Rich: Good Morning Charlie…Good to see you this fine morning!!!

Charlie: Hi Rich…Good to see you this week.

Rich: Nice weekend. What’s our topic for today?

Charlie: Connections. As you know we are concerned with connections: Network and Internet connections.

Rich: I think I have heard that over the last several years.

Charlie: Well today I would like to make a little clearer all the different connections that we work with.

Rich: Seems reasonable. Which connection do you want to start with?

Charlie: Well this program is a very important part of our connections. This is where we make connection with our clients…both current and future. So I want you to know how much I value the work we do together each week to make connections.

Rich: Why Thank you! But I bet you deal with other kinds of connections…

Charlie: Yes we do. We work with network and internet connections for our clients.

Rich: What kind of things are we talking about?

Charlie: Our clients have computers and computer networks. They are both businesses and residential clients. They are trying to make connections to the internet or to other computers in their Local Area Network or LAN. They may also be trying to make a connection to their printer and there are lots of different ways to make connections these days.

Rich: Charlie, we only have 10 minutes so we are going have to limit our conversation a bit today…there’s always next week.

Charlie: Well lets talk about network connections. These are usually wired and/or WiFi connections. First of all I want to make clear that a wired connection, once it is in place is almost always much more reliable, faster and more secure than a WiFi connection. So if you have any possibility of a wired ethernet connection, go for it However, I realize that the ability to move around with your laptop or tablet or whatever is very attractive and so we work with people to establish good solid WiFi connections on their networks.

Rich: Well let’s talk about that a bit. What is involved with a WiFi network? What kinds of problems do you see?

Charlie: Well a wired connection has an internet source (a cable or DSL modem) and then a router that acts as a firewall and routes traffic to the right place and, perhaps a network switch that makes multiple connections possible. On a properly designed WiFi network there is also one or more access points that generate the wireless signals. Frequently we see networks where people have multiple routers in place, using them in place of switches. However these can really make the network complicated and, at times, impossible to navigate. There are also software configuration settings in the routers (and sometimes in the switches) that we can use to allow many more workstations on a network than would seem possible at first blush. There are also software configuration settings that can keep workstations off the network. And there are more settings that can allow you to work securely from remote locations such as from your home. We are familiar with these settings and can work with you to put them in place so you can get the best performance out of your network and the various connections that may be available to it.

Rich: You haven’t even mentioned WiFi shadowing problems from ducts, refrigerators, file cabinets on WiFi networks. I mean you are always telling me I need to move my access point around in my basement so my furnace ducts don’t cause shadows when I am trying to use my laptop on my first floors.

Charlie: Yes. That is also a connection problem that we deal with regularly. Where is the best place to locate the access point to give you the best coverage in your structure? Sometimes we have to resort to range extenders and other tricks to provide a good reliable signal. However, we like to use the KISS method as all these tricks can slow network speeds down…you may have internet access but it may be slow.

Rich: So you have been working on making connections for quite a while?

Charlie: I think we have been doing Tuesday Tech Tips for about 10 years and we have been making network connections for about 27 years.

Rich: Well that’s a lot of networking by any measure! If any of our listeners need help making network connections I know they can give you and Dave a call. When your network’s down, just call Charlie Brown.