructure seen as vital for future wireless mobile phone networks such as 5G – which will provide broadband-speed downloads for mobile phone users – Dana Tobak, MD at Hyperoptic says, “One of our biggest challenges is actually getting way-leaves in local authority buildings.”*

“There seems to be a disconnect in appreciating that in order to get full fibre, you actually need to put fibre in there,” she adds.

Head of public affairs and policy at Virgin Media, Daniel Butler, affirms that whilst the government talked a good game on fibre installation, some of its policies were distinctly unhelpful.

“There’s been somewhat of a mismatch between the government’s enthusiastic rhetoric to get as much infrastructure-based competition as possible in to the UK market and some of the policy decisions we’ve seen emerge,” says Butler.

Butler cites an increase in business rates and wholesale price controls on super-fast broadband as the types of government policies that were slowing the installation of fibre networks.

*‘Not granting way-leaves’ – not granting right of way. In essence, Dana Tobak suggests that the government is slowing its installation programme.

http://networkcommunicationsnews.co.uk/news/biggest-barrier-5g-rollout/

BY ELLA HUTCHINSON

Microtechs 24/7/365 White label Technical Helpdesk

In today's world, a rock-solid IT infrastructure is key to every successful business. At Microtechs we have the experience and resource to ensure your company has the support it needs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. We can provide an immediate response from our state of the art Technical Operations Centre which is based in the heart of Surrey.

With our rapidly expanding team, all specifically trained, working 24/7/365, we can provide excellent customer service and technical support. All our services are available completely white labelled, ensuring a seamless extension to your company.

Through our services you can extend your hours to 24/7 or simply use us as an over flow assistant during office hours. This is all tailored to your business needs.  

How does Outsourcing your help desk benefit your business?

1.      It reduces your staffing costs. Why hire another member of staff, if you can outsource all your calls for less? We are normally between 25-50% cheaper than an in-house option.

2.      It expands your opening hours. We have a technical operations centre which is open 24/7/365.

3.      It will improve your customer experience. Are you taking multiple calls from clients, but can’t get back to them as quick as you would like? Well now you have a team of 30 staff taking your support calls for you. Have an important meeting? No problem, your helpdesk has your back.

We work with over 100 IT & Telecoms Businesses who trust us to deal day to day with their clients.

Feel free to call our friendly solutions team, who will be happy to discuss further and help tailor a solution to you.

Call us now on 01483 407417

 

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CCS Insight has raised its near-term forecast for global 5G connections following progress made by the industry over the past six months.

This headway has been accelerated by agreement on standards, trials, deployment of chipsets and infrastructure and operator commitments to the technology.

A significant milestone was the ratification of the non-standalone specifications for 5G in late 2017. It paved the way for an encouraging start to 2018 that saw a flurry of operators, mostly in developed US and Asian markets, target commercial deployment in 2019. In fact, the fierce race to be first could see initial commercial 5G services appear as soon as late 2018 in the US, albeit on a limited scale.

CCS Insight’s forecast estimates total global 5G connections in 2020 at almost 60 million, rising more than 50% on the previous October 2017 publication. It also presents a stronger outlook for 2021 at 280 million connections, a 25% improvement. Changes in the latter years are more moderate: CCS Insight still expects the 1 billion mark to be breached in mid-2023, and its projection for 2025 has inched up to 2.7 billion.

Strong growth

Kester Mann, principal analyst covering operators at CCS Insight, says, “The industry might be struggling to establish the business models for investment in 5G, but this isn’t stopping leading operators battling for bragging rights to launch the first networks.

“Competitive forces and the need for capacity are the leading drivers of early deployment, although we caution this could set unrealistic expectations for initial network capability.”

After early launches in South Korea, Japan and the US, CCS Insight sees China quickly taking the lead in 5G. It will hit 100 million connections in 2021 before passing 1 billion in 2025. Despite most other markets having launched commercial services by 2025, China will still account for nearly four in every 10 global 5G connections.

The rising 5G tide is also reflected in CCS Insight’s forecast for Western Europe. The region is expected to pass 100 million connections in early 2023. However, although some operators appear to be showing more appetite for 5G, notably Telia and Telecom Italia, the region appears further adrift of the leading markets than ever before. It continues to be hindered by market fragmentation, lack of scale, increasing regulation and operators’ preference to focus on 4G networks.

Autonomous driving and remote healthcare are still being touted as key applications for new 5G networks, but CCS Insight predicts adoption will be pushed by the growing need for higher speeds and bandwidth to support video consumption on mobile devices. The forecast shows that even in 2025, mobile broadband will still represent 98% of all 5G connections.

As such, adoption of 5G will be closely linked to availability of handsets. Marina Koytcheva, VP Forecasting, comments, “We see the first 5G smartphones emerging in 2019, but these will be relatively few in number. The real ramp-up will come in 2021, when over 350 million 5G handsets will be sold worldwide.”

Study Results

b2ap3_thumbnail_study-summary-12-april.jpg

New forecast projects 5G connections will reach 280 million in 2021, growing to 2.7 billion in 2025

The US is likely to roll out commercial services as soon as 2018, but China will quickly take leadership in connection volume by 2020

Western Europe continues to trail these pacesetting 5G markets

Orginal article: http://networkcommunicationsnews.co.uk/news/europe-left-5g-starting-blocks-us-asia-dominate-early-adoption/

Written by Dan Sait

Microtechs 24/7/365 White label Technical Helpdesk

In today's world, a rock-solid IT infrastructure is key to every successful business. At Microtechs we have the experience and resource to ensure your company has the support it needs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. We can provide an immediate response from our state of the art Technical Operations Centre which is based in the heart of Surrey.

With our rapidly expanding team, all specifically trained, working 24/7/365, we can provide excellent customer service and technical support. All our services are available completely white labelled, ensuring a seamless extension to your company.

Through our services you can extend your hours to 24/7 or simply use us as an over flow assistant during office hours. This is all tailored to your business needs. 

How does Outsourcing your helpdesk benefit your business?

1. It reduces your staffing costs. Why hire another member of staff, if you can outsource all your calls for less? We are normally between 25-50% cheaper than an in-house option.

2.It expands your opening hours. We have a technical operations centre which is open 24/7/365.

3.It will improve your customer experience. Are you taking multiple calls from clients, but can’t get back to them as quick as you would like? Well now you have a team of 30 staff taking your support calls for you. Have an important meeting? No problem, your helpdesk has your back.

We work with over 100 IT, Software & Telecoms Businesses who trust us to deal day to day with their clients.

Feel free to call our friendly solutions team, who will be happy to discuss further and help tailor a solution to you.

Call us now on 01483 407417

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Workers install an undersea fiber optic cable in Spain on June 13, 2017. Facebook and Microsoft have teamed up to run the cable from the U.S. to Spain, crossing under 4,100 miles (6,600 kilometers) of ocean. ANDER GILLENEA/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Most of us probably don't realize it, but much of the infrastructure that makes the internet possible lies on the bottom of the world's oceans, in the form of vast networks of fiber-optic cables that transmit data between countries. (Here's a map of those connections.)

Despite the vital role that these cables play in global communications, they're largely unguarded because of their location underwater. That vulnerability is in the headlines lately, thanks to recent warnings from across the Atlantic that Russia could sabotage the cables and disrupt connections between the U.S. and Europe.

Recent Warnings

The head of the British defense establishment and chairman of NATO's military committee, Air Marshall Sir Stuart Peach, recently warned that cutting the cables "would immediately — and catastrophically — fracture both international trade and the internet," according to the Guardian.

Peach's warning echoed the conclusions of a 2017 report written by U.K. Member of Parliament Rishi Sunak, which described the potential for disruption of internet traffic as an "existential threat." Sunak noted that the cables, which are largely owned and operated by private companies, transmit $10 trillion in financial transfers each day.

It's not the first time that an alarm has been sounded about the undersea cable networks. This 2010 report written for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, describes the effects of a 2008 incident in which three cables in the Mediterranean that connected Italy to Egypt were severed, apparently accidentally by commercial ships dragging their anchors. Eighty percent of the internet connectivity between Europe and the Middle East temporarily was lost. As a result, most of the U.S. Air Force's drone aircraft in Iraq were grounded, due to the lack of a reliable connection to technicians back in the U.S. "Cable breaks halfway across the world threaten U.S. vital national security interests," the report warned.

In 2015, The New York Times reported that a Russian spy ship, the Yantar, was kept under surveillance by U.S. planes, satellites and ships as it cruised slowly down the U.S. east coast, close to internet cables. The Russian ship reportedly was equipped with two miniature submarines capable of going into deep water to cut cables. Another Russian surveillance ship, the Viktor Leonov, was spotted off the coast of Delaware in February, according to the Christian Science Monitor.

But before you get too caught up in a nightmare scenario of the internet suddenly going dark due to sabotage, experts say the system — despite its lack of defenses — is resilient and would be difficult for an enemy nation or terrorist group to disable. The fiber cables that transmit the world's data are surprisingly slim, measuring less than 0.7 inches (17 millimeters) in thickness, according to Keith Schofield, general manager of the International Cable Protection Committee, a British-based industry group. But the fiber is encased in a hermetically sealed tube, which is in turn surrounded by layers of high-tensile steel wires, copper and polyethylene. For sections in shallower water, where cables are more likely to encounter ship anchors and other manmade hazards, additional layers of armor are sometimes added, or else cables are buried under the seabed, Schofield says in an email.

As a result, cables are damaged worldwide only about 200 times a year — "a tiny failure rate across a network of well over a million kilometers (621,000 miles) of cable linking people between continents," Schofield says.

It would be difficult to cut cables in the deep ocean, though a robotic submersible equipped with the right tools could pull it off, says Jim Hayes, president of the Fiber Optic Association, a California-based professional society that certifies cable network builders and operators, in a telephone interview. The cable networks are more vulnerable closer to land, where their connections are in shallower water and easier to reach. It wouldn't take a lot of sophisticated weapons or know-how to inflict the desired damage.

"If you want to interrupt communications, you hire a crappy old fishing trawler, give them a big anchor and tell them to drag it here," Hayes explains.

Location is Key

Attacking a cable landing probably wouldn't cause much disruption in the U.S. and other technologically advanced countries in Europe and East Asia, where there are a multitude of other connections that would keep the data flowing, Hayes said. "They might slow down the internet in New York City, but they're not going to disrupt it," he says. "There are other routes to get to the same place. They can just as easily go west around the world as go east. The internet works that way."

But sabotage could cause outages in a region such as the Middle East, where relatively few cables are bunched in places such as the Suez Canal and the Strait of Hormuz, Hayes says. Africa, where long stretches of the continent's coast are dependent upon one or two cables, also has higher vulnerability.

"Yes, you could disrupt the internet for a lengthy period, but only with certain attacks in certain places," Nicole Starosielski, an assistant professor of media, culture and communication at New York University and author of the 2015 book "The Undersea Network," explains in an email. "In others, traffic could be easily rerouted."

Hayes says that instead of cutting cables, the Russians might try breaking into them to intercept communications. A tapping device could be inserted into the cable and then linked to a transmitter on a buoy, which would upload the data to a satellite or to another cable close to shore, he says.

NOW THAT'S INTERESTING

Though prognosticators have been warning that undersea internet cables are vulnerable to being cut, there seems be only one instance of an alleged attack on them. In 2013, an Egyptian coast guard patrol stopped a fishing boat in the waters of the Mediterranean near Alexandria, and arrested three divers who allegedly were cutting an internet cable, according to Reuters and BBC News.

BY PATRICK J. KIGER

Original article: http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/1wDeng/:1L4$gW1lE:!eCezjPS/electronics.howstuffworks.com/how-to-tech/how-to-detect-stealing-wifi.htm

Microtechs 24/7/365 White label Technical Helpdesk

In today's world, a rock solid IT infrastructure is key to every successful business. At Microtechs we have the experience and resource to ensure your company has the support it needs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. We can provide an immediate response from our state of the art Technical Operations Centre which is based in the heart of Surrey.

With our rapidly expanding team, all specifically trained, working 24/7/365, we can provide excellent customer service and technical support. All our services are available completely white labelled, ensuring a seamless extension to your company.

Through our services you can extend your hours to 24/7 or simply use us as an over flow assistant during office hours. This is all tailored to your business needs.   

How does Outsourcing your helpdesk benefit your business?

1.      It reduces your staffing costs. Why hire another member of staff, if you can outsource all your calls for less? We are normally between 25-50% cheaper than an in-house option.

2.      It expands your opening hours. We have a technical operations centre which is open 24/7/365.

3.      It will improve your customer experience. Are you taking multiple calls from clients, but can’t get back to them as quick as you would like? Well now you have a team of 30 staff taking your support calls for you. Have an important meeting? No problem, your helpdesk has your back.

We work with over 90 IT & Telecoms Businesses who trust us to deal day to day with their clients.

Feel free to call our friendly solutions team, who will be happy to discuss further and help tailor a solution to you.

Call us now on 01483 407417

b2ap3_thumbnail_mimo.jpg

Unlimited capacity in wireless networks with massive MIMO

Massive MIMO is an antenna technology that is considered the most promising for future superfast 5G networks, although researchers have until now believed that there is an upper limit for how much data can be transferred. Emil Björnson, associate professor at Linköping University, has together with colleagues, shown that there is no such limit.

"We can show that massive MIMO has unlimited capacity, both mathematically and with the aid of simulations," says Emil Björnson, associate professor in communication systems at Linköping University.

The massive MIMO technology aroused the interest of 5G researchers at an early stage. However, during the past five to ten years the research community has agreed that there is an upper limit to how much data can be transferred wirelessly per second, given a certain bandwidth and within a certain area. The limiting factor has been a type of disturbance that arises when measuring how the wireless signals travel, known by researchers as "pilot contamination."

"This conclusion is the result of us using a model that was far too focused on research tractability and a method that was too simple," says Emil Björnson.

By deploying more antennas and processing the signals that are transmitted and received from them in the right way, we can create a system in which there is no upper limit for how much data can be transferred.

He has presented the evidence for this in collaboration with colleagues in France and Italy in an article that has been published both in the open service Arxiv and in the IEEE digital service Xplore. The simulation code is also freely available at Github for anyone who doubts the results and wants to validate them.

MIMO is an acronym for "Multiple Input, Multiple Output" and the technology involves connecting hundreds of small antennas, each with a power of around 10 mW, either in something that can resemble a large computer monitor or distributed across the façade of a building.

All the antennas send a few tens of signals with carefully determined delays. The delays are chosen so that the copies of a signal arrive at the intended receivers at exactly the same instant, but at slightly different times at all other receivers. This gives a strong signal at the intended receiver and only a slight disturbance at all the others. Pilot contamination arises when the delays are to be estimated using signals known as "pilots."

One hundred antennas each of 10 mW gives a power of 1 W, which is distributed among the users. This is considerably less than the 40 W that current antennas use. The low power is enough, since each signal is given in a specified direction. Massive MIMO thus provides a combination of low output power, high energy efficiency and superior capacity, since many receivers can receive signals at the same time. What the new calculations and simulations have shown is that the capacity is infinite.

"The consequence is that we can continue to deploy increasing numbers of antennas, as people consume ever increasing amounts of wireless data, and in this way, satisfy the demand," says Emil Björnson.

Story Source: Materials provided by Linköping University. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/03/180312115501.htm

Picture credit: http://www.dailynews.lk/2017/05/24/business/116802/dialog-paves-way-5g-massive-mimo-trial

Microtechs 24/7/365 White label Technical Helpdesk

In today's world, a rock solid IT infrastructure is key to every successful business. At Microtechs we have the experience and resource to ensure your company has the support it needs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. We are able to provide an immediate response from our state of the art Technical Operations Centre which is based in the heart of Surrey.

With our rapidly expanding team, all specifically trained, working 24/7/365, we can provide excellent customer service and technical support. All our services are available completely white labelled, ensuring a seamless extension to your company.

Through our services you can extend your hours to 24/7 or simply use us as an over flow assistant during office hours. This is all tailored to your business needs.  

How does Outsourcing your helpdesk benefit your business?

1.      It reduces your staffing costs. Why hire another member of staff, if you can outsource all of your calls for less? We are normally between 25-50% cheaper than an in-house option.

2.      It expands your opening hours. We have a technical operations centre which is open 24/7/365.

3.      It will improve your customer experience. Are you taking multiple calls from clients, but can’t get back to them as quick as you would like? Well now you have a team of 30 staff taking your support calls for you. Have an important meeting? No problem, your help desk has your back.

We work with over 90 IT & Telecoms Businesses who trust us to deal day to day with their clients.

Feel free to call our friendly solutions team, who will be happy to discuss further and help tailor a solution to you.

Call us now on 01483 407417

Posted by on in Latest Microtechs news posts

b2ap3_thumbnail_harddrive.JPG

If you are planning on ditching your old computer, formatting a hard drive is almost always a necessary thing to do

There are a lot of reasons why you would want to format a hard drive. When it comes to disposing of a computer or selling it, formatting it properly will ensure that sensitive data found on the disk has been completely removed.

You may also need to format a drive if you need to get rid of malware or you are installing an operating system.

There are many types of formatting. Quick formatting is a speedy way of clearing the disk ready for reinstalling an operating system. But you should only do this if you are not planning to dispose of the disk just yet. This is because it pretty much leaves data in place; it just makes the disc appear that it is clear from data.

Here we will show you all the steps needed to format a hard drive. We will also explain a few terms on the way.

Partitioning

A hard drive can be divided up into smaller sections named partitions. When you have started up into your operating system, these can show as a separate hard drive, but they are just sections of the same disc. With partitions, it is possible to format one partition and leave another one alone. This is good if you want to keep one section for operating system installation files. Otherwise, if you want to format all of the disk, you will need to remove these partitions as well.

What file system?

The file system you use when formatting a hard drive will depend on which operating systems you use.

Windows uses NTFS and Mac OS uses HFS so they're incompatible with each other. A file system called exFAT works with both Mac and Windows. This exFAT is better than the FAT32 file system it supersedes as FAT32 has a maximum 4GB file size limit whereas exFAT can work with files as large as 16EB (exabytes). The exFAT file system also runs better than FAT32.

Formatting a disk with without an operating system

If you have a PC with no operating system, then you will have to use a bootable CD, DVD or USB flash drive with a third-party formatting tool on it. It is important to note that the BIOS on a computer cannot format a hard drive.

A good tool is Darik’s Boot and Nuke (DBA), which can be downloaded here. This can erase and format a hard disk so you can go ahead and install a new operating system. DBAN is downloaded as an ISO file, which is a disk image that you would then burn onto a CD or DVD using another computer.

If you can’t make a bootable CD/DVD, then you can use another tool by the name of Universal USB Installer which can convert an ISO image to run on a bootable USB drive. If you run the Universal USB Installer setup program, follow the instructions to turn your DBAN ISO into a bootable USB.

To boot from a CD, DVD or USB, you will need to go into your BIOS and change the boot order to change this to boot from the device you want rather than the system’s hard drive.

Once booted up, DBAN will guide you through formatting your hard drive and give you the option of how securely wiped you want the drive to be.

How to format a drive in Windows

The easiest (and possibly quickest) way to format a disk is from Windows Explorer. Simply press the Windows key and E to bring up an Explorer window, then right-click the disk you wish to format, then from the context-sensitive menu, choose Format.

The Format window defaults to Quick Format, you can uncheck this to make a more thorough job. You can also choose the file system you want on this disc and rename the Volume Label too if desired. If you leave all the settings and click on the Start button, this will format the disk in around a minute.

How to format a drive using Windows Disk Management utility

Windows has a disk management utility that you can use to format a hard drive (except the drive that runs Windows). In the search box, type in diskmgmt.msc to start this up. (You can also find this tool in the Control Panel under Administrative Tools. It is a section called 'Create and format hard disk partitions'.

This is great if you have a brand new drive that you want to format, as it is probably not initialised as a disk yet (and you won’t see it in Windows Explorer), Disk Management will find any uninitialised disks and prompt you to initialise it. Disks with capacities of 2TB or more should use the GPT (GUID Partition Table) as this allows you to create four or more partitions should you wish.

Once initialised, this will appear as Unallocated Space and select New Simple Volume. Then select how big the partition will be and the drive letter.

How to format a drive on a Mac

To format an external drive on a Mac, first open Finder on the Mac, then go to /Applications/Utilities and double-click on Disk Utility. Choose the drive in the left-hand sidebar and click on Erase (icon at the top). Under the Format menu, select the file system you want to use. Leave the default settings; OS X Extended format and GUID partition map. These will format the drive in OS X's HFS+ file system so it will be compatible with Time Machine.

You can then give the drive a name and click the Erase button. This process should only take a few seconds to format your drive.

Original article written by Rene Millman

http://www.itpro.co.uk/hard-disks/26116/how-to-format-a-hard-drive

Microtechs 24/7/365 White label Technical Helpdesk

In today's world, a rock solid IT infrastructure is key to every successful business. At Microtechs we have the experience and resource to ensure your company has the support it needs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. We are able to provide an immediate response from our state of the art Technical Operations Centre which is based in the heart of Surrey.

With our rapidly expanding team, all specifically trained, working 24/7/365, we are able to provide excellent customer service and technical support. All of our services are available completely white labelled, ensuring a seamless extension to your company.

Through our services you are able to extend your hours to 24/7 or simply use us as an over flow assistant during office hours. This is all tailored to your business needs.  

How does Outsourcing your helpdesk benefit your business?

1.      It reduces your staffing costs. Why hire another member of staff, if you can outsource all of your calls for less? We are normally between 25-50% cheaper than an in-house option.

2.      It expands your opening hours. We have a technical operations centre which is open 24/7/365.

3.      It will improve your customer experience. Are you taking multiple calls from clients, but can’t get back to them as quick as you would like? Well now you have a team of 30 staff taking your support calls for you. Have an important meetings? No problem, your help desk has your back.

We work with over 90 IT & Telecoms Businesses who trust us to deal day to day with their clients.

Feel free to call our friendly solutions team, who will be happy to discuss further and help tailor a solution to you.

Call us now on 01483 407417

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Draft measures would hit Openreach's bottom line by £120 million

Ofcom has announced a package of measures to boost full fibre broadband access for homes and business across the UK over the next three years.

As part of the draft proposals, the upfront cost of building ultrafast broadband networks are set to halve, while pricing decisions aim to encourage investment in full fibre networks, while BT's network division Openreach will be forced to carry out faster repairs and installations.

Ofcom claimed the measures will increase nationwide coverage of full fibre to up to 20% by 2020, seeing six million premises covered, versus only 3% covered today, as well as further increase in investment.

Jonathan Oxley, Ofcom's competition group director, said: "Full fibre meets the country's future broadband needs, as demand for data soars.

"Ultrafast speeds will allow people to download entire films, or businesses to share huge files, almost instantly. Full fibre will also underpin exciting technology like remote healthcare diagnostics, 5G mobile and connected devices.

"The measures we've set out will support the growing number of companies who have already announced plans to build full-fibre networks, and open the way for even more ambitious investment around the UK."

Under the draft rules, published last Friday, BT must open up its telegraph poles and underground tunnels to rival providers by 2020/2021 - enabling them to build their own full fibre networks much more easily.

Meanwhile Openreach will be required to repair any faulty infrastructure, and clear blocked tunnels where necessary to maintain access.

Openreach must also ensure there is space on its telegraph poles for extra fibre cables connecting homes to a competitor's network, and must release a 'digital map' of its duct and pole network so rival providers can plan where to lay fibre.

These measures are expected to halve the cost of laying fibre cable from around £500 per home to £250 per home - while reducing the time for digging works and enabling fibre to be installed in some streets frm days to hours.

Paolo Pescatore, CSS Insight telecom analyst, said the move was broadly consistent with what the market was expecting, and would fuel the "fibre frenzy" seen in the last few months, with companies keen to increase fibre coverage.

He told IT Pro: "Overall, BT's rivals will be happy with this, and it allows greater access for their own ambitions in cyber. Naturally there will be some adverse cost implications, but the most important part for BT is it gives them some certainties around what they need to do around their own objectives to delivering fibre broadband to the masses."

Meanwhile, Ofcom will cut the amount Openreach can charge telecoms companies for its basic superfast broadband service - offering download and upload speeds of 40 Mbit/s and 10 Mbit/s respectively - to £11.92 per month following consultation.

In a statement, BT said the proposals provided certainty on the pricing of key products for the next three years, but would hurt Openreach's bottom line.

"BT estimates that the price changes in today's Ofcom WLA [Wholesale Local Access] draft statement, for the directly charge controlled products, will have a year on year adverse financial impact on Openreach's revenue and profit in 2018/19 in the range £80m - £120m," it said.

"There will be further year on year impacts on Openreach, resulting from price reductions to the directly charge controlled products, in each of the successive two financial years in the range of low to mid tens of millions of pounds.

"Additionally, Openreach's cost base will increase as a result of meeting the more demanding minimum service levels required in WLA markets.

"BT anticipates a further adverse financial impact on Openreach's revenue and profit as a result of market pressure on the wholesale prices of other products not directly charge controlled in the WLA draft statement."

These proposals follow Ofcom's 'Wholesale Local Access' market review, which sets how much Openreach can charge telecoms providers for selling today's superfast broadband services over its network; covering the period between April 2018 and March 2021.

The measures have been submitted to the European Commission for comment before the finalised proposals are published next month.

Written by Keumars Afifi-Sabet

Original article: http://www.itpro.co.uk/broadband/30640/new-ofcom-proposals-to-bring-full-fibre-to-six-million-homes-and-offices-by-2020

Microtechs 24/7/365 White label Technical Helpdesk

In today's world, a rock-solid IT infrastructure is key to every successful business. At Microtechs we have the experience and resource to ensure your company has the support it needs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. We can provide an immediate response from our state of the art Technical Operations Centre which is based in the heart of Surrey.

With our rapidly expanding team, all specifically trained, working 24/7/365, we can provide excellent customer service and technical support. All our services are available completely white labelled, ensuring a seamless extension to your company.

Through our services you can extend your hours to 24/7 or simply use us as an over flow assistant during office hours. This is all tailored to your business needs.  

How does Outsourcing your helpdesk benefit your business?

1.       It reduces your staffing costs. Why hire another member of staff, if you can outsource all of your calls for less? We are normally between 25-50% cheaper than an in-house option.

2.       It expands your opening hours. We have a technical operations centre which is open 24/7/365.

3.       It will improve your customer experience. Are you taking multiple calls from clients, but can’t get back to them as quick as you would like? Well now you have a team of 30 staff taking your support calls for you. Have an important meeting? No problem, your helpdesk has your back.

We work with over 90 IT & Telecoms Businesses who trust us to deal day to day with their clients.

Feel free to call our friendly solutions team, who will be happy to discuss further and help tailor a solution to you.

 

Call us now on 01483 407417

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Expenditure must triple, GSMA warns, as demand for mobile data across ‘megacities’ is expected to rise 50% by 2025

Major cities must encourage mobile operators to boost infrastructure spending to meet exploding demand for mobile data or face ‘network gridlock’.

That's according to a report by GSMA and Boston Consulting Group, entitled ‘Delivering the Digital Revolution’, coinciding with the 2018 Mobile World Congress (MWC). It assessed the ability for mobile networks to meet growing demand for data in the world’s largest cities, including Tokyo, New York, Mumbai and London among others.

With demand expected to rise by more than 50% in major cities by 2025, in part due to the rollout of 5G and the continued expansion of the Internet of Things (IoT), the report warns networks in ‘megacities’ face a significant gap between data demand and network capacity.

Focusing predominately on major urban areas, a projected 48% of traffic demand is expected to go unserved by 2025 unless changes to regulatory frameworks and policies are made to encourage greater infrastructure spending.

John Giusti, GSMA chief regulatory officer, said: “The current global regulatory landscape has been successful in creating a competitive that has made mobile connectivity accessible to more than five billion people around the world.

“However, unless government policies encourage investment, the network capacity required to satisfy future demand is unlikely to be achieved.

“This will result in a bad deal for consumers and businesses, particularly those in our most populous cities, and is likely to have a direct impact on these economies.

“Measures such as making affordable spectrum available and relaxing planning restrictions on small cells can help foster an environment that enables operators to build mobile networks ready for the future.”

The GSMA argues while current policy has encouraged competition and low prices in most markets, regulations today either inhibit investment or slow approvals, adding cost to the deployment of new infrastructure technology.

Under current conditions deployment of infrastructure will be very financially challenging, with operation expenditure and capital expenditure relative to sales expected to double between 2017-2019 and 2020-2025.

Moreover, mobile operators’ capital and operational expenditures in cities would need to triple to sufficiently provide network capacity – a level GSMA describes as “simply not sustainable under current conditions.”

Rising demand for mobile data is underlined by research by StatCounter that showed mobile devices accounted for the majority of internet usage for the first time in October 2016, at 51.3%, overtaking desktops at 48.7%.

Meanwhile, telecom giant Vodafone recently announced a trial using 4G and IoT technology embedded in an air traffic control drone tracking and safety system to track and control drones which could present a risk to aircraft.

New technologies such as Vodafone’s trial, coupled with the gradual rollout of 5G – which Intel has earmarking latter 2019 as the date the first 5G-enabled laptops will hit the market – lending crednce to the GSMA’s stark warning that demand is set to outpace network capacity.

“Reforming regulation to reflect changing market and technology realities is a long and complex process, but it is vitally important to ensure our networks continue to deliver the best possible experience for subscribers,” Giusti added.

“Reaching compromise and balancing the needs of regulators and operators is critical to building the networks of the future and unlocking the economic and social benefits that access to mobile provides.

“All stakeholders must work together to ensure the timely and affordable deployment of new technologies necessary to delivering the next stage of our digital transformation journey.”

Written by Keumars Afifi-Sabet

Original article: http://www.itpro.co.uk/network-internet/30616/major-cities-face-network-gridlock-without-significant-mobile-infrastructure

Image credit: Bigstock

Microtechs 24/7/365 White label Technical Helpdesk

In today's world, a rock-solid IT infrastructure is key to every successful business. At Microtechs we have the experience and resource to ensure your company has the support it needs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. We are able to provide an immediate response from our state of the art Technical Operations Centre which is based in the heart of Surrey.

With our rapidly expanding team, all specifically trained, working 24/7/365, we are able to provide excellent customer service and technical support. All of our services are available completely white labelled, ensuring a seamless extension to your company.

Through our services you are able to extend your hours to 24/7 or simply use us as an over flow assistant during office hours. This is all tailored to your business needs.   

How does Outsourcing your helpdesk benefit your business?

1.       It reduces your staffing costs. Why hire another member of staff, if you can outsource all of your calls for less? We are normally between 25-50% cheaper than an in-house option.

2.       It expands your opening hours. We have a technical operations centre which is open 24/7/365.

3.       It will improve your customer experience. Are you taking multiple calls from clients, but can’t get back to them as quick as you would like? Well now you have a team of 30 staff taking your support calls for you. Have an important meeting? No problem, your helpdesk has your back.

We work with over 90 IT & Telecoms Businesses who trust us to deal day to day with their clients.

Feel free to call our friendly solutions team, who will be happy to discuss further and help tailor a solution to you.

 

Call us now on 01483 407417

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Our outsourced help desk service can work by answering every incoming call your company receives, or just those that your business simply cannot manage as an overflow. We also provide email incident responses, along with live proactive monitoring through our NOC team. This can be for office hours or full 24/7.

Without the additional costs of employing more staff or training up the existing team we can provide a seamless integration. Our white label solution seamlessly assimilates with your existing help desk team. This way we can manage your out of hours calls, as well as providing critical day time overflow and disaster recovery cover.

Our helpdesk support team will be trained to replicate your current processes and use your ticketing system. We can also work with you to make more efficient changes, utilising our many years of experience. This solution gives you a highly trained team that can increase your service levels by providing your clients with support when they require it. The cost reduction is significant in comparison to operating your own inhouse team.

Why choose Microtechs?

Outsourcing support can be a minefield, and Microtechs have many years’ experience successfully rolling out support to our clients.

It’s not always been plain sailing and we have learned, adjusted and developed our processes along the way to provide a seamless transition for your customers.

We spend time with you, we learn what you do and how you do it. We use the systems you use and we learn to understand your customers specific needs. Continually training specialist groups of technical agents to support your customers as you would. Our vision is to become part of your team, which enables us to ensure your customers would not feel lost, as they could, in a huge offshore call centre.

We are excited by technology and love learning new products and systems. This combined with our excellent customer service focus and the passion to help and resolve issues means that we can always be those extra pairs of hands when you need us, night or day.

Based in the heart of Surrey we can upscale and use the technically focused talent available locally from the technology centre and university. Finding perfect candidates that are kind and courteous on the telephone, we focus on training internally developing and nurturing our employees. We enjoy working with technology enthusiasts and have several apprenticeship schemes running.

Our ultimate ambition is to provide an excellent experience for your customers, to quickly identify issues and resolve them. This provides an overall improvement in their support journey whilst simultaneously saving you the expensive of resourcing for the service in house.

 

For more information, call us on 01483 407417

Posted by on in Latest Microtechs news posts

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Public WiFi lets you work outside the office and provides a cheap alternative to mobile broadband. But it is vulnerable to hackers, so if you’re conducting business (or using it for sensitive personal communications) then you need to take precautions.

What exactly is the problem with public WiFi? Anyone connected to a WiFi network without a password can use a tool such as Wireshark to monitor traffic, allowing them to see any data sent “in the clear” (without encryption).

In the worst case, where a website is not using encrypted HTTPS, this could include passwords, credit card details and other sensitive information. There’s also the risk of connecting to a fake WiFi hotspot mimicking a real public WiFi network for the sole purpose of gathering data.

Many WiFi hotspots are also vulnerable to known exploits and could be remotely hacked over the internet.

How to stay safe on public WiFi

Although there are risks with using public WiFi you don’t need to avoid it completely. There are simple steps anyone can take to improve security when connecting to unknown networks.

Check the WiFi network name

This is really simple: check that the WiFi network SSID (Service Set Identifier – the network name) and password matches the details provided by the operator of the network exactly. If not it may be a honeypot and should be avoided.

Beware of devices auto-connecting to known networks

By default our computers and smartphones will automatically connect to previously used networks. But hackers have been known to create WiFi hotspots with very common names to capture large numbers of victims, many of whom may not notice they’re even connected to WiFi. If you want to allow automatic reconnections for convenience keep WiFi switched off until you need it, and always double check the details of a network when it’s activated.

Keep software and hardware up to date

It’s generally good practice to ensure all software and hardware is running with the latest updates to block known exploits.

Always use HTTPS for sensitive communications

If a web site is not secured with HTTPS your traffic is at risk of interception. If you’re logging in to a service, making a purchase or doing anything else which involves transmitting sensitive information you should always check that the site is protected by HTTPS – look for the green padlock next to the web site address.

Use a VPN (that you trust)

This is optional but highly recommended. A Virtual Private Network is a service which encrypts all internet traffic. This will completely block interception of data on the Wi-Fi network – all anyone will be able to see is a stream of scrambled data going to the VPN server.

But because you’re sending everything to the VPN you need to trust the operator of that service. Often a business will provide VPN access to employees, but if you’re handling this yourself it’s worth taking the time to research the options. There are free services, but these are generally not to be trusted. A paid subscription to a reputable provider such as Private Internet Access, AirVPN or NordVPN is worth the small asking price.

Matt Powell is editor at Broadband Genie

Original article: https://realbusiness.co.uk/real-business-broadband/2018/02/06/tips-for-using-public-wifi-safety/

Microtechs Specialist White label Wi-Fi Support

Supporting some of the largest Wi-Fi providers in the UK, Microtechs prides itself with the ability to adapt between end user and staff support. Constantly monitoring staffing levels, to ensure seasonal fluctuations do not affect our service levels. Available 24/7/365.

Some of our clients include major UK airports, hotel chains, holiday parks and shopping centres.

Manufacturers and distributors of Wi-Fi and other cloud based products, also use our helpdesk to provide support to a wide range of resellers.

Feel free to call our friendly solutions team, who will be happy to discuss further and help tailor a solution to you.

 

Call us now on 01483 407417

CONTACT US

Our business truly is 24/7, We operate entirely out of this office using our own staff.

Microtechs Head Office

Microtechs Ltd
Sussex House
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Broad Street
Guildford
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T: +44 (0) 1483 407400
Einfo@microtechs.co.uk

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