Hints & Tips, IoT, Partners

A Guide to M2M & IoT Essential Terms & Definitions

M2M/IoT is the hot topic of the industry, but it involves many acronyms and abbreviations, making it difficult to stay in the loop. This guide explores some of the essential key terms and definitions around M2M & IoT.

What is IoT?

The Internet of Things (IoT) involves data transferred over a network without human intervention or personal data usage.

The official definition describes IoT as the network of physical objects that are embedded with sensors, software, and other technologies for the purpose of connecting and exchanging data with other devices and systems over the internet.

IoT connections typically use smaller volumes of data under 1GB. It often requires a more technical configuration such as Fixed IP and/or Private APNs & VPNs for secure device communications and control. Connectivity may be restricted to a private network or be granted open internet access.

Use-case devices include meters, kiosks, digital signage, taxi connectivity, airport kiosks, electricity meters, mobile CCTV, tracking devices, wind turbines and other loT connected devices.

What is M2M?

M2M – Machine to Machine is the direct communication between devices using any type of communications channel without manual intervention by humans.

M2M is made up of data connectivity solutions that often do not require a Fixed IP, instead it uses a generic APN for open-internet access. Typically, M2M uses large volumes of data, from 1GB per month to 10TB on a single SIM.

The range of applications would include use in Mobile Broadband Routers, MiFi Routers, Peplink SIM bonding devices and mobile broadcast cameras. Use cases include instant site connectivity, broadband contingency, mobile broadcast connectivity and wireless mobile broadband for marine/transport.

What is an IP Address?

IP Addresses are a device’s unique identity on a network, enabling a device to access network resources, and in turn allow other devices to access the device.
An IP address serves two main functions, network interface identification and location addressing.
IP stands for Internet Protocol, think of it like a device’s phone number. You need one both to make calls out, and to receive them, just like you need an IP to share files with another user, browse the Internet, or make a video call. An example of an IPv4 IP address is 192.0.1.1

What is a Dynamic IP Address?

Dynamic IP Addresses are assigned automatically based on preconfigured settings in the network and dedicated DHCP servers (dynamic host configuration protocols), which manage a pool of IP addresses available for use. Dynamic IP addresses are not fixed to a device and can change.

What is a Static IP Address?

Static IPs are fixed – They don’t change.

What is a Fixed IP Address?

Fixed IP Addresses remain static and don’t change over time. Their use allows for opening two-way communication between the IoT device and the customer organisation’s servers.

What is a Public Fixed IP Address?

Public Fixed IP provides a static and a public IP address. It is unique on a global scale and allows for connections to an IoT device from any other host connected to the Internet. In this case, a standard Public APN is used.

What is a Private Fixed IP Address? 

Private Fixed IP provides a static and a private IP address. Such an address is valid only within a particular customer organisation’s network (which is an example of a private network). In this case, a customer-defined Private APN must be used.

What is an APN?

APN – Access Point Name is the name of a gateway and point of entry onto the Internet (IP network) from a mobile network.

Public APN – (Default network APN)

Private APN – (Corporate APN) is used to access a specific network. The traffic flows securely and directly from the IoT device via the mobile network to the customer’s private network, where it terminates. This traffic does not travel across the open-Internet.

What is a VPN?

VPN – Virtual Private Network is a layer of security for Internet access from an IoT device. It allows for the data exchange to remain confidential via encryption and decryption mechanisms. It is crucial when a device remains connected to the Internet via a public network, including Public APN.

What is LAN?

LAN – Local Area Network is a network of computers or devices that share common communications lines or wireless links to a server in a limited area, for example a residence or university campus. Computers and mobile devices use a LAN connection to share resources such as a printer or network storage.

What is WAN?

WAN – Wide Area Network is a broadband network that provides communication over a large geographic area. It requires high bandwidth and low latency. A network of bank cash dispensers or a company network with several offices all geographically distant, would be an example of WAN.

What is API?

API – Application Programming Interface is the technical interface that allows different applications to work with one another. API’s enhance user experiences by fostering connections between technologies.

What is LPWAN?

LPWAN – Low-Power Wide-Area Networks enables low power consumption and long-range wireless connectivity. It connects low-bandwidth devices with low bit rates over long ranges, allowing IoT devices to operate reliably for up to 10 years on a single battery charge.

What is Edge Computing?

Edge Computing improves response times and saves bandwidth by the computational processing of sensor data, bringing it closer to the logical edge of the network and individual sources of data. Instead of sending data to data cloud centres, edge computing ensures real time processing without latency.

Join the Cellhire Partner Programme.
Visit: http://www.cellhire.co.uk/partners
Email: resellers@cellhire.com
Call: +44 (0)1904 610610

Hints & Tips, Partners

Six Reasons To Partner With Cellhire

Have you thought about adding mobile to your portfolio to maximise revenue or looking for a new mobile partnership, to enhance your current offering?

Cellhire gives you the tools, support, flexibility as well as great commercials to help you succeed. 

  1. Direct Service Provider of Vodafone, O2 and EE

Cellhire has an extensive range of network tariffs and solutions. Aggressive commercials on flexible contract terms give you the best opportunity to win and retain business. 

2. Bespoke Tariff Capabilities 

Don’t be limited by standard network tariffs and solutions. Give your customers what they need and differentiate from other resellers or dealers with bespoke tariff options. 

3. SIM Management Portal 

With API integration into the networks, our portal puts you in control. Real-time access to manage your connections and SIM estate including, SIM activations, bars, SIM swaps and alerts – fast, accurate; anytime, anywhere. 

4. International SIMs

Need a local international SIM that works for customers in the US, France, Ireland or further afield? With our international SIM portfolio, it’s covered. Local Solutions for customers who travel regularly or have offices abroad. 

5. Value Added Products 

Cellhire is a global mobility expert and more than just a SIM provider. Grow your revenue streams with additional products and services including IoT/M2M, Mobile Connectivity, Roaming SIMs, eSIM (MVNO) and Satellite. 

6. Industry Leading Billing and Provisioning Engine

Atlas is an expert, in-house automated billing and provisioning engine created by Cellhire. It is a multi-tiered, cloud-based system capable of rating calls multiple times per day and providing frequent CDRs with minimal delay. Atlas is ISO 27001 certified.

Want to find out more about becoming a partner?
Contact us on:
t: +44 (0)1904 610610
e: resellers@cellhire.com
w: www.cellhire.co.uk/partners

Hints & Tips, Partners

5G in 2022, Are You Ready?

5G, the fifth generation of mobile networks has been around for a few years already. At the end of last year, 2021, 79 nations have either commercialised 5G or are conducting 5G trials. The UK, however, is one of the most developed markets in Europe in terms of 5G rollout, but what does this mean exactly? This blog will further explore the state of 5G in the UK, how it’s changing the likes of data usage and how this brings new opportunities to businesses across the UK, before looking at 5G comparisons across the globe. 

Currently, in the UK, the four main mobile operators have already launched 5G, EE was the first to do so, launching its 5G services back in May 2019. Currently, EE’s 5G network is available in over 160 towns and cities, Vodafone 127, O2 194 and Three over 100. Smaller MVNOs such as Voxi and Giffgaff have recently started offering 5G plans, although the location of availability is dependent on the host MNO. Speed tests carried out in 2020 found that the UK’s 5G speeds were nearly four times faster than 4G. However, due to the limited availability of spectrum, it was not quite as advanced as Ofcom, the UK regulator had set out. Therefore, in 2021, Ofcom held a 5G spectrum auction, with frequencies available leading to an 18% increase in the region’s mobile capacity. With the expansion of the 5G spectrum, mobile broadband has improved and boosted 5G deployment, and with it, 5G speeds. If you’re still unsure on how fast 5G is, 5G offers access to theoretical speeds of 100 Gigabits a second, it takes 300 to 400 milliseconds to blink, so if you blink, you will miss it! As technology progresses this year there will be a greater demand from businesses and consumers to migrate to 5G capable hardware such as smartphone and routers.

The fast adoption rate, speed, and low latency of 5G is driving data usage. In 2020 alone, UK 5G users consumed 2.5x more mobile data than 4G users driven by video, gaming, and higher resolutions all on mobile. In an age of increasingly advanced smartphones, businesses and consumers will only continue to increase the amount of data they consume on mobile devices. 5G users are becoming more prone to using their data connections for tethering, as connections are often multiple-times faster and more reliable than fixed-line broadband. With 5G holding such a high device capacity, it becomes a great option for business; it is estimated that 5G deployments can support 1,000,000 connected devices per 0.38 square miles (243 acres), in comparison, 4G can only support 2,000. 

With 5G, business networks can undertake simultaneous data transfers, flexible working and allow feasible remote working, especially in current COVID times. The lower latency offered by 5G can improve the functionality and security of devices by its ability to boost encryption and by reaching real-time access, meaning complex tasks will be performed quicker with fewer interruptions. With the PSTN Switch off in 2025 looming, businesses need to remain competitive and ambitious by equipping IoT and 5G devices promptly. In terms of the economic benefits, O2 state that the UK could benefit from time and productivity savings of £6 billion per annum, suggesting that the investment of 5G devices is indeed worthwhile. Such a surge in mobile data usage on the new spectrum presents a new opportunity for operators to monetise the billions of pounds being invested into 5G, securing assets from the uncongested spectrum. Construction and Agriculture industries could see benefits almost 10x higher than the costs associated with 5G upgrades, through increased efficiency, improved safety, compliance, and enhanced devices. For example, field conditions can be more accurately monitored through an improved network of 5G data-collecting sensors. 

As 5G is still new to the world of business in the UK, most networks providers are keen to grow their 5G mobile data networks and are happy to provide companies with the network support they need, as well as a comprehensive range of solutions for their business customers. With the deployment of 5G also comes the need for 5G education, teams cannot make the most out of the new technology and perceived benefits. 5G education will help businesses understand how the network’s benefits can support business goals and drive growth; it will become an essential skill for a thriving and successful business. 

The UK’s 5G deployment is a close contender behind the US, accounting for a 57% share of 5G connections, however, America is seeing a slower rollout across the country. This year is expected to see two-thirds of the country’s population covered with a 5G service. The slower rollout in the US is said to be down to; the availability of space in the spectrum, the deployment of new network equipment that isn’t manufactured in the US, meaning purchases take longer, and the lack of apps driving the usage of 5G. Although most large mobile operators in the US, such as AT&T and Verizon are offering 5G, the location of availability is limited to urban areas and main traffic routes but is expanding across the country. European countries are expanding their 5G service at a completely different pace due to these areas being densely populated, in Germany alone Vodafone’s 5G network reached 30 million people at the end of 2021. Europe has quickly gotten onboard with 5G deployment compared to the US; however, they cannot simply be compared in terms of their share of 5G connections due to the different sized populations and rollout of cellular network towers across the countries.

It is clear to see that 5G’s rollout across the globe is not in one constant development but fragmented by country because of sizing and population density. The UK’s 5G deployment is developing constantly and becoming a more viable option for consumers and businesses across the country. With constant advancements in technology and the PSTN Switch Off looming, 5G mobile data and IoT devices are becoming the future of communication. 

As an award-winning partner of the three leading UK networks (Vodafone, O2 & EE), Cellhire provides unbiased advice and a large choice of connectivity options to really maximise success. Cellhire helps grow and create new revenue opportunities for channel partners.
Have you thought of adding mobile to maximise revenue? 
Visit: https://www.cellhire.co.uk/partners

Hints & Tips, Partners, UK News

PSTN Switch Off 2025 – What Opportunities are Arising?

The Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) allows for traditional fixed line telephony over copper telephone lines using analogue signalling. In addition to traditional voice services, many specialised services that use the PSTN will need to make the move to digital solutions before the December 2025 PSTN/ISDN switch off and September 2023 “Stop-Sell” deadlines. It’s estimated that over 2 million local UK businesses will be impacted, creating a surge in opportunities with the move to completely digital. This blog will highlight the different opportunities that have arisen, how different digital solutions compare and how known connectivity issues can be solved with new advancements. 

Many businesses believe the decision is strictly between switching to Hosted Voice (VoIP) or mobile, however, it’s not just a question of which solution to switch to, it’s finding the correct match to how a business operates. For larger businesses, VoIP could be considered a more practical solution, allowing multiple devices to be integrated, whether landline or mobile, and can reduce the downtime caused by repairs or issues with the copper wires. Many, however, have concerns over the overall cost, security, reliability, and QoS of a VoIP solution versus the perceived benefits. For many businesses such a heavy investment may not be needed.

The shift to mobile in recent years has seen ‘Mobilepreneurs’ on the rise, with over 31,000 new smartphone-based businesses predicted in the next 3 years, according to O2 Business. With micro-businesses making up 96% of all businesses in the UK, the rise in reliance on mobile voice and data services could lower the cost of tariffs even further as mobile becomes a more widespread option for small businesses across the country. With the addition of mobile applications that mimic traditional PBX functionality, businesses of all sizes could see a cost-benefit of switching to a ‘mobile only’ communications strategy.

With these fundamental changes, what opportunities arise? VoIP is still a choice for solutions where voice is needed such as lifts comms and door systems, however, there are key opportunities in specialised services, by utilising 4G/5G mobile data connectivity instead. Primary services running on ADSL can be replaced with a stronger data connection. Street furniture, such as traffic lights, causes stress, time and demand heavy costs when digging up roads for fibre. Instead, there is a massive opportunity to switch to M2M IoT mobile data connectivity through multi-network SIMs in place of the old L2TP to eliminate unnecessary cost, time, roadworks and disruption. Examples are already out there, with businesses using intelligent mobile data to support major government public body’s to move street furniture endpoints away from the PSTN and to monetize these, often receiving millions in revenue. The UK security system industry is thriving with new opportunities waiting for change, it’s largely made up of IoT devices that rely on the PSTN and is worth £1.5bn alone. Using M2M IoT mobile data can not only aid the transition but provide better benefits and control for businesses across the country, while delivering greater financial opportunities for providers. Construction, healthcare and even the alarm industry are all in need of new connections due to the switch off and are some of the biggest industries across the UK, with 1 million alarms alone waiting to be migrated from the PSTN. The advantage of mobile means customers can be connected right away, avoiding fibre installation delays, and preventing the anxiousness of the 2025 switch off and 2023 “stop-sell” deadline looming upon us. 

With access to multiple mobile networks, M2M IoT SIMs can prioritise the strongest signal during network outages and can switch automatically, preventing maintenance issues or loss of connection. Despite 95% of the UK having access to fibre broadband, it’s not always the right solution, especially for businesses who need to connect sites right away, or those wanting to avoid long contract commitments. Legacy issues surrounding signal strength and QoS in remote locations are solved, as multi-network M2M IoT SIMs will connect to the strongest signal available and are network agnostic. Meaning if a cellular network problem occurs, it will simply automatically swap to the next strongest alternative network. Concerns on data caps and the amount of control over the data usage can be squashed, the level of customisation and the management tools available with M2M IoT SIMs will leave businesses and providers with more control and flexibility than before. 

To conclude, it’s not a question of which Hosted Voice (VoIP) or Mobile solution looks better or is more affordable, it’s about how the solution will match with a business’s operations and what benefits it will bring. The vast opportunities brought about by the switch off, not only for voice solutions but for all other specialist services, provides great financial openings and benefits waiting to be grasped. M2M IoT Mobile Connectivity is a massive opportunity for the Channel. Partner with Cellhire and discover new solutions to grow your M2M IoT revenue. Start getting involved today.

Visit: https://www.cellhire.co.uk/partners#contact-form

Email: resellers@cellhire.com

Call: +44 (0)1904 610610 

Hints & Tips, Travel, UK News, US News

Everything you need to know about 5G

5G is finally here. After months of intense build up, the fifth generation of mobile networks is starting to be rolled out, bringing with it promises of faster connectivity, more reliability and lower internet congestion. The 5G network follows previous generations of 2G, 3G and, most recently, 4G.

If you’ve been eagerly awaiting the launch of the network, here are a few questions you might want answering before you take the 5G plunge.

What is 5G?

5G is the fifth generation of mobile network connectivity. It is the successor to the current broadband connection, 4G, and will transform internet connectivity forever. 5G will make everything faster; data transfers, uploads speeds, download speeds, and will enable more stable connections with wider coverage. Not only will it be faster than ever before, it will be able to send more information between devices, meaning faster response times and a reduction in latency.

For users, 5G will do everything that 3G and 4G enabled you to do; browse, share, watch and stream, however it will also open up a whole new world of opportunities, including transformational growth with IoT, AR and AI capabilities. The hyper-connectivity that 5G brings between smart devices and machines will result in intelligent new processes that have never been possible before now.

How fast is 5G?

5G is fast. Faster than fast. In fact, probably the only connotation that comes to mind when you hear 5G, is the word fast. It’s grabbing headlines due to its likely speeds expected to reach in excess of 1Gb/s and projected speeds for the future could see speeds of 10Gb/s, which is 100 times faster than 4G.

To put into perspective how fast that actually is, currently your average HD film may take a day to download with 3G coverage and around 10 minutes on 4G. If on 5G, the same film will be downloaded is around 5 seconds. That’s a whole lot of film watching!

How does 5G work?

Alike to its predecessors, 5G will carry communications wirelessly over the air via radio frequencies. 5G uses an advanced radio frequency to transfer data faster and more efficiently. The radio frequencies are higher and shorter, meaning less congesting internet traffic and more available bandwidth for the information to be sent.

Although these higher bands are faster than previously seen, they are less well suited to carry information over long distances because of their shorter wavelengths. The frequency can also be blocked by physical objects such as building and trees, so you might see clusters of smaller masts closer together in order to boost capacity between single standalone masts.

Before 5G, MIMO (multiple-input/multiple-output) technology was used to send and receive data signals between several antennas simultaneously. 5G upgrades this digital technology to Massive MIMO, meaning that rather than just a handful of antennas sharing information, now a few hundred will be. Algorithms for Massive MIMO are able to plot the best transmission route through the air to each user. For users, this means 5G can serve multiple users and multiple devices simultaneously, while still maintaining speed and consistency.

How is 5G different to 4G?

It’s a common misconception that 5G is just a faster version of 4G. Yes, it is faster than 4G and it is an improvement of 4G, but 5G isn’t just a step up from its forerunner, like 4G was to 3G. 5G will be the driving force for a digital revolution.

Each generation prior to 5G has brought its own benefits. 2G connectivity saw the birth of basic internet, texts and MMS. 3G upgraded to better internet, streaming and basic video calling. 4G was a game changer and made speeds up to 500 times faster than 3G, allowing for outside speeds to compete with home broadband. 4G brought high-quality video calling, supported HD TV on mobile, and super-fast mobile browsing. All of which were essential as the proliferation of smartphones and tablets evolved from what once came before.

5G is almost compulsory as the world now paves the way for a new era of technology and creates new economic opportunity; including IoT, augmented reality, artificial intelligence and autonomous machines. 5G has been referred to as “the network of networks”, and will be encoded into technologies ‘DNA’ for both business and in the home. Less interference and better efficiency that comes with 5G will support the introduction of smart cities, and a smart world.

What will 5G enable us to do?

5G will enable us to do everything we do now, only faster, smarter and more efficiently. Day to day, 5G will allow for clearer calling with less background noise, while making and receiving calls and using data won’t interrupt download speeds, and there will be less pixelation and buffering when making video calls. Using 5G at home and out and about will keep you connected instantly, as it’s expected to be faster than most fixed line broadband.

For consumers, imagine smart homes and smart work spaces. Alike to when you unlock your car with central locking, imagine unlocking your house without a physical key. Once inside, a smart home can have your lights already turned on and is already at your desired temperature. Moving from room to room will turn more lights on and switch off the rooms you’ve left. Currently, ownership of smart home devices, which are examples of IoT devices embedded with sensors and other electronics to send and receive data over a network, has doubled since 2016. A statistic which is likely to increase with the advantage of IoT.

How will 5G reduce latency?

One of the key differentiators between 5G and its predecessors is the reduction in latency. For those that are unaware of what latency is, it’s the time it takes devices to communicate wirelessly with each other; it’s the time taken for data to reach its destination via the network and back again (such as a text message from one phone to another and the sender receiving a Delivered notification). Whilst your device is transferring data, latency is the measure of delay, measured in milliseconds.

Online, latency is seen as responsiveness. For example, how long a web page takes to load. Latency occurs when the devices are on a slow network and the bandwidth capacity cannot support the large transfer of data being sent.

With the speeds, bandwidth, and capacity that 5G brings, these issues are now a thing of the past. 5G will increase the rate in which data can be transferred and cuts down the response time to 1-10 milliseconds (the time on 4G was 30-50 milliseconds). This means you can expect lightning fast connectivity and responsiveness, without any lag time. This will be imperative for mission critical services as they rely on network connectivity to transfer data.

What will 5G mean for businesses?       

For business, 5G will fuel the growth in certain industries by unlocking business potential. Expect to see automated factories, remote health care and autonomous vehicles. Expect faster downloads and better connectivity, and see a rise of IoT, AR and AI as 5G aims to power the rise.

5G will change advance offerings from communication service providers; 4G rearranged the landscape with data packages outweighing voice and SMS, and now 5G will change the game again as providers can offer more cost-efficient services (10x lower cost per gigabyte than current 4G).

With 5G comes ‘network slicing’, where operators will be able to slice the 5G network to allocate capacity matching specific requirements. This is a game changer for network management and demonstrates the adaptiveness of 5G. Consumers downloading films, IoT devices transferring data and automonmous cars will each have different network requirements, the latter needing enough to enable responsiveness and little latency.

Businesses will be able to rent a 5G slice for their requirements, which will be an isolated network connection without any surrounding congestion.

5G and IoT

IoT in business has been gradually growing over the past few years, with businesses of all sizes seeing the benefits it can bring. With 5G this will only accelerate, as the new fifth generation network will help collect and transfer huge amounts of data in an efficient, responsive and high-speed way.

5G will set itself aside from previous networks in IoT, as current wireless infrastructure hasn’t got the capacity to accommodate the mass of devices exchanging information, without slight lags. 5G will provide the infrastructure needed to carry huge amounts of data and will support the devices that demand internet access, as many require a higher bandwidth to cope.

IoT icons

Has 5G already been rolled out?

Most countries can expect to have access to 5G by 2020, however some networks across the globe have already made 5G commercially available. In the UK, EE was the first network to make 5G available in 5 UK cites. Vodafone has also rolled out its 5G network in 7 UK cities. Both networks have plans to have more cities connected by the end of 2019. In the US, Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint has all made 5G available in certain parts of the country.

Further afield, in South Korea, SK Telecom and KT have each rolled out 5G, along with Ooredoo in Qatar.

Does 5G mean the end of fixed line services?

5G is said to be as fast and as reliable as fixed line services, including home broadband, leading some to wonder whether ending fixed-line contracts is the best move. Many will still prefer the stability and certainty of physical wires, however good wireless connectivity becomes.

5G, as it continues to be rolled out, will aim to be a complementary service for users when out and about rather than a replacement to fixed line. This is likely as as many telecoms companies have spent years investing in fibre optic and copper wire fixed line broadband and would be reluctant to switch to wireless as soon as it’s available. Those wanting to ditch their fixed line should also consider the stability of the connection as full-fibre services will beat 5G as it stands, as it connects to the mobile mast without dropping signal strength when a bus or lorry becomes an obstacle to 5G waves.

It’s likely that domestic and office broadband will stick with being primarily fixed line for the upcoming years, although fixed wireless access may be made available when needed.

Hints & Tips, Travel, UK News, US News

Cellhire set to be major service provider to attendees visiting Japan in 2019/2020

Japan is set to host two of the biggest sporting events in the world over the next couple of years; the Rugby World Cup is fast approaching in September and the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics is closely behind. These events are set to be huge for Japan, expecting to attract hundreds of thousands of visitors and many more watching from across the world. The last Olympic Games attracted over 3.6 billion viewers worldwide, and the sheer sense of patriotism that comes accompanied with the games, is only expected to grow from each competing country.

This will be the first time Asia has hosted the Rugby World Cup tournament and Japan hasn’t hosted the Olympics since the 1998 Winter Games. Expecting huge numbers, Cellhire is ready and waiting for the excess of visitors, thanks to its Japanese office, which is preparing to provide visitors with local, in-country mobile connectivity whilst in Japan, in the forms of airtime, devices, SIMs and mobile hotspots.

Crowd of People Crossing Street in Tokyo, JapanCellhire already has an excellent global track record in the sports and entertainment fields, proven by having provided tens of thousands of connections at major events through the close relationships with network providers around the world.

Experts in the field of worldwide connectivity, Cellhire is also an expert in the Japan region, having provided thousands of non-event business and consumer products and solutions since its opening nearly 15 years ago.

Similarly to previous worldwide events, Cellhire has teamed up with local networks to offer attendees unparalleled, fast and outstanding coverage across the whole of Japan, including host venues and the travel between them. As the latest addition to the over 50 network partnerships Cellhire already maintains, local networks NTT DOCOMO and SoftBank are set to offer inclusive rates for both data crunchers and voice users.

With only a few months to go until the Rugby World Cup begins, event organisers warn demand for official travel and hospitality packages is already exceeding expectations. Cellhire advises fans to plan ahead and save on voice and data costs when in Japan by ordering prior to travel.

Japanese pagodaWith offices in the UK, USA, France, Germany, Switzerland and Japan, attendees, including TV and radio broadcasters, from all over the world can receive SIM cards, smartphones, mobile hotspots and other value-added telecoms and services ahead of time. The Japan office is also on hand, post departure, with local, on-ground support throughout the events, next day delivery in parts of Japan and online support, which will guarantee excellent customer response times and help minimise potential “bill-shock”.

Cellhire is a leading mobile telecoms supplier at global events and has previously provided connectivity to its clients at events including the FIFA World Cup, Wimbledon, Tour de France, the Summer and Winter Olympic Games, the Paralympics and the UEFA Euro Finals.

Hints & Tips, Travel

Using your phone in China: A precautionary guide

In wake of recent months and controversies surrounding privacy breaches abroad, those with planned trips to places such as China are rightly slightly hesitant. On January 3rd 2019, the US State Department issued a Level 2 Travel Advisory for traveling to China. This means those entering China should Exercise Increased Caution, due to arbitrary enforcement of local laws.

In exercising increased caution, travelers should extend diligence to the use of mobile and tech devices when entering the country. Cellhire previously published a blog on Why Phone Security Matters Abroad, but the rumor-mill has suggested those travelling to China are highly at risk of being monitored. Here are precautions you should be taking to avoid potential risks.

  1. Leave your devices at home

There have been stories of devices being confiscated and tampered with while going through customs in a range of countries, but if you’re worried about possible infringement on your privacy and data, it may be a better option to leave your devices at home. Understandably, this may be easier for those travelling to China for leisure rather than for business. Business travelers partaking in business events and meetings in China are in need of a device to some extent so have no choice other than to take something with them. In this case, don’t worry, there are other precautions to take.

  1. Prepare your devices for travel

If you’re taking devices to China, make sure you’ve ‘prepared’ them. Remember your devices contain valuable data, information and in some case, intellectual property. The last thing you want is spying eyes getting a hold of your information. When traveling, all this stored data becomes vulnerable, so ‘preparing’ your device for the worst is imperative. Update the operating system to the latest version; this will help fill in those potential security gaps that could be hacked. Also, ensure your Bluetooth is turned off whilst travelling. This, again, eliminates possible eavesdropping entries.

Lastly, and maybe most importantly, safeguard your devices with a complex password / PIN that can’t be easily guessed or hacked. For extra protection, put a 2-factor authentication on anything that lets you.

  1. Cleanse your devices

If adding a password to your devices isn’t enough to put you at ease, try cleansing your device of all unnecessary data you don’t need while traveling. Move all your data over to an external source that you can leave at home while you travel. It’s better to always travel with a ‘blank’ device, so there is nothing to lose once you enter China. You should also cleanse and wipe your device upon re-entering your home country, in case any of your devices have been compromised while out of the country.

  1. Use a rented device / SIM

The best solution for those traveling to a country in which they need to exercise caution, is to travel with a rented device / SIM. If you’re hesitant to take your own device out of fear or losing your data, take a device that is blank and will allow peace of mind. Get a device that is already set up to work in-country, with a local SIM card. This will not only keep your personal device safe, but will also allow you to browse online, call and text for the best possible rate. If this is something you opt for, purchase these before traveling. If you purchase a device in the country you travel to, like the airport, not only are you risking having an already compromised device / SIM, but you are also likely to spend more than it’s worth. As an alternative, Cellhire can offer both in country SIMs and devices depending on your needs and requirements. Cellhire was the recommended alternative to taking personal devices on a recent segment of Bloomberg’s Daybreak Asia, as advised by the VP of Park Strategies.

  1. Use a VPN

It’s well known that some countries block access to specific sites; China especially. Say goodbye to Gmail, YouTube, Twitter, Wikipedia etc, because it’s likely you won’t be able to access them. To avoid this, you can use a VPN to create your own private internet connection that only you can access. This is definitely a must if you’re away for business and need to access your company information or intranet, especially as China is renowned for controversies surrounding monitoring internet traffic and blocking.

Be warned however, as of 2018, China is cracking down on the use of VPNs. Those who wish to use a VPN should look at several options, in case their primary option is blocked. TechRadar has recently produced a helpful article reviewing the top VPNs to use when traveling to China.

Hints & Tips, Travel

Why Phone Security Matters Abroad

When leaving the country to travel abroad, everyone knows they need their passport. However, what is the next essential thing you make sure you have with you? Your smartphone probably. In the world of connectivity, instant messaging and sharing, you use your smartphone as an extension of yourself. It contains all the resources to stay connected to everyone, your personal details, your photos… and probably a lot of other sensitive information. When abroad, your smartphone becomes the ultimate travel companion; your navigator, your translator, your currency convertor.

However, how do you protect your phone when travelling abroad and why is it so important? Your phone is probably the single most valuable device you carry around; that could lead to a whole load of trouble if anything on it, including the device itself, fell into the wrong hands. Yet without leaving your device at home, which definitely sounds counterintuitive, what can be done to protect your data while you travel? Below are some of the ways you can protect your phone security abroad.

  1. Leave Your Phone at Home

Don’t do this really, we know you don’t want to, and with so many other good alternatives that will keep you secure, you really don’t need to.

  1. Don’t Trust WiFi

Avoid free and public WiFi no matter the cost. WiFi in public spaces, restaurants and hotels are easy prey for anyone lurking waiting for naïve travelers to connect to. Potential network hackers could easily obtain your data if you’re not careful; this could be anything from monitoring your activity to stealing personal data that could lead to identity theft. To ensure your WiFi connection is safe and secure, get yourself a portable MiFi device.

  1. Use a VPN

As stated above, anyone on the same network as you, potentially a few hundred if you’re using public/ free WiFi, has the ability to intercept and grab your unencrypted data. To eliminate the risk of this, you can use a VPN. A virtual private network will protect you against hackers as it acts as your own personal shield – giving you a connection that only you have access to. It’s essentially your own private tunnel, away from the streams of others.

To use a VPN, you will need to download and install a VPN app onto your device, start it up once you’re connected to the internet and then choose a server. Although you will need to be connected to the internet (whether this be public or free), a VPN puts a protective shield around you and your data. Your data becomes encrypted, avoiding all the risks of open WiFi. Additionally, a VPN can also be helpful if you’re travelling to countries that may have blocked internet access. A VPN can change your IP address and allow access to sites such a Netflix.

  1. Switch SIM Cards

Opting to switch out your SIM will protect some of your data in the unfortunate case of theft or loss. Internal storage is safe if you back up your device before travelling, but we’ll get to this in a minute. Choosing to get another SIM, probably a local in-country SIM will give you a temporary phone number but the benefits speak for themselves; it protects your data, gets you cheaper call and roaming rates in-country and you could get one on a pay as you go basis. You also have choice, you could opt for a data only SIM or a voice only SIM, depending on what you need. You could also get a SIM card that works in a number of countries, one that can quickly change network providers so you always get the best possible connection. Doing this of course, will also avoid using un-trusted public WiFi.

  1. Turn Off Roaming

Disabling your data roaming abroad will limit your data usage and may ease you while travelling; knowing that you won’t return home to a steep bill. From 2017, EU citizens can roam for no additional charges while in Europe, so if this is applies to you, you are safe to leave roaming on.

What is Roaming?

While abroad, your home network provider can’t travel with you, instead your connection will be run by a different, local, network operator. Partnering providers, your home operator, and the operator your device switches to abroad, will charge each other to cover the cost of ‘traffic’ for them having to support you. This will incur your home operator charging you this cost.

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  1. Back Everything Up Beforehand

Often an oversight to many travelers, make sure you back up your device prior to travelling. This is in case your phone does go missing, you can quickly restore a new, replacement device with all your stored details on. For example, you can restore from iCloud on an iPhone if needs be.

As a sub-point, make sure your device is running the latest software. Software updates usually include security enhancements and bug fixes, this will help reduce the chance of your connection being hacked. Also, give your device a passcode, preferably a long one; it’s better to be safe than sorry!

  1. Take Action Against Theft & Loss

For all the power that phones bring us; connecting us to the world, keeping us productive, taking pictures etc, it’s often overlooked that they are small handheld devices. Easily misplaced or dropped or, worse case scenario; stolen. We’ve all been there when we go to grab our pockets and experience the ghost feeling if our phone is missing. This experience is only heightened when you travel, and for good reason, you’re in new atmosphere where you don’t know the place or the people.

  • Tell your Network Provider

The first thing to do if you’re phone goes walkabout is to call / text it. If it has just been lost, you might be lucky and find a kind stranger has found it. If this has happened then, voila you can get it back. If the persistent calling and texting doesn’t work, tell your network provider. They can then block your phone so you don’t risk paying for any unauthorized usage while it’s been out of your hands. They might ask you for your device’s identification number (IMEI) so they can track it, so make sure you take a note of it!

  • Track and Wipe Your Phone

After notifying your network provider and they’ve said they will block your SIM, it might be wise to remotely track and wipe your phone. Both Apple and Android give you the option to ‘Find My Phone’. If the phone is on, you will be able to see the exact location where your phone is. Unfortunately, if your phone is turned off, this won’t be available. On the latest iOS update for Apple users, there is an option to activate ‘Lost Mode’ through Find My iPhone, this feature will remotely lock your device. At a final resort, you should remotely wipe your device. You will be able to restore a replacement device up to your last back up.

  • Change Your Passwords

Lastly, just for extra protection, change your passwords on important sites such as email, banking, and other apps, just for extra protection in case someone has been able to access your phone.

Hints & Tips, Travel

A Beginner’s Guide to Apple Wallet

Are you finally ready to take the plunge into the world of Apple Pay?

With the invention of the Apple Wallet, you need to remember one less essential item when you leave the house; pay in-store and online using your phone for a faster, more convenient check out. First things first you’ve got to successfully get your cards into the wallet to get started! We’ve got you covered with a completely fool proof step-by-step guide to help you get it right first time….

  1. For iPad, iPod and of course, iPhone here’s what to do:
      • Open up the Wallet app
      • Tap + or Add Credit or Debit Card
      • Tap Continue to progress and add your card

      • Hold your card in front of you device’s camera so it fills the white box. Ensure you hold them still and have good lighting for the most effective results.
      • Double check the card number and name entered are correct and tap Next
      • Enter your card’s Expiry Date and CVC number (three digit number on the back of your card)
      • Read and the tap Agree to the Terms & Conditions
      • Tap Next. Now your bank or card issuer will verify your information and decide if you can use your card with Apple Pay. If your bank or issuer needs more information to verify your card, they’ll ask you for it. When you have the information, go back to Wallet and tap your card. This security check is another way of protecting you against fraudulent activity.
      • Pick your verification method and either tap Text Message or E-mail to receive a confirmation code.
      • Wait…
      • Enter the six digit verification code (which will expire in 30 mins)
      • Click Done
      • Go into Settings and scroll down to Wallet & Apple Pay (it should be underneath iCloud and iTunes & App store)
      • Make any changes you want:
        • Allow Touch ID for payments
        • Allow Access When Locked by tapping Double-Click Home Button to green
        • Add new cards or allow Payments on Mac
        • Altering the Default Card, shipping address, email and phone number
      • Et voila! You are now able to used Apple Pay!

  1. You can also activate Apple Pay on your WATCH or Mac!
    • WATCH:
      • Open up the Apple WATCH App on your iPhone
      • Go on My Watch tab and Select the watch you want (if you own multiple)
      • Tap Wallet then tap Apple Pay
      • Follow the same steps to add your card
      • After your bank or issuer verifies your card, tap Next. Then start using Apple Pay.
    • Mac:
      • Apple Pay is only available on a MacBook Pro with Touch ID
      • Go to System Preferences and click Wallet & Apple Pay.
      • Tap Add Card
      • Follow the steps to add your card
      • After your bank or issuer verifies your card, tap Next. Then start using Apple Pay.
  1. Next step: Add Tickets and Gift Cards to Wallet
    • Simply click download on a ticket you have received, most likely in an email confirmation, and then tap Add to Wallet. Your tickets will now be easy to find and use!
    • To make the most of Apple Pay tap the + in the top right of your screen
    • Tap Find Apps for Wallet, this will take you to the App Store
    • All the Apps listed are com patible with Apple Pay and offer rewards and loyalty Just add them to your Wallet and use the barcode online or in store!
Hints & Tips, Travel

9 reasons to buy the Samsung Galaxy S9

Are you looking for an excuse to splash out on a new phone? Well, here are nine reasons why you should consider treating yourself to the new Samsung Galaxy S9…

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  1. Samsung Screen

The Samsung Galaxy S9’s screen is nothing short of genius. The curved glass wraps the display neatly around the sides of the phone, delivering the ‘Infinity display’. This, in combination with a clean aluminum frame, really gives the device a luxury quality.

In the 5.8-inch screen, the AMOLED panel depicts incredibly vibrant, bright and accurate colors. The S9 has a Quad HD+ (2,960 × 1,440 pixel) resolution, which means it’s actually sharper than its larger S9+ counterpart because it packs more pixels in (570 pixels-per-inch to be exact).

  1. New and improved Software

The curved display proves excellent not only when viewing stunning photographs, but also when viewed with the advancements in the S9’s software, especially with regards to watching TV and Gaming. The S9 supports HDR10, so apps like Netflix, YouTube, and HBO with HDR10 content look their absolute best on this phone and the Snapdragon 845 chip boasts bigger graphics improvements. Games run without a hitch and the phone doesn’t get too warm after you’ve been playing for a while.

The Snapdragon 845 also truly shines with fast performance across the board; whether you are playing graphic-intensive games or simultaneously using Multi Window and Android Oreo’s floating window for YouTube playback, the Galaxy S9 won’t fail to keep up. In summary, this is the fastest phone made by Samsung to date.

  1. Easy to handle

It’s really easy to get your hands on the S9. Thanks to the small and compact 5.8-inch display and smooth curved edges, the S9 is easy and comfortable to use in one hand. However, due to the elongated 18.5:9 aspect ratio, this device still offers a lot of screen to look at. The handling of this device is further improved by the conveniently placed power button on the right edge, Bixby button on the left edge and most importantly, the new location of the fingerprint sensor. Now, the fingerprint scanner and camera are setup vertically, as opposed to horizontally as we saw with the S8, making it easier to swipe the sensor and not the camera. But, if you prefer a ‘the bigger the better approach’ the S9 Plus is the phone for you.

For those who are used to older phones with physical controls, the pressure-sensitive virtual home button provides a familiar feeling; making the transition to on-screen keys feel more natural.

  1. Great Durability

The materials used to produce this phone are an improvement on those of the S8. The screen maintains the high resolution display using the bright and vibrant Super AMOLED panel. The upgrade is the use of Gorilla Glass 5; this is a big step forward in the device’s durability. This screen is more capable than its predecessor at enduring the knocks and drops of everyday life. In addition, the aluminium frame creates a more robust construction.

The device is also water and dust resistant; great for peace of mind if you enjoy the outdoors… or you’re clumsy! IP (Ingress Protection) is a universally accepted measure of dust and liquid resistance and with the S9 and S9+ having a rating of IP68, it’s safe to say your phone can be protected from adventurous conditions.

  1. Fantastic Photos and Super Slow Motion Video

The Plus offers a dual-camera system that has features such as 2x optical zoom and a Portrait Mode for a blurred background effect. The Live Focus and Selective Focus features are also superior on the S9+. However, these benefits come at a price.

Even though the S9 has one lens instead of two like the S9+, it sure does pack quite a punch. The killer single 12-megapixel camera with variable aperture takes stunning photographs. At f/1.5, the S9 features the widest aperture available on a smartphone currently; meaning it can absorb more light and produce high quality images. You can manually switch apertures in the camera’s Pro mode and the default aperture setting is generally f/2.4. But, when the camera detects low light, it will automatically switch to f/1.5 aperture (the lower the number the wider the aperture). This feature helps makes the S9’s camera superior in comparison to many other smartphones on the market today; its ability to capture noticeably brighter, high quality photographs.

The Super Slow motion video feature is remarkable with this phone. You can slow down a video clip to 960 frames per second at 720p resolution for 0.2 seconds; that’s 32 times slower than real life! The S9 camera lens will automatically detect action in a frame and will slow it down for you – simple! Alternatively, you could use the manual mode to do it yourself. The most exciting part about this feature is the variety of things you can do with the video after it’s been shot. You can loop the clip, swing it back and forth or reverse it.

  1. Intelligent scan

The S9 offers a triple threat of identity authentication; iris scanning, facial recognition and fingerprint sensor. The new improvements in this feature are the relocation of the finger scanner and the introduction of ‘Intelligent scan’. Now, facial and iris scanning are combined, so if one fails the S9 will simply default to the other saving you the trouble of having to start again!

  1. Make it your own!

The S9 has done a stellar job in creating an attractive array of glossy colours and hues for you to choose from. Midnight Black, Coral Blue and Lilac Purple are stand-out and will have you admiring your phone more than you realise possible.

If these colours aren’t enough for you, the S9’s customisation options for graphics and layouts are endless and allow for true personalisation. From the size of your apps to the font and colour of the time icon, you can add your artistic flare to every aspect of this phone.

  1. Bonus features

This phone will make your life easier – wave goodbye to the burden of iPhone dongles… the S9 has a headphone jack! The S9 has also developed to cater to those who prefer to listen to music out loud with the new stereo sound speaker. The top earpiece works with the speaker at the bottom of the device, AKG-tuned, Dolby Atmos audio is said to be 1.4 times louder than the S8. Music is easily room-filling, with a rich and clear sound and when you watch Atmos-optimized content, the audio seems to physically surround you.

  1. Won’t burn a hole in your pocket

At £739 and £869, the devices save you around £200 when compared to their closest rival – the iPhone X! With interesting software, design and a superior camera, it’s fair to say that you get your money’s worth with this phone.