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All posts tagged "wifi"

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Ensure Security When Using WiFi

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 01:30 PM

"Whether at a coffee shop or airport, public Wi-Fi is often available to connect your laptop, smartphone, or tablet to the Internet. But those connections are rarely secure, and hackers have found easy ways to sneak into your account. CNET's Kara Tsuboi reports."

While the video is very short on details and substance, it does bring attention to a very important issue. Security when using any WiFi network is critical and while you see articles talking about how to secure your own home WiFi networks, many people I suspect hardly spend a moment thinking about their security when at a hotspot. The safest assumption you should make is that any wireless network (and even wired networks to an extent) can be snooped, and you should always take precautions with sensitive information. This includes wireless networks that you have secured, since most any wireless network can be hacked into with enough time and determination.

Tags: wifi, security

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

How To Run Your Wireless Network Like a Coffee Shop Does

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Articles & Resources" @ 02:00 PM!5791208/run...e-a-coffee-shop

"Want to open up your Wi-Fi network to easier access for visitors, block the web's nasty stuff from young eyes, and maybe regain some bandwidth, too? Go ahead and unleash your inner coffee shop owner. With free software and no extra hardware, you can manage content and bandwidth on your home network, or even manage a semi-public "hotspot," without feeling like a despot."

If you have a WiFi network - or, really, a home network at all - that others use, be they family or friends, this is worth reading if you want to help keep your sanity. From the basics of using the free OpenDNS service to apply family-friendly Web filtering to using a Hotspot system to create a system whereby WiFi access is handed out on a controlled basis. The Hotspot system in particular is slick; I'd never heard of it before this article, and it's very clever!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Once You Go Wired, You Will Never Look Back

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 02:00 PM!5782479/how...-why-you-should

"We've shown you how to go completely wireless in your home, but as we mentioned recently, wireless is a good deal slower than a hard wired connection. Wi-Fi is undoubtedly useful and convenient for a lot of networking needs, but it can also cause a lot of frustration: interference, dropped connections, lag, and worst of all, slow speeds when it really counts."

Lifehacker has an excellent primer on how to turn your home into a networking wonder. While most people usually opt for a wireless solution, going wired can make a huge difference in how your network performs. Wired has always been the default preference for me; the performance and reliaibility of cables over radio waves more than makes up for the effort required to lay cable around the household.

While wired will offer superior performance, there is a right and wrong way to go about setting up your home network. Lifehacker does cover some of these points, like avoiding hubs in favour of switches. Another consideration should be things like the quality of cable you use, especially if you are going with long distances. I would also recommend that if you have the opportunity, get networking built into the house while it is being built, instead of doing it afterwards. It will save you money, unless you want to have cables snaking along your floors all over the place.

Do you have any tips from your experience in networking your household? What to avoid? What to use?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Your WiFi Connection Could Be Slowing You Down

Posted by Richard Chao in "Digital Home Talk" @ 09:58 AM!5781497/use...everything-else

"It's a pain, but the reason is plain: Wi-Fi is, according to a study of 14,000 connections, 30 percent slower than cables in most homes and offices."

Image via PC World

Epitiro, a research company, recently published their findings from a study in which they conducted a million tests on 14,000 WiFi connection points in U.K., Spain, Italy and U.S. They found that users on average experienced 30% slower speeds when connected to WiFi points versus hard connections via Ethernet lines.

This is useful statistical data for those of us who game, video chat and run applications where consistent speed is a must. What has your experiences been in your network? Have you experienced similar speed drops?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Best Ways to Share Files With a Nearby Computer

Posted by Reid Kistler in "Digital Home Articles & Resources" @ 01:30 PM

"[W]hen you're trying to share files with someone in the same physical space as you, it hardly seems necessary to go through the slow process of uploading files to and downloading files from the internet, especially if they're rather large files. There's always the tried-and-true method of dumping your file(s) on a USB thumb drive, but if you don't have one handy (or you don't have a big enough drive), you've still got options...."

The article touches upon setting up file sharing under MAC and Windows 7, and then discusses transferring via Wifi (including using an Ad Hoc wireless connection), FireWire, and Ethernet (for which you may or may not need either a cross-over cable or adapter. The latter is pictured above, lower center). Of course, there are other alternatives available, including a USB Transfer Cable (upper left above), or via a "LapLink" transfer cable (upper center), although you might have trouble finding serial or parallel ports on many modern computers. Was amused at the thought that the "tried-and-true method" of local file transfers has become via a USB drive, whereas the "sneakernet" that many of us remember involved floppies (and 5 1/4" floppies, at that!). USB has the advantage of being nearly ubiquitous: does that make it the best choice? What is your favorite method of transferring files from one system to another (especially if away from your home or business network)?

Friday, August 27, 2010

Frustrations with Home Networking

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 01:00 PM

"The reality is that setting up a home network to make all that happen is still a more daunting task than most home improvement projects. And it may be even harder getting one to work reliably when every family member is on his or her own computer or smartphone, simultaneously streaming, posting and surfing."

Having used computers for quite some time, I have had the opportunity to see how consumer networks have evolved. I can recall times when wireless networks did not exist and consumers were stuck with 10BASE-T and 10BASE-2 networks. (I only saw Token Ring networks in the most geekiest of homes.) Now we start to find gigabit networks becoming much more common, but wireless definitely dominates. The problem with wireless is security over convenience. Wireless routers first started out defaulting to no security, presumably for ease of use. Now, many come with some trick or another to ensure that your network is your own. Living in an apartment building now, this is not enough. I can pick up about three dozen wireless networks (most of them protected, thankfully) all competing for the same RF spectrum. Needless to say, performance on my wireless network is disappointing. Is there a solution? Wired is one, either through traditional cables, which is what I have done, or through alternatives such as HomePlug Powerline. Powerline is tempting as you do not have to lay cable all over your house. For wireless, the 5Ghz spectrum is still relatively unused so I may be switching my laptops over but that will only work for so long. Does anyone have a foolproof solution that will work, securely, and in densely populated areas?

Tags: hardware, wifi

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Samsung Releases ST80 WiFi compact and HMX-E10 Pocket Video Camera

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 07:30 PM

"Camera releases are somewhat a by-the-numbers thing with so many different variations being released by numerous companies throughout the year. Samsung's pair here does have some interesting standout features, but one at a time."

Samsung's got a pair of interesting cameras; the first one, the ST80, offers a standard 3x zoom lens (35-105 equivalent; people still make them?), a 3" touchscreen with no physical controls at the back, 720p video, and WiFi to upload files directly to photo-sharing and social network sites. After having played around with the latest generation of smartphones, I think it would be cooler if cameras now started adding Bluetooth so we can use our phones to share those social snaps taken on something better than crappy cellphone cameras.


Thursday, April 15, 2010

New Eye-Fi "Endless Memory" Card Announced

Posted by Reid Kistler in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 05:00 PM

"Eye-Fi has announced the addition of two wireless SD cards into its X2 line-up of memory cards. The 4GB Connect X2 and 8GB Explore X2 both feature the Endless Memory Mode first seen in the RAW-compatible Pro X2 card. They also share its class 6 (6MB/s ) transfer speeds and high-speed 802.11n Wi-Fi. In addition, the Explore card uses location data from nearby WiFi points to geotag images." has picked up a press release for the new additions to the Eye-Fi X2 line of wireless SD cards, which now consists of three models, ranging in price from $49.99 to $149.99, and in native storage capacity from 4 to 8 GB. At first glance the price seems a bit stiff, but the cards offer a variety of features and I find it amazing that they are able to cram both storage and WiFi capabilities within a standard size SD card! Eye-Fi also offers a line of "Classic Cards" which lack several of the X2 line's features, including the Endless Memory programming. As hinted at by the above photos, the initial set up is done by connecting to your computer via an included USB reader, after which the card itself is inserted into your compatible camera: the Eye-Fi website provides a list of compatible models, including a number that provide enhanced capabilities. If you carry a wireless computer, or routinely find WiFi hotspots in your travels, this might be an attractive technology. Would be interested in hearing from any of our readers who have tried these out: Do they work as well as advertised?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Infinitec's IUM Promises "Infinite USB Memory"

Posted by Reid Kistler in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 06:30 PM

"[Infinitec's IUM]... ad hoc streaming stick creates a local WiFi network... for all sorts of media and data to flow from your PC to, well, pretty much anything. PC to PC, PC to Blu-ray player, PC to printer...."

Engadget has been following the development of Infinitec's IUM device, which is expected to be available in July 2010 at a list price of $129. The IUM is uniquely paired to your laptop, via Infinitec's "Infinite Portal" software, and then can be plugged into almost any other device that has a USB port, where it appears as a simple USB thumb drive - but uses your laptop's WiFi signal to create a connection that can access the installed hard drive, as well as any external drives your laptop has access to. Although the "unlimited" tag is arguably a bit of a stretch, the IUM promises the transfer, or streaming, of a wide variety of data or media files, including full HD (1080p), and does so without storing any data internally, so if the IUM itself is lost, no data is compromised. This looks like a promising product, although it does have competition - for at least some of it's functions - in devices such as IOGear's USB Net ShareStation (Ethernet or WiFi), or any of a number of "Certified Wireless USB" (WUSB) devices, which use Ultra-Wideband technology.

Monday, March 1, 2010

WiFi Freeloader Complains She Can't Steal Access Any More

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Talk" @ 03:39 PM

"Someone named Jennifer called in to the Leo Laporte show a week ago and asked for help on how to get back online. She'd been able to access a Wi-Fi hotspot for over a year and a half from her apartment, but "that's disappeared now for three weeks." She bought a wireless extender and that didn't solve the problem at all. Laporte gently tries to point out that she's being a freeloader, but she's not buying it.", this is hilarious! I can't believe the audacity of this woman - she knew that she was freeloading on someone else's WiFi connection, and had been doing so for over a year, then she gets upset that she can't connect any longer? Classic! Leo was pretty nice to her - I think I might not have been if I was in his shoes...and before anyone says that maybe the person knew it was open and wanted to give the apartments around them access, if that was their intention, they would have changed the SSID to "FREE-WIFI" or something similar. The default SSID of Linksys gives it away as a clueless user...

Thursday, December 31, 2009

WiGig Promises Really Fast Wireless

Posted by Reid Kistler in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 09:00 AM

"Most likely you've never heard of the WiGig wireless standard created by the Wireless Gigabit Alliance. If you haven't, that's OK because today the group is announcing the WiGig version 1.0 specification, which they hope will become implemented in home networking gear as early as the first quarter of 2010. So why should you care? We've got dual-band 802.11n now, right? Well, because WiGig is 10 times faster than 802.11n, with transfer rates up to 7Gbps, and is backwards compatible with 802.11b/g/n."

Alexander Grundner at eHomeUpgrade picked up on a press release for the Wireless WiGig Alliance that promises products by...well, the press release does not actually say when WiGig products will be available, and neither does the WiGig website - only that they will operate in the 60 GHz band, at speeds of 1 Gbps to over 6 Gbps. Might sound a bit like vaporware, but with a Board of Directors that includes such leading technology companies as Broadcom, Dell, Intel, Microsoft, NEC, NVIDIA and Samsung Electronics it seems reasonable to expect real world products eventually. A good question might be: "If you are planning an 802.11n implementation, will you wait for WiGig?"

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

These Technologies Tread Where Network Cables Cannot

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 02:00 PM,2470.html

"When it comes to home networks, one size does not fit all. I had my home built five years ago and spread Gigabit Ethernet-ready CAT5e drops all over the house. I was lucky (or perhaps foolish, considering the present housing market). Most people don’t have this sort of structured wiring in their homes. But most have coax cabling in the walls, and just about everyone who doesn’t live in a tent has power to every room. If all else fails and you’re just not within reach of any plug, there’s WiFi (usually)."

While home networking has become as common-place as stimulus packages, most homes just are not wired to handle the increasing amount of traffic that is fluttering amongst our electronic minions. Sure, you could spend hundreds, likely thousands of dollars outfitting each room with a Gigabit jack, or you could try out some alternatives. Tom's Hardware has done all the hard work for you though, trying out what each technology is generally capable of, including the less frequented Powerline and Coaxial options. Overall, it looks like you get what you pay for, though all options deserve consideration. When it comes down to it though, I am quite certain most people will just end up using a combination of Ethernet where possible, and WiFi everywhere else.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Windows 7 To Feature Virtual WiFi

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 08:30 AM

"In essence, how Virtual WiFi works is very similar to how virtualization works for operating systems which most people are familiar with - the transparent sharing of limited hardware resources to many operating systems. Virtual WiFi, abbreviated to VWiFi, is a software layer that abstracts the wireless LAN card hardware into multiple virtual adapters."

I am sure that some of you are wondering what possible use could using one wireless network adapter connect to two wireless networks be? Well, maybe not in those exact words, but something along those lines. While I can't say this is one of the most important features to be included in Windows 7, I can definately see this being handy. First, it can allow any laptop with supporting hardware to share a WiFi signal like a hotel WiFi connection. Second, it allows you to connect to two WiFi networks such as one public and one private at the same time. Unfortunately, once you activate the virtual adapter, it does cut your speed in half or more. All in all, it is just another reason why Windows 7 does appear to be the OS that will put Microsoft back on the map.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Engadget Reviews MiFi 2200 Wireless Router

Posted by Ed Hansberry in "Thoughts Media Off Topic" @ 12:00 PM

"Put simply, our hats go off to Novatel and Verizon on this one. The MiFi is drop-dead awesome in basically every meaningful way, and we'd be shocked if every top-tier carrier in the world wasn't actively looking into adding it -- or a device very similar to it -- into their lineup. Unless you have a very specific, compelling reason that you require an ExpressCard or a USB stick style modem, the MiFi's simplicity, flexibility, tethering capability, and no-compromise performance make it the way to go for your mobile data needs."

Engadget has reviewed the new MiFi 2200 wireless router for use on the Verizon network. This little credit card sized device may be the perfect companion for some of you when you need WiFi access and there isn't a Starbucks to be found.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Kodak Bringing Media Hub To Your Living Room

Posted by Tim Williamson in "Digital Home News" @ 06:00 AM

"ROCHESTER, N.Y., July 10 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Eastman Kodak Company (NYSE:EK) today unveiled the KODAK Theatre HD Player, a High Definition (HD) media player that enables consumers to interact more freely and creatively with their most valuable possessions -- their memories. Harnessing Wi-Fi and HD technologies, a wide array of organizational and display features and access to online content through unique partners, the KODAK Theatre HD Player turns consumers into the directors of their own show with a wireless remote control pointer in-hand. The device will roll out in stages, with a market trial commencing in September 2008."

It looks like Kodak will be bringing their own HD media hub to your living room, the KODAK Theatre HD Player, which appears to be in competition with Windows Media Center and Apple TV. I haven't seen any pictures of the interface or actual hardware, but it will be really difficult to compete with Media Center's interface and Apple TV's hardware. Right now it looks like it will only be able to display video at 720p, why wouldn't they have this device future-proofed and give it the ability to display at 1080p??? I'm not too excited about this device, but I'll have to see the final hardware before making final judgement.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Off to Our Nation's I as Geeky as Jason?

Posted by Tim Williamson in "Thoughts Media Off Topic" @ 10:30 AM

I know I just started as a Contributing Editor on Digital Home Thoughts, but Jason is such a slave-driver, I already need a vacation! LOL! Actually I've been planning this trip to Washington DC for a few months now (I made it a personal goal to travel more this year, and DC was one of my top picks).

Getting through security at the airport was a little bit of a hassle since they make you remove your laptop from its case and take your shoes and jacket off, but it was relatively painless; I was surprised they didn't ask to open my backpack with all the electronics I'm bringing along. After making my way through security and into the main terminal area, I noticed quite a few people using laptops, I wondered...could there be free Wifi around? I turn on my laptop, and lo and behold, up pops a free access point run by Sacramento International Airport. The funny thing is I had spent a few hours this week at a failed attempt to get my laptop to share my Dash's internet -- I never thought to check whether the airport has Wifi access *smacks forehead*!

So for the next two weeks I'll be staying with some friends in DC and touring around all the historical sights while taking tons of photos in the process. Here's the technology I plan to bring:

  • Gateway Laptop (used to offload photos every night and to keep me connected to the intArwebs, I might upload my "better" photos to Flickr every night as a backup method)
  • Canon 10D DSLR Camera (512 MB CF card, 3 extra batteries, telephoto lens, medium zoom lens, and prime lens)
  • Canon SD870IS Point-And-Shoot Camera (it's small enough to carry wherever I go, plus it has a wider-angle lens than my 10D!)
  • T-Mobile Dash (to use as a phone, plus I checked my flight status on the way to the airport)
  • Nintendo DS (for fun if I get bored)
  • PSP (for even more fun if I get bored of the DS)
  • iPod Nano 8GB (1st gen)
  • Philips In-Ear Headphones (I'm curious to see how well these work on the plane)
  • An Old-Fashioned Book (in case all my technology fails ;) )

Am I as geeky as Jason? And am I forgetting anything? I guess it might be a little late to ask this since I'm sitting in the airport waiting for my plane to leave within the next few minutes...

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