Tag Archives: wireless

7 Reasons you need a wireless presentation system

Preparing content for a presentation is daunting enough. You shouldn’t have to worry about how the presentation system works. If you’re a company that meets regularly or has reoccurring presentations, you need a wireless presentation system.

There are many reasons to use this cost-effective and flexible solution. Here’s seven to start:

1. No cables.
Ever have to get up and interrupt an important presentation just because you needed to swap cables in and out of the projector? Save yourself from the hassle of figuring out what cable goes where. Plus, cables add unnecessary clutter. Let’s not add them where they aren’t needed.

2. Display from any device.
We work in a mobile-centric world. To be efficient and user friendly, your meeting space should cater to all mobile devices. That includes tablets, smartphones, and laptops. Most wireless presentation systems allow you to display content from any of these devices. Oh, and save yourself the cost of buying a remote presenter. You don’t need it. Just install a smartphone application. The wireless connection enables the application to communicate with PowerPoint, for example, to remotely control your presentation slides from the convenience of your personal mobile device.

3. Multi-user collaboration.
Several users can access the system at once. Changing presenters is as simple as one click. This interactivity is perfect for open-forum discussion in conference rooms, classrooms, or lecture halls.

4. Long-range connectivity.
Some wireless presentation systems, like the Black Box Wireless HDMI Presentation System, can reach up to 300 feet! Ideal for large rooms like auditoriums and lecture halls where users are stationed far from a projector.

5. Multi-screen distribution.
Show multiple sources at the same time on one screen. This is great for education and training applications where the audience can make side-by-side comparisons.

6. Free up your IT team.
There’s no need for audio-visual support when you’re using a wireless presentation system. Just fire up your laptop, tablet, or PC; connect to the network; and open the wireless presentation system software. Then, it’s go time.

7. Take presentations on the road.
Slim, compact versions are available for when you need to travel or move frequently from room to room. These devices fit in your pocket. When you’re ready to present, simply plug it into a display or projector for quick presentation sharing. Some models, like the Black Box Micro Wireless Presentation Tool, provide 802.11n Wi-Fi support, which delivers up to five times the throughput and greater range of earlier Wi-Fi technology.

Need more reasons to go wireless? Comment below, or contact a Black Box technical engineer at 877-877-2269.

Additional Resources
Case study: Research Laboratory
SlideShare: Wireless Presentation System

3 Ways to use wireless Ethernet extenders

IT professionals are the unsung heroes when it comes to Ethernet LAN extension. Network users don’t care how the network is extended, they just want it to work.

Why wireless Ethernet extension.
Ethernet has a maximum distance or range of 100 meters over CATx cable. If the network needs to go beyond that, fiber is the best medium. But it’s not always practical or economical to trench new fiber. That’s where wireless Ethernet extension comes in.

Here are three examples of how you can extend an Ethernet network quickly and economically with wireless extenders.

Application 1: Point-to-point enterprise LAN extension.
This is the simplest form of wireless Ethernet extension between buildings, such as in a business park or a school campus. Point-to-point LAN extension can also be used to connect networks between buildings across town at data rates of 40-80 Mbps up to six miles apart.

Extenders, like the LWE120 Series, usually come in kits for this type of application. The kits give users a fast deployment time because the access point and the subscriber unit are already pre-synchronized to work together right out of the box. These units feature internal directional antennas with LED indicators for alignment. Dual antennas are used for better speed and range. Power over Ethernet simplifies installation.

Wireless Ethernet Extenders in Oil/GasApplication 2: Hub and spoke extension topology for security/surveillance.
For security, cameras are installed around the perimeter and entry/exit points at well sites, booster pumping stations, and gas processing facilities in the oil and gas industry. Wireless networks are then used to aggregate IP security camera traffic to a central node or operations center. The network consists of wireless extenders with directional antennas that point back to a central AP with an omni-directional antenna. In a point-to-multipoint or star topology, the access point can be connected to up to 32 subscriber units.

Application 3: Hub and spoke extension topology for the hospitality industry.
This is one of the easiest methods for extending network and Internet access up and down ski slopes and across sandy beaches to outlying cabins and cabanas without worrying about running fiber cable. Wireless extenders are also practical for connecting a digital signage network used for wayfinding, information, entertainment, and menus.

The extenders provide a solution for:

  • Ski and beach resorts
  • Golf and country clubs
  • Conference facilities
  • Outdoor festival facilities

Line of sight considerations.
Generally speaking, you need a clear line of sight between the extender radios for reliable transmissions. In other words, no buildings or trees can be in the way. Typically, radios are mounted on poles, towers, or buildings 20 feet or more above the average terrain height. This is to avoid noise from ground reflections called Fresnel Zone losses. The best practice is to perform an RF link budget analysis that takes into consideration transmit power, receive sensitivity, cable/connector, and free-space path losses.

The advantages of PoE.
When it comes to PoE (Power over Ethernet), wireless Ethernet extenders can be a real convenience. Because many of them, like the Black Box ones described above, are PoE powered, worries about running electrical wires are eliminated. That’s a real bonus in difficult environments.

Additional Information
3 Biggest mistakes in wireless deployment
5 Questions to Ask About Wireless Ethernet Extension
PoE Explained

On-demand KVM and Wireless webinars

Catch up on our latest on-demand webinars from this past month:

“Wireless Solutions for M2M, Security/Surveillance, and Temporary Data Networks”

  • In this webinar, learn how cellular wireless routers can be a reliable and cost-effective alternative for Internet or WAN/VPN access compared to POTS, DSL, and cable modem technologies.
  • Explore how cellular routers can support the necessary interface types, environmental requirements, and protocols associated with remote SCADA applications.
  • Understand how 4G cellular wireless routers support the throughput and latency requirements for backhauling security/surveillance video.
  • Learn how to quickly set up temporary, mobile networks in field applications, such as sporting events, outdoor gatherings, and digital signage installations.

“KVM Outside of the Data Center”

  • In this webinar, Acquire a high-level understanding of the KVM technology solutions spectrum. Understand the market forces that are shaping the need for KVM technologies in different industries.
  • Understand the thought process behind selecting a KVM technology for a specific application scenario.
  • Understand the return-on-investment benefits that KVM solutions can provide.


The 3 biggest mistakes made in wireless deployment

Planning a wireless deployment? Avoid these three mistakes!

1. Planning for coverage rather than capacity.
A wireless network may have sufficient coverage in the sense that the signal reaches the intended area. However, if there are too many users, the network will become overwhelmed and slow.

LESSON: Count square footage and users.

2. Ignoring differences in power requirements.
Some wireless devices, particularly smartphones and tablet computers, require a higher signal strength to connect. Planning a wireless network with only laptop computers in mind may leave some users hanging.

LESSON: Not all wireless devices are equal.

3. Not distinguishing between user and device
Because mobile devices are subject to malware, good security policy is to grant separate levels of authorization based on both user and device. For instance, a person on a company-owned laptop may be granted a higher level of access than the same person on a personal smartphone.

LESSON: You may trust the person, but do you trust their phone?

Additional wireless deployment resources:
FREE Wireless Assessment
How to adapt your wireless infrastructure for the BYOD trend

PPP, EAP, 802.1x … what’s the difference?

The PPP, EAP, 802.1x protocols are often confused with each other, which is no wonder because they’re all interrelated and involve authentication.

Point-to-Point Protocol (PPP) was originally a protocol for connecting and authenticating dialup modems. Today’s PPP is usually encapsulated in Ethernet frames and operates over Ethernet as PPP over Ethernet (PPPoE). PPPoE is commonly used for cable modem or DSL connections to an ISP for Internet access. PPP includes two authentication mechanisms: Password Authentication Protocol (PAP) and Challenge Handshake Authentication Protocol (CHAP).

Extensible Authentication Protocol (EAP) is an authentication protocol framework that works inside PPP to provide support for authentication protocols beyond the original PAP and CHAP protocols. EAP supports a wide range of authentication mechanisms including Kerberos, passwords, certificates, and public key authentication, as well as hardware schemes such as authentication dongles, smart cards, and USB tokens.

802.11x simply takes the EAP framework out of PPP and puts it into Ethernet, packetizing it for transmission over a wired or wireless network. 802.11x has three parts:

• Supplicant: A user who wants to join the network.
• Authenticator: An access point, switch, or other device which acts as a proxy between the user and the authentication server.
• Authentication Server: A server, usually a RADIUS server, which decides whether to accept the user’s request for network access.

When a user tries to access a network through a wireless access point or by plugging into an Ethernet port, the authenticator—usually an access point or switch—consults with the authentication server before allowing the user onto the network.

Five questions to ask before opening your network to BYOD

There’s a lot of excitement nowadays about the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend, in which employees use their own smartphones, tablets, or laptop computers to access the corporate network via wireless. But before you set up those wireless access points, there are a number of questions to consider.

Who’s allowed into the network?
The first step to managing BYOD is to decide who gets on your network. Do you have an open BYOD policy that lets any device connect to your network through wireless? Do you let anyone in, but make him or her register? Do you authenticate users via password? Do you allow only known devices onto the network? Do you support all devices and operating systems?

How much access are BYOD devices allowed?
Do you allow employees’ personal devices full network access or restrict them to Internet access only? If you allow full network access, is there a security policy in place to prevent company confidential information from being loaded into devices that may be lost or stolen?

How safe are BYOD devices and what are you going to do about them?
There’s more malware out there all the time, and it’s affecting more devices than ever. This is a problem not limited to laptop computers—the popular Android™ operating system for phones has a large amount of known malware. How will you screen connecting devices to make sure they have updated patches and don’t contain malware?

What about licensing? 
Do employees want to use corporate software on their personal devices? Do your software licenses have terms that enable you to install the software on machines that are not company owned?

How will you handle roaming?
Can your wireless system handle users who move from access point to access point without dropping sessions or requiring users to log in again?

For more info, check out our brochure on The Changing Wi-FI Landscape and how to adapt your wireless infrastructure for the BYOD trend.

Five wireless security bandits

A common vulnerability in wireless networks is in their ability to create unexpected connections that can result in security gaps. Here are five common wireless security bandits to watch out for:

1. The rogue access point (AP). A rogue access point is an unauthorized access point connected to your wired network, generally connected by someone in your organization trying to set up do-it-yourself wireless service. Although rogue access points are usually installed innocently enough, they can provide an unsecured gateway right into the heart of your network.

2. The ad-hoc client. Ad-hoc mode is the ability of wireless devices to connect directly with other wireless devices without accessing an access point. If a computer on your wired network sets up an ad-hoc wireless connection to another computer, that other computer can gain access to your network through the ad-hoc computer.

3. The out-of-compliance access point. Older access points that have not been updated to the latest firmware release may open your network to hackers. Keeping all the equipment on your network up to date with firmware releases will protect your network from attack to known vulnerabilities. Not doing this can weaken security and reduce network performance. Out-of-compliance access points tend to be a problem in organizations that do not have a security policy that addresses keeping all equipment up to date on their firmware releases.

Continue reading Five wireless security bandits

4 Tips to keep your wireless network secure

Because wireless networks are particularly vulnerable to attacks, security is a primary concern. Wireless networks can be hacked by “war drivers“—who cruise around looking for a wireless signal to exploit. Usually war drivers are just looking for free Internet access, but sometimes they’re looking for confidential information such as credit card numbers.

Although a wireless network can never be totally secure, there are important steps you can take to minimize the risk:

1. Know how far your signal extends.
When you install a wireless network near public areas, it’s very important to know where your signal is going. If it’s easily picked up outside your business—perhaps from a parked car across the street or from the building next door—then you’ve got a security problem. If you send a strong wireless signal into the coffee house next door to your business, chances are someone is going to try to take advantage of it.

Continue reading 4 Tips to keep your wireless network secure