Networking 101: Building a Faster, Safer, More Secure Wireless Network

Thinking of replacing your aging home wireless network or building a new one? While this may be a daunting task, creating a safe, secure wireless network is actually quite simple and will quickly pay for itself in speed, security, and convenience. This is especially the case if you are still stuttering along at 54mbps with an old wireless B router or using an older, less secure wireless security protocol such as WEP for your wireless network,

Networking 101: Building a Faster, Safer, More Secure Wireless Network

Here are a few tips to get you started:

Buy the Router You Need for Next Year, Not Today

The use and popularity of wireless devices are exploding and with it the need for more and more wireless bandwidth in our homes. Where five years ago most homes may have had a laptop that needed wireless access, today’s families typically have multiple devices that need wireless access: computers, laptops, tablets, cell phones, gaming consoles, security cameras, streaming multimedia systems, and so on. And this will only get worse as more and more devices gain wireless connectivity. That’s why it is important to buy a wireless router with sufficient bandwidth and range to connect every device in your home for not just today but for the foreseeable future. Do your research and take the time to get the right router for your home.

Security Should Come First

The first step in setting up a wireless router is to set up a secure administrator account password on the router. Why is this important? The default administrative password on many routers is as simple as admin, meaning anyone who can access your network can login as the router administrator and network settings on the router at will.

The next step is to set up at a WPA2 security with at a minimum seven character password, preferably one that mixes letters (upper and lower case), numbers, and special characters. This is the password you will use to connect devices to your wireless network and will help you control who connects to your network. The more secure your password is, the less likely your network will have uninvited guests.

Sharing is Good, but Security is Better

You may occasionally have guests in your home who will need wireless internet access whom you do not necessarily want to have full access to your network or to other devices on your network. This is where a secure guest network can save the day.

Most wireless routers offer an option to set up a completely separate guest network, with its own password and security settings. Guest networks can be configured to give your guest access to the internet and nothing else, or you can choose what level of access guest will have to your network.

Control Your Traffic

Most modern routers offer a feature called Quality of Service (QOS), which allows you to shape bandwidth usage based on what type of data is flowing around your network and out to the internet. What this means is that the router can intelligently route data traffic based on which data should have high priority, such as Voice Over IP (VOIP) calls, streaming media or gaming services. This may be off by default but should be turned on if you use any of those services.

Need help? Feel free to contact us for more tips and tricks on setting up and maximizing your wireless network.

5 Actionable Office Network Security Tips

Your office benefits greatly from a solid and easily accessible network. When all of your office staff can access important data and documents, it helps your office run smoothly and without problems.

5 Actionable Office Network Security Tips

However, for those with existing office networks, do you know if your network is secure? Are you certain that outsiders can’t access your network without your knowledge?

To assist you with your office network security, here are five tips to ensure that your office is safe and protected.

1. Keep it encrypted. WiFi and wireless signals don’t come automatically encrypted through your router. Keep your network protected by setting up a 63 character password, mixed with upper and lower case letters, special characters, and numbers.

2. Secure internal equipment. While trusting your employees with sensitive data is fine, remember that many network security problems stem from internal breaches. Secure ports, access points, and switches hidden from guests and clients alike.

3. Educate and train employees. When your office staff is educated about security and security issues, they are more likely to identify and rectify potential problems.

4. Limit access. Shared folders are great for passing data between employees. But when everyone has access, bad things are bound to happen. Remedy this by adding encryption procedures to important shared folders.

5. Work with a professional. If you are uncertain about your office network security levels, allow a networking professional to take a look for you. Oftentimes, an expert in network security can help you find problems that you didn’t know existed.

Don’t let your office network security fall by the wayside, and work with an expert today.

For additional information on how we can help you with your small business network security solutions, please contact us today.

PC Geeks is the premier computer repair company throughout Collin County and beyond.

5 Tips for Setting Up a Home Network

5 Tips for Setting Up a Home NetworkSetting up a new home computer network can be challenging. You may want to call a professional for assistance. Whether you do it yourself or call an expert, there are a few things that will help create an efficient and effective network. Here are five home networking tips to assist you. 

  1. Know your router needs – Before purchasing a router, it is important to determine exactly what you need. How much coverage do you need (square footage)? How many devices will be connecting to the network? Choose a router that properly suits your specific needs.
  2. Record your router settings before upgrading – It is helpful to write down all usernames, passwords, and settings before removing an older router. You will need this data during the upgrade process.
  3. Router placement – Poor router placement can limit the performance of the router. It is recommended to place your router in an open area, closest to the center of the home. Hallways are an ideal location.
  4. Configure Wi-Fi security – Do not leave settings on default. It is important that you configure your Wi-Fi security settings. Otherwise, you leave yourself open to security breaches.
  5. Remove older Wi-Fi devices – Many people do not realize that older devices accessing their Wi-Fi can bring down the overall performance of the network. Upgrading your router is great, but it will be compromised if you are connecting with old devices.

Planning is the ultimate key in setting up a successful home computer network. If you take the time to prepare and plan, you should have a smooth transition. Whether you are upgrading or putting in a first time network, use the tips above to assist in the process.

Contact us for more information and assistance. Our experts are happy to answer your home network questions.

Are You Protected? 3 Tips for Better Network Security

Better network security should be on the top of all computer user’s lists. Your home (or business) network, when left vulnerable and open, is like a flashing beacon for intruders and hackers. But it doesn’t have to be that way. All it takes is a few steps in the right direction.

Today’s computing products come built with a multitude of security components, which, as long as you are willing to put in the time and effort, can simply and easily block unwanted guests while allowing access to those you choose.

So to help you along and keep your network safe, here are 3 tips for better network security that don’t require a degree in computer science to implement.Are You Protected? 3 Tips for Better Network Security

1. Change your default admin passwords. Your Wi-Fi is run by your router, and at its core is a webpage dedicated to all things security. While the web tools come with a standard username and password (usually “admin”), leaving that as is leaves you vulnerable. A quick username and password change can mean a lot to your home security.

2. Turn on encryption when possible. As long it’s compatible with your devices, turn on WPA/WEP encryption. But only do so if all the devices on your network are compatible with how these encryption processes scramble the information. So research what the lowest encryption setting your network can handle before changing any settings.

3. Enable firewalls throughout your network. While most people are aware that their PC has a firewall (it alerts you when it’s off), some don’t realize that routers also have them. Usually these settings are auto-enabled, but have you checked? Because unlike your PC, you won’t be automatically notified if it’s off. So for extra security, ensure your router’s firewall is enabled and working properly.

For more information on how we can help you with all of your network security needs, don’t hesitate to contact us any time. PC Geeks is the premier computer repair company throughout Collin County, TX and beyond. There is no one else offering what we can offer, and no one else standing behind their repairs the way we do.

What’s Better For YOU, Web Email or Outlook?

You've got  mail, picture of an envelope.Over the years, Microsoft has done a great job in getting millions of computer users hooked on their Outlook program as their go-to software for handling their e-mail.

If you go into the vast majority of any business in your area you are more likely to find Outlook than any other office suite that is on the market today.

In a workplace setting where your computer is not going anywhere it tends to work like a charm.

Now that everyone in the workplace is used to Outlook for handling their e-mail, they’re comfortable. They tend to start using it on their personal machines at home, and the truth is, there are some disadvantages to using Outlook for all your devices.

  • If you have any computer issues that require a format of your drive, you must redo Outlook.
  • It is very easy for your Outlook files to be corrupted or set up incorrectly.

More and more people are looking to the many different websites that offer free e-mail services. Yahoo, Hotmail, MSN, and Gmail are just a few of the better known e-mail providers. There are some distinct advantages to letting go of Outlook and setting up your e-mail on to web based providers. Here are just a few of them!

  • You can log into your email from any device that has internet connection without configuration.
  • Most times, if there is an issue, it’s on their end and they have to fix it fast and at no cost to you.
  • If your computer needs repair, it never effects the ability to access your email.

Bear in mind, there is no law against having more than one e-mail address and that also is never a bad idea.  For example, I use one email address for all online business transactions, a different e-mail for family and friends, and another e-mail exclusively for work.  None of these e-mail addresses are on the same website! If you are unsure how to set up a new e-mail address or are having problems with Outlook you can contact your local PC Geeks technician and we would be glad to help you! We also service surrounding areas like Fairview, Lucas, Wylie, Plano, McKinney, and many more!

So tell us, what email service do you prefer? Why? Leave us your comments below.

Surge Protectors Need Love, Too!

Overloaded surge protector.When we were talking to some of our customers from McKinney and Plano areas the other day, it was apparent most folks believe that as long as you have a surge protector, all your appliances currently plugged into it are safe and immune from power surges that are capable of seriously harming your computers.

The truth, however, is not as encouraging.


In some ways, an inexpensive surge protector is a little like a motorcycle helmet.

Once it’s taken a very good solid shock, it may no longer be as effective as before.

Obviously, the more money you put into a surge protector, the longer they are likely to last and the more abuse they should be able to take, but the average inexpensive surge protector is only good for a few incidents. Then it’s wise to replace them.

You spent quite a bit of money to buy your computer, and the peripherals that are plugged into it. We think it would be a very good idea to spend a little bit more next time you are down at the computer store and invest in either a decent surge protector, or  better yet  – an uninterruptable power source.

This is a device that has a built in battery, so if you suffer a surge in power or a complete outage:

  • It automatically switches to battery power,
  • Buys you at least enough time to power your devices down properly,
  • And reduces the damage to software and hardware.

Fluctuating power and poor air circulation are the leading causes of power supply failure in modern computers. Fluctuating power, over time, can compromise the health of many hardware components by not delivering the steady wattage that is needed.

A large variety of products are available to adequately protect your sensitive electronic devices from power issues and it’s crucial that these steps are taken to ensure the longer life of your equipment. Even standard laptops should be plugged into a surge protector because they are particularly susceptible to surges in power.

If you are unsure of what method of protection against power surges would work best for you, call your local computer technicians – PC Geeks in Allen or Frisco –  and we would be glad to advise you of your best options.

You Do Not Have to Use a Laptop to Use a Wireless Network!

Student working on laptop remotely.One reason people have taken to laptops instead of desktops is the mobility, but did you know that for a matter of a few dollars you can make your desktop capable of wireless connection?

By simply purchasing an inexpensive wireless network adapter, that can plug into a USB port or a PCI slot, you have the ability to place your desktop computer in any room in your house or even garage and have the same quality internet connection as your laptop, and without a mess of wires running through your rooms!

If you are unsure as to how to set your network up, call your local PC Geeks technician!

Now that these adapters are commonplace in so many homes, the days of being limited to an Ethernet cable placement in your home are long gone and the versatility of being able to place your machine wherever you want can do wonders for the aesthetics of your home and even help your family to use less devices, more conveniently than ever.

If you have a wireless network in your house, ask your local network technician if wireless network adapters would work well for your situation and give it a try.

Do you take advantage of your residential wireless connection? Leave us your comments below!

Communication Issues Can Be Solved With Better Networking

Monkeying around can cost you.There is nothing worse than settling in behind your monitor and heading off to check the news or visit your distant friends only to find you have no connection.

Before you start clicking check boxes and asking Google what your specific issue is, you should know that you can do much more harm than good by monkeying around in those settings.             

Read moreCommunication Issues Can Be Solved With Better Networking