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  1. How to Select the Best Wireless Reseller

    What many business owners do not realize is that most quality WiFi equipment manufacturers do not sell directly to the public. One of the many reasons for this is that consumers are not likely to know how or what their business requires to order a system that is right for their needs today and into the future. Leading manufacturers such as ACTi, Axis, Cisco, Laird, Nomadix, Samsung, Ubiquiti, among many others have put their trust, and their products in the hands of the network professionals at GNS Wireless.

    As a wireless reseller, GNS has partnered with the leading manufacturers in our industry, have passed their rigorous certification programs, and have earned the right to resell their WiFi equipment. These manufacturers know that GNS Wireless is recognized to not only recommend the right network components, but to provide the high level of customer service and support, that inspires confidence and develops consumer trust.

    Recognition Brings Benefits

    Certifications alone do not indicate expertise. That comes from knowing how best to serve businesses of every size and in every industry. GNS is certified in a range of fields such as Wireless LANs, Systems Security and Architecture. These are some of the ways that GNS Wireless has distinguished ourselves in our industry. We demonstrate our expertise by providing superior options for every business facing specific network challenges.

    At GNS Wireless, our professionals continue to upgrade our skills to present our clients with the best possible options for their business. We keep up-to-date on our vendor partners’ latest products, strategies, and technical support materials. This way we’ll always be able to assist businesses to build, migrate, or upgrade their networks with the most current, efficient, reliable, and cost-effective WiFi equipment solutions possible. For more information, please contact us at (877) 209-5152.

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  2. WiFi Security- What to Know to Prevent a Hack

    Some businesses have been slow to migrate their networks to WiFi voicing concern over its security, and the safety of their data. In fact, WiFi networks are sensitive to infiltration, and offer more safeguards than some hardwired networks. While it is probably not possible to make any wireless network impossible to penetrate, GNS Wireless knows that wireless security is paramount in the minds of most business owners. Later in this article we’ll offer tips that will make any wireless network less prone to hackers.

    Nobody wants to be the victim of a WiFi security hack. Not many are aware of what this action entails. The heart of any wireless network is the router. This apparatus is the prime target to hackers who variously want to infiltrate your network, or just freeload off your WiFi connection. Here are some tips to make your wireless router and therefore, your network hard to hack:

    Simple WiFi Security Tips

    1. Enable WiFi Protected Access (WPA2) wireless encryption: older routers may require an upgrade, but this is your network’s first line of defense and should not be overlooked.
    2. Create a strong password for your SSID Network: a lengthy and random SSID name coupled with a strong password will deter some hackers who can easily bypass routers with a default setting.
    3. Keep your wireless router’s firewall turned on at all times: would you leave your doors unlocked at night? A router firewall can make it less visible to hackers.
    4. Use an encrypted personal VPN service at the router level: considered your network’s best line of defense, it creates a proxy IP address coupled with strong encryption to protect your network traffic against hacks.
    5. Disable the router’s Admin via Wireless feature: this makes it virtually impossible for someone who is not physically connected to the router to infiltrate it.

    GNS Wireless offers advice and information to business owners seeking to migrate or upgrade their networks. To make an appointment, please contact us today at (877) 209-5152.

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  3. Enterprise-Grade WiFi on a Budget

    The best way to save money building an enterprise grade WiFi network is to not buy more than your business needs for the foreseeable future. One way to spend less is to accurately estimate how much bandwidth is required. Bandwidth needs for a WAN pipe can vary widely (especially if you are enforcing bandwidth limits on your SSIDs). GNS Wireless offers this procedure to estimate your backhaul (or WAN needs) and avoid spending more than you need to.

    1. Take your download / upload limits per client.
    2. Multiply each figure by the number of clients you wish to support.
    3. Your end results should represent the rough WAN bandwidth needed to support an ideal situation where everyone is using the maximum pipeline allocated to them.

    Here’s an example: Assume that your business provides 500Kbps / 150Kbps per client on a 25-device network. This means you’ll need a pipe the size of:

    1. Download: 0.5Mbps x 25 = 12.5Mbps Down
    2. Upload: 0.15Mbps x 25 = 3.75Mbps Up

    Remember, this formula assumes that every client will be fully using their maximum bandwidth allocation at all times, 24/7/365. This is not realistic, but will capably cover current and estimated future bandwidth needs. Remember, these are general estimates.

    How Much Bandwidth Does Your Enterprise Grade WiFi Network Require?

    Comparing your business with the example above, your WiFi clients may need less bandwidth at different times throughout the workday. Also, the type of device being used also impacts the amount of required bandwidth, as well as the type of application being processed. These additional considerations should be considered to establish your true bandwidth needs, to avoid over buying, yet still maintain a reliable network for your clients.

    A last consideration, know how your office is wired. Do you have dual cable-coax business lines from your service provider or hybrid lines that include metro ethernet or similar options as well? Such units capably perform load balances from two separate pipes to endpoint devices. Know how your network is configured and you’ll avoid overspending on a single fat pipe if more affordable dual pipes will handle your peak bandwidth demands.

    To learn more, contact GNS Wireless, an industry leader, at (877) 209-5152 for more information regarding the design and setup of your business’ WiFi network.

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  4. Why Do WiFi Speeds Sometimes Slow to a Crawl- And What to Do About It?

    When business owners can no longer ignore intermittent slow internet speeds, have run a speedtest and have confirmed it is not an issue with their internet provider, then your hardware is the next place to look. If the problem exists at most workstations, it is not likely that one computer is causing the problem at that particular workstation. Check your router next, First, perform the classic test, to unplug your router, wait ten seconds, and then plug it back in. If your router is more than four years old, it is time to upgrade it. New routers now have expanded functionality, which will make future speed issues easier to troubleshoot and to remediate.

    Next, consider it may be time to fix your signal to improve your WiFi speeds. Weak signals can be caused by building materials, changes in the office layout, even breakroom appliances, cordless phones, Bluetooth, and more. Think about the recent changes to your office landscape, your building, and surrounding environment. Another workstation bandwidth hog can be plugins and apps. These programs are so tempting to download, yet are bandwidth-robbing connection hogs. There are extensions that can resolve some of these issues and speed load times, etc.

    Ways to Maximize WiFi Speeds

    Check your server. As with your router, an older DNS server may not be able to handle current usage requirements. If so, consider an upgrade. Today most businesses do not have unlimited budgets for immediate upgrades. While these prove highly cost-effective, it may not be possible to implement immediately. In the interim, prioritize tasks and relegate low priority tasks to times when usage requirements are lighter.

    The upgrades that will increase your WiFi speeds may not prove as expensive as you think. Consult with GNS Wireless. Our professionals have extensive experience assisting business owners to make the upgrades necessary to improve their networks and increase their profitability. Schedule your appointment with us at (877) 209-5152.

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  5. Can WiFi Interference Be Avoided?

    Up to now your enterprise network has been running smoothly, without a hitch. Now, all too frequently, there are service interruptions at certain times of day, and the reasons for these outages cannot easily be traced. If the frequency of these intervals increases, it’s time to troubleshoot the cause of the WiFi interference and remediate, to avoid losing money through lost productivity.

    First, look around for any changes in the office layout. Construction materials can impact wireless communications and greatly truncate their range, and slow their speed to a crawl. Be on the lookout for new concrete, brick, and metal installations. Consider elevator doors, brick facades, even new appliances in the breakroom, which, due to their density, may be slowing your router speeds. The simplest fix here would be to reconfigure your office layout to avoid WiFi interference that may be blocking your signal.

    What to Do if Your WiFi Signal is Blocked

    New tenants in your building? Competing WiFi networks may be impacting your service. If so, check to see if your router has a feature that elects to automatically adjust to the least crowded WiFi channel. This way you can reclaim your fair bandwidth share. Got an older router that does not self-adjust? It could be time for an upgrade!

    Again, if you have just reordered your office layout and now your file transfer and other speeds seem to have slowed considerably, it could also be WiFi interference from other electronics that are not connected to your network, yet operate on the same frequency. Consider Bluetooth devices, cordless phones, microwave ovens in the breakroom, even the TV in the conference room, which all can generate short range interference even when they are turned off. Unplug the presumed culprits, and see if the situation does not improve. Many times, simply moving a device or appliance is all that is needed to restore service. As for cordless phones, these often have a switching capability. If you are running your Wifi service on 5GHz frequency, try moving your phones to a 2.4GHz connection.

    In urban areas and office parks especially, WiFi interference can be an ongoing issue. Let the professionals at GNS Wireless assist you with upgrade recommendations to resolve many of these conflicts. Give us a call at (877) 209-5152 for a confidential consultation, today!

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  6. How to Determine the Real Speed of Your WiFi Equipment

    From time to time, every company owner takes notice that their computers seem slower than usual, and accept this anomaly as just the way the internet is performing that day. Yet may not be aware that they have some choices to limit or to prevent this occurrence. Most business owners would not be aware of their WiFi network’s router speed. Yet this critical component can determine how fast data and documents can be transferred. Advertised speeds are one thing, reality is governed by more than the router’s capabilities. Testing your WiFi equipment, particularly your router speed, can determine how fast your internet connection is, also how long it will take to transfer files across your network. Troubleshooting WiFi is a relatively simple task to perform. To start, here’s how to test the transfer speed to and from your internet provider, as well as the transfer speed between workstations on your LAN.

    Troubleshooting WiFi: Internet Transfer Speed

    1. From any workstation on your LAN, open an internet browser, such as Google. Search for “free speed test website.” Select one and follow the site’s instructions for testing your internet to router speed. Expect the test to take about a minute, slightly longer if you are not using a high-speed internet connection.
    2. Review the Download and Upload speeds posted.
    3. Compare these actual speeds against those advertised by your internet provider. If these numbers are “in the ballpark”, you are receiving optimal output for your spend. If not, it may be time to consider an upgrade in service to process files faster.

    Troubleshooting WiFi: LAN Transfer Speed

    1. Starting again from any workstation on your LAN, right click on the desktop and create a new folder.
    2. Right click the folder; this time, select “Properties”. Now, click the “Sharing” tab, select “Advanced Sharing” and check “Share this Folder.”
    3. Almost done: click “Permissions”, and be sure to check “Allow” for “Everyone”. Lastly, click “OK” and select “Close.”
    4. From another workstation, revisit the free speed test website you selected earlier. This time, however, download the LAN Speed Test program. This program should open automatically.
    5. Locate and click on “Folder/Server IP”, then click on “Network.” Next, select the arrow to the left of the first workstation’s name to select the folder you created. Click “OK”, select “Start Test”, then “OK.” 
    6. As before, this test should not take long. When finished, locate the “Writing and Reading” categories, and read the values for “Mbps.” Writing speed is how fast information is transferred on your intranet; Reading speed is how fast information may be accessed by other computers in your LAN. 

    If it is frequently taking too long for your company computers to “speak” to each other, give the professionals at GNS Wireless a call. We can troubleshoot your WiFi equipment and remediate your LAN speed issues by recommending the right upgrades for your company and your budget! Give us a call today for a consultation: (877) 209-5152.

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  7. What to Know Before Shopping for WiFi Equipment

    Often business owners first see the value of upgrading to a wireless network for their office when they realize how it facilitates user options for each family member at home.

    Once they upgraded to WiFi at home, there was no more jockeying for computer use. One family member could binge watching shows on a tablet, while others were gaming, or uploading photos to social media, or viewing sports in another part of the house. Installing WiFi equipment in lieu of wired, immediately enabled the use of a variety of devices throughout the home, desktops, laptops, Smartphones, tablets, streaming media such as Roku, Chromecast and Apple TV, and even Smart TVs.  If you are thinking about the benefits this technology will bring to your business office, but have not yet grasped the fine details, GNS Wireless presents what to know before you source your WiFi equipment.

    WiFi Equipment 101

    Here’s what you’ll need to know about routers. The chief difference is size, and need is determined by the speed and signal range (output) your business requires. There are two main types of wireless routers (although one is quickly outpacing the other), -802.11n and 802.11ac. 802.11ac are faster, although they are more expensive than 802.11n. There are also dual band routers, such as Netgear’s AC1900 Wireless Gigabit Router (R7000) which supports either 802.11n and 802.11ac frequencies.  

    Another consideration is the construction of the building. Signal degradation must be avoided, however, aluminum studs, insulation, glass, as well as brick and stone can create interference. Generally, for businesses that occupy more than one floor and these floors are separated into rooms, a router with a long range and strong data throughput at a distance is recommended. Router placement is centralized so that is also a consideration.

    Additional information one should know is that despite a router being designated as ‘high speed’, data only moves as fast as the slowest connection. Service providers do offer faster connections, usually up to 100mbps, which usually resolves this issue. Do you allow some clients online access? If so, a guest network can ensure that they do not encounter security roadblocks when they sign on. Speaking of security, routers can be encrypted which is also something to think about for businesses that are in close proximity to others, especially in a congested urban setting.

    GNS Wireless has extensive experience assisting business owners to upgrade their networks to WiFi. For solid advice as to the best WiFi equipment for your business, contact the professionals at GNS Wireless. Our staff will listen to your business requirements and recommend the best WiFi network solution to suits your requirements and your budget. Speak with us at (877) 209-5152, or submit your request via our contact form.

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  8. Why Switch From a Wired to a Wireless Network?

    Statistics indicate that less than 20% of computer users are desktop bound, the greater percentage of internet users are mobile. This dictates a need for accessibility as users move around inside a building, between job sites, on the road, even on campus. Mobile workers use portable technology such as laptops, PDAs, and Smartphones, and gain access through apps and related networks to support their mobility. Wireless LANs, more commonly known as WiFi, has evolved to meet this need. Realizing that wired technology will no longer suffice, many businesses have transitioned to wireless networks. If your business has been slow to adapt, GNS Wireless presents some information to assist in your decision-making process.  

    WLAN Solution Provides Cost-Effective Network Transition, Operations, and Management

    First, factor initial component costs, their installation, and ongoing support. The initial costs for the network will be based on the size and location of an office, and the number of employees, each requiring voice and data to their computer. Again, statistics indicate a yield of up to 90% savings on capital and support costs when installing WiFi over upgrading a wired network. Future expenses experienced with wired networks, such as moves, additional computers and other miscellaneous changes are virtually non-existent with a WLAN. This is because wireless networks are designed to seamlessly support users, who are anticipated to be constantly on the move.  

    Wireless Networks are More Secure

    While not initially the case, WLANs now have bolstered authentication and encryption which allows the network to identify users and their devices, and to apply security policies based on authentication. These policies can include the time and the location from which connection seeks to be established, among other factors. For solid advice as to the best wireless network system for any business, contact the professionals at GNS Wireless. Our staff will listen to your business requirements and recommend the best WiFi network solution to suits your business and your budget. Speak with us at (877) 209-5152, or submit your request via our contact form.

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  9. How to Choose the Right WiFi Equipment for Your Business

    More offices are switching to WiFi to conduct their business, citing its cost-effectiveness and efficiency.  When shopping for a wireless solution, however, most business owners will need a little guidance to identify their network needs and connect them with the right wireless solution.  The experts at GNS Wireless offer the following tips so that business owners are aware of some of the most important questions to consider before making their WiFi equipment purchase.

    Routers

    Small businesses seeking reliable wireless service, will be fine with a standard consumer-grade router. One router will provide a signal strong enough to cover roughly a 2,000-square foot, two-story office. Standard routers will provide up to four Ethernet ports that allow businesses to hardwire their computers directly into the network, or connect extra components including printers, network storage, or any additional access points.

    To provide adequate service to a larger company, there are two options- a VPN Router or a UTM Gateway or Firewall.VPN stands for Virtual Private Network and is used for both wireless networks and Ethernet-only networks. Ethernet-only can be adapted for WiFi, but requires additional access points. These VPN routers are integrated with a VPN server and usually provide users with advanced features including VLAN (virtual LAN- a broadcast domain that is partitioned in a computer network within a Local Area Network) support and multiple SSIDs (SSID stands for service set identifier- it is used to identify a wireless network, like an IP address).Unified Threat Management Gateways offer advanced features and are generally designed as Ethernet-only.These devices offer virus and malware protection in addition to acting as your router and internet gateway. UTM Gateways are ideal for large businesses with security as a core component of their operations.

    Access Points

    Many companies allow their employees to use their own laptops and mobile devices for business. The increase in Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) systems has spawned a need for businesses to provide strong, reliable WiFi to each of those devices. This requirement leaves business owners with the choice to go with a consumer product or one designed just for businesses, which may be further customizable.

    Do not over or under buy. To save money, some small businesses will opt for a consumer grade model over one that’s specifically designed for business use.  Consumer grade applications often lack the key capabilities needed for heavy business use, such as security and manageability. It’s highly recommended that even smaller businesses opt for the enterprise grade models to ensure that they receive the best service. It is always better to spend more than face the consequences of a possible hacked system later.

    Summary

    Strength is only one factor to consider when deciding which WiFi equipment to buy for a wireless network.  When it is time to upgrade or expand your network, be sure to always buy equipment of the same standard.  In other words, do not try to save money by mixing consumer grade with business equipment.  In fact, buying equipment of the same wireless standard assists to optimize your network and saves money over time. Also, greater cost does not always mean a better product. Even though business grade access points might provide you with a more secure wireless signal, don’t let high-cost translate to highest quality.

    Speak with the WiFi equipment professionals at GNS Wireless. We’ll assist you to determine which wireless network components are the right fit for your business needs today and for the foreseeable future. Call us at (877) 209-5152. You can also send us an email, if you’d prefer, to support@gnswireless.com.

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  10. Pros and Cons of Using a Long Range WiFi Antenna

    In recent years, many businesses have moved to the convenience of WiFi. There is little mystery to what a WiFi system is. Think of it as a radio that is used by computers to access the internet. If WiFi is the radio, then a WiFi antenna is the WiFi card’s speaker.  To extend the range of the speakers, upgrade to a bigger antenna. Easy? Not so fast. There are numerous options including Directional Antennas, Omni-Directional, Point-to-Point, and Point to Multi-Point antennas. Which is best for a business depends on individual needs. Business owners who wish to extend the range of their company’s WiFi however, should not just buy the biggest antenna they can afford. As with any technological upgrade, using a long range WiFi antenna has its pros and cons to consider.

    Interference and Long Range WiFi Antennas

    Long range directional antennas divert radio frequency signal energy in one direction to increase the transmission distance. However, this reduces the beamwidth of the signal. Placement is key to achieve the maximum coverage and range. A major consideration and drawback when installing long range WiFi antennas is signal interference. This packet loss issue can be caused by cordless phones, radar signals from traffic lights, to airports, even microwave ovens. However, the most significant concern, when extending range, is the increased possibility of data security breaches on shared channels.

    To make the best choice when extending your WLAN network’s reach, consult with the professionals at GNS Wireless. Our staff will consider individual needs and capably provide the best long distance WiFi antenna solution. Speak with us at (877) 209-5152, or submit your request via our contact form.

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