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Switchesnetwork-switches-muzr17weyb55spboinivknmrxgqg79f6g1ff9ex3wq are used to connect multiple devices on the same network within a building or campus. For example, a switch can connect your computers, printers and servers, creating a network of shared resources. The switch, one aspect of your networking basics, would serve as a controller, allowing the various devices to share information and talk to each other. Through information sharing and resource allocation, switches save you money and increase productivity.

There are two basic types of switches to choose from as part of your networking basics: managed and unmanaged.

  • An unmanaged switch works out of the box and does not allow you to make changes. Home-networking equipment typically offers unmanaged switches.
  • A managed switch allows you access to program it. This provides greater flexibility to your networking basics because the switch can be monitored and adjusted locally or remotely to give you control over network traffic, and who has access to your network.

Routers and switches are the building blocks for all business communications from data to voice and video to wireless access. They can improve a company’s bottom line by enabling your company to increase productivity, cut business costs, and improve security and customer service.

Specifically, routers and switches support:

Sharing applications

  • Provide staff access to business applications
  • Improve employee productivity

Using routing and switching technologies allows your staff, even those located in different locations, to have equal access to all your business applications, information and tools. Keeping everyone connected to the same tools can increase employee productivity. Routing and switching also can provide access to advanced applications and enable services, such as IP voice, videoconferencing and wireless networks.

Speeding access to information

  • Manage information efficiently
  • Review what is happening across your business

Accurate, timely information is essential for making prudent business decisions. Routing and switching provides access to allow great visibility into real-time business information and provides a sound basis for effective decision-making.

Enhancing customer service

  • Provide ready access to customer information
  • Improve customer responsiveness

Today’s customers expect rapid responses and personalized services whenever they’re dealing with your business, either by phone, email or on a website. A responsive, reliable small business network is an absolute necessity to give your employees speedy access to customer information, and enable them to respond rapidly and intelligently to resolve customer requirements.

Reducing operating costs

  • Share office equipment for reduced costs
  • Provide high-speed Internet access

Routing and switching technologies can make a positive impact on your bottom line. You save expenses by sharing equipment, such as printers and servers, and services, such as Internet access. A reliable network also can grow with your business, keeping you from having to replace it as your needs grow.

Improving security

  • Reduce risk
  • Protect valuable business information

Because high-speed Internet connections are always on, you may be vulnerable to security threats. Viruses, spyware, Internet attacks, e-mail assaults, and other security concerns are real dangers. By installing a networked solution with switches and routers, you can protect valuable business data. For example, routers can protect your network with a built-in firewall and Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) – specialized software that examines incoming data and protects against attacks.

Enabling remote connections

  • Provide secure remote access for mobile workers
  • Get work done from anywhere

Globalization has changed the way we work. Virtual teams, mobile workers, and home-based telecommuters all need to share information at any time. Modern businesses need networks that can connect employees, suppliers, partners and customers regardless of location, whether they are across town or halfway around the globe. With remote connectivity through a VPN, employees can securely access company resources and tools and work more productively.


Linksys_WRT1900AC_Router_Front_Final1-640x353Routers are used to tie multiple networks together. For example, you would use a router to connect your networked computers to the Internet and thereby share an Internet connection among many users. The router will act as a dispatcher, choosing the best route for your information to travel so that you receive it quickly.

Routers analyze the data being sent over a network, change how it is packaged, and send it to another network, or over a different type of network. They connect your business to the outside world, protect your information from security threats, and can even decide which computers get priority over others.

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Could 4G help rural areas get online?

While the government likes to talk about broadband as a commodity, alongside water or electricity, the sad truth is that many rural areas can get little to no service. There have been many false dawns in rural broadband; so is 4G set to be the next one, or is it the real deal?

In simple terms, 4G mobile broadband is set to slowly replace the current 3G networks we have cross the UK. You’ll need a new smartphone or dongle to access it, but otherwise it should smoothly replace 3G while offering the promise of faster, more reliable mobile data transfer.

The case for 4G mobile broadband

The 4G revolution certainly has the potential to meet rural needs. Rollout should be relatively straightforward, with first-to-market EE (Orange and T-Mobile) having already brought 4G to 27 UK towns and cities since launching late in 2012.

Price shouldn’t be an issue either. Mobile network Three has announced it will not charge a premium (above its 3G charges) for 4G mobile broadband, so it will be tough for the other networks to do so once competition for customers hots up.

Then there are the speeds. EE has been quoting averages from 8-12Mb since launch, with the current potential for 40Mb max speeds. While this is a long way behind current UK fixed-line speeds over fibre (which are already 100Mb and rising), 40Mb would be more than fast enough for the majority of rural customers’ needs.

And better still, this is potentially the tip of the iceberg in terms of speed. Etislat tests last year clocked a new 4G record at more than 300Mb and while you’re not likely to get that in a windy field near you anytime soon, it shows what this fledgling technology still in the locker.

The case against

As always tends to be the case when it comes to broadband, the biggest barrier to rural 4G is money. While the mobile internet providers are always quick to get their shiny new networks up and running in London, Birmingham and Manchester, those of us living in less population dense areas know the postcode lottery all too well. The talk is always of ‘population’ coverage, not geographical, and you can be sure the 4G rollout will be no different.

Then there’s reliability. We’ve had 3G for a long time now and enjoy very high UK coverage in terms of population, but standing stock still isn’t often enough to hold a reliable signal – let alone moving around. This can make data downloads a tedious task, while streaming can be next to useless. When 3G arrived there was much talk of being able to scrap your fixed line connection – something few have gone on to risk.

This leads us nicely onto speeds. Again, while first 7Mb and then 14Mb were promised the UK average 3G mobile broadband speed has never really got higher than 1-2Mb. Independent 4G field testing isn’t averaging out at 10Mb yet, so for now the jury is very much out. However, many a rural broadband customer would happily accept a reliable 10Mb broadband package.

So yes, 4G mobile broadband has the potential to get rural areas online. But unless you have a very active council or business community getting behind your push for base stations, I wouldn’t start holding your breath just yet.

Author Bio: Matt Powell is the editor for the broadband provider comparison site Broadband Genie.

Understanding Polarisation

There are two major types of polarisation: Cross Polarisation (Cross-pol) and Co Polarisation (Co-pol).

Looking at cross polarisation initially, there are two types of cross polarization namely circular and linear. Within the circular realm there is the Left Hand Circular, or LHCP, or Right Hand Circular, or RHCP. This type of polarization is used in C-Band and in X-Band. One would be hard pressed to find circular polarization on Ku, K or Ka band frequencies. Linear polarization on the other hand is used frequently on Ku and Ka band antennas. With linear there are two types: Horizontal and Vertical.

What exactly is happening in the linear world that we need to know about? Before understanding how linear is used, one must understand the device being used on the satellite dish to let one signal pass while blocking the other signal. This is called the Orthogonal Mode Transducer, or OMT for short.

To use the channels that are available for satellite broadcast as efficiently as possible, both horizontal and vertical polarization (and left- and right-hand circular polarization) can be applied simultaneously per channel or frequency. In such cases the frequency of one of the two is slightly altered, to prevent possible interference. Horizontal and vertical transmissions will therefore not interfere with each another because they are differently polarized. This means twice as many programs can be transmitted per satellite. Consequently, via one and (almost) the same frequency the satellite can broadcast both a horizontal and a vertical polarized signal (H and V), or a left- and right-hand circular polarized signal (LH and RH).

The ASTRA2Connect system uses cross polarisation and our users can use this page to check the correct polarisation of their own systems. ASTRA2Connect polarisation checker.