5 Considerations Before Making the Jump to Gigabit Internet

Reading Time: 5 minutes

If you live in one of the major metro areas of the country you will very likely have never had to deal with insufficient internet connectivity. Consider yourself fortunate, as that’s exactly the frustration that many people in more rural areas of the country have had to tolerate for a good long while now. The fact is that Gigabit internet speeds were something that you did without if you were living somewhere without much in the way of population. Which is a shame, as quite often those spots are the best places to be in the country if you want an especially high quality of life.

The good news of course is that this is changing. Long-awaited gigabit internet speeds are slowly but surely coming to a growing number of smaller communities in Canada, as fiber infrastructure improves and companies offer ultra-fast service packages. Here at 4GoodHosting, this is something that we’ve heard lamented by people in these areas, and that’s likely the case for nearly every good Canadian web hosting provider too.

So what we’re going to do here this week is share what we know about ways you can be best prepared for the high-speed Internet revolution that may well be on your horizon too if you’re living in smaller town Canada. Here’s 5 simple and very doable suggestions for you

  1. Set Up Quality Wired Connections

Wired connections tend to be better for gigabit speeds due to their reliability and lack of interference. To benefit from the best of gigabit internet, the right wired connections go a long way and if you’re on a desktop most of the time this is the way you want to go. Start with evaluating the wired connection from the internet modem to your router.

Most modern Ethernet ports manufactured in the last few years are gigabit Ethernet capable. However, if you have a router or other wired device that’s older than that, then it may be using an older type of Ethernet connection and possibly one that will not be able to support Gigabit Internet speeds. In this scenario what’s going to happen is the router will bottleneck your entire home network, and your frustrations will be just as pronounced as they’ve ever been

There are several types of adapters for a USB 3.0 to Gigabit Ethernet connection, but many times they end up slowing down performance in other ways.

If you have no clue what type of ports are found on your router, what you can do is find the product number and dig up the specifications online to confirm this. You can also do this with your computers to check on factory cards and connections. Make sure all of your componentry is rated for gigabit speeds, or 1,000 Mbps.

Another option is to look in your Settings to get up to speed on your connections. Next, have a look at the Ethernet cables themselves.

They should be at least Cat5e or higher to support Gigabit speeds. Cat 6 cables are a better choice though, as they are optimal for delivering gigabit speeds. Most new computer systems will come with them, but if yours didn’t then they are relatively inexpensive.


  1. Ensure Your Devices Support Latest Wi-Fi Standards

Alternately, if it’s unlikely that you’ll be using a wired connection on a particular device then you should determine what Wi-Fi standards are supported by it. The official gigabit-compatible Wi-Fi standard is 802.11ac, but once 2019 comes to and end next month we will have then moved on to the new 802.11ax standard – which it otherwise and more commonly known to be Wi-Fi 6.

To make this simple, if you need to go out and buy a new router in advance of this new development then make sure there’s a Wi-Fi 6 label on it.

For those who won’t be buying a new anything, then you can make sure your old router supports at least the 802.11ac standard. This standard has been around for years, and only most archaic routers won’t have it. The majority of these ended up in electronics recycling depots many years ago, but there may be a few out there still.

There are adapters that can make your old router compatible, but you’ll really be best served by a new router that’s indicated as being Wi-Fi 6 ready.

For mobile devices there are other technologies like MU-MIMO that can improve mobile connections on Wi-Fi 6, but not all devices will support them.

  1. Set Up Your Wi-Fi Router’s 5GHz Band

The majority of routers are now dual-band, meaning they support the common 2.4GHz band and the more infrequently used 5GHz band. That 5GHz option may not have as much range at the original band, but there’s a lot less of that wireless tech chatter when running on 5GHz. Indeed, the 5GHz band can provide a clearer signal and enable more of those desired gigabit-level speeds.

Most dual-band routers will prompt that’s something to do if you haven’t already. Go into your settings and see if it’s possible to lock onto 5GHz band to make it so this won’t happen

And then if your router isn’t dual-band, it’s something you will want to replace as soon as possible. Modern routers tend to be dual-band, and many have software that can intelligently switch between bands when necessary to provide the best connection. Plus, single band routers will be 802.11ac compatible.

  1. Update Firmware and Operating Systems

Provided your router has gigabit Ethernet, the latest Wi-Fi standard, and a 5Ghz Wi-Fi band already established and ready to go, then you’re ready for the advent of high-speed Internet in your home. However, it’s still a good idea to check to make sure that the firmware is updated to the latest version so that everything’s guaranteed to run smoothly.

Checking for firmware updates is as simple as logging into your router administrator console with the right address. Then, in settings, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for upgrading the device. Enable automatic updates after if you haven’t already, as then you’ll get those firmware updates as soon as they’re made available in the future.

Also recommended to update all your other devices too, especially if there are updates that you have been putting off. Many general OS updates improve general performance and efficiency.

  1. Run Speed Tests on Devices to Find Weak Spots

There are more than a few effective online speed tests you can run on both wired and wireless devices. Just google online speed tests and you’ll have a number to choose from right away at the top of your results page.

Running a test before choosing to upgrade will help you find an average baseline of your current speeds, and you use that to compare to your gigabit speeds after upgrading. Nine times out of 10 you’re going to see massive gains with gigabit internet, and you’ll very likely be pleased as punch with them.

It’s also possible to check how speed varies between wireless and wired. If the difference is considerable, then the natural step is to determine which devices need to be on a wired connection for best performance. Wi-Fi dead spots are something to always keep in mind, and most people will already to know where exactly they are in the home if they’ve found them before – usually quite by accident.


So to small town Canada, we say welcome to the world of real Internet speeds!

What’s to Know: Wi-Fi Direct

Reading Time: 5 minutes

There are few if any shortened terms that are as immediately recognizable as Wi-Fi, and the way it’s universally understood to mean a wireless internet network for people to access the web via mobile internet browser devices. Unless you’re the type of person who never leaves home you probably take advantage of them more than a few times every week, and for any number of different reasons. This ultimate digital convenience isn’t likely to be any less popular anytime in the future considering we live in a world that’s increasingly digital all the time.

It’s for this reason that Wi-Fi Direct is definitely deserving of some fanfare, and while many of you may already be familiar with it there’s plenty of others who might enthusiastically welcome an introduction to anything that puts them online without having to dip into their monthly data allowance. Here at 4GoodHosting, we imagine we’re like any other Canadian web hosting provider in that we’re no different than the rest of you in that regard.

We need to start with this, though – Wi-Fi Direct is not new at all. In fact, it’s been enabling versatile, peer-to-peer wireless connections for almost 10 years now, but it’s kind of been flying under the radar the whole time it would seem.

So what we’re going to talk about here is what it is, what it can do, and what you need to know when using it.

What Exactly is Wi-Fi Direct?

The simplest and most accurate definition here is that it is a connection that allows for device-to-device communication. It links devices together without a nearby centralized network. The first device acts as an access point, and the other one connects to it using WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Setup) and WPA/WPA2 (Wi-Fi Protected Access) security protocols. It was in the early 2000s that this standard was developed and incorporated into web browser equipped devices.

Some of the more knowledgeable of you may now be saying to yourself that sounds like the working of Bluetooth technology. It does sound like it, but it’s not the same operation here. The difference is that Wi-Fi Direct can handle more information at higher speeds than Bluetooth. Approximately 10 times the speed in optimal conditions. Wi-Fi Direct is more ideal when a peer-to-peer connection needs to transmit data-rich content – like a high-resolution image or a video — or when a Wi-Fi network has failed.

Wi-Fi Direct has many advantages, but the foremost of them is how versatile it can be where there’s no Wi-Fi network to function as a go-between for devices. Multiple devices use it to link to each other and share important files in any setting, but it’s especially valuable in urgent circumstances where connectivity is needed immediately but security worries that come with connecting via a standard Wi-Fi network are front and center.

The good news is that most newer devices will make you immediately aware when Wi-Fi Direct is available. Most of the time when you search for a network it will pop up with its own wireless network starting with ‘DIRECT’ and then followed by a product name or number.

Likely a good many of you are now thinking ‘yes, I’ve seen that but I was unsure as to what it was.’

Wi-Fi Direct Supported Devices

As mentioned, Wi-Fi Direct has been available to consumers for nearly a decade now because of the 2011 Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) update that came with guidelines for the feature. Pretty much every mobile device manufactured in the last 5 years will be compatible with it, including a few you would probably have guessed wouldn’t be.

Android devices with an OS after 2.3 (Gingerbread) have supported Direct, and same goes for Apple devices sporting iOS 7 or later. Do note though that Apple markets the feature under its own names, ‘Air Drop’ and ‘Air Play’.

In addition, there’s more than a few entertainment devices that also make use of Wi-Fi Direct for streaming content or screencast from a mobile device. Included among them are Chromecast, Roku, and Xbox and nearly all of the newer Smart TVs. Wireless headsets with high fidelity audio, wireless printers, and even accessories like keyboards are at the top of the list of peripherals that can also work with Wi-Fi Direct.

What does vary is how Wi-Fi Direct connections are created between devices. Some devices may request that you scan a QR code. Others will have you enter a numerical PIN, and others still will have you press physical buttons to initiate a connection.

With web security becoming ever-more important, we’re seeing increasing numbers of devices using a combination of these approaches, and fewer of them will connect automatically anymore. Yes, that requires more of you, but the assurance of greater security will be worth it and especially if the nature of your communications is related to business.

Standard Uses for Wi-Fi Direct

How do most people use Wi-Fi Direct these days? Here are the most common applications for it:

  1. Speedy file sharing: Wi-Fi Direct is ideal for sharing large files with a friend or team without intolerable delays when setting up a wired connection isn’t possible or practical.
  2. Photo printing on wireless printers: Wi-Fi Direct doesn’t flinch when asked to process large amounts of wireless information, making it ideal for serious wireless printing jobs.
  3. Screen casting / Screen sharing: Whether you’re playing games on a big screen that are based from your phone or sharing family photos from it on your TV or digital portrait, Wi-Fi Direct is a powerhouse for all sorts of screensharing tasks.
  4. Multi-Player Games: Wi-Fi Direct is a saviour when you have multiple players looking to play the same game together in multiplayer mode on their own phones. If you’ve ever tried this with a standard Wi-Fi connection it’s usually pretty insufficient, and downright impossible if it’s a busy Wi-Fi network.
  5. Rapid syncing: Some devices will also use Wi-Fi Direct to sync their information and update their media. This can expedite the process in a big way, especially if the requirement is to add a lot of new media at the same time.
  6. Enabling NFC: NFC (near field communication) technology is most optimally enabled when done through Wi-Fi direct.

Wi-Fi Direct & the Internet of Things

Not that long ago there was talk of using Wi-Fi Direct for smart home devices, especially when IoT connectivity was new and exciting. Today, however, Wi-Fi Direct is almost never seen in the Internet of Things. That’s because Wi-Fi Direct is all about connections between two devices that aren’t part of a wireless network, but exist in separate spaces of their own.

To cut right to it, the Internet of Things has become dominated by standard Wi-Fi networks because today’s smart devices need to be highly interconnected with each other to enable more complex scenes or management. Another reason Wi-Fi direct isn’t well suited for smart devices is because it can have security issues that arise when automatic connections are enabled.

All in all though, Wi-Fi Direct has been a very beneficial development in web connectivity options and everyday more and more people are becoming aware of what it is and where it’s a better choice for their web interactions.

Google Achieves ‘Quantum Supremacy’: What This Means

Reading Time: 4 minutes

It’s pretty much a weekly occurrence for the world’s leading web world giant to be making a splash of some sort, and lately a good many of those splashes have been stark reminders of just how increasingly omnipotent Google has become in every aspect of digital life. On the one hand the way they’ve pushed the development of new technology has been of great benefit to all of u, while on the other there are times when we hear of news that makes you wonder if it’s a good idea to have so much power and influence consolidated in one pair of hands.


Here at 4GoodHosting, it’s safe to say we’re much the same as any other Canadian web hosting provider would be in the way we regard this. The nature of what we do gives us a very valid first-hand overview of such proceedings, and offering genuine perspective on it is really something that comes with the territory. It’s also likely safe to assume that the majority of those trusting their web presences to us will have you understanding of what would be meant by ‘quantum supremacy.’


That term is definitely trending online right given what’s recently been announced as it regards Google’s latest accomplishment. It certainly has the potential to be quite a pivotal development in the world and one that is maybe even a little ominous too (read on), so we’ll make it the topic for this week’s blog.


An End to Effective Encryption


A term that most of you will know, however, is encryption. To encrypt something is to keep it locked behind some sort of code that is nearly unbreakable for some and entirely unbreakable for most. Up until now, encryption has been the means by which digital files and the like have been effectively kept out of the hands of those who should not have access to them.


If what is being reported here now is true, however, Google’s new 53-qubit quantum computer has achieved ‘quantum supremacy’ and apparently it will soon come to mean that nothing is entirely secure, even with the best and most advanced encryption.


To give you an idea of what this new and ultimate supercomputer is able of doing, Google’s new quantum processor took just 200 seconds to complete a computing task that would normally require 10,000 years on a similar conventional machine. It’s being reported that A 53-qubit quantum computer can break any 53-bit cryptography in mere seconds, or in fractions of sections in certain circumstances.


What this is going to mean is that Google’s new ‘quantum supremacy’ is going to pretty much mean that cryptographic secrets are going to be a thing of the past. The standard for cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and the like has been 256-bit encryption.


The reach of this goes beyond cryptocurrencies (and far beyond it in fact) but to give you an idea of what could go wrong here – once Google scales its quantum computing to 256 qubits, iBitcoin (and all 256-bit crypto) is available in its entirety since Google (or anyone with the technology) could easily break the encryption protecting all crypto transactions, then redirect all such transactions to its own wallet if that’s what it decides it wants to do.


Reaching Even Further


The revolutionary nature of it doesn’t stop there; all military-grade encryption has the potential to become useless as Google’s quantum computers expand their qubits into the 512, 1024 or 2048 range, which would render all modern cryptography obsolete. Google’s computer would have the ability to ‘crack’ even the most advanced cryptographic encryptions in less that a minute.


What’s being overcome here is this – classical computing is limited to only computing the correct factoring answers through brute force trial-and-error, and this needs massive computing power and time. Quantum computing has no such requirements or restrictions, it solves the factoring problem in 2^n dimensions, where n is the number of bits of encryption.


While traditional computing bits can only hold a value of 0 or 1 (not both), qubits have the ability to hold both values simultaneously. This means an 8-qubit computer can simultaneously represent all values between 0 and 255 at the same time.


This increased capacity will grow and grow and grow. The number of qubits in Google’s quantum computers are predicted to double at least every year, and industry experts agree that quantum computing power will very likely grow at a double exponential rate.


What this can be taken to mean is that Google will achieve > 100 qubits by 2020, > 200 qubits by 2021, and then > 400 qubits by approximately 2022. From there, once Google’s quantum computers exceed 256 qubits, all cryptocurrency encryption that uses 256-bit encryption will be null and void. And the problem is, that’s the vast majority of all cryptocurrency encryption that’s in use – and paid for.


What might be a little more disconcerting even is that by 2024 Google will be able to break nearly all military-grade encryption, rendering military communications fully transparent to them and making national security information non-private in ways it has never been before.


No one’s suggesting that much should be read into this development at this point, but it is safe to say that Google’s new 53-qubit quantum computer is going to be a major game changer when it comes the reliability of standard web encryption approaches. The saying ‘with great power comes great responsibility’ would seem to be very appropriate here.

Newly Identified Risks with Horde Web Email

Reading Time: 4 minutes

It’s nearly impossible to veer away from web security and privacy concerns these days, as it’s a pressing issue in the digital world and the frequency with which new hacker attacks are arriving makes this types news as necessary as it is overwhelming. As we discussed in an earlier entry here, hackers are motivated by money, as there’s dirty dollars to be made selling sensitive information acquired from people without their consent, approval, or anything or the sort.

So here we are into the second last month of 2019 and – not surprisingly – another new and urgent software vulnerability is pushing its way to the forefront of what’s new and noteworthy in the world of web hosting. Here at 4GoodHosting, it’s likely that we’re not different from any other good Canadian web hosting provider in that we don’t have the luxury of not paying attention to developments like these, and so here we are again today.

Most of you will be familiar with Horde, as it’s one of the most popular free and open-source web email systems available to consumers these days. In truth, it’s the epitome of what a quality open-source web resource should be, as it’s been very responsibly built and is a good example of what can and should be done to ensure that software does not eventually become exclusive to deep-pocket development businesses.

However, unfortunately it seems that a major security flaw with Horde has been exposed and we believe it’s always best to put users in the know as soon as possible regarding this stuff. We’ll try to go short on the technical stuff, but this vulnerability is related to CVE 2018-19518, an IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol) and it exists in the ‘imap-open’ function that is used to open an IMAP stream to a mailbox.

Invisible Thieves

In most cases where security is compromised and information or identity theft occurs – both in the digital world and otherwise – there’s more often than not some type of identifiable evidence of an unwelcome guest having been on the ‘premises’. Not so here, as a prominent web security researcher claims they’ve detected several vulnerabilities in the popular open-source Horde web email software that allow hackers to steal the contents of a victim’s inbox, and do so nearly invisibly.

Now for those of you who are in fact unfamiliar with it, Horde is one of the most popular free and open-source web email systems available. It’s built and maintained by a core team of developers, with contributions from the wider open-source community. It’s popularity has grown in leaps and bounds over the last couple of years, and is actually the default email client that is used by a good many universities, libraries and many web hosting providers themselves.

According to the report, these vulnerabilities with Horde were first seen in May. How the hackers gets ‘in’ is by scraping and download a victim’s entire inbox. Now most you will be saying ‘surely that’s not possible with all the protective measures and security checks in place these days’, and you’d be right – provided the door wasn’t opened for them.

That’s how this Horde security flaw is taken advantage of. The hacker tricks the user into clicking a malicious link in an email. Once that click is made, the inbox is quickly and thoroughly downloaded to the attacker’s server.

What could happen next likely doesn’t need a whole lot of explanation. Any valuable information contained in any of the communications contained in that inbox is there for the taking. Given how many of us have sensitive information like banking and other types contained in email communications, this risk doesn’t need to be amplified any more than it already is.

Known Culprits

Earlier this year there were over 3,000 firewalls hit with 20,000+ requests over just two days, and while we don’t have numbers to indicate how the problem’s been since then the fact that it’s more in the news now than then suggests that the problem hasn’t abated and very likely grown since then.

The folks over at Sonic Wall have published some of the ‘busted’ IPs from which these requests have originated. If you know where to look for them and are using Horde yourself, feel free to have a look for any of these known bad guys: / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / /

And if you see activity from any related to access to your software then it should very much be a red flag.

A Fix?

The norm is for security researchers to typically give organizations three months to fix flaws before they are publicly disclosed, so the fac this information has been made public and the news of the breaches counted earlier in 2019 suggests this has gone on for too long. Further, the consensus is that these flaws pose a ‘high’ security risk to users.

It should be mentioned that some – not all – of the vulnerabilities were fixed in the latest Horde webmail version. We’ve read that the Horde community has not publicly acknowledged the vulnerability — or that users of earlier versions of the webmail are still vulnerable.

Definitely something to be aware of and taking steps to protect yourself if you and / or your organization is using Horde as your chosen mail client. Not suggesting you reconsider that choice as it really is an excellent free and open-source web email system. And further, now that this is much more in the public eye, we expect Horde to be MUCH more aggressive in addressing this security vulnerability.