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Whether it’s your home or office, you can’t afford to ignore the network security. You don’t want that somebody peep into your system; use your data or leave malware in your PCs. That’s why considering a network security makes a sense. Here are the some easy ideas to make your home networking system secure against all attacks.

Choose the Right Router

router

A quality router plays an important role to consolidate your network security. Nowadays, routers are available with multi-layer security system. A router uses firewall, guest networks and VPNs to keep the security risks at the bay.  At the advance level, UTMS (Unified Threat Management System) enables an administrator to keep an eye on your system and the potential threats and vulnerabilities.

Don’t Leave a Device Exposed to Threat

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Make sure your tablet, desktop, smartphone and laptops are loaded with updates in security features. But it can be an exhaustive task to divide the workload of family members and go with the updates. Here come some software security services that can help you with that. You can purchase third party software for your OS which can give you updates and runs security checks, such as whether it has antivirus, a firewall, and an encrypted hard drive. Many security software makers have made it easy to operate and manage multiple digital devices.

Make Your Network Password Strong

Password

Never choose the default setting while installing the new router as it may be common to many routers. If you do so, your network security is simply exposed to the hackers. Change the password or the encryption key. A good password is not easy to guess, let alone it can be easy to remember. So forget using “cakewalk” passwords like “ABC456” or date of birth. Instead, use special characters, upper case, lower case and the long phrases to make it too strong to be cracked.

 

Device Updates are Crucial:

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This is one of the areas where some of you have a “laid back” attitude! But caring for the updates is as crucial as your device passwords. Remember, a hacker targets the outdated software. So, giving an attention to your updates will always pay you off! Check if your applications are on auto update. But software updates are not only confined for your PCs but also for the phones, digital camera and MP3 player. These updates are known as “firmware updates” and sent via an application install on the devices. So, you must consider the updates for an improved security and better performance.

Check Your Wi-Fi Network System:

wifi

Wi-Fi network is convenient but sometime it is the way your neighbor uses to eat into your data. Moreover, someone can gain an invalid access to your files or it can be the puppet of the hacker’s hand. These entire things happen because your Wi-Fi network is not enough secured! Always monitor who is connected; wipe off the SSID names; create strong password; and encrypt with WPA2. Turn off the access when it is not in the use.

You Need Firewall:

Firewell

Firewalls guards your system and monitors the malicious activities.  It keeps the unknown person or sites away from your PC and blocks the unwanted sites and sources. All you need to just turn on the features of firewall coming with your software or OS.

 

Parenting is overwhelming but on the flip side it is challenging. Right from their birth to upbringing, you need to take care of your children on every aspect, be it’s a security or discipline. However, these things are overlooked or forgotten with your busy schedules when you have no time for your children. In this scenario, a smart home being equipped with monitoring tools and automated security features make the things stress free.

Smart Home is Beneficial 

You Can Watch What’s Going On Even in Your Absence

Every parent wants their children to be secure especially when they are alone at home. The smart home automation system ensures you of the security of your near and dear ones. Starting from video doorbells, you can see who is standing at your door while sitting on your couch.

secure System

 

It is the great tool for parents whose children are left at home; as they’re completely sure that they wouldn’t accidentally open the door for someone they shouldn’t. To monitor your child’s activities or happenings at your home, a video camera is really helpful. It enables you to watch the things going on in your place in your absence. These surveillance cameras are like the robotic nanny and they must be placed at the right spot. The home automation is also helpful where you can lock your home in few clicks from any remote location. In this way the security benefits of the smart home enhance your piece of mind.

Your Smartphone Tells That Your Child Has Reached Home Safely

Secure

When your child enters the home, you will be notified by an alert on your smartphone about his arrival. That’s what a digital lock can do for you! These automated lock are set to notify you once your child has punched in his password to unlock the door. In this way, you know that your children are at home from school.

Wake Them Up Even When You’re Not Around

With the help of your smart bulbs, you can control the lighting level of your home and can turn on and off the lights when you’re away. Besides, they reward you when it comes to your parenting. You can set them to turn on to signal your child get out of bed and switch to certain shade when to tell them to go to bed.

An Ease to Control the Temperature:

Wake up

  One of the biggest benefits of being in smart home that you can control your home’s thermostat with an ease. If your child has changed the settings of air conditioning, you will be notified by an alert on your phone and you can correct the temperature from the comfort of your office desk. All credit goes to the smart thermostat system! It makes you free from the worries of leaving the AC running in home or having your teenager turn on the wrong devices accidently.

In this way, you end up with the increased security and the peace of the mind when you can control everything in your home from anywhere and anytime.

 

Modems: The amalgamation of modulation and demodulation is the first piece of hardware you will need. Basically, it converts analog signals to digital. Hence, it enables the router to read the signals and communicates directly to the internet service provider (ISP). So, this device receives both, internet and cable signals. Nowadays, the modern modems are cable employed and come with coaxial connections.

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Switches: Certainly, these are the system’s power outlets. This means, these serve to be the place when you will plug in the Ethernet cables which you can link to your gaming device, speakers or computer. Although, in many cases these are included in the general router, yet the external switches serve to be an important function. Here it is important to note that a right strategic placement is must have for a better connectivity throughout your home.

switches-echoworkshop

Router/Access Point: Being the central point of your home networking system, the routers and access points are the one to take the signal from your modem. Later, these amplify the signal and send it throughout your home with a wired (router) or wireless (access point) connection. The access points (or router) needs to be located near devices which need internet access. Also, for better connectivity avoid the interference like a cell phone booster or microwave as far as possible. In case, you want to transfer large amount of data quickly and efficiently, you need both of them to come with dual-bandwidths and large bandwidth capabilities.

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Cables: While switches, routers, and access points are important, you cannot ignore the importance of quality cables. Therefore, you need to invest in cables to make sure that it intact to the end points. You can prefer using CAT 5 Ethernet cables or CAT7 cables. These offer lower resistance, higher durability and come with greater shielding. These allow the signal travel farther without a loss in strength.

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So, now whenever you plan to set up network for your home, make sure you consider these four essential elements.

Atop an 8-foot ladder, I found myself pulling a bundle of cables through a joist I had drilled. I had a conglomeration of copper I was pulling through in many different configurations when my builder walked by and said “I’m glad you know what all that stuff is!” Well here you go guys. I recognize most of you don’t care, so here’s where you can go read that other story about bathroom cabinetry, but for those of you interested enough, here’s the low down on wire… a free education.

Now, we’re not going to get into anything as silly as color because every type of wire comes in almost every color. You’ll have to look at the jackets (the sleeve around the wire) if you want to know what the cable is. They are usually marked once every foot to 18 inches.

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We’ll start with Category Cable. There are several flavors of Category cable (don’t taste the wire), but by far the most popular is CAT5. It’s funny because I haven’t pulled CAT5 cable in ten years. CAT5e, a faster version of the same thing, quickly replaced it. Then there was CAT6, even faster, and now entering the marketplace, CAT6A. There are also shielded and unshielded versions of all of those, but I have to make a conscious decision as to how fast I want you to fall asleep. Along with that there is seemingly endless information about data transfer rates for each of the separate distinctions that is readily available on the web if you want to know that much about it. What you have to know is that Category cable if used for data transfer. We pull it for computer networking, telephony, and control of devices like TVs, projectors, pool controllers, thermostats and various other electronics. We also use CAT6A for video transfer as there are devices that turn video into Data now.

Coax cable also has several classifications. An older one, RG59 is still used today for cameras and non-modulated video transfer. There’s also RG6, no longer used much in residential applications, and RG6Q. The “Q” stands for Quad, or Quad Shielded. The cable actually has four layers of shielding around the center conductor that keep other signals from interfering with the video quality traveling through the cable. This is your television feed cable. It can carry off air HD signal, satellite feed, and digital cable signals. There are other coax cables as well, but these are the main ones used in residential work. Other Coaxes like RG11 are used to carry these signals across the poles in the neighborhood, but you shouldn’t be seeing the stuff in a home.

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As you can guess, speaker wire comes in different varieties as well. It is the norm to pull a 4CON or four-conductor wire for this application, although some providers will pull multiple 2Con to get the same outcome. Four conductors will feed two speakers, a Stereo Zone. The distance we are pulling it regulates the gauge, or thickness, of the wire. Also, a more important part of the equation is the amount of power that will be driven to the speakers. As a general rule, we pull 16-gauge wire in homes below 8,000 square feet, and step up to 14-gauge for larger homes. I have seen other providers use 18 gauge speaker wire while other only use the larger stuff. This can also be regulated by the cost the builder or homeowner is willing to spend for the pre-wire phase.

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There are also great varieties of security wire. In a pre-wired home, you will recognize it as the thin stuff going to all the doors and windows. It is always relatively thin gauge wire and come in varieties of two and four conductors. Most notable is the use of fire rated wire. It has a fire retardant quality about it. This stuff is typically red in color. As the rules state, Fire Wire must be used for any device that may report a fire within the home, therefore you will see it used for keypads, sirens, and reporting smoke detectors.

As my own rule I decided I would write a column without showing any particular product affiliation, therefore it is difficult to cover Proprietary Wire without mentioning any names. There are several companies out there that only want you to use their wire for their products. If you have ever had any of these products placed in your homes, you know these companies well. These are usually companies of a great and admirable standard with such strict tolerances that they only want to work with wire they approve. Without mentioning any names, know that if your low voltage provider tells you they have to order XYZ wire, this is more than likely the reason, and you should know it is a good thing. Even though it may cost a little more, the benefits are worth it.

There it is, your free wire education. You’re ready to wire your own homes, or not. Regardless, next time you see that LV guy up in your joists, you can tell him, “I know what you’re doing to my house” in a very creepy manner.

It was only a few decades ago when I got my first car. Some of you may read that and think, “that’s a lifetime ago”. All I have to say is it goes by in a flash. Things were much different then, especially in cars.

Advanced electronics had just begun to come about. By advanced electronics, I mean that your wipers actually had a delay circuit on them and some cars, the really nice ones, had power windows and door locks. I didn’t get so lucky. My first car had window cranks that ended up making my left arm much stronger than my right.

Tech-Expectations

Technology is ever changing. We all see it by the size of our cell phones. Anyone remember the brick phone? What we may not be aware of is how tech has changed our mindset. All those years ago, and even 15 years ago we did not expect powered features in our cars. It was still considered a luxury to have such amenities. The tables surely have turned as the greater majority of vehicles these days aren’t available without those features. Consumers have not just come to expect the feature sets; they have become so commonplace that most buyers wouldn’t consider a car without them.

So… why should this be of interest to a homebuilder? As it turns out, a very similar trend has been happening in the residential marketplace. When I entered the Residential Electronics industry most builders resisted the need for a Low Voltage contractor. It was all stuff that could be provided by the electrician. Structured wiring, the ability to pull all communications and entertainment cable to one common hub, was a difficult sell when most electricians were just sticking it all in the attic. Now it has become the norm and expected that homes have “that box where all the wires go.”

Tech-Expectations2

As you can imagine, the trend goes on. The latest breakthrough climbing the popularity ladder is Home Automation, the integration of electronic home systems like security, lighting, HVAC, and cameras to be controlled and viewed through one common display. After 30 years as an available home feature Home Automation is starting to show up in television ads. It is finally being introduced as an option not only afforded by the ultra-wealthy. The average consumer is becoming aware of it, and I’m being asked for it as part of a standard home package more often. As the technology grows, it becomes more affordable, more common place, and eventually expected as part of the norm.

If only a few decades ago we were contemplating these items in cartoon science fiction, where will we be in a few more? It’s not hard to imagine the items we might actually grow to expect someday.

It was only 25 years ago when I got my first car. Some of you may read that number and think, “that’s a lifetime ago”. All I have to say is it goes by in a flash. Things were much different then, especially in cars.

Advanced electronics had just begun to come about. By advanced electronics, I mean that your wipers actually had a delay circuit on them and some cars, the really nice ones, had power windows and door locks. I didn’t get so lucky. My first car had window cranks that ended up making my left arm much stronger than my right.

technology

Technology is ever changing. We all see it by the size of our cell phones. Anyone remember the brick phone? What we may not be aware of is how tech has changed our mindset. All those years ago, and even 15 years ago we did not expect powered features in our cars. It was still considered a luxury to have such amenities. The tables surely have turned as the greater majority of vehicles these days aren’t available without those features. Consumers have not just come to expect the feature sets, the features have become so commonplace that most buyers wouldn’t consider a car without them.

So… why should this be of interest to a homebuilder? As it turns out, a very similar trend has been happening in the residential marketplace. When I entered the Residential Electronics industry most builders resisted the need for a Low Voltage Contractor. It was all stuff that could be provided by the electrician. Structured wiring, the ability to pull all communications and entertainment cable to one common hub, was a difficult sell when most electricians were just sticking it all in the attic. Now it has become the norm and expected that homes have “that box where all the wires go.”

Changing World

As you can imagine, the trend goes on. The latest breakthrough climbing the popularity ladder is Home Automation, the integration of electronic home systems like security, lighting, HVAC, and cameras to be controlled and viewed through one common display. After 30 years as an available home feature Home Automation is starting to show up in television ads. It is finally being introduced as an option not only afforded by the ultra-wealthy. The average consumer is becoming aware of it, and I’m being asked for it as part of a standard home package more often. As the technology grows, it becomes more affordable, more common place, and eventually expected as part of the norm.

Every once in a while, you run into something new that excites you about your chosen profession. Yesterday, I had one of those opportunities present itself. We assisted an old client in upgrading his outdoor system and installed one of the James Loudspeaker Outdoor Systems. We had to hire a landscape company to assist us with all the digging as the sub-woofers get buried under ground. We also wanted to hide all the wiring so it took the better part of the day to perform the installation. The reward was definitely worth the wait and hard work. At the end of the process, I said to one of my guys “I wish you could take a picture of sound quality!” Being an outdoor system, I never expected to here such clarity, punch and precise delivery. We tried several different types of music looking for weaknesses in the system and it never failed to impress. I look forward to recommending this system to more clients as we move forward. Once again, something we can be passionate about…

 

Don’t forget to contact us for any of your custom electronics needs!

There’s a big sign in our shop that states the words “Enjoy What You Do!.” It is a philosophy I adopted early on and have adhered to throughout the years. It has grown to be more than a philosophy, and become a prerequisite. I love my profession. Sure, it has grown me to be more than the technician I once was. Now I have the entrepreneurial duties as well, but overall I consider myself very fortunate to be part of my industry. This couldn’t be any truer than the week after CEDIA every year.

If you’ve understood the term “kid in a candy store” you get a true sense of what CEDIA is like for me and my crew. We get to see the latest and greatest gadgetry our vendors are releasing for the year. Along with the seemingly endless hours of classroom instruction we got to participate in, we got to walk the isles of incredibly cool electronics we can install in our client’s homes. So here’s a brief list of the heavy hitters coming out for the 2015 season. Be on the lookout for these great technologies and products, and don’t forget to reach out to your Echo Workshop consultant for assistance in getting these into your homes or businesses.

1. ATMOS: This incredible new technology just took your home theater experience to a new level. If you enjoy a home theater room now, it can be upgraded to include this technology by replacing the processor and adding a few speakers. Most notable in this category, were products from JBL Synthesis, Integra Home Theater, and DataSat.

2. 4K: although not a new technology, manufacturers have continued to work towards perfecting and incorporating it into products in different ways. What an unbelievable picture quality! It doesn’t matter if we’re talking projection or flat panel displays. The picture quality is spectacular! Big players in this category, as usual, Sony and LG, but I also found some amazing experiences watching the Wolf Cinema projectors. Wow!

3. Motorization: Hidden TV’s, projectors, bars, and weapons safes. Straight out of your favorite spy movies, they’ve become reality. Companies like Future Automation continue to assist us in creating the ultimate experience. Whether we are hiding your TV behind some artwork or making it drop out of your ceiling by pressing a button, this is the really cool stuff we can do for you.

4. Automation: The new Savant User interface is EXCELLENT! It is very intuitive and easy to user. I think our clients will be very pleased with the new look. Most older systems and legacy product can be upgraded to support the new look. We also really enjoyed playing with the latest and greatest moving parts in the Future Automation world. These guys really have it figured out when it comes to hiding TVs using motors. Awesome product!

5. The Audiophile Corner: Are you kidding me? Our friends at Totem Acoustic, Mark Levinson, and JBL Synthesis are still at it. I couldn’t decide which one I liked better. I’ll take one of each.

Just returned from the Savant Systems Integrator Summit in Dallas. We had a lot of fun learning about the new offerings and the exciting direction the company is taking. We are already starting to roll out the New Smart Host which will give us the ability to cater to clients desiring smaller systems. You can see more information about their new offerings by clicking on their link in our Products page.

What a blast! Our industry is ever changing. It’s a good thing these expos exist to keep us aware of evolving technology. Some of my highlights included the Marc Levinson gear, the Savant Booth, of course, The new Integra releases, and the new Screen Innovations product coming out. Don’t forget to visit our Products Page for greater detail on those offerings.

Custom Electronics Houston - Echo Workshop TX

We have partnered with some of the finest names in entertainment, security & automation products to bring you the very highest quality with the greatest selection.
Echo Workshop LLC, 6261 Richmond Avenue,Building A Houston, TX 77057
Phone: 713-589-9222