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2021 Trends in Technology

Deloitte Global recently released its 2021 TMT Predictions report, which examines trends likely to change the way we work and live. Below are five that may particularly affect the consumer landscape.

5G Myths
Although data shows that consumer health will not be adversely affected by 5G radio waves, Deloitte predicts that up to a third of people around the world will worry about it anyway. To assuage consumer concerns, the telecom industry should communicate with legislators, be proactive on social media, and reach out to vertical sectors to explain how 5G works. For more on 5G, don’t miss the CES® panel “5G’s First Year: From Insight to Innovation.”

VR Comes to Education
Overall spending on augmented, virtual and mixed reality technology (collectively called XR) — headsets, software and services, including purchases by consumers, rose in 2020 to US$12 billion globally, and is expected to grow at 50% annually to 2024. Will we reach a tipping point for education? COVID-19 has forced multiple schools to use XR since in-person training wasn’t possible.

Virtual Doctor Visits
Five percent of all patient visits worldwide will be video calls in 2021, and the market for pure-play telehealth virtual visit solutions (both video and non-video) will reach US$8 billion. More than US$33 billion of medical-grade home health care technology — mainly therapeutic and monitoring solutions and including FDA-approved smartwatches — will be sold in 2021, up almost 20% over 2019. For additional insights, we encourage you to tune into Deloitte’s CES panel, “The Road to DIY Consumer Health.”

The Hyperquantified Athlete
By the end of 2021, multiple professional sports leagues will establish new formal policies around the collection, use and commercialization of player data. This can drive fan engagement and create new revenue streams from licensing the data, especially for gambling. One scenario is an app that would enable betting during games, based on data from player wearables.

8k TVs
In 2021, Deloitte Global predicts that more than one million 8K TVs will be sold, representing approximately $3.3 billion around the world and will almost double 2020 sales. Consumers will buy 8K TVs for four main reasons:
• Futureproofing. There’s little 8K content now, but when there is, buyers will be ready.
• Early adopter or the”cool factor.”
• To consumers, 8K just sounds better than 4K.
• Many cutting-edge TV sets happen to also be 8K.

Source: CEPro

WiFi 6E Certified

If you think that you just heard about Wi-Fi 6 you are correct, but the standard is already undergoing changes. Wi-Fi 6 will evolve into Wi-Fi 6E in the near future. Here is the catch. If your device (phone, laptop, TV, etc.) is NOT a Wi-Fi 6 device you will not be able to take advantage of the performance increases described below without buying new devices.

The Wi-Fi Alliance has launched its Wi-Fi 6E certification program for devices equipped to transmit signals on the newly opened 6GHz band. This will set the stage for a flood of new, next-gen devices capable of tapping into additional bandwidth at the fastest speeds of Wi-Fi.

With enough spectrum to accommodate seven 160 MHz channels at once, that 6GHz band is much wider than the 2.4 and 5GHz bands most Wi-Fi users are already familiar with — and without any older-generation devices slowing things down, it’ll act as sort of an exclusive superhighway for devices equipped to take advantage.

“Wi-Fi 6E will see rapid adoption in 2021 with more than 338 million devices entering the market, and nearly 20 percent of all Wi-Fi 6 device shipments supporting 6GHz by 2022,” said Phil Solis, research director at IDC. “This year, we expect to see new Wi-Fi 6E chipsets from several companies, and a variety of new Wi-Fi 6E smartphones, PCs and laptops in the first quarter of 2021 followed by TVs and VR product announcements midyear.”

With standards for Wi-Fi 6E now incorporated into Wi-Fi Certified 6, the Wi-Fi Alliance hopes to spur that process along by ensuring new 6E devices stay secure and fully interoperable, regardless of region or manufacturer.

“Consumers take it on faith that if you go buy a Wi-Fi device, it’s going to connect to your router,” said Kevin Robinson, a Wi-Fi Alliance spokesperson. “The reason that is in fact the case is because of Wi-Fi Certified. The industry puts a lot of value in getting devices through that testing so that the end experience is that everything works together.”
In addition to interoperability, Wi-Fi Certified focuses on standardizing security protocols. For instance, with Wi-Fi 6E, devices will be required to support the latest protocol, WPA3, which promises better defense against attempts to brute force your network’s password, among other improvements.

Source: https://www.cnet.com/news/wi-fi-industry-standardizes-next-gen-6ghz-connections-ahead-of-ces/

New Support Policy

Due to the high volume of requests for support; all email, phone, and virtual (Zoom) support not covered by a warranty will be billed at our current hourly rate (prorated in 15 minute increments). Credit card payment* is required for email and phone/virtual support, while credit cards or checks are acceptable for on-site support.

To receive support, please identify the type of contact method that you would like to receive support through and contact Bonnie via phone at (703) 444-1733 or email at Bonnie.Little@HNS-ONS.com to establish a support ticket. Depending on the type of support required the following process will be followed.

Emails: Lew, Lew.Little@HNS-ONS.com will respond to your emails with your questions. The more information you provide, the easier it will be to reply efficiently. In most cases, 1-2 email responses will fall under the 15 minute minimum. Please note that there is no guaranteed response time with emails, though we do try to respond promptly to all requests.

Phone/Virtual: These need to be scheduled with Bonnie at Bonnie.Little@HNS-ONS.com. For virtual calls via zoom, she will set up the call and email you the zoom link. We suggest you use your phone for the call so that you are mobile and can show Lew the equipment when directed. Phone/Virtual service calls are scheduled around installations on a first come, first served basis.

On-site Support/Service Policy

We still offer on-site support/service for troubleshooting & resolution for those who prefer a technician at your home or place of business. In addition, if we feel that we can’t assist you through email, phone or virtually, we will recommend an onsite support/service call.

On-site Support/Service: There is a 1 hour minimum charge and onsite service calls will also incur a travel fee based on miles travelled to your location. The travel fee will be outlined during scheduling. On-site support/service calls are scheduled around installations on a first come, first served basis. In addition, if applicable for you, we can call you if a window of time large enough to perform a support/service call opens up. This “last minute” type of support/service call is location dependent as it typically occurs when an install nearby finishes early.

*We do not keep credit card information on file. Upon completion of an email, phone or virtual service call, we will invoice you through our merchant processor for payment. Questions about the invoice may be sent to Bonnie.

A Recap of H&ONS in 2020

We started 2020 off on a very high note for the Little family. In January, our daughter, Rachel graduated from the LA Film School and our son, Ian got engaged (wedding planned for June 2021). The whole family flew to Los Angeles to spend a week celebrating, only to come home to Covid.

On Saint Patrick’s Day, our daughter was on a plane home, terrified of being quarantined alone in her small apartment in LA, a hot center already for Covid. We backed off performing installations as we quarantined with her for a few weeks, but our business was considered an essential business, so we knew we had to step up and get to work on helping at least some of the people of Northern VA that needed networking and AV services.

We quickly created a Covid plan, including mask and glove wearing, disinfecting and no contact billing. While we had contracts with customers, we accepted a delay in their installations if they chose to wait until they were comfortable to allow us into their homes. We also encouraged our customers to try a virtual service call, when applicable. While we were concerned for the business, by April we were back to scheduling site surveys, and scheduling a lot of them. Kids were finishing school at home and parents were working, so homeowners were discovering the limitations of their networking system and looking for solutions. We also had to deal with delays in getting materials as global manufacturing and distribution slowed down, so we got our orders in and hoped that materials would arrive in time for the installation date.

We worked tirelessly to help as many homeowners as possible over the Spring and Summer but the demand did become overwhelming to the point of having to turn away prospective business. Before writing this article, we counted over 75 prospective jobs that had to be turned away in the past 4 months, because we were booked 6-8 weeks out for both site surveys and installations. We created a wait list, returning to those who were willing to wait and scheduling once we got caught up. We try not to schedule more than 6 weeks out since so much can change in 6 weeks.

As you may know, we are a small business. Lew performs the site survey, writes the estimate and performs the installation with the aid of a single subcontractor. We have been operating this way since 2015, when we chose to restructure the business. Fortunately, back then we also had 3 outside subcontractors to assist on jobs, so it was a smooth transition. Over the years it has become increasingly difficult to find people in this area that we can count on as a subcontractor (we have tried), other than Daniel, our long time sub.

During the pandemic, we chose not to hire additional employees or even try out new subcontractors since we would be risking our customers’ health and our own. We can control our contact with others, but not that of others.

So, we continue to help those who can wait for our small team of highly skilled network installers. Given we barely have enough time for new installations, service calls are even more difficult to address. We still perform quite a few virtual service calls late in the day, and when we can squeeze in an on-site service call, we do so. Lew has also responded to an enormous number of emails from existing clients, trying to aid them in improving or fixing their own systems. Unfortunately, due to the amount of time that was given to these email responses and phone calls, we must now implement a new support policy. (see NEW policy below). We truly value our clients and repeat business, but responding to email and phone questions now that we’ve served over 1200 clients has become so time consuming that we just can’t do it for free anymore.

In the meantime, we want to apologize to all those who we could not serve in 2020 and hope that they were able to find another company to assist them, even pulling from out of state if needed. We also hope that some of these people will try us out again in 2021 when things settle down should they still have an interest in home networking or AV services.

We really look forward to getting back to normalcy in 2021, serving some of our past customers and of course adding new customers in the Northern VA area.

Have a wonderful Holiday season and we hope to see you in 2021.

Lew & Bonnie Little

Do you need a cell phone booster?

In addition to improving your WiFi at home to strengthen your Internet signal, you may find a need to strengthen your cell phone signal. While your cell phone provider will tell you that you can tap into your WiFi, it doesn’t always give you enough or any additional cell phone coverage.

If you are struggling with being able to talk on your cellphone, you may need a cell phone signal booster. The basic principle behind signal boosters is to create an additional antenna within your home for your cell phone to attach to before capturing the signal from your carrier. This signal will clean and amplify the signal coming in and going out from your tiny cell phone antenna that isn’t strong enough.

Boosters work with weak signals, but not when you have no signal at all.  The cell booster does not increase the signal strength that is received at the physical location of the house.  It only relays the outdoor signal to inside the house, i.e. if there are only 2 bars of signal strength while standing outside of the house, the performance level of the cell service inside the house will still be 2 bars even if the signal strength meter shows 4 bars.

If you have no signal outside most carriers offer a Micro Cell that connects to the household interconnect connection for service.  These devices are typically locked down to a particular carrier. (AT&T will not work on a Verizon Micro Cell as an example)  We have even seen where they will only work with cell numbers that are associated with the same billing account that the Micro Cell is on.

If you want to go the route of getting a booster, stick with these companies that have been certified by the FCC: Cel-Fi, HiBoost, SureCall, and WeBoost.

Our preference has been the SureCall booster, specifically the Fusion 4Home.

Fusion4Home features 2XP technology which doubles the uplink transmission power to maintain your cell signal throughout the weakest cell signal environments. Assembled and tested in the USA with outstanding build quality, award-winning technologies, omni-carrier compatibility, and world-class support, the Fusion4Home is a quality booster for around $500.00.

There are other boosters, some which can cost around $1000 and some less than $400, but we found that this product competes well with them for medium sized homes.