News - Business Broadband - WiFi - Liberty-i

News

Tips For Choosing The Right Broadband Package For Your Business

27 Oct 2016

Choosing the right broadband package for your business can be daunting and there are certainly several factors worth considering before you make your final decision.  If the thought of working out which is the right one for you, look no further.  These handy pointers will guide you through, simply and jargon free.

Read more

The Hotel Managers Great Venue Wi-Fi Checklist

3 Oct 2016

Certainly one of the most important requests for today’s savvy travellers and hotel guests today has to be Wi-Fi.  Good, uninterrupted Wi-Fi.  If you’re a hotel manager, you’re likely to be aware of the potential security risks faced when considering a hotel Wi-Fi network. 

Read more

Are You Paying Too Much For Your Business Broadband?

31 Aug 2016

Shopping around the best broadband deal for your business may seem like another arduous task to add to your ‘to do’ list. Going with a big brand provider is easier than investing the time in finding a better deal. Many of us presume that they must be the most competitive anyway; those giants of the telecoms world must surely be able to undercut smaller providers?

Surprisingly the answer is often ‘no’, you could be paying over the odds for your business broadband and have a poorer service too. Paying too much for services is impacting on your bottom line and, just as with home utilities, your business could potentially be more profitable by simply switching from one provider to another.

How To Find A Great Business Broadband Deal

Getting a better deal on your business broadband is not that difficult. Yes, it means doing some research, comparing providers, and exploring various options but if it results in reducing those overheads, it’s worth the effort. All you need to do is follow these simple steps.

Step 1: Explore What Packages Are Available

Not all business broadband packages are the same! As well as offering varying download speeds and contract lengths, there are other differences that you need to understand. Some providers, for example, offer a fixed IP address instead of a dynamic one. Fixed IPs generally costs more than dynamic, but do you know which one you need? Fixed IPs reduce the risk of downtime, allow you to host your own website, and install CCTV, but you will need to take extra care with cyber security to prevent your system from being hacked because your system will use the same IP address every time you go online.

Step 2: Look At Smaller Broadband Providers

If you’ve had a quick look at broadband price comparison sites you will probably only be aware of the big names in telecoms. However, there are smaller providers out there that are just as competitive, if not more so. Service levels can also be much higher as smaller broadband companies are often much more flexible and offer a more tailored service.

[wolf_single_image image=”3180″ animation=”fadeInUp”]

Step 3: What Do You Need Broadband For?

Before you embark on a cost cutting exercise and opt for the lowest cost broadband provider, you must ensure their services match your requirements. How will your broadband connection be used? How much bandwidth do you need? Is a fixed IP address necessary? A fixed IP address will make file transfer faster and remote access to your computer easier. You will need to decide how important your broadband is to the day to day running of your business and if accessing your system outside of working hours is necessary. If so, you might benefit from having a fixed IP.

Once you know exactly what you need your broadband connection for, it will be easier to identify providers who can deliver exactly that.

Step 4: Consider Scalable Solutions

You may know what your broadband usage is today but what about in six months, a year or even five? Ideally, you don’t want to be reviewing your broadband service again in a short space of time because you’ve rapidly increased your team, nor do you want to be penalised for growth with a hike in overheads, so make sure the provider you choose can scale with your business in an affordable way.

In terms of speed, most businesses will benefit the most from an ADSL line, the most common type of DSL line, as part of an FTTC (fibre-to-the-cabinet) broadband package. Such a package will also provide you with the highest internet speeds and best connectivity in general. Talk to a professional to find out what’s best for you.

Step 5: Contract Length

As with many contracts and subscriptions, you can generally reduce costs by signing up for longer contracts, or paying in lump sums rather than monthly payments. It’s worth investigating these options with different providers, particularly if you are in a position where you have a good idea of your requirements for the next 24 months. If the provider does not advertise different payment options, it’s a conversation worth having.

Some providers may offer zero hour contracts that sound great in theory, but the costs of installation could be high and therefore, switching to a new broadband provider will be difficult. It’s better to choose a provider you’ll be able to stick with that offers free installation as part of the contract.

You can find out if you might be paying too much for your business broadband by talking to a dedicated business provider, and remember you might not necessarily receive the best advice from the big suppliers. Smaller providers that offer fantastic business broadband services could be in a better position to help you explore your options and business broadband usage to ensure you are getting the best deal that meets your needs.

 If you’re interested, see our World #BusinessBroadband solutions, here… 🙂

SoHo – Broadband for Small Businesses (1-10 users) 

Corporate Broadband (11-50 users)

Enterprise solutions (51+)

Why Successful Businesses Are ‘Always On’

22 Jul 2016

Gone are the days when the last person out of the door switched off the lights, locked up, and that was it for the business until the following morning.  Businesses today increasingly need to be ‘always on’, regardless of whether the open sign is displayed in the door, or the phones manned by employees.

Even if your company vision was never to create an on demand business delivering your services or products 24/7, you may find that to remain competitive, to keep customers, and to facilitate productivity in your team, you have to be. While eCommerce merchants and other customer-focused industries know that their client-base doesn’t disappear once traditional working hours are over, many other businesses are also finding that they need to be ‘always on’ to ensure they don’t miss opportunities either.

Why Your Business Needs To Be ‘Always On’

Here are five reasons why you may need to ensure you are always on:

Online presence: Prospects and existing clients may visit your website, social media and other online profiles at any time. While B2B companies will find that this is mostly during office hours some visits will be at other times, for example when someone is working late or is in a different time zone. B2C companies will know that many of their clients will be searching online or using their online services during the evenings and weekends, and those must be available and supported. For all businesses it is increasingly important to ensure that websites and other online services are always up.

Customer logins: If your customers or clients are able to access a restricted areas of your site, or their personal account on your website, it is imperative that these are always available. Being denied access can damage trust, especially if your company holds personal and sensitive data on your clients. If your clients experience a problem logging in, they’ll expect a quick response – waiting for the office to open after the weekend may damage your relationship with them.

Remote workers: Many businesses increasingly have employees who work remotely, or flexibly. They might work from home or travel for business, or may simply need to put more hours in to complete a project or prepare for the following day. They will need to be able to access your company’s network and systems to be able to do their jobs effectively, whether that’s sending an email or accessing documents and data.

Holidays and absences: Being ‘always on’ isn’t just about having IT systems up 24/7; it’s also about ensuring continuity at all times. This can be a challenge for organisations with small IT teams when key people take time off or are unexpectedly absent. While a certain amount of planning for authorised days off can be put in place, companies can still be left very exposed if incidents occur whilst a key person is away.

Global reach: It goes without saying that if your organisation has a global reach you must ensure that your IT and communications infrastructure support this. Customers and clients, employees operating in different zones, or businesses in your supply chain, may all need to contact your business at differing times of the day and night. This doesn’t mean that you need to employ someone to answer the phones 24/7, but you must ensure that there is some level of service and manage expectations accordingly.

 

[wolf_single_image image=”2087″ animation=”fadeInUp”]

Tools For An Always On World

We would recommend that organisations address the following key areas to ensure their organisation is optimised for an ‘always on’ world.

IP Telephone Systems: If your organisation has remote workers, employees who rely on their mobile phone for work, or global offices, IP telephony will reduce costs and ensure that all telephony services are centralised.

Network Monitoring: Outsourcing your IT managed services is an excellent solution for those organisation without the internal resource. Performance monitoring and pre-emptive troubleshooting should be part of your service level agreement to ensure issues are identified and resolved before they impact on your business – day or night.

Virtualisation: Cloud computing including data storage and server hosting has been one of the key drivers to facilitate our ‘always on’ world.

If you would like to speak to us about ensuring your business is ‘always on’, contact the team here.

Transforming Office Productivity – The Pomodoro Technique and Useful Apps

6 Jun 2016

If you’re feeling that you aren’t getting much done at work, it could be because you’re being easily distracted or are simply being overwhelmed by a wide range of tasks. In the modern day workplace, distractions are everywhere and work can pile up quickly.

The Pomodoro technique can help you push through distractions, improve your focus, and get things finished in short bursts. Invented by developer and entrepreneur Francesco Cirillo, and named after the tomato shaped timer he used to track his work at university, the method helps users to break down large tasks into small parts and work on them one at a time.

You work in short bursts to complete a task. Using a timer, these small periods of work time, also called Pomodoros, help the user to have complete focus on a task for around 25 minutes before taking a 5-minute break. Taking these short breaks can help improve your mental agility, but should be spent by doing something un-related to your work. You shouldn’t feel bad for taking a break, as the technique gives you an accepted relaxation time. The break allows you to re-calibrate what you’re working on every 25 minutes.

 

[wolf_single_image image=”1945″ animation=”fadeInUp”]

Personally, I become unproductive when I’m working on the same thing for a long time, because I start tricking myself to think it’s very important. Have you ever found yourself spending over 15 minutes agonizing over the formatting of a PowerPoint slide?

When you finish a ‘Pomodoro’ 4 times, take a longer break of 20 minutes or so.

You can set yourself a certain amount of Pomodoros a day, most people which use this methodology set themselves about 8 a day.

You have to be quite strict with yourself during a Pomodoro, so if you find yourself to be quite distracted during a burst and don’t get much done, it doesn’t count.

The main benefit from using this method is that you feel better at the end of the day, having spent focused work time with zero distractions, you feel a lot more productive. The 5 minute breaks are perfect for taking in some fresh air and to relax.

This method can be supplemented by a select few apps that can help you organise your tasks. These apps can be downloaded for free on Apple and Android:

  • GTasks is a useful task manager app that allows you to prioritise tasks by importance, which you can schedule to your calendar.
  • Google Keep is a notepad app which allows the user to keep short reminders or ideas in, which you can categorise quite easily.
  • The last app you should consider downloading is Google Calendar. This is a versatile scheduling app that allows the user to schedule events and reminders quickly. You can set yourself different notifications to remind you of an event. One tip is to turn off the email reminder option if it is a daily/weekly task.

In summary, the Pomodoro technique is great for improving your productivity at work by staying focused for short periods of time. Supporting this methodology with the apps mentioned, you can transform your work output during the day.

Could WiFi Stop Visitors Getting Lost At Airports?

18 May 2016

An interesting tech development may solve a problem that many facility managers at airports, shopping centres and other large public spaces have; that of lost visitors. While GPS is great for getting visitors to your site; once there they often have to resort to digital or paper maps, or even asking for directions to find out where they need to go. This creates problems not only for visitors, who might miss connections to flights or trains, but also for providers who have to deal with the fallout.

Businesses can also be affected, losing potential customers if they haven’t been able to locate the store within a shopping centre for example, or the café in a museum or visitor attraction.

The Challenges Of Indoor GPS

While technology exists for indoor Global Positioning Systems (GPS), current solutions vary from being prohibitively expensive, to unreliable and inaccurate services.

What’s more frustrating for your visitors than not knowing where to go? Answer: being directed to the wrong place.

Fortunately the team at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL), have developed a solution. Using adjacent WiFi devices such as smartphones to pinpoint each other’s location within centimetres. The technology behind this, called Chronos, makes the WiFi devices emulate multi-gigahertz wideband radios.

‘The key enabler underlying Chronos is a novel algorithm that can compute sub-nanosecond time-of-flight using commodity WiFi cards. By multiplying the time-of-flight with the speed of light, a MIMO access point computes the distance between each of its antennas and the client, hence localizing it. Our implementation on commodity WiFi cards demonstrates that Chronos’s accuracy is comparable to state-of-the-art localization systems, which use four or five access points.’ – Decimeter-Level Localization with a Single WiFi Access Point

[wolf_single_image image=”1918″ animation=”fadeInUp”]

Applications For Chronos

As well as being able to provide a reliable way for visitors to navigate around a site using their WiFi enabled devices, at a fraction of the cost of comparable GPS systems; there are other applications that Chronos could be used for.

Device-to-device location: This technology can be utilised between a visitors’ device and the venue’s access point but also between other visitors’ devices, for example within a family group travelling together. This could be particular useful in places without a WiFi infrastructure, allowing individuals within the group to locate each other if they become separated.

WiFi geo-fencing: Chronos also has applications for businesses providing free WiFi for their customers. Many businesses that provide a single access point, such as a café in an airport or shopping centre, find their network overloaded by other users (non customers) accessing it from outside their premises. I’m sure many of us are guilty of using a store’s free WiFi without even entering the shop. Chronos can ensure that only customers actually in the café or store are using single access WiFi by authenticating them on the basis of location.

Smart homes: MIT researchers also envisage Chronos being used to count people into smart homes and provide sufficient lighting and other services. This could also have applications in businesses too, for example by controlling heating based on the number people in a venue.

Chronos is still in the research phase of the project but developers, PhD student Deepak Vasisht and Professor Dina Katabi, are in talks with MIT about commercialising the technology. This means that our clients, whether they have premises in shopping centre or run a large indoor space themselves, may be in the position to offer this service for their customers and clients in the not too distant future.

5 VoIP security tips every business should implement

5 Apr 2016

Are you using Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services for your organisation’s communications? It’s certainly a very cost effective, flexible and scalable network solution for businesses big and small. However, as with any other online technology, VoIP can be a target for hackers and cyber attack, exposing organisations to fraud and other threats.

UK businesses appear to be particularly prone to this kind of cyber threat. A study by cyber security experts Nettitude observed a large amount of VoIP attacks worldwide in the first quarter of last year, with the majority against UK servers. 88% of these attacks took place out of regular working hours, and many started just minutes after a new server went live.

Until recently there was a general lack of awareness about these kinds of attacks and the impact on businesses, in this post we hope to address this and provide some support for those organisations that are vulnerable to attack.

Common threats to your VoIP system

The following categories of threats have been identified by the Voice over IP Security Alliance (VOIPSA):

  • Social threats: Social threats can be interpreted as the misrepresentation of identity, authority, rights and content
  • Eavesdropping: In this threat category, malicious users are able to monitor VoIP communications between two or more VoIP end points
  • Interception and modification: This category refers to threats where a malicious user may have full access to the communication signal between two or more parties
  • Service abuse: This category is one of the most common amongst attackers. Premium Rate Service (PRS) fraud is becoming more and more prevalent
  • Intentional interruption of service: VoIP services are subject to denial of service (DoS) attack and resource exhaustion
  • Other interruptions of service: This category of threat relates to physical threats such as loss of power

As with any other cyber security threat, raising awareness is part of the solution. Many organisations are susceptible to attack because their employees are unaware of the risks and the shape an attack might take. With this information it becomes easier to implement cyber security prevention strategies, and also helps employees to spot suspicious activity before VoIP systems are compromised.

The impact of an attack on VoIP systems will vary depending on what is targeted, but includes:

  1. Finance loss: One of the most common reasons for a VoIP security breach is so that attackers can make long distance or premium rate calls
  2. Denial of service: The performance of your VoIP system can be affected by numerous failed attempts to log in and register. This could make the service unavailable for your legitimate users
  3. Data breach: If other systems such as administration, billing or CRMs are integrated with your VoIP system, this data could be accessed, including personal details such as phone numbers, email addresses and other confidential information

These are all compelling reasons to put in place robust cyber security strategies that protect your VoIP network. Here’s what we recommend:

VoIP security tips to implement today

  1. Password protection

Weak passwords are an easy entry point, but hackers can also intercept any password, PIN or key if they are shared over a VoIP channel. VoIP calls and messages exist as data packets that are sent over the network, these can be intercepted and converted from audio into text. Organisations should protect themselves by ensuring that passwords are only shared in a secure way, not via email or over the VoIP network.

  1. VoIP-ready firewalls

Check that you have an appropriate firewall installed to protect your VoIP system, one that manages the added risks of IP-based telephony. Your VoIP provider should have this installed already.

  1. Encryption tools

If you are particularly concerned about eavesdropping, check to see whether your VoIP service comes with encryption tools. If not, request that these are installed.

  1. VPN

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) can be used with your VoIP network and this will encrypt all data being transferred across your network.

  1. 24/7 monitoring

With the figures from Nettitude’s study showing that 88% of attacks happen out of working hours (when IT staff are unlikely to be at their desks) it makes sense to use a managed IT service that can monitor your network 24/7.

If you have any further questions about VoIP security or want to find out more about installing a VoIP system in your organisation, please get in touch. Contact the Liberty-i team or call +44 (0)808 2819 500.

How To Use VPN For Remote Working

9 Mar 2016

Do you have employees who want to work from home or need to be able to work remotely when away from the office? Remote working has increased dramatically over the last decade with 4.2 million UK adults regularly working from home last year.

This is especially true of more senior positions, 1 in 5 managers frequently work remotely, and more employees would like to join them. Offering remote working has become an important element of employers’ recruitment and staff retention strategies and it’s not only beneficial for the employee; reports suggest that 30% of office workers are more productive when working from home so there are compelling reasons for organisations to adopt remote working practices.

Key Considerations For A Remote Workforce

Of course digital technology has been the driving force that has enabled this level of flexibility. VoIP services, virtualisation and other Internet delivered services have allowed employers to offer their staff the opportunity to work remotely, or to recruit new employees potentially anywhere in the world.

However, there are business critical factors that must be addressed if you are to allow staff to access your business systems remotely. Here are our recommendations for devising a robust remote working strategy:

IT Policies For Remote Workers

It is essential that you consider the implications of allowing access to specific systems and data remotely, and take all necessary steps to protect business critical information. This might mean limiting what activities can be carried out remotely, such as processing sensitive data, sending documents electronically, financial transactions and so forth. Clear policies must be in place to ensure your remote workers understand what they can and cannot do, and the reasons why.

Working in public places is also something that must be addressed in your IT policy document, and guidance given for employees. This is particularly relevant for anyone working away on business, who might be using hotel or coffee shop Wi-Fi services. Homeworking staff should also understand why popping out to work in their local Starbucks might not comply with your IT policies and if they do what the implications could be to the business – Man-in-the-middle (MITM) and spoofing attacks, network sniffing etc.

[wolf_single_image image=”1830″ animation=”fadeInUp”]

Remote Access To Your Network

To enable employees to work effectively and productivity remotely, it is likely that they will need access to their email, company files and other systems, such as project workspaces, customer databases etc. This can be achieved using Virtual Private Networks (VPN), and allows access to an organisation’s private network services over the Internet or a service provider backbone network. Organisations can either purchase their own VPNs and manage these internally, or outsource to a managed service provider who will set up and maintain this for them.

VPN creates a secure link between your business network and your remote employee’s laptop or mobile device, as if they are plugged in directly to your business’ network. Users first connect to a Network Access Server (NAS), also called a media gateway, using the Internet. The NAS requires the user to sign in and then validates their credentials before allowing access to the VPN.

To use the VPN the user also needs client software installed on their computer or mobile device, this sets up the connection to the NAS. Most operating systems have built-in client software but some VPNs may require a specific application. Data sent via a VPN connection is encrypted so it cannot be intercepted, however it is still important to evaluate the potential security risk to your business when using VPNs.

For example, remote workers need to take precautions to ensure that if their computer or mobile device is lost or stolen, your business network cannot be accessed because of poor password hygiene. Or if they’re accessing your network in a public place, they must take reasonable precautions to prevent other people from seeing sensitive information.

You will also need to decide whether employees can use your VPN on their own devices, such as their mobile or home computer, or whether they will need a company laptop installed with your preferred security features – firewall, antivirus (spyware and malware), Anti-Spam, email attachment scanning, Unified Threat Management (UTM), link protection etc. If they are to use their own devices what additional security measures can you offer them?

If you would like to discuss how to support your remote workforce with VPN and ways to manage your IT for homeworkers, please get in touch. You can also find more information about VPN technologies and protocols in this post.

Contact the Liberty-i team or call +44 (0)808 2819 500.

What Does WiFi HaLow Mean To Businesses?

20 Jan 2016

Pronounced ‘halo’ the very latest ‘HaLow’ WiFi standard was introduced this month by the Wi-Fi Alliance, a U.S. independent testing organisation and networking standards certification group.

Low-power 802.11ah has been defined as “HaLow, the New Low Power, Long Range WiFi For Smart Businesses”.

The purpose of HaLow is to expand the versatility of WiFi to keep up with increasing numbers of varied items and smaller smart devices in our work (and home) lives that need reliable and cost effective connectivity. HaLow may finally allow us to advance the untapped potential of current ‘The Internet of Things’ as well as inventions and technologies regarded as part of the future, but are missing this vital piece of the communications puzzle.

In general, lower frequency radio waves offer less bandwidth but travel further and have better penetrative qualities.

HaLow’s key advantages over current wireless technology are that it has significantly lower power requirements, it is reliable, and its ability to penetrate thick walls gives it twice the range, thereby eradicating WiFi blackspots and buffering issues.

Here is my summary of the key facts that you need to know about HaLow and your business.

Why A New Standard?

The increasing number of devices that need connectivity means that traditional WiFi networks can’t keep up. Also the ‘Internet of Things’, smaller smart and wearable devices that need to stay in touch but with infrequent communication are crying out for reliable, effective, low cost, mains free connectivity that can reach them wherever they are, even behind thick walls or on the move.  HaLow provides that, and more besides.

What Is HaLow?

HaLow is a stripped back, new flavour of WiFi that operates using existing Wi-Fi technology and is an extension of the forthcoming IEEE 802.11ah standard. It connects to the Internet through a router (not your current router but a special HaLow compatible one) and uses low bandwidth radio waves.  Whereas your Wi-Fi set-up operates on the 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequency bands, Wi-Fi HaLow dips into the unlicensed 900MHz band. This is what enables it to cover twice the area, and gives it the ability to travel thick walls. HaLow is intended to be operated in addition to your main WiFi connection.

[wolf_single_image image=”1774″ animation=”fadeInUp”]

Why Does It Need Less Power?

It needs less power because instead of transferring large amounts of data quickly like your current business Wi-Fi connection, it sends data in periodic and concentrated bursts.

How Will It Benefit My Business?

HaLow could benefit your business by helping to reduce costs by enabling more effective and cost efficient communications, therefore improving productivity.  It could also provide new market opportunities if you happen to be a product / device manufacturer or supplier.  HaLow’s far reaching and reliable signal, and its’ low power requirement makes it perfect for enabling the operation of all of those devices, often in hard to reach places, that need small and typically infrequently changed batteries.

This means, for example, that my business security cameras, security and smoke alarms, motion sensors, smart locks (with compact batteries), and thermostats are all suited to being connected and operated / triggered effectively by HaLow. Many office (and home) devices could therefore be liberated from the mains supply in future thanks to HaLow, which can only mean cost savings.

HaLow clearly has so many potential connectivity and cost saving applications across healthcare, industrial, retail, agriculture and other industries. It could become a valuable part of large-scale private and public facilities, and even for connected cars.

Battery Life

The long range and low power requirements means that WiFi HaLow devices will be able to operate without mains power and without the need for a powerful battery.

As well as being useful for the small smart devices, HaLow’s background WiFi blackspot-filling function and buffering-busting properties could have a positive impact on ‘Bring Your Own Device’ (BYOD) battery life.

Now the Bad News – Not Until 2018

Before I give the impression that it’s the next big thing (which it may well be), the bad news is that not only will you need HaLow enabled chips, hardware and products for it to work, but the WiFi Alliance won’t begin certifying them until 2018.

It also seems that laptops and smartphones with current-generation networking chips won’t interface. There is also the possibility that despite the obvious benefits there is no guarantee that WiFi HaLow will become the widely accepted standard. Adoption of new standards and technologies is always a risk … remember Betamax tapes or Toshiba’s HD DVD (v. Blu-Ray)?

Here at Liberty-i we will be keeping a close eye on WiFi HaLow, and other new developments, so that you will be the first to know if there is a compelling application for your business. Keep in touch with us by completing the newsletter sign alongside this blog post.

Minimising Disruption to Your Wi-Fi Service

5 Jan 2016

If your business is like many that have embraced wireless technology, cloud computing and the Internet of Things, your priority will be to ensure an uninterrupted service. Businesses that are heavily reliant on their Wi-Fi networks understand only too well the cost of downtime to business productivity and profitability, as well as reputation.

Therefore, reports that new cellular tech could disrupt your Wi-Fi networks, may be causing you a few sleepless nights.

The Wireless Spectrum

Wireless communications signals travel over the air via radio frequency, know as the spectrum. Just as with radio stations, operators can only transmit data over certain frequencies of the spectrum, which are licensed in the UK by Ofcom. There are slivers of the spectrum that are unlicensed, and many mobile operators would like to use these to enable their users to get better connections. For example, mobile users in busy areas such as at a sports event may struggle to get a connection using the channels available to mobile telecoms operators. If they could use unlicensed LTE these would increase connectivity without the user having to change networks.

The issue is that some Wi-Fi companies believe that this will slow down wireless LANs, making it harder for Wi-Fi users to get connected and damaging Wi-Fi performance. In the US Google, Microsoft, and Comcast, amongst others, have all been lobbying the Federal Communications Commission (the US equivalent of Ofcom) to delay LTE-U’s adoption pending further tests.

It has been agreed to develop a standard common test plan so that unlicensed LTE products can be tested and their impact assessed. This is likely to start in February 2016.

[wolf_single_image image=”1142″ animation=”fadeInUp”]

Ensuring an Uninterrupted Service

Threats to Wi-Fi service such as the one posed by unlicensed LTE are a major consideration for our clients. As we provide Wi-Fi services to many organisations in the hotel and events sector, connectivity is high on their list of priorities. Not only do these companies need Wi-Fi for business-critical use, but also they need to provide public access Wi-Fi for their guests and other users. Demand for these services can fluctuate and at times be very high, for example during an event, and therefore it is essential that a robust and flexible Wi-Fi service be in place.

Businesses need to be aware of likely sources of disruption or interference, as this can create security vulnerabilities and wireless network instability. Sources include:

Devices emitting in the unlicensed band: microwave ovens, cordless phones, Bluetooth devices, wireless video cameras, outdoor microwave links, wireless game controllers, ZigBee devices, fluorescent lights, WiMAX, motion detectors for lighting, etc. can all impact on your Wi-Fi network resulting in loss of throughput.

Co-channel and adjacent channel interference: generally wireless LAN networks work co-operatively with each other, sharing the channel capacity. However, having ruled out other sources of interference this should be explored.

Detecting the source of interference can be difficult as an employee bringing a new device into work might be responsible without knowing it, and generally that device only causes interference when it is being used. For example, an employee using a cordless headset might only use it for certain phone calls and therefore interference is caused at sporadic times of the day.

What’s the solution? Well there are plenty of tools available to scan for wireless networks in range, and devices that are utilising the spectrum. However, you will need to operate these for an extended period as one sweep might not reveal all sources of interference – that cordless headset might not be in use at the time. You might also implement a wireless policy in your business so that employees do not bring devices into work. However, this will need enforcement and if your business, as in the case of our hospitality clients, revolves around providing services for the public – this won’t be feasible.

This is where partnering with a managed service provider has key advantages, giving them the responsibility to ensure an uninterrupted service, and benefiting from their experience adapting technologies to minimise interference and disruption.

If you have any questions about how unlicensed LTE may impact on your wireless LAN, please contact the Liberty-i team. Email support@liberty-i.com or call +44(0)808 2819 500.