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CTN Solutions has been serving the greater Philadelphia area since 1997, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

Social Media Users Should Consider Their Personal Information

Social Media Users Should Consider Their Personal Information

Social media has completely changed the dynamics of how people communicate with one another. While some users might only keep in touch with friends through it, others--including businesses and brands--use it to promote their products. In an age where a picture can appear on thousands of devices all over the world, privacy has become a major concern for anyone using social media.

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Tip of the Week: Understanding Bandwidth

Tip of the Week: Understanding Bandwidth

I have a question for you. When did you last examine the bandwidth that your business Internet package provides you? This is a very important consideration to make, for the sake of productivity. This week, we’ll offer a few tips on how the proper bandwidth can help you get much more out of your IT solutions.

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The Internet Continues to Change Business

The Internet Continues to Change Business

With so many people depending on the Internet for a litany of reasons, there might not be the general acknowledgment of just how powerful the ubiquitous use of the Internet really is for businesses. From the storage and redundancy of business data to virtualized computing platforms to browser-based interfaces that provide access to productivity and communications software, today’s Internet is filled with solutions for the modern business.

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Tech Term: Responsive Web Design

Tech Term: Responsive Web Design

We all have our favorite websites to visit, as well as those we often visit to fulfill our responsibilities. It is common for us to access the same websites on both a desktop workstation and a mobile device, but some websites work better than others while trying this. This is because of something called responsive web design, which we’ll review below for our weekly Tech Term.

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Tip of the Week: 5 Simple Browser Tricks

Tip of the Week: 5 Simple Browser Tricks

We all know how to use the Internet (you’re here now, after all), but there are a lot of hidden secrets to it that far fewer people know. Today, we’ll let you in on five of them to try and make some basics a little easier.

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Tech Term: Protocol

Tech Term: Protocol

Computers use many different types of protocol to function. In particular, the Internet takes advantage of protocol to a great degree. You might recognize terms like Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure, Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol, File Transfer Protocol, Internet Message Protocol, and Post Office Protocol. But what exactly is protocol, and why is it important?

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Tip of the Week: Keep Employees Off of Distracting Websites

Tip of the Week: Keep Employees Off of Distracting Websites

As incredible a tool as the Internet truly is, for every website that is beneficial to the workplace, there is another that is certainly the opposite. Naturally, it is these sites that your employees would most likely want to visit if left to their own devices. Sometimes, the best course of action is to remove the temptation and block these websites. For this week’s tip, we’ll talk about a few ways to do so.

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Tech Term: Safe Mode

Tech Term: Safe Mode

Sometimes it can be hard to diagnose a problem with your PC. While it might not be something system-breaking, it’s still important to find the root of an issue before it becomes a major problem. One of the best ways to diagnose an issue with your computer is by logging in using Safe Mode. We’ll talk about when and how you can use Safe Mode to your computer’s benefit.


What Does Safe Mode Do?
In its most basic form, Safe Mode lets you boot up your PC in a limited fashion. Only critical drivers and files will be activated, allowing for only a barebones boot that can help you isolate and diagnose issues with your computer. For example, the issue becomes apparent outside of Safe Mode, but it doesn’t happen during Safe Mode. This means that it’s likely not a critical driver and is something additional that you’ve installed.

There are two different ways to access Safe Mode. The first is the one that we just outlined. The other is one that includes other network drivers and devices, which depending on the situation, might not be your goal.

Follow the below instructions to implement Safe Mode on startup.

From the Start Menu...

  • Select the Start button in the bottom-left corner of the screen.
  • Select Settings (the gear icon)
  • Click on Update & Security
  • Go to Recover in the left-hand column
  • Go to Advanced Startup and select Restart Now
  • When the device restarts, select Troubleshoot > Advanced Options > Startup > Settings > Restart
  • Upon startup, hit F4 or the number 4 for Safe Mode. Hit F5 or the number 5 for Safe Mode with Networking

From the Sign-in Screen…

  • Restart your PC. Hold down the Shift key while you’re selecting Restart.
  • When the device restarts, select Troubleshoot > Advanced Options > Startup > Settings > Restart
  • Upon startup, hit F4 or the number 4 for Safe Mode. Hit F5 or the number 5 for Safe Mode with Networking

For more great tech tips and tricks, subscribe to our blog.

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Tech Term: Bits and Bytes

Tech Term: Bits and Bytes

Running a business sometimes requires attention to very minute details, and some things must be measured in order to achieve optimal efficiency. You’ve likely heard the terms bits and bytes used regarding data storage or transfer, but do you know what the difference is between them? Today’s tech term is dedicated to this explanation.


One of the first things you’ll notice when you go to buy a new computer is how much data the hard drive can store and how much random access memory (RAM) it contains. You might see numbers like 500GB or 2TB. The easiest way to explain this is by looking at the basics of data measurement. You can think of a bit as the smallest form of data measurement on a computer. Computers use binary math to showcase each potential digit as a bit. Each bit has a value of a 0 or 1. These bits are generated by the computer’s electrical current that activates the various internal components. These changes in voltage are used to transmit the bits, process calculations, and relay data across the network.

Here are some of the methods used during network message encoding:

  • Wi-Fi carries bits using radio signals
  • Ethernet connections carry bits using electric signals of varying voltages
  • Fiber connections use pulses of light to carry bits

Ideally, the bits are encrypted so that they can’t be interpreted without permission.

On the other hand, the byte is a fixed sequence of bits. Technology today relies on organizing data into bytes to increase the speed and efficiency of data processing. Bits are often too small to measure data, which is why a byte is easier to use as the standard measurement.

The rate at which a computer network connection is measured is through time (bits per second), and today’s technology has advanced so far that it can transmit millions, or even billions, of bits per second (called megabits (Mbps) or gigabits (Gbps). The speed at which this data is transferred depends on the size of the file sizes or components transferring the data.

This is one of the reasons why gigabit network switches and other devices exist. If a device can support 1 Gbps, it transfers a single gigabit per second. Depending on your infrastructure, you might need to transfer more than this amount of data so that the network can operate smoothly. Other devices on your network will also play a major role in determining what your overall maximum speed is.

Breaking Down the Numbers
Since every byte is eight bits, you could safely assume that a kilobyte is 1,000 bytes, but you would be mistaken. Computers use binary systems, so your hard drives, memory, and bandwidth are all measured in powers of two. Thus, 2 ^ 10 equals 1,024, not 1,000. This makes looking at the specific numbers somewhat confusing for the average user.

If you look at everyday examples of this in practice, it becomes a little easier to understand and work with. Take a look at your IP address. This contains a string of 32 bits (or four bytes). An IP address with a value of 192.168.1.1 has values of 192, 168, 1, and 1 for each of its bytes. If you look at the encoding of this IP address, it would look like this:

11000000 10101000 00000001 000000001

This means that:

  • 192 = 1100000
  • 168 = 1010100
  • 1 = 00000001

How to Convert Bits to Bytes (and Beyond)
If you ever need to convert bits to bytes or otherwise, here are the numbers.

  • 8 bits = 1 byte
  • 1,024 bytes = kilobyte
  • 1,024 kilobytes = megabyte
  • 1,024 megabytes = gigabyte
  • 1,024 gigabytes = terabyte

If you want to convert four kilobytes into bits, you need to first convert the kilobytes to bytes (4 x 1,024) and then use that total (4,096) to convert to bits (8 x 4,096 = 32,768).

From a consumer standpoint, if you purchase a hard drive that has a terabyte of data, it’s real value is about 8 trillion bits. Hard drive manufacturers measure content by rounding down to 1,000 megabytes per gigabyte, even though most computers will use the 1,024 number. This is why when you purchase a new terabyte hard drive, you’ll notice that about 35 gigabytes aren’t immediately available. In the case of a workstation, the operating system will also consume a certain amount of data on the drive.

Did we answer some of your questions about computing and the specifics of bits vs bytes? Let us know in the comments what you would like to see covered in our tech term articles.

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Tech Term: Bandwidth Defined

Tech Term: Bandwidth Defined

The Internet has become an irreplaceable part of many business operations. Technology has changed the way that the Internet works for the better, but there is one part of its operations that still lies at the heart of it: bandwidth.

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Tip of the Week: What to Do When the Internet Goes Out

Tip of the Week: What to Do When the Internet Goes Out

Losing Internet can be a large problem in the business world, as we all become more and more reliant on it. Downtime of this kind can be immensely frustrating. However, not all hope is lost, as there are ways to troubleshoot the cause of an Internet outage.


Check your Hardware
First and foremost, check to make sure that all cables are still securely plugged in. If your router was just unplugged somehow, your troubleshooting may be completed much faster. However, should your problem be something other than a loose Ethernet cable, there are other methods to figuring out what happened to your Internet.

There may also be an issue with your modem or router, which the status lights on these components will indicate. Sometimes all it will take to fix this issue is a hard restart by disconnecting and reconnecting the power supply to the component. However, it may be time to replace your device.

Ping a Website
Once you’ve determined that your connection issues aren’t due to a problem with equipment, you should try sending a ping command to a website. In your Start menu, access the Command Prompt window. Type in ping google.com. This tells your computer to send data packets to Google. If any of these packets are lost, as displayed in the Command Prompt window, there could be a problem present. This problem could be in your network, with your Internet Service Provider, or with the website itself. If a few or more websites lose packets when pinged, the problem probably isn’t your network.

If the pings you send are successful, but your connection isn’t, the website itself is likely having issues. If you are able, check Down Detector or Down For Everyone Or Just Me to see if the website is at fault.

Scan for Malware
If your connection issues are limited to a single workstation or device, your software may have something to do with it; or, it could be a malware infection. This can be identified with a quick scan of the affected system.

DNS Issues
Finally, your Internet Service Provider could be the one having issues, more specifically, with its Domain Name Server. If you are unable to access a website with its IP address, your ISP is the one having a problem.

For more useful IT tips, make sure you subscribe to our blog!

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Tip of the Week: Tricks for Better Internet Browsing

Tip of the Week: Tricks for Better Internet Browsing

If you use the Internet every single day, then you’ll realize that you can use it more effectively for achieving your goals. It’s important to look at ways to improve your overall use of the Internet, as it’s the key to accessing important information, applications, and contacts. Here are some day-to-day tips that you can use to help improve your mastery of the Internet.


Take Complete Advantage of Tabbed Browsing
Let’s say that you find a particularly interesting article. Then, you find another that catches your interest, and you want to save it for later. Simply right-click the link and open it in a new tab. If you want to take your tab browsing to the next level, try clicking on it while holding down the Ctrl key. The exact same thing will happen, but without you having to right-click the link.

Leave Out the Beginning of the URL
If you can’t remember the beginning of a URL, don’t sweat it. As long as it’s HTTP or HTTPS, you probably don’t need to enter it to find the right site. The URL will be identified by the web browser automatically. However, pay attention to the URL if you’re navigating to an online shop or a site where sensitive information is exchanged. Do not enter information into a site that isn’t using encryption.

Navigate Through Forms Quickly
You can navigate through forms on web pages quickly and easily by hitting the Tab key. This will move you through field-by-field, which makes it much easier to fill out than by clicking on every single field. To go back to a previous field, you can use the keyboard shortcut Shift + Tab.

Use Browser Shortcuts
Some of the same keyboard shortcuts you would use in word processors will also work in a web browser, like copy, cut, and paste. There are others, however, that are specific to a web browser, including the following:

  • Use F5 or Ctrl+R to refresh the web page.
  • Use Ctrl+F to open the Find function, which will let you search a web page for specific text.
  • Use Ctrl+B to open the Bookmarks function.
  • Press Ctrl and the plus or minus keys to make the text bigger or smaller.

What are some of your favorite web browsing tips and tricks? Be sure to let us know in the comments.

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How to Ditch Your Traditional Phone Line and Save on Expenses

How to Ditch Your Traditional Phone Line and Save on Expenses

When it comes to a business being successful, it’s only natural to eliminate any wasted expenses and focus on those that can serve multiple purposes. Many businesses are very good at doing this, but they overlook a great opportunity to cut costs through the consolidation of their telephony system.


While at first glance, a telephone may seem to be just a telephone, this communication technology is not quite so cut and dry. More and more businesses have embraced a Voice-over-Internet-Protocol approach to handle their voice communication needs, with benefits that have a very real impact on their business. Let’s go over some of the ways that VoIP can directly assist your organization.

Significant Cost Savings
First and foremost, a major benefit to VoIP is the fact that it can take a considerable chunk out of your operating budget by eliminating some or all of your existing telephone bills. Since VoIP uses the Internet to send and receive sound, you have the potential to save in the long term.

This is helped by the fact that many VoIP solutions don’t require particularly specialized hardware, meaning that you will not only be saving on the phone bill, but in some cases, you might not need to replace all of your existing equipment.

Record-Keeping and Collaboration
Both the ability to document what progress has been made and the ability to work cooperatively with teammates are crucial to a business’ success. VoIP can enable a user to do both of these things. Whether it’s used to hold a meeting, recording what was discussed, or to allow clearer communication between two coworkers working on the same project from different locations. Either way, VoIP assists in keeping the lines of communication clear.

Convenient Utility
With the right setup, a VoIP line is extremely adaptable to the needs of the user. If a user has many virtual phone numbers for whatever reason, they can all be set to ring on a single headset. On the flip side, a single number can be set to ring on assorted devices, and any device can be set to forward the call to another, based on time of day. Calls can even be sent and received by smartphones.

Therefore, for a busy business owner, VoIP is an excellent option if they’re looking to stay connected to their business. CTN can help you set up this option in your business. Give us a call at (610) 828-5500 for more.

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Here’s How to Make the Internet Far Less Distracting for Your Team

Here’s How to Make the Internet Far Less Distracting for Your Team

The average office worker needs to access the Internet in order to do their job. What they don’t need to access is cat videos, memes, social media, online games, and malware-ridden websites. How can a business owner clamp down on Internet activity in their office? By equipping their network with a content filtering solution, of course.

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Everything You Need to Know About Web Servers

Everything You Need to Know About Web Servers

You might use the Internet and connected technology for most parts of your life, but do you understand the finer details of how these devices work? How do they receive information that is stored so far away, perhaps on the other side of the planet? This is done via a web server, and it’s a fascinating piece of technology!


At its roots, the Internet uses the URL (short for Uniform Resource Locator) to render the associated web page. But you knew that; after all, you clicked on a URL located on a website to get to this blog. Your web browser sees the associated URL and takes a look at its three different parts.

Your device knows how to reach the web server by checking out the URL’s HyperText Transfer Protocol, which is the part that displays as HTTP at the beginning of any web link. In between the “www” and the ending of the URL (usually a “.com” or “.org”) is the name of the server, represented by an IP (Internet Protocol) address. The rest of the URL contains the page’s filename, which determines the specific content that will propagate on the page.

The website’s host server will then receive the request from HTTP, which presents the HTML of the requested page. The browser then interprets the HTML and shows it as a viewable webpage.

Web servers are also the entities responsible for storing credentials that allow you to visit private pages protected by passwords. This happens every time you visit a new web page, seeing as you have to prove that you’re allowed to access the page.

All of this is assuming that the webpage isn’t one of those newfangled things that changes constantly. If the webpage is static, and it’s only changed periodically by the creator, this is the way that the web server communicates with your URL input. However, if the page is dynamic, it will change based on input. For an example, consider Google’s results pages or your Facebook News Feed.

Did you learn anything new? If so, let us know in the comments, and be sure to subscribe to our blog for more fun facts about the technology you use everyday!

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Why a Major Internet of Things Security Breach is Inevitable

Why a Major Internet of Things Security Breach is Inevitable

Whether we’re ready for it or not, the Internet of Things is coming, and soon. You might see all sorts of connected devices on the market today that you would never think to connect to the Internet, but it’s our responsibility to inform you that these new devices could potentially put not just your business infrastructure at risk, but even your own life.

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Making Sense of How the Internet of Things Applies to Different Industries

Making Sense of How the Internet of Things Applies to Different Industries

The Internet of Things (IoT) is changing the way that businesses approach technology solutions, but its biggest impact might be in the consumer environment. With so many new devices connecting to the Internet and communicating with each other, it can be difficult to slap a label on the Internet of Things and associate it with the countless devices being created every day.

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Tip of the Week: 4 Reasons Your WiFi May Be Slow

b2ap3_thumbnail_wifi_interuption_400.jpgWireless Internet access is a luxury that seems commonplace. But there are many who experience trouble with their connections on a daily basis. Sometimes the problem stems from familiar issues that could happen at any minute, but other times the issues might not be so obvious. Either way, you should be aware of the most common disruptions to your WiFi signal, even those that you might not consider problems.

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Malvertising: Hackers are Paying For Ad Space on Popular Websites

b2ap3_thumbnail_click_on_malware_ad_400.jpgA good business exercises extreme caution when using the Internet.  Hackers use any means possible to unleash threats against organizations of all sizes. Though you teach your employees how to avoid threats and to avoid suspicious websites, what if that’s not enough to keep hackers out of your network infrastructure?

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21 Million US Students Lack High Speed Internet Access at Their Schools

b2ap3_thumbnail_superhighway_400.jpgThe Internet is an absolutely essential part of today’s workplace. It helps businesses get the upper hand on their competition by offering practically limitless access to tools, resources, and contacts that can be used for the betterment of their organizations. However, classrooms can reap the benefits of Internet too, and it’s surprising that it’s taken so long for all schools to hop on board with this concept.

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