June 1st, 2014

Get your wifi up to hulk strength with ease

WI-FI has come so far in recent years. Many people I see in the store are still stuck looking at a waiting icon when using WIFI at home. One common  statement from my customers is that they want something that’s easy to set-up.

Check out this rundown of the Netgear Nighthawk with one of the most straight forward set-ups I’ve ever seen:


It could be the right one for your home. See one of our specialists in store for a solution that’s perfect for you.


July 22nd, 2013

Why doesn’t a 3 year old router cut it anymore?

Does this sound like you or someone you know?

Meet my parents.

They are not nerdy in the least. They have two smartphones, a game console, two laptops and a tablet. That’s 6 total. Mom uses her tablet while watching Netflix through a game console, while Dad is in the office doing research and chatting on Skype. That’s two video streams at the same time as two web browsing sessions. Truth is they are the new normal.

Sometimes my Mom would complain that her Netflix wouldn’t work if my Dad opened a Skype window while uploading files to Skydrive.

Does this sound familiar? Has it happened to you? How many devices do you own that access the internet wirelessly? If you’re an average household the answer is probably 5 or 6. Where do most of your devices connect to the internet at home? Through a wireless router.

Most people I deal with are similar to my parents. They aren’t tech savvy yet they can easily consume an above average amount of bandwidth.

I did some quick checks on my parents’ system and realized that the problem wasn’t with any of the devices like my parents thought. It was with the router.

Turns out a three year old router just wouldn’t cut it anymore.

My parents had an older wireless N router. It was one of the first ones that came out. It was better than what their internet service provider offered which was only wireless G. For a while it was fine and didn’t hiccup. Then they got new laptops, a tablet and eventually smartphones. The router was ok if only one of them was doing stuff but once they both started doing things the connection slowed to a crawl.

After some frustrating nights of staring at blank screen waiting for connections my Dad called me up and asked what was going on. He was asking me about the different speeds from his provider and which one he should use. I knew what he needed to do but it didn’t involve a higher monthly bill. My answer: Buy a new router.

After getting the new one setup they were back in action and no matter who was doing what, no one slowed down. They didn’t need to upgrade their speed from their provider at all.

Why doesn’t a 3 year old router cut it anymore?

Well most of the technology inside of older routers is the same as it was a few years ago. The difference is that now there’s more bandwidth available at more affordable prices. There are also different steps in wireless N that allow for everyone to buy a router for their needs without spending more than necessary.

I tested a new D-Link router at my house to see what it could do for people like my parents. Being a lot more nerdy than my parents, I have 17 things that could connect to it over WIFI.

On most days my family needs 6 connections at once just like my parents. My house is about 1600 sq/ft on three floors if you include the basement. It’s a townhouse with lots of interference from neighbours’ wireless routers and we hang out in the back-yard lots. My basement is where the router lives which is solid thick concrete.

Here is my solution to the router jam.

D-Link DIR-855L DIR-855L_200x200

What it’s got that’s important:
– Wireless N 900 — maximum 900 Mpbs vs maximum 150 or 300 from the old router
– Dual band antennas — 2.4ghz is cluttered but needed on some older devices 5ghz is much clearer
– Smart beam technology – higher power antennas push the signal out further even outside

What I found:
– Gave my 4 year old a tablet with streaming an HD movie from Skydrive
– My wife grabbed her laptop and went on Facebook chat while doing some emailing and uploading high resolution files to our photo lab to print on canvas
– I fired up a game console and downloaded a couple full games from the store
– While that was going I went on my laptop and opened up Skype and chatted with someone in Vancouver

Nothing slowed down at all. The games downloaded perfectly while my Skype video and the tablet didn’t skip a single frame. I walked into the back yard and kept chatting without any interruptions.
My wife didn’t miss a single blip on Facebook and the photos uploaded without interruption.

To top it off, it was amazingly easy to setup. You don’t even need a disk or a nerd for a son and you can set one up in 5 minutes. Great range and speed. Overall an amazing router. This little D-Link is now my silent champion keeping us connected all day without slowdowns.

Julian Sanders
In @LD_Saskatoon for @LDComputers

July 3rd, 2013

SurfEasy Mobile is here!

Your smartphone is a modern marvel. It’s your banker, your friends, your spouse, your work, your recipe book, your tour guide, your photographer, your personal shopper and so much more. With all that access to everything in your life in one place have you ever stopped to consider how secure your connection is? You may usually connect to cellular data which is secure for the most part. When you connect to WIFI, especially open hotspots with no password, you don’t really know how safe it is. Most people just trust that they have nothing important to steal. You might say “I’m not that interesting to a hacker.” Just imagine if someone got the password to just your email account. They could use it to reset the passwords on all your social media accounts. Then they could spam your friends and business contacts that looks like it’s coming from you. That alone is just embarrassing. If they get hold of your banking information that can cause you gross inconvenience while you fix the problem and hopefully insurance covers your losses.

There is a solution that can protect you from this. SurfEasy Mobile VPN.

VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. It’s an extra layer of protection that routes everything through a secure server. The connection between your device and the server is encrypted which means it’s only visible to you and no one else.

SurfEasy Mobile VPN is a service you pay for. It costs $29.99 a year available at London Drugs. It works on Apple iOS (iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch) and Android. It installs a service within your device that routes all internet traffic through a secure connection run by SurfEasy. The connection is not only encrypted to make sure no one is looking in at what you’re doing it also hides the physical address of your phone. There’s a little bit of magic that the SurfEasy conjured up to give just enough information to location aware apps like Maps and Foursquare so they still work.

The SurfEasy Mobile VPN also makes your device make it look like it’s in another country. That means you can get US Netflix or other blocked content not normally available in Canada. There is no bandwidth cap on the paid SurfEasy Mobile VPN so you don’t have to worry about how much you use the security and location changing.

I tried it out for a few weeks on my iPhone 5 with LTE. I was impressed at the speed. You don’t want anything slowing down your data connection. If SurfEasy slowed me down I would just turn it off most of the time. I have left it on for almost a month and have never turned it off. Other free ones I tried in the past have been notorious for being slow. That’s mostly because there are so many people using it. SurfEasy is paid so there’s less people on it and they maintain a very fast server with a limited number of users per connection. You don’t have to worry about the server filling up because you have priority on it at as a paid user.

I noticed a couple interesting things when I was using it. First when I went to search for something Bing or Google would ask me to fill in a human verification check because I was ‘changing locations so quickly’ which means it’s working well! I also had to re-verify my user name and password on a few of my social media apps. Once I did it once I was fine. They just want to check that you are who you say you are even if you traveled 10,000 km at the speed of light.

Available in store and online: http://www.londondrugs.com/SurfEasy-Mobile-VPN-with-Unlimited-Data-Protection/L7725906

Still not sure SurfEasy Mobile VPN is right for you? They have a free trial and more information available here http://www.surfeasy.com

Check back for the recently release SurfEasy Total VPN for Mac and PC review I just started playing with it.

Julian Sanders
in @LD_Saskatoon for @LDComputers

January 23rd, 2013

How I saved $$$ on WIFI

We live a privileged life in Canada. Wherever we go, hotels either offer free Wi-Fi or have Wi-Fi charges tied to a room, rather than a device.

Free Wi-Fi, of course, is good and when I travel I generally try to stay at hotels that offer free Wi-Fi. However, sometimes the choice is limited. In general terms, even when they charge for Wi-Fi, most hotel chains in Canada charge what most consider rational rates.

Some chains charge for Wi-Fi but offer that for free if you are a member of their loyalty clubs. Joining those clubs just for the free Wi-Fi is well worth the trouble, if you travel a lot as I do.

What bothers me are hotels that charge for Wi-Fi and charge by the device. That happened to me in a recent trip to the USA and my last trip to Hong Kong. As we all know, our arsenal of Wi-Fi devices is growing exponentially. Our phones, computers, tablets and ereaders are now all connected to a network. I generally travel with at least one computing device, either a computer or a tablet, and a phone. That is the bare minimum and in some cases, I go with both a tablet and a computer.

That’s what I did in this recent trip. The hotel offered Wi-Fi for $19.95 a day, which is not too bad. However, when the grossly misnamed “Welcome” screen came on, it added the words “per device”. Now, that really sucks. At $19.95 plus taxes and other levies, this Wi-Fi was going to cost me more than $60 a day for my three essential pieces of work equipment.

Luckily for me, my employers and their auditors, I was experimenting with a Dlink travel router, a.k.a DIR-505 Mobile Companion. Umm………………. I wondered………………………

I attached the router to the network using the network cable. I logged onto the router, not the Wi-Fi service, with my computer and proceeded to activate the Wi-Fi account. The Wi-Fi service logged the IP address of the router, not the computer. From then on, I just logged my phone and tablet onto the same router. Done. For $19.95, plus taxes a day, I had 3 live Wi-Fi attached devices.

Now, it may sound like I am cheap. That is not far from the truth, I do prefer the word “frugal”.

It is bad enough traveling alone on a business trip, with only 3 devices. How about when I travel with my family? We may well have 6 or 7 devices all together in one room. That’s over $120 A DAY for Wi-Fi. Reasonable? Not even close.

Those hotels who charge by the device may not like my advice of using travel routers, but it is high time they woke up and recognized the reality of the modern traveling public. The days when Bill Gates talked about a computer in every household are long gone. We now live with a computing device in every pocket!! Hotels need to adapt to that, or people will just find hotels that understand the needs of their customers better. Until that happens, my Dlink DIR-505 will have its own permanent compartment in my suitcase.

Cedric Tetzel
for @LDComputers

September 29th, 2012

Tech Talk D-Link Cloud Connected Devices

Tech Talk – D-Link cloud devices.

Products shown include:

D-Link Wireless N Day/Night Network Camera – DCS-932L

D-Link All-in-One Mobile Companion – DIR-505

D-Link Cloud Router 2000 – DIR826L

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