What is VPN and its Uses?

VPN-Broadband

With advancing applications of the internet, it becomes essential to arm yourself with all the information possible regarding networking technology. And with so much important sensitive information flying across the network, there was a need to develop a way of securing this data.

VPN or virtual private network was the answer to this need as this technology provides a safe and encrypted connection that allows users to access a private network and share information over a less secure public network such as the local internet, while sitting on the other side of the world. The way a firewall protects your sensitive data on your computer, the VPN technology helps protect it online. A VPN allows you to access region-restricted or geo-blocked websites remotely, shield your browsing activities on a public Wi-Fi, etc. Most operating systems include an integrated VPN support that helps in accessing local internet services remotely while bypassing local internet censorship codes. VPN is a simple tool and can be used to do a variety of things including:

1. Business travelers can use the VPN to access their business networks while travelling so they can keep up-to-date with work while they are on the move. VPNs connect to the business network including its local resources, without directly exposing them to the internet, thereby increasing their security.

2. A VPN can also be used to access your home network while you are on the move. This will allow you to access your Windows remote desktop over the internet, use local file shares and even play games on the internet as you if were connected to your LAN!

3. The best part is that if you happen to be using a public Wi-Fi connection, you can actually hide your browsing activities from your local service provider by using a VPN. Without the use of a VPN, your browsing activities on a non-https website become visible to anyone nearby who knows how to use the right tools. While using a VPN, your ISP will only see a secure VPN connection which can bypass connection monitoring; however, you should be aware that your VPN provider may choose to keep a log of your activities.

4. In countries like China, VPNs are being used to bypass censorship and have access to the entire internet – even the blocked parts.

5. You can also use VPNs to access geo-blocked websites; for example, you can connect to a VPN located in America to access American sites like Netflix.

What is DOCSIS Technology?

Broadband

To better understand DOCSIS technology, you first need to understand what it stands for. It is an international telecommunication standard that stands for Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification and is used to provide internet connection via a cable modem. It allows transmission of high bandwidth data transfer over existing cable TV wires. While DOCSIS 1.0 was ratified as far back as 1998, its now also referred to as Certified Cable Modems, emphasizing that the standard is being used to certify cable modems that conform to DOCSIS.

Like most products, DOCSIS has evolved over the years and can now support higher internet service speeds and telephony services, with DOCSIS 3.1 Full Duplex being touted to become the latest standard and for the first time, able to support symmetrical downloads and uploads of 10 Gbps.

You might be wondering whether you really need to know all this information about DOSIS. But it is important as the DOCSIS version matters when it comes to buying an internet package as consumers need to buy a cable modem that is compatible with the cable internet speeds they require. This means that you don’t have to go for the ‘latest version’, but choose the one compatible with the quality of your connection. It also becomes relevant for internet users and ISPs as it allows them to increase speeds without having to replace the coaxial cables completely.

Ideally the fiber technology should be used for high speeds, but that would cost quite a lot, making DOSIS a more practical connection interface. This technology employs a cable modem at the end-user’s premises and another at the ISP’s distribution center. And to break it down further, there are two main components of DOCSIS – the physical (PHY) and the media access control, also known as MAC.

The PHY refers to the equipment as well as the frequency used to transmit data through the various physical systems. The MAC layer on the other hand deals intelligently with the excessive amounts of data being processed, leading to organization and streamlining of signals; each device also gets coupled with an ‘address’ to prevent collision and loss of information.

Understanding this basic technology will help you decide which hardware and service options are needed by you based on your location, internet speed needs as well as budget.

Though you might have gone cross-eyed by now, this information is pertinent to ensuring you stay up-to-date with the latest in technology and get the fastest speeds possible for your money!

Understand the Difference between Mbps and MBps

Broadband

Are you among those people who commonly get jinxed by internet terms? Welcome to the club! For those of you having problems in differentiating between internet metrics such as Mbps and MBps, here is some simple clarification.

Mbps – This stands for megabits per second, where the Mb is used with reference to downloading and uploading speeds.

MBps – This refers to megabytes per second. Here, MB is used with reference to file sizes or to the amount of data transferred.

Though both these terms sound like the same thing, there is a huge difference of speed between them. Most people assume that a download speed of 1 Megabit per second translates into downloading 1 Megabyte file in one second. However this is not the case. Both terms are used for measuring the speed of data transfer between two locations. These terms are commonly encountered when downloading data from the internet or transferring data from one device to another. The connection speed will show up as megabits per second while the downloads or data transferred will show up as megabytes.

To begin with, internet speed is measured in bits, kilobits and megabits. Downloads or file sizes on the other hand are measured in bytes, kilobytes or megabytes.

When downloading, one byte is equivalent to eight bits, meaning that a kilobyte is eight times larger than a kilobit. If you want to know how fast you can download a file, just multiply the size of the file in Megabytes by 8 to get the Megabits. Then divide the file size in Megabits with your internet speed.

But then, what’s your internet speed? It refers to your allocated bandwidth with bandwidth referring to the amount of data that can be delivered to you per second. Generally, Mbps or Megabits are used to describe the speed of your internet connection. Downloads and uploads are measured in Megabits which would then mean that in order to download a 1MB file per second, you would need an 8Mbps connection. In order to find out how much time it will take to download a specific file of known Megabytes, you will first need to convert it into megabits.

Hence if you take a high-speed plan of 100 Mbps, you might think you are onto a good thing, but this only converts to 12.5MBps in theory – and if you factor in the usual bottlenecks, then your effective speed will probably be about 10MBp.

Hope this clears up your confusion a little….

Describe ADSL Technology

Internet

In case digital technology nomenclature is getting you stumped, help is at hand! ADSL simply means Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line and was initially developed to support home internet users who download more frequently than they upload data. The ‘A’ in ADSL is also sometimes used to denote ‘Asynchronous’, as in not going at the same speed rates. Again, this is in reference to greater downloading needs as compared to uploading. Think of downloading as receiving an email and uploading as sending an email; you will realize that you spend more time in downloading content, movies, music, pictures, etc, than is sending out content.

This type of DSL technology provides greater bandwidth and high-speed transmission over copper wires that are already laid for telephone services, thus making ADSL a cheap option for internet connections to homes.

ADSL uses ‘always on’ connectivity and is the commonest type of DSL connectivity offered by internet service providers that utilize telephone wires for offering internet services. To get ADSL to work over your telephone lines, a special filter known as ‘microfilter’ needs to be installed to make it possible for both the ADSL and regular voice services to be used at the same time. It’s installed at the point on the phone line just before the ADSL modem and the telephone, such that both are connected to the microfilter.

In this way, you can access high speeds of up to 6Mbps, but usually receive download speeds of about 2Mbps and uploading speeds of 512Kbps – which is usually sufficient for home use. Furthermore, ADSL is a type of broadband internet connection that can only be used over short distances of less than 4km or so from the central exchange to your home or office. While there are different ways in which you can access internet, such as through ADSL, cables, fiber-optics, mobile broadband, wireless technology, 3G, 4G, LTE, etc, ADSL stands out as it uses fixed telephone copper wire connections between the exchange and your home.

You might be wondering whether it was really necessary to make the DSL connection to be asymmetrical (ADSL); however, you should realize that it’s always better to utilize a good thing to the maximum. Since more ‘lanes’ are being used on one side of the ‘road’ than on the other side, similarly, it makes more sense to make greater provisions for downloading speeds than uploading speeds.

….For the few that do upload more, they still need to download heavily to collect content before uploading!

Most Popular Modems with their Specifications

Internet - Modem

A modem is a hardware device or a network bridge that allows your computer to communicate with your internet service provider through a DSL or cable lines. It converts analog signals into digital signals to enable you access broadband internet for bi-directional data communication; you can receive high-speed internet data this way. Since cable modems are an ‘always-on’ connection with fast data transfer rates, they are considered as being part of broadband devices.

Usually, the internet service provider provides you with a modem that’s suitable to the speeds you are availing, but going for a modem of your own choice might enable better performance. However, before buying a modem, make sure it’s compatible with your internet service. Most DSL and cable providers use different delivery methods for their internet service, so you will need to buy one that is accordingly compatible.

Most ISPs make it difficult to use a modem other than their own by using DOCSIS (data over cable service interface specification) standards to send information to your modem. Other ISPs use cable or DSL (digital subscriber line) modems to connect your home/office to the internet network. If you are using telephone lines to access the internet, chances are you will need a DSL modem.

If you are hooked up with a cable internet provider, then go with the Arris SB6141 which offers great compatibility with the ISP as well as enhancing performance and design. If your ISP offers DSL connections, then you should know that they can come in two forms – as ADSL (asymmetric digital subscriber line) and as VDSL (very-high-bit-rate digital subscriber line).

The best DSL modems available in the market are compatible with both these two types of DSL connections. The Netgear AC1600 DSL modem which comes combined with a router is compatible with both ADSL and VDSL internet providers and is one of the best.

And if you are thinking what type of connection you have, just check the back of the modem provided to you – if it has a coaxial connection, then you have cable internet; but if it has a telephone connection, then you will need to get a DSL modem. One thing you must check when buying a modem is the number of downloading and uploading channels available on it; the higher the number, the better it is as it will give you better speeds and performance. You could even think of buying a modem-router combo for greater practicality.

What is VoIP and its Role in the current Scenario?

VoIP-Broadband

Voice over internet protocol, also known as VoIP or IP telephony refers to the transmission of audio and video content over internet protocol (IP) networks. VoIP utilizes technologies including the broadband internet, local area networks (LAN) and wide area networks (WAN).

The steps involved in VoIP phone calls are not too different from traditional digital telephony and include an initial signalling, channel set-up, digitization of signals and encoding. During the process of transmission, audio/video signals are first packetized before sending; upon delivery, they are again decoded. Aside from VoIP phones, this technology is also available on personal computers and other devices that use internet data, including the popular smartphones.

Even though VoIP has been in the news as being one of the rising stars in communication technology, it has been in use since the last millennium. The steady availability of cutting-edge technological advancements in the IT industry in the present scenario has lead to an explosion of its use in India currently. So much so that it has now become a game-changer for the way small and medium-size businesses operate.

VoIP provides amazing flexibility for its use in businesses and allows IT decision-makers everywhere to take or make calls anywhere at any time without having to be restricted to a specific device or expensive infrastructure. This not only drives businesses towards greater productivity but also allows for constant, easy and cheap communication between people on the move and their home-base.

The consumer market is also flooded with other highly popular VoIP applications including WhatsApp, Skype, Facetime and Viber. This has further been aided by the huge base of smartphone users and easy availability of supporting bandwidth, even in Tier II and Tier III cities. As of 2016, internet usage on smartphones had shot up to 371 million users, giving you an idea of the potential usage of VoIP in India. It not only boosts productivity but also offers businesses the option to consider VoIP as a primary tool for communication. Unfortunately, the Indian market has been slow in picking up on this offering and is sticking to expensive on-site set-ups.

Some of the advantages of VoIP usage include connecting from anywhere as geographical barriers vanish, connecting from any device (from mobiles, traditional phones or the web) and being more affordable. VoIP is touted to become the future of telecommunication – whether business enterprises or regular consumers and may well create a unified Indian communication industry!

How to gain Maximum Efficiency from your Broadband

Efficiency of Broadband

Times have changed and the internet has now become as essential as the very air we breathe. We need it for almost everything starting from checking the news, keeping up with businesses, office work, watching YouTube and movies, music, homework, general information and of course as a cheap way of keeping in touch with people. In fact, you name it, and the internet will be needed for it at some level or the other!

But internet comes at a price and to get the maximum benefits out of it, you first need to check if you are getting the speeds you are paying for. Aside from your internet service provider, there are some other factors too that affect your broadband speeds. These could include your computer, browser, hardware, software, router or the Wi-Fi. Here are some ways to get maximum efficiency out of your broadband connection:

Computer Settings

Check that your computer is set for optimal download speeds as even Microsoft Windows 8 default settings aren’t optimized for high-speed internet connections and could be slowing you down. Download the free tool called ‘TCP Optimizer’ and get your settings changed to maximize your connection speeds.

Service Provider

Alternatively, talk to your ISP about your broadband package as speeds can vary over distance and you might not be getting the speeds you paid for due to the distance from the exchange. Or you could try changing your broadband package and go for higher speeds.

Web Browser

It’s important to keep your web browser up-to-date, ensuring you have the latest and fastest versions. Alternatively, you could also configure your browser itself to maximize the speed of your browsing. An example is Google Chrome which automatically pre-fetches and downloads pages in the background, which it thinks you might want to see next. Browsers like Firefox also offer ‘Image Block’ which is an add-on that you can install to enhance your speed performances.

Software programs

There are many software programs that start running in the background once you log on. These can use up quite a bit of your download allowance and slow down your PC. While some programs like updates and security are important, others can be stopped by changing the settings. Install a free version of ‘PC Speed Up’ for better control over these software programs.

Router/Modem

Use a router that’s compatible with your internet speeds and performance; for wireless routers, reposition your router and ensure there are no obstructions in the way.

Benefits of Unlimited Plans over Ordinary Data Limited Plans

Asianet Broadband's Unlimited Plans

In this technology-driven world, your internet connection is of primary importance as it plays a great role in almost all aspects of life these days. Without the internet, completing work assignments, whether in school or offices, as well as for staying in touch, can become quite difficult and drag you back to the last century.

With businesses and competitions in all sectors heating up, internet service providers (ISP) are also coming out with numerous, complicated-looking plans that could get you going round in circles – and ending up making the wrong decision. So before going shopping for an internet connection, you need to have an understanding of your internet usage and needs to help streamline you towards the right data plan.

One of the major factors you will need to clear-up is an understanding of the limited and unlimited data plans. The limited internet plans offer a fixed data size, which basically means that once you have consumed the bytes paid for, you are out on a leg and can’t browse the internet. In unlimited plans, this scenario doesn’t occur as you have free access for data usage till the expiration of your plan.

There is a price difference also associated with limited and unlimited plans, with unlimited being more expensive by virtue of its limitless advantage. In limited plans, you get to pay upfront before using the data while in unlimited, you are billed at the end of the plan, depending on the amount of data used.

Pros and Cons:

Limited plans offer a pre-determined amount of data/megabytes, making them comparatively cheaper and more affordable than the unlimited form, where the drawback is that you might end up using too much data, resulting in unexpectedly high bills. However, if you end up using all the bytes allocated for your limited plan within a week, then you are out on a leg and have to opt for another plan!

Judging by this, it’s important you have an idea about your specific data needs before deciding on a data plan. If your usage is low and you only go online for work emails or instant messaging, then limited plans seem to be the best for you. However, if you are into downloading files, streaming videos, etc, then you fall into the category of medium or heavy user, making unlimited plans a better option.

Most ISPs provide several limited and unlimited plans, ensuring there is a suitable option for everyone.

Differentiate between MBps and Mbps Speed

The internet has made the world into a global village where all things big and small are shared across the world in the form of documents, videos or audio… However, the internet language still stumps many and some even get taken for a ride just because they didn’t understand what they were signing up for.

When shopping for an internet connection, have you ever wondered what the ‘Mbps’ and ‘MBps’ stood for? To start with, in internet lingo, the small ‘b’ stands for ‘bits’ and the big ‘B’ stands for ‘Bytes’. Furthermore, Mbps stands for megabits per second while MBps stands for megabytes per second. Both are measurements of data with 8 bits being equal to 1 byte. One megabit refers to 1,000,000 bits and one megabyte refers to 1,000,000 bytes.

differentiate-between-MBps-and-Mbps-speed

While the above terms are similar, Mbps refers to internet connection speeds while MBps refers to file or data transferred per second – this includes both downloads and uploads.

Internet service providers advertise their internet speeds in terms of Mbps with higher Mbps denoting greater internet speeds; however you may not always be able to avail of the advertised speeds as other factors including the type of technology used, the number of users online in your neighborhood during peak hours or even the distance of your connection from the ISP’s service center. Mbps is usually represented as two numbers, such as 42/24, with the first representing download speeds and the latter referring to upload speeds.

Megabytes or MBps is used as a measure of file sizes and their transfer rates per second. Similar to the bits to bytes ratio, 8 megabits make up one megabyte. In order to determine how many bytes you are capable of downloading or uploading, divide the file size by your MBps to get an approximate idea of length of time required for download or upload. For example if you want to download a 10MB file with internet speed of 16 Mbps, you first need to divide your MBps by 8, which gives you 2; then divide the 10 MB file size with 2, which gives you 5. This means that you need about 5 seconds to download a 10MB file at internet speed of 16Mbps.

Having an idea this way about your online needs gives you an idea of the amount of internet speeds you require. So when next you go internet shopping, you now know the kind of Mbps or internet speeds you need.

 

What does one mean by ‘Bandwidth of Internet/Broadband’ ?

The internet has come of age, with almost every household having a connection. It could be connected to the mobile or the home computers. However, the question remains whether the users really understand the meaning of the nomenclature that goes with internet usage. Beginning with internet bandwidth or internet broadband, the user needs to know what these words mean so they know exactly what they are dealing with.

Put simply, the bandwidth refers to the data speed supported by the network; it is derived from the engineering discipline and represents the distance between the highest and lowest signals on a communication channel, which in this case is the band. Higher bandwidths indicate greater capacity, but not necessarily a higher performance.

what-does-one-mean-by-bandwidth-of-internet-or-broadband

However, it’s rare that you actually get to enjoy the bandwidth speeds that your internet provider promises you. This could be dependent on a number of factors including the kind of connection technology you use – whether fiber optics, coaxial cables, etc. It can also depend on how many people are sharing the same line, as well as the distance of the connection from the server’s distribution point. It also depends on the kind of package you have opted for or how many people are on the network at the same time – peak-use hours are notorious for low internet speeds.

Internet broadband in telecommunication terms refers to the wide bandwidth of frequencies for data transmission; the broader the bandwidth, the greater is the data-carrying capacity of that band. It also refers to any high-speed internet access that is always available. Broadband can be accessed using various different technologies ranging from coaxial, fiber optics, dial-up access, etc, with the type of technology used determining the actual speeds delivered to your computer. The internet speed also determines the quality of your video, audio or data downloads, so you need to get a broadband connection that can sustain the speeds needed for your activities on the internet.

Since broadband providers only know how much speed they can offer, and not whether it can be maintained continuously, they advertise speeds within a range.

Put simply, broadband refers to the internet speed with bandwidth referring to the width of the conduit or ‘pipe’ in which the data is travelling. The wider the ‘pipe’, the larger the bandwidth that can travel through it; the speed of transfers also increases accordingly.

Now that you know your speed needs, check which broadband technology delivers it best.