What Is WiFi 6?

What Is WiFi 6?

Devices with the “Wi-Fi 6” label are coming on to the market. What does this mean? Was there ever a Wi-Fi 5?

The Wi-Fi Alliance has come up with a numbering scheme which will be easier to understand than the old terminology. Wi-Fi 6 isn’t just a new number but a significant advance over the previous standard. Here’s a summary of what it means and what to expect.

Renumbering Wi-Fi

The collection of protocols and standards called Wi-Fi is based on the IEEE 802.11 standards for wireless networking. Each version has a letter suffix. They don’t come in a logical sequence, so it’s hard to remember them or tell which one is the newest.

The latest version of the standard is 802.11ax. It will also be known as Wi-Fi 6. From a consumer standpoint, the two are the same.

At the same time, the names Wi-Fi 4 and 5 have been retroactively applied. Wi-Fi 5 is 802.11ac, which has been around since 2014. It’s been the state of the art up till now. Wi-Fi 4 is 802.11n, which came out in 2009. As you can see, they follow a fairly regular five-year cycle.

Wi-Fi 6 will be finalized by the end of 2019. Devices currently on the market are based on a pre-release version of the standard.

The Wi-Fi Alliance has created a certification program to go with the standard. Devices can be labelled “Wi-Fi 6” without being certified, but they may not completely support the standard.

New Features

With a new number, Wi-Fi 6 offers many improvements.

  • WPA3. The current standard for Wi-Fi encryption is WPA2. It has some security issues, including the KRACK vulnerability. WPA3 provides a higher level of security. One of its best features is that it makes encrypted public hotspots possible. With WPA2, there’s no way to set up an encrypted access point that doesn’t require a password. Public hotspots are completely vulnerable to snooping. When both user devices and access points have WPA3, they’ll give secure connections to anonymous users.
  • Faster speeds. The theoretical maximum speed of Wi-Fi 6 is 10 Gbps, which leaves its predecessor in the dust. Real-world considerations such as interference and protocol overhead reduce the actual transfer speed, but Wi-Fi 6 improves performance in other ways as well. It deals better with network congestion when multiple devices are competing on the same frequency.
  • Lower latency. In many cases, turnaround time is more important than raw speed. Wi-Fi 6 reduces communication latency, improving the performance of real-time applications.
  • Longer battery life. A new feature called Target Wake Time, or TWT, lets devices optimize the time that their Wi-Fi connections “sleep” while waiting to receive data. This is valuable for phones, battery-powered access points, and low-power IoT devices.

What Can You Expect?

To get the benefits of Wi-Fi 6, you need support for it at both ends of the connection. Some routers are available that support the pre-release version. The Samsung Galaxy S10 and the iPhone 11 are among the phones with support. A lot more devices will be appearing soon. You may want to delay your upgrades until a device that you like with Wi-Fi 6 is available.

To check for whether it supports the new standard, look for the “Wi-Fi 6” designation. Some devices may stick with “802.11ax.” Remember that if it doesn’t say “Wi-Fi 6 certified,” it could be missing important features such as WPA3.

The devices which are now available haven’t been tested against the final version of the standard. If you get one from a reputable company, though, you can be confident an upgrade will be issued if it proves necessary.

Are you looking for guidance and assistance in managing and upgrading your network? We’re here to help.

5 Technology Challenges Businesses can Expect in 2020

As new solutions and inventions continue to aid businesses, they come with a ton of challenges. Where a connected world allows you to take your business digital, it comes with the risk of cyber-attacks. Where you can get clients from any corner of the world, there is the challenge of data privacy.

But it is not all doom and gloom. Yes, there are challenges, but forewarned is forearmed. Here are some of the problems you can expect to face in 2020 and how you can prepare.

1. Cyber Security

More and more customers are coming forward about hackers breaking into their ring devices, and wreaking havoc in their homes. Such attacks are a foreboding that most businesses will struggle with cyber-security in 2020.

Some threats include phishing and social-engineering attacks. Of every 99 emails, one is a phishing attack amounting to 4.8-emails in a workweek. Phishing attacks are the gravest as they can trick a business owner or employee into giving up legitimate credentials. As a result, the hacker can access sensitive business information.

Other threats include IoT (internet of things) attacks owing to the increasing number of smart devices. There is also ransomware which increased by 340% from 2018 to 2019.

Using a password manager, and 2-factor authentication can help secure your business, but only professionals can provide foolproof cybersecurity.

2. Cloud Network Issues

Cloud computing has allowed better data storage, flexibility, and collaboration. It has allowed large enterprises to make better decisions while reducing costs, but you can expect to have issues with it in 2020.

One of the top cloud network issues will be security. There are risks involved in the implementation and management of the cloud, and reports on hacked interfaces, breaches, and account hijacking don’t help the situation.

Also while cloud computing enables businesses to scale without investing in expensive hardware, the quantities and cost become challenging to predict.

3. Implementation of Privacy Protection

Back in 2018, the EU general data protection regulations came into force. It was about time, but that came with challenges for businesses. Problems that will persist into 2020.

Governance and accountability top the list of concerns. The regulations created a need for business-wide regulations during the full lifecycle. Also, you have to provide more information to your data subjects (customers), and there is always the risk of getting that wrong.

Businesses also have to keep a detailed record of processing activities which is a burden. Mandatory impact assessment questions about when they are required is still a mystery.

4. Getting the Right Skills

Though freelancing has allowed businesses to hire from a wide-pool of experts, finding the right skills will still be a concern in 2020. And it should be your top concern as nothing can work without the right people.

Should you choose to hire an in-house expert, you can expect to pay a fortune in salaries, and their supply is quite limited. You also have to contend with compliance issues. As such, we recommend you outsource your IT needs.

5. Deep Fakes

Finally, you have to contend with deep fakes. People are employing unethical methods to make it seem like politicians and celebrities said things they did not say. Deep fakes will now trickle down, and business and thought leaders will find themselves at the mercy of such technology.

People willing to employ deep fakes will sway people’s opinions and can affect your business.

2020 will be a remarkable year for companies looking to use technology. But with great tech comes equally great challenges. The challenges above are a few you can expect.

Hire IT professionals, as they allow you to focus on the essential things in your business while they provide the necessary support.

Do You Have the Tools to Track Your Fleet?

In a very real way, the Internet has spoiled us, to the point that we fully expect an order to be in our hand in 72 hours – oftentimes, far less than that. Shipping speeds like these are now possible thanks to the use of advanced logistics. If you’re starting to incorporate eCommerce into your business, or distribution has proved troublesome, you may want to consider a fleet management system.

Understanding Fleet Management

Whether you’re talking about a taxi company or driving service, service organization, product distributors, or any of a wide variety of others, the businesses who get the most value out of fleet management solutions are the ones heavily engaged in transportation. The idea is to better manage a fleet of vehicles to more efficiently deliver the applicable goods or service, thereby reducing overall organizational distribution costs.

Fleet management can help you reduce the cost of owning the vehicles that make up the fleet, better enforce policies and procedures geared toward safety, and generally decrease your risk. All vehicle deployments are tracked by a fleet management system via GPS, and if integrated with a CRM, ERP, or other form of management platform, vehicle maintenance can be more effectively monitored and scheduled.

Let’s dive into some of a fleet management platform’s benefits a little more closely:

Driver Safety

Let’s discuss one of the most important factors of having a workforce on the road: the safety of your drivers. Fleet management solutions can help by ensuring they are tracked, and the events of the road are fully transparent, with devices like dash cams installed. Using these devices, drivers are both protected and can boost their efficiency on the road by altering their routes in real-time. This data can also be used to more effectively train drivers.

Fleet Tracking

It only makes sense that you would want to know the locations of your company’s vehicles. In addition to this obvious benefit, fleet management also enables you to create better routes to make deliveries more efficient, trips less strenuous on the vehicles, and more fuel efficient as well.

Driver Retention

Many distributors are finding it to be a challenge to keep their drivers on, especially with a current shortage of drivers available. As with any industry, turnover rates are expensive to a business. Incorporating a fleet management system is effectively working to improve workplace conditions by improving the relationships between administrators, and the drivers behind the wheel.

Maintenance and Vehicle Acquisition

A fleet needs vehicles, so it makes sense that you would want a system in place to help you predict when your vehicles need a little TLC, and when it is time to bring in new rigs. A fleet management system compiles the data necessary to inform your various strategies, like when to buy new vehicles and when to maintain the ones you have.

South Florida businesses know WheelHouse IT as their best option for technology services and solutions. For more information on how your business can help boost its operations and profitability, give our professionals a call at (877) 771-2384.

Why Are We Weary of Emerging Technologies?

Why are we weary of emerging technologies?

It seems that there’s a new emerging technology every week. So many of us can be forgiven for having entered into a kind of technology fatigue, in which emerging technologies become something to be avoided, perhaps even feared.

Or perhaps we’re just tired of constantly having to try and keep up with them.

What Causes Technology Fatigue?

So, why has this technology fatigue entered the equation? There are a few possible reasons:

  1. We feel that no sooner have we learned one system than we have to start over with the next. This is particularly true of software updates; even minor and incremental changes can eventually build fatigue and it’s a truism that nobody ever likes the website redesign. Until the next one, when they suddenly love it and want it back.
  2. The fear of the robots replacing us is growing. Some people have started refusing to use self checkouts because they feel bad that stores appear to be replacing cashiers (sometimes this is true, sometimes the technology is being used to free humans for more important things). People are afraid of losing power or their lifestyle, or even of descending into poverty. Many people also define their identity in part by the work they do.

Between those two factors, it’s unsurprising that employees will start to resist change. They may refuse to install software updates (which can end up including vital security patches), protest openly, or complain to each other around the water cooler, ruining morale. Some employees have been known to protest in ways which are destructive.

What if We Just Hold Off?

Unfortunately, holding off on adopting or ignoring emerging technologies can be literally fatal to a company’s business model. Companies which are left behind can end up going all the way out of business and becoming forgotten, or held up as a poster child. Who remembers Blockbuster or Borders?

So, companies have to find a balance between embracing emerging technologies and angering their workforce.

How Do You Decide Which Technologies to Embrace?

One way to keep the balance is to not embrace every single new technology that shows up. And you have two sources of information as to which technologies to use: Your employees, and your customers.

Satisfying the needs of your customers is always a goal. If customers are also resistant to a new technology, then you might consider not adopting it for now. If customers are embracing it, then you need to deal with it even if employees are resistant.

This means you have to deal with employee resistance, which primarily involves redirecting the attention of your employees to the positive aspects of the new technology. Warning them about a new UI and going through the new features and how to use them before pushing it, for example, can avoid the phenomenon of “everyone hates the new design” to a degree. People are naturally somewhat resistant to change, but they will resist it less if they understand how it will benefit them personally.

Make sure that everyone is given the opportunity to learn about and utilize the new technology, ideally as a group. Resistant individuals can then be approached separately and helped to understand how the new technology will improve their life. Be sure to have all kinds of learning styles catered to. Video tutorials are great for many people, but some people do not learn well from them and might prefer hands-on practice or just to be given a copy of the user manual to go through at their leisure.

It’s vital for businesses to embrace emerging technologies, at least until their customer base is uncertain about them. However, it’s equally important to make sure that you don’t leave your employees behind. To find out more about how to educate your employees about new technologies, contact Corner IT today.

What is Shadow IT?

What is Shadow IT?

Shadow IT is the collective term used to classify all information technology applications and infrastructure that is used in the workplace without authorization of the company’s IT department. This includes software, web applications/servers, hardware, and cloud technologies. 

Employees often bring in applications into the company that they believe will help them achieve their tasks or complete their projects better. This is often the case as well. Shadow IT is often managed and utilized by employees to improve productivity and efficiency. This is where the gray area part comes in.

Why is Shadow IT a Gray Area

Shadow IT is considered a gray area because although the intentions and purpose of the shadow IT brought in are to increase productivity, there is also a security risk involved with this.

Allowing foreign and unauthorized shadow IT to interact and manipulate the company’s data is a big security risk. Members of the IT department are tasked with ensuring the security and compliance of the data that is transmitted through shadow IT sources. This makes their job of securing company data much harder and increase the risk of foul-play or information theft.

Some companies are willing to embrace the innovation and increased productivity brought on by these shadow IT technologies, while others frown upon it due to the increased security risks. 

The Solution?

The purpose of the shadow IT introduced to the company are primarily to increase productivity and ease of task management. The increased usage of shadow IT creates what is called a digital sprawl. This term means that there is an increase in incoherent application or software that is being used in the company. For example, employee A uses Application X to make their spreadsheets while employee B uses Application Y to achieve the same task. With an increase in the number of different applications used and the number of employees, the digital sprawl can easily become difficult to manage.

This digital sprawl raises data compliance issues and can potentially cost companies a lot. This also makes it difficult to govern the use of applications as well as maintain consistency in the company at the macro-level. High amounts of digital sprawl can mean lots of wasted time, effort, and resources for a company.

Governance and Leniency

In terms of a solution, the company should task the IT department to find technologies that they are willing to authorize that will also allow employees to effectively perform their duties. Then, governance of employees to use the standard application will increase company coherence across teams and departments in the company. 

If it proves too difficult a task to eliminate all shadow IT sources, then creating a technology filter is the best option. A technology filter is essentially where all employees must pass the technology they desire to use to the IT department. From there IT can either authorize the use of the technology or deny it. Making a limit to the number of unique services in the workplace is also important. This will minimize digital sprawl while also allowing the inventiveness and creativity of new technologies to enter. 

By recognizing shadow IT for the potential benefit, yet inherent risk that it is, it is easier to make the best decision for the company. Finding the right tolerance for shadow IT in the company is crucial for the security of information. For more information about shadow IT or IT in general, contact us.