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4G Coverage

Another survey from Which? This time 4G coverage

As more and more people access the internet and their emails via their mobile phones, coverage and download speeds can be of crucial importance to businesses if they want to be competitive.

It is particularly important for businesses in the service sector, such as restaurants and other venues, that often rely on a percentage of their “impulse buy” custom from people either visiting an area or out and about.

Some timely new research has investigated 4G coverage in the UK and found that varies significantly in different parts of the country and that its overall availability at 65% puts it in 54th place globally, behind Estonia and Peru.

The research, carried out by the consumer group Which? and analyst OpenSignal measured data from mobile phones across 20 cities in the UK.

The top five for 4G availability were Middlesbrough with 82.7% availability, Sheffield (79.3%), Sunderland (79%), Leicester (78.6%) and Leeds (78.2%).

The bottom five were Bournemouth, Southampton/Portsmouth, Cardiff, Nottingham and London.

The study, which analysed more than 500m data readings from mobile phones taken from more than 30,000 users between December 1, 2016 and February 28, 2017 via an app, also looked at download speeds with Stoke-in Trent the fastest and Brighton the slowest.

According to Ofcom, the communications technology watchdog, its rules mean that “virtually all UK premises must receive a 4G signal by the end of this year.”

It remains to be seen whether this will happen.

You can find out about 2G, 3G and 4G coverage in your area with this Which? map here.

How Good Is Your Broadband?

How Good Is Your Broadband?

The latest research from communications regulator Ofcom shows that average broadband speeds in urban areas are more than three times faster than those in rural parts of Britain.

Its annual study of home broadband ISP speeds in the UK revealed that the average Internet download rate is now 36.2Mbps (up from 28.9Mbps last year), with uploads hitting 4.3Mbps (up from 3.7Mbps).

For several years the Government has been promising “superfast broadband” defined as download speeds of at least 24 megabits per second (Mbps). It aims that 95% of UK premises will have access to 24Mbps download speeds by the end of 2017. Whether this will be achieved is still unclear.

However, the results of research published by Which? this month have revealed that there is a significant variation between the best and the worst broadband providers in the UK.

BT, TalkTalk, Sky and EE scored poorly for speed and reliability, with the biggest ISPs failing on basic customer service, speed and reliability.

The consumer champion surveyed 1800 people in November and December 2016 and found that TalkTalk and BT achieved the worst scores, with 38% and 45% respectively.

EE and the Post Office each managed 48%, while Sky and Virgin scored 49% and 52%.

Among the top scorers were Zen Internet, with 86%, followed by Utility Warehouse on 81% and John Lewis in third place on 68%.

Only four providers, Zen, Utility Warehouse, Virgin Media and Vodafone, scored more than three stars for speed.

You can find out more about the Which? survey here

Which? has been campaigning for better broadband speeds and has now set up a new, free speed trial tester.  Use this link to try it.

Guide to buying a new computer

Guide to buying a new computer part 1

Ok so you’re looking to buy a new computer, but do you actually know what you’re looking for? What you need? A lot of the people I speak to are never quite sure what they need when it comes to purchasing a new computer. We can all go into Curry’s or PC world and pick one up sure, but do you think the sales rep there is going to have your best interests in mind, or just how many extras they can sell you to boost their commission? Below I am going to give you a break down and a basic guide on what to look for when buying a new computer, so that when the time comes you can make an informed decision on what to buy for YOUR specific needs.

Laptop, tablet or PC?
May seem like a simple one but with tablets now being offered with detachable keyboards the line between them all is becoming even more blurred. I personally think if you have a dedicated office space and you’re not looking for mobility a desktop is the best option, you can get the micro towers now that are getting smaller and smaller allowing for them to be wall mounted tucked away into tiny spaces. If you want mobility have good wireless where you intend to use it, for example want to be able to take your work with you to the office and then home a laptop may be the best option, however you generally will pay more for a decent laptop to try and match a desktop for performance so bare this in mind. Not only that a desktop is generally a lot easier to upgrade for future use. Tablets I think are great I have one, but it would never replace my desktop or laptop, but serve their purpose, they are usually much cheaper and very good at doing the basics such as browsing the internet, sending emails and looking for superior mobility compared to a laptop. Typing has been unwieldy on tablets, touch screens have come a long way however, many people prefer to use a keyboard over a touch screen, this is why there has been an increase on tablets being produced with detachable keyboards.

 

Operating System
This is quite an easy one to answer, simply because most if not all computers or laptops that you will buy from mainstream shops or stores such as your PC World or Argos’s will come with only Windows 10, Microsoft’s newest operating system. You may still be able to pick up a discontinued model that may still have Windows 8 but this is very unlikely, Windows 10 is very easy to use, comes complete with a start menu which older users will be accustomed to, although Windows 8 was met with a frosty reception from most of my customers the 8.1 upgrade as reintroduced the familiar start menu which makes navigating much easier, and the best thing is if you don’t have Windows 10 you can get it for FREE if you have Windows 7 or 8 machines!

 

Hard Drive or SSD?
So most of us know the bigger the hard drive the more we can store on our machines, but do you really need to pay for that extra space? Some people like having big hard drives but would a 500GB HDD be big enough for you instead of a 2TB? A 2TB hard drive for example will hold 34,000 hours of music, 80 days of video, 620,000 photos or 1000 hours of movies so if you think you fall into this bracket then a 2TB is for you if not why not opt for a smaller drive and save yourself some money.

Solid state drives are built for speed, and with this you sacrifice space, an SSD will perform much faster than a traditional HDD when a standard HDD takes 2-3 minutes to boot into windows an SSD will normally do this in under 30 seconds, and not only boots quicker, but general use is much quicker on the whole. If you need speed and a lot of space, you can opt to have an SSD drive with your operating system on it and the bigger hard drive as a data drive if your laptop can accommodate an extra drive but towers this is normally not a problem.

Laptop vs Tablet

Laptop or Tablet?

Laptop or Tablet which is best for you?

Laptop vs Tablet

If i had a pound everytime i was asked this question, im sure i could retire, there are a few things you need to take into consideration when you have this decision to make. 1. Have you ever used a tablet before? 2. What are you hoping to use the laptop or tablet for? 3. Direct comparrison between the two products. These would be the main points to cover, with also a few other points that need to be covered which i will do in this article, so you can make an informed decision without any biased views. Lets face it we all have “that friend” who is obsessed with a certain product either Apple products or android so i am going to try and keep this article as un-biased as possible. So if you decide to go and shop for either you won’t be suckered into the “technical” jargon that may be thrust upon you when you go to your local IT wholesaler.

 

What will your Lapotp or Tablet primarily be used for?

What are you intending on using your new device for? Will you be just surfing the net, checking out your Facebook, eBay and sending a few emails? If so then you definately qualify for a tablet, where as if you are intending on doing anything a little more demanding such as photoshop tasks, playing the latest 3D games. Then you would most certainly need to choose a laptop over a tablet, even thought they are advancing graphically with every release they are not yet able to rival a laptop power wise.

 

Have you used a Tablet before?

Well, have you? its very easy to get suckered into the advertisements on TV especially the Apple iPad adverts, they are very good at matketing their products, and i have chosen Apple as an example not only because they are the market leader in tablet sales but i also own an ipad 4. If you have never used a tablet before i suggest you try one out before you go out and buy, try a friends of even go into your local Apple store and have a play about with one on display.  You may find that beneath the glitz and the glam of the TV adds you simply can’t get on with a touch screen device, however if you have a smart phone that is touch screen this would be used as a good gauge as to whether you can cope using one properly.

 

Laptop or Tablet – direct comparison

An overview of the two, and you will find that you can pick up a new iPad direct from Apple for around the £400 mark just as you can pick up a new low to middle range laptop for about the same price. It all boils down to screen size, touch screen or traditional, do you mind having a 10″ screen, or do you prefer to have a traditional 15.6″ screen with a full size QWERTY keyboard, Yes you can get the adapters for the iPad that joins a minuture keyboard to it, but i personally think that is not very practical. Also the touchscren as mentioned above may be an issue for you. The iPad as you may have guessed wins the round on portability with it being so small it s easily carried to and from wherever you need to go.

In conclusion, i personally think that if you are just looking for something to do the basics, and you can get on with a touchscreen, and can do without the keyboard then a tablet may just be what you are looking for. However if you need something with a little more power, to do gaming or editing on then you will need a laptop. I have however yet to see a tablet come down with a virus, where as computers contracting an infection is becomming a regular occurance, but who is to say that with the rapidly increasing demand of tablets that there will not be viruses introduced for them too? I have both and i utilise them both, but i am also aware of the limits to the iPad, even though they are produicing new and more innovative apps everyday its quite ovbious that a tablet just is not yet anyway a replacement for a laptop.

Ross-IT