WiFi Security For Small Businesses

internet, broadband, data, computer, wifiIf you’re running a small hospitality business, a cafe, bar, bistro, hotel or guesthouse, even a salon or spa, many of your customers will be expecting you to supply free WiFi.

If you have contactless card machines then you probably need to use WiFi to make them work, and it’s no additional cost to open up the network and let your customers use it since it’s accepted, and expected by many that this service will be available to them. The problem is that in making your WiFi available to everyone, everyone, including you, is vulnerable to hacking.

It’s nice to think that ‘hacking’ is something that happens far away to other people, that it’s only worth hacker’s time to attack huge corporations and steal billions of pounds at a time. The reality is that with the availability of code on the Dark Web and the massive proliferation of laptops, internet enabled phones, and smart devices, it’s easy and cheap for anyone with a will to to find a way to hack into your business’s WiFi and use it to harm you or your customers.

Fortunately, there is a lot you can do to protect yourself, your reputation, and your customers from attacks which don’t take a great deal of tech savvy or programming skill. Read more

Have Great Broadband, But Still Have Slow Wi-Fi?

Installing A Mesh Network Could Be Your Solution To Wi-Fi Shadows And Dark Spotsmesh disk, mesh network, broadband network, home network, home broadband

While your broadband provider gives you incredible internet access speeds, you may find that too many users at the same time and the distance you are from your router can have a significant effect on the speed that you’re able to surf the web. What can you do about it?

Several things can affect the speed you get when you’re actually browsing, the distance from your router, the number of people trying to use the internet at the same time, walls, or even heavy furniture can all have a detrimental effect. While the position of your router is important, there are some things which just can’t be overcome that way, so you may need to invest in a mesh network to solve dark spots.

The Further You Go The Slower The Flow

Wireless routers can only deliver a strong signal for a limited range. As you get toward the extent of that range you will see speeds slowing as the weaker signal affects the amount of data your devices can receive. The router is designed to have a limited range as making them more powerful would mean that householders would find that all their neighbours’ Wi-Fi signal was coming through as strongly as their own, which causes a variety of problems including ‘noise’, interference and tethering problems for devices which automatically connect to the strongest signal.

So people living in a larger than average home, or who want to extend their Wi-Fi’s reach into the garden have to find a way of broadening the reach of their reception. One of the best solutions available at the moment is a mesh network, a series of devices (usually in the form of ‘disks’ or ‘satellites’) which can be dotted around the home to improve signal wherever you are. Read more

The Causes Of A Slow Wi-Fi Router And How To Fix It

router, wireless, digital, broadband, internet,It’s no good having up to 900 Mbps Full Fibre if your Wi-Fi connection to your devices is slow. You could plug an ethernet cable from your computer to the router, but that defeats the point of Wi-Fi, and what about all the devices which can’t be plugged in? There are several reasons for poor Wi-Fi, some of which could need investment in extenders, Point to Point transmitters, and mesh discs, but some of them are simple solutions you can take care of in a few minutes.

Router Placement

Where your router is positioned within the home can have an incredible effect on the speed your internet connected devices work. Placing it near the front door, where the cable comes into your home, seems like an obvious idea, but if most of your internet use takes place at the back of the house, upstairs, or in a home office located in the garden then the distance the signal has to travel, and the obstacles it has to pass through can have a great effect on the amount of bandwidth available to each machine.

To overcome this, simply place your router nearer where the action is. If your family doesn’t all sit in the same room to access the internet (and what family would!?) try to place the router at the centre of the home. This means that each laptop, phone, smart speaker and TV will have an equal opportunity to get signal. And place it somewhere high up. It might be tempting to put it on the floor behind a desk, somewhere out of the way, but putting it on the desk, or better yet on a high shelf. This extends the broadcast range and means less objects the signal has to pass through before reaching your device. Read more

Now you’ve switched broadband provider, what about your old router?

router, wireless, digital, broadband, internet, We’re all trying to do our bit for the environment by reducing waste, recycling and reusing where we can, and that notion includes old redundant and retired tech as well, but what’s the use of an old router you don’t need any more? You might be surprised to learn that there is life in your old router yet!

When you sign up with Briant Broadband you’ll not be able to use your old router as ours run on fibre optic data rather than electronic signals down a copper wire. But that doesn’t mean it’s useless, or that you should necessarily throw it away. (Please note, if you do dispose of it, it can’t be thrown in either recycling or non-recyclable landfill and should be taken to your local refuse centre where they can recover the metals and minerals used to build it safely.)

Briant Broadband supply a brand new fibre router with our Full Fibre broadband packages. The products we provide are extremely good, they’re reliable with a signal which is more than sufficient for most homes. However, if you encountered areas in your home where reception wasn’t so good, for example where thick walls, or parts of the house which were simply too far away from the router meant that the signal was weak, then your old device could come to the rescue! Read more

How Cleaning Up Your Google Assistant or Alexa Device Will Improve Performance

google assistant, smart home assistant, smart home automationGoogle Assistants, smart speakers, Alexa devices and all kinds of IOT Smart stuff are a way of life for many of us. While once they were a gadget which it was just kind of cool to have around the house, their usefulness and practicality has made them a firm favourite with anyone who used them regularly. However, over time you might find that your home network is slowing down. And here’s why.

Of course it’s down to age, but this isn’t a blog bemoaning built in obsolescence. The fact is that if you’ve been living with a smart home network for any length of time you’re going to have added smart devices which you no longer use, they may have not been as useful as you expected, you may have bought it on a whim, connected it and forgotten all about it, or, the device may have been lost, got broken, or thrown out. Read more

What Happens If You Stream Pirated Moves Via VPN?

home cinema, tv hanging, tv mounting, tv wall hanging, tv wall mountingYou’ve got your VPN set up to protect your anonymity online, now should you use it to watch pirated streaming movies?

First of all, of course not! That would be illegal and, as we all know video pirating is killing the entertainment industry.

But… As there are so many foreign language streaming sites out there which only give you the title of the film in English you might have absolutely believed that you were on a legitimate website right? And of course the VPN (Virtual Private Network) disguises your location anyway, so IN THEORY nobody would know it was you in the first place.

The purpose of a VPN isn’t to protect you from unwanted advertising, nor stop your web browser from tracking your visits and keeping cookies, and won’t stop anyone you live or share a computer with from seeing your history. So while there are many VPNs available, free or subscription based, using browser extensions or apps, they’re not necessarily the best, and certainly not the only option for more secure video streaming. Read more

Getting the most out of your Google Assistant

google assistant, smart home assistant, smart home automationGoogle Assistant can help with almost anything these days, including looking up your old photos, helping you find new podcasts to fall in love with, and finding your phone.
If you’re forgetful or absent minded and you’ve got a Google Assistant then you’ll most likely already know how to use your Google Assistant to remind you to do things but there’s a whole world of things your Smart Assistant can help with.

Making lists and notes

First of all you’ll need to add an app such as Google Keep, Any.do, or Bring to your Google Assistant. Keeping things on brand will probably cause the least friction, and Google Keep is a great resource for keeping everything online you want to read, listen to, or watch later in one place. Even before you start adding your own lists or sheets to it, you can identify any websites you find with labels of your own, making them easy to organise. Read more

New £10m Fines To Ensure Smart Home Devices Are Secure

secure Smartwatch Photo courtesy of Smartpixel.netThe British government are showing how seriously they are taking smart home security by introducing laws to protect consumers from poor smart products.

With many generic manufacturers using apps which are vulnerable to hacking or scanning and Black Friday deals which see some less scrupulous retailers attempt to sell off old tech which has a very limited period of ongoing software support, (as well as offering “deals” on goods which have been the same price for weeks prior to the sales) the government is putting responsibility for basic security protocols onto shops and makers by ensuring that insecure devices are not put up for sale.

Manufacturers, importers and retailers will face fines of up to £10m if they fail to comply with the requirements. While that seems like a huge fine for what is to many simply a software issue, it demonstrates how seriously security for consumers is being taken. It also reflects the size of the market in smart home devices, as only a fine this size can act as a deterrent for businesses who continue to make or sell substandard home automation. Read more

Can You Make Your Kitchen ‘Smart’ Without Brand New Appliances?

Modern white kitchen with white marble counter top and pendant lighting.Smart devices around the home are a boon, of course, but they can be especially helpful in the kitchen. The oven that already knows how to cook the perfect chicken, the fridge which you can peer into to see if you need milk while you’re actually in the dairy section of the supermarket, and the bin which updates your shopping list when you throw packaging into the recycling certainly make keeping ahead of the housekeeping easy.

But can you do it without investing in brand new white goods?

If you’re refitting your kitchen with a raft of new appliances it is certainly tempting to buy those which have all the Smart Tech available already installed: Fridges with built in cameras, ovens which are programmed to know the cooking times of all your favourite meals, along with cameras and sensors which know when your roast has reached the perfect shade of brown, even bins with barcode readers which can order grocery deliveries for you because it knows you through your rubbish.

But what if your budget doesn’t stretch that far? Or you want to Smarten up your kitchen, only you don’t want to junk all your old appliances just yet? Can you get the same usability without buying the latest goods? Read more

Your Smart Home Checklist For Leaving Your Home Alone

Hikvision security camera mounted on a brick wall next to a drainage pipe.Many of us were stuck at home last year, unable to do the usual rounds of Christmas visits to parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles. This year it looks like we’ll be able to make those trips again, but who’s going to look after the house while we’re away?

The appeal of Smart Home technology to most people is the convenience it offers to people as they potter around the house. Mundane tasks can be done by voice command or set on a schedule which can be set via an app on a phone. Thing is, those tasks can be just as easily taken care of if you’re away from home too.

The first thing people think about when leaving the house for a few days is whether they should leave the lights on or the curtains closed. Putting a table lamp on a timer isn’t fooling anyone any more! Instead you can use your home automation technology to turn lights on and off throughout the house, turn on a radio or TV and turn it off again as part of a routine that makes it look to anyone outside the house like the family are going to bed. It’s far from the perfect security solution, but if it keeps burglars guessing while you’re away for a few days, it could make a real difference.

Give The Impression Someone’s Home

Other signs of human activity which keep intruders on their toes is automated blinds and curtains. Anything that makes it look as if there is someone at home will help them move along, and curtains which are either shut all day or open all night are a sign that nobody’s home. Read more