Wi-Fi Has Its Pluses and Minuses Over Copper

The Wi-Fi standard of network connectivity/communication is governed by the  802 working group of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE  802). Wi-Fi allows users to access your company or home network wirelessly.  Before the implementation of Wi-Fi, the only way to connect to a network was by  using copper wires. There are a variety of benefits and hazards that must be  considered before rolling out full wireless network access.

Plus: Enhanced Mobility

Laptop and notebook computers allow users to move around easily. Add in a  Wi-Fi connection, and they can stay connected to the network as long as they  have enough signal strength. This means your users can be online while eating  lunch while enjoying the sunshine outside. It also means that a user can stay  connected while carrying his or her laptop or notebook from the office to the  conference room.

Plus: No Wires to Trip Over or Limit Computer Placement

Wires are hazardous. You can roll over them with your chair and ruin them.  You can trip over them while carrying an arm load of papers from the printer to  your desk. This can be painful and injurious to both people and equipment.  Damaging equipment by yanking a wire caught under your foot is a common  occurrence. Also, using a wireless card in a desktop computer frees you from the  bondage of having to plug into a wall outlet

Plus: Add Users Without Adding Cable Runs

One of the biggest expenses when expanding the size of your network is adding  locations where users can connect to the network. In a network running a  traditional copper infrastructure, this means calling in a contractor to pull  and terminate cables. With a wireless network, it consists of installing a  wireless adapter card in the computer and supplying the user with an access key  and the name of the network being connected to.

Minus: Slower Network Speeds

Networks that are compliant with the latest cabling standard (Category 6/6  Augmented) are capable of transmitting data at speeds up to 10 Gigabit. The  previous standard, Cat 5e, is capable of Gigabit speeds. This is almost ten  times as fast as wireless networks, which are capable of a maximum of 150  Megabits. What this means is that if you will be transferring large data files  over the network, you would be better served by a wired network. However, there  aren’t many network interface controllers in use that are capable of these  speeds yet, especially when it comes to laptop computers.

Minus: Network Security Is Weaker on a Wireless Network

Anyone with a wireless adapter and computer or a Wi-Fi-enabled device, such  as an iPhone, can receive the wireless signal propagated by your network’s  wireless access points and routers. There are ways to enhance the security of a  network based upon wireless technology, but these aren’t fool-proof and can  actually be broken quite easily by someone who has the right knowledge and  desire. Network security in a wired network isn’t bullet-proof, either, but the  tools available much more robust and will keep out all but the most determined  of hackers. Also, they have to breach your security normally from the Internet,  which usually means multiple layers of security. Once the security of a wireless  network has been breached, that person is inside your network with the same  access as an authorized user. Typically, someone breaking in to your network  from the Internet has to breach that security and then be able to breach the  security between subnets as well.

With 25 year experience in putting together structured cabling project cost  for our client’s, Wayne Connors & ACCL offers you a free project cost  estimator download. Paired with our Technical Proposal tender document for Data  Cabling installation eBooks- you can save thousands! All aspects of your next  tender proposal are included.

Thanks for reading our articles and hurry over to get your free project cost  estimator: http://www.accl-ltd.com

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Lets talk Double Dips……again :) !!

Double Dip is trending on Twitter again 🙂 so I thought I’d repost ACCL’s blog about all those things that we in the office  love to “double dip”  those things where sometimes one dip just ain’t enough! Here’s our positive take on the Double Dip situation…

Marker Pens……you’ve just gotta sniff that tip….but is once enough or do you go again….consensus in the office is that once is just not enough and the marker pen goes into our little pot of double dip pleasures.

Your toe in the water……hot or cold…once you’ve dipped to see how it feels…..you know you’re gonna go again.

Pringles….once you pop…you can’t stop….enough said !

Rollercoasters……you either love them or you hate them….but once you’ve had that adrenalin rush you are happy to pop yourself back in that queue….aren’t you?

After Eights….no-one has just one!

Sherbert Fountains….oh my goodness…childhood memories come flooding back don’t they.  Dipping into that lovely white powdery fizz…..yup….it’s a double, double dip!

9V batteries…..it’s a bloke and Faye thing …..placing your tongue on the battery and getting a rivet of shock running through you.  Once just isn’t enough. 

Ginger Nuts….. now, I do love to dunk a biscuit into a cuppa, certain biscuits can only be dunked once, like the chocolate digestive, any more and you will end up with a mush at the bottom of the mug, not good! however, the gingernut is a whole different ball game – go on, double dip, I know you will agree

So perhaps we’ve already mentioned your favourite double dip but if not then please feel free to let us know….I, for one need cheering up from all this rain……!

Asbestos – know the enemy within……

Not a company to let the grass grow under our feet, the team at ACCL has recently undergone an Asbestos awareness course, to take into account recent changes made to the health and safety legislation regarding said Asbestos 🙂 Changes were made because of the European Commissions view that the UK had not fully implemented the EU Directive on exposure to Asbestos (Directive 2000/148/EC) – Is it me or are we always in trouble with the EU??! 🙂  The newly updated Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 came into force on 6 April.  So, what does it mean? Basically, when undertaking a job, if asbestos is suspected, checks need to be made! Ultimately it is the responsibilty of whoever has control of the building, it’s their job to convey the risks to the contractor, through a survey or management plan. Any works involving asbestos then need to be notified to the relevant enforcing authority, and brief written records need to be kept. 

Asbestos is nasty…. a fibrous mineral which occurs naturally in the World (showing my ignorance now, I always thought it was man-made…) the fibres are the finest known, a 2cm cube contains 15 million miles of fibres! It was extensively used as a building material for a variety of purposes in the UK from the 1950’s up til the mid-1980’s, being used mainly for fireproofing and insulation, it has it’s good points – heat resistant up to 900˚C and doesn’t burn, it’s a  non-conductor of electricity and is cheap and easy to use, as a result of this, it could be present in any building built or refurbished before 2000, residential or commercial. It is estimated that there is somewhere in the region of 6 million tonnes present in UK buildings. It was banned, finally, in 1999. Inhalation of the fibres can cause serious disease, and apologies, this doesn’t make pleasant reading 😦 the 4 main diseases being mesothelioma (an incurable form of cancer) lung cancer (which is nearly always fatal) asbestosis (not always fatal but very debilitating) and diffuse pleural thickening (not fatal) It is the single biggest cause of work related deaths in the UK. It is estimated that around 3000 people die each year from asbestos related diseases, this is expected to reach 10,000 by 2020, by which time it will probably start to decline due to measures taken from the 1980’s onwards.

Asbestos materials in good condition pose no threat (well now, that’s reassuring…!) only becoming dangerous when the particles become airborne, you cannot see or smell asbestos fibres in the air and the effects can take between 5 and 50 years to show up. The problem with asbestos is that the fibres are sharp and strong and do not evaporate in the air or dissolve in water, they can remain suspended in the air for a long period of time and carried long distances. If these fibres are inhaled, they get stuck in the lung, and cannot be broken down by the body….this is the stuff of nightmares 😦  When work is undertaken in a building where you suspect the presence of asbestos, you need to make the appropriate checks.  In many cases even experts fail to recognise it and samples need to be sent to laboratories for analysis. Scary stuff eh? So, if you’re looking to move or refurbish your current premises (or your home for that matter!) make sure you know what you’re dealing with, talk to the professionals…

For further guidance, go to the HSE website :http://www.hse.gov.uk/

Clash of the 2 Tonnes – Week 15………

So, come on then, have you missed me??? not updated you for the last 2 weeks…..did you notice my absence? 🙂 actually don’t answer that, I struggle with rejection….!!  I’ve had a busy few weeks, I took a week off to look after my boys over the Easter Holidays 🙂  I did think, however, that by leaving it a while I would have more to tell you, thing is 3 weeks actually flew by and not sure that I’ve got that much to say…… 🙂 !!

Right then, back to the diet…. *rolls eyes to floor, guiltily* I’ve not been very good, if I’m honest, please don’t judge me 🙂 I will hold my hands up (just don’t look at the bingo wings 🙂 !) but the fact is we had Easter, what more can I say? I didn’t get given my own Egg *sad face* but the downside (or is that upside??) of having children is that there will always be a chocolate bar within those eggs that they don’t like (in my boys’ case, it’s Snickers) If someone has gone to the trouble of buying an Easter Egg the least you can do is show your appreciation by eating it 🙂 so maybe Mum helped out…once or twice…..OK a couple more times than that! (would like to ask at this point, have you tried blitzing a Snickers bar in a blender with vanilla ice cream and milk?? OMG!…you HAVE to try it..even better if you plonk some squirty cream on top…. 🙂 probably best not to try if you’re attempting to lose weight though….. )

I am once again, feeling positive 🙂 ….I have discovered a fantastic App for the iphone – MyFitnessPal, this is now officially my new best friend…. you basically key in your height and weight, tell it how much you want to lose, in how many weeks and how much exercising you plan to do (I said 20 minutes, 5 times a week – let’s see if I can stick to this, shall we….??)  it then calculates what your daily calorie intake should be. Each day you enter in what you have consumed and the exercise you have done so you can keep tabs on your progress 🙂 simples!! I would like to add, that within the first couple of days of using the app it became pretty clear to me why I hadn’t managed to lose any weight 🙂 Long and short of it, I’m a greedy cow….! I’ve been going at least 300 calories over each day 🙂 but that stops now, oh yes!! Get ready for next week people, I will blow your minds……

Dee too had a great Easter, perhaps a little too good and has managed to gain 3lb :)!! sorry, I shouldn’t gloat but that did really make me laugh…! Being the ‘Hostess with the Mostest’ that she is, she fed the masses over the Bank Holiday weekend, entertaining her kids plus their other halves, grannies etc…..and as she rightly claims, when feeding the 5,000 it is customary to do this with a glass of wine (or two!) in hand. Entertaining over Easter will also ensure a steady influx of chocolate Eggs, which have to be eaten straightaway (OK, so I made that bit up, but Easter Eggs, in their ridiculously oversized packaging, do take up a lot of room, don’t they??). Her daughter turned 21 last week too, so birthday meals and a trip to the OXO Tower ensures that the weight steadfastly stays, for this week at least 🙂

Sally……….what to say 🙂 ??! *deep sigh* I don’t think she’s taking this seriously TBH, there’s always one…. 🙂 ! She believes that after the Easter Eatathon she is now assuming the shape of ‘said’ Egg… this is not good and must be addressed!! She has had the bike out once or twice, OK once 🙂 over the last couple of weeks but is, however having to walk the dog, so it’s not all bad! she is in need of a kick up the jacksey to get remotivated, leave that to me, that’s what I am here for :)!!

Even Wayne had (temporarily)  fallen off of his very high diet pedestal….a boys golfing weekend saw temptation put well and truly in his way 🙂 to be fair he did exceptionally well to avoid the treats on offer, opting for salad as opposed to ‘All You Can Eat’ curry buffet…..more than I could have done (I know you’re not surprised by that 🙂 !!) plus he drank 3 guinesses, unfortunately, as I’ve previously mentioned eating normal foods throws the body out of ketosis, this has caused havoc with his stomach for the past week, but normal service has now been resumed, I’ve been reliably informed 🙂 Since my last entry he has lost a further 7 1/4lb……just 1lb short of 5 stones – incredible!! he is now wearing 34″ waist trousers, it’s costing him a small fortune to keep updating the wardrobe…….! just one more stone and he’ll be happy 🙂

Let the cash, see the flow……….

This week’s guest blogger is Chris Lowe, Principal at Colobus, a London-based firm of Experts in Company Turnaround, Finance and Negotiation Support.

These are difficult economic times with many companies struggling to make ends meet. If you supply capital goods you are trying to sell into a market where customers’ budgets are constrained; retailers are faced with the combined threat of consumers with less cash to spend and online competitors eating into revenues; all companies are having to manage in the face of stricter and more expensive bank lending.

As a turnaround specialist, we see the effects of the current economic downturn but some fundamental problems keep cropping up, in good times and bad. We see these things tripping up companies time and time again: Poor debt collection –  If you supply business customers you are likely to give credit. You’ll rank as an unsecured creditor. Too often companies allocate the task of credit control to untrained staff. This is particularly true in small and growing companies where the emphasis is on growth and building sales. We see two tendencies: • Wait until the invoice is due, then chase aggressively, which risks aggravating an otherwise happy client • The timid “hope and pray” approach, on the basis that asking for YOUR MONEY might upset customers! If you’ve provided something valuable, you should be paid for it. Effective collection is a skill and skilled credit controllers will be polite, persistent and perceptive. Good collection will get your invoices paid and it will keep your customers.

Excess stock holding stock (or unbilled work in progress) is expensive. The longer you keep it the more likely it is to become damaged, to disappear or to become obsolete. Your target should be to reduce stock to a minimum. You’ll reduce financial holding cost, space costs and loss due to damage and theft. As a minimum benchmark you should monitor slow moving items and by slow moving we mean anything that hasn’t moved in 90-days. You should do all you can to keep your investment in stock low.

Poor payment record – If you’re cash is tight, you’re likely to be paying people slowly. It’s a fact of life that you’ll lose some goodwill by being slow but the mistake we see frequently is being unwilling to talk to your creditors. This is the reverse side of your own debtor position: if your debtors won’t talk to you or your credit controller, it’s frustrating. The same is true for your suppliers. However hard it is, however pushed for time you may be, you should ensure that you respond to suppliers’ calls. You get more good will from your creditors by taking their calls and telling them honestly when they can expect to be paid than by not, and some of the working capital improvement should be used to improve payment of your suppliers. Self-payment at high watermark. This is a problem across all sectors and more particularly for small growing businesses. There is nothing that consumes capital like growth so it is no surprise that small growing companies are frequently under-capitalised, there is always more need for capital than there is cash available. If you, as an entrepreneur, pay yourself from the profit figure and especially if you live to the full extent of your pay, you will find it very difficult when you suffer a cyclical down-turn (which you possibly will), suffer shock such as a bad debt from a large customer or losing a key client to a competitor (which will also probably happen). The implicit deal you need with yourself and your family is that you live lean while your business grows.

Build value in the business and take it out over the long term. Inadequate internal reporting Managing your business with historic data is impossible. If the only numbers you see are last year’s financial accounts or even last quarter’s VAT return, you’re unlikely to be close enough to know what’s going on. Well managed companies will see accurate, timely, fully analysed monthly accounts; there’ll be a mechanism for monitoring the sales pipeline (and some procedure for checking that reality matches up to expectations).

Good companies have systems for managing working capital and cash at least weekly. These are simple systems and they need to be in place. Using creditor’s funds to address inefficiencies. Most of the previous points are about managing your working capital and knowing where your business is at any point in time. We see companies where the proper tools are not fully used. Those businesses tend to use other people’s money to get by. Cash demands will be met by delaying payments to suppliers, dipping beyond the limit into bank facilities or by underpaying HMRC. This is risky. Suppliers can withhold product, banks can withdraw funding and HMRC can recover unpaid tax.

Chris Lowe March 2012

Are you Re-active or Pro-active?

What is it about the being British that makes us just a little but more re-active than pro-active?  Why when we see a queue do we get the sudden urge to join it…..are we afraid that we are missing out on something?  Last week’s fiasco at the petrol pumps had the drivers of Great Britain literally fighting over fuel for their vehicles, a very sad state of affairs indeed, especially as there was absolutely no need!  Who was to blame….because we have become a blame nation!   The Government?  The first selfish person to think only of themselves and use more petrol than they would usually need…or the next one who thought that everyone seems to be filling up so should I? The press for gleefully whipping up this manmade frenzy?  Possibly a combination of all three?  The public at large is sadly stressed to the eyeballs…fed up with bad news and the weight of financial hardship sitting heavily on our shoulders. The news is full of doom and gloom and anything that threatens our precarious peace of mind is likely to tip us further still into crazy re-active situations.

Here at ACCL we are constantly dealing with companies whose infrastructure has suddenly fallen over, causing costly downtime when, had the problem been highlighted sooner, the work could have been completed without any disruption to their day to day operations.

Now, are you happy with how your Voice and Data cabling installations are running? I fully appreciate that any large organisation may very well have their own internal IT Department, however if you are experiencing problems with your internal or external phone lines, or your computers are running slowly or crashing, then it could be that you already have a problem within the backbone of your infrastructure that may be easy to resolve if it is identified. It is very easy for anyone to get used to the inadequacies of a system when the impact on performance has been a slow decline. Bends or breaks in your cables, tangled cables or just broken RJ45 plugs can cost your company money on a daily basis if ignored, the performance of your system could be hindered, and possibly decline further until a greater problem is triggered.

With the demands on your company being greater and greater your Data Centre is rammed to the gills with the equipment needed to keep your business communicating with your customers.  Very costly to install initially, but vital to the success of any business.

In today’s financial climate it is really easy to ignore something that is on the face of it working perfectly well and not causing you any headaches. However routine maintenance can alleviate so many issues. But what are a lot of company’s doing to ensure that their infrastructure is healthy and effective? Are you being pro-active or waiting to be re-active?  Which can you afford to be?

If you would be interested in either reviewing your current arrangements or would like to speak to ACCL’s Team of Experts  to see what they can do to assist you, then please contact them for free on 0333 900 0101. Alternatively if you would like to visit their Website to find out a little bit more about what they may be able to do for you here is the link www.accl-ltd.com