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Link your business phone system to Microsoft Teams

Extend your business phone system into Microsoft Teams with Manx Technology Group. A converged system allows you to extend the use of your phone system outside of your office and into your Microsoft Teams environment. Staff who are using Teams desktop, web or the mobile app – can make and receive phone calls as if they were in the office. Calls arriving to your business PBX can be routed to Teams users.

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Internet of Things – Low Power WAN Technologies

An LPWan (Low Power Wide Area Network) is a type of wireless network , well suited for IoT and sensors, where low-power, long-range data communications is a requirement. Typically LPWan technologies have data-rates of less than 100Kbps so are not comparable to broadband, but are well suited to data transmission from IoT sensors.

The primary attributes that distinguish an LPWan from other network technologies include:

  • Long Range. The specialist technology and PHY stack of LPWans mean its range can extend from 1KM up to 10-15KM in outdoor settings. The penetration of LoRaWAN and similar technologies that employ 868MHz can also be greater than technologies such as WiFi and Zigbee.
  • Low Power. LPWan technologies and chipsets are optimised for low power use, making them ideal for IoT and sensor applications where mains power may not be an option. LoRaWAN enables devices will happily run on batteries, sometimes combined with renewables such as solar.
  • Low Cost. The optimised almost simplified nature of LPWan technologies reduces their overall component cost. Not only are the communications modules in the sensors relatively inexpensive, but the cost of deployment LPWan networks is also significantly reduced, particularly when compared to 4G/5G networks.
LPWAN Technologies compared
This diagram highlights the critical differences between LPWan technologies in terms of range and data rate.

There are several different LPWan technologies, but the most common tend to include:

  • LoRaWAN (Long-Range WAN) is an LPWan that uses LoRa technology and provides high-range, low-power and secure IoT communications.
  • Sigfox is similar in some respects to LoRaWAN but is a technology developed by the French global network operator Sigfox.
  • NarrowBand IoT (NB-IoT) is a cellular technology focused on low-cost, low-power and high-density deployments.
  • Zigbee/XBee/802.15.4 – common with home IoT applications with but variants designed for extended range and outdoor use.
  • Wi-SUN/802.15.4G – similar to 802.15.4 but with a modified PHY layer designed for utilities and smart metering.

Alongside these LPWan technologies, some IoT applications may use:

  • WiFi. The use of WiFi is still a reasonable option where there is a power source, WiFi network and your application is well suited to an IP-enabled environment. Despite the availability of LPWan technologies in Libelium and other IoT solutions, we may opt for WiFi in some scenarios.
  • 3G/4G. You can use more common cellular/mobile data technologies for your IoT project but, unlike their LPWan counterparts, 3G/4G is more power-hungry than LoRaWAN (i.e. x10). With 3G/4G cards, often the setup time takes longer (i.e. to associate with the network), and the configuration and dependencies are more complex.
  • Zigbee/XBee while not strictly an LPWan technology is something commonly used in IoT solutions. The technologies can also use mesh technology to extend their effective range and enhance their resilience.

Which Low Power WAN technology should I use for my project?

When considering the most appropriate wireless technology for your IoT project, you should consider the following:

  • Power availability. Do you have access to mains power, or will your application be reliant upon battery or solar power?
  • Frequency of measurement. How often do you want to take measurements?
  • Sensor setup/calibration time. Some IoT sensors take some time to start and calibrate – this needs factoring into your power budget.
  • Network availability. What network coverage is available in the location where your IoT solution will be deployed? Some areas may have 3G/4G, but lack LoRaWAN or Sigfox. Many network operators are yet to augment their networks with NB-IoT.
  • International markets. Different countries have different regulatory regimes insofar as licensing and spectrum allocation is concerned. These differences may mean you need a different LoRaWAN card for operating in EU than Australia. Depending on the international reach of your solution, this should be a consideration.
  • Public or Private deployment. For focused, private deployments –  you may opt to deploy your own Low Power WAN or LoRaWAN network. Other scenarios may be more suited to traditional methods such as 3G/4G.
  • Hardware support. Check what your sensor platform supports communications methods. Libelium Plug & Sense supports LoRaWAN, Sigfox, WiFi, 3G/4G, NB-IoT and Zigbee – but other platforms may not have this flexibility.

Can I calculate IoT power usage?

Yes – but you need to be able to understand:

  • IoT chipset power consumption.
  • Communications card power consumption.
  • Communications setup, transmission and shutdown timings.
  • Sensor power consumption.
  • Sensor startup, calibration, measurement and shutdown timings.
  • Battery size/capacity.
  • Frequency of measurement.
  • Measurement result size.
  • Is solar or renewable power an option?

Only when you have answers to these questions is it possible to estimate the power usage and thus battery lifetime.

More information

If you would like to learn more about Internet of Things (IoT) technologies, Low Power WAN options, or if you require assistance with your IoT project, please speak to our solutions team. They can be reached by e-mailing sales@mtg.im, calling +44 1624 777837 or selecting ‘Request a Quote’ from our website.

Small Business IT Security : Sophos Intercept-X

Sophos Intercept-X is an advanced endpoint protection solution that uses artificial intelligence to detect both known and unknown threats. Sophos Intercept-X uses next-gen techniques, alongside more traditional methods to protect computer systems. The use these advanced signature-less technologies has meant Sophos is consistently ranked as one of the industry’s top-rated malware detection, exploit and endpoint protection solution.

Why is this particularly relevant to a small business? 43% of all data breaches impact SMBs (small-medium businesses), so they are not immune to cybersecurity threats. Subscribing to an advanced endpoint protection solution helps ensure data and systems are safeguarded against modern threats and malware.

Deep Learning Technology

Artificial intelligence built into the Sophos product is able to detect both known and unknown threats, based on behaviours and a variety of other parameters that would indicate malware. Signature-less protection ensures your systems can be protected against known and emerging/zero-day threats. The enhanced protection means that Sophos Intercept-X is able to detect and block malware that may slip past competing products.

Exploit Prevention

A common attack vector for a virus or malware infection is for hackers to exploit vulnerabilities in unpatched application software or out of date operating systems. Exploit prevention built into Sophos Intercept-X is able to recognise exploit tools and techniques, therefore providing an additional layer of defence. This angle of attack is why businesses are encouraged to move away from dated operating systems such as Windows XP and Windows 7.

Ransomware Protection

Cryptolocker and other ransomware can cause havoc for business owners, particularly small businesses. The behavioural analysis system built into Sophos called CryptoGuard silently observes process and application behaviour that are attempting to modify or hijack your data and documents for ill intent. Cryptoguard will stop this activity and revert your data back to its original form.

Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR)

Sophos Root-Cause Analysis
Root cause analysis allows you to pinpoint the source of infection or malware.

EDR is a valuable feature of the Sophos security suite that enables you to investigate threats further, understand their origin and respond in a confident manner. While detecting and preventing a malware attack is one thing, understanding how it infected the organisation is another – this is where EDR helps.

Layered Defence

MTG recommend that you employ a layered defence model when considering IT security in your business. Our ITaaS customers benefit from several different security components; Fortinet Firewalls with UTM, Cisco Umbrella Secure-Internet Gateway, Sophos Endpoint Protection and Intercept-X, File Audit and User Lock – and regular security check-ups. It is also important to focus on user education and staff training; the human element is particularly vulnerable to phishing and other attacks that are difficult to prevent with just technical measures.

How much does it cost?

We provide Endpoint Security for a monthly subscription, as part of our ITaaS offering. You pay a fixed fee per month, per staff member, which includes Office 365, Sophos Endpoint, Cisco Umbrella and other software that enhances security and increases productivity. The subscription-based model provides predictable costs that scale with your business.

Small Business IT Security

MTG employs Sophos certified engineers and architects who can select and implement a full security fabric for your organisation.

If your business would like to learn more about Sophos Intercept-X, our managed IT solutions, or if you are interested in a review of your IT or security setup – please speak to our solutions team. You can speak to our team by calling +44 1624 777837, e-mail sales@mtg.im or select ‘Request a Quote’ from our website.

Smart Parking Sensors – UK & Ireland

Smart Parking sensors are intelligent IoT nodes that are installed in parking spaces, or within road-side spaces, and are able to detect the presence of a parked vehicle. The sensors can then trigger events for use with intelligent parking apps or for intelligent parking enforcement. Manx Technology Group can design and supply Smart Parking solutions for parking applications in the UK or Ireland, including the sensors, LoRaWAN network, back-office systems and Smart Parking Apps. Read more

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