Housebound Web User Numbers Explode: Ways to Increase Internet Speed

There’s been all sorts of articles in the news these days about how the COVID-19 Pandemic is keeping nearly all of us indoors nearly all the time, and all of the different challenges that’s placing on us as a society. One of the more troubling issues for those of us being responsible and working from home is that we need to have strong Wi-Fi connections to go along with unimpeded access to the high-speed Internet we pay for. The work needs to be done, and web connectivity is essential to it.

 

Now of course there are people who are also housebound but either unable or not required to work. We certainly can’t blame them for wanting to stream entertainment options or play games online etc., etc., but it is quite frustrating and problematic when a person who is working from home and their productivity is taking a hit because they’re having to deal with slo Internet speeds because many others in the area are using their own connections for entertainment.

 

Unfortunately there’s nothing to be done to change that situation. Here at 4GoodHosting, we’re like any other popular Canadian web hosting provider in that we imagine a large majority of our customers are doing the same as we’re doing in the interest of being socially and civically responsible; working from home. There’s only so much bandwidth to go around, so if you’re more than a little annoyed with having to deal with slow Internet speeds at this time we’ve compiled a few tips that might help you remedy the situation somewhat.

 

Experts are saying that the need for isolating in the interests of ‘flattening the curve’ (surely you’ve all been watching the news nowadays and are familiar with this term) may stretch on for months. So any one or a combination of these tips may be just what you need to keep from becoming exasperated with your inability to work as you would have, before the Internet was so hotly in demand!

 

First thing we’ll suggest you do is run an Internet speed test on your device of choice, and the one you work on primarily would be best. Then, consider these tips.

 

Reset your Router

 

Resetting your router can do wonders for the average home network. It can aid with dispelling hacking attempts, resetting the router’s limited memory to help speed things up, and even applying important updates your router may have very much needed.

 

Rebooting your router properly is essential though. You will want to avoid doing a factory reset, as this would erase all your settings and you’d have no choice but to start from scratch. Avoid the pinholes and on-router reset buttons; instead, simply unplug your router from all connected devices and then from its power source as a means of shutting it down. Wait for about a minute for everything to fully turn off, and then proceed to plug your router back into your power source, modem, and anything else you need.

 

Manage your Wi-Fi Channels

 

A dual-band router is the norm these days, and they’ll provide connections ove 2.5Ghz or 5GHz frequencies. Tri-band routers are also popular as there’s an additional 5GHz band to allow for even more spread-out communications.

What these channels do is allow you to apportion device connections across the spectrum and lower the demands for a single channel. If the 2.5GHz band is getting a little crowded, you can speed things up by moving your connection elsewhere on the spectrum.

 

You’ll likely find that the 5Ghz band is shorter range but a bit faster, and a better fit for devices that are close to the router. The 2.5GHz band will have more range to it, but will be noticeably slower. It’s then a better choice for devices in other rooms or mobile devices that are on the move often.

 

Some routers will have an automatic allocation feature that will send devices to different channels based on connection needs and switch them to new ones depending on current needs and channel availabilities. Most routers in use today are not set up for this though, and if yours is one that isn’t then you need to go into your router settings and make sure networks are set up for all the bands on your router.

 

From there you connect each device individually to the channel that’s best for them. It’s a little bit of labour, but it really can be a big plus when it comes to the Internet speeds in your home.

 

Manage the Devices on your Network

 

Handling hundreds of connected devices should be doable for the average home router, but even the fullest and busiest homes will of course have nowhere near that. No matters how many though, as more devices pile up then available bandwidth struggles to cover network needs. This is what causes the slowdowns we’re talking about here. Multiple mobile devices and smart devices are common these days, so routers can get overstretched and start creating speed problems.

 

Limiting connected devices is something you’ll want to consider here. For newer routers, open up your router app and look for the list of connected devices. If you’re working with an older router you’ll enter your IP address in the browser and search to find your administrator settings.

 

Now go to the section that says Manage Devices, Restrict Access, or something similar. While settings can vary, here are options you should be looking for:

 

Finding unnecessary devices: Any device that doesn’t need to be on your network or others that are hijacking your Wi-Fi can be booted out immediately. You can also look for an option to ban their MAC addresses, and changing your Wi-Fi password when finished is a good idea.

 

Throttle bandwidth: Some router models will allow you to select specific connections to limit their access and prevent them from lowering speeds. Giving less bandwidth to devices only needed for simple tasks, and more of it to devices used for gaming and streaming may be very effective for addressing your Internet speed problems.

 

Restrict usage: Routers may also have the ability to restrict hours of use for certain devices, which is an effective approach to ensuring devices don’t hog too much bandwidth during key hours of the day.

 

Voice commands: Devices with voice command compatibility are increasingly common, especially for Alexa. Look into how you can use these commands to regulate access to your network and diminish connectivity options for some devices that may be on it.

 

Using Ethernet connections

 

Wi-Fi is almost always going to be slower and less reliable than a wired Internet (Ethernet) connection, and for obvious reasons. If your preferred working device is close enough to the router then going with a wired Ethernet connection may be advisable if better speeds are what you’re after. A wired connection is always going to be free of many of the issues that can cause Wi-Fi slowdowns.

 

Try a DNS ‘Flush’

 

A DNS (domain name system) record tracks and logs each one of the website addresses you visit, and does it to better improve future visits. What many will not know is that DNS records depend on you and the website both remaining on their respective servers. Websites often change servers over time, and when they do then the DNS will actually detract from your connection speed because it sees the new server as unrecognizable.

 

So it becomes time to flush!

 

If you’re using a Windows 10 device, simply search for Command prompt in the search box, and open the app, while being certain to operating as the system admin. Then type the command line, “ipconfig/flushdns” and select enter. Windows will let you know the DNS has been cleared.

 

Opt for a Faster Browser

 

Are you finding slowdowns primarily happen when you use your browser or open a lot of new tabs? Going with a more minimalistic browser that only loads what is necessary may be better. Browsers like Brave for Mac and Opera excel at this, and if you are okay with tinkering with settings you may get a lot of mileage out of this approach. The nearly ubiquitous browser these days, Google Chrome, is also regarded as one of the fastest major browser options.

 

Add an Extension for Cache Management

 

Your browser cache stores copies of website content to make it easier for reloads of your frequently visited sites. If a cache (cookies, history, saved similar data, etc.) becomes too full it can slow down online performance. Clearing your cache manually is beyond the scope of ability for most people, and so often it tends to build up over time. However, a download of a Clear Cache extension is pretty simple, and it will help you customize your clearing actions and immediately clear with a simple button on your browser taskbar.

 

Go VPN

 

Do some research on whether a VPN (virtual private network) truly offers better Internet speeds and you’ll likely find some suggesting it does and others suggesting it doesn’t. Here’s the truth on it; Some ISPs (internet service providers) will throttle bandwidth based on certain activities, like when you’ve hit a soft data cap or streaming services like Netflix and YouTube. If your ISP (Internet Service Provider) is in fact throttling bandwidth, a VPN can help by masking your activity so the ISP won’t have access to the data it needs to make the decision to constrict your Internet access.

 

However, it is also true and needs to be said that a VPN can slow your internet speeds down. That’s on account of its combination of encryption and server-hopping. This fix is only fully recommended if you are sure your ISP is choosing to throttle. The good news is that many VPNs are free to download and often you can help yourself to a trial period if you want to test it out.

16 Supercomputers Set to Join the Fight Against COVID-19

Well here we are in the 3rd week of March and it’s probably fair to say
that the last of the ‘it’s not going to be that big a deal’ way of thinking
crowd regarding COVID-19 have finally changed their tune. What was once an
epidemic has become a pandemic, and we’re seeing the entire world and our
way of life in it being turned upside down. The reality is that this is not
only a threat to the lives of human beings, but it’s also a threat to the
economy and social service infrastructures that they rely on. First and
foremost in this regard is healthcare.

Fortunately, those of us in Canada have it significantly better in that
regard than our American neighbors, but even our healthcare system is at
risk of being overwhelmed by the Pandemic if it’s not seriously constrained
in its advance. We’ve talked in the past before how 5G technology is set to
really revolutionize healthcare
<https://4goodhosting.com/blog/5g-networks-expect/> in a big way, but a lot
of these benefits are quite ready for implementation yet given that 5G is
just beginning to be rolled out. What we need to combat COVID-19 is to get
everyone on the same page and buying into what’s the best plan of attack.

Here at 4GoodHosting, we imagine we’re the same as every other Canadian web
hosting provider in that this global crisis is front and centre in our
minds and we’re equally concerned about what this may mean in a month or
two if we don’t make serious inroads into containing this pandemic virus.
But in reference to what we alluded to just above – getting people on the
same page and buying into what’s best – it would appear as if the digital
world is ready to put a few especially powerful non-animate beings on the
case too in the interest of fighting COVID-19 as best we can.

Supercomputers – To the Rescue?

Maybe so.

The battle against the Coronavirus will soon have the support of 16
supercomputers, offered for service on behalf of a new consortium of U.S.
government agencies and companies. A partnership has been announced between
the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the U.S.
Department of Energy where these supercomputers will be available to power
the research into what makes the coronavirus unique, and how it might best
be overcome.

Participating in the COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium are
well known major tech companies; IBM, Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud,
and Microsoft. Joining them are two prestigious universities, The
Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Rensselaer Polytechnic
Institute. Rounding out the roster are five national laboratories, the
National Science Foundation, and NASA.

That’s a serious gathering of brainpower, and hopefully the best way of
judiciously deciding how this computing power will be put to work.

The 16 supercomputers pressed into service now are going to provide more
than 330 petaflops of processing power from across 775,999 CPU cores and
34,000 GPUs. Those numbers should seem as impressive as the number of
digits on either side of the comma suggest they are! Researchers can use
this massive amount of computer power to quickly run through calculations
and models which would take days, months, or even years to perform when
undertaking those calculation and models with less powerful computers.

How are they able to do this? That’s a question that would have too long an
answer to share here in its entirety, but the most powerful supercomputer
on the planet – Summit – has already enabled researchers at the Oak Ridge
National Laboratory and the University of Tennessee to screen 8,000
compounds to determine which ones are most likely to bind to the main
‘spike’ protein of the coronavirus. When this binding occurs, it renders
the virus unable to infect host cells, and as such transmission of the
infection does not occur.

Guiding the Best Current Responses

These researchers were then able to use Summit’s resources to search for
drug compounds which could act as potential cures or ones that could
majorly stem the progression of the viral infection. It only took Summit 2
days to identify 77 compounds which could be potentially useful in the
management of the disease. Adding all the other supercomputers to the fight
promises to be even more beneficial when ti comes to examining even more
data.

Huge companies with massive supercomputers contributing to coronavirus
research efforts are great, but they’re not the only ones making very
valuable contributions to the fight however.

The Folding@Home project is inviting members of the public to contribute
processing power from their home computers in a distributed computing
project. At present the project is contributing over 470 petaflops of power
in total, which is a doubling of what even the Summit supercomputer is
capable of!

If interested, anyone who thinks they have something to share can learn
about how they can contribute to the project by visiting the Folding@Home
website.

Maintaining Ecommerce Stability as Best You Can During the Global Pandemic

Well, they warned us that this was a possibility, now it’s become one. The coronavirus (Covid-19) threat has increased considerably now that it’s been defined as a global pandemic, and the shockwaves of it are being felt all around the world in a big way. It’s even been suggested that the economic slowdown resulting from it may even trigger a worldwide economic recession. For the average person whether or not that becomes a reality is something that’s beyond their control, but if you’re operating a small business online you may find that you have to change your ways.

Here at 4GoodHosting, we’re like any Canadian web hosting provider in that it seems we may be fortunate in that the nature of the work that we do allows us to be fairly isolated and working from home if need be. Doing so may be the most responsible choice to make, as there are many others who have professions that don’t allow them to do that and by staying in we lessen the chance of transmission rates increasing to very problematic levels.

As we’ve all been told, even if you are in good health with a strong functioning immune system you may be contributing to the problem just by going about your everyday lives and being out and about as usual. Without going on at length, we agree with those insisting that it’s best for as many of us as possible to stay home and help in the fight against the pandemic.

Concerns for Those Operating E-Commerce Websites

We imagine that everyone will agree that public health has to be the number one priority during the Coronavirus pandemic. eCommerce companies are advised to make plans to maintain their business in the face of this current economic volatility. You should already know that large scale disruption is likely, and problems with supply and demand that can seriously impact cash flow are already being seen. Here are the major issues and what you can do to minimize the effect they have on your online storefront to keep it open.

Product Availability Concerns

An eCommerce company does not operate if it does not have products to sell. The origin of many products and components is China – the epicentre of the pandemic – and that’s resulted in the supply of many retail goods dwindling.

As the pandemic spreads and other countries see reductions in manufacturing capacity, supply is only going to get worse. We should probably expect that employee illness, factory closures and travel restrictions will mean that the products eCommerce companies are selling will now be manufactured at a lower rate, and delivered to retailers MUCH later than they’d like them / need them.

So what can an eCommerce company do to continue their operations? One possible fix is to start sourcing these products from areas that haven’t been widely affected by the virus – if that’s possible. Having multiple sources can also make it so that you’re not entirely cut off from supply if one manufacturer or wholesaler goes out of action. Sourcing products domestically can also be helpful as they will not face the same shipping disruption as imported goods.

Product Cost Concerns

It’s now inevitable that fewer manufacturers or wholesalers will be working at capacity, and we can also expect that many of them will take advantage of the product scarcity by raising wholesale prices. Customers who place large orders and pay inflated prices will very likely be prioritized. Smaller eCommerce companies that don’t have the means of doing that may be moved to the back of the supply queue.

To keep supply going, a smaller eCommerce company may have to consider a wider range of suppliers and accept paying higher prices. Whether this can be done realistically will of course depend on your operating budget and a whole host of other dynamics that are exclusively related to your online business.

Cashflow Concerns

Supply disruptions, higher prices and far fewer incoming orders means cash flow is going to be a primary concern for many eCommerce companies during this time. Coping with this effectively will mean businesses must reduce spending and determine ways to generate income. Product scarcity is probably going to continue for some time, and so there will be less choice for customers. One possible solution that arises from this is to hold on to items that would previously have been put in the sales and to continue selling them at full price to maintain margins.

You may need to consider re evaluating your advertising budget too. You may have items in your inventory that are not going to sell given the nature of the Coronavirus crisis – travel-related items, for example, and any that meet the same type of criteria are ones you should stop advertising for. Focusing on SEO and content marketing to improve organic traffic and shifting towards email marketing which doesn’t have a high acquisition cost may be good ideas to protect your cash flow.

Proactive Communications

You can count on the general public being fully aware that Coronavirus will affect the availability of products, so they likely won’t be too surprised if something is not available to them temporarily. However, they will be displeased if a company continues to advertise products as being available but then fails to fill orders for them. Be very proactive in letting customers know about the challenges you are / will be facing as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic before they order, and this will go a long way in retaining these customers once this big mess is over.

Agile Adapting

Getting through Coronavirus will require online businesses to be more agile and creative. Some will consider new ways of selling products. Another option for some will be to look at sourcing products that are more likely to go up in demand during the pandemic. Home improvement, hobby and cooking items are some examples.

eCommerce companies also need to be prepared to adapt to the impact of the virus on their staff and day to day operations. Utilizing web-based applications so that staff can work from home may be the best – and most socially responsible – thing to do. Also, look for alternative fulfilment and shipping options and undertake video meetings rather than meeting in person.

Wrap Up

How long this Coronavirus pandemic is going to last is anyone’s guess. You may not have felt the pinch yet, but you should at least somewhat prepare in case you do. And planning in full may be the better choice. You want to ensure that your online business can withstand current disruption and is in a strong position to move forward when the pandemic finally comes to an end.

Wishing you and your family – and online business interests – all the best during this difficult time.

What 5G Will Likely Mean for Mobile App Development

If you’re the type to stay on top of developments in the digital world then you’ll almost certainly have been front and centre for all of the fanfare that the forthcoming 5G network in Canada has received. The buzz has included both positive AND negative takes on it, but if you’re one to think positively then you’re likely very enthused about being able to get so much more out of your mobile devices in making your life easier.

Here at 4GoodHosting, we believe you’ll find that every Canadian web hosting provider will be the same way we are with a real sense of anticipation for what 5G is really going to make possible once it’s rolled out. There’s been no shortage of opportunities for us to read about it, and if it’s something that has interested you in the same way it has for us then you’ll likely have been able to read a lot of different takes and perspectives. One thing’s for sure – it’s going to change the landscape in a big way.

One area of discussion that seemingly hasn’t been gone over at length is what this new supremo level of network capability is going to do for mobile app development. Even if you’re not app-savvy or and app afficionado, even the most laypeople of us tend to make use of at least a few apps on our phones these days. That goes for mobile phone games too, everyone seems to have at least one on their phone.

Everyone who’s in the know is saying how 5G is really going to have major affects on mobile app development. Here’s how.

Early Adopter Industry

This is going to move the world towards widespread connectivity, ease of accessibility, unhindered innovation, and speed. As well as being a leveraging force which is going to make everything easier for netizens of the planet. Mobile app development is almost certainly going to be one of the early adopters of this revolutionary technology, and one of the first things we all need to take into account are device features and network requirements. Developers are going to have to wade into this with an initial focus on being able to meet users’ needs and expectations.

Like most, we believe that 5G Mobile technology will enhance the following areas, especially with regards to security, augmented reality, and being able to add / incorporate new functionalities.

  • Security

5G technology be able to enhance the trust users have with their devices, network slicing, and will also likely the validity of user identities.

  • New Function Possibilities

This coming Fifth generation of network capability will also assist companies and services with mobile app development by getting rid of a pair of currently mainstay constraints – Latency and Speed. The way 5G is going to reduce the first one and increase the second one in a BIG way is the one aspect of 5G’s potential that HAS been discussed at length, so we’ll leave it at that.

It’s going to happen – and that part of it is going to be pretty darn glorious.

  • 3D gaming & immersive augmented reality

5G is poised to influence development in gaming as a whole, but where it’s really going to make a huge splash is in a pair of emerging areas. Those being 3G gaming and immersive augmented reality.

  • Rise in the Cloud-Based Apps

Once super-fast 5G is in place, the rise in the use of cloud-based applications is probably going to be nothing short of meteoric. At the same time, there’s going to also be a ‘setting free ‘ of both manufacturers and users who no longer have to be dependent on physical storage of data and can really take big-time advantage of cloud storage.

New Performance Standards

Now we’ll switch over to how 5G is going to benefit both developers AND the end users who are going to be next in line to benefit from all the super-connectivity and speedy goodness. We’ve heard all about low latency meaning far fewer delays and interference, fast-fiber speeds in wireless mode meaning the kind of quick response everyone wishes for, and wireless connectivity that’s going to be better than it’s ever been before.

Let’s look at a few aspects of this in greater detail:

  • Better Speeds

No matter what size a new app may be, 5G technology will make it so that users can download them in just seconds. This speed factor is going to benefit app marketers in a big way too as they’ll be able to promote the products as being ones that can be downloaded with lightning-fast speeds.

  • Super Quick File Transfers

Great speed helps you transfer files with speed. Likewise, 5G helps in improving the speed of money transfer and all other types of transfers from one account to another.

5G will create clean and smooth environment for flawless communication in crowded and remote areas.

  • More Engaging User Experience

The Internet speeds that are going to come with 5G will help enhance user experiences quite emphatically, and what is probably most noteworthy here is the way it will elevate the user Interface of new apps.

IoT devices are going to benefit hugely from 5G too, prolonging the battery life of these devices by 10 times or more.

  • Minimum Levels of Latency

Latency has always been annoying, and latency always will be annoying. Responses that come as fast as possible are always going to be hoped for, and with 5G we’re going to be enjoying the lowest levels of latency ever.

It’s being reported that 5G will reduce the reaction time to around 1 millisecond or even less.

Preparing Mobile Apps for the 5G Network

 

5G will connect smart devices and people together, and mobile app development is definitely going to be taken to a new and very large scale. This will be true for both Android and iOS mobile applications.

When evaluating this it’s important to know that 5G isn’t an extension of its predecessors 4G or 3G. It’s very much an entirely new entity, and one particular industry that stands to benefit in perhaps the biggest way is healthcare. Mobile apps are already a huge part of modern healthcare, and once 5G becomes available then we can expect revolutionary improvements in remote patient monitoring. This may be where 5G makes it greatest and most far-reaching positive contribution around the world.

 

 

 

Google’s Advanced Protection & ‘Titan’ Key Ready to Fortify Gmail Accounts

It’s surprisingly common for people to be more insistent on having some type of virus protection on their home desktop or notebook but, but less so when it comes to their smartphone. The worst way to become aware of the deficiency is if you find yourself with an infected smartphone OS and having to factory reset your phone to get rid of it. As we’re sure you know, however, that’s a best case scenario a lot of the time.

These days most people keep an extensive amount of personal information in your Google account, from bank account balances to phone numbers, email addresses, and even photos of you or your family that could be used for facial recognition. Any conscientious Canadian web hosting provider is going to know that the nature of the Information Superhighway is that it’s all too easy to get your hands on what’s not yours. Phones do get hacked, and when they do it can be a big problem, especially if someone gets your financial information.

These days some type of virus protection for your Android – or iPhone – is a good idea.

Which leads us to what we’re highlighting today. In the face of increasing security risks for smartphones, Google is going to take some of the heat off Android smartphone users with the new Google Advanced Protection Program. What it’s being advertised as able to do is protect sensitive data with the highest level of security you can get and making it nearly impossible for anyone other than you to access your Gmail, Google Drive, Google Photos or other Google services.

Sound good? We bet it does

Darn Good Defence

Plus, just after rollout a follow up update has now added what Google claims is the strongest level of consumer-grade security possible for your Google account. And the superlative there is important, because data breaches are occurring more frequently than ever before. Companies alone reported a staggering 5,183 data breaches in 2019 alone. Most will have heard of how even Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ phone was hacked. And then there’s the fact that even the ‘strongest’ passwords can be determined. The risk is always going to be there.

Here’s everything you need to know about the Google Advanced Protection Program and how it can protect your data.

Introducing – the Titan Key

The means by which Google Advanced Protection Program protects your personal information is by a physical security key, and in appearance its not unlike the kind of dongle you use to start a car with keyless ignition. There’s no need to plug it into your phone, laptop or desktop, and instead you only keep it nearby whenever you access your Google account. Keeping it on a keychain is a good idea. You can get a set of Titan security keys for about $65 or so at the Google Store, but most people will be more interested in the new ap available for Android AND iOS that then creates your mobile device itself as the security key.

One aspect seen in pretty much every data breach is attacks being carried out remotely. That’s why the Titan key and other physical security keys are more effective, they’re with you and working in immediate proximity to lock and unlock your phone. It looks like it’s going to be an effective defense against online hackers.

And if a scammer did steal your username and password, they still would fail to get into your account without that physical key. The same type of insurmountable obstacle will be in place for anyone who might try to steal your password. The reality is that without that key, your Google account is practically impenetrable. The Titan Security Key comes in both a USB and Bluetooth version.

Better Defenses, Little Less Ease of Access

There is a trade off to all this advanced security goodness. Once an account is enrolled in the Google Advanced Protection Program, you may not be able to fly right in and out of Google services like you’ve been accustomed to. This will be true for you as well as for most 3rd-party apps trying to access Google Drive or anywhere else similar.

It should also be mentioned that YubiKey also makes security keys such as this one that are compatible with the Google Advanced Protection Program.

Rest assured that Google apps will still function though, and a few select few non-Google apps like Apple’s Mail, Calendar and Contact apps for iOS, as well as Mozilla’s Thunderbird email client will too. Oppositely, ones like Travel tracking apps, or apps that aggregate your online purchases by scanning your Gmail for receipt are not going to work.

Plus, any Google services accessed via mobile or desktop browser will now only work with Chrome or Firefox. And if you happen to lose both your security key and your backup key, the process for regaining access to your Google account may be slower than you like, as Google will go through extra steps to verify your identity before unlocking it. Don’t complain about that – sometimes hackers contact companies like Google pretending to be you in the hopes of having your password reset and hijacking your account.

Google recommends having one Bluetooth key as your primary and one USB key as a backup, but if you prefer the program allows you to set up both as Bluetooth keys and for mobile devices too. If you have an iPhone or iPad, downloading the Google Smart Lock app to turn your phone or tablet into a security key is probably the best choice. Android users don’t need to use a separate app to activate their built-in security key, and only to register it.