How to Set Up a Wi-Fi Network for Your Business

Posted in Guides, Radius, Wi-Fi, WPA2

US businesses continue to flourish – it’s a known fact! There are close to 30 million businesses in America, and about 80% of them are self managed. If you’ve been thinking of escaping the 9-to-5 race, this article will help you understand what’s needed when it comes to building a Wi-Fi network for your business.

In a nutshell, you will need a router – be it wired or wireless – and maybe a few wireless access points, a.k.a. APs.

First of all, you will need to determine the areas where Wi-Fi coverage is needed. If your business is supposed to run using several computers, some of them may not need Wi-Fi or even Internet access at all. It’s best to keep your accountant’s computer disconnected from any network, if possible, for example. In some computers will definitely work even better if you can plug them into the network using wired connections.

So, think about the computers that will access the network using wires, and then focus your energy on the ones that really need Wi-Fi. Then, try to map out the areas where you’d like to have a stronger Wi-Fi signal. You’d like that to happen for computers that are supposed to do video conferences, or any other computer that will either stream, or work with large amounts of data.

It’s time to evaluate the number of wireless access points that will be needed. For best results, consider adding an AP for each 1,000 square feet surface. This is just a rough estimation, of course, because it all depends on the type of building and walls, the size of the room, the electronic equipment in the area, and so on. Still, my recommendation should serve as a good starting point and will cover most people’s needs.

You don’t have to purchase lots of APs at once, of course. Just buy one, and then move it around, placing it in each room and seeing how well it performs. Use your cell phone, a tablet, or a laptop, and then walk around the building and see where the signal drops to a level that is not acceptable for your business. Then, you will be able to determine the needed number of APs.

It’s time to verify if each of the desired devices that is supposed to connect to the Wi-Fi network has a Wi-Fi adapter. Most smartphones and tablets would include one, but older laptops, or even newer laptops may not have a working Wi-Fi adapter. If this is the case, you can purchase USB Wi-Fi adapters. Some of them include detachable antennas, so you can easily boost their range by replacing them with antennas that have a higher gain.

Choose a wireless standard; pick one that is supported by all the devices. Some wireless adapters support both bands, so they can also work using the much less crowded 5 GHz band.

Some businesses attract customers by providing free Wi-Fi access – think coffee shops, for example. If this is the case, consider purchasing a router that can create a guest network.

Pick a security protocol. Go with WPA2, which provides the strongest encryption. You could use the PSK (pre-shared key) mode, which was built with the end-user in mind. However, if your business will have lots of employees, and if one of them loses his or her device or leaves the company, you will have to change the passwords on all the access points, computers, tablets, smartphones, and so on.

The enterprise security mode requires a RADIUS server, which will generate a custom key for each Wi-Fi client. If you’re just starting out, you will be happy to discover that there are several hosted services which will save you money and make things much easier on your end.

Will you want to have a centralized storage system? If the answer is affirmative, consider using one of the computers – one that has a large hard drive – to store all the files. The better alternative is to purchase a NAS, which stands for network attached storage. It’s also a computer, but one that’s compact and was built especially for network file storage purposes.

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How to Create an RSS Feed in 10 Simple Steps

Posted in Drupal, Joomla, RSS, Tutorials, WordPress

Ever wanted to increase the number of people who are visiting your website, and do this on autopilot? If the answer is affirmative, you will be pleased to find out that the method which allows you to do that is quite simple: publish some content, create an RSS feed out of it, and then submit it to the top RSS directories.

And if you’re wondering how to find those high-quality directories that are willing to accept your feed, you will discover a list which includes the best sites at the top of this page, in the website menu.

So how do you create an RSS feed? Many popular CMSs make your job easier, by creating and pre-populating a feed with the titles of your latest blog articles. Here are a few examples.

WordPress: http://www.yourwebsiteaddress.com/feed/

Joomla: Content -> Article Manager -> Options -> Integration -> Show feed link -> Get the RSS feed URL

Drupal: Use the http://drupal.org/project/feedapi module.

But what should you do when your website isn’t built using one of the popular CMSs above? Well, you can always use an RSS creation application. Not only that, but there are also web services that will crawl your website and update your RSS feed on a regular basis.

Once you have decided to use either an application or an RSS creation service, it is time to set up your feed. Each app is different, of course, but generally speaking, these are the steps that need to be taken:

  1. Create a title for your newsfeed. Make sure to name it just like your website.
  2. Use your website URL for the address. This way, when people click your feed, they will be directed to the homepage, where they will (hopefully) have the chance to discover several links that point to your most viewed articles.
  3. Give your feed a meaningful description. Try to make it as enticing as possible, because it should serve as a call to action, making people click the link and arrive at your website.
  4. Once they’ve arrived, make sure to provide an awesome user experience. You want them to have access to your best content pieces, and you should try to keep them on the site for as long as possible.
  5. Some services allow you to add an image to the feed. If you’ve got a website icon, simply paste its URL in the corresponding field.
  6. Now that your feed has been created, it’s time to add content to it. Some services will only need your website URL, and then they will grab the articles on their own, populating the needed fields automatically.
  7. Often times, you can also add author information and even some of the comments that your articles have received.
  8. When you’re happy with the result of your work, choose File -> Export to create an XML file. It’s one of the most popular formats, so it will make it easy for people to subscribe, in case that they are interested in your RSS feed.

  1. Publish your feed. Upload the XML file on your server, get its URL, and then add it to your home page.
  2. It’s time to submit your RSS feed to the best directories out there. You can run a Google search for “RSS feed directories” to discover them, or you can use the list in the website menu above. Here’s a direct link to it.

If you are the author of a podcast, you can also submit your feed to iTunes, allowing Apple’s huge fan base to subscribe to it. Each iTunes feed is manually checked, so be sure to put up your best content. Good luck!

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