Archive for the ‘Networking’ Category

Description of ‘Networking’ Category:

Articles about interconnected computers and devices.

Sharing Business Resources without Using Microsoft Exchange

Friday, October 21st, 2011

File sharing is the storing and distribution of digitally stored information. File sharing has quickly become an integral part of most businesses. With file sharing, companies and their employees can easily share resources such as computer applications, multimedia content, and documents.

Companies utilize a file sharing environment to:


from, Oct 2011

  • Save time
  • Cut costs
  • Increase productivity
  • Organize and centralize information for easy retrieval
  • Make content sharing faster
  • Share of hardware
  • Protect data and make backups
  • Increase the performance of existing PC equipment

File sharing can occur in a couple of different ways, the two most popular being a centralized server on a network and a collaborative cloud based service. Recently more and more businesses have been moving more towards the cloud based services, which is why we decided to look into some of the most popular collaborative cloud applications. The one that stood out the most was Zimbra Collaboration Server. Zimbra is advertised as the leader among open source email and collaboration systems. Zimbra uses a cloud infrastructure as its primary storage as opposed to using the desktop or a network server like Microsoft Exchange and Outlook.

Zimbra is a browser based enterprise class open source email, calendar, and collaboration platform that is designed for portability over private and public clouds. Along with its mobility it is also simpler to manage and more cost effective to scale. Zimbra keeps you organized and productive because your information is always assessable.

The Zimbra Collaboration Server offers rich email, contact management, group calendars, Tasks, sharing and document management, mobility, desktop sync, archiving and discovery, and powerful administrative tools. With the free Zimbra desktop client you are able to combine both online and offline services. The desktop client enables users to store and sync their information from email, calendars, contacts, files, or documents in the cloud and access it from any location with an internet connection. You can save your files locally on your desktop and continue working while offline, once you reconnect your files will automatically be synced.


Whether you use Yahoo! Mail, Gmail, Hotmail or AOL mail, all of your emails, calendar and contacts are now integrated into a single user interface along with your Zimbra mail. Similar to Microsoft Outlook it’s easy to compose, edit, delete, reply, or make drafts and utilizes “Drag and Drop” to move messages from folder to folder. Zimbra’s email supports plain text or html message formatting and adds email signatures for each account. Even while offline you can compose email it will be sent once you connect again.

Conversation Views, Tags, and Search

You can collapse email threads into a single conversation view to clean up your inbox and tag messages for quick identification. The advanced search makes it possible for you to quickly search for text, pictures, documents, and attachments. You can also create and save custom searches with details like folder, date, person, or subjects.

Web mash-ups

Open source extensions called Zimlets allow developers and administrators to incorporate third party applications or customer creations directly on the Zimbra user interface. When connected you can view addresses as Yahoo! Maps by hovering over the contact’s address. The interface also automatically detects your location to determine points of interest with Yahoo! Local. Zimbra provides previews of webpages as thumbnails instead of opening a browser and see your calendar schedule from within an email message if you hover over a date. Web Search powered by Yahoo! is built directly into Zimbra Desktop and it also automatically saves downloaded pictures to Flickr.


Zimbra’s address book allows you to store all your contacts in one place for all your accounts and lets you create groups or tags to organize them. You can add photos to your contacts and it has auto complete to help out when composing and sending emails. Zimbra enables you to easily import new contacts from other applications as .csv files or export contacts as .csv files for backup.


The Zimbra calendar lets you view by day, week, work week, month or even as a list. You can manage a multiple color-coded calendar and “drag and drop” events to new days or time slots. In the month view you can view or edit thumbnails of events. You can also sync the Zimbra calendar with your other calendars and even import event from other public web calendars. With this calendar it even easier to invite others to meetings and view their free or busy times. Zimbra is fully compatible with standard messaging systems like Apple Mail, Microsoft Outlook, and Microsoft Exchange so you can share calendar events with others whether they use Zimbra or not.

Documents, Tasks, Briefcase

Edit Documents by adding images, tables or spreadsheets and share them all directly in email. Track your collaborative tasks with start/end dates and percentage completed. Save attachment in the Briefcase rather than a message attachment, the Briefcase is used as a common folder to share important documents.

Extra features with Zimbra Collaboration Server

  • Email, contacts, calendar, documents, tasks synchronize to the Zimbra Server
  • Access to shared data from peers (email, contacts, calendars, etc.)
  • Works with both Open Source and Network Edition (ZCS 5.0+ servers)
  • Existing user preferences (folders, signatures, settings, etc.) are imported
  • Access to mobile devices, the Zimbra online Web Client and much more

Zimbra Desktop is free to download and can be used with or without the Zimbra Collaboration Server. Zimbra works on Windows, Mac and Linux computers. Check out the VMware Zimbra Video.

Also considered was Novell GroupWise , IBM Lotus, ZoHo Docs, and several freeware like Google Docs, Google Calendar, and DropBox.

Have a Great Day!


Providing Tech Support for Businesses in Maryland

An Overview of Quality of Service and Business VoIP

Friday, January 28th, 2011

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) uses the Internet (Internet Protocol) for telephone calls that previously occurred on traditional phone based transmissions on public switched telephone networks (PSTN).  polycom voip phoneThe popularity of VoIP services has skyrocketed due mainly to the tremendous financial savings. VoIP company’s typically charge a flat monthly rate for unlimited local and long distance calling, where PSTN companies charge a flat rate for local calling but a per minute rate for long distance.

For any company utilizing or thinking about switching to VoIP the most crucial consideration should be the quality of the call. Some business leaders recall the early days of VoIP when people using VoIP had poor call quality. This drawback has been greatly reduced by higher broadband speeds, though some honing can still be accomplished by adjusting a router’s Quality of Service (QoS) settings. The QoS settings can be adjusted to give priority to specific data transmissions such as VoIP.

The features that a VoIP provide sound great but without the appropriate settings on the Quality of Service it could lead to degraded communications.  Although VoIP offers a reduced cost compared to PSTN users have to face problems such as delays in data packet delivery, loss of data packets, jumble data packets, and other errors that cause distorted voice and connection quality. There are ways to mitigate how many errors (calls fading in and out) you have to endure.  Before switching to VoIP provided below are some suggestions to ensure the best communication possible.

Use the Appropriate Equipment and Internet Connection

Use network devices, switches and routers that can meet the major QoS standards. Keeping in mind that Internet Service Providers offering higher bandwidths (for example 10 Mbps (megabits per second)) are usually providing a router that is QoS capable and has QoS settings. Speaking of bandwidth, before switching to VoIP you may need to upgrade your Internet service, so consult with your Internet Service Provider ISP to see if you need to upgrade your connection or possibly switch ISPs.

Not all VoIP providers are the same

Compare various VoIP providers, obtain service providers QoS statistics, and consider a Service Level Agreement (SLA) to maintain the call quality you require.

Upgrade your ISP Contention Ratio

Contention Ratio is the ratio of the possible maximum bandwidth demand to the actual bandwidth usage. The lower the ratio the less people using your ISP’s connection and the fewer problems you have to deal with. ISPs may for free or a small be lower your contention ratio, which could be a greater issue for those that have a cable company ISP.

Regulate download, uploading, and streaming

If the folks at your office have issues with VoIP it could be too much data moving over your router and the biggest culprits can be large uploads, downloads, or streaming video. These bandwidth hogs can be minimized first through written acceptable use policies and secondly with router or firewall settings that turns off or reduces these practices.

Router Settings

VoIP network traffic may be given priority on your router by adjusting QoS. Unfortunately, this setting varies router to router but is generally addressed by defining a rule that is regulated by specifying a phone’s MAC Address, IP address, and/or by specifying priority to VoIP’s TCP/IP Ports.

For information about VoIP and QoS visit:

Have a Great Day!

Providing Tech Support to Businesses in Maryland

Wireless N – What You Need to Know Before You Buy

Friday, November 19th, 2010
netgear wireless 3500

from November 2010

Hey, everyone, Josh from Computer Fitness back with another award-winning article to help you with your computer conundrums.

Wifi has been around for years now. It has grown and expanded into something that is a part of our daily lives. For years, Wireless G was the standard by which all wireless devices were designed. However, recently, Wireless N has taken over as the new goal for developers and technological enthusiasts. Now, a lot of websites and products will talk about Wireless N and how you need it desperately. Here are some things you should know about Wireless N before you proceed.

It Is Faster than Wireless-G

Now, Wireless N is definitely faster than Wireless G. You can send enormous amounts of data over a Wireless N network in a fraction of the time it would take on a G network. This is great for streaming video and audio inside of your home or office, as well as moving around files for backup.

Requires a New WiFi Card

Your old G card won’t cut it here. This is a new wireless standard and, as such, requires new hardware. Don’t you just love technology? So before someone at a big box retail store tells you that you need a Wireless N router, account for the necessary new hardware you’ll have to buy as well.

There is No Internet Connection Fast Enough

While N is faster than G, there is currently no Internet service out there that can match the speeds. At most, your local ISP (Internet Service Provider) could offer something that uses 10% of your Wire

Less N connection. So remember, you don’t NEED Wireless N unless you’re moving data around your house a lot. A good example here is streaming video wirelessly from a desktop to a TV.

Additional Information

Reviews:     CNET PCmag