What is Network Technology?

Types of Network Technology - Asianet Broadband

To put it simplistically, network technology refers to any technology by which two or more computers communicate with one another. This technology helps us in networking with other people through a network of computers and electrical devices. It could be as simple as using a dial-up connection between two devices or as big as the whole world wide internet network itself.

The main features covered by network technology include:

Communication devices

These include both cable and wireless devices such as routers, adapters, modems, etc.

Intranet and Extranet

These include the public and private network technologies.

Communication tools

These include texting and video conferencing tools as part of networking technologies.

Network technology can include home Wi-Fi connections, wired local area connections, undersea cables connecting devices or satellite signals around the globe. From the layman’s point of view though, network technology is any technology which enables two people to communicate with one another. And the only reason why we have these networks is that humans constantly need to communicate with one another. There are three main types of private networks which are subdivided based on their network size, amount of data transferring capacity and the area covered. These categories of networks include:

LAN

This stands for ‘Local Area Network’ and is the simplest form of network. It comprises a group of computers that all belong to the same organization and are linked together within a limited geographical area such as a building. It can include anywhere from 100 – 1000 users. They also use the same technology, with Ethernet being the most widely preferred option. Data transfer speeds over a local area network can reach 10Mbps (Ethernet network) and 1Gbps (FDDI or Gigabit Ethernet).

MAN

This refers to ‘Metropolitan Area Network’ and is a combination of multiple LANs located geographically close to one another within a neighbourhood of a city of up to a few dozen kilometres and connected together at high speeds. A MAN consists of switches or routers connected to each other using high-speed cables such as fibre optic cables.

WAN

This stands for ‘Wide Area Network’ and refers to extended networks that are made up of multiple LANs connected to one another over large geographical areas – such as within a state or country. This technology is comparatively expensive and speeds available are dependent on the distance. Since covering a large area with cable is expensive, WAN usually uses wireless technology. A common example is internet.

Other types of network technology include TANs (Tiny Area Network) where 2-3 computers are involved and CANs (Campus Area Network) and are similar to MANs.

What is a Modem Used For?

Uses of Modems - Asianet Broadband

With the world chugging along at top-speed to get fully digitalized, it’s essential to know the function of each and every part of your internet device. To begin with, there is the tiny box-like modem which serves as a common link between your computer and your internet connection. And if you are using a DSL connection, then your modem will connect to a special wall outlet – and if it’s a cable connection, then it will connect to the available coaxial cable box.

Modems formally came into existence in the 1960’s and were used to allow terminals to connect to computers over existing phone lines. They are typically used to send digital data over phone lines or coaxial cables. Basically, modems talk analogue while computers talk digital, so a modem is needed in-between as a translator. The modem works by translating data sent to it in the form of analogue waves over telephone lines or cables and converts them into digital content before delivering it to your computer. The sending modem modulates the data into analogue signals compatible with the phone while the receiving modem demodulates the signals into digital data compatible with the computer. So the word ‘modem’ is basically a contraction of the words ‘modulator’ and ‘demodulator’.

And in this way the modem connects you to the internet, enabling you to send and receive emails, upload and download files, play games and stream videos and music.

You will also find that there are different kinds of modems available out there which are designed to go with the specific type of internet connection you have.

Cable modems

These types of modems use coaxial cables. One end of the cable connects to the back of the modem while the other end exits into your cable box or a special wall outlet.

DSL modems

These can connect to an external modem (just like with cables) or the computer can come with an already inbuilt internal modem that can dial-in through your phone lines. And unlike the dial-up modems, it’s possible to access the internet while the phone is in use.

Dial-up Modems

This is the oldest method of accessing the internet connection and uses your traditional phone lines to connect to the internet service provider. As compared to the cable modems and DSL modems, dial-up modems are slower. Another shortcoming is that you can’t access the internet while the phone is in use for talking.

Hope you have a better idea on the basic workings of a modem now!

What are Network Security Threats?

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While your mother may have told you never to talk to strangers, the same advice is needed when dealing with the virtual world online. You know that you shouldn’t share your bank details with anyone, yet, are you sure that the website you are logging in is actually your bank’s website and not some cybercriminals creation? The World-Wide-Web is increasingly becoming a dangerous place and network threats have become a daily source of a headache to internet users and businesses and everyone needs to be extra vigilant online.

Though you might have invested in the next-generation of defences against malware, there are still numerous unknown network security threats lurking behind your screen. You need to be aware of all these threats to stay safe online. Here’s a brief summary of some of these threats:

Malware

This stands for malicious software and refers to a variety of hostile and intrusive software or program code.

Computer viruses

These viruses can corrupt files, steal data or even delete data – sometimes to the extent of erasing everything on the hard drive. A virus can also use your email to spread itself to your online contacts’ computers.

Trojan horse

You can accidentally download this software by clicking on some innocent-looking application. Once it gains access to your computer, a Trojan horse can do almost anything, right from stealing your passwords by logging keystrokes, down to hijacking your webcam function and following your every movement.

Malicious spyware

This refers to Trojan applications that are created by cyber criminals for spying on people. An example is the keylogger software marketed to parents or businesses that want to keep tabs on their kids or employees. The software records every keystroke of the victim and then sends it back to the hacker.

Computer worm

This software program replicates very fast and can transfer from one computer to another without human help. It can spread to all your contacts and to your contact’s contact list too.

Rogue security software

This rogue software entices people to click onto it for installing or updating your security. They appear as pop-up windows and actually download malicious software onto your device.

Botnet

This refers to a group of computers connected online and compromised by cybercriminals using a computer virus or Trojan horse. The Botnet is controlled by a ‘Bot Master’ who can spread spam emails or cause a DoS attack, leading to web servers crashing due to the overload of access requests.

Spam

This refers to sending unwanted messages from your email inbox.

Phishing

These are fraudulent attempts by cybercriminals to collect vital personal information while posing as legitimate sources.

Know How to get Maximum Internet Speeds

Increase Internet Speed - Asianet Broadband

Are your downloading speeds lower than what your ISP promised? Before you start blaming your service provider and thinking of changing your internet plan, you should know that internet speeds depend on a number of other factors too. These factors can be external or internal to your network.

Problems with speed could arise due to issues with the network card, the network cable, the operating system, the router, the modem, etc. Here is an in-depth look at maximizing your internet speeds:

Operating system

When it comes to improving speeds, it might pay to invest in a modern operating system which can utilize the latest networking protocols and services. This is the most important software in a computer as it manages all other software and hardware on your devices. It also manages the computer’s memory and processes, making it pertinent to a maximally functioning device. Using this updated system, you can also keep tabs on the latest viruses and malware which can steal data and slow down your speeds.

Latest technology

Investing in the latest devices could be a boon for maximizing internet speeds. Go for a mesh network router which allows you to place smaller, repeater routers all over the home, thus multiplying the signal strength throughout the building. Ensure that your router is secure so no one can use your bandwidth.

Web browser

Depending on the brand and version of the browser you use, you could make a lot of difference to your speeds. Go with the latest browser versions of Google Chrome or Firefox. Disable any unnecessary add-ons, toolbars or other extensions that hog memory and slow down your device’s speed. You could also try blocking ads on websites and save on bandwidth.

Router

Try rebooting your router as they tend to pick up interferences and bring down speeds. Simply unplugging the system for a minute should do the trick. This will result in its picking a less congested highway, delivering better speeds.

Location of Router

Keep your router in an open central location that’s free of obstructions. Don’t keep it locked away neatly in a cabinet as this will result in weak signals delivering slower speeds. Wall-mounting is a better idea.

Signals

If many devices are connected while you are trying to download large files, it might help to shut down them down – you will get better speeds that way. Aside from this, modern homes have numerous other signal-emitting devices that could interfere with your router’s traffic, thus creating conflicting signals. Ensure that devices like microwave ovens, cordless phones and cameras, baby monitors, wireless surveillance systems, motion sensors, Bluetooth devices, etc, are switched off when not in use.

What are Important Internet Safety Tips?

Online Safety Tips - Asianet Broadband

The internet isn’t a safe place anymore with hackers, scammers and malicious malware becoming constant threats just around the corner. And it’s not just your computer or laptop that is at risk, but any device including your smartphone that can become the victim of hacking.

You can, however, take some important precautions and with a few nifty tweaks to your devices, your exposure to security risks can be greatly reduced. Here are some tips to get you started:

Password

Creating complex strong passwords for your important accounts should be a given to provide security to your personal and financial information. And don’t use the same passwords for multiple accounts as it’s easy for hackers to get in. For accounts that contain highly confidential information, you could even use multi-factor authentication where multiple pieces of information are needed to log in.

Privacy settings

Marketers and hackers can get a lot of information about you from your browsing history. Many major websites including Facebook offer privacy settings which can be deployed to enhance your privacy.

Network security

Once you have ensured your log-ins are safe, the next step is to ensure that your network connection is safe. At home and at work, you probably use a password-encrypted router; in public places, however, it’s easy for hackers to get into the public WiFi and access information off your device. Use VPN software for secure connection anywhere.

Safe browsing

Cybercriminals use exciting or lurid content to tempt people into opening unsafe links and let their guard down. One careless click on an interesting looking quiz or ‘free offers,’ can result in your giving away critical information unknowingly. Be careful what you click on and remain safe.

Firewall

With the internet of things gaining popularity, more and more of your home devices are becoming vulnerable to hackers as they don’t come equipped with security measures. Using a firewall ensures denial of unauthorized access to all your devices linked to your network.

Stay updated

Turn on automatic security updates for your software and set it to run regular scans. Install an efficient antivirus software.

Practice safe shopping

Always use secure websites that begin with ‘https’ (the‘s’ represents security) instead of just ‘http’ as they are encrypted and scramble your data. A secure URL should also show the symbol of a padlock, proving its legitimacy.

Play safe

Be careful what you post online or which sites you visit or what personal information you share online. Also, make it a point to regularly backup your data in case something goes wrong.

Use the internet safely and prevent yourself a headache later!

Know How to Improve Internet Speeds

Improve WiFi Speed - Asianet Broadband

For those who have been using the internet for some time, the importance of internet speeds is of primary concern when choosing an internet service provider. Aside from this factor, you can take some other precautions on your own to ensure you are availing of the best internet speeds possible. With most homes having multiple internet users, the importance of WiFi cannot be overemphasized. Here are some ways to powering up your WiFi output:

Latest technology

Using the latest type of hardware is the best way to ensure a speedy network, especially if you are into streaming HD videos. Using a mesh network router allows you to place smaller routers throughout your home to create a strong signal everywhere within your home. One router acts as the base station while the remaining behave as signal repeaters.

Reboot your router

Since modems are set up to detect interference from nearby networks, they tend to pick up interference along the way, slowing down speeds. Rebooting the system could result in its picking up a less congested signal highway which would improve services. Simply unplug the system, wait for a minute and then plug in again.

Traffic

If others are using the same network to download large files or streaming media, it might bring down your speed. Consider turning off these bandwidth-hogging devices to improve your speed.

Router location

For the best network coverage, consider changing the location of your wireless router to an open central space without any walls or obstructions. The router needs to be kept properly ventilated and free of dust too. To keep things looking neat, some people even keep their routers hidden inside closed cabinets – this is a guaranteed way of delivering weak signals of low speeds. Consider wall mounting it if nothing else works.

Conflicting signals

These days many household devices can also interfere with internet signals. Cordless phones, microwaves, automated switches or cordless cameras can all produce conflicting signals for your WiFi router. Other items that interfere with WiFi signals include mobile phones, Bluetooth devices, fans, fluorescent lamps, wireless speakers, wireless surveillance systems, motion sensors, wireless baby monitors, televisions, photocopy machines and even garage door openers. These all result in weakening of signals of your internet connection along with inherent speeds.Try unplugging or removing batteries from these devices when not in use to reduce the interference with router signals which result in inconsistent speeds. You could also work on keeping these items further away from the router.

Hopefully, these tweaks will help in making your WiFi faster and more reliable than before.

Internet Safety for Kids

Internet Safety for Children - Asianet Broadband

With hacks, scams and malware floating around, the internet can be a very dangerous place. Add to that an ever-evolving world where educational methods are also changing and kids are constantly being referred to the internet for their homework, projects and research. This further introduces them to the culture of playing interactive games online too.

Such a scenario is enough to send any parent’s antenna buzzing. Internet access sure can expose kids to potentially dangerous hazards. And as with any safety issue, it’s always better to have a frank talk with your child about the resident evils of the seemingly innocuous world of the internet. This is aside from utilizing modern security resources to keep an eye on their online activities as well as protect them.

Here are some online safety guidelines to share with them:

  • Never share out your password with anyone as they can easily access a lot of personal information about your habits this way.
  • Don’t get friendly with people online that you first don’t know offline, even if they claim to be your friend’s friends.
  • Always remember that not everyone you meet online is who they actually claim to be. Many are spammers and predators waiting for an easy prey.
  • Never agree to meet up with people you meet online – however friendly they may seem. Inform your parents about such people.
  • Think twice before posting pictures and videos of yourself. Once you have posted it, it goes public and almost anyone can download it and misuse it.
  • Never mention your current status as a location as child predators will then know where to find you. Posting highly personal information like emails or physical addresses and mobile numbers can prove to be highly risky too.
  • Keep your privacy settings to as high as possible on your internet connected device.
  • Learn to click smart. Many phishing scams aimed at collecting personal information for fraudulent purposes come attached with innocent-looking pages while surfing. They might appear as phoney ‘free offers’, interesting ‘online quizzes’ or as spam emails. Always be careful with offers that seem too-good-to-be-true!
  • Don’t use public forums for chatting and don’t give your opinions if you know it varies from others’ views. Think twice before giving away any information about yourself.
  • If you have to be a member of social media websites including the popular Facebook, ensure that you don’t use your picture as a profile picture – put up a neutral inanimate photo. Finally, always keep your guard up when giving out any information about yourself!

Details on Wireless Network Security Issues

Wireless Network Security Issues - Asianet Broadband

Modern lifestyles ensure that you are always connected to the internet – in the form of smartphones, laptops, tablets, gaming systems or in cars. And all this is possible because of wireless technology, or WiFi. Wireless technology employs radio frequency instead of copper wires or fibre optics (light). With this type of technology gaining popularity everywhere because of its convenience and cost-effectiveness, many people don’t realize that they are also becoming exposed to security and speed issues.

Using free WiFi available in public spaces like hotels, parks and retail stores might seem like fun, but they aren’t secure connection and the likelihood of your being targeted is high. You should stick to using WiFi connections that are encrypted and are password protected – like your own personal one!

Wired connections need physical access to be hacked but the security of wireless networks can be easily compromised and targeted from a distance away. General security of wireless connections falls into three categories:

Confidentiality: You should be able to ensure that the data being sent over the network should only be accessible by the recipient(s). Encrypting the data in a manner similar to wired network connections is the best way to ensure that unauthorized persons are unable to access your data.

Encryption on its own is ineffective; it needs to be backed up with authentication since unauthorized users can get onto the network and get the key to decrypt your data. You need a centralized system which securely stores access control lists and this works fine when there are a fixed number of known users. But when it comes to the Bluetooth network which is more ad-hoc in nature, the above system isn’t applicable. This is because of the changing set of users.

Integrity: This refers to the sent packets of data reaching the recipient in an intact state. Data sent over wireless networks can be easily intercepted and modified by malicious users. This means that wireless networks are more prone to attacks on the integrity of your sent data. Using securities like Checksums ensures the integrity of your data packets over a wireless system, however.

Availability: Wireless networks should always be available to the users, but in reality, their security can be easily overcome from a distance of about a 100m. They are particularly vulnerable to DoS (Denial of Services) attacks where malicious users deny the rightful owner access to the network. The best thing you can do is be vigilant and ensure that your security is adapted to standard changes to ensure high levels of security.

Hopefully, this information was useful to you!

Tips to Reduce Excessive Data Usage

Reduce Excessive Data Usage - Asianet Broadband

 

Computers have become so much a part of modern life that one feels helpless without them. They are the lifeline for everything, including staying in touch, sharing and finding information, business, education, entertainment, etc. People spend hours on the net daily, browsing through favourite websites, enjoying music and videos or simply hanging out on social networking sites. All this is aside from official uses by businesses and organizations.

An important concern that crops up often with such frequent network users is the internet speed and data usages. This is because people are usually on plans that come with fixed data usage and bandwidth. Searching for ways to minimize data usage is usually a point of interest for such heavy users. Interestingly enough there are a number of ways by which you can control your data usage. This would result in increasing browsing time as well as download speeds. Here are some interesting tips and tricks to minimize your data usage:

Metered Connection

You should set your Windows connection as ‘Metered’ so that Windows is aware that you have limited data. It will stop using excessive data for upgrades and sync in the background. It basically puts a brake on all the background data vampires that hog bandwidth.

Optional Browser

In case you are still using the default Microsoft browser, it’s time to ditch it. Internet Explorer and Microsoft lag far behind browsers like Google Chrome which use compression technology and booster modes which load web pages much faster using lesser data.

Data saver

Chrome has a data saver feature which you can install as it saves on bandwidth by restricting download of images on web pages and sets plug-ins as ‘click-to-run’ only. This reduces your data usage considerably.

Disable Auto updates

Software like anti-virus, security, iTunes, etc, keep auto-updating in the background once the PC is in use. You need to disable them to conserve data.

Auto-start

A number of apps and software start loading and hogging data when you boot your PC. You need to select the apps that you don’t want starting automatically and block them.

Adware and malware

Scan your PC for malware and remove it. This reduces internet usage and secures your memory resources.

Disable Cloud

Disable cloud services like Google Drive or Dropbox. Cloud storage syncs your data and files in the background, consuming bandwidth. A better option is to save your files offline.

Disable auto-sync and Backups

While people prefer to automatically backup their files, it’s better to do it manually as it consumes fewer data. Reduce frequency of sync and backup too to save on data.

Pros and Cons of VOIP

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Also known as Voice over IP, VOIP is gaining importance all over the world wherever internet is available. It allows callers to make free phone calls over a LAN (local area network) or internet. This technology has a list of attractive features and a price that’s unbeatable.

VOIP essentially uses a technology that converts analogue voice signals into digital packets of information. And when these packets are sent over the internet, they allow conversations to take place in any part of the world with internet connectivity. Businesses which require frequent voice connectivity are increasingly turning towards cheap VOIP technology.

While VOIP has numerous benefits, it’s only fair to mention that it has its share of disadvantages too. Here is a look at some of these pros and cons:

Pros
  • Low cost: Compared to the traditional phone, VOIP phones are very cheap as they work off the internet. With VOIP, calls from PC to PC are free and from PC to landlines, there is a nominal charge. You also don’t have to pay monthly rentals as with traditional phones. You only need pay for the internet and the VOIP is taken care of automatically.
  • Accessibility: A VOIP phone isn’t affected by location or distance. As long as you are able to sign into your broadband account and connect with another PC, whether it’s on the road, the office, home or across the country, your VOIP calls are going to cost the same. This portability makes your VOIP phone more convenient than the conventional phone line.
  • Features: VOIP services are rich with features which would cost you extra over a traditional landline. Features like call waiting, call forwarding, caller ID or conferencing come at no additional cost with VOIP. You can even exchange data files during the conversation, making meetings more meaningful. You can also connect numerous phones to the same VOIP with only the bandwidth being the limiting factor.
Cons
  • Bandwidth dependency: Sometimes during peak hours, the bandwidth available may be insufficient or the connection may be limited to clear VOIP calls, thereby reducing sound quality. You may need to check your network speeds.
  • Internet connection: You can’t operate a VOIP phone without a reliable internet connection with sufficient bandwidth. Your VOIP call will fail.
  • Power supply: VOIP systems, along with the internet, require an uninterrupted power supply to remain functional – unlike the traditional phones.
  • Latency: Due to network congestions, there may be delays or lags in VOIP data packet delivery. This results in annoying delayed quality-voice deliveries.

However, the advantages of VOIP appear to outweigh the disadvantages.