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Cat5 vs Cat5e vs Cat6: Which Do I Run In My Home?

You may not even know what Cat wire is. Cat wire, or “category wire” is a twisted pair cable that carries signals. You use this in your own home to connect computer to a network for example. The difference between Cat5, Cat6, and Cat6e is the bandwidth they offer. Cat5 has become almost obsolete due to the other Cat wires being faster and more efficient.

Category 5 is the slowest out of the bunch, offering the slower speed of 10/100Mbps at 100MHz. Length of this cable cannot exceed 100m to reach this speed.

Category 5e (the e means enhanced) has basically replaced Cat5 wire in new installations. It is designed to reduce crosstalk and other signal interruptions, and can handle 1000Mbps at 100MHz. If you want to compromise on price yet still receive a great speed/signal, this may be the best option.

Category 6 has been commonly used in networks, while being able to handle 10 Gigabits of data, at 250 MHz. Cat6 wire is also more expensive to use, and can at times be difficult to install. If you are running cat wire through the walls, this may be the best option for you.
The “crosstalk” or interference has gone down due to the wiring updates. This reduces signal interruption and maximizes speed. You want to future proof your home and not go backwards with technology. When you are ready to install wire in your home, make sure to call Gamma Tech! Our AV wiring team knows everything there is to know about Cat wire. We are ready to serve you!

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Ransomeware: What It Is And How You Can Be Protected

 

A recent cyber attack has surfaced a malware called “Ransomeware,” which can completely lock your files on your computer and requires you to pay a certain fee to attain the files that have been compromised. It has been said that this attack occurred through stealing certain tools from the NSA. At the end of the day, these hackers are really holding your files for ransom.

 

These hackers can get into your machine via a variety of methods including SPAM emails, direct hacking, infected websites, or other computers that are infected on your network. This is spread easily by hacking into other computers on a network making it and endless cycle. Also, using outdated software can make you an easy target. Sadly, these hackers are advanced and major companies such as FedEx have even taken a hit from this malware.

 

What steps you need to take to protect you and your devices:

 

The first step you should take, is make backups of all your files. Whatever is important to you on your computer, back it up! So for example, if you have a backup of all your files on your computer and you become a victim of this malware, you can take the machine and wipe it clean and start fresh. Having the backup will simply load your backed up files back on your computer getting rid of the ransomware.

 

Another great asset to have is antivirus software. This software helps to eliminate all virus threats, using helpful tools like pop-up blockers and avoiding suspicious attachments.

 

The good news is, Gamma Tech can help! We do both backups and antivirus protection! If you are a commercial customer who participates in our managed services Gamma Tech Antivirus is included along with our ransomware proof backup. So if any problems are to occur, we can assure that our expert IT technicians will be there to help!  If you’re a residential customer, give us a call so we can ensure your machine is protected from crooks attempting to hold your files ransom.

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Music Streaming Services Compared

Apple Music

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What We Like
If you have iPhone or iPad you don’t have to download another app, it’s already built in. You can access it through your Music app on Apple devices. When you sign up, you get the first 3 months free. There is a “For You” tab that learns about your taste in music and shows you music recommendations.

What We Don’t Like
The sound quality isn’t nearly as high as its competitors. There is no free mode with Apple Music, and is very cluttered; not easy to navigate. If you are an Android user or ever plan to in the future, the Apple Music platform is not the most friendly one to use.

Cost: $9.99/mo

Spotify

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What We Like
You can connect your Spotify account to Facebook and see what your friends are listening to. Spotify also has great high quality audio.

What We Don’t Like
This is actually our favorite streaming service to use at Gamma Tech. The sound quality is still not “high definition”, but it is still very good and better than most. Some big name artists have removed their music from Spotify due to their royalty rates.

Cost: $9.99/mo

Pandora

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What We Like
Pandora uses stations. You can create a station around an artist, song, or genre. It won’t play songs solely from a certain band, but play music that was in the same genre or similar artists.

What We Don’t Like
Has a very limited selection of music compared to its competitors. It is very basic. Also due to licensing restrictions, only 1 track per album can be played at a time. So listening to the Star Wars soundtrack all the way through won’t ever happen.

Cost: $4.99/mo or free with ads

Tidal

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What We Like
It offers a lot of exclusive content only available on Tidal such as concerts, videos, and playlists by big name artists. Gets a lot of attention because of its high sound quality.

What We Don’t Like
Not too many people use this service. Sure it has the best sound, but Spotify is just as great for half the cost.

Cost: $9.99/mo for Basic or $19.99 for hi-fidelity

iHeart Radio
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What We Like
If you want your favorite radio stations you listen to now mixed in with some stations you create yourself, this is the one for you. What we like is that ITS FREE! Free is good! Its very simple and easy to use.

What We Don’t Like
The variety isn’t as vast as its competitors. Being solely radio based and not being able to pick an artist to stick with may bother some users.

Cost: $9.99/mo or free with ads

Slacker Radio

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What We Like
Has a vast library of music, great stations, and playlists. The program itself is very sleek, and has great sound quality. If you love sports radio, you’ll love this service even more with live ESPN Radio. Also has news stations and even The Weather Channel.

What We Don’t Like
Very similar to the Pandora and Spotify, certain features are only available through the premium membership.

Cost: $3.99/mo or free with ads

Tune In Radio

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What We Like
There are endless possibilities with Tune In. You can listen to practically anything you wish. What we love about TuneIn is that it is accessible just about anywhere. Apple, Android, a Smart TV, you name it, you can probably stream Tune In. You can connect Tune In to your Facebook just like Spotify. There is a History tab that will show you a stations entire playlist before you even start listening.

What We Don’t Like
There is a buffer. Constantly waiting for music to load can be very annoying. Some stations won’t even load. Not all local stations will appear like iHeart Radio, and you need a very good internet connection. Lastly, there are ads that come up at the bottom of the screen as if they want you to click on their bait.

Cost: $9.99/mo or free with ads

 

It all comes down to what your preferences are and what you are comfortable with. Pick the best streaming service for you this summer!