Do You Need A Firewall At Home

Firewall

Let’s face it we all worry about identity theft. So you take the time to watch for little locks in front of a website address before you buy anything online. We feel around the card slot at gas stations before we slide our card into the slot. Maybe you even watch the waiter or waitress as they walk away with your card at a restaurant? But what about when you are at home on your own wireless with your own Internet connection and your trusty tablet sitting on your couch. Are you SAFE?

Really the answer has to be NO! Let’s look at it this way. You walk into your house and before you go to bed you lock the front door and make sure your windows are locked. Even your car sitting outside is locked up tight. But many of us leave another path right into our private lives. Your Internet line coming into your house is always on and ready for your use. But my friends it is also always on and allowing others into your house. So that password list that you keep in that folder called HIDDEN or PRIVATE can be accessed by anyone in the world. How about that baby monitor with that cute camera that you can watch little Jr. sleeping? So can anyone else in the world. I have even heard that people are now listening to your conversions at home using your Amazon or Google devices. So what can you do?

Well, we could pull the plug on the Internet whenever we are not using it? Really not the best idea because our computers and phones get updates when we sleep. No, a better way is to install a Firewall at home. We once thought these were just for business. But in reality, you have more private information then what you have on your work computer right in your own homes. Okay, so you might be saying I don’t know anything about this Firewall stuff? I can help with that. Please contact me and we can find a cost-effective way to secure your home or even small business with a Firewall that will keep you and your family safe and allow you to sleep at night knowing no one is watching or listening to you!

Importance of a VPN

VPN

First let’s start by answering the question, what is a VPN? A VPN is known as a Virtual Private Network. A VPN allows us to connect to our work and have a secure tunnel connection to the office. It can also provide us with a secure way to pass traffic from our smartphone or computer while we are using public WIFI.

Why are either one of these important to us? When you are sitting at home and you are working on your office computer and you use a VPN your computer will act just as it does when you are sitting at your desk. This happens because when you connect the VPN you are basically running a network cable from your office network back to your home. But with the power of the Internet and a VPN connection we don’t need the wire, hence the Virtual Private Network. Once you connect to your office all of your traffic is going through a secure tunnel. This will keep hackers from intercepting your traffic and using it against you or your company. But even more so it allows you if you are a technology person to work on your network and bring up servers just as you would sitting at your desk.

So what can a VPN offer if you are just on your smartphone in a coffee shop? Again the VPN will provide your traffic to be secured from anyone in the coffee shop who might be scanning for Internet traffic. All of you traffic will be going out of your office or home Internet connection. Remember it will act just as if you are sitting at your desk.

Wonder if you don’t have a VPN at home to connect to? Can you still use a VPN and be safer when you are accessing your banking from a public Internet connection? There are many FREE VPN services on the Internet that you can set up an account on and connect to them for that same piece of mind. I found this site for you that has a listing of FREE VPN sites you can use. FREE VPN SITES.

Think of it this way. It will take you one extra step before you access any secure sites on the Internet such as your banking site. You will have to first connect to the VPN then open the sites you want to use. But then again wouldn’t it be easier to just open your car door and run to the mall? None of us would do this, we would first turn off the car and lock the doors. Think of the VPN and locking the door on your Internet traffic.

Wireless Printing The Future Is Here

Wireless Printing

Let me first start by saying my wife and I print very little. With that said, my wife has fallen in love with Groupon’s. Every time she finds on her phone she has to email to herself so that she can print it for the location we are going to. I do like the ones that allow you to show your phone to a clerk and have it read that way. But many times we have to have a sheet of paper to turn it into the location.

I have had an old printer in my office for years. And it has not worked for years. I guess it was more of a fixture than anything else. Even when we were both job searching we would have to go to our local library and pay .15 a sheet to print our resumes. But as I said before we print very little.

Last Saturday when looking at the local Target Ad I found a wireless printer on sale for $50.00. My wife was out the other day so I asked to stop and pick one up. Couldn’t hurt to have a printer in the house.

I opened the HP 2600 All In One this morning and set it up. The wireless didn’t setup as easy as the instructions said.  Once I downloaded the software set up was very simple and easy. I then setup my iPhone with the App from the App Store and I was wireless printing. My wife setup her iPhone and she was printing her Groupon in no time.

With all of us in the world today having wireless devices it makes sense to have a wireless printer in your house. You no longer will have to run to your computer to print something. I will have to play around and see if this printer will do wireless scanning?

Network Cables Are Not All Equal

Network Cables

If you are new to networking or even if you are an old hand at running networks you might be missing out on a very important piece of information? All network cables are not created equal. As we build our networks and expend the amount of data speed we want to achieve with new switches and faster wireless you may find your network at the end points not getting the total speed you thought you should be getting. When most networks were installed using Cat 5 cable we were hitting speeds of 100 MBS. And the gear at the time was only hitting a maximum of 100 MBS. Now we fast forward to today’s gear and we are pushing 1000 MBS or 1 GIG connections. I have seen this at many sites over the years. New switches are purchased and new wireless access points are but into place and we find at the end points we are getting much lower speeds then expected. I have seen young techs go back and look over their config files and tune everything they can and they still only pull the slower speeds. In reality the bottle neck is in their cabling. Cat 5 cable was only rated to carry 100 MBS so no matter what you do to your gear the cables can’t handle the traffic. If you have Cat 5e you can handle 1000 MBS.  If it is only Cat 5 then step up to Cat 6 which can handle speeds up to 1000 MBS or 1 GIG.  And if you are rewiring and thinking about the long term then have Cat 6a installed it will handle up to 10 GIG connections. Use this chart I found on the net as your guide if you are planning to rewire your network it will save you time and money knowing the exact cable you are having installed. Also always remember to be careful of your total length of the runs.

Cable Chart

Network Switching

Networking Gear

Network Switching gear has been around for ages now. It is the backbone that runs every network large and small. I have been a Cisco guy for years. I understand the way that Cisco wants you to setup your VLAN’s as well as setting up ports for security. I recently started programming a new line of switches from another company. When I first began to program I tried my normal Cisco commands and quickly found out that the commands would not work. Then I started researching on Google for programming using this companies IOS. I quickly learned one thing important. The commands were different but the basic idea of laying out VLAN’s and configuring ports held to the same understanding from my Cisco training. It is sort of like programming, once you learn one language it is easy to allow your mind to see the code and write using any coding language out there. I always tell everyone that has ever worked with me. Don’t ever think that you can’t do it because it is different. Always set out to do your best and give it your all. So now after programming ten of these new switches I have the commands down and I am on my way to building a new high speed 10 GB network. I live by the Can Do Attitude! If it computes then I can and will fix it.