Education, Hints & Tips, Travel, US News

What is 5G, how can it be used and why do you need it?

5G to those inexperienced in the technology field refers to fifth generation mobile networks and is essentially a development upon the previous mobile network generation. With that in mind and many new features and benefits promised with the introduction of 5G, it is no surprise that the launch is eagerly anticipated! Therefore this blogpost has been carefully designed to provide you with essential details surrounding 5G, ranging from its release date to how it could benefit you.

When will 5G become available?

The 5G networks are already in the testing phase of their development and it is expected that the earliest 5G ready smartphones could enter the market later in 2018, with 5G becoming more widespread in spring 2019. With that said it could be just 9 months before 5G becomes readily available for you (too long to wait, we know!).  The US as a nation is lucky enough to be one of the opening beneficiaries of 5G, alongside other countries such as China, Japan and South Korea- hopefully that makes the long and anxious wait for 5G that little bit easier!

What speeds will 5G offer its users?

Consumers lucky enough to access 5G in the near future will be able to take advantage of significantly increased speeds than those offered by the predecessor 4G. Users currently operating a device equipped with 4G connections can benefit from theoretical network speeds of up to 300Mbps on an advanced 4G LTE Network (is it really that slow?), whereas 5G will provide smartphone users with download speeds potentially over 100 times as fast (we are being serious, I promise!). Such speedy connections will facilitate the connection of multiple Internet of Things solutions such as Smart Receptions and Buildings. For those enjoying leisure and free time, the transition to the 5G Network will also be beneficial for streaming video content- almost eliminating the inconvenient stresses of buffering and lag time.

Broadband Solutions

Tired of unreliable broadband or WiFi connections in your home? Are you forever waiting for files to download or emails to send? You could be in luck, 5G is sure to form a welcome addition into your life! The introduction of 5G into the market is being heavily tipped as an eventual replacement service for your current home internet service- could this be the answer to all your internet speed problems? The honest answer is yes, but you could have to wait a while longer (quite a while longer!) with progress on this development very much in the trial stage, although both AT&T and Verizon having invested heavily into this.

What can 5G achieve?

It is suspected 5G will be pivotal to achieving a wide range of technological enhancements, with uses ranging from practicalities to leisure activities. One leisure activity in particular where 5G can be used to improve the overall user experience is that of Virtual Reality or VR for short. Virtual Reality is a concept that has been developing continually for a number of years, however it is alleged that with the introduction of a 5G network, users of VR will be able to benefit from access to live chats in real worlds- indicating further advancements in VR. On a level of practicality, 5G can be used to enhance the functionality of self-driving cars. Once launched 5G is suspected to speed up the development of self-driving cars, with each vehicle being equipped with sensors- facilitating communication with other vehicles and also the ability to track location. With that said 5G provides the perfect opportunity to avoid that awkward conversation with a taxi driver!

Alter your Data Plan!

Whilst it is apparent 5G will bring a wide range of advantages to those fortunate enough to access it, it will be a heavy form of data consumption (don’t say we didn’t warn you!). It is foreseen that the benefits associated with 5G will mean that the fifth generation of mobile networks will be nothing short of a data guzzler! People who regularly use up or exceed their current data plan, would consume their entire month’s data allowance in under a week, should they use 5G to the same extent and with the same sized data bundle- you have been warned!  5G is incoming, it’s time to start saving!

Upgrade your Phone!

In order to have access to a 5G connection, you will be required to upgrade to a device that is capable of supporting 5G. It is heavily anticipated that most devices launched and available for sale/rental from 2019 will be compatible with 5G, therefore by the time 5G becomes widespread, identifying a device capable of supporting 5G will be straightforward. Whilst having to upgrade to a new device may involve higher financial implications, the benefits of using 5G will definitely make your investment worthwhile- just think of those download speeds!

 

Education, Hints & Tips, Travel, US News

What is Iridium Certus and how can it be used?

Introducing Iridium Certus

Exciting news is set to arrive in the telecoms industry, with Earth surface wide providers of voice and data coverage to satellite phones, Iridium, pledging to invest $3 billion into researching and developing an upgrade of their satellite network. The proposed development which is set to be the biggest of Iridium’s Satellite Network in 20 years, is believed to be available as early as June 2018, although it is not expected that all desired services will be fully functional by then. Iridium has aptly named this development Certus (which is originally derived from Latin and translates to mean translates ‘sure’ or ‘certain’).  With a $3 billion upgrade on the cards, it’s time to find out what’s involved and how Iridium Certus will be used- and above all will it prove to be a ‘certain’ success!

How does it work?

The $3 billion revamp of Iridium’s satellite network, will focus on creating a brand new network of brand new satellites located in the earths low orbit (66 to be precise!), which is enabled by the Iridium NEXT. It has been estimated that Iridium Certus will be capable of providing its users with broadband speeds reaching the dizzy heights of 1.4 Mbps (this is astoundingly fast for Satellite!). The aforementioned 66 low orbit satellites, coupled with L-band transmissions from its user ensures that the Certus network will not be damaged or interrupted as a result of adverse weather conditions. On top of this, through using L-band connectivity, Iridium Certus intends to provide an innovative broadband service, designed to serve the entire earth- you really can stay connected wherever you are!

Where will it work?

The innovative nature of Iridium Certus combined with a great deal of research and development has enabled Iridium to provide a service with capabilities facilitating usage over both land and sea, as well as taking you to aviation heights! With that said, you’ll struggle to find an industry unable to take advantage of Certus’ perks!

Land: With a goal of connecting the entire planet, Iridium Certus could prove to be an imperative tool across multiple industries, with almost every land based sector catered for. It is envisaged that Iridium Certus will provide a perfect solution whether its service is required for personal, commercial or military usage. The versatility of Iridium Certus will guarantee connection in the remotest of locations aiding deliveries and the like for individual and corporate purposes- worried about a lost delivery, never again! Another core user able to benefit from Iridium Certus is response units and will prove to serve as an effective means of communication during day to day emergencies. Additionally Iridium Certus will be paramount to response units addressing periods of crisis and natural disasters; not only will this facilitate situational awareness, it will also allow for potential lifesaving information to be transferred. Furthermore, Iridium intends for Certus to be used in Military training exercises before being incorporated into military operations. Is there really a land based situation where Iridium Certus can’t be taken advantage of?

Sea: Setting sail from the shore and worrying about a lack of connection? Think again! Shipping or cruising, commercial or leisure, Iridium Certus is sure to meet your needs when sailing the seven seas. The L-band frequency incorporated into Iridium Certus means that weather will not influence the quality of connection- an essential factor to consider when out at sea! This uninterrupted access to connection provided by Certus, makes the service suitable for shipping and leisure purposes alike, ranging from navigational and sensory devices to simply checking emails or browsing the web. Iridium Certus also prides itself on being able to provide connections to businesses with off shore bases such as rigs, these are utilized by operated unmanned sensors- gone are the days of being isolated for months off shore!

Air: Internet connection whilst on the plane? Never has a long haul flight flown by quicker (pardon the aerospace pun!). It is envisaged that Iridium Certus will have the capabilities to provide high speed broadband to aircrafts. Iridium Certus provides the perfect solution to keeping both crew and travelers connected whilst in the air. The adaptability and size of Iridium Certus, has led to the design of miniature antennas sized less than 6 cm in height- this makes Certus the ideal solution for providing broadband connectivity on aircraft regardless of shape or size! With its benefits of passenger occupancy and malleable installation, the question on all of our minds really is how long will it be before Certus becomes a mainstay in air travel?

Summary

With an innovative approach fueled by extensive investment, Iridium Certus offers huge potential across a range of different fields (oceans and heights!) of industry. The ability to serve as a useful tool and provide connection to such a broad range of businesses and individuals alike, creates the perfect pre requisites to help Iridium achieve its objective of connecting the entire planet! It would be fair to say Iridium Certus is ‘sure’ to be a ‘certain’ success!

Education, Hints & Tips, US News

Android or iOS: The best choice for you

Android or iOS? iPhone or other? These are questions/arguments that are hotly contested and widely debated throughout society! Whether in the office, socializing with friends or even at the family dinner table it’s a subject that’s come up before and is sure to have ended in disagreement. With that said this blogpost is designed to settle this argument once and for all- whether there’s a clear winner (we’ve all got our favourite!), or the pros and cons of both user interfaces are identified remains to be seen! As to whether we can help you have a change of heart or mind also remains to be seen- we’ll certainly aim to help you find the best choice for you!

Personal Assistant:

Talking to your smartphone and using at as a go to source of research is an increasingly popular trend- please welcome the Personal Assistant! The obvious comparison here is between the generic Personal Assistant for Android’s, Google Assistant and iOS’s Personal Assistant Siri. In Google Assistant, Android has provided the perfect solution for a standard Personal Assistant, it listens to your to your request when online or offline and provides you with an answer when connection is available. However, an interesting and engaging Personal Assistant, Google Assistant is not- step forward please Siri. Siri the favored and pre-installed Personal Assistant on all Apple devices offers a fun and interactive persona and even tells jokes when asked! All this is done whilst still meeting all the standard requirements of a Personal Assistant, such as setting reminders or searching the web. With Siri the clear winner when compared with Google Assistant, Android users will be pleased to know Google Assistant isn’t the be all and end all when it comes to Personal Assistants for your Android. Fancy trying Cortana or Bixby?

 

Affordability: What suits you?

Choosing a Smartphone and a preferred operating system often depends on factors such as budget as well as personal preference. Apple focuses on high end, high quality devices. Whilst this ensures the end consumer is provided with a luxurious high quality end product, it also prices a significant number of consumers out of the market. Alternatively, choosing Android as an operating system opens up a market offering a wider range of devices from a variety of different manufacturers. This ensures Android phones are available across a varied assortment of price brackets. Not to be outdone by a competitor Android also offers equally matched high end devices alongside cheaper alternatives. Based on their ability to provide an operating system accessible to a wider target audience Android wins this one!

Apps: Google Play vs App Store

Like with most elements of comparison between two operating systems it really is a case of personal preference, a case that is no different when it comes to apps available on each system! When comparing suitable apps for both Android and iOS, it is largely an argument of quantity or quality. On the one hand, the Google Play Store the home of Android apps proudly boasts over 3.5million apps, thus providing a wide array of choice for the end user. On the other hand the iOS equivalent, the App store lists approximately 2 million apps. Whilst this is somewhat more restrictive than the offerings of their Android counterpart, Apple’s strict guidelines ensure that users are presented with a quality all round app.  Additionally with only a limited number of iPhone models, iOS avoids the issue of app fragmentation sometimes experienced on Android devices, due to the range of manufacturers and models. Therefore regarding apps, it really is a case of whether you prefer quality or quantity- after all everyone likes a fully functioning app, don’t they? iOS edges this one (sorry Android users!).

 

Security: Accessing your smartphone

Unlocking your Smartphone offers a certain degree of variance regardless of your device or operating system. The main difference between an iOS operating device to that of an Android is the variance of unlocking features. Whilst devices operating under the Android system are restricted to just a passcode or an arranged unlocking pattern- both easily forgotten for one reason or another! Consumers using iPhones operating under Android’s counterpart iOS, are treated to a wider range of options to unlock their device, with the mundane, generic passcode being complimented by the much sought after Apple touch ID. Touch ID allows users to unlock their fingerprint; further enhancing security- after all you can’t forget your own fingerprints can you?  Isn’t technology brilliant! With iOS seemingly streets ahead of Android at present, when it comes to security and unlocking your smartphone, it would be fair to say iOS beats Android to this title!

Latest Features of the operating system:

The latest updates of each operating system Android Oreo and iOS 11 were released in August and September 2017 respectively, with both offering their eagerly awaiting consumers a range of new and exclusive features. The key feature many Android enthusiasts will be boasting about is ‘Picture-in-Picture’ (and no it’s not just two pictures!). This unique feature incorporates the ability to shrink videos or directions into a reduced thumbnail- this enables you to carry out multiple tasks on your device whilst still paying monitoring your video or navigation. A smartphone that can multitask- who said Smartphones were the new humans? Whilst a key feature offered through iOS 11, is the ability to combine Apple Pay and iMessage- it really is as simple as sending a message, an exciting prospect that all the Apple fanatics can be heard talking about. With iOS 11, paying contacts has never been easier, after all who wants to venture all the way to the bank or open a mobile banking app just to transfer a measly $5? With both Android Oreo and iOS 11, offering effective time saving features as part of their latest updates- both parties really are catering for the increasingly busy schedules of the modern smartphone user. With that said, this one is a tie!

Education, Hints & Tips, Travel, US News

How to block a number from your iPhone

With the internet, use of smartphones and technology largely a good thing, providing mostly good results (mostly), their use throughout society has grown astronomically! But with that said, there has been the unwanted side effect of a rise in the number spam and prank calls. With this becoming a growing issue, the process of blocking such numbers is a question on the minds of many individuals. Therefore knowing how to avoid these tiresome and frustrating issues in the future, is of great importance.  A common option to prevent spam callers or contacts, is to ring up your network provider and ask them to block certain numbers. However, this is a task that can prove particularly time consuming. The following guide provides a hassle free, manual approach to block numbers from your iPhone, through either Phone, Facetime or Messages whilst only requiring a small amount of your time.  The guide will also elaborate on managing blocked numbers.

Phone App: Blocking numbers from the within the Phone App is a straightforward and simplistic process. Firstly open the Phone App by pressing the green phone icon, as though you were about to make a call or open the contact list. Having completed this, the next step is to open Recents before identifying the appropriate number. Once you have identified the number you wish to block, select the i icon next to your chosen phone number- scrolling down to the bottom of the screen, the final option is entitled Block this Caller. Told you it was straightforward (we weren’t lying!).

 

FaceTime App: The development and advancement over time has seen the creation of the video calling app FaceTime which has seen a massive increase in popularity. But this isn’t to say you won’t need to block a contact on FaceTime- we all have that one annoying friend! To block a contact through FaceTime, the first step is to ensure the FaceTime app is open (obvious yes, but we wouldn’t want you to forget!). After completing this, tap your FaceTime contacts, before pressing the i icon next to the contact/number you wish to block. Lastly scroll down the screen until you reach Block this Caller.

 

Messages App: Is it that annoying friend striking again? Or just another advertisement? Constant spam through in message form is particularly irritating and can soon become tiresome- not to worry you can block these numbers at the switch of a button (or 4!). Firstly open the Settings icon, before scrolling down to click Messages. Once you have identified the messages option, tap the Blocked option- this will present you with the option of Add New, select this to type in the number which you would like to block. There you have it the switch of four buttons!

 

Unblocking Numbers/Managing Contacts: For those thinking it was strange that we suggested blocking the number of just an annoying friend (I’m sure many of you were!). So to avoid any unnecessary awkwardness, numbers can be unblocked just as easily as the blocking process. Following a four step procedure almost identical to that of blocking a number through the Message app, a number can be unblocked simply and quickly. To start this procedure tap the Settings icon, having opened this, the next step is to select Messages. From here tap the Blocked option (this is starting to sound very familiar!). After having completed these three steps, it’s time for the actual unblocking of the number, to do this Swipe Left over the number.

 

Education, Hints & Tips, Travel

How to set up an iPhone: The Seven Step Guide

Smartphones and more specifically iPhone’s are rapidly becoming part of people’s everyday life. With many people unable to function without them, they are an essential tool in both working and social life’s of almost every modern day individual- although there is nothing wrong with a face to face conversation (every now and then!).  With the clear importance of the iPhone highlighted, the following  Seven Step guide , aims to walk you through setting up your device- after all you can’t use a phone without setting it up, can you?

 

1) Turn on your device: The first step on the ladder to set up your iPhone is (need we say it, we probably should!) is to turn on your device. This step is achieved by pressing the button at the top of your phone on the right hand side. Whilst a simple and straightforward step, this is the most important stage in the set up process and kick starts your setting up process.

 

2) Internet Access: Following on from this, you can now begin with the more technical side of the set up process. To set up your device, regardless of the generation or model you will need access to the internet. With that said, it is advised that if possible you connect the device to a WiFi connection. After all you wouldn’t want to eat into your monthly data plan before you can actually use your iPhone! Would you? Of course not, how else are you going to send selfies on the move?

 

3) Selecting a WiFi connection: You surely know how to connect to a WiFi by now don’t you? (we’ll tell you anyway!). Connecting to your chosen WiFi connection is a relatively straightforward procedure, with available WiFi connections within close proximity being easily located. These can be found by opening Settings  > WiFi, having opened the WiFi icon simply tap the network of your choice. You will often find a range of different WiFi connections listed as available with certain networks requiring you to enter the password before granting access.

 

4) Insert your SIM Card: Following this it is essential to ensure that you insert your SIM Card into the device before proceeding further (this might seem too obvious, believe us it’s not!). Firstly identify the hole on the SIM Card Tray, using the SIM eject tool readily provided in the box your phone arrived in pull out the SIM card tray. After having done this place your SIM Card on the top of the tray. It is paramount that the SIM Card is correctly aligned otherwise the Tray cannot be reinserted, with the said gently place the SIM Card tray back in its original location. Whoever said inserting a SIM Card was an obvious procedure!

5) Create Touch ID/Passcode: The next step you will be greeted with is the option to create a Touch ID or Passcode. The touch ID is the preferred option for the technologically curious, whilst some of us (myself included!) are still getting to grips with the Passcode side of things! Whilst neither option is mandatory, it is recommended as a security measure to prevent people accessing your personal contacts and information in a case of theft or loft (or the wandering eye of friends!). In terms of security, both options are relatively secure, that is assuming you’ve not opted for the Passcode ‘1234’- in which case there’s still time to change to a less obvious Passcode. With the Touch ID being Fingerprint based it is almost impossible for anyone else to access your device even with 7.6 billion people in the world!

 

6) Sign in/Create Apple ID: Once completing your Touch ID or Passcode, you will be asked to Sign in with your Apple ID. For existing users of iPhones or individuals who already have an Apple ID, this is merely a case of entering your Apple ID and typing your password before proceeding. However, those who are new to the concept of an Apple ID will need to create their own Apple ID before continuing- don’t worry, it’s not as scary as it sounds! The main function of an Apple ID is to facilitate the sign in process of Apple’s online services such as the App Store, iTunes, and iCloud. To create your Apple ID you need to provide your existing email address which is unrestricted and can be from any email provider. Told you it wasn’t too daunting!

7) Set up Siri/ other services: The final stage of your iPhone set up guide is designed to help you make the most of the features available to all iPhone users including email and location services- it is essential you enable location services for navigational purposes and if you are likely to use transport based apps such as Uber! At this stage you can enable your very own Personal Assistant in Siri, to activate Siri select the option on the Siri set up screen entitled Turn on Siri. Once the entire set up process has been completed, future use of Siri can be accessed by holding down the Home Button or saying “Hey Siri”. This stage of the iPhone set up process is optional and is not compulsory, but you surely wouldn’t want to surpass the opportunity of asking Siri to say Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, would you?

 

Education, Hints & Tips, Travel

What is a MiFi?

Traveling with multiple wireless devices? With a MiFi you can access fast mobile data on a range of portable devices.

What is a MiFi?

A MiFi is a portable broadband router that enables multiple devices to share a single mobile broadband connection. The MiFi is fantastic for both business users and travelers thanks to a very easy to use super-fast 4G connection. This allows smartphones, tablets and laptops to connect effortlessly via the MiFi and use 4G mobile broadband speeds.

Being able to use reliable 4G internet gives users the ability to regularly use the internet when ‘on the go’. Whether you and your colleagues need to stay connected for work or if you enjoy keeping up to date with social media, a MiFi will make this an enjoyable and stress-free experience.

A MiFi can connect with smartphones, tablets and laptops

Where can I use a MiFi?

MiFi routers work best in areas that have a strong and reliable mobile network signal available as this is what enables them to work using 4G speeds. The MiFi can be used as a secure, portable internet connection on trains, in cars or as an alternative connection in the office.

How can I get internet on a train?

As any experienced traveler will know, finding a reliable internet connection while on ‘on the go’ can prove very difficult. The MiFi connects to a mobile network, giving users the advantage of being able to connect to the internet while traveling. Moving transport is a great example of when a MiFi can solve your travel woes. Whether you’re traveling by yourself or with a large group, the router gives you the option to have up to 10 devices connected at any one time. This opens up the possibility of having meetings ‘on the go’ and works out far cheaper and quicker than any other portable WiFi solution, such as train WiFi.

Short Term Internet

Unable to use fixed line internet for your business? Many businesses are required to relocate after short periods, and event companies can’t always count on a stable internet connection to be available. Fast and secure mobile data through a MiFi can be the answer to your needs, allowing you to operate effectively with a reliable connection without being tied down to a long-term contract in one area or even where a traditional land line is not an option.

How can I get internet abroad?

Accessing the internet abroad doesn’t have to be slow and expensive. A 4G MiFi is available with an International data SIM bundle to allow you to make the most of your usage when traveling and lets you connect all of your devices. This provides a perfect solution for both business and personal use when abroad. To use a MiFi abroad, ensure that you have a competitive roaming or local SIM so that you can avoid high roaming charges on your travels.

Education, Hints & Tips, Travel, US News

What’s the difference between 3G, 4G and LTE?

When using data on your smartphone or tablet device you are likely to have heard of 3G, 4G and LTE. In basic terms, this describes how fast the internet will run over a wireless data connection.

4G LTE 3G Data

3G stands for “Third Generation” and originally enabled wireless devices to operate at speeds which made web browsing a more enjoyable experience. Whilst this gave users the ability to regularly use the internet when ‘on the go’, there were still issues regarding the time that it took to open certain web pages as well as struggling to meet the increased demand for wireless mobile internet.

4G or “Fourth Generation” technology has become increasingly popular all across the globe due to the fast data speeds available. This allows users to do far more than check emails and basic web browsing; 4G allows for music streaming, fast and reliable web browsing and the ability to use a device as a portable entertainment centre. Many new devices have the ability to operate on the 4G network and this number is set to continue rising due to the benefits of the 4G technology.

LTE stands for “Long Term Evolution” and is a popular term used in North America to describe the journey of acquiring fast mobile data connections. Currently both 4G and LTE mobile technologies have similar connection speeds and both are substantially more advanced than devices that still operate on 3G.

SO WHAT’S IN THE FUTURE?

It is likely that in forthcoming years we will see a widespread increase in 4G/LTE network coverage due to the increased demand for faster mobile data connection speeds. Consumer habits have led to 3G technology rapidly becoming outdated, which is why more and more consumers feel the need to invest in 4G/LTE compatible devices.

As the need for data roaming increases, fast data bundles for worldwide and European data roaming are becoming more popular and dramatically reduce the cost of using internet abroad.

Following the rapidly advancing technological age that we live in, it would be wise to expect the development and introduction of 5G networks in the near future. This would be expected to transfer data at electrifying speeds and would offer large scale benefits to both consumers and society as a whole.