Posts categorized “consultancy”.

RJ-45 Cable lay-out

RJ-45 Cable lay-out

The RJ-45 cable is used for the Ethernet Unshielded Twisted Pair (UTP) wiring.

Notice the difference between the RJ-45 here and the RJ-11, which is smaller.

Data Backup and Archive in a Small Office or Home Office (SoHo) environment.

backupData Backup and Archive in a Small Office or Home Office (SoHo) environment.

The difference between a backup and an archive is the retention. A backup will serve for short term recovery or system restore after a failed installation. Typically, you make a backup before installing software that alters data and or system files. An archive serves to store copies of information for a long time. Keeping a copy of your data on an extra drive will safeguard it from disk crashes or any other loss of systems.

The success of a good backup and archiving policy depends on your data organization. The more pc’s you have, the bigger the challenge to keep track of all your data. Here are some basic rules to keep control of your electronic information storage.

1) Keep your original data in centralized folders. Categorize your data (music, pictures, videos, invoices, contracts, letters, etc.) and use separate folders (as suggested by your operating system windows or MacOS). Some folders change more frequently than others and some files are more important than others.

2) Use a simple backup and restore tool to perform the backup and archive jobs. Do not use software that creates proprietary files, because this creates a dependency on the software and the operating system to restore information. Use a tool that stores the files without compression and that maintains the directory structure (e.g. SyncBack for windows or FreeFileSync for MacOS); this way you can access your copied data directly, without the use of any tool.

3) Use external drives to copy your data to (usb or firewire attached). Select reliable products for your archive drives and avoid systems that require proprietary drivers. You may opt to use a (different) drive for each of the category of data: music, pictures, etc. Do not rely on cloud-based storage for archiving.

4) Make at least once a month a full backup of your data. In case proprietary file formats are used, keep a copy of the software that is needed to read those files on a future safe medium (cd-rom or hard drive – try to avoid zip drives or floppy drives). Verify regularly the backup integrity: check if the data can be restored and is readable.

5) In case of an archive, keep the copies of your data in a remote place. Holding archives under the same roof will not help in case of a fire or a burglary. These days, small format external drives can easily be stored in a (locked) office desk or a bank safe.


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Authentication: There’s a good chap!

Each provider makes its own choices for authentication. Protocols may vary as new ones become available on the market. Encryption technologies and Intranet security standards challenge (read conflict with) the authentication protocols. While in the earlier days, some providers used clear text logon scripts (like CompuServe) for PPP (Point-to-Point Protocol) connections, today PAP (Password Authentication Protocol) and, better, CHAP (Challenge Handshake Authentication Protocol) is used. The smart ones will support all three types (for compatibility). Be aware chaps, that some providers may only support one protocol. That’s were trouble starts: your (favorite Point-to-Point Protocol) software must be able to support the chosen (read forced) authentication protocol. Advanced software will include options to select either of the protocols or even negotiate with the server. However, limitations may occur and even worse, some vendors do not even mention which protocol selection they embeded. It gets even more complex when tunneling is used or needed for security. Many providers used the EnterNet client (and so did the ‘TurboLine’ provider Belgacom). Note that the  MAC version did not offer a selection option between PAP or CHAP. Information about this MAC client setup is published on the EnterNet pages.
The Alcatel SpeedTouch Home works fine with the EnterNet MAC client. The RASPPPOE client is preferred for Windows 2000 (tested with the Belgacom TurboLine and SkyNet GO).
The Thomson SpeedTouch 510 works fine with the native Windows XP PPPOE client and the EnterNet 300 client (tested with Wanadoo eXtense 512k).
Many other configuration modes are possible.
Tips and Tricks published by D. Petri