Better Home Wifi: and Other Tips

Increasing your home bandwidth is something everyone is interested in doing. Many people call their internet service provider (ISP) and ask for their fastest available connection. This varies from 35 MB/sec to 1000 MB/sec. This is especially important today because almost everybody is working from home and our children are not in school or summer camp. So how can you improve you home internet connection? Before spending money on an aftermarket router or paying for higher bandwidth there are some steps you can take to check your internet speed.

Google provides the ability to check this connection. Simply type check my internet speed in Google’s search engine and click run speed test. This will take a few seconds and give you real time results for your upload and download connection speeds. Once you get these results, you should then verify them against the speeds guaranteed by your ISP contract. It is normal for your connection to be between 3 MB to 8 MB slower than you are paying for. Anything more than this and you should restart your router and try again. If you are getting the same results, contact your ISP and see if there is anything wrong on their end. If they are unable to verify the cause of this latency it may be the hardware. In which case you have some other options.

Get Your Money’s Worth
First, you can contact a different ISP and see if they can exceed your current connection for a similar price. Next, is make sure that you place your router in the center of your home or small office. This will ensure that you get equal coverage throughout. If your home or small office is too large for the entire area to be covered by one router, think about buying a WiFi extender or another router that can create a mesh network. Something else highly recommended, is purchasing an aftermarket router.

There are many advantages to this including higher bandwidth speeds, greater area coverage, increased security capabilities, and even cost savings. Many times, you are paying a monthly rental fee for using your ISP’s router. This can add about $8-$10 to your monthly bill, while using your own will be a one-time cost and you can bring it with you whenever you move or change providers. NETGEAR provides high quality, home routers that come with an app for monitoring and managing your home WiFi. Another perk to these aftermarket routers is features like connecting an external hard drive and using it for network accessible storage. This gives you similar features like housing your pictures on Apple’s or another third-party cloud, but with way more space for a onetime fee of buying the external hard drive.

In Review
To review, using an aftermarket router can give you increased internet speeds while saving you money and giving you options like shared storage through the internet. These routers cost more up front but eliminate the monthly rental fee associated with using your ISP’s router. These routers also give you greater coverage, extending your connection through your home. They are also much easier to monitor and manage as many come with software and applications to help you do this. Lastly, third-party routers give you better security capabilities through easier management platforms and access to simple monitoring software.

The Cost of Security Breaches to a Small Business

id you know that the average cost of a security breach to a small business is nearly $200,000? Did you also know that 43% of all data breaches are targeted at small businesses? This is often due to lack of knowledge, lack of investment, and lack of proactiveness on the part of small business owners.

Over half of these small businesses reported not having a cyber security expert within their company. I get it, hiring even one IT employee is expensive (average $70,000 per year) and as a small business owner its hard to find time to learn about network security, let alone monitor and actively protect your data. However true this is, it does not eliminate the very real threat that lurks around every corner on the internet.

More Important Than Ever
With more people working from home and no return to an office environment in the foreseeable future, small office and home network security is more important than ever. Luckily, there are some easy steps to take in securing your small business network that won’t break the bank. First, hide your router’s SSID and change the factory login settings on your company router. This is one of the most overlooked steps even by trained network specialists. Second, make sure to block ports you do not need and ONLY allow ports you do.

Taking these simple steps reduce the ability of being noticed by war drivers and allowing unwanted guests on your network. If these steps are too difficult to follow or you need more security help, spend the money to outsource your network monitoring and cyber security. There are a lot of good options out there that will not run you a lot of money. We at Arrow Internetworking Management provide these services starting at only $298 per month. That’s about $3500 per year to ensure security and eliminate much of your risk. With security breaches costing $200,000 on average, the security pays for itself.

Keep In Touch
You can follow A.I.M. on YouTube, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Simply type Arrow Internetworking Management in the search bar to get our tips on how to better maintain your business network.

References
Verizon. (2019) 2019 Data Breach Investigation Report (DBIR). Available at https://enterprise.verizon.com/resources/reports/dbir/

Scott Steinberg. (October 13, 2019). Cyberattacks now cost companies $200,000 on average, putting many out of business. Available at https://www.cnbc.com/2019/10/13/cyberattacks-cost-small-companies-200k-putting-many-out-of-business.html

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