Fiber And The New Hargray

Hargray has been busily installing fiber all over Hilton Head. We have it installed in a dozen clients and we finally have a fiber connection for our office/lab. Fiber is a game-changer for Hargray for several reasons, primarily speed and reliability.

Prior to fiber, the fastest internet service available from Hargray in most locations was 30 mbps over old and rapidly failing telephone networks. The current fiber network is capable of speeds of 1000 mbps (Gigabit) and can be upgraded to 10 Gig with relatively easy upgrades of equipment at each end.

More important to me is the change in serviceability and reliability of the new network. The old network was fragile and was basically a telephone system that had data networking layered on top. The new fiber system is a data network that also carries data, voice, and video as bits and bytes. In addition to the benefit of having new equipment, the cabling and connections are more reliable, and the network itself has redundant paths on and off the island. That means that a single cable cut will no longer bring the network down for the island.

Another element of serviceability is the ability to monitor and manage the network from Hargray’s hub to each customer location. Hargray technicians now have the ability to see every point on their new network. Later this year, their new management system will have the ability to know when a customer endpoint is offline regardless of the cause. They can use that information to automate troubleshooting and quickly determine the scope of an outage. This should translate to faster problem resolution and shorter downtime.

One thing that hasn’t changed at Hargray is that they have separate teams for residential and business customers. That is true of sales, customer service, tech support, and field techs. Business customers can count on faster response times than residential and rightly so. Hargray rival, Spectrum, combined their business and residential teams with the Charter acquisition and business response times have suffered. With Hargray I have local account teams that I can reach if there is a problem or to plan for a change while I am limited to an 800 number for Spectrum.

In summary, I am now comfortable recommending Hargray fiber for my customers and I am actively working to convert my legacy Hargray customers and Spectrum customers to Hargray fiber as soon as it becomes available.

Note: I receive no compensation for recommending Hargray or having my customers select Hargray. I have been vocally critical of Hargray’s legacy services in the past and will continue to work on behalf of my customers for the best services possible.


The Role of VPNs in Your Security Arsenal

Virtual Private Networks or VPNs have been used for over 20 years to provide computer access to corporate networks for employees traveling or working remotely. Their adoption by both corporate and private users has boomed over the past 5 years as awareness has grown about privacy risks.

In fact, “doing it without protection” has taken on new meaning as public WiFi is broadly ubiquitous and heavily used. Personally, I either use Verizon cellular data or I use a VPN if I can’t access a trusted network. And I don’t trust business networks unless I know what they use for security. That means that I use VPNs often when I am working on my laptop.

For those interested in learning a bit more about VPNs, here is a link to a useful articale in PC Magazine – https://www.pcmag.com/roundup/296955/the-best-vpn-services

And feel free to contact me if you are interested in learning more about VPNs and their role in a comprehensive security strategy for your family or your business.


Connected HHI Partners with Verizon for One Talk Business Voice Solutions

Connected HHI is pleased to partner with Verizon Wireless to provide services for One Talk customers in the Lowcountry.  The One Talk voice-over-internet-protocol (VOIP) business phone solution is a natural fit for many businesses in our area.  And combining One Talk with our Always-On Network ensures that your phones and network continue to operate when you lose your primary network connection.  VOIP phones require a reliable and fast network to operate properly and Connected HHI is well positioned to ensure that voice, data, and applications perform optimally for our customers.

For more information on Verizon’s One Talk Solution –   Click Here


Protecting Business Phones From Downtime

Connected HHI is now offering Alway-On service for the new generation of Voice-Over Internet-Protocol (VOIP) phones that are being installed in more and more businesses.  Now your new VOIP phones can be protected from network downtime in the same way that we are protecting internet networks throughout the lowcountry.  One benefit of voice over internet is that we can offer a second internet pathway for your voice traffic if your primary connection fails, keeping your phones up and your business running.


Reboot and Update !!

The FBI is strongly recommending that all routers be rebooted and that your router firmware is up to the latest release.    Additionally, I recommend that you make sure that all of your phone, tablet, and PCs are at the latest release in order to provide the latest protection against internet-based threats.

Here is the link to the NYT article on this topic.  CLICK HERE

 


Yacht Hop Fundraiser powered by Connected HHI Always-On Network

Connected HHI was proud to provide the WiFi and networking in support of Hospice Care of the Lowcountry’s signature fundraising event – Yacht Hop of Hilton head Island. With Internet connections from Hargray and Verizon, Connected HHI employed equipment from Luxul and Cradlepoint to ensure that all of the Hospice volunteers had reliable connections and fast response times for thousands of transactions processed in a very short period of time.


Giuseppi’s Pizza and Pasta HHI Stays Connected

Giuseppi’s has been serving residents and visitors since 1981 from their landmark location in Shelter Cove.  Known for great food, friendly service, and a little bit of Pittsburgh, this spot is always one of the top-rated restaurants on the island.   Managing Partner Jim Loniero and his team rely on their NCR system to manage customer orders and to settle customer payments.  Giuseppi’s can’t afford to have their system or the internet connection go down and have their service suffer.

After a successful trial at another SERG Group restaurant, Jim Loniero selected Connected HHI and its ALWAYS-ON Network service to protect against any downtime due to a lost internet connection.  Connected HHI worked with NCR to add a backup Cradlepoint CBA850 cellular modem to the network.  In the event of a lost Hargray internet connection, the Cradlepoint modem provides an instant connection to the Verizon data network.  No lost orders, paper backup, or credit card issues – business continues to run without a hitch.

“There are too many things that can go wrong at any time when you run a busy restaurant.  We can’t afford to lose our connection to the internet.  Connected HHI makes sure that we stay connected and that is one big thing that I don’t have to worry about.”  Jim Loniero, Managing Partner

 

Giuseppi’s Hilton Head Island
32 Shelter Cove Lane
The Plaza at Shelter Cove
Hilton Head Island, SC 29928
843.785.4144  –  www.giuseppispizza.com 


Curry Printing / FastSigns HHI Chooses Connected HHI

This high-tech printing and graphics business selected Connected HHI and its ALWAYS-ON Network service to protect against any downtime due to a lost internet connection.  Time is money and nowhere is this truer than in the deadline-intensive graphics and printing business.  Owner Chuck Lobaugh and his team of professionals rely on their network to collaborate with clients, coordinate with suppliers, and manage the business.

Connected HHI installed the Cradlepoint AER1600 to control the network connections to Time-Warner (Primary) and Verizon (Backup) networks.  In addition to providing all of the routing and security capabilities of a standard router, the Cradlepoint AER1600 monitors the Time-Warner internet connection for outages.  In the event of an outage, the Curry network is seamlessly switched to Verizon’s data network until the primary network is restored.   No need to panic, no fire drills, just business as usual.

“Our business relationships are based on trust and responsiveness.  We can’t afford to lose time or miss a deadline due to a lost internet connection.  We trust Joe Chappell and Connected HHI to keep our connection to the internet up at all times.”  Chuck Lobaugh, Owner

Curry Printing HHI, Inc.
55 Mathews Drive
Suite 250
Hilton Head Island, SC 29926

843-681-3410  –  www.curryprintinghhi.com 

 


Sophos XG-105 Security Appliance – Hands On

I researched network security companies for several months before selecting Sophos Ltd as my partner of choice.  The selection was based on a series of demos, analyst reviews, product pricing, and support for a managed service offering.  I installed the Sophos XG-105 security appliance in my lab in January after getting enrolled as a partner and going through basic education on the product line.  Continue reading


Netgear Orbi – Whole Home WiFi That Works

I have installed over 100 WiFi routers in homes and signal coverage is the biggest issue I encounter.  This is especially true in our area due to the sprawling layout of  our homes.  And now that we want fast WiFi connections for our streaming devices wherever we happen to be in or around the house, coverage has become even more important.  Multiple access points and WiFi extenders can work, but aren’t ideal when you and your devices move throughout the home and need to switch WiFi connections.

Netgear and other networking companies have introduced new products that provide 2 or more WiFi devices that operate as a single, coordinated system.  The base unit is connected by wire to your cable modem or router.  The second unit is placed in another area of the home and communicates with the base using a wireless connection.  Both units work together to provide a blanket of WiFi coverage throughout your home.  Homes larger than 5000 sqft  or with special signal challenges may require an additional satellite unit.

Orbi from Netgear has received some of the best reviews and I brought in a set to test. I replaced 2 separate WiFi access points with an Orbi base station and satellite and I am more than pleased with the results.  My WiFi coverage as measured by signal strength and throughput has improved markedly and I no longer need to manually switch WiFi networks when I move around the house.

Installation can be done using the Orbi app on iOS or Android if you have a very basic setup.  I prefer the control that I get from the web-based interface.  Setup took less than 10 minutes and performance has been fantastic.  The only drawback of Orbi over standard WiFi devices is the cost.  The 2 station AC3000 set retails for $379 on Amazon.

If you find yourself with WiFi coverage or throughput challenges, I recommend that you check out Orbi.  As always, please contact me with any questions or to schedule an installation.