Should You Choose Wi-Fi or Ethernet Internet Connection?

ethernet cables plugged into the back of networking hardware.Currently you have two options when connecting your PC or Mac to the internet, you can do it wirelessly or use an ethernet cable. While it’s far more convenient to connect via Wi-Fi, there are drawbacks. Sure you can take your laptop wherever you go in the house if it’s not connected directly to the router, but do the advantages outweigh the disadvantages?

Speed and stability are most people’s main concerns. Consumers want to get what they want quickly, and to know that the internet is going to be there as soon as they log on and stay consistent until they log off again. Measuring your internet speed is easy and only takes a few moments. When you do a speed test you’ll find that you have an upload speed which probably differs quite a bit from your download speed. Upload speed is the amount of time it takes to send information into the internet. When you send an email or share photos to Facebook and Instagram, that’s upload.

Download speeds are the thing most people are going to be concerned about, and that’s why more bandwidth is dedicated to getting information from the internet into your computer. Download speed determines how fast your movies stream, meaning that they shouldn’t buffer or freeze while you’re watching, it determines how quickly an album will download and how soon after connecting to a website you will see the pictures. 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

Top Tips for Shopping in the Pre-Christmas / Black Friday Sales

Aerial, satellite dish, installation, home entertainment, TV hanging, TV mounting, TV wall hanging, smart home, smart home automation, smart home security, security, security devices, home security, home security camera, house alarm, business alarm, business security, home automation, environmental control, smart lighting, smart lights, smart home system, cable installation, fibre optic installation, fibre installation, fibre repair, fibre optic repair, fibre data, fibre broadband, wireless data, wireless broadband, internet service provider, isp, wireless internet service provider, wisp, worthing, arundel, angmering, hove, littlehampton, south coast, sussex, UK,Because an actual ‘Black Friday’ isn’t really a thing in the UK many shops and online retailers are currently engaging in “Black Friday Month” with ongoing discounts on many selected lines. Unfortunately many of those lines were previously available at the same low price before the promotion began, they’re selling unpopular products which won’t move otherwise, or in the case of some tech goods, they are so old that there is little or no software support left.

So, before you rush out onto the high street, or start prefixing all your searches with ‘Black Friday’ hoping to get all your Christmas shopping done on the cheap, check out these top tips for finding the real bargains, and avoiding spending good money on bad products.

*1* Research the products before you buy.

Buying something just because it looks handy, and it’s cheap doesn’t necessarily make it a bargain. Would you want it at full price? A low price might be mitigation, but look at product reviews, customer reviews and feedback on sites like Amazon and Ebay before making your decision.

*2* Never heard of it? Don’t touch it!

Generic brands aren’t market leaders for a reason. Cheap copies of established technology are likely to be made from inferior materials, lack the performance, or cut corners on security or software. You might think you’re going in with your eyes open, it’s dead cheap so you don’t expect it to last for ever, but if you’re looking at IoT connected goods, as so many are today, you could be bringing a Pandora’s box into your home, plugging it in, and switching it on before opening it. 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

Briant Broadband’s Quick To Understand Internet Jargon Buster

internet, broadband, data, computer, Just as with any industry, we internet service providers are prone to using jargon which we understand perfectly, but most of our customers wouldn’t. So if you find yourself staring blankly while people talk about their ISPs, Mbps, and FTTPs this glossary should help you make sense of what is going on, and also help you make better, more informed decisions the next time you’re shopping for a new internet data package.

Broadband: It may seem obvious, or it may not, but broadband just means a lot of data which is always available. You may remember when we used to have to use dial-up modems to access the internet. It was painfully slow and inconvenient since it would mean that the phone line was tied up the entire time you were on the net. Broadband means being able to instantly access the internet without interruption or inconvenience.

Cookies: By now everyone’s heard of cookies, but many still don’t know what they are or what they do. Cookies are little bits of data which you load onto your computer when you visit a site. They can handle a number of different processes which you’d find annoying if they didn’t. Cookies help websites remember who you are, so, for example, if you use Facebook from the same computer you don’t have to log in again every time you visit. Cookies also keep a record of things you’ve shopped for, which is why you’ll often keep seeing adverts for things you may have already purchased. 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

Buying Tech Presents Early During The Black Friday Sales

wireless, smart home, home automation, smart speaker,We, like you hate the encroachment of Christmas into months where it doesn’t belong. Yule is at the far end of December, and if it’s to remain special, that’s where it should stay. Mince pies becoming part of Halloween fare indeed! BUT… But with the supply chain problems that many retailers are currently experiencing, for whatever reason, it may be worth getting a few of the presents which are going to be most in demand early, rather than trusting Santa to deliver a little Christmas magic nearer the time.

So how do you decide which presents it’s worth buying now, and which to leave until Christmas Eve when you can rush around the High Street in a blind panic? (You know who you are!)

On the one hand shopping for kids is pretty easy. They like toys and sweets. They don’t like clothes, books, or educational games. To find out what your, or any child wants for that matter, just watch an hour of kids’ TV with them. You’ll be subject to so many ads and characters from favourite TV shows that you’ll find that you want them as badly as the young ‘uns do!

But buying for a discerning teen or young adult is a trickier proposition. I bet secretly they’d love some Octonauts or Alphablocks merch, but not from you, that just wouldn’t be cool! Instead they’re going to want something beautiful, or practical tech. Both if you can find it. Read more