Category Archives: Blog/Comments

Why Your Single Router Isn’t Enough

A single router will not handle the requirements of today’s household. There are far too many devices contending for the “airtime” that a legacy single router provides. To add insult to injury, the wireless signal is usually not strong enough to provide a stable signal throughout a sizable house.

The fix is typically a combination of 2 things. One: Using an Ethernet connection to hardwiring devices that do not move, i.e. Smart TVs, game consoles, PCs and Laptop docking stations that are used at a desk. Two: deploying multiple access points (the radio transmitter/receiver for Wi-Fi) around the house to provide stable wireless connectivity for devices that move like phones, laptops, etc. The access points are hardwired back to the router, not a wireless mesh network. Wireless mesh networks do not work as well as advertised.

Internet speed is usually not an issue. Personally we have run our house for years on 75mbs. That speed covers our business needs, streaming services, kids gaming and more. Today’s home network has to be designed and engineered like a business system to work well.

Outdoor speakers

As the weather starts to warm up, we will be spending more time outdoors. Sitting back and listening to some tunes is relaxing as well as fun. Take a look at some of your options.

Mounted speakers: There are a variety of speakers that can be attached to the house or porch. These speakers are weatherproof and come on a swivel mount to direct the sound down. Our preference on the high end is Bose 251 Wall Mount Outdoor Environmental Speakers and for a mid-range speaker the Polk Atrium 5 series.

Rock speakers: For those who want to hide their sound in the garden, rock speakers or environmental speakers are very popular. The Niles Audio rock speaker delivers years of worry free use in all types of weather conditions and sounds fabulous. Another style of garden speaker (and Lew’s personal favorite) is the Bose Free Space Environmental Speaker. This speaker is buried about 2/3 of its height into the garden and provides a rich warm sound to any patio, pool or garden setting.

Planter speakers: The only planter style speaker that is worth purchasing is the Niles Audio speaker in either terracotta or weathered concrete. Niles knows what they are doing to ensure this is a quality speaker that looks good and will last.

Other speakers: In addition to the above, there isn’t much you can’t do with outdoor speakers. Several manufacturers make an in ground speaker system that is scalable and designed for flower beds and around the yard.

Sophisticated, elegant and powerful, today’s outdoor audio is capable of delivering state-of-the-art performance.

*Product recommendations are solely the view of H&ONS. We are not receiving compensation from any manufacturer when we mention product types in this article.

Virtual Service Call

Last summer we implemented a new service that might work for you if you have a problem with your electronics/networking that you can’t resolve by using our troubleshooting guide (https://www.hns-ons.com/category/archives/page/4/).

To determine if the problem is something that can potentially be corrected virtually we ask that you email us at info@hns-ons.com. If we feel it is something that can be resolved via a virtual service call, we will then schedule a mutually convenient time. A couple things to take note of: if we did not install the equipment or the equipment was installed many years ago, we most likely cannot perform a virtual service call. In addition, this IS a service call, not an installation. We cannot help you DIY an installation of new equipment that you purchased since we have no way of knowing if this equipment will work with your infrastructure.

The way this works is that during the troubleshooting, Lew will ask questions to assess the problem and may ask to see devices/cables/electronics etc. via the phone. He will then give you directions to make changes to your system to attempt to correct the problem. This can be done either on the telephone or virtually through our Zoom account. Zoom is the preferred method due to the video capability.

At the 45 minute mark, whether we have or have not solved a problem, Lew will ask if you wish to continue. Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee that the troubleshooting will resolve the problem during the phone/video support. You can stop the troubleshooting any time before the 45 minutes should you feel the virtual support isn’t working. All time spent on the phone or video is billable*.

Our standard service call rate applies but we do pro-rate it in 15 minute increments. Payment for telephone/Video service calls are to be paid by credit card at the completion of the call. We do not accept other forms of payment for this service.

If the virtual service call doesn’t work and if you are comfortable with having us into your home, we are still performing on-site service calls and site surveys. Gloves, mask & social distancing are all used to keep everyone safe.

*there are no warranties on virtual service calls

Expect Delays on new Electronics

The coronavirus is sparking anxieties among electronics manufacturers. Not only do issues with retailers reducing hours and potential shipping bottlenecks cause delays, but manufacturing plants worldwide have or may be closing due to the virus. This will impact when new electronics get into the market.

Many of the electronics manufacturers work across different industries and domains. These firms typically operate by acquiring necessary electronics components from different suppliers. Suppliers receive orders and ship the requested parts to the manufacturers. The components are assembled, and then the finished product is shipped on to the ultimate client, often a consumer-facing brand.

It’s crucial that these manufacturers receive all the elements necessary to assemble a product at the same time, so that production can begin and the company can avoid a buildup of inventory.
But this pandemic is throwing off the final assembly, when even one part can’t get to the manufacturing plant.

Our suggestion is to be patient, use what you have for the time being or buy existing inventory from brick & mortar & online retailers. We do recommend if an electronic product breaks, that you look to have your product delivered vs. going out to a Best Buy or Wal Mart. All these stores offer delivery.

As for installation services by H&ONS, we will continue to serve the Northern Virginia market by taking precautions against contamination as suggested by the CDC; including hand washing, using antibacterial wipes, staying a distance away from people and of course, cancelling service and installs if any symptoms of the Coronavirus occur.

Teleworking?

If you are temporarily teleworking due to the Coronavirus, here are some suggestions to help make your life easier.

Set up a place to work that has strong Internet access. If you have a home office, your office should have the ability to hardwire your laptop vs. using wireless technology. If you don’t have a home office, try to find any other room that allows you to hardwire it and set up your temporary office there. If you don’t have hardwiring, then look for the strongest WiFi access for your temporary office.

Limit other usage of the Internet if possible. If you have kids home due to school closings, they are going to want to stream movies & play video games. This is going to put a lot of pressure on your home’s internal broadband. You may need to limit their access to the Internet during certain hours of the day that you need to be on the Internet for work.

Utilize Skype, Zoom, Facetime and other camera based tools to communicate with your supervisor & co-workers. Zoom gives you 40 minutes of time with their Basic plan to connect to up to 100 people. It isn’t a lot of time, but can work for short interactions similar to dropping in on a co-worker. If you have a regular meeting, your company should get a subscription and utilize it to connect visually, if not for any other reason than to foster unity among your team. Be sure that whatever is behind you if acceptable to you as it will be seen by the camera.

Security: Now may be the time to ensure you have a strong password set up or change your WiFi password. You don’t need the kids or the neighborhood logging into your company information. If you work for a highly secure company, be sure to address what can be transmitted from your home to the office to ensure no security breaches.

Remove stressors. If you’ve never teleworked, it could seem overwhelming. Set up break times and lunch. Don’t be afraid to get up and move around to stretch. Have everything you need around you so you aren’t scrambling for paper, pens, folders, etc. If you and your spouse are both working from home, plan for who is going to take care of the kids, whether shifts between you two or bringing in a college student from the neighborhood (if you are comfortable with doing this). And, keep the TV off and stay off news channels. Avoid the distractions that will add stress during working hours. If you have pets and they normally go to Doggie Daycare, they too will be discombobulated being home with you. Plan for who will take them out, play with them and how to handle barking & such that will most likely occur during the day.

From someone that works from home every day, I can tell you that it is an adjustment. While my trick was to get out at least a couple times a week to be with people, that is not an option right now, so this will be especially hard. Virtual communications are going to be more important now than ever.