What is a Virtual Private Network (VPN)?

A VPN aka Virtual Private Network enables the connection of a private network across a public network. Virtual Private Network programming ensures a safe and encrypted connection across the public internet which is mostly less secure. A Virtual Private Network implements tunneling protocols for the encryption and decryption of the data at the sending end and the receiving end respectively. In short, a VPN network safeguards your online data from snoopers, hackers, cyber thieves along with maintaining unrestricted access to spam and blocked websites and services. VPN technology was originally developed to enable the access of corporate applications and resources to remote employees and branch offices.

Virtual Private Network Image
image credits: pexels.com

How does a VPN Network Work?

When your computer or any similar device is connected to the VPN, the device acts as if it is on the same local network as the VPN. A VPN routes your device’s (PC, Tablet, Laptop, etc.) internet connection through your private VPN server instead of your internet service provider (ISP). This means the data transmitted to the internet comes from the VPN and not from your computer. When you browse something on the internet, the VPN acts as an intermediate as you establish a connection with internet. This hides your computer’s IP address thereby protecting your identity from malicious attackers. For example, if you browse Netflix through the UK based VPN connection, Netflix will see your connection coming from the United Kingdom.

Basic Functions of a private VPN network:

  • Secure Your Device
  • Provide Accessibility to Websites and Apps
  • Enables Anonymous Browsing
  • Avoid Throttling

Types of VPN

There are several types of VPN provided by network administrators.

  1. Standalone VPN

Standalone VPN service is popular among homes and small businesses. This VPN service type uses an application that forms an encrypted connection to the private network. You can then use this connection to connect the internet on a large scale.

  • Router VPN

You can enable your VPN connection through a VPN-enabled router. With this VPN type, you can connect several devices to a single VPN connection along with ensuring the protection of all devices. This saves your time of installing VPN individually for each device.

  • Corporate VPN

Large software companies install corporate VPN or remote-access VPN for remote-working employees. This system enables the employees to securely access all the company’s data irrespective of their place of working simply using a password. Corporate VPN need personalized development and large IT resources.

What is a Computer Network?

A computer network is a group of computers and other hardware devices that are connected together to enable communication and resource sharing among a number of users. In a typical computer network, the computer devices share data with each other using the data links between nodes. The connections are installed over optical cables or wireless media like Wi-Fi or Ethernet. Computer networks encourage a large number of applications and services. These include digital audio and video, World Wide Web platforms, sharing of apps and storage servers, fax machines, printers, etc. The Internet is a perfect example of a computer network.

computer network image
image credits: wikipedia.com

What are the Types of a Computer Network?

Following are the various types of a computer network:

Local Area Network (LAN)

Local Area Network connects the computing devices over a short distance. For e.g. office building, home, school, etc. LAN is a secure network because the connected devices are within the premises. Hence the data shared among these devices are safe and cannot be accessed by an outsider. LAN is considerably faster and its speed ranges between 100 to 100Mbps.

Metropolitan Area Network (MAN)

Metropolitan Area Network covers a wider area than LAN and smaller area than WAN. MAN connects computing devices that are far away from each other but in the same cities. It can also serve as an Internet Services Provider (ISP). MAN provides high-speed connectivity. The propagation and data transfer rate are moderate in MAN.

Wide Area Network (WAN)

Wide Area Network covers a large geographical area greater than MAN. However, it is limited within the state or country borders. WAN technology comes with high speed and more expensive as compared to LAN and MAN. The architecture of WAN is complex and needs efforts to maintain. The speed of WAN ranges from few Kbps to Mbps. WAN is prone to noise and error due to long-distance data transmission.

What are the Characteristics of the Computer Network?

  • Performance

Response time is the metric used to calculate the performance of the computer network. The response time should be minimal during sending and receiving data between nodes.

  • Communication Speed

Computer networks provide you an efficient and easy way of communication among a group of people.

  • Hardware and Software Sharing

You can install software programs and applications on the central server from where another user can access them easily. You can also share hardware like scanner and printers via a computer network.

  • Security

Computer networks allow high-level security where only the network users can access critical files and applications.

What is the Difference Between Thick Client and Thin Client?

In the computing field, the term client refers to computer software or hardware that interfaces with a server for accessing services. It is an important part of the client-server model. For instance, web browsers such as Apple Safari or Google Chrome acts as a web client that interfaces with the webserver for retrieving and displaying the web pages. Other examples are email clients like Gmail and Yahoo. Clients are classified into two types, thick client and thin client. An architecture comprising of both thick client and the thin client is known as a hybrid client.

thick client v/s thin client
image credits: wikimedia.com

What is the Thick Client?

A thick client performs the operation independent of the server. It implements its own features. The other names for a thick client are ‘fat client’ or ‘rich client’. The prime example of the thick client is personal computers connected to LAN (Local Area Network), cloud computing or virtual network servers, etc. Other examples of the thick client are subscription featured programs and apps such as Adobe Creative Cloud, MS Office 365, etc. installed in a computing device. However, despite the ability of the thick clients to function without a central server, it still requires a periodic network server connection.

Features of Thick Client:

  • High-Level Graphics User Interface
  • Efficient Program and Data Processing
  • Ability to Work Offline
  • Highly Efficient Server Performance

What is Thin Client?

Unlike a thick client, the thin client needs a server to function properly. It is heavily depended on the central server for data processing or retrieving files. With a thin client, the server performs sensitive functions like storage, retrieving the files and data processing. The perfect example of a thin client is a web browser. They don’t seem to be interesting unless they are connected to the web servers. Once they get access to the webserver, they provide a wide range of functionality and services.

Features of Thin Client:

  • Less maintenance of Hardware and Software
  • Reduced risk of malfunction as the files and apps are stored in the central server
  • Cost-effective
  • Fewer hardware requirements as compared to thick clients.

A Quick Comparison Between Thick Client and Thin Client

  Thick Client   Thin Client  
  Can function independently of a central server   Heavily dependent on the server
  Expensive as they need more IT work to deploy them   Cost-effective as they are easy to deploy without any extra installation software
  Utilizes more local resources   Utilizes less local resources
  Data is stored locally   Data is stored on the server
  Can function efficiently in offline mode   Cannot function efficiently in offline mode
  Example: Personal Computers connected to LAN.   Example: Web Browsers like Google Chrome and Apple Safari

What is Animation in PowerPoint?

Animation refers to a graphic element that displays movement. When you apply some visual effects to the content in your slide or to the entire slide then the outcome is known as an animated slide. Popular presentation software like PowerPoint is packaged with animation features so that you can use various animation methods to animate graphics, texts, bullets, titles, images, and other visual content. Animation in PowerPoint helps your audience feel interested in the presentation. The animation artwork is created with the help of the AutoShape features of the PowerPoint. The effects are then applied to the objects using Custom Animation.

What are the Different Types of Animation in PowerPoint?

There are two types of Animations you can apply to make your presentation effective:

  • Transitions

Transitions are the type of animations applied between the slides. When you pass from one slide to another, you can apply animated effects in-between these slides. There are many transition options available in the transition pane of the PowerPoint ribbon. Refer to the image below:

transition image
image credits: powerpointninja.com

 ‘Effect options’ are the additional transition animation options. Using effect options, you can adjust the effect direction of your slide transition. Additionally, you can also adjust the time duration and sound effects for each transition slide as per your choice.

  • Animation

Using the animation option in the PowerPoint toolbar, you can apply visual effects to the object in your slide. You can animate text, titles, images, charts, videos, etc. by selecting any animation option of your choice present in the animation PowerPoint ribbon. Refer to the image below:

animation image

You choose any from the following animation options:

  • Entrance Animations with a green colored icon for the object to enter the slide based on your time preferences.
  • Exit animations with a red-colored icon for the object to exit the slide
  • Motion path animations for moving the object from one point to another
  • Emphasis animation with a yellow colored icon for drawing attention to that object.

How to Apply Animation to Your Presentation Slides?

You can follow the following steps:

  • Select your target object on the slide. This may be text, image, or any other content.
  • Click the ‘Add Animation’ option from the Animation pane. You will find a list of the entrance, exit, emphasis, and motion path animation options. Choose the option you want to apply.
  • You can also set the time and duration for your object to appear on the slide.

Some Tips While Adding Animations

  • Keep simple animations for business presentations.
  • Avoid overdoing the effects.
  • Ensure the timing and animated object synchronize properly.

What is Android TV?

Android TV is the genre of the Android operating system developed by Google and is designed especially for Television. You can stream content to your television via free and paid apps using the internet connection. It is somewhat the same as Amazon Fire and Roku. The navigation through menus on the Android TV is in similar fashion i.e. your smartphone acting as a remote to guide you through navigation. Beyond its efficient streaming capacities, it can also access the Google Play store. The play store contains hundreds of apps that have been created to suit Android TV’s requirements. It is a more complex system than any other streaming device in the market but it’s also considered as a powerful system.

android tv image
Image Credits: android.com

What is the Difference Between Smart TVs and Android TVs?

Technically speaking, Android TV is a type of Smart TV. But there are a few differences that distinguish them from each other.

  • The operating systems of both TVs differ from each other. In smart TVs, the operating system is chosen by manufacturers according to their liking. For e.g. Samsung smart TVs have Tizen OS while LG smart TVs have webOS. Android TV has only one operating system i.e. Android OS.
  • Smart TVs come with only some in-built apps and there are no physical add-ons. In android TV, you can install as many apps from your smartphone via Google Play Store. It also supports video chats like Google Hangouts.

How to Set-up and Use Android TV?

You can use the features of basic Android TV without a Google account. But if you want to install additional apps or get access to Google Assistant, you should have a Google account. When you set up your TV, you will be asked to log in to your Google account. You can either connect the TV via Wi-Fi or an Ethernet connection and answer a few questions regarding your location and preferences. After completing the formalities, you will see the home screen.

What are Some Voice Commands for Android TV?

You can control the navigation of your TV through voice commands with the help of Google assistant. Some of the universal voice commands are:

  • “Play some music”
  • “Play”, “Stop”, “Resume” while watching any movie or video on TV
  • “Louder,” and “Softer” to control sound

Which Televisions and Set-top boxes are Powered by Android TV?

The following set-top boxes support Android TV

  • NVIDIA Shield set-top box
  • Sony Bravia
  • Sharp AQUOS TVs
  • Xiaomi Mi set-top box

What is Smart TV?

Smart TV, aka connected TV, is a conventional television set embedded with Internet and interactive features of “Web 2.0” like streaming of music, videos, internet browsing, etc. As compared to the traditional television sets, smart TVs are technologically advanced. Apart from providing normal broadcasting media services, these TVs also enables users to operate Internet, over-the-top content (OTT), on-demand streaming, online interactive media, and access to home networking. To be more precise, smart TVs can be termed as the technological convergence of conventional television sets and set-top boxes. Modern Smart TVs are also integrated with smartphone characteristics.

smart tv image
Image credits: Flipkart.com

Difference Between Normal TVs and Smart TVs

  • Smart TVs can access the Internet while Normal TVs cannot
  • A smart TV always comes with an inbuilt web browser, while Normal TVs don’t have a web browser
  • Smart TVs can stream content like music, videos, and other stuff. Normal TVs need external equipment to stream content.
  • Many Smart TVs come with a touch screen facility. Normal TVs don’t have a touch screen.

How Does Smart TVs Work?

Smart TVs have the ability to access the broadband connection through a router or Wi-Fi network that you use to connect your PC or smartphone. Once the connection is established, you need to enter the necessary login details provided by your ISP (Internet Service Provider). After a successful login, the TV screen will display a list of available internet channels in the form of apps. Some apps are inbuilt in Smart TV while you can download other apps as per your choice. The navigation style of the Smart TV menu and management of apps varies according to the model and brand.

In addition to internet features, many smart TVs come with some unique capabilities like screen sharing and Miracast. Using these features, you can view the content from your smartphone on a smart TV. These features are also termed as “SmartShare” by LG and “SmartView” by Samsung. Some smart TVs are able to perform vice versa functionality i.e you can get the content from your TV on your smartphone and continue watching it away from the TV.

Which Companies Manufacture Smart TVs?

With the growing craze for smart TVs, almost every TV manufacturer is making smart TVs. Chinese companies like TCL and Hisense manufacture smart TVs that come with in-built Roku services. Some biggest smart TV manufacturer brands are Panasonic, Samsung, Sony, TCL, Toshiba, Philips, Vizio, and Sharp.

What is Microsoft PowerPoint?

Microsoft PowerPoint is a tool used to create digital presentations. It is a presentation program invented by Dennis Austin and Robert Gaskins and released on April 20, 1987. Microsoft PowerPoint is one of the important programs run by the Microsoft company and offers many features to the users from displaying simple presentations to complicated data analysis corporate presentations. It is a component of MS Office Suite software and is combined together with MS Word, MS Excel, and other MS Office productivity tools. With PowerPoint, you can present your ideas and themes in a dynamic and visually captivating way.

powerpoint image
Image Credits: lifewire.com

Defining a PowerPoint Presentation

  • A PowerPoint presentation is a series of slides that you create either with a template or a blank slide.
  • The templates provided by Microsoft Office contain the information template with various designs and styles that you want to share. For e.g. if your focus is to present a slide show of images with caption, you can use the respective template instead of creating it from scratch.
  • Additionally, you can also insert videos and charts from the internet or your computer. You can use the animation option to transit your slides in and out and make your presentation visually compelling.

Defining PowerPoint Online

PowerPoint Online is the free version of MS PowerPoint for you to use within a website browser. It is free to use irrespective of the option you select to license PowerPoint. With your Microsoft account, you can create and view presentations using PowerPoint Online.

Applications of Microsoft PowerPoint:

  • Corporate presentations for promoting products and services
  • Educational presentations for teaching lessons in classroom and seminars
  • Personal reasons such as slideshow of family photos and mind maps
  • Sales and Marketing stuff
  • Event presentations such as marriages, family reunions, or anniversaries
  • Budget and Financial Slideshow
  • Display of diagrams, charts, market analysis, research reports, calendars, etc.

Where to Find Microsoft PowerPoint?

 Almost all windows-based computers come with inbuilt MS Office tools. Hence, your computer or laptop will definitely have PowerPoint installed. You can also purchase PowerPoint by subscribing to Office 365 or purchasing the MS Office suite outright from the Microsoft store. 

Important Tips for Creating a Powerful PowerPoint Presentation:

  • Avoid putting a lot of information in the slides. Presentations are meant to summarize your topic in simple and correct words.
  • Use high-quality images and graphics to make your presentation visually appealing
  • Include relevant and accurate charts and graphs.
  • Avoid the series of animated words and sentences as it creates a distraction for the audience.

What Is Thin Client Computing?

The term thin client aka slim or lean client stands for a lightweight computer designed to establish a remote connection with server-based computers. It is a networked computer that contains some locally stored programs and depends heavily on network resources. Thin client computing systems are the components of a larger computing architecture. These computers possess very fewer resources of their own such as conducting operations without CD-DVD and auxiliary drives or software apps. The hardware of a such computers has low-cost and has very few moving parts. As compared to rich or fat client computers, thin client functions well in a hostile environment. However, in terms of extensibility, thin-client computers lag behind desktop PCs. 

Thin client image
Image credits : Wikimedia commons

What are the Characteristics of a Thin Client?

1. Simplicity

Simplicity is one of the important features of thin client computing. These computers reduce the footprint of client-side software thereby simplifying the desktop endpoints. Because of the lightweight feature, there is a reduction in the read-only operating system, administration, and client-side setup. Since cloud access is the main role of thin clients, there is the elimination of data storage and local user applications. 

2. Graphics

The latest thin client computing services are meeting the demands of today’s graphical computing requirements. The combination of low energy chipset and Central Processing Unit increases the graphical capabilities and processing power. 

3. Hardware

As compared to a traditional PC, the client hardware needs of a thin computing system are very less. Many thin clients are comprised of minimal or no moving parts, less memory, and low energy processors. Also, there is less risk of theft in these computers as they don’t store sensitive data locally.

What are the Uses of Thin Clients?

Thin clients are typically used in 3 ways:

  • Shared Terminal Services

Shared terminal services, the users at thin client stations that can share server-based apps and OS (operating system). The users via share terminal services have limited tasks such as, creating folders and running IT applications. 

  • Desktop Virtualization

Also known as UI processing, in desktop virtualization, each desktop lives in a virtual machine. Although the OS and apps are not shared resources, they are visibly present on a remote server. 

  • Using Browser-Based Approach

Using Browser-based approach with a thin client, when an ordinary device is connected to the internet, instead on a remote server, the device functions within a website browser.

What is NETSH Command?

In the computing field, NETSH stands for network shell. It is command-line utility incorporated in Windows NT line of operating system of Microsoft. NETSH enables local and remote configuration of network devices. NETSH command allows you to change your network settings. For instance, using NETSH command, users can switch or modify their network configuration from dynamic address to a static address. NETSH commands are run by typing specific commands on the NETSH command prompt. The commands can be used in scripts and batch files. Using NETSH commands the user can configure local and remote computers.

In addition to this, NETSH provides a scripting feature that enables the user to run a group of commands in batch format.

What are the NETSH Contexts?

NETSH uses DLL (dynamic-link library) files to associate with other operating system components. Each helper DLL of NETSH provides a substantial set of features known as context. A context is a group of commands that are fixed to a networking server feature. The contexts provide monitoring support and configuration to services, protocols or utilities thereby extending the functionality of NETSH.

 How to Obtain the Contexts List?

The user can obtain the NETSH context lists through command prompt window on a running Windows Server 10. Type ‘netsh’ and press ENTER. See the command list below:

netsh command image
(Image Credits: lizardsystems.com)

What are Subcontexts?

Subcontexts are the NETSH contexts that carry both commands and additional contexts. For instance, within the Routing context, the user can change to Subcontexts of IP and IPv6. If the user wants a list of commands and Subcontexts within a context, the user should type the context name, and /? or help. For example, if the user wants to display a list of command and Subcontexts for using them within the Routing context, the user should type any one of the following:

routing /?

routing help

What is Formatting Legend?

To interpret and use accurate NETSH command syntax, the following formatting legend is used:

  • Text in Bold means the user must type the information exactly as shown while typing the command.
  • Text in Italic means the user must supply the information while typing the command. For instance, if there is a parameter name –Username, the user is expected to type the actual username.
  • Text present between braces { } with choices separated signals that the user must choose only one option between the two. For e.g {enable | disable}
  • Text designed with a Courier font signals that it is a code or output of the program.

What is VoIP Technology?

Voice Over Internet Protocol also known as IP telephony is an acronym for VoIP. VoIP technology is implemented to transmit voice and multimedia communications over IP i.e. internet protocol networks. To be more precise, Voice Over IP enables the conversion of voice signal to a digital signal thereby allowing you to call directly from your PC, or a VoIP phone, and similar data-driven machines. The other names for VoIP technology are IP telephony, broadband phone service, and broadband telephony service. VoIP uses a single unified communication system to unite the latest communication technologies like smartphones, video conferencing, email, cellphones, presence detection, etc. VoIP technology is popular among many software development businesses in today’s world because of its flexible, portable, and affordable nature.

VoIP Technology

How Does VoIP Works?

VoIP utilizes codecs to encapsulate or compress the audio into data packets. A codec is a chip of software or hardware inbuilt into the modem whose main function is to convert voice into data.

The data packets are then transmitted across an Internet Protocol (IP) network after which they are again uncompressed back into the audio signal at the other end of the connection. VoIP technology reduces the network infrastructure costs by eliminating the application of circuit-switched networks for voice. The providers can thus deliver voice services over their broadband networks along with enabling the enterprises to control a single voice and data network.

Advantages of VoIP Technology

  • Affordable International Calls

VoIP technology enables a cheap international calling service, unlike traditional phone services that were charging huge prices. The digital signals transmitted via broadband cut down rental charges that are typically connected with long-distance PSTN telephone calls.

  • Mobility in the Workplace

Since VoIP Software is mobile, there is mobility in the workplace at a higher rate. It has also removed the limitations of desk phones in the workplace. In addition, since internet protocol technologies are easily accessible via any mobiles, laptops, computers, or any internet-connected device, remote work is possible for many employees.

VoIP Standards and Protocols

The endpoints of VoIP use standard codecs of ITU (International Telecommunication Union). The standard codec for the transmission of uncompressed packets is G.711 while for compressed packets the standard is G.729. Though compression minimizes bandwidth requirements, it may affect the voice quality. VoIP uses the ITU T.38 protocol to support non-voice communications in order to send faxes over an IP network. Once the voice is compressed onto IP, it is transmitted with RTP i.e. Real-Time Protocol.