Our craving for data seems to increase every year, fueling the constant advancements in wireless technology. The latest is 5G, an abbreviation for the fifth-generation wireless systems, and it is set to transform VoIP for the better. Here are three ways it will do that.
Improved video conferencing
The major factor holding web and video conferencing back is how fast current networks can transmit data. Fortunately, innovations like Web Real-Time-Communications (WebRTC) and 5G networks will enhance VoIP for businesses. Providing open and stable streaming as well as sufficient transfer speeds will soon allow businesses to accommodate higher quality, even 4K and 8K resolution videos.
Virtual and Augmented Reality
With 5G network speeds, virtual and augmented reality will become more common for small- and medium-sized businesses. 5G will blow past 4G’s Gbps (gigabits per second) limit, which is currently holding back the adoption of VR and AR applications.
VR and AR need to process significantly more visual data because of the freedom of movement they allow, and this puts an enormous strain on mobile networks. 5G is also set to ensure a better user experience by lowering latency levels that simplify and smoothen daily business operations, preventing network delays from affecting your bottom line.
VoIP calls rely heavily on sufficient download and upload speeds. For example, when mobile VoIP users on 4G networks are limited to 12Mbps upload and 2Mbps download speeds, they experience unstable and poor call connectivity and clarity. These limitations could also lead to packet loss, which happens when one or more “packets” of data traveling across a computer network fail to reach their destination, typically caused by network congestion.
When businesses decide to adopt the up-and-coming 5G network, businesses can expect to see significant improvements when it comes to VoIP. Ensure the success of your SMB with increased network speeds, better call quality and conversations with consistent connectivity. If you’re looking to set up a VoIP system for your business, call or email us today!
Pop-up ads and videos can easily turn people away from a website. Google knows this and has come up with a solution set to launch early next year. With that in mind, here’s everything you need to know about Chrome’s ad blocker.
What is it?
Ad blocker from Chrome actually works like an ad filter, meaning it won’t block all ads from the website, only ones that are determined to be too intrusive, like video autoplay with sound as well as interstitials that take up the entire screen.
A group called the Coalition for Better Ads, which consists of Google, Facebook, News Corp, The Washington Post, and other members will decide whether or not the ads are to be blocked. According to Sridhar Ramaswamy, the executive in charge of Google’s ads, even ads owned or served by Google will be blocked if they don’t meet the new guidelines.
How will it work?
From a consumer’s end, you won’t have to do anything except for updating your Chrome browser. For publishers, Google will provide a tool that you can run to find out if your site’s ads are violating the guidelines. The blocker will apply to both desktop and mobile experiences.
What are the benefits of Chrome ad blocker?
Bad ads slow down the web, make it annoying to browse, and drive consumers to install ad blockers that remove all advertisements. If that continues, publishers will face major obstacles since nearly all websites rely on ads to stay alive.
With Chrome’s ad blocker, wholesale ad blocking can be controlled to please both consumers and publishers. Users get a better web browsing experience and publishers can continue to make profits through online ad sales.
But isn’t Google already using third-party ad-blocking extensions?
Yes, but this means they have to pay third-party ad blockers — like Adblock Plus — a certain amount of fee to whitelist ads for the privilege of working around their filters. With their own ad blocker, this can be eliminated once and for all.
Are there potential drawbacks?
It’s undeniable that Chrome’s ad blocker gives Google lots of power to determine ad standards for everyone. It comes to no surprise that there are skeptics who don’t trust one company to act in everyone’s interest.
And while Google assures that even its own ads will be removed if they violate the rules, the fact that Google itself is an ad company with nearly 89 percent of its revenues coming from online ads doesn’t boost its credibility to industry peers.
Publishers will have fewer options to monetize their sites once Chrome’s ad blocker is implemented. To help, Google will include an option for visitors to pay websites that they’re blocking ads on called Funding Choices. However, a similar feature called Google Contributor has been tested a couple years ago with no signs of catching on so we doubt that Funding Choices will differ.
Despite expected criticism, Chrome’s ad blocker will likely result in a better web browsing experience. And as always, if you have any questions about the web, or IT in general, just give us a call and we’ll be happy to help.
Post by: Fabienne McGeever
Bandwidth refers to the amount of information that something, like a connection to the internet, can handle in a given time. Bandwidth calculations consider both theoretical ratings and actual throughput. It also measures speed for what is being sent out (upstream) and what is being brought in (downstream), explained today as up and down, from each workstation. Both up and down have a separate and unique speed measurement. Typical scenarios that are especially sensitive and are noticed around a networked company and is felt throughout include issues like:
- time to establish a new connection
- time to load a Web page, and basic browsing
- time to download an app, patch, or other files
- ability to stream video content for long periods uninterrupted
- Processing day to day functions in your specific software package including systems software and application software. Systems software includes the programs that are dedicated to managing the computer itself. Application software includes personal and business that keep employees and your company running).
Let’s use an analogy to help make bandwidth clearer. In this example, the bandwidth is the number of tables in a restaurant, and web traffic is diners. The math is simple: The more tables in the restaurant, the more patrons can dine there at any one time. The service however will be affected when there is an overabundance of patrons and not enough service, or a particular patron is over demanding; insistent that he deserves more attention.
Network connections each possess a bandwidth rating according to the maximum data rate it is physically capable of supporting. Examples are: wired, WiFi, DSL, (VPN) Virtual Personal Network, (RDP) Remote Desktop Protocol and Ethernet connections are examples. Fast Ethernet or Higher level network protocols like (IP) Internet Protocol use links at 100 Mbps (megabits per second). Each of these connections have a distinctive speed rating. All networks can easily be extended to link entire businesses or office buildings using network bridge devices. Being cognizant of what ports, switches, routers, tunnels and adapters are also important, but that’s another article! These devices do play a part in a networks performance. In the IT world, this can explain why things are not working the way or as fast as you are expecting. Whether proactive, reactive or both, maintenance is king! Equipment makes a huge difference and letting your hardware become obsolete is never a good idea.
So how much bandwidth does one need? Internet usage doubles every 12 months. If you need 10Mbps of bandwidth service right now, next year you’ll probably need 20Mbps. Businesses need 100Mbps per 1,000 users or 100Kbps (kilobits per second) per user. Mbps is over 1000 times faster than 1.0 Kbps. Reports project users will require 1Gbps per 1,000 seats or 1Mbps per user. There are only a few things to consider in purchasing bandwidth through your (ISP) Internet Service Provider. Who is using the Internet, what are they using the Internet for and when are users actually using it. Unfortunately, traffic is not a steady trickle of bytes it comes in bursts. Cost and availability from your provider both limit the bandwidth provisioned to you. Your ISP will let you know what is available in your area. Even more important is how your internal network bandwidth is allocated throughout the building. Throttling is recommended to help prioritize who needs what and how much. If a few are utilizing all the bandwidth, you can evaluate the necessity and make a business decision to control or purchase more bandwidth and/or put parameters in place for bandwidth distribution. Setting up this regulator lets you know who is monopolizing your bandwidth. This doesn’t preclude your ISP throttling you. They may be allowing full speed traffic to benchmarking sites while artificially squeezing anything else to slower speeds. “Unmetered bandwidth” is also an option; however, unmetered means a hosting plan with unmetered traffic… But unmetered does not mean unlimited. Unmetered hosting plans are often very limited in the amount of data you can send and receive. Data is often transferred between your servers and the public web at a lower speed. Some easy, low cost fixes to increase your speed might include just changing up your web browser, updating your operating system, changing out hardware like your network card, RAM and of course making sure your network is secure!
Fiber optic cable is now replacing copper cable, raising the standard in broadband speeds from the world of megabit into gigabit speeds . Your network condition is directly related to production and plays a critical role in the success and growth of your business.
Simpatico Systems, LLC is able to perform a network assessment and advise you on how to get your network in the best condition, in addition to being compliant for best practices and performance. Call us today – 855.476.6347 opt 1.
About the Author: Fabienne McGeever is a middle child/twin in a family of ten children. She gained the unique perspective to see both sides and get along with most. She loves snow skiing, the beach “in any form,” and glamping. Fabienne lives in Santa Clarita, CA and serves as a Corporate Admin/Client Relations Liaison for Simpatico Systems. Contact her directly: firstname.lastname@example.org
To those who are unfamiliar with Google Cloud Platform, it’s an app-development program offered via Google’s public cloud. It is Google’s answer to Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure. Like those two cloud platforms, Google Cloud Platform offers similar services and a similarly structured free-trial period. Recently, Google improved its own service with an ‘Always Free’ tier, which enhances its free-trial offering with more cloud features. Let’s take a look.
With 15 new services in total, Google’s ‘Always Free’ Cloud Platform provides users with 5GB of Regional Storage (US only) per month; one f1 micro-compute instance that comes with the requisite virtual machine features; various web applications and mobile backends; NoSQL database; messaging and streaming data services; and loads more.
Not to be confused with the ‘Always Free’ tier, the ‘12-month, $300 free trial’ tier slightly differs from the former with a consumable $300 credit, which can be used for any Google Cloud Platform products such as Google Compute Engine, Google Cloud Functions, and Google Stackdriver. This free credit is given upon sign-up and is valid over the course of the 12-month trial period; previously, it could be used only within the first 60 days.
The ‘Always Free’ tier has usage limits and is subject to eligibility and requirements, which include an upgraded billing account and a good Google account standing. There are also regional restrictions, with many of the associated Google Cloud products and services being offered only in Google’s us-east1, us-west1 and us-central1 regions.
Google’s cloud platform services and tier offerings are similar to those of leading cloud providers in the market, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure. Like Google Cloud Platform, AWS also offers a free tier (‘AWS Free Tier’) and a 12-month free option. Google’s noticeable advantage is the free virtual machines — something that Amazon does not, or is yet, to offer.
From this new service tier, one can surmise how competitive the cloud market is. Google’s generous offer of a $300 free trial credit was apparently not enough to persuade users of competitors’ services, particularly those who have been using Amazon’s platform, which explains the new and improved ‘Always Free’ tier.
It’s easy to become complacent in choosing the best cloud provider as there are a lot, but even though there are many similarities among the services offered by Google, Amazon, and Microsoft, Simpatico Systems offers cloud platforms that fit certain businesses better than others. Looking for a cloud platform that’s perfect for your business? Call us today at 855-476-6347 for professional cloud advice.
Google Play has a wealth of applications that you can wyopend a whole day exploring. But with numerous categories and hundreds of apps available on Google’s App Store, looking for productivity-increasing tools may be too time-consuming. Sifting through dozens of potentially helpful apps amidst a bunch of barely useful ones might not be the best use of your time, so we did the choosing for you. And since they’re free, there’s no need to add them to your wishlist.
Chrome Remote Desktop
This cross-platform app provides a tremendous benefit in terms of support. If you need remote assistance, you can grant someone temporary access to your desktop and revoke access once the issue has been resolved. The other benefit is being able to access your own desktop from any of your mobile devices (smartphone, tablet, Chromebook) to work on files or use programs. Simply install the Google Chrome extension, assign a pin for remote access, and start sharing.
It’s a dangerous world out there, which is why location-sharing apps such as Trusted Contacts are heaven sent. With Trusted Contacts, you can request a location from, or share yours with, a contact who’s also using the app. Location sharing has long been part of most apps with a GPS functionality, but what sets Trusted Contacts apart is its ability to send a person’s location even when offline. In instances when a person’s location is requested and there’s no answer within 5 minutes, the app automatically sends the contact’s last known location.
Google Handwriting Input
Typing on smartphones isn’t easy for everyone, and that’s why enhancements such as Swype are a welcome feature to touchscreen keyboards. Google Handwriting Input works like Swype, but is more flexible and doesn’t require precise strokes. You can ‘handwrite’ your IMs and text messages, perform searches, and even create emojis, using your finger or a stylus. This app may not seem like much, but it can be quite useful for those who communicate in languages with special characters.
Organizing business or leisure travel is taxing, and having to use multiple apps just adds to the chaos. Google Trips reduces your travel hassles by putting all data — such as itinerary, hotel location, available transportation, and other trip-related info — into one app and letting you access it online or offline. It also provides recommendations on popular attractions, day trips, and things to do based on the itineraries and other travel-related information you’ve stored in your Gmail.
The answer to some of your business’s most pressing needs may be hidden in plain sight in the App Store. We’re constantly on the lookout for process-enhancing apps and tools, so we know which solutions are best for you. For advice, click Contact US, or call 855-476-6347 today.
By now, that voice on your smartphone that you constantly rely on to search for recipes or movie schedules may already be part of your Googling routine. As helpful as it is, barking commands at your Google Assistant, an intelligent personal assistant, isn’t always the best way to go. Not to worry, as the brains at Google are on track to coming up with several workarounds.
A new type of Google Assistant
Don’t be surprised when a keyboard icon pops up on your Google app one of these days. This is your cue to type in something instead of verbally dictating as you normally would. Once you tap the icon, a text field will appear for your written commands. It may not seem like the most helpful or innovative update on the app, but it presents several benefits.
This update may come in handy when you’re in meetings, when you’re too sick to speak, when you’re in a noisy and crowded venue, or if you prefer to give your assistant precisely worded instructions. If you’re not impressed with this enhancement, consider it a neat alternative that the geniuses at Google offered.
Features of “Search gestures”
Aside from the keyboard icon, a “search gesture” functionality might also be on the way. It would let plus-sized smartphone users perform Google searches right on their device’s home screen… with a simple and swift swipe. Based on recent updates from Google, this feature would provide a reprieve from having to tap the Google search bar at the top, a point of concern for users of large-screened tablets and smartphones. Regardless of what the “Search gestures” feature aims to improve, it’s probably geared at further simplifying the search function across all devices.
The folks at Google are also reportedly working on integrating Google Assistant on Android Wear devices. Based on the latest Google App updates, an Android Wear Assistant looks to be on the horizon for users of Android’s smartwatch. Among all the reported updates on Google Assistant, this is where speculation runs the highest. If it pushes through, Android smartwatch wearers may soon be empowered to make commands to Google Assistant at any place and at any time – even while running.
Although these updates are still in the early stages, they’re bound to benefit personal and business users once launched. Google’s efforts at pushing these small yet significant changes may mean crucial improvements for your business, too. To maximize related technology at your disposal, get in touch with us now.
More people use Google than they use any other search tool available. Because of this, Google constantly strives to improve functionality and its users’ search experience. So to that end, Google recently decided to make mobile search its top priority. Learn more about why the company has chosen to do so and what this could mean for you and your business.
Google search is a tool that works through the use of ‘bots.’ These bots are responsible for trawling through the web and sorting and categorizing websites based on the content, location, and other factors associated with the site to give users the most relevant sites possible to their searches. Google has long used the same algorithms and search tools for all search platforms.
However, the newest Google search updates will move Google in a new direction, creating an entirely different mobile-only search index for people performing Google searches on mobile devices. This separate mobile search index is becoming the primary search index for the Google search tool. Basically, this means that mobile users are going to get the most frequently updated search results and that people who use desktop search tools will see different search results that are possibly not as well-filtered.
The primary reason for these changes is simple. Google has found that the vast majority of the searches performed with Google were performed on mobile devices. Because there were so many people using Google search on mobile devices, Google wants to make the user experience on smartphones and tablets as responsive as possible.
Another reason for the mobile-first priority is that people searching Google on mobile devices often look for quick info about business hours, addresses, or the weather, or for immediate answers to whatever other questions they might have. Google wants to ensure that these users get what they need when they need it. And of course, a mobile-first search tool will help ensure that the sites that do appear in a mobile search are optimized for mobile devices so that they load quickly and correctly.
With these facts and reasons in mind, you can better understand why Google search is transitioning to a mobile-first platform and how this may affect you and your business. To make sure your business is ready for this transition, contact us for further help and guidance.