What is the difference between, copper, fiber optic or wireless cable?

The Internet plays a substantially crucial role in business today. With it you can function a peak efficiency and without it can be the difference between staying in business and closing your doors. Those that upgrade, change and adapt to new technologies have proven to be the victors.

Many businesses tend to use the same connection for years, carelessly unaware to the speed of technology’s progress. Bandwidth issues can stifle productivity and may result in lost sales.

Before you can understand how to ensure your business has optimized its bandwidth, you first need to know what you’re dealing with. Ultimately, this boils down to the three basic materials we use to connect to the Internet:

  • Copper

  • Fiber optic

  • Wireless

Each of these three mediums for bandwidth connection are available today in the marketplace. Each has their own advantages and disadvantages. To begin let’s breakdown the pros and cons of each cabling option.

Copper is king

Since the phone was invented, the principal way to “wire” the home was the use of copper cabling. The copper cabling is perfectly sufficient for a voice signal; its intended functionality. The downside is that copper offers very limited bandwidth.

Fiber optic takes the crown

Fiber optic communications were launched in the 1970s, though the first fiber optic networks were not installed until the early 1980s. Fiber optics cabling is the technology that transmits data through thin strands of a highly transparent material that usually made of glass or plastic.

In the mid-80s, fiber optic bandwidth and distance capabilities made it significantly less expensive than other communication mediums. By the mid-90s, fiber optics were used to enhance performance reliability, as well as enable the offering of both phone and Internet service on the same fiber.

Fiber Optics vs. Copper

Each business is different, so assessing which type of cabling is best requires consideration of several factors.

  • Copper does offer advantages for those in rural areas.

  • Cable already exists and has been used to wire phone lines

  • Less expensive when used to connect network devices

Businesses in rural areas of the US, where no fiber optics have been run may find copper the most cost

effective, by just utilizing existing cabling lines.

However, fiber has advantages over copper:

  • Fiber optic transmission is faster–Fiber optic vs. copper wire transmission can be easily boiled down to the speed of photons versus the speed of electrons. Photons travel at the speed of light, whereas electrons (used in copper wiring) occurring in nature travel at less than one percent of the speed of light. Fiber optic cables don’t travel at the speed of light, but the only about 31% slower. That’s really fast.

  • Fiber optic has less diminution--When traveling over a long distance, fiber optic cables experience less signal loss than copper cabling. Fiber loses only 3% signal strength when traveling over 100 meters in distance. Copper, however, loses 94% over the same distance. Using repeaters or boosters can improve those rates, but in this case, fiber beats out copper in avoiding signal loss.

  • Fiber optic cables are unscathed by interference—Improperly installed copper wires will produce electromagnetic currents that can interfere with other wires and dampen a network.

  • Fiber optic cables are more durable—Meaning they won’t need replacing as frequently as copper wires.

Where does wireless come in?

Fiber seems to have an edge over copper, but wireless broadband is quickly gaining popularity and adoption. Wireless broadband, sometimes referred to as 4G, is a method of broadcasting an Internet connection through the use of radio waves. One of the biggest problems with wireless signals is that it diminishes over distance.

Wireless can drastically cut costs

Installing new cables can become expensive, from the cost of cabling, securing permits, installation and insurance and compensating an IT team who ensure the network functions properly.

Cable and internet companies in many areas are bringing fiber right to the front door of your home or business, fairly inexpensively. Once it gets to the door, is when most businesses will then transmit a wireless signal over an internal network.

Conclusion

The best option may just be a mix of the two systems — fiber optic and wireless. These two can complement each other, with many systems and networks using both fiber optic and wireless transmissions.

Considering the complexity involved with determining the best cabling fit for your company, you may want to consider the option of outsourcing your IT network, to an expert. By outsourcing your IT networking, you can spend your limited time and resources on running your business.

What is Unified Communications?

You may have seen or heard this communications buzz word a time or two. What is it all about and how can it affect your business?

Unified communications, or (UC) is a framework for integrating multiple asynchronous and real-time communication tools, with the end goal of enhancing overall business communication, collaboration and company productivity.

Unified communications is not a singular technology but rather, an interconnected ecosystem of enterprise communication devices and applications that can be used harmoniously. The goal of unified communications is to integrate the software that supports synchronous and asynchronous communication so the end user has easy access to all tools from any device or platform.

How unified communications works

Typically, a unified communications ecosystem is supported by one or more platforms that help to facilitate integration among services. Take for example, something many businesses use as a means of lead generation, product or services webinar. This would require a webinar platform which would need use of an audio-conference system, built on an underlying VoIP platform and include unified messaging functionality that allow the host to communicate with the end customer in click to chat.

UC also allows users to moving from one mode of communication to another within the same session. Like starting a communication through email but then moving the interaction to real-time communication, on a voice call with one click or to a video chat without disruption.

These unified communications systems and their components can be implemented on premises, in the cloud, or a mix of each. Cloud-based unified communications, referred to as UC as a service or (UCaaS).

Some benefits of unified communications

By allowing employees to connect and collaborate in a more instinctual way, UC is often attributed to an increase in employee productivity and cooperation. Certain technologies, such as the effective use of video conferencing and interviewing, can be linked to reduced travel costs which directly affects the bottom line.

Conclusion

Is unified communications for you and your business? It’s worth a quick phone call to discuss the options, costs and advantages. With the speed of technology, unified communication is allowing more and more businesses to be better connected to their customers, collaborative with their teams, while lowering the cost of doing business. Now that sounds like something any business could get behind.

What is cloud computing?

In the current fast-paced business world we live in, we are seeing more and more technology move to the cloud. the shift from traditional software to the internet-based software has gained steady momentum over the last decade. Looking ahead, the future of cloud computing promises new ways to communicate and collaborate anywhere and everywhere, through variety of devices.

So what exactly is cloud computing? cloud computing is kind of like outsourcing of computer programs where users can access software and applications from wherever they are. the computer programs are being hosted by a third party and live, not on a desktop computer, but in the “cloud.” users don’t have to worry about things such as power or memory, they can simply enjoy using the service.

Traditional business applications and softwares are complicated and expensive. The shear amount and multitude of hardware and software needed to run them is nothing short of frustrating. You would need to employ a whole team of experts to install, configure, test, run, secure, and update them. Now multiply this across hundreds of apps, and it becomes clear to see why even the biggest companies with the best IT departments aren’t getting the apps and software they need.

With cloud computing, businesses can completely eliminate the headaches that come with data storage because they’re no longer managing hardware and software. This is where that responsibility shifts to an experienced vendor in the cloud space. The idea of shared infrastructure means it works like electricity, you only pay for what you need, upgrades are easy and automatic, and scaling up or down is a breeze.

Cloud-based apps are functional in a fraction of the time, most cases can be up and running in days, and they cost less. With a cloud app, you open an Internet browser, log in, customize the application to your business, and start using it.

Businesses of all kinds are running apps in the cloud, from accounting to customer relationship management, to Human Resources and design and many more.

As the technology of cloud computing grows in popularity and adoption, thousands of companies are simply rebranding their non-cloud products and services as “cloud computing.” Be sure to investigate further when evaluating cloud offerings and keep in mind that if you have to buy and manage hardware and software, what you’re looking at is not really cloud computing.

Benefits of the cloud

Adaptable

Cloud computing allows businesses to adapt programs and applications to have a customizable solution, while allowing developers and owners control over the core code.

Multi-user

Cloud software gives the opportunity to provide personalized apps and web portals to customers or users.

Scalable

In today’s world it is essential that software functions across every device and integrates properly with other applications. Cloud applications can provide this very functionality.

Security

Cloud computing can also guarantee a more secure environment, thanks to increased resources for security and centralization of data.

Conclusion

Cloud computing is a very real thing utilized by thousands of businesses in all industries and sizes. It has taken business to the next level of productivity and profitability, is your business next?

5 types of malware business owners should be aware of

Malware can do real harm to business operations. Knowing what malware looks and acts like, business owners can be better prepared to fight it.

Business owners are inundated on a daily basis with issues that come up, problems to solve. One issue that may not be on your mind is the silent killer, malware. Malware is software designed to disrupt, damage, or gain unauthorized access to your computer systems.There are hackers trying every which way to rip off and disrupt business operations by stealing sensitive data and wreaking havoc on your systems. The best way to combat malware, is to understand the malware classifications so that you can protect yourself and your business.

These are the different types of malware and explaining how to recognize them:

1. Virus

There’s a tendency to refer to all malware as viruses, when that is actually a misnomer. In today’s world, with the many different kinds of malware that plague the cyber world, computer viruses have actually become rather uncommon, comprising less than 10% of all malware.

Viruses infect other files, which makes it really hard to clean them up. Some of the best antivirus programs struggle and most of the time they either quarantine the infected files but don’t actually kill the virus itself.

2. Worm

A worm is self-replicating and spreads without end-user action, causing real destruction.

Whereas, viruses need

end users to kick them off so that they can go on and infect other files and systems, worms don’t need any such end-user action. They simply spread all on their own, self-replicating and destroying everything in its path from systems, devices, networks and even connected infrastructure. Worms spread by manipulating other files and programs to do the spreading work. When one person in an organization opens an email that contains a worm, the entire network in the organization could get infected in just a few minutes. This is why worms are so dangerous.

3. Trojan

Trojans, named after the infamous Trojan war, impersonate legitimate programs, but, they contain malicious directives. Trojans most commonly arrive through email or spread from infected websites that users visit. A user may find a pop up that tells him his system was infected and instruct him to run a program to clean his system. He takes the bait, and the trojan is in the system. Trojans are very common because they are easy to write.

4. Ransomware

Ransomware takes control of your systems and demands a ransom from you, usually money, to return your system to normal. A ransom note arrives, demanding payment for decrypting the files. If it is not paid, the encrypted files could eventually be destroyed Unfortunately, in some cases, hackers refuse to return files to normal even after you’ve paid the ransom. This makes ransomware one of the most devastating forms of malware.

5. Spyware

Spyware helps hackers spy on users and their systems. This kind of malware can be used for key-logging, thereby allowing hackers to gain access to sensitive personal data including login credentials. Spyware is also used by people who want to keep a check on the computer activities of people personally known to them. Spyware is easy to remove.

Basic tips to combat malware

With all the technology out there, it is easy to feel powerless against threats and attacks. The following are some basic things that could help prevent malware infection in your business:

  • Update your operating systems, internet browsers, plugins, on a regular basis

  • Take advantage of all the necessary security tools

  • Update all your business and personal software regularly

  • Look out for phishing emails, or things that look suspicious

  • Never click on links or download attachments from unknown or untrusted sources

  • Come up with strong passwords and change them periodically

  • Don’t use un-encrypted or dangerous public connections

  • Layer your security starting with basic measures like firewalls and antivirus software

Conclusion

Malware is a very real threat to business systems and aim to disrupt the natural flow of business. Knowing the different types of malware can help you be aware and on the lookout for when you see something that doesn’t look right. Awareness of the threats out there is a huge preventative measure. To talk with a professional about how to secure and protect your business systems please call us for a quick free consultation.

5 benefits of online data backup

More and more, companies are moving their data to “the cloud,” as a safe and affordable option to keep and

store data and files.

Online backup service or cloud backup is a method of data storage offsite, in which files, folders, or the entire contents of a hard drive are regularly backed up on a remote server.

The reasons behind online backup is simple, to protect sensitive business or personal data from the risk of loss associated with disasters like fire, theft, hacking, or malware.

Here are the top five benefits of online backup:

1. Safety

When your data is stored in the cloud, it is not at risk of typical threats of fire, flooding or theft. In fact, your data stored in the cloud is typically stored on secure, encrypted servers and systems, which can lower the risks your data can incur.

2. Recovery

Storing data in the cloud has multiple layers of redundancy. If data is lost or deleted, backups are available and easily located because multiple copies of your data are stored in locations separate and independent of each other. The more levels of redundancy the better your data is safeguarded against loss as much as possible.

3. Access

The cloud has no singular physical location, so remote access is a simple and feasible benefit to online backup. As long as you can connect to the remote server, you have access to all the data that you have stored in the cloud.

4. Convenience

The convenience of online backup solutions is undeniable. Online backup is accessible from anywhere, anytime so long as there is broadband connectivity. You do not have to proactively save, label and track information, rather, the convenience of online backup allows for you to concentrate solely on your work without losing any sleep over data loss.

5. Affordability

As the technology gets better, the cost of cloud-based back up will continue to decline. Without the cost of tape drives, servers, or other hardware and software elements necessary to perform the backup, online backup makes great financial sense.

Conclusion

Online backup is beneficial and the way business data functions. Before you make an investment in cloud space, you should first determine what your business needs.

  • Will you need to store large amounts of data?

  • Will you need to access your data on multiple devices?

  • Do you need to look into cloud security?

Once you determine your business criteria, you can go find a service that will provide you with only what you need. There are many benefits to online backup; just be sure that your online backup service fits your needs so that you are not overpaying or being under serviced.

What is the difference between multimode and single mode fiber optic cable?

Many businesses struggle with the question of what the best fiber options are for their individual business. Before we get into what is best, let’s try to answer the question what is the difference between single mode and multimode cable? To begin, we’ll give a breakdown of each cable type.

Multi-mode cable

Multi-mode cable is comprised of glass fibers, with diameters in the 50-to-100-micron range. It provides high bandwidth at high speeds over medium distances, as light waves at 850 or 1300nm are dispersed into numerous paths traveling through the cable’s core. In long cable runs over 3,000 feet, multiple paths of light can cause distortion in signal on the receiving end, that results in an incomplete data transmission – this is where single-mode fiber becomes relevant.

Single-mode cable

Single-mode cable, also called uni-mode or single-mode fiber, is a single strand of glass fiber with a narrow diameter of between 8 and 10.5 microns, transmitting at wavelengths of 1310 nm or 1550 nm. Single-mode fiber typically carries higher bandwidth than multi-mode fiber, but requires a light source with a narrow spectral width.

Single-mode fiber provides a higher transmission rate and up to 50x more distance than multi-mode, but the drawback is it typically costs more. Single-mode fiber has a much smaller core than multi-mode which nearly eliminates any distortion from overlapping light pulses, providing the least signal attenuation and the highest transmission speeds of any fiber optic cable type.

 

What is the difference between multimode and single mode fiber?

Multi-mode fiber has a relatively large light carrying core, and is commonly used for short distance transmissions with LED based fiber optic equipment. On the other hand, single-mode fiber has a smaller light carrying core and is routinely used for long distance transmissions with laser diode-based fiber optic transmission equipment.

What type of fiber I need for my business?

Determining what type of fiber, you need depends on your business needs. Ultimately this boils down to two criteria:

  • Transmission distance to be covered

  • Budget constraints

If the distance is short, less than a couple miles, multimode cable will be sufficient, and transmission system costs (both transmitter and receiver) will be in the $500 to $800 range.

If the distance needed is 3 miles or more, single mode fiber is the optimal decision. Transmission systems with this fiber can cost more than $1,000.

Should I install single-mode or multi-mode fiber?

Again, this depends on the business and the application. Multi-mode fiber will allow transmission distances of up to 10 miles and will utilize relatively inexpensive fiber optic transmitters and receivers. This may come with bandwidth limitations of a few hundred MHz per Km of length.

Single-mode fiber is better served for distances in excess of 10 miles but will require the use of single-mode transmitters which normally use solid-state laser diodes. The higher cost of these optical emitters mean that single-mode equipment can be anywhere from 2 to 4 times as expensive as multi-mode equipment.

To answer all your cabling questions for your business needs, reach out for a free assessment from professionals at Millennium Communications.