As it heads towards that time of week when our roads and our broadband clog up with sheer weight of traffic and everything runs slow, Raj Deokar (Pink Connect Northampton) has some words of advice on how to improve your broadband connection speed.
There are many factors that affect speed of broadband. Some of the key ones are:
Have a look at the back of your TV. How many wires can you see? Three, four, maybe more if you have several devices plugged in. Of course each device will have a power cable, and a video and/or sound output. And maybe a network connection in the case of Blu-Ray Players, and consoles. This all makes quite a mess, but have no fear, the back of your TV, your PC, or whatever other video devices you may own will soon be much tidier, with the introduction of HDBaseT.
What is HDBaseT? It is the same cable you use to connect to the internet. Old technology… on the way out – or is it? HDBaseT Alliance, the standardisation committee for 100BaseT ethernet cable, and now the new HDBaseT standard, are relaunching the humble cable as a solve-all solution. One cable will be able to supply 100Mbit/s Networking, HD video, Lossless (HD) Audio, Control Signals (like a remote control) and most importantly up to one hundred Watts of power. I am sure you have already realised the implications of this, but I will go through a few benefits of this new technology.
Imagine you get your office cabled with Cat5e, sockets all along the walls. Into these sockets you can plug in almost anything, without worrying about power supplies, or stretching other cables. Projectors, screens, even small laptops could be easily moved from room to room as required, without the hassle of power cables and transformers. Plug in a single cable and you get access to everything you need. It would be easy to set up shared resources such as DVR/Blu-Ray or other video devices and then access them from any room linked into the same network, without moving the device.
One area this technology could really become useful is CCTV systems, where a single cable can run out to each camera, carrying everything necessary. Cameras could be easily moved on a random rotation, simply by plugging into a close Ethernet port. Network attached storage devices are another technology which would benefit, and could be easily moved around the building, no longer needing to be close to a power point. More advanced telephone systems could all be connected with a single cable. The potential for a connector like this is limited only by our imagination, and we can think up some crazy things! Whatever business you are in, HDBaseT cabling will most likely be in your future.
All around us, things are getting bigger, (or smaller in the case of the iPod) and things are getting faster, (or slower in the case of computer software that you really really need to load right now!!!) This also applies to hard drives. Many moons ago now, Western Digital released its first Raptor drive, which at the time rivalled any other conventional consumer hard drive for speed. Its one limiting factor was the rather low 37GB capacity, but Western Digital soon did their best to rectify this, when they released the new 74GB version in 2004. Two years later, the 150GB version appeared, making this drive unequalled in its usefulness in a home environment where both speed and size mattered, and also indispensable for small businesses needing a cheaper server solution.
But what about those who need more than 150GB storage? While Western Digital’s creative department were away making fast drives, everyone else (including their normal department) made big drives, for those people who have lots of… stuff? 250GB soon became 500GB, then Hitachi released their Deskstar 7K1000, capable of storing 1TB of data. Now we have 2TB drives, capable of storing much more data than any sensible person would ever need. Most recently, Samsung are releasing a new 2TB “eco” drive, which can provide up to “23-percent lower power consumption”, whilst still maintaining its performance.
So what does this mean for the average user? Simply put you will be able to future proof any of your systems against the likelihood of running out of space for some years, while staying “green” and for what will most likely be about £100. Good deal? Yes!
In a world of so much choice, the tools allowing us to make those choices are important. One of the biggest decisions for a business in recent times has always been ‘internet’. The internet is a complicated infrastructure, with thousands of service providers and hosting companies, all doing their bit to expand the internet and to provide others with the tools and information to do their job. With almost all companies using the internet to some degree, it is important that as a service provider, Pink Connect Ltd gives their customers the best connection for what they need, and that our customers know exactly what they are going to get, and what other choices are available to them through our useful broadband package system. For this task, some special tools are needed, and the most useful of these are the websites allowing us to supply information regarding internet connections to a customer, before they order it.
SamKnows is one of the most popular ADSL resource sites on the internet, providing a lot of useful information about specific connections, about exchanges, or about ADSL as a whole. Their most useful feature for us is the Broadband Checker, which will allow us to estimate the download speeds on most connections before we install them. The checker is very simple to use, just enter a telephone number, or postcode, or both and get information regarding that connection/postcode. You will get a set of results, which you can browse through with the tabs down the left hand side of the central box, but the most useful of these is the “BT ADSL” tab, which will bring up a result like this.
This page will give you information on the specific line, such as whether ADSL is actually enabled at the local exchange, whether it is enabled for further services, such as ADSL Max, ADSL2+ and 21CN. It will also tell us the speeds to be expected on the line. All of these are important to learn as much as possible about the line, and let the customer know what to expect from their connection. Another useful tab, is the “BT 21CN” tab, which will give details of BT’s new 21st Century Network infrastructure. The postcode search works in the same way, but the results tend to be less accurate as a postcode can cover a reasonable area.
Also included in the SamKnows website, is the Exchange Search, which will allow you to find the local exchange of any town. This will also give you details such as which services are available at the exchange, and also which ISPs currently operate from this exchange.