For Immediate Release
May 25th 2022 - Prescott Arizona
For everyone, the pandemic changed the way we work and live. SimpleWAN focused on technology designed for having everyone at the office all of the time. For a world where people were working from home more than the office; it made us really take a hard look at our business and the value we provide. Throughout the last two years we’ve encountered significant office changes, work from home changes and hardware supply shortages. The SD-WAN industry has fully transformed and changed as the way people work has changed so drastically in the last two years.
In response, over the last eighteen months we’ve doubled down in our systems development efforts. Our goals have been to provide technology that is hardware agnostic, flexible for the user and cost consumable in a changing economy. We focused our development in conjunction with a fortune 500 company to provide the technologies that are relevant now and in the future.
Today we are excited to announce some big changes. With all the hard work that has gone into the product we are releasing two new products that better align with today’s ever changing marketplace. We are releasing a small appliance designed to work in the home environment for both entertainment and business uses. The goal is to provide a better user experience for not just business applications but also streaming and better overall home internet functionality. This product benefits from the years of experience and technology advancement from SimpleWAN, as well as, the new technologies that have been developed over the past eighteen months. This product is a low cost appliance that is powered by the SimpleWAN system with no monthly fee. This new product will be available from select distributors and also on Amazon. We will be publishing more information on this product shortly.
We also felt it important for our business technologies to benefit from all the recent software improvements. We are releasing a new reseller system that takes us back to our roots of providing: intelligent application prioritization, network high availability, diagnostics. SD-WAN functionality, enhanced security and the best part is its designed to work with your existing firewall. This product was designed so that a business can have better reliability while even lowering their monthly internet spend. This technology is readily available today and doesn’t have the high costly monthly fees associated with most SD-WAN products on the market today.
Lastly, with all the exciting changes above we felt SimpleWAN didn’t truly encompass our vision for the brand. Effective immediately the new products will be branded under our new and exciting brand of SteadyNet. A Steady Network is a productive network. In the times ahead employee productivity and efficiency is going to be critical to business survival. The network and internet connection is now a vital piece of any home or business. Most broadband in the US is more than adequate for people's needs. The issue comes down to efficiently using that connection. At SteadyNet we’ve solved this problem and can do more with even less internet. All while providing a higher reliability.
For more information please visit our new website at https://www.steadynet.co
You pull the trigger for the match-winning shot, and — nothing happens because your network lag just led to a frustrating defeat. Even the fastest internet connection can’t save you when your router isn’t optimized for gaming. Fortunately, the best router settings for gaming are easy to implement, so you can get back to your game before your crew even knows what happened.
Is Faster Internet Better for Gaming?Click To Add Text
Faster download speeds and upload speeds are important for gaming, but they aren’t enough. The limiting factor is often latency: the amount of time it takes for a signal to make it from your computer to the server and back. When you fire your virtual gun, latency determines how quickly you find out whether your shot hit its target. Optimizing your router for gaming requires focusing on latency as much as bandwidth.
Ethernet vs Wi-Fi for Gaming
Wired internet connections, especially gigabit ethernet, offer faster speeds and lower latency than Wi-Fi and none of the signal interference issues. The downside, though, is that you need to be near your router or willing to run a long cable.
The Best Router Settings for Gaming on Wi-Fi
When you can’t use ethernet, choosing the right router settings for Wi-Fi is critical to a smooth gaming experience. You can find all of these settings by logging into your router using your internet browser and the IP address printed on your router.
Should I Enable UPnP for Gaming?
Online games can use a lot of ports, so setting up port forwarding can be time-consuming. Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) solves this problem by automatically forwarding ports as they are needed. However, in doing so it creates a potential internet security risk, allowing malware into your network. You may be better off setting up the ports yourself, recognizing that UPnP will always be there if your manual efforts just aren’t working.
Get Back in the Game
With your new router settings in place, it’s time to get back to the game that brought you here in the first place. Life’s too short to spend your whole day optimizing router Wi-Fi settings.
A Secure VPN is intended to create a protected tunnel between two trusted networks. VPN’s secure the data in transit, but don’t necessarily secure the endpoints themselves. With more employees working from home, that begs the question, how secure are your at-home workers’ home networks? And if their home network isn’t secure, do they really have a secure VPN connection? The bottom line: Hackers have begun to exploit VPN services used over home networks to gain access to business networks.
Sure, the traffic running through secure corporate and home network tunnels are encrypted, but if one of the two networks has been compromised by malware or other malicious files, it immediately becomes a security concern for the connected location. And since working from home has become the new normal for many companies, that means once the home network security is compromised, that risk is extended to the other end of a software VPN – your corporate network. Also, since VPNs connect you to a remote network, VPNs often leave the target network vulnerable to leapfrogging onto or scanning other systems or networks that the user is not authorized for. Cybercriminals are leveraging the increase of remote workers by exploiting secure VPN’s to gain access to corporate networks, thanks to outdated software, subpar security practices, and even vishing to steal VPN credentials.
This risk grows exponentially with every separate home network that is used to access company data. 95 percent of cybersecurity breaches are due to human error, and your company can’t manage every employee’s home network, leaving a lot of room for human error. If employees are using personal computers with a business VPN, organizations lack the authority to manage those personal devices and are unable to secure the host or implement protective measures.1
Cyber-criminals and hackers will infiltrate your company through your weakest link, like a remote worker’s home network, VPN or not.2 Home networks have lower Malware defense, and risk doubles for every user and connected device relying on that home network, like a spouse’s corporate connection, or childrens’ remote education devices. In fact, 98 percent of all IoT device traffic is unencrypted, exposing personal and confidential data on the network.3 So, when remote employees use their home networks for work, all of their networked IoT devices put your business VPN at risk, from security cameras and baby monitors to smart doorbells and even wireless printers.4 This kind of lateral attack works because a hacker can gain access to a less sensitive network, and then jump to a more critical network through the VPN, or even send malware from an infected machine on their home network, through the VPN connection, and then onto your business network.
To summarize, here are a few key takeaways regarding how secure your VPN really is if it’s being used to connect a remote worker’s home network to a corporate network:
The Solution? SteadyNet @Home
SteadyNet @Home is built with a Zero Trust architecture in mind. This provides an edge device that separates corporate connected devices away from the unsecured devices that run over the home network.
Normally, this can be done in one of two ways. One is by creating VLANs within the home network, the second – and more secure option – is to physically separate the corporate connected device away from the home network completely. SteadyNet @Home does both.
First leveraging the end-users internet connection, SteadyNet @Home empowers IT Teams to create VLANs virtually segmenting the “home traffic” from the “work traffic”, and then creates network-level firewall rules to enable security posturing within the home environment. AKA, giving you the ability to manage your defenses and protect your enterprise from cyber-attacks even from within your remote employees’ homes.
The second way we provide a Zero Trust Architecture is by providing a SteadyNet @Home device LTE connection. This solution connects via wireless 4G connection instead of the home network while prioritizing traffic over the cellular connection. This solution physically removes any connection to the home network providing a more secure way to connect the remote workforce.
SteadyNet @Home provides everything you need to extend telework security to the home office, bundled into one simple plug-and-play. Within minutes, your remote workforce can isolate work traffic from the home network, improving application performance, and addressing security gaps. All of the tools you are already paying for and managing, bundled as the most comprehensive enterprise telework security network management solution. What’s not to love?
The current workplace is a fluctuating mix of in-office, remote, and hybrid employees. Instead of creating patchwork solutions for remote workers and hoping for an end to the uncertainty, some employers are looking at this as an opportunity to redefine the workforce. Their employees are asking for long-term work-at-home options, and these employers are stepping up in big ways.
In this article, we’ll look at some of the technical support and internet security challenges companies are facing in this task. These challenges deserve remote-first solutions that can empower your work-at-home employees, increasing both productivity and retention.
Work From Home Is Here To Stay
Don’t Overwhelm Your IT Teams
Internet Technology (IT) teams are used to dealing with uniform equipment operating on a single in-office network. In that environment, their standard operating procedures allow even new IT hires to rapidly identify and resolve common technical issues.
However, those practices aren’t intended for remote employees using their own home equipment. These employees could be using any of dozens of brands of computers running multiple operating systems. Even their routers and modems will be varied, often with the default settings chosen by their internet provider.
IT teams have worked overtime to make this patchwork situation succeed in the short term, but permanent remote work requires more robust solutions. Some companies are getting ahead of this problem by opting to provide standardized computers or networking equipment to their employees.
Company-provided equipment serves as an incentive for new remote hires, but the more crucial outcome is that this technology can have the uniformity that IT teams are used to dealing with. With the right equipment, you can even set up monitoring and reporting that gives your IT team the same real-time insights into remote network errors that they have for the office network.
Securing Work-From-Home Networks
Equipment uniformity is particularly important for networking setups. Securely and reliably connecting all of your employees’ home networks to your office network is a constant struggle.
Virtual private networks (VPNs) are a typical solution. However, VPNs only secure the connection, not the device itself. It’s unlikely that every employee will keep up with virus scans, software updates, and other security best practices, and even one bad device on your VPN puts everyone at risk.
Instead, companies should consider providing equipment built on Zero Trust architecture (ZTA) that protects the network from endpoint security failures. Even if you don’t have company-provided laptops, ZTA tools like SteadyNet ensure that your network isn’t at risk every time an employee postpones a security update.
The New Office Is Everywhere
When remote work was temporary, we could afford temporary fixes, but it’s time that we start thinking about long-term strategies. Whether you are going fully remote or opt for a hybrid or partially remote workforce, now is the time to get the right tools to maximize the productivity and security of your work-at-home employees.
SteadyNet offers an easy-to-use Zero Trust networking solution that can be used in the office, the home, or even for traveling employees. Schedule a demo today to discover whether it fits your company’s remote work needs.
Several federal funds are available to help schools get key remote learning tools to their students. Once you have the money, though, it can be difficult to choose the right equipment to get students online, especially in rural areas.
This guide will help you understand what funds are available for remote learning tools, what you can purchase with them, and how to pick network equipment that meets the needs of all students without burdening school staff.
What Education Technology Grants are Available?
These are the main COVID relief funds that are currently available for purchasing remote learning tools and services.
What Can You Buy With the Funds?
Students need two things for remote learning: a computer and a way to connect to the internet. ECF funds allow for laptop and tablet computers. These funds can also be used for broadband internet service and several network connectivity solutions, including modems, routers, and Wi-Fi hotspots.
Choosing Network Equipment for Remote Learning
There are many sources for finding appropriate laptops or tablets, but finding the best network solutions can be more difficult, especially for rural students.
1. Accommodating Rural Students
Rural families often have few if any broadband service options. In the future, Starlink and 5G should ease this problem. For now, many users end up turning to Wi-Fi hotspots that rely on mobile data networks.
These hotspots come with their own limitations. First, they require a mobile data signal, which isn’t always available in rural homes. Second, hotspots often have a shorter maximum range than Wi-Fi routers, and they may have a hard time getting signals through obstructions like walls. Finally, hotspots typically only handle 3–5 active devices. These factors can cause problems for large, rural families.
Routers do not have these same limitations, but they don’t generally work with mobile data networks. Software-defined wide-area networks (SD-WAN) like SteadyNet provide a convenient alternative to hotspots, with many of the advantages of routers and the ability to integrate with a variety of networks, including 4G and 5G.
2. Simplifying Troubleshooting
Fixing network errors is always harder when the equipment is spread across many students’ homes. You want to do everything you can to simplify the process, and that means buying uniform equipment when possible.
When students are using a hodgepodge of carrier-provided routers and hotspots, your staff needs to be familiar with troubleshooting methods specific to each brand and model.
If all of your students are using the same network equipment, your staff will become familiar with their specific technical issues. They can develop standard operating procedures and a knowledge base to quickly and reliably solve many of the most common problems.
3. Maintaining CIPA Compliance
Some of these grants, including the ECF, require that recipients maintain Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) compliance. CIPA requires that schools and libraries have in place protections to prevent children from accessing obscene or harmful materials over the internet.
Some hotspots can be purchased pre-configured with CIPA compliance through third-party filtering services. The upside is that these hotspots automatically maintain compliance. The downside, though, is that the school often has little or no ability to modify the filters. If students need access to an incorrectly filtered site, the school staff may not be able to help. Custom content filtering like that available with SteadyNet provides a more universal solution.
Remote Learning Made Better
Making the most of COVID-19 remote learning funds means picking the best tools, including network equipment. These tools should ease the burden on school staff and maximize the learning potential of students.
Contact Us to discover how SteadyNet can offer an easy-to-use, uniform, CIPA-compliant networking solution that fits the needs of all of your students.
Starlink is an exciting leap forward in broadband technology. High speed, low latency satellite internet may be worth the wait, but you’d rather have access to it now. By combining Starlink with 4G/5G, you could be taking advantage of this powerful technology today.
What Is Starlink?
Starlink is a new service from Elon Musk’s SpaceX, intended to provide satellite internet nearly anywhere on Earth. Their use of thousands of low-earth satellites offers the potential for latencies as low as 20 ms, a huge leap forward for satellite internet.
The Starlink network is currently in beta. They’ve launched over 1,500 of their expected 42,000 satellites. There’s no official end date for the beta yet, although Musk has indicated via tweet that it could be over as early as this summer, with full mobile service following later in the year.
Is Starlink Reliable?
It will be, but a few things are holding it back at this point.
Adding 5G (or 4G) to Your Starlink Connection
Starlink’s high internet speeds, low latencies, and reasonable prices are game-changers, especially in rural areas or as a mobile networking option. When you don’t have cable internet available and your DSL is too slow, Starlink’s beta is a tempting alternative to an expensive T1 line or a higher-latency satellite network. You just need a way to overcome Starlink’s reliability issues.
What you need is a second, complimentary internet connection to pair with Starlink. Software-defined wide area networks (SD-WAN), a key technology behind SteadyNet, allow you to aggregate broadband connections like Starlink and 4G/5G. That way, when Starlink disconnects the 4G or 5G network can take over momentarily to fill the gap. Most importantly, this happens without user intervention, so the experience is as fluid as using a single, reliable connection.
Why Use 5G/4G?
You could stitch any broadband connection with Starlink to pick up the slack, but cellular networks like 4G and 5G are ideal for a few reasons:
Tomorrow’s Internet, Delivered Today
The promise of fast, cost-effective universal broadband is attractive, but internet solutions need to be reliable. By using SD-WAN to combine Starlink with 4G or 5G, you can take advantage of the power of Starlink’s beta network without exposing your work to intermittent network failures.
Call to schedule a demo of SteadyNet to learn more about how SD-WAN allows you to easily aggregate your internet services to create a seamless, secure, and reliable network.
We’ve all come to expect ready access to the internet anytime from anywhere. For businesses, reliable internet is more than an expectation — it’s a requirement.
Mobile phone hotspots and dedicated hotspot devices are common solutions for on-the-go or backup internet access. Software-defined wide-area networks (SD-WAN) offer a promising alternative that serves a similar purpose but with distinct advantages and disadvantages. In this article, we’ll explore the difference in use cases for a SteadyNet router vs a hotspot.
Questions to Consider When Choosing SteadyNet or a Hotspot
Hotspots Are Easier for Personal Use
Hotspots are incredibly easy to set up. Most modern smartphones allow you to turn them into personal hotspots at the touch of a button. If you don’t want to sacrifice your phone’s battery or data, you can also pick up a mobile hotspot router that has its own data plan on your same carrier network.
While SteadyNet is easier than most networking solutions, it can’t compete with the ease of a smartphone hotspot.
SteadyNet Is Business-Grade Solution
Hotspots are designed to be a patch for short-term internet needs, whereas SteadyNet is built to be a robust, all-in-one network management product. SteadyNet readily integrates with your current business network instead of just opening access to your mobile carrier network. SteadyNet even provides analytics to track network problems and cybersecurity threats in real-time.
With SteadyNet, you get automatic failover support to keep your network connections from dropping. Hotspots, on the other hand, have to be turned on manually when you need them. That is fine for personal hotspot use, but companies can’t always afford that much downtime while switching networks.
Hotspots are Usually Cheaper
If you use your phone as a hotspot, your only cost comes from your data plan. Hotspots are a low-cost solution for travelers that need internet access without a nearby Wi-Fi network. When your needs are more frequent or more bandwidth-intensive, though, the actual cost will depend on your data plan.
The initial cost of SteadyNet is higher, but it can take advantage of network options that are more cost-effective for heavy bandwidth users.
Security of SteadyNet vs Hotspots
Hotspots are only as secure as the network they access. When users need extra security, they typically rely on virtual private networks (VPNs) or other add-on security solutions. The security level of a VPN is better than an unprotected network, but they only secure your data in-flight, leaving the endpoints themselves vulnerable. Hackers often target VPN vulnerabilities, especially with more and more remote workers treating VPNs like they are fully secured, in-house networks.
Most SteadyNet providers introduce built-in security that exceeds that of a VPN. Some, like SteadyNet, go as far as implementing a full Zero Trust model. Just like a VPN, Zero Trust uses end-to-end data encryption, but it also treats every request like it came from an open, unsecured network. This ensures that hackers can’t use typical exploits like user device vulnerabilities or fake Wi-Fi hotspots as vectors for attacking your internal network.
Is SteadyNet or a Hotspot Right for You?
SteadyNet and hotspots are built for different use cases. Hotspots are excellent for personal users that need a cheap, easy way to connect to the internet while traveling or during a home network outage. SteadyNet is a business-grade solution for users that value security and reliability and can take advantage of SteadyNet’s integrations with existing network products.
Schedule a demo of SteadyNet to learn whether our secure, convenient solution is a good fit for your networking needs.
The market for software-defined wide-area networks (SD-WAN) is expanding rapidly, and carriers are already taking notice. By providing simpler, more robust SD-WAN solutions for their clients, managed service providers (MSPs) have an opportunity to build more trust with their clients and gain access to this growing slice of technology spend.
The SD-Wan Market Is Growing Rapidly
The global market for SD-WAN was 1.9 billion United States dollars (USD) in 2020. By 2025, that market is expected to grow to 8.4 billion USD. Over this period, those projections show an average compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 34.5%. That’s a lot of tech spend that your clients will be looking to allocate in the near future.
SD-WAN owes its rising popularity to several converging telecommunication trends. The growing need for enterprise-grade mobility solutions demands sophisticated network solutions that are secure and scalable. An increase in high-quality video calls, cloud computing applications, and internet of things (IoT) devices are leading to the need for network traffic solutions that can handle a range of traffic sources with different priorities and bandwidth requirements.
The utility of SD-WAN reached a new high when COVID drove a rapid increase in remote work including working while traveling. Companies are seeking out more advanced networking solutions to securely and efficiently handle this ever-evolving ecosystem. SD-WAN’s versatility and ease-of-use make it a critical component in that set of solutions.
Why Your Clients Need SD-WAN
MSPs Can Offer a Better SD-WAN Solution
SD-WAN is only as effective as its integration with existing network infrastructure. Carriers can offer SD-WAN to businesses, but they can’t provide seamless solutions. Instead, their solutions are often overly complicated, making maintenance and support a nightmare.
MSPs are better equipped to understand the company’s unique needs and to build a solution that both fits those needs and integrates harmoniously into their existing network environment. Since MSPs can standardize SD-WAN setups, they are also in a better position to offer ongoing support to their clients.
Getting Started as an SD-WAN Reseller
Demand for SD-WAN is not going away. Digital transformations, remote work, and the need for more advanced mobility solutions will only drive more companies to look for better, simpler, more secure network solutions.
If your clients are looking for SD-WAN, you are in the perfect position to provide it, and SteadyNet is here to help. Our SD-WAN reseller guide will walk you through evaluating whether SD-WAN is a fit for your clients and how to add it to your technology suite.
We all know how frustrating it can be when your internet stalls and a video buffers or a download stutters. The first thing most of us do is open a speed test. But did you know that some speed tests do not provide accurate results? Here are the most accurate ways to find your real time internet speed.
Keep in mind that speed tests check your network speed, not the speed of your personal device. If the problem is not the network, it could be your computer. Slow upload or download speeds could be caused by website congestion, viruses, outdated software or hardware, and more.
The problem could also be caused by your ISP. Bad weather, animal interference, or maintenance can affect your internet connectivity. Many ISPs provide updates, but few offer a real-time ISP outage map. Before you call your ISP, try running a reliable speed test.
First, use a speed test to determine your upload and download speed. The most reliable tests will also identify packet loss, latency issues, or physical connection problems. Try to avoid using tests hosted by ISPs, as these may show inaccurate results.
To test your network, here are three free speed tests we recommend using:
SpeedOf.Me is an HTML-based speed test that replicates real-world browsing and downloading conditions. It graphs speeds in real-time and allows you to track your results against previous speed tests.
It is not location-based either. Instead, SpeedOf.Me calculates the quickest and more reliable server from the servers available. This allows it to accurately replicated browsing conditions.
The drawback of this test is it’s design. It can be harder to read at first glance, though the amount of information it provides more than makes up for the design.
As the oldest and most used speed test, Speedtest.net by OOkla is a fantastic option for those looking to check their upload and download speeds. It automatically finds what ISP you’re using and the nearest server to provide accurate speed results.
Speedtest.net also keeps previous records for user comparison and offers a database for users to find information about connections all over the world.
The drawback of this test is that it is a multi-threaded test that does not represent real-world traffic as well as single-thread tests do.
This site is one of more comprehensive options. It is independently run and uses HTML5. TestMy.Net provides statistics for your speed compared to the averages of your ISP and location. Therefore, it takes the guesswork out of knowing what speed you’re getting and what you should be getting at this point in time.
The only drawback is the visual design of this speedtest. Though comprehensive, it can be difficult to read at first glance.
It’s Time For An Internet Upgrade
If your speed test is showing slower speeds than what you’re paying for, call your ISP. Slower internet speeds can impact productivity, workflow, and can interrupt video calls, streaming services and more. Being connected to the Internet is essential for most business owners nowadays.
If your ISP cannot provide an immediate solution or if slower speeds have been a consistent issues in the past, it may be time to upgrade from your wide area network (WAN) to a software defined wide area network (SD-WAN).
SD-WAN networks are managed by centralized controllers to reduce WAN operating expenses. It works by simplifying the underlying connections, such as multiprotocol label switching (MPLS), internet broadband, fiber, and long term evolution (LTE). By doing this, SD-WAN allows for real-time traffic management over these connections.
In short, SD-WAN allows users to prioritize certain website traffic over others. This relieves congestion for those website, thus reducing the amount of lag or buffertime. If your business operates with slow internet, this will help reduce the amount of time it takes to connect to a video conference call, download meeting notes, or screenshare.
SD-WAN is also optimized for cloud computing services. It creates a secure and speedy connection point so all of your documents are safely stored in a readily accessible location on the internet.
SD-WAN through SteadyNet has built-in firewall capabilities through Firewall UTM Protection. The protection is cloud-managed and monitored, so you can access it from anywhere and at any time.
For more information on how SD-WAN could benefit your business by increasing your internet speeds, prioritizing web traffic, and enhancing your network security, contact SteadyNet today.
You’re in a hurry and your computer is struggling to download a crucial document you need for your next meeting. You want to bang your head against the wall as the download hovers and stalls and you ask yourself why is my download speed so slow? We’ve all been there. Unfortunately, the answer isn’t so straightforward.
A lot of things factor into your download speed, including the age of your computer, what internet plan you have, the connection to the website you’re using, website traffic, viruses, and outdated software. For mobile use or wifi connections, your signal could be obstructed.
Assuming your computer is less than two years old, let’s go over what you can do to speed up your downloads.
For a quick fix, try connecting your computer directly to the internet via an ethernet cable. A direct connection can speed up downloads if congestion, viruses, and outdated software are not a factor.
If you’re using a wireless network (wifi), check what gigahertz connection you’re using. If you’re on 2.4 GHz, try not to place your cordless phone next to your device. Your phone can cause interference with the signal.
How Your Internet Plan Affects Speed
Let’s say your local Internet Service Provider (ISP) is advertising speeds of 40 megabits per second. You’re trying to download a file and notice you’re getting about 4 megabytes per second. What gives?
The answer is in the name. Your ISP is advertising 40 megabits (Mb) per second, which translates to about 40,000,000 bits per second. However, your computer stores data using bytes, not bits. So if you see your computer downloading a 5 megabytes (MB) per second (not megabits).
HowToGeek broke down how to find out if you’re getting what you’re paying for. Divide your connection speed (megabites) by 8. In this case: 40 divided by 8 is 5, which matches the number of megabytes you’re able to download per second.
If you did the math and you’re not getting numbers where close to where you should be, contact your ISP. There may be an outage in the area, maintenance work, or onsite issues with your internet hardware and connection.