Leasing vs Buying IT Equipment: Which is Better?

When you plan to upgrade or replace computer equipment, there are two ways to do it: Either leasing or buying the necessary IT equipment. As there is no hard and fast rule as to which alternative is better; it heavily depends on your business’ unique situation and needs. Here is an overview of each alternative’s pros and cons to help you decide between the two options:

When you lease IT equipment, the upfront costs are low, which allows a business to set aside moneys for more pressing needs.

There will be a set monthly payment with no surprises, and your business can keep up with the Joneses when it comes to having the most cutting-edge technology. If some new tech system pops up in a year or two that could help your business operations, upgrading is simple to do when leasing.

There are, however, downsides to leasing. Over the long term, you may pay more for the equipment your business uses. With a lease, there’s also the issue of having a contract that usually requires the business to rent the IT equipment for a set length of time.

This means that – even if your business opts to stop using that equipment or it becomes obsolete – the payments still must be made.

When you purchase your business’ IT equipment outright, there is only a single, albeit large, hit to the budget, and there’s no complicated paperwork to fill out or built-in caveats in the contract to look out for. It belongs to the business and decisions regarding maintenance and method of use are entirely up to those within the company instead of being governed by an outside entity. The purchased equipment can even be deducted from the business’ taxes.

On the other hand, putting a lot of money at once into a company’s IT needs may draw too much money out of other divisions’ budgets, such as marketing, for example. This can negatively impact the business’ bottom line. Another consideration is how often technology equipment should be updated. With buying such equipment, it’s far harder to upgrade to the latest technologies, which could require waiting for your recently purchased items to sell before making a fresh IT equipment purchase.

Common Network Problems Resolved

By Tech Experts Staff
It’s amazing how easily network problems can turn into a huge headache for businesses and home users. If you don’t have guidance when purchasing equipment, or don’t know how to properly maintain and troubleshoot issues, you could be down for hours or days.

While network problems and questions are very common, there really are simple solutions to them. This month we’ll take a look at the most common network related questions and problems and how we generally resolve them.

The first question we regularly hear, most often from home users, is “How do I know what kind of equipment to purchase?”

That isn’t that hard of a question. Generally, with network equipment, it comes down to the old saying “You get what you pay for.”

When you buy networking equipment, whether it’s a switch to expand the number of available connections on your network, or a router, don’t buy the lowest priced one you can find.

There’s a reason one piece of equipment is more expensive than another. Generally, the price difference means drastic differences in the speed of the unit, number of available ports, range, and in some cases security features.

So, when buying network equipment, don’t scrimp – you’ll end up with a slow network lacking in features.

Even when you have good equipment in place you can still run into network problems. The most common issue on a network tends to be a malfunctioning device.

It is normally much less expensive to try replacing a device as a first step to resolving a problem than it would be to have a tech go around and test every device on the network.

For example, if your network is having issues with slower than normal connections, high latency, etc. it is entirely possible that your switch or router has begun to fail.

With consumer grade network equipment, routers and switches can fail as much as once per year depending on the quality of the device and how well you’ve protected it from power surges.

If you’ve replaced your router and/or switch, and you continue to have high latency and strange issues, the next step is to check your network cables.

The cables you’ve been moving around over the years and putting stress on may have faults that are causing problems.

At this point, a tech would need to go through and test the cabling to make sure there are no issues with them.

A cable that is either wired improperly or is starting to fail can cause problems that will affect a network in many ways.

Sometimes, depending on the severity of the fault, it can cause intermittent failures resulting in spotty connections. If a cable fails altogether it can prevent a user from being able to connect to the network entirely.

Once all of the cabling issues are straightened out and we know our devices are good, you may still have a computer acting up on the network.

In that case, it is possible that the network interface card (NIC) is failing. Sometimes this can be a hardware problem where the NIC fails, but sometimes it is possible that the software on your computer is causing problems with it.

For instance, a NIC takes drivers for the operating system to allow it to communicate on the network. If you have the wrong driver installed, or the driver is corrupt, it can cause a lot of network problems.

Another possibility is a virus or other malicious software installed on the computer.

Depending on what the virus is designed to do it could be causing the problem with your computer’s ability to connect to the Internet.

Depending on the severity of the infection and what it was designed to do, it is possible that a virus could cause the entire network to run slowly.

What it all comes down to is that it is really best to have a professional diagnose network issues and work with you directly when trying to get equipment for your network.

With the number of variables involved, if you don’t deal with networking on a regular basis it’s fairly easy to be confused.

Feel free to contact us anytime for advice on network upgrades and help diagnosing problems with your network, firewall, switches or routers.

Networking Equipment: What’s It All Do?

There are many times when explaining to clients what piece of hardware needs rebooted or reset that they do not know what we are talking about when we reference the piece of networking equipment by name.

Even if you do know what is meant by router, modem, switch, hub, etc., you might not know what the equipment does, and why you need it.

Today is your lucky day! Below is a brief explanation of what the various types of networking equipment is, what it does, and why you need it.

Let’s start from your Internet service providers (ISP) main line into your house or business and work our way up to your computer. It all begins with your modem – this is how you initially connect to your ISP’s main line into your building.

The modem is what connects you to your Internet provider, and secures an IP address for your computer or network to connect to the Internet.

The next piece of hardware in line is normally your router.

Some network installations don’t have a router, usually because the modem supplied by the Internet provider has one built in, or the computer connects directly to  the modem.

A router allows you to have your own network IP scheme and communicate from your network to your ISP’s network.

Routers allow you to expand your network beyond the one device that most ISP’s modems allow by creating a larger subset of IP addresses for your computers to connect to which is then “routed” to your ISP’s IP address and out to the Internet.

This is why they are called routers, they route network traffic. Some routers also offer the ability to connect wirelessly to your network.

These connections act exactly the same way except for the fact that they do not have an Ethernet cable plugged into the computer you are using to connect with and there is increased security on the wireless connection to prevent unauthorized connections to your network. Some routers also offer a high grade built in firewall.

So as you can see routers can come in many different flavors and configurations.

The final piece of hardware in the chain of networking hardware is your switch.

In general switches are designed to be connected to your router and offer more Ethernet ports for you to connect devices to your network.

Most routers offer on average five Ethernet ports – a switch gives you the ability to expand on the number of available Ethernet ports that can connect to your router.

If you want to have multiple devices connected to your Internet connection while keeping your network secure give us a call and we can guide you on selecting the proper equipment as well as getting it setup properly for you.

If this kind of equipment is not configured properly you may not be able to connect to the Internet at all.

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Key Features To Keep In Mind For A New LCD Monitor

If you’re looking to upgrade your computer monitor, you want to make sure that you get the most bang for your buck, and buy the best monitor in your price range.

There are literally hundreds of monitors on the market, each with different features and specifications. You’ll want to keep these in mind when going over your options.

Response Times
The response time refers to how fast the monitor’s pixels can change colors.

Faster is obviously better because it reduces the ghosting effect when an image moves across the screen. The lower the response time is, the less you are going to see a faint trail in applications such as video games, streaming videos, or even Internet Explorer.

The response time is measured in milliseconds (MS). So the lower response time you get with your monitor the better performance you’ll receive.

Viewing Angle
Have you ever looked at a computer monitor from an angle and noticed that the image became dimmer or even disappeared. To compensate for this problem, LCD manufacturers have designed wider viewing angles. Don’t confuse this with a widescreen display, which means the display is physically wider.

Manufacturers give a measure of viewing angle in degrees (a greater number of degrees is better).

In general, when you’re choosing a new monitor, make sure it’s rated between 120 and 170 degrees.

Manufacturers measure viewing angles differently, so the only best way to really evaluate it is by testing the display yourself. Look at it from the top, bottom, side to side, and also keep in mind how you will have the monitor positioned on your desk.

HDMI Inputs
HDMI is becoming the future of video input devices. The top of the line computer monitors provide at least one HDMI input on them.

The HDMI input is on there so you can use a high-definition source such as a Blue-Ray player or even a high-definition camcorder.

You might also want to consider HDMI outputs in case you need to run a monitor to another highdefinition video source, such as a high-definition television or another HD monitor.

If you do decide to go with the HDMI, ensure that the ports are HDMI 1.3 compatible so that you are ready for any future upgrades to the HDMI standard.

Resolution and Contrast Ratio
Many manufacturers will try to sell you on resolution and contrast ratio as the two most important considerations when buying a new computer monitor.

While these features are important, they’re less of a consideration among the best monitors.

Contrast ratio numbers are way too easily manipulated to be an indicator of a good monitor, so don’t just rely on this number to tell you whether a monitor is good or not.

All of the best monitors have a ton of flexibility in resolution and support all of the most common resolution formats.

If you are running video editing software you might want to double check to see if you need something specific that meets your needs.

Remember if you need any assistance in choosing a new monitor, or comparing options, give us a call at (734)-457-5000. We’ll be happy to help.

3 Easy Ways to Green-up Your Small Business

E-waste contains all kinds of nasty stuff, including lead, mercury and cadmium. Sadly, much of this waste gets shipped to landfills and smelters in developing countries, exposing tens of thousands of people to harm.

Your first question when seeking to get rid of office equipment should be this: Can someone still use this stuff? If yes, post it on Craigslist or eBay. It’ll be gone in a New York minute.

If it’s beyond repair, you’ve got a few options.

The best is to find a recycler that’s involved in the Basel Action Network’s e-Stewards program, a group of companies that have vowed not to export hazardous waste to poor countries.

Another option is to give it back to the manufacturer. The problem with this approach is you can’t be sure they’ll use a morally sound recycler.

To sum up, here are your options:

Best: If the device is still operational, sell or donate it.

Second best: Find an electronics recycler near you that is an e-Steward member.

Third best: Use the manufacturer’s take back program.


Craigslist.org: Sell or donate your unwanted (but functional) electronics. http://craigslist.org/

E-stewards.org: Lists recyclers that have pledged not to dispose of hazardous e-waste in developing countries. http://www.e-stewards.org/local_estewards.html

Epa.gov: Find local recyclers. View a list of manufacturer take back programs. http://www.epa.gov/waste/inforesources/news/2009news/08-r2.htm

Buy a water cooler
These aren’t just for idle chitchat! By quenching your thirst at the water cooler you avoid having to buy plastic water bottles—the scourge of Earth.

According to this story in Outside Magazine, there is a flotilla of plastic crap the size Texas in the Pacific Ocean – wait, scratch that: the “Eastern Garbage Patch” is actually twice the size of Texas. http://outside.away.com/outside/culture/200912/david-de-rothschildplastiki-1.html

Don’t go to work
Skype, Google Wave, GoToMeeting. The technology required for telecommuting is cheap and readily available.

And there’s no better way to lower your carbon footprint than to reduce your highway time. If your boss wants you in the office, consider carpooling a day or two per week with a coworker.

Or just build a crack case for telecommuting:a quick Google search will give you all the material you need.

Assemble a PowerPoint presentation and channel your inner Al Gore. Just promise us that when you start telecommuting you won’t be that guy in his pajamas jabbering into his cell phone at Starbucks.

Is There A New Computer In Your Future? Here’s A Tip To Help You Transfer Your Important Information!

It eventually has to happen, we need a new computer. You can buy one from the “BIG BOX” stores, or order online or worse yet buy one from “Freddie” on the corner, but the time will come that you need a new computer.

The technology advances so fast it is hard to grasp what you need, what the kids need, and what should you buy that will give you the most bang for your buck.

A bigger concern is: “What will you lose?” When you upgrade your computer, it’s important to preserve the “my documents” and “my photos” folders.

How can you transfer them to your new computer and not lose them?

If you are running Microsoft Windows XP, you are in luck. Not only does Windows provide you with a file transfer wizard, they have a feature called profiles.

Each person who has logged in to a Windows computer had created a profile that has all of  their favorites, documents, music, and photos stored in an easy to transfer directory structure.

The secret is in knowing how to move them to the new computer.  It is very easy. I mentioned thumb drives and external storage in my last article.  Using your external storage, it’s relatively simple to transfer things over. Since each person who uses the computer has their own profile, all of their information is stored separately – all you need to do is find your profile, which is under your user name and then copy the folder which is named after your login name.

For example, if I created a user called “BigBob” then a profile folder called BigBob would also be created. This folder will contain all of my documents, Internet favorites and music if I have saved them to the default location.

Once you find the user’s profile folder, you’d just copy the folder to your external storage or thumb drive. Then, on your new computer, you’d copy the folder back to the same place. I know this gets confusing, but it isn’t that difficult.

Microsoft has developed a way to keep all of your information stored in one central location, and keep each user’s information separate from each other.

This makes it so easy to do the transfer to a new computer.  But to play it safe! If you have very important information, or you haven’t made a recent backup, you may want to use Tech Experts to transfer your data, photos and music to you new system.

We do it every day, and we realize the importance of your data. Give us a call at (734) 457-5000, or e-mail support@mytechexperts.com.