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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.

The Top 5 Smartphones For You Heading Into 2019

The Top 5 Smartphones For You Heading Into 2019

With the smartphone market losing ground for the first time in its short history, many of the manufacturers you’ve come to know are either non-factors in the current market, or don’t even produce smartphones anymore. With new demand growing every year, new manufacturers such as OnePlus and Xiaomi are primed to fall in line behind Samsung and Apple.

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Don’t Get Your Hopes Up about 5G Yet

Don’t Get Your Hopes Up about 5G Yet

There’s no getting around it: technology has spoiled us. We have had access to 4G mobile data speeds since 2009, and we’re already clamoring for the next thing. While 5G has been in development for some time now, it will likely be quite a while before it is available for common use. Here, we examine why 5G is likely going to take at least a few more years to arrive.


Technological Hang-ups and Impracticalities
The technology that is currently being proposed and developed to power 5G connectivity is rife with shortcomings and conflicts, many of which make its practical use unrealistic and complicated, if not effectively impossible. For example:

Range
One of the biggest issues is the range that the anticipated 5G signals are projected to have - more specifically, the range that Enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB) through millimeter wave (mmWave) is capable of reaching. This eMBB is what smartphones would utilize.

A 4G signal, the current standard, has a range of anywhere from three to thirty miles. In comparison, mmWave reaches about a third of a mile. Just imagine how many new cell towers would have to be added to the existing infrastructure for 5G to be implemented. Of course, it’s also likely that looming cell towers will be replaced by then, through the adoption of microwave oven-sized femtocells that can be affixed to other pieces of infrastructure, like traffic signs, light poles, and even buses.

Connectivity
Unfortunately, it would seem that there would need to be quite a few of these femtocells, just to ensure a clear signal to a device at any given time. This is because, in addition to being relatively short-ranged, mmWave is a notoriously easy signal to block.

Furthermore, there is also the question of providing each femtocell with enough bandwidth to support the high volume of use. This will require expensive high-speed fiber wiring to connect them, as the femtocells won’t be able to share their data with each other efficiently enough to make up for the difference.

Cloud Complications
Cloud computing has made it easier to manage networks by far, so it is only to be expected that these femtocells will leverage the cloud as a management tool. Virtual networks can be created in the cloud to help manage 5G through the utilization of software-defined networks (SDNs) and network function virtualization (NFV).

The problem here is that there are multiple SDNs and NFVs, which means there is no unified standard. While there is an effort being made by the Linux Foundation to resolve this, it will take some time before this can be resolved.

Don’t get us wrong, 5G is definitely on its way. There are too many potential benefits for femtocells to be abandoned as a solution (did we mention how cheap they are to use?) and demand for better mobile bandwidth is too high to ignore. It is just going to take some time to overcome some of the technical hurdles.

In the meantime, CTN can help you optimize your current business connectivity. Give us a call at (610) 828-5500 to learn more.

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Mobile Computing Works to Boost Productivity

Mobile Computing Works to Boost Productivity

Mobile technology is allowing businesses to make great strides in the way that they conduct their operations, but one of the key reasons why it has been so helpful is that it decreases costs considerably. Thanks to developments in the way that mobile technology works, it can fit into any business model, all the while improving your return on investment for your expensive technology solutions.

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A QR Code Could Be your New Wi-Fi Password

A QR Code Could Be your New Wi-Fi Password

There is no understating the importance of strong, reliable passwords to your organization’s network security, especially to protect its wireless connection. However, this can create some friction with your staff when they try to connect to Wi-Fi using their mobile device. To make accessing the Internet easier, scannable QR codes can be used to connect to the Internet.


Why QR Codes?
There is one major security benefit to using a QR code over an alphanumeric password, in that an alphanumeric password can be spread through word of mouth. Comparatively, because the password is encoded in the QR code, using a QR code allows you to share your Internet access without sharing your credentials.

Furthermore, using a QR code is simpler on the part of the user. Rather than poking away at a touchscreen to input a password in the hopes that it is correct, the right app makes signing on to the Internet as easy as taking a photograph. In this way, a QR code is the ideal way for a business that sees a lot of traffic to permit their guests to utilize the Internet.

How to Use a QR Code
In order to use a QR code to provide Internet access, you’ll need to have a code generated. There are various websites and web applications that will generate a printable QR code if given the name of the network you want to connect to, and its password. You will want to review their terms of service and other policies to ensure that you are comfortable with providing this information.

Then all you have to do is input the necessary information and download the result. When you’re finished, you’ll have an easy means of allowing Internet access without the hassle or security risk of sharing the access password.

Have any other questions or IT needs that require a solution? CTN is here to help. Reach out to us today at (610) 828-5500.

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BYOD is Only Helpful If the Devices Are Secure

BYOD is Only Helpful If the Devices Are Secure

Mobile devices are so common nowadays that your employees will bring multiple devices to the office on a regular basis. Little do they know that everything they bring with them, from their Fitbit to their laptop, poses a security threat. Of course, the threat level depends on each individual device type. But the point stands that the less you do about mobile device security now, the more danger your organization will be in, down the road.


There is a very simple rule that you can use to gauge how vulnerable your business infrastructure is to mobile devices. The more devices that have access to a network and its contents, the more likely it is that you’ll be putting it in danger. If you aren’t careful about which information is accessed by certain users and devices, then you could expose your business to considerable risk. Therefore, it’s critical that you put measures into place before the worst happens.

It all starts by implementing a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) strategy, which aims to improve the way that your business manages mobile devices without sacrificing data security in the process. Here are some of the most common features of a BYOD policy:

Blacklisting and Whitelisting Apps
Any apps that you download to your device have to be secure. Generally speaking, most apps that you will download should be safe for your company to use, but there are others out there that have only malicious intentions. Naturally, you’ll want your devices to be equipped with whitelisting and blacklisting capabilities so that you can control what types of apps are found on company devices. The theory here is that you can prevent hacking attacks and data leaks by preventing malicious apps from installing on the devices in the first place.

Remote Wiping
What happens when a device is lost? You might have a lot to worry about, or you might not. It depends on where the device has been lost. If you misplaced it in your office or home, perhaps you can locate it. If you leave it on the train, there’s no telling who will find it. Perhaps a good Samaritan will return the device, but chances are that it will be exploited by its new owner, be it someone who just wants a new device, or a hacker intent on stealing as much data from the device as possible. Remotely wiping the device allows you to maintain the integrity of your infrastructure and its data, even in a worst-case scenario.

A BYOD policy is an incredibly important aspect of a modern technology infrastructure. Do you have one? CTN can help you implement all of the best solutions to secure your mobile devices. To learn more, reach out to us at (610) 828-5500.

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HIPAA and Wearables May Clash in the Near Future

HIPAA and Wearables May Clash in the Near Future

Technology is making strides toward creating devices for the health-conscious consumer. Wearables are the best example of how technology is aiming to make users both more active and more interested about their own health. At 2018’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, this technology was front and center, showcasing how far it has come in just a year’s time.


The latest and greatest health technology takes advantage of monitoring and other types of machinery to ensure users are connected to their vitals in never before seen ways. Healthcare professionals are using these technologies to diagnose and predict potential health issues in patients, allowing them to take a preventative approach to their wellness. Devices like watches, pacemakers, phones, and even jewelry are all collecting data that can be used by patients and doctors to improve the way that personal health is approached.

Consumer technology is one of the strongest places to start implementing health-based functionality, according to several industry professionals, including Samsung’s chief medical officer and head of healthcare and fitness, Dr. David Rhew. Yet, these changes in the way that technologies take advantage of health information tend to blur the lines between what’s acceptable and what’s not.

Take, for example, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, which ensures that medical data or similar records are kept safe and secure from prying eyes. There are various regulations that need to be kept by any organization collecting this information for any reason--even if it’s just a device that’s collecting information about a user’s vitals. How are these devices affected by HIPAA, or vice versa?

The near future might be filled with devices that can examine heart rate, detect abnormalities in blood pressure, track sleeping patterns, and monitor body temperature, but these devices should be closely monitored and regulated in an effort to preserve the privacy of their patients or users. The question for the future, however, will be whether or not these wearables should be held to the same regulations as HIPAA compliant devices are.

Here are some of the more interesting smart wearables that can be used by consumers to learn more about the inner workings of their bodies:

  • L’Oréal introduced a tiny ultraviolet sensor smaller than a thumbnail that can be used to minimize exposure to too much sunlight and reduce chances of skin cancer.
  • Philips has created the SmartSleep, which is headgear that can improve the quality of the user’s deep sleep and monitor patterns in sleep.
  • Oska Wellness has introduced a wearable that connects an electromagnetic pulse to an application, all to track and resolve muscle pain.

What are some of your anticipated uses for wearable technology in the coming year? Let us know in the comments, and subscribe for more information on the latest and greatest technology.

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Tip of the Week: Putting Your Old Android Device to Good Use

Tip of the Week: Putting Your Old Android Device to Good Use

Considering how often smartphones are replaced, you’re bound to have a couple of them stashed away for a rainy day. These devices are particularly helpful in the event that your smartphone breaks unexpectedly. There are other purposes to consider. Here are four ways you might be able to use your old mobile devices around the office.


A Portable Trackpad
There are all sorts of applications to pair your old phone with your computer. For example, you could use it as an extra controller for various apps or specialized features, allowing for an alternative way to control media playback, among other functionality.

You can achieve this by using the Touchpad app  on the Google Play store. It’s not perfect, but it’s the safest way to download legitimate apps. You should also run the decision by your IT department, or IT decision makers, to ensure that these apps will be compatible with your technology.

A Universal Remote
An old smart device might be a great way to take control of your other office devices. You can use a universal remote app from the Google Play store to control all sorts of devices around your office, eliminating the need to hold onto that old TV remote. Plus, since you are using just one device for every single television in your office, you don’t need to keep track of multiple remotes. If you have an older smartphone that comes with an onboard IR Blaster, you can utilize it as a TV remote, since many newer smartphones don’t come with one.

A Makeshift Security Camera
There are applications that you can find on the Google Play store that can turn your device into a miniature security camera. You might be surprised by how many different features you can find for this purpose. Boost your business’s physical security presence, all by logging into a web browser. You can even record the footage and have it activated when detecting motion.

Of course, if you want to take your security seriously, you will want to discuss integrating a network-based IP camera security system.

A Donation to Science
If you donate your device to the Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing, or BOINC, then you will give the organization a valuable tool that allows them to advance various research projects. Resources donated to BOINC have researched the climate, molecular dynamics, genetic sequencing, measuring earthquake magnitude, and much more, all with the intent to make a better and more informed environment.

If this sounds like a better option than letting your devices collect dust in your junk drawer, then download the BOINC app from the Google Play store and select the type of research you want your phone’s resources to go toward. This app will run only if your device has been charged and plugged in, so that your device isn’t being drained. Thanks to it transmitting data via Wi-Fi, you won’t waste any of your data, either.

What are some of your favorite ways to use your old Android devices? Let us know in the comments.

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SMiShing: A New Mobile Computing Scam

SMiShing: A New Mobile Computing Scam

Chances are, you’ve heard of phishing before--emails that promise some benefit or prize if you click on the included link, that actually results in trouble for you and your data. Unfortunately, as technology has embraced mobility, so have phishing attempts. This is why you must also be aware of SMiShing scams.


What Is SMiShing?
SMiShing is a mobile variant of phishing that involves the use of a text message, rather than an email, to catch the target in the phisher’s net. These attacks are highly reliant on the target’s compliance with the instructions the cybercriminal provides, as well.

These attacks can be more effective than the typical phishing attack, as the general public is increasingly aware of cyber threats--yet don’t expect these threats to manifest in their cell phone.

Just as one would experience in the ‘typical’ phishing attack, a ‘smisher’ will likely try to gain your trust in order to extract credentials. This ultimately allows them access to the accounts they obtained the credentials for, permitting them to wreak havoc and/or steal what they please. This is especially dangerous if they gain access to any client financial information you may have on file. Alternatively, some smishers will claim that if you don’t access a link and enter your personal information, then you will be charged daily for some service. Naturally, if this service is one that your organization has not signed up for, this message should be reported to IT and then disregarded.

How To Spot SMiShing Scams
First, if you suspect that a message is fraudulent, then reach out to confirm that the message truly came from the sender. To do so, reach out via a different channel than your text, such as calling an official service number to speak directly to a representative. This allows you to confirm that the message was legitimate or fraudulent without exposing yourself or the business to greater risk.

In essence, avoid responding to text messages from senders that you don’t know, especially when the number is a 5000 number. This indicates that the message was an email sent as a text message, which is often a tactic used by scammers.

Finally, keep an eye out for any messages that contain downloadable apps. These are a favorite method to introduce malware to a mobile device. If an app doesn’t come from an official app store, it is likely a piece of disguised malware.

How To Be The Most Safe
If in doubt, confirm before you answer. Additionally, a VPN (or virtual private network) can help you maintain your mobile security, especially when paired with these practices.

CTN Solutions can help you to put these safeguards, and others, in place for your business devices. Give us a call at (610) 828-5500 to get started.

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Want to Go Mobile? Make Sure Your Device Management Software Has These 3 Features

Want to Go Mobile? Make Sure Your Device Management Software Has These 3 Features

Now that mobile devices have taken over the workplace, you need to consider the security of your business’s data more than ever before. You need to think about which devices access certain data, as well as what they do with that data. In particular, you need to make sure that only your employees can access corporate information, and there are several ways to do so.

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3 Considerations Every Business Owner Must Make When Implementing a BYOD Policy

3 Considerations Every Business Owner Must Make When Implementing a BYOD Policy

Bring Your Own Device, or BYOD, has become an accepted practice in the workplace, but only when it’s implemented properly. The fact remains that allowing workers to use their personal devices for work purposes has its benefits and disadvantages, and that you should only allow them to do so after they adhere to your company’s BYOD policy. Of course, this assumes that you actually have a policy, so let’s talk about how to set up a quality BYOD policy.

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Having an All-Wireless Office is Totally Possible. Here’s How!

Having an All-Wireless Office is Totally Possible. Here’s How!

You likely use several wireless devices and enjoy their many advantages, like not having to be wired to your desk. Yet, it’s unlikely that you’ve transitioned your entire office to wireless technology. Thanks to the advancements and affordability of wireless technology, having an office that’s completely wireless may be entirely within the realm of possibility.

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How to Leverage the Benefits of Mobile Devices While Negating the Associated Risks

b2ap3_thumbnail_bring_YOD_400.jpgMobile devices have taken the workplace environment by storm, and you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who doesn’t use their smartphone, laptop, or other device for work purposes. This trend, called Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), helps employers spend less on new solutions, but it also presents a risk that needs to be managed: the Internet of Things (IoT).

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In the Wireless Age, Your Wired Network Might Be Outdated

b2ap3_thumbnail_wireless_strategy_400.jpgBusiness owners are taking great strides toward freeing themselves from the confines of the office environment once and for all. This means integrating wireless technology into every aspect of the way you handle operations. However, there are still some uses for wired technology that wireless cannot facilitate.

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AR Technology May Be an Adequate Substitute to “Fancy Book Learnin’” [VIDEO]

b2ap3_thumbnail_ar_applications_400.jpgHow smart are smartphones really making us? If we’re honest with ourselves, most of us would admit that our mobile phones are more for entertainment and efficient communications, and less about actually being used to make ourselves smarter. Thanks to augmented reality technology becoming more accessible, perhaps smartphones will one day live up to their name.

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How Long Can You Go for Without Your Smartphone?

b2ap3_thumbnail_smartphone_addiction_400.jpgYour smartphone is, without a doubt, a valuable business asset. It keeps you connected to your business at all times, even when you’re home; but is this a good thing? Have you ever considered what your significant other might feel if you answer your phone while out to dinner? Thanks to the indisputable power of social science research, it’s been proven that smartphones are bad for our personal relationships. Gasp!

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Simon Pierro, the “Wizard of iOS,” is a Different Kind of Magician [VIDEO]

b2ap3_thumbnail_tablet_magic_400.jpgDo you remember the good old days when a simple magic trick was capable of bringing a smile to anyone’s face? Optical illusions, card tricks, or sleight of hand; all of these are basic tactics used by the average magician. However, Simon Pierro, a German magician, uses his iPad to come up with mind-bendingly spectacular tricks that take advantage of modern technology.

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3 Mobile Myths to Consider

b2ap3_thumbnail_these_mobile_myths_will_shock_you_400.jpgMobile is all the rage nowadays. Industry giants such as Microsoft and Apple claim to have mobile devices that make the PC obsolete. It makes for great marketing, but do mobile devices have what it takes to keep employees productive inside and outside of the workplace? The statistics say no, but the gap is closing. Here are three mobile myths all CIOs should consider.

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Apple’s iPhone 6 and iPhone 6+ Bend Expectations

b2ap3_thumbnail_iphone_6_and_6_plus_400.jpgApple is back with another iPhone! The Silicon Valley-based hardware and software manufacturer has released the new versions of their extremely popular iPhone series of devices. The two-headed approach that Apple took with their second incantation of the iPhone 5 (the 5s and 5c), is replicated this time out as well. After being surpassed by Samsung over the past two years, does the iPhone 6 and its larger version, the iPhone 6+, have what it takes to get Apple back on top?

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