Tech Update

  • Change is Coming Soon for Windows and Wireless Networks

    This article might seem like a repeat and in a way, it is a repeat. A few years back, the conversation was “It is time to replace Windows XP computers.” Now it is time to replace those Windows 7 computers.

    As of January 14, 2020, Microsoft will no longer provide security updates for computers running Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008. Without security updates, your computers running these operating systems will be more vulnerable to viruses, ransomware and security breaches.

    Windows 10 computers are the solution to avoid these risks. Can you update Windows 7 computers to Windows 10? Probably not a good idea. Windows 8 computers were introduced in August 2012, and Windows 7 was released in July 2009. The means that Windows 7 and 8 computer hardware is eight to 10 years old. For computers, that is old.

    Most new computers are smaller, processors are much more powerful, memory is faster and hard drives are mostly all solid state (which means no moving parts). SATA drives are still being produced and are good for many specific purposes like storing large amounts of data. Many low-priced computers still include SATA drives.

    You will also need to move to Windows 10 to run some newer versions of software. There have been many changes to the Windows operating system. Most of those design changes are for the good. Ransomware has become a big pain. Keeping the bad guys out has created many of these changes.

    Some newer software programs will just not run on a Windows 7 computer. If your computer is more than five years old, new computer hardware is most likely in order. As for Windows 8.0 and 8.1, it was not the most popular operating system by many folks’ standards. We find many of the Windows 8 series computers can be upgraded to Windows 10, as the hardware will nicely support the newer Windows 10 operating system. Don’t delay and update those computers.

    Along with the new technology appearing in computers, you are seeing more and more ads about all the cell phone carriers moving to 5G, which stands for 5th Generation. All cell phone carriers now offer 4G coverage. There is a big difference in 4G versus 5G. First of all, speed. A 5G network can be up to 100 times faster than 4G! That is not a typo.

    Secondly, the actual installation of the antennas is significantly different. 4G towers are usually good for a 20- to 40-mile range. We see them all along the highways. 5G is a totally different setup. The antennas only have about an 800-foot broadcast range. There are lots of the antennas on power and telephone poles. Rural areas will be more complicated to install. Most current 5G installs are a compromise between somewhat slower speed to get a greater transmit distance.

    What is 5G all about? If computers are going to drive vehicles, one thing you don’t want is slow internet speed. 5G is giving us portability and network speeds faster than we currently have in our wired networks. Taking POS to the customer with tablets will become standard. Real-time information and transaction processing will be able to be used anywhere to include credit card processing, ordering and inventory lookup from a customer location using cell connectivity.

    5G will have many benefits. The heath industry has lots of applications for this technology. You will wear a watch and the watch will do continuous EKG’s. You will get a notification if it reads signs of having a heart attack. It will monitor blood/sugar levels in real time. If an elderly person falls, 5G will allow for automatic notification of the fall, even if the person is unconscious, while providing their location. There are lots of exciting things to look forward to with 5G.

    Since the end of the year is near, be sure to make sure you have a good firewall and the batteries in your battery backups work—most batteries only last two or three years. Usually, good battery backups allow for replacement batteries. You do not have to buy completely new units. Is your antivirus software current and working?

    Check your computers. Have you taken the covers off and removed all the dirt and dust bunnies that have accumulated? Dust and dirt are like a blanket, holding heat in the computers. Heat is the enemy of computer components. A little preventive maintenance can save money down the road. Are your access points more than three or four years old? If so, maybe it’s time for an update. New access points can be three to four times faster.

    Be ready for 2020. Technology continues to change. Make sure your systems are up to date. Enjoy the upcoming holiday season and have a prosperous new year.

    Fred Fischer is president of J3 Point of Sale/Ganymede Technologies Corp. Contact him with questions or comments at

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