How to Choose an Internet Service Provider?

Choosing the wrong ISP can be disastrous. To ensure that you make the right choice, you need to consider a number of factors — from uptime to capacity to equipment to field response.

When selecting an ISP, don’t base your choice only on price or familiarity. With the abundance of ISPs today, it may be tempting to just go with the quickest or cheapest option. While that could save you money in the short-term, doing so could wind up causing you a lot more headaches – and lost productivity – over the long-term.

Following are the factors that are to be considered when seeking an ISP:

1. Uptime Commitments: Of all the promises ISPs make, none is worth anything if the ISP doesn’t fulfil its uptime commitments. The circuits simply have to work. If they don’t, organizations become dependent upon redundant or backup service. Look for service level agreements that provide real and measurable targets for uptime, not just 99.9% operational guarantees. Insist on specific wording that governs what happens when service fails. Does your organization receive credit off its bill? Will the ISP scramble a technician 24×7? Ensure these details before choosing your ISP.

2. Speed: Most customers tend to rate an ISP solely on advertised downstream speeds. While many ISPs promote 5 Mbps or faster service to businesses, these claims need to be tested. Marketing claims are occasionally excessive; excuses are plentiful. Before ordering, inquire what other clients, using the same service, are experiencing nearby to know how potent an ISP’s downstream speeds actually are. Or you can Test all new circuits’ speeds the day they’re installed, a month later, and quarterly after that. You can also find the ISPs with the fastest upload and download speeds actually tested by users worldwide, using Speedtest.net’s Net Index.

3. Customer/Technical Support: Even the best connections experience problems, and chances are you will have a question or problem you need to address. When things go wrong, how accessible is technical support? “I’ve called for assistance recovering a downed business circuit only to hear a recorded message stating support hours are between 9am and 5pm Monday through Friday.” That’s unacceptable for an ISP. Be sure the ISP you select provides technical support that meets your requirements.

4. Responsive Field service: If you experience outages or other problems with the internet (as will happen), how easy is it to get support? If a failure occurs (the most common issues are failed modems due to lightning strikes or other natural calamity, wiring going bad in the ISP-supported network interface device, etc), how quickly does the ISP commit to resolving the outage?

5. Equipment Quality & Flexibility: IT professionals know which modems fail and how often. They also know which modems with built-in firewalls should really be set to bridge mode and mated to better business-class routers. When comparing two ISPs’ bids, consider the quality of each firm’s equipment. The less time an IT pro must spend on site administering, reconfiguring, or restarting network equipment, the better. Also, Some ISPs enable customers to supply their own modems. Take advantage of these opportunities, as supplying your own network equipment not only allows you to select the quality you want but potentially lowers costs, too.

6. Add-ons & Special Features: Many ISPs throw in extras just to make it seem like you’re getting a great value. Things like anti-virus program subscriptions, an ISP-branded email address, and personal WebPages are just that-extras that you likely don’t need. Such features might sway you and you might end up choosing ISP which is less reliable with less uptime or speed or which may cost you more at the long run.

7. Pricing: Price is the factor that should be least considered when selecting an ISP. Uptime, capacity, service accessibility, and field response are much more critical, especially considering the importance of Internet circuits to businesses today. When factoring price, however, be sure to compare apples to apples. Some ISPs require customers to purchase a modem, while others lease this equipment. And some ISPs require multi-year contracts. Such lease and long-term arrangements may end up costing more in the long run, so compare costs carefully.

8. Terms & Conditions: Make sure you know what the service’s limitations are. Read the terms and conditions of service carefully. Is there a limit to the amount of data you can use per month? Do you need to sign a one-year contract? Does the ISP provide money back guarantee? Is there a penalty for early cancellation? These are the few questions you should consider before choosing an ISP.

Make a list of all of your requirements and prioritize them. Then, compare those requirements with ISPs that can meet those needs. Although price is an important factor in choosing an ISP, you should also consider your personal need, family structure, features and terms of the service plan, technical commitments and the reputation of the internet service provider.

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Terminated Connector Performance: It’s More Than Just IL and RL

What is the problem?

There are many manufacturers of fiber optic patchcords, which provide for competitive, cost-effective pricing for the end-user of these products. As the product has been more and more commoditized, it is wrongly assumed that all patchcords will perform the same as long as a few given performance metrics are met. Most associate good insertion loss (IL) and return loss (RL) as the only recipe for a good patchcord and, because of this, the barrier to entry is small. There are many “garage shop” environments that can produce a fiber patchcord to meet these metrics but are they really producing a good patchcord that will perform reliably over time? The answer is unknown as they have not made the financial commitment for test equipment that validates whether their process is capable and repeatable. Because their metrics are limited, they can claim first pass yields (FPY) that are on par with a world class manufacturing environment and, yet, offer a price and lead time that appears very attractive to the user.

What should I do?

It is important for you, the customer, to understand what makes a good patchcord by taking the time to research and ask some critical questions of your patchcord vendor candidates. Your inquiry and choice of a vendor should, at the very least, address 3 areas: the connector hardware, termination process, and final inspection methods. Not doing so puts your revenue generating circuits at risk. Patchcord termination quality and performance issues can cause you major headaches as they are often difficult to troubleshoot. A few pennies saved is not very comforting when those few pennies are the reason that your network or critical customer is screaming “Network Down!” at the worst possible time.

Where do I start?

In January 2001, the telecommunications industry began the process to change the testing standards for devices used in uncontrolled environments. The industry established the level 2 certification criteria, SR4226, for fiber optic connectors and jumper assemblies. The criteria was based on Telcordia’s generic requirements document, GR-326-CORE, established a year and a half earlier. A revision to enhance the performance metrics is currently under review. The standard addresses the suitability of appropriate use as well as performance metrics and physical geometries of a fiber optic termination. The key metrics of this standard are where you should start when developing your internal standards and what you should use to qualify your vendors against. 3 However, that’s a huge document… and it’s expensive! So, what are the key metrics I should look for?

Connector

To begin with, and to remove doubt in this area, a GR certified connector should be used. This is a connector that has been tested at Telcordia or a third party, and meets or exceeds the standard for this network component. You should ask the size of the ferrule being used; a smaller size improves the chance of concentricity (measure of how well the fiber core is centered in the ferrule). Some use a large 127 micron capillary, while a 125.5 improves this metric data as the core/cladding of a terminated fiber measures at 125.

Termination Process

Ask if epoxy is being de-gassed, especially if your patchcord will be used in uncontrolled environments like the OSP. What kind of prepping equipment do they use? The more automated equipment used, the smaller the chance of critical failures long term. A manufacturing process can cheat the system by using manual and cheaper prepping tools. Manual prepping tools can cause nicks in fiber that could only become evident over time.

What kind of cleaving do they perform? Is it manual which requires a high level of skill achieved by years of experience? An automated process like a laser cleaver greatly improves first pass yield data and delivers a more repeatable performance process.

Test and Measurement

Your minimum requirements should include data that meets insertion loss and return loss (reflectance). Insertion loss should meet the 326-Core minimum of.4dB, with reflectance meeting 55dB for UPC connectors and 65dB for APC. Asking the typical performance measures of a manufacturer’s process can save you on link loss budgets over a long fiber run through a FTTH network.

Apex offset, the measurement for how well the center core of the fiber is centered in relationship to the spherical apex of the polished tip, minimizes lateral offset between two fibers and maintains a better physical contact. Apex offset describes a physical condition of the polished fiber, rather than a performance parameter. It is also an acceptance criteria for Telcordia. An excessive apex offset contributes to high insertion loss and high back reflection readings.

Fiber undercut or protrusion affects the physical contact zone. This metric measures, in nanometers, the height of the fiber under or below the ceramic end-face. Too much undercut minimizes the chance of a good physical contact, while too much causes excessive fiber deformation when mating occurs resulting in degradation of signal. When two connectors are mated, the ceramic compresses around the fiber core which allows the fibers to squeeze up and make good contact with each other. When they do not touch (because of too much undercut), an air gap is created and loss happens. If the fiber is protruding too far (beyond 50nm), chipping and cracking can occur during the mate. Radius of curvature is the measurement of the connector end-face spherical condition. The radius generated affects the performance because the radius, when mated with another connector, should be compressing most of the material surrounding the core (ceramic ferrule). A proper radius, 5 to 12mm, allows for the right compression and max performance. Too tight of a radius will put too much compression on the glass and too loose will put too much on the surrounding ferrule with not enough compression. Too much or too little radius can cause light scatter or inadequate physical contact for optimal signal transfer. 5 Flat – 0mm radius 5-12mm radius Apex offset, fiber undercut/protrusion, and radius of curvature are the main ingredients that work in concert to deliver good IL and RL performance. Processes that drift out of this geometry range can still yield acceptable IL/RL, but sensitive traffic will be affected (such as video) and long term performance of the connector will be compromised.

Your vendor should be able to provide these geometry test reports with onhand interferometer testing. While you may not require this data for each and every connector, you should require that random testing is being performed to ensure the process is capable and not drifting out of spec. “Garage shops” will not be able to deliver this test data on demand.

Your test reports should account for each connector independently and not a total report that summarizes both ends.

End-Face Quality & Cleanliness

Currently, there is not an industry standard for this topic. To be sure, end-face and cleanliness has a direct impact on the performance of the connector. Several organizations (most notably, NEMI) have studied the impact of end-face defects and cleanliness. The influence of the contamination/scratches becomes more evident if they are located in the core/cladding areas. Particle contamination can cause a significant increase in IL (up to 10 times) and decrease in RL (up to 3 times). Scratches applied to the fiber contact zones 1a and 1b, which is an area from the core out to the cladding (125um), decreased RL by up to 25%. On the other hand, scratches located in the cladding layer showed little effect on IL and RL. Multiple heavy scratches passing through the core caused severe performance degradation in IL/RL and can be catastrophic.

Connectors with particle contamination will pass on contamination to mated connectors. Contaminants can prevent direct physical contact, creating an air gap. Multiply this by the number of re-mates over time and the problem spreads. Pits and scratches, in the critical contact zone 1a, will collect particulates over time and the same contamination-spread occurs. Long term reliability in dynamic circuits is severely reduced as opposed to those that are static. Scratches and polishing marks outside of critical contact areas are acceptable and do not have any impact on signal performance.

The quality fiber assembly manufacturers and OEMs will have their own inspection criteria. However, these specifications differ from company to company and the differences can cause materials to be “nonconforming” at user/customer sites.

What will your inspection criteria be?

Your vendor should provide visuals at a minimum 400X magnification. While some manufacturers require that there be no visual damage at this magnification in the defect zone (roughly an area 8x the diameter of the core), others require that the entire contact zone be void of defects. Others might allow 1 pit and 1 scratch X microns long or wide. There should never be any scratches or pits through the core.

Other manufacturers will allow some defects in the contact zone 1. And some, the ones you should avoid, do not have a standard in this area. Important point: Zero defects in this area are achievable and you should ask for it.

Taking a little time up front to review your vendors’ connector choice, termination processes, test and performance methods, and their stated and published end-face criteria will weed out the “garage shop” environments and leave the world-class manufacturers standing. Doing so is important to the investment of reliability of your entire network.

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The Significance of Pure Air Inside Your Home

Have you ever climbed up mountains? If so, what do you do when you reach the top? Most people open their arms, close their eyes, and take a deep breath. That is the special thing about clean and fresh air. You feel like taking a pause and inhaling fresh air. Over the past year, we have faced several waves of coronavirus. These days, we have been warned about another wave of this virus. Therefore, the importance of clean air has been increasing day by day. In this article, we are going to find out why air quality is important when it comes to our indoor environment.

The impact of pollution on your indoor air

No matter where you go, you will have to face the consequences of poor quality. Even if you are alone in your home, you will still be prone to polluted air. Every year, more than 1 million people lose their life because of air pollution.

According to some reports, India is among the top 10 countries in the world with the worst air quality. The effect of polluted air is more evident as people spend over 90% of their time inside their homes. Another research study found that residents are at a greater risk of covid-19.

As a matter of fact, indoor air pollution has become an international concern. We can say that pollution levels inside and in closed spaces are up to five times higher. Since most pollutants are not visible to the naked eye, you may not be able to aware of the dangers of dirty air.

Indoor air pollutants may be generated by common household items, such as cleaning agents, cooking fuel, furniture polish, pet dander, and paint. Apart from this, domestic appliances such as refrigerators and heaters may also be the common source.

Since homes are not airtight, air pollutants can easily get in. For example, smog, smoke, mold spores, and dust can get into your house through your windows or doors. Air conditioners can be used to cool down your rooms. But the downside is that they can also boost the movement of pollutants across your house.

What can you do to purify your indoor air?

Basically, air purifiers are simple devices that receive dirty air and put it out after passing it through powerful filters. Nowadays, you can choose from hundreds of air purification units available in the market. They are based on a wide range of technologies. They are available in different sizes to cover rooms of different sizes.

Nowadays, most types of air purifiers depend on HEPA technology. Initially, this technology was introduced in the 40s in order to capture pollutants from the air. Although these filters have been used for the filtration of particulate matter, they may not be that effective when it comes to eliminating volatile organic compounds.

Therefore, if you are worried about your health, we suggest that you invest in a type of device that comes with a HEPA filter. With these units, filtering your indoor air will be a piece of cake. Therefore, you can count on these devices to and ensure clean air inside your house.

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Why Worry About Board Up Services?

Your home or business has been damaged by fire, flooding, or some other natural disaster. There are definitely areas that are exposed, and you’re waiting on your insurance to get started with the restoration process. What do you need to do while you’re waiting to get an answer about everything?

Emergency board up services are something that you may want to consider for the “in between” time. Why would you go through the time and money to get these additional services before you even start the restoration process? Here are some of the benefits of it.

Prevent Theft

One reason to consider board up services is because you don’t want robbers and thieves thinking that they have an easy target to go after. If you leave parts of your home or business open and vulnerable, it’s going to be simple for those people to waltz in there and take whatever they want that is still intact after your disaster. Boarding up your doors and windows, along with any gaps in the walls, can deter potential thieves and keep whatever is left at your property as safe as possible.

Prevent Rain, Snow, and Wind from Damaging the Property Further

All year long, rain and snowstorms can be a bit of an issue if your home or business is left open to the elements. In those cases, it’s going to be in your best interest to connect with emergency board up services as soon as you can. The last thing you need is for your restoration company to get into your home or business to find additional water, or to have to dig out several inches of snow before they start working. It can also prevent wind from going through your home or business, which also prevents additional damage from occurring during that waiting period.

Stop Animals from Getting Inside

Lastly, board up services can easily prevent animals from coming into your home or business. Many animal species are incredibly smart and opportunistic, and they may see your currently empty building as a great place for them to set up a den or shelter. But, if your home or business is boarded up, they will have fewer ways to get inside. Smaller animals may still find nooks and crannies where they can get in, so you’ll need to keep an eye out for them when you move back in. But, at least squirrels and mice are easier and safer to deal with than say, a raccoon, bear, or deer.

If you get professionals to board up your property, you can rest easy and know your home or business is safe, and that’s the bottom line. Many companies that sort out restoration services will also do everything that they can in order to board up and protect your home or business until they can start the restoration process. You just need to get in touch with them and let them know what sort of help you’ll need to take care of everything related to your home or business

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Raise Capital With Private Investors

If you have launched your own startup, your first biggest challenge is to raise capital. Fortunately, you choose from a lot of options to raise the funds your business needs. Among all the sources, crowdfunding is one of the best ones as it helps redefine how startups can get off the ground. In this article, we are going to help you know the benefits of raising capital with private investors through a crowdfunding platform. Read on to find out more.

Benefits of raising capital with private investors

1. Funding is not equity-based

First of all, crowdfunding is not necessarily equity-based. Although startups have the liberty to use the equity in order to catch the attention of potential investors, It’s not required to give up ownership to collect capital.

The good news is that some platforms allow their members to apply a reward-oriented approach in order to raise capital. For instance, if your business deals in a specific product, make sure you hand over a few units to your prospective investors before you roll it out for the ultimate users.

2. Attracting potential investors is easy

With crowdfunding, you can attract a lot of potential investors without putting in a lot of effort. Although you can try for angel investors, keep in mind that this process can cost you a lot of time. The reason is that you will have to pitch your small business concept several times.

On the other hand, if you use a crowdfunding platform, you will have to post your business pitch in only one place. And this page will be ready by hundreds of investors from across the globe.

These platforms have a lot of useful features that may help startups collect funds from investors. So, attracting potential investors and raising capital will be much easier using crowdfunding platforms.

3. Higher visibility

Crowdfunding can help you make your startup more visible. Since marketing may consume a large chunk of your budget, it makes sense to use a crowdfunding platform instead. For potential investors, it’s easy to fund a crowdfunding campaign.
And these activities can help boost the visibility of your brand. Plus, you can also attract investors for your next funding rounds.

The Bottom Line

If you want to raise funds for your startup, crowdfunding can be the best choice. All you need to do is become part of a crowdfunding platform and you will be able to tap into the pool of potential investors. And this will help you kick start your business and make it a success in the industry.

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