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FIBER
OPTICS


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LEASED
LINE


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HOW TO SECURE YOUR WIFI


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CURRENT NETWORK TECHNOLOGIES


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DIGITAL
MARKETING


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AI
IN NETWORKS


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Fiber Optic Technology

There’s nothing more annoying than trying to stream your favorite TV series and being met with a buffering icon, or uploading documents to cloud storage and being forced to wait for what seems like forever while it tries to sync. This is a problem Creek Enterprise tries to tackle every day. As end-user needs have grown, fiber optics has almost became a necessity for most. This is especially true considering that file sizes continue to grow, media is created in a higher definition than ever and we continue to become more impatient with technology. In 2017, users don’t expect to wait for anything online. Not long ago, users didn’t mind waiting long periods for content to load over a dial-up connection. These changes in technology and expectations has led to a significant growth in the fiber optic industry, and it will continue to become the standard going forward.

Fiber optic for everyone!

With internet service providers installing fiber optic wherever it makes commercial sense to do so, almost everyone should soon have the opportunity to move to this superior method of connecting to the internet. Fiber optics provide a far better service than broadband because the data travels along fibers of glass, which allows it to transmit messages far quicker than the traditional copper cables. Fiber optic internet, coupled with the incoming 5G network, that we’ll soon have access to with our wireless devices, should mean that buffering is a thing of the past. As the technology becomes cheaper, more people will have access and soon you’ll be able to Skype anyone in any location without having to worry about the video feed freezing!

Never wait for anything to load again

As more and more internet users and businesses move to fiber optic, servers will become quicker and load times will improve for everyone. When predicting technology trends, all you need to do is look to Google to see what they’re encouraging web developers to introduce, seeing as they hold a huge amount of influence in the industry. To rank well in Search in the coming years, Google has made it clear that speed will play a huge factor. When visiting web pages, if a user has to wait ages for a page to load, it ruins the experience. Therefore, Google is prioritizing the web pages that allow users to efficiently find information, so businesses will need to optimize their sites for speed. This means paying for servers connected with fiber optic and design their websites so that they’re super-fast. At the end of the day, this means a far more convenient service to the end user and will reduce load times dramatically.

Going forward

Of course, as we start to store everything digitally we’ll eventually push fiber optics capability and need a better alternative. Especially when you consider how much bandwidth 4K video takes up and each household often has multiple devices all vying for bandwidth at any given time. Manufacturers are now adding internet capabilities to ordinary kitchen appliance to connect them to the ‘Internet of Things’, where we’ll be able to control them all remotely with our smart phones. Of course, this all takes up bandwidth too, which will have an impact on everything else we try to do on the internet. For now and the near future, fiber optics provides everything we need to provide us with convenient access to the internet. The good news is that until 5G and further technologies are introduced, it will certainly continue to make businesses more efficient and surfing the internet faster.

Leased line

A leased line is a private bidirectional or symmetric telecommunications circuit between two or more locations provided in exchange for a monthly rent.

Advantages of Internet Leased Line over Broadband for Internet Connectivity

We all have faced some problems with our Internet service providers. Downtime, pooled resources, shared bandwidth and low-speed are some of the most common problems that users face. An Internet Leased Lineis one such solution that minimizes all these issues. It is best suited for large businesses or organizations like colleges, corporate offices, hospitals, etc. While there are business broadband options available at pretty good price points, Internet Leased Lines are still preferred much more with a lot of customers for the following reasons:

  • One of the major drawbacks of broadband connection is that the lines for broadband internet connection are shared by several users. On the other hand, leased line does not involve sharing among multiple customers. As a result, leased lines are far more secured than that of broadband connection. Security comes from the fact that it is solely dedicated to a single user and no third-party has any access to it, unlike broadband connections.

  • Leased lines are more reliable that broadband connections. The backbone network and performance parameters (like latency, jitter etc) can be monitored in the case of Internet Leased Lines. So, it is easier to offer SLA (Service Level Agreements) to the customer and Internet Leased Lines generally come with an SLA. There are very few broadband plans that offer such performance guarantee. Leased lines offers better fault tolerance/ performance/ monitoring abilities, especially for higher bandwidths. Having a reliable connectivity also is a good way to cut the expenses of businesses.

  • For broadband plans, it is typical for customers to encounter interruptions with the connection, customer service hotline which is way too difficult to get in touch with and repairs which take a few days. With leased line, such problems are eliminated. The providers even offer SLAs because they are capable of guaranteeing quick repairs and continuous monitoring.

  • It is true that both business broadband and leased line give plenty of options for customers. However, there is a wider choice of bandwidth selection(64 Kbps, 128 Kbps, 2 Mbps, 155 Mbps, etc) with Internet Leased Lines. On the other hand, the business broadband packages are more limited.

  • Leased lines are more flexible than that of broadband connectivity. Flexibility comes from the fact that lease lines provides its user with the liberty to use the dedicated line for his specific purpose, either to link his various branches or for dedicated internet access or both.

  • Leased line is far more cost-effective that broadband connection. Internet Leased Lines come with unlimited usage plans which enables companies to add services like video, voice etc over IP in addition to the internet/ data connectivity. Broadband plans either come with a limited data usage limit or the billing would sky-rocket according to the amount of bandwidth used. This is not ideal for business because limitation with data usage leads to restricting the operations.

  • The speed that is indicated in broadband and leased line packages can get a bit confusing. Would a 2 Mbps business broadband deliver the same speed as a 2 Mbps leased line? The answer is No. Yes, these are the same speed. But the problem is, since broadband connection is shared with other users, customers can not always enjoy the 2 Mbps speed. With a leased line, there is no need to think about down time and peak time.

  • For business broadband plans, the speed specified is applicable only for downloading. It is set to prioritize downloading only and the uploading speed is just disappointing. Since businesses require both fast download and upload speed, having a leased line is very important. Leased lines have symmetric connection. This means that if the download speed that the customer picked is 2Mbps, then the upload speed will also be as fast.

  • Internet Leased Lines offer a pool of permanent IP addresses which enables organizations to run their own mail servers, web servers and other applications.

  • Internet Leased Lines can be leveraged to form a Virtual Private Network across multiple branches more effectively than broadband connections.

  • Business broadband could also do an excellent job when it comes to providing internet connection. But however, for bigger companies and business establishments, leased line would be more appropriate. Aside from the fast and efficient connection speed, this can also establish a single network for multiple endpoints. It isa perfect solution for organizations that require dedicated and uninterrupted internet speed.

HOW TO SECURE YOUR WIFI

Wi-Fi is one entry-point hackers can use to get into your network without setting foot inside your building because wireless is much more open to eaves droppers than wired networks, which means you have to be more diligent about security. But there’s a lot more to Wi-Fi security than just setting a simple password. Investing time in learning about and applying enhanced security measures can go a long way toward better protecting your network. Here are six tips to betters secure your Wi-Fi network.

Use an inconspicuous network name (SSID)

The service set identifier (SSID) is one of the most basic Wi-Fi network settings. Though it doesn’t seem like the network name could compromise security, it certainly can. Using a too common of a SSID, like “wireless” or the vendor’s default name, can make it easier for someone to crack the personal mode of WPA or WPA2 security. This is because the encryption algorithm incorporates the SSID, and password cracking dictionaries used by hackers are preloaded with common and default SSIDs. Using one of those just makes the hacker’s job easier. Although it might make sense to name the SSID something easily identifiable, like the company name, address, or suite number, that might not be the best idea either. This is especially true if the network is in a shared building or in close proximity to other buildings or networks. If hackers drive by a congested area and see a dozen different Wi-Fi networks pop-up, they would likely target the one easiest to identify, which could help them understand what they might gain by hacking it. They might also choose one that’s easier to find in a congested area. It is possible to turn off SSID broadcast, essentially making the name of your network invisible, but I don’t suggest that. Forcing users to manually enter the SSID, and the negative performance effects of probe requests on the Wi-Fi, typically outweigh the security benefit. And someone with the right tools can still capture the SSID from sniffing other network traffic.

Remember physical security

Wireless security—or all of IT security for that matter—isn’t all about fancy technologies and protocols. You can have the best encryption possible and still be vulnerable. Physical security is one of those vulnerabilities. Locking down just your wiring closets isn’t enough, either. Most access points (APs) have a reset button that someone can press to restore factory default settings, removing the Wi-Fi security and allowing anyone to connect. Thus, the APs distributed throughout your facility need to be physically secured as well to prevent tampering. Ensure they are always mounted out of reach and consider using any locking mechanisms offered by the AP vendor to physically limit access to the AP buttons and ports. Another physical security concern with Wi-Fi is when someone adds an unauthorized AP to the network, typically called a “rogue AP.” This could be done for legit reasons by an employee wanting to add more Wi-Fi coverage, or for ill-intended purposes by an employee or even an outsider who gains access to the facility. To help prevent these types of rogue APs, ensure any unused ethernet ports (like wall ports or loose ethernet runs) are disabled. You could physically remove the ports or cables, or disable the connectivity of that outlet or cable on the router or switch. Or if you really want to beef up security, enable 802.1X authentication on the wired side, if your router or switch supports that, so any device plugging into the ethernet ports has to enter log-in credentials to gain network access.

Use Enterprise WPA2 with 802.1X authentication

One of the most beneficial Wi-Fi security mechanisms you can put into place is deploying the enterprise mode of Wi-Fi security, because it authenticates every user individually: Everyone can have their own Wi-Fi username and password. So if a laptop or mobile device is lost or stolen, or an employee leaves the company, all you have to do is change or revoke that particular user’s log-ins. Another great advantage of enterprise mode is that every user is assigned his or her own encryption key. That means users can only decrypt data traffic for their own connection — no snooping on anyone else’s wireless traffic. To put your APs into enterprise mode you'll first need to set up a RADIUS server. This enables user authentication and connects to or contains the database or directory (such as Active Directory) that holds everyone’s usernames and passwords. Although you could deploy a standalone RADIUS server, you should first check if your other servers (like a Windows Server) already provide this function. If not, consider a cloud-based or hosted RADIUS service. Also keep in mind that some wireless access points or controllers provide a basic built-in RADIUS server, but their performance limits and limited functionality typically make them only useful for smaller networks.

Secure the 802.1X client settings

Like other security technologies, the enterprise mode of Wi-Fi security still has some vulnerabilities. One of these is man-in-the-middle attacks, with a hacker sitting in an airport or cafe, or even outside in the parking lot of a corporate office. Someone could set up a fake Wi-Fi network with the same or similar SSID as the network they’re trying to imitate; when your laptop or device attempts to connect, a bogus RADIUS server could capture your login credentials. The thief could then utilize your login credentials to connect to the real Wi-Fi network. A way to prevent man-in-the-middle attacks with 802.1X authentication is to utilize server verification on the client side. When server verification is enabled on the wireless client, the client won’t pass your Wi-Fi login credentials to the RADIUS server until it verifies it’s communicating with a legit server. The exact server verification capabilities and requirements you can impose on the clients will vary, depending upon the device or OS of the client. In Windows, for instance, you can enter the domain name(s) of the legit server, select the certificate authority that issued the server’s certificate, and then choose to not allow any new servers or certificate authorities. So if someone has set up up a fake Wi-Fi network and RADIUS server and you try to log on to it, Windows will stop you from connecting.

Use rogue-AP detection or wireless intrusion prevention

We’ve already touched on three vulnerable access point scenarios: One where an attacker could set up a fake Wi-Fi network and RADIUS server, another where someone could reset an AP to factory defaults, and a third scenario where someone could plug in their own AP. Each of these unauthorized APs could go undetected by IT staff for a long period of time if proper protection isn’t put in place. Thus, it’s a good idea to enable any type of rogue detection offered by your AP or wireless controller vendor. The exact detection method and functionality vary, but most will at least periodically scan the airwaves and send you an alert if a new AP is detected within range of the authorized APs. For even more detection capabilities, some AP vendors offer a full-fledged wireless intrusion detection system (WIDS) or intrusion protection system (WIPS) that can sense a range of wireless attacks and suspicious activity along with rogue APs. These include erroneous de-authentication requests, mis-association requests, and MAC address spoofing. Further more, if it’s a true WIPS offering protection rather than a WIDS offering just detection, it should be able to take automatic counter measures, such as disassociating or blocking a suspect wireless client to protect the network under attack. If your AP vendor doesn’t provide built-in rogue AP detection or WIPS capabilities, consider a third-party solution.

CURRENT NETWORK TECHNOLOGIES

Software-defined networking (SDN), network functions virtualization (NFV), and massively distributed computing dominate the thinking of today’s network engineers as they plan “next-generation” infrastructure. But what’s in the pipeline for next next-generation networks? Read on for a look at some of the coolest network research projects taking place right now — projects that could have a big impact on the network designs and careers of tomorrow.

Wireless datalinks for drones

Future of networking wireless datalinks for drones The aviation industry isn’t exactly known for being a wireless networking trendsetter. When we fly a commercial airline, we’re lucky if we can check email in-flight. Even if we can do that, bandwidth is usually pretty limited. But Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) — or drones, as they’re more popularly known — stand to help change that. Academic and industry researchers are now working to make long-distance, high-speed wireless networking feasible. Their research is geared toward stream lining communication between UAVs and manned aircraft, which will no doubt be a hot topic as drones continue to explode in popularity, and take on a greater presence in the skies. The work has broader implications in the aviation industry and beyond, however. For instance, it’s easy to imagine trains and cars (including those headless ones Google now has roving around), also benefitting from wireless networks that can sustain high bandwidth, across wide distances, at high speeds.

Ambient backscatter

On the topic of major advances in wireless communications, researchers at the University of Washington are working to open new doors in the Wi-Fi world by “backscattering” wireless signals. That means re-using existing radio frequency signals instead of generating new ones. Because the devices don’t generate their own radio signals, they also don’t need any energy to operate. Imagine being able to use wireless signals for networking where access to power is limited or non-existent and you get a sense of the tremendous possibilities for this new technology.

4D network

This research project, hosted at Carnegie Mellon University, has a hugely ambitious goal: Replace the Internet Protocol (IP) as the basis for computer networking. (Here, 4D refers to four network planes: decision, dissemination, discovery, and data.) It’s easy, of course, to complain about the inefficiencies and complexities that now plague IP as a result of all the networking applications that have been grafted on to it — applications that were barely conceivable when the protocol was developed decades ago. So these researchers are examining how it could all be done better, especially when it comes to security, one of IP’s weaknesses. We don’t recommend betting against the venerable Internet Protocol as the basis for real-world networking for a long time to come, but we like some of the concepts behind 4D.

eXpressive Internet Architecture

In a way, this is a more realistic take on the work the 4D network researchers are pursuing. The eXpressive Internet Architecture, or XIA, project aims to build “a single network that offers inherent support for communication between current communicating principals — including hosts, content, and services — while accommodating unknown future entities.” In other words, the researchers want to engineer a new one-size-fits-all system for network communications that does away with the convoluted and ad hoc mechanisms on which modern networks often rely. Like the 4D network project, XIA also has a strong focus on providing better security than existing standards can provide. See a trend here?

Quantum computing

future of networking quantum computing While it’s not strictly network-related, quantum computing is fast becoming a more realistic prospect for practical applications. For now, a few laws of physics still stand in the way of unlocking the unfathomable computational speed that quantum hardware stands to deliver. But don’t discount it as the foundation for the IT world of the future. With Google, among others, investing heavily in quantum research, it might only be a matter of time before humanity unlocks the secret to rocketing away from the zeroes and ones of present-day microprocessing.

The Machine from HP

Speaking of nano-age super-computers, HP engineers are also hard at work on new hardware and software that stands to revolutionize the way computers think and communicate. Called simply the Machine, the platform brings three new computing components to the table: nanoelectric memory called memistors, ultra-fast phototonic buses, and an operating system tailor-made for the device. What’s more, HP says the Machine, which will be an alternative to the x86-based computers that predominate today, will come to market within the next few years. So this isn’t a nerdy experimental project, but something that’s very likely to be a real and present part of our world in the next decade.

Time cloaking

The goal behind this Purdue University project is to create “bubbles in time” by tracking gaps between photons. If that works, information can be encoded within the gaps and transmitted by laser lights and fiber optics. The big deal here isn’t communicating with light — that solution is already at the core of modern network infrastructure. The real excitement is the ability to conceal data by making it impossible to detect that a message was even sent. For now, this remains highly experimental stuff. But it’s easy to see the value in a successful implementation of time cloaking, especially as a way to add new levels of security and privacy to network communications.

Diamond semiconductors

future of networking diamond semiconductors No one is talking about Diamond Valley yet, but those precious stones that most people currently encounter only in jewellery (or maybe during home improvement projects that require diamond-studded saw blades) may soon take the place of silicon as a core component of computer hardware. Smaller than silicon wafers, 20 times better at displacing heat, and more efficient as a conductor of electrons, diamonds are already helping to build new generations of devices. As a bonus, synthetic diamonds work just as well in constructing semiconductors as the ones dug up in mines, meaning this new computer hardware technology is also cost-efficient.

DIGITAL MARKETING

Digital marketing is the marketing of products or services using digital technologies, mainly on the Internet, but also including mobile phones, display advertising, and any other digital medium.

Digital Marketing Tactics and Examples

The best digital marketers have a clear picture of how each digital marketing campaign supports their overarching goals. And depending on the goals of their marketing strategy, marketers can support a larger campaign through the free and paid channels at their disposal. A content marketer, for example, can create a series of blog posts that serve to generate leads from a new ebook the business recently created. The company's social media marketer might then help promote these blog posts through paid and organic posts on the business's social media accounts. Perhaps the email marketer creates an email campaign to send those who download the ebook more information on the company. We'll talk more about these specific digital marketers in a minute. Here's a quick rundown of some of the most common digital marketing tactics and the channels involved in each one.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

This is the process of optimizing your website to "rank" higher in search engine results pages, thereby increasing the amount of organic (or free) traffic your website receives. The channels that benefit from SEO include:

  • Websites.

  • Blogs.

  • Infographics.

Content Marketing

This term denotes the creation and promotion of content assets for the purpose of generating brand awareness, traffic growth, lead generation, and customers. The channels that can play a part in your content marketing strategy include:

  • Blog posts.

  • Ebooks and whitepapers.

  • Infographics.

  • Online brochures and lookbooks.

Social Media Marketing

This practice promotes your brand and your content on social media channels to increase brand awareness, drive traffic, and generate leads for your business. The channels you can use in social media marketing include:

  • Facebook.

  • Twitter.

  • LinkedIn.

  • Instagram.

  • Snapchat.

  • Pinterest.

  • Google+.

Pay-Per-Click (PPC)

PPC is a method of driving traffic to your website by paying a publisher every time your ad is clicked. One of the most common types of PPC is Google AdWords, which allows you to pay for top slots on Google's search engine results pages at a price "per click" of the links you place. Other channels where you can use PPC include:

  • Paid ads on Facebook.

  • Promoted Tweets on Twitter.

  • Sponsored Messages on LinkedIn.

Affiliate Marketing

This is a type of performance-based advertising where you receive commission for promoting someone else's products or services on your website. Affiliate marketing channels include:

  • Hosting video ads through the YouTube Partner Program.

  • Posting affiliate links from your social media accounts.

Native Advertising

Native advertising refers to advertisements that are primarily content-led and featured on a platform alongside other, non-paid content. BuzzFeed-sponsored posts are a good example, but many people also consider social media advertising to be "native" -- Facebook advertising and Instagram advertising, for example.

Marketing Automation

Marketing automation refers to the software that serves to automate your basic marketing operations. Many marketing departments can automate repetitive tasks they would otherwise do manually, such as:

  • Email newsletters.

  • Social media post scheduling.

  • Contact list updating.

  • Lead-nurturing workflows.

  • Campaign tracking and reporting.

Email Marketing

Companies use email marketing as a way of communicating with their audiences. Email is often used to promote content, discounts and events, as well as to direct people toward the business's website. The types of emails you might send in an email marketing campaign include:

  • Blog subscription newsletters.

  • Follow-up emails to website visitors who downloaded something.

  • Customer welcome emails.

  • Holiday promotions to loyalty program members.

  • Tips or similar series emails for customer nurturing.

Online PR

Online PR is the practice of securing earned online coverage with digital publications, blogs, and other content-based websites. It's much like traditional PR, but in the online space. The channels you can use to maximize your PR efforts include:

  • Reporter outreach via social media.

  • Engaging online reviews of your company.

  • Engaging comments on your personal website or blog.

Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing refers to the "full-funnel" approach to attracting, engaging, and delighting customers using online content. You can use every digital marketing tactic listed above throughout an inbound marketing strategy.

How AI Will Transform Networking

Artificial intelligence will redesign networks and help manage and secure them.

Imagine a universal network that can make decisions for you based on your location and activity, seamlessly routing you to the best possible network to handle the task you are carrying out without interrupting your experience. We’re talking about always-connected networks that talk to each other. We will no longer have to think about whether we are using WiFi, a mobile network, Bluetooth, or one of the many IoT network technologies. It will just work. Ultimately, we won’t need a mobile phone, a wearable or any other device to access this connectivity universe; our innumerable applications will become a virtual, interconnected ecosystem as we interact with them or even put them on our bodies.

There is one major advancement that makes this all possible: artificial intelligence. AI will be the facilitator of real-time conversations between networks, ensuring that all interactions receive the best-possible quality of service out of the connections available to them. Moreover, these networks will exist across all industries and borders.

While AI-enabled machine learning will create a new approach to design, the human element will not go away. AI can show us new ways of designing faster, more cost-effective networks that are faster, but the actual build of the network must still be done by humans. Combining human intellect and creativity with the massive computing power of AI will create a situation in which new design and management techniques may be created that humans couldn’t build on their own, but self-improving intelligent algorithms will harness over time. So, not only will the number of people and companies that are able to build and innovate with networks increase, the networks which are designed and developed will be capable of far more than their predecessors.

Beyond simply designing the network, AI will help manage, maintain and protect it. Right now networks are monitored by algorithms that look for anomalous build-ups of traffic and activity which may be the result of malicious activities such as Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attacks and attempted hacks. As the AI powering these algorithms becomes more intelligent, it will find faster and more foolproof methods of anticipating threats and cleaning the network. AI will be able to better predict traffic as it collects and analyzes data in real-time, so that network managers are better prepared for big events such as the Olympics, Black Friday and Valentine’s Day, which often put the Internet under pressure.

Transforming industries

Next, thanks to software-defined networking technologies, the ability to automatically and dynamically route traffic between the internet and the private network will ensure that employees are able to enjoy super-fast access to applications and data to collaborate securely and seamlessly, wherever in the world they are. With this combination of AI-designed underlying network topologies and AI-driven software-defined networking, we will eventually see more profound evolutions of what networks are capable of, across all industries.

In retail, for example, an AI-enhanced network can provide, faster, more accurate product discovery for customers, leading to increased order values and conversion rates for their company’s shopping portals. In the healthcare industry, a network built on artificial intelligence can analyze thousands of documents in minutes to help doctors make more informed decisions about patient care. Meanwhile, in the call center business, networks that leverage AI can more accurately and quickly route and service customer inquiries.

These are just a few of the industries that AI will touch. By pouring all our existing expertise, data, and research into an AI algorithm, this knowledge can be shared and used more creatively as well as augmented and developed further, making the design process accessible to the many rather than restricted to the few.

Of course, this transformation will require a lot of work us humans first. We need to see continued investment by all players in global networking to ensure that the infrastructure and systems people and businesses rely on will be able to keep up with their growing digital demands

The advent of AI provides a huge opportunity to revolutionize the world’s networks. This is particularly important when one considers that we are at the tipping point where the way we use networks is about to change forever, thanks to things such as IoT-enabled autonomous vehicles and always-connected smart city systems. AI is causing, and will continue to cause, a total rethink of whether the current business models are conducive to providing the best possible user experience and the most cost-effective way possible.