Written: December 23, 2018

Frontier FIOS Tech Support was Right

At my home office we use Frontier FIOS for Internet, what that means technically is that Frontier has routed a fiber optical cable to my curb, then up to my garage where there’s this white box mounted on the wall that converts the optical signal into Ethernet, aka the ONT box. For many years I was using an entry-level plan that offered download and upload speeds of 25/25 Mbps, although now when we have three devices streaming Netflix, and a few YouTube channels streaming that our network was getting quite sluggish. Simple problem to solve, just upgrade.

The folks at Frontier had a plan with speeds of 50/50 (Download/Upload) for only a few dollars more per month than my old, now obsolete 25/25 plan, so I upgraded. I’ve never used the Frontier-supplied WiFi router, instead opting for a Netgear Nighthawk router just because I read good things about that router online. For the 25/25 plan the Netgear Nighthawk router was just fine, however with the upgrade to the new 50/50 plan I noticed that the Netgear router had much slower upload speeds. At first that kind of bugged me, so I would contact tech support at Frontier and complain about the slow upload speeds, then they would do some magical “line refresh” and somehow my upload speeds neared 50 Mbps, but only for about 24 hours or so, then back down to a very slow 6 Mbps upload speed.

On Saturday we had a Frontier technician visit the home office and declare that, “all is well with our equipment, so it’s your Netgear router that is slow. Try this Arris router to see if it works faster.” I was really unconvinced that it was my Netgear router, so I did some Google research to find out how to make my router upload faster, trying a few things unsuccessfully:

Reluctantly I then swapped out the Netgear router and used the Frontier supplied Arris WiFi router. Wow, now I had 50/50 speeds with the new router, however the Arris router had no parental controls, which is something that I wanted to continue using for my network. A bit more Google search for Frontier-tested WiFi routers yielded an article that tested and recommended six different routers, so my eye was attracted to their recommendation on the Netgear R6700 router, because I knew that Netgear allowed me to filter content quite easily.

A quick look at Fry’s and Best Buy located similar model numbers to the Netgear R6700, and then to my delight I found a used R6700 on Craigslist and negotiated a price of just $60.00, sold. At home the router swap was pretty easy, because I was already familiar with how Netgear allows setup.

Netgear R6700

The new R6700 router did a firmware update, then I rebooted my computer and ran a speed test, showing me great 50/50 speeds:

Speedtest with Netgear R6700
Speedtest.net

Instead of paying Frontier a $10/month service fee for using their Arris WiFi router, I now own a $60.00 Netgear R6700 router that runs quite fast and supports content filtering. I also learned that Frontier tech support was right, it was my old Netgear Nighthawk router that was slowing my uploads way too much.

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Netgear Email

WiFi Security, Keep Updated

Like most small business owners I use WiFi at both my home office and client office, so today when I received an email from Netgear about my home office WiFi, I read it from start to finish because I want to be secure in running my business, not allowing some malicious hacker to peer into my business files.

Netgear Email

Netgear Email

This was an official email sent from a netgear.com address, so my next step was to login to my WiFi router:

Router Login

Router Login

Once logged into the router, I had to find which firmware version was running, so that info is in the upper-right hand corner of the browser page:

Firmware Version

Firmware Version

Since my firmware for the WiFi router was already at version v1.0.0.124 I was all set, no action required, because I was at the latest release. Sigh of relief.

Running your business has enough challenges on its own, but many small business owners act as their own IT department and should keep their WiFi gear updated to the latest version in order to have the highest level of IT security against unwanted breaches on your business computers. The update process is pretty simple, usually it takes a few minutes of my time, but then in return it provides me with a sense of protection and security.

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email contact

Security Friday

I’m a big believer in keeping my office network secure by following all update instructions from Netgear, so today my WiFi router was updated to the latest firmware release 1.0.0.122:

Netgear firmware 1.0.0.122

Netgear firmware 1.0.0.122

This update process took maybe 5 minutes of my time and provided a sense of relief that my vendor Netgear continues to take security seriously by providing these free updates.

Apple also prompted me to update my Operating System to High Sierra 10.13.4, so that process took about 45 minutes, half of which was in the background just downloading the file then the other half I had to wait for my MacBook Pro to finish. While waiting I simply swapped to using my iPad and Samsung Note 4 smart phones to make calls, look at the calendar and run my business. I typically wait until outside of business hours to upgrade my laptop Operating System.

High Sierra 10.13.4

High Sierra 10.13.4

WordPress is still the number one Content Management System (CMS) in the world, so that means that it is a target for hackers. My favorite security Plugin for WordPress is called Wordfence, and here’s what the install process looks like after you add the plugin and activate it.

email contact

Click Activate

Click the link to setup Wordfence and then fill in your email address to receive alerts of suspicious activity:

Wordfence email

Wordfence email

I then clicked the link to receive auto-updates:

Wordfence updates

Wordfence updates

Next is Firewall setup, a technique to only allow trusted content to be run on your website:

Wordfence firewall

Wordfence firewall

Using Wordfence will alter something called the .htaccess file, so click the link to download your existing file, just in case you ever want to go back and un-install Wordfence.

Save old .htaccess file

Save old .htaccess file

OK, that’s about it for setup of Wordfence, so just wait for an email message from Wordfence if your site is being targeted by hackers. One of my clients received an email from Wordfence this morning and it listed every malicious file that had been added since 2014, so I was able to quickly remove the added files and then examine a few infected files before removing the added PHP code.

Wordfence all setup

Wordfence all setup

As always, if you have questions about your WordPress website and security, then give me a call, I’d be happy to explain it to you and help keep your site running smoothly.

 

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Netgear email

Remember to Update your WiFi Router Firmware to Stay Secure

Today I received an email from Netgear, my vendor for WiFi router used in the home office, so I read through it and decided to follow their security advice and follow the simple steps.

Netgear email

email from Netgear

It’s also best practice to double-check any email message like this by viewing the From address, and then hovering the cursor over any link just to make sure that you know where the link is pointing to before actually clicking it. This email passed my scrutiny, so the next step was to browse the link and find out what version of firmware I already had:

Firmware Version 1.0.0.16

So yes, there was a newer version of firmware at 1.0.0.18, so I started the update process and watched the progress bar:

firmware updating

Firmware updating

The update process only took a few minutes, so not a big deal in lost productivity for me. When the firmware update was complete I checked to see the latest version number of 1.0.0.118:

Version 1.0.0.118

You should always update to the latest firmware when your WiFi Router vendor sends you an email. When you purchase a new WiFi router make sure and register your product so that you can receive these useful update email notifications.

My previous update was in October 2017, so it looks like Netgear takes security seriously and continues to support their WiFi routers with new releases as soon as they find any exploit.

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Netgear eail

Keeping your network updated

In my home I use WiFi to connect my MacBook Pro to the Internet. Today I received an email from Netgear, the company that sold me the WiFi router, and they wanted me to update the firmware to the latest release for security reasons. Right away I took action, because I really want my WiFi network up to date and secure so that hackers cannot get into my network and disrupt my business or steal my identity.

Netgear eail

Netgear email

In my web browser I logged into the WiFi router, then went to the page where firmware updates are performed.

Netgear firmware

Netgear firmware

The whole process to update the firmware took maybe 3 minutes, and then I reset my WiFi router.

It’s a good feeling to be secure in my business, and I recommend that you take update notices from your WiFi router vendor as serious so that your business runs smoothly

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