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SMS Marketing Guide

What Is SMS Marketing?

SMS marketing refers to the use of text messages to promote a business’s products and services, as well as build customer loyalty. This digital marketing strategy is often referred to as mass texting. It works similarly to email marketing but has been shown to be significantly more effective. 

SMS marketing has come a long way since the early 2000’s. It’s no one-trick pony. Businesses use it to:

  • Boost sales: Send promotions, discounts, and limited-time offers to grow revenue
  • Build relationships: Provide customer service and support with 2-way conversations
  • Engage your audience: Quickly share important updates and new content
  • Generate excitement: Host text-to-win sweepstakes or text-to-vote polls
  • Collect leads: Allow potential customers to sign-up for texts or send in one-off questions
  • Nurture leads: Follow-up with leads and keep them engaged with the occasional text

Does SMS Marketing Really Work?

Yes. On average, 98% of all text messages are read. And 90% of those messages are read within just three minutes. 

With social media, you could have the greatest marketing messaging in the world—but the algorithms only show your content to a fraction of your followers. And with email, you can spend a lot of time on design and copy that ends up in a spam folder or is just plain ignored. 

That’s why texts are the ultimate marketing medium. They’re easy to send, and almost always read.

Benefits of SMS Marketing

In our 2020 SMS marketing report, we surveyed hundreds of U.S. consumers, business owners, and marketers. According to the data, 60% of businesses reported that they plan to increase their text marketing budget over the next year.

Here’s why:

Case study after case study backs up the effectiveness of SMS. 

From higher customer satisfaction to increased conversion rates, businesses that use mass text messaging are reaping the benefits.

Measuring the Results of Text Message Marketing

A common misconception is that marketing via SMS can’t be measured. The truth is, just like email, you can easily see if it’s driving ROI. 

Common SMS marketing benchmarks include:

Click-through rate (CTR)
The average email open rate is just over 21%. The CTR is under 3%. With texts, 98% of messages are opened and links receive an average CTR of 17%.

Conversion rate
This is how many people took an action—such as making a purchase—after clicking your link. You can use Google Analytics and UTM parameters to determine the conversion rate of your texts, for free. The average SMS conversion rate is about 45%.

Why is it so high? Well, consider the fact that people who sign up for your texts are your most engaged fans. They want to hear from you. This is the last group of people who you’d want to miss out on by relying on email alone. 

On top of this, people spend close to three hours a day on their phones–making it less likely they’ll miss your message.

List growth
Without a list of phone numbers, you have no one to message. Steady, consistent list growth is a good indicator of success. Later in the guide, we cover how to grow your list.

Unsubscribe rate
Churn happens. People will inevitably reply STOP to your message. Once they do, they will no longer receive messages. Unsubscribe rates vary by industry, but as a rule of thumb, it should be less than 3% per campaign. 

ROI
The big kahuna. This lets you answer whether SMS is making you money or not. Just take a look at the purchases made or influenced by SMS, subtract how much you spent sending the messages, then divide by the total amount spent on SMS marketing.

How to Collect Phone Numbers for SMS Marketing

If you’ve read this far, we hope you’re convinced that text messaging is a useful tool that drives measurable results. Now, let’s talk about how to get started.

The first step is to collect phone numbers. There are several ways to do this and they work best when used together.

No matter which tactic you decide to use, you should always provide value. This can be in the form of a discount or exclusive content that can’t be found elsewhere. People are protective of their phone number. You have to give them a reason to trust you with it.

Keywords
A keyword is a short word or phrase people can text in to your number to sign up for messages. For example, a shoe store may encourage customers to “Text RUN to 900900.” 

Keywords can be advertised on:

  • Television ads
  • Radio commercials
  • In-store signage
  • Social media posts

Mobile Sign-Up Widget
Capture phone numbers from visitors to your site with this free tool. When someone clicks on the widget, the text message app on their mobile device will open with your keyword and phone number pre-filled in.

Click-to-Text Buttons
If your goal is to start 1-on-1 conversations with customers, a click-to-text button is for you. When someone is browsing your site from their phone, all they need to do is click the button to start a text conversation with you.

Web Forms
You likely already have a form on your site to collect emails. Add an optional phone number field to it and watch your SMS list grow. Just be sure to add a checkbox people can use to provide express written consent.

Email
This sounds like a weird one, we know. Use email to get people to sign up for texts. Here’s the thing: your top fans probably don’t want your messages getting lost in their promotions folder. 

They want to read your messages as soon as they’re sent. All you have to do is send an email with a call-to-action that includes a link to your web form—or a keyword!

Facebook Ads
You can use Facebook ads to go after highly specific groups of people. One underutilized tactic is to create a Facebook Lead Gen Ad. This allows people who click on your Facebook ads to provide their phone number to you to learn more about your product or service.

Text-to-Vote or Text-to-Win Contests
This is another tactic that relies on keywords. Encourage people to text in to your phone number to win a prize or vote in a contest. A bit like American Idol, if you will, but you don’t have to be ABC to afford it.

Checkout
Encourage people to sign up for texts as they’re checking out. This can either be done in-person if you have a retail location with a digital POS or on your online store. You must follow TCPA law and use the proper disclaimers.

Popular SMS Campaign Ideas

Follow the advice above, and you’re sure to build your list quickly. So now comes the million-dollar question: what should you send? Here are our favorite ideas.

Send a Discount

The text message inbox is normally reserved for family and friends. It’s a good idea to thank your subscribers for signing up by sharing a discount. This can be as simple as 10% off one of your products, like this message from Outer Aisle:

Provide Advice or Tips

What are you an expert at? If you have a cosmetics brand, it may be on how to develop the ultimate nighttime skincare routine. If you sell cookware, maybe you have useful cooking tips. 

Leverage your knowledge to provide value to your audience in a unique way. Consider sharing weekly tips with your audience. 

The brand Equal Parts takes things a step further by encouraging customers to text in their questions to a professional chef:

Share Your Content

Creating content is hard. Distributing it doesn’t have to be. Just send a text. Consider this example:

The Twenty is a QVC-style show that’s hosted on Instagram live. They partner with brands to offer exclusive discounts.

Leading up to an episode, they send out a text announcement revealing which brand will be featured that week. On the day of the show, they send a link to the livestream. 

You can use this tactic for any piece of content. Our customers have seen their mobile traffic increase by 400% after sending an SMS.

Collect Reviews

Customer reviews can seriously boost conversion rates. Texts are a convenient way to collect them. After a customer makes a purchase, you can send a text message with a link to Google Reviews, Trustpilot, or even your website’s review page.

Reviews are especially important for brands trying to sell on Amazon. Matykos beauty used SMS marketing to increase their rankings:

What Number Should You Use for SMS Marketing?

We’ve spoken about how to get your customers’ to share your phone number. But what number should you share with them? Or in other words, if someone wants to text you—what number should they type into their phone? You have a few options.

Toll-free numbers

The most popular option is a 10-digit, toll-free number. They’re extremely versatile. They can be used to send text blasts and have 2-way conversations. Every SimpleTexting account comes with a toll-free number by default.

Local numbers

If you plan to use texting to have 1-on-1 conversations with customers, you should consider getting a number with your area code. People will appreciate how familiar it feels. 

That said, local numbers have limitations. You cannot text large groups of people at once. If you need to reach groups of 200 people or more at once, a toll-free number is a better bet.

Keep your current number

If your brand already has a phone number, you can also text-enable it with SimpleTexting. Yes, even if it’s a landline. 

That’s exactly what our customer, Yesterday’s Books, did. They had been using the same number for 40 years. Customers recognized the number and the store is now able to send texts from the same number.

Short codes

Have you ever come across a company advertising a short, 5 or 6-digit number? Something like “Text WIN to 900900 to enter our sweepstakes!” This type of number is known as a short code. 

We can help you lease your own dedicated short code, but the prices can be prohibitive for most small businesses. 

A more accessible option is a shared short code, which as the name implies, is a number shared by many brands. However, AT&T and other carriers plan to discontinue this type of number soon. Therefore, it’s not a great long-term solution.

SMS Marketing Best Practices: Do’s and Don’ts

Text marketing is easy, especially when you know what pitfalls to avoid. We have an entire guide dedicated to SMS marketing best practices. 

Here’s what you absolutely need to know:

Do Get Consent Properly

Just because you have a list of phone numbers, doesn’t mean you’re in the clear to start texting them.

If you use SMS marketing, you must follow the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). It’s not just important. It’s the law. 

And according to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), customers must give businesses “express written consent” before a business sends them automated promotional text messages. 

Our SMS compliance guide is a good starting point to educate yourself on this topic. 

Do Check Your Replies

Many SMS marketing platforms only offer one-way texting. With SimpleTexting, you can also manage replies.

Even if you only want to send bulk SMS, people will intuitively think they can reply to your messages. (Incoming SMS messages on SimpleTexting are completely free.) 

Make it a habit to log in to your account and reply to any questions that may have been sent in. 

Take a look at how 1-800-Contacts uses texting. They send shipping notifications, and allow customers to text in their prescription. Agents are ready to reply if there are any issues:

Do Get Creative

Have you ever listened to a song so much that you get sick of it? The same can happen with your texts. Keep things interesting with a variety of offers. 

Send a discount one week, a tip the next, and then a fun piece of content the following. Don’t be afraid to get creative. Texts are no longer limited to 160 characters. With MMS, you can include up to 1,600 characters of text and even attach images too!

Here’s an example from Jurassic Quest, a traveling dinosaur exhibit. They don’t just send announcements, they also let people text in their dinosaur questions which are answered by an expert!

Don’t Send Too Often

Use your texts wisely. People ignore or filter their emails, so they may not mind getting several per week. On the other hand, one text per week is likely enough for most brands. 

This isn’t a hard and fast rule. For example, professional organizer Tanisha Porter sends daily tips to her subscribers. Actually, they pay for these daily tips.

The key is to set expectations. When someone signs up for your texts, they should be aware of how many times per month they can expect to hear from you.

Don’t Forget to Provide Value

To get, you have to give. Customers will be thrilled to provide their phone number if you’ll give them something valuable in return. 

When you promote your SMS marketing program, take the time to craft a great offer that will get people excited. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Delta Sonic offered a free slushie to customers and went from zero subscribers to tens of thousands.

Don’t Be Spammy

Before you send a text, ask yourself whether it sounds like there’s a real human on the other end of the line. If the answer is yes, your customers are much more likely to reply or click on your message. 

However, if your message says something like “Do U want HUGE savings? Shop now!!!” then it’s more than likely that customers will unsubscribe.

Can SMS Marketing Be Automated?

The idea of texting thousands of people can sound time consuming, but it’s not. It only takes a few minutes to write a text and click send. Not to mention you can also automate your texts:

Connect Your Apps

With Zapier, you can create if/then statements to automate your work. For example, if a customer fills out a Google form, then send them a text. 

This list goes on. You can send an automated text when:

  • A new lead is entered into your CRM
  • A customer schedules an appointment
  • A purchase is completed on your website

Also, you can make text messages the trigger of other actions. You may want to do the following:

  • Add new SMS subscribers to your email service (We have a native integration with Mailchimp!)
  • Forward incoming text messages to Slack
  • Add new SMS subscribers to a Google sheet

These are the tip of the iceberg. There are many ways to connect the apps you use most to SimpleTexting.

Create a Drip Campaign

Campaigns are a great way to send your latest announcements, but they have one problem: new subscribers don’t see the campaigns you previously sent. That’s where drip campaigns come in. 

With a drip campaign, you can create a series of messages that go out on a schedule. This schedule is trigger after someone signs up for your list.

For example, you could have one SMS go out immediately then another two days later, and once more the following week. You can even set delivery windows to ensure no messages go out at night or on weekends.

The point is, text messages drip campaigns are an easy way to keep your subscribers engaged automatically. 

Turn On Your Away Message

In our section on the do’s and don’ts of SMS marketing campaigns, we mentioned how important it is to check your replies. If you have a small team, you may not be able to do this frequently. Luckily, you can set up an automated away message that replies for you.

You can even set your office hours so the auto reply will send outside of them:

This is also your chance to set expectations around when and how often you check your texts:

So, Is Email Dead?

With all of this said, should you stop sending emails? No. We’re text marketing evangelists, but even we don’t think you should forego all other marketing channels. 

That’s because text messages can easily fit into or complement your other marketing channels. This is especially true for email marketing. 

A lot of business owners and marketers worry that these two channels will compete with each other, diluting their individual value.

The opposite happens, and we’ve seen brands like the multi-location restaurant Blue Baker use SMS and email together to drive a 162% increase in its coupon redemptions.

This is because it requires communication across multiple channels to drive someone to take action.

The Wrap on SMS Marketing

Thousands of businesses are realizing how powerful SMS marketing can be. It’s being used by top-selling real estate agents, growing churches, successful e-commerce brands and everyone in between. 

Despite its popularity, SMS continues to be one of the most underutilized marketing channels. This presents huge upsides for companies who are willing to try it. There’s never been a better time to get started than now.

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Cement Type Guide

Hydraulic cements are the proper name for the binding agents used in concretes and most mortars. They are so-called because they interact with water to produce a hydrated gel of the calcium-, silica- and aluminate-containing mineral mix that comprises cement. This reaction produces the strength and durability of cement.

Hydraulic cements are broadly divided into inherently hydraulic cements, which set when reacted with an excess of water, and pozzolanic cements, which are siliceous and must be mixed with hydrated lime.

Types of Cement

Hydraulic lime

This is a niche product, and refers to lime-containing mostly calcined pozzolanic clay-rich limestone, with free lime, which forms the active constituent in natural cements.

Natural cements

Also called Roman cements, these consist of argillaceous limestone (“cement rock”). The quality may depend on the presence of other ingredients in the local limestone which enhance cementing properties. These were prominent before the introduction of Portland cement and faded out subsequently.  

Portland cement

This artificial cement is preferred for its standardized properties, achieved by mixing multiple raw ingredients in a uniform composition and holding them at much higher temperatures than with natural cements. It comprises Portland cement clinker finely inter-ground with a small percentage of gypsum or another form of calcium sulfate, at up to 5% ground limestone. The final properties may be fine-tuned by changing the mix, physical characteristics, and temperature.

Types of Portland cement

These are classified as:

  • Type I or general use or ordinary Portland cement or (in Europe) Portland cement CEM I: this is

the cement most commonly used throughout the world in civil engineering, and building works.It makes versatile, durable and forgiving concretes and mortars, but is the least sustainable type of cement.

  • Type II or general use Portland cement with moderate sulfate resistance and heat of hydration
  • Type III or high early strength (rapid-hardening) Portland cement
  • Type IV or Portland cement with low heat of hydration
  • Type V or high sulfate-resistant Portland cement

Types I, II, and III may have air-entraining agents added to them, to incorporate tiny bubbles which confer freeze-thaw resistance.

Hybrids such as Type I/II meet the specifications of more than one type.

Factory-made composite cements

As used here, the expression ‘factory-made composite cements’ means any cement that comprises Portland cement clinker (usually Type I) inter-ground with 5% to 30% of one or more additional inorganic constituents (power station fly ash, blast furnace slag and/or limestone), plus gypsum.

The British/European standard for common cements, BS EN 197-1, classifies factory-made composite cements into CEM II – V, or any ‘non-CEM I’ cement specified in the standard.

Two of these, CEM II/M and CEM V, include the word ‘composite’ in their names. In general, these cements, when used appropriately, perform as well as CEM I cement and with better strength under certain conditions.

Blended cements resist chemicals, are denser, with enhanced flux and reduced heat of hydration, and have comparable strength. Most blended cements today are not factory-made, but blended by cement/concrete production companies.

Related Stories

  • Cement and Concrete – History and Development
  • Effect Of Utilising High Alumina Cements In The Development Of Self-smoothing Cementitious Floor
  • Carrying Out XRD on Cement Pastes

In the ASTM C-595, blended cements are classified as:

  • Portland blast furnace slag cement (IS) with 25%–70% slag, for general purpose uses, subcategorized as; type IS (MS) which is moderately sulfate-resistant, type IS (A) which contains air bubbles when placed, and type IS (MH) that has moderate hydration heat.
  • Portland-pozzolan cement based on Portland or IS cement, plus 15%–40% pozzolans of unspecified type. Two types are distinguished: types IP and P, for general use, with subtypes IP (MS), IP (A), and IP (MH) as before; and type P with less early strength, with the same subcategories, plus type P (LH) with low hydration heat.
  • Portland-limestone cement or type IL
  • Ternary blended cement or type IT

Blended cements with special performance characteristics include:

  • Pozzolan-modified Portland cement or I (PM) based on Portland cement and <15% pozzolans, for general use, modified as types I(PM)(MS), I(PM)(A); and I(PM)(MH).
  • Slag-modified Portland cement or I (SM), with < 25% slag, for general use, and the same modifiers as before (types I(SM)(MS), I(SM)(A), and I(SM)(MH)).
  • Slag cement or type S, containing 70% or more of slag, and with air entrainers, used to make concrete with Portland cement, or a pozzolan-lime cement (mortar) with lime. In the US, slag cement means unblended 100% granulated blast furnace slag used in concrete as a cementitious additive or part-replacement for Portland cement, like IS or I (SM) cements.

Factory-made composite cements can be substituted for CEM I cements in masonry mortars on a 1:1 basis .

Sulfate-resisting cements

Sulfate-resisting Portland cement (SRPC), conforming to BS 4027, is a CEM I cement with a high iron oxide content and low mineral phase, making it low-alkali and sulfate-resistant. It is no longer manufactured in the UK due to its high clinker content. This category includes CEM II/B-V type of Portland-fly ash cement with 25% or more fly ash.

Rapid-hardening Portland cements

Rapid-hardening CEM I cements have smaller particles and faster strength gain than ordinary CEM I.  it produces more early heat, suitable for colder climates, and is used mostly for precast concrete units, ensuring rapid reuse of molds and formwork.

Rapid-setting and extra-rapid hardening cements are mixtures of CEM I and a non-Portland cement such as calcium aluminate or calcium sulfoaluminate.

White cement

White cement is CEM I typically made from pure chalk and white clay (kaolin) containing very small quantities of iron oxides and manganese oxides.  It is used mainly for architectural details exposed to the eye.

Masonry cements

Masonry cements are used for low-strength applications like bricklaying, block laying, rendering, and plastering work.  They contain Portland cement CEM I plus 6% to 35% limestone or hydrated lime – properly called Portland-lime cements. Masonry cements produce workable, cohesive mortars that resist freeze/thaw. Another type is plastic cement with <12% additives such as air-entraining plasticizers.  

Expansive cements

Most concretes shrink as they dry out.  Expansive cements are typically mixtures of Portland and calcium sulfoaluminate clinker, optimized for gypsum content, and retain or enhance their volume.

Environmental cements

In principle, environmental cements are of two types: those that treat and encapsulate environmental residues (contaminated soils, sludges, and wastes), and those that reduce environmental impact (eco-cements/low energy/low carbon cements) by less energy usage, use of recycled materials, and/or lower emissions.

Non-Portland cements

These products have less embodied energy and a smaller ‘carbon footprint’, making them more sustainable. Their potential depends on local material availability. Niche products include calcium aluminate cement (high alumina) for refractory or rapid-hardening cements, magnesium oxychloride cement for flooring, and magnesium phosphate cement for rapid repair of roads and airport runways.

ASTM C-1157 cement classification

ASTM C-1157 is a performance-based classification:

  • Type GU: general use cement (performs like Type I in ASTM C-150)
  • Type HE: high early strength cement (like Type III)
  • Type MS: moderate sulfate resistance (like Type II)
  • Type HS: high sulfate resistance (like Type V)
  • Type MH: moderate heat of hydration (like Type II)
  • Type LH: low heat of hydration (like Type IV)

Option R is added if they are not alkali-reactive.  

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Teeth Care Guide

Take care of your teeth

Achieving healthy teeth takes a lifetime of care. Even if you’ve been told that you have nice teeth, it’s crucial to take the right steps every day to take care of them and prevent problems. This involves getting the right oral care products, as well as being mindful of your daily habits.

1. Don’t go to bed without brushing your teeth

It’s no secret that the general recommendation is to brush at least twice a day. Still, many of us continue to neglect brushing our teeth at night. But brushing before bed gets rid of the germs and plaque that accumulate throughout the day.

2. Brush properly

The way you brush is equally important — in fact, doing a poor job of brushing your teeth is almost as bad as not brushing at all. Take your time, moving the toothbrush in gentle, circular motions to remove plaque. Unremoved plaque can harden, leading to calculus buildup and gingivitis (early gum disease).

3. Don’t neglect your tongue

Plaque can also build up on your tongue. Not only can this lead to bad mouth odor, but it can lead to other oral health problems. Gently brush your tongue every time you brush your teeth.

4. Use a fluoride toothpaste

When it comes to toothpaste, there are more important elements to look for than whitening power and flavors. No matter which version you choose, make sure it contains fluoride.

While fluoride has come under scrutiny by those worried about how it impacts other areas of health, this substance remains a mainstay in oral health. This is because fluoride is a leading defense against tooth decay. It works by fighting germs that can lead to decay, as well as providing a protective barrier for your teeth.

5. Treat flossing as important as brushing

Many who brush regularly neglect to floss. “Flossing is not just for getting those little pieces of Chinese food or broccoli that may be getting stuck in between your teeth,” says Jonathan Schwartz, DDS. “It’s really a way to stimulate the gums, reduce plaque, and help lower inflammation in the area.”

Flossing once a day is usually enough to reap these benefits.

6. Don’t let flossing difficulties stop you

Flossing can be difficult, especially for young children and older adults with arthritis. Rather than give up, look for tools that can help you floss your teeth. Ready-to-use dental flossers from the drugstore can make a difference.

7. Consider mouthwash

Advertisements make mouthwash seem necessary for good oral health, but many people skip them because they don’t know how they work. Schwartz says mouthwash helps in three ways: It reduces the amount of acid in the mouth, cleans hard-to-brush areas in and around the gums, and re-mineralizes the teeth. “Mouthwashes are useful as an adjunct tool to help bring things into balance,” he explains. “I think in children and older people, where the ability to brush and floss may not be ideal, a mouthwash is particularly helpful.”

Ask your dentist for specific mouthwash recommendations. Certain brands are best for children, and those with sensitive teeth. Prescription mouthwash is also available.

8. Drink more water

Water continues to be the best beverage for your overall health — including oral health. Also, as a rule of thumb, Schwartz recommends drinking water after every meal. This can help wash out some of the negative effects of sticky and acidic foods and beverages in between brushes.

9. Eat crunchy fruits and vegetables

Ready-to-eat foods are convenient, but perhaps not so much when it comes to your teeth. Eating fresh, crunchy produce not only contains more healthy fiber, but it’s also the best choice for your teeth. “I tell parents to get their kids on harder-to-eat and chew foods at a younger age,” says Schwartz. “So try to avoid the overly mushy processed stuff, stop cutting things into tiny pieces, and get those jaws working!”

10. Limit sugary and acidic foods

Ultimately, sugar converts into acid in the mouth, which can then erode the enamel of your teeth. These acids are what lead to cavities. Acidic fruits, teas, and coffee can also wear down tooth enamel. While you don’t necessarily have to avoid such foods altogether, it doesn’t hurt to be mindful.

11. See your dentist at least twice a year

Your own everyday habits are crucial to your overall oral health. Still, even the most dutiful brushers and flossers need to see a dentist regularly. At minimum, you should see your dentist for cleanings and checkups twice a year. Not only can a dentist remove calculus and look for cavities, but they will also be able to spot potential issues and offer treatment solutions.

Some dental insurance companies even cover more frequent dental checkups. If this is the case for you, take advantage of it. Doing so is especially helpful if you have a history of dental issues, such as gingivitis or frequent cavities.

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PC Building Guide

There are plenty of great pre-built PCs on the market, but there’s nothing quite like the satisfaction of using one that you create yourself. While the process of assembling a computer isn’t difficult, it’s daunting the first time you do it. For those embarking on their first build, we’ve put together a step-by-step guide to building a PC.

Before we start, know that this is a guide exclusively dedicated to assembly. That means you’ll need to pick out your parts first. Our list of recommended cases, CPUs,GPUs, motherboards, SSDs, power supplies and RAM, along with our buying guides can help you choose key components.

The other thing to know is that no two builds are identical. The order we’re going in here is based partly on preference and also based on the needs of the build. For instance, if you have a large aftermarket cooler that blocks the DIMM slots, you may have to go in a different order than we did, or backtrack and pull out a part here or there to to make room for a particularly bulky part or cramped case. More advanced options like liquid cooling and RGB lighting, as well as high-end CPU platforms like Intel’s Core X and AMD’s Threadripper also aren’t covered in this guide.

Be Prepared

Before you start building a PC, you need to get your workspace ready. Make sure that you have all of your parts and tools at the ready. At the very least, you’ll want:

  • Phillips-head screwdrivers (#1 and #2 should do the trick)
  • Zip ties and/or twist ties for cable management
  • Flashlight (it can get dark in the corners of a PC case)
  • Thermal paste (although stock coolers usually have this pre-applied)
  • Something to hold your screws
  • Band-aids (just in case)

Some builders swear by anti-static equipment, including mats or wrist straps. But as long as you don’t live in a particularly dry environment, you’re not building on a metal surface (opt for wood or plastic) and you aren’t rubbing your socks on a carpet while building, you should be able to avoid shorting out your PC or parts. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with playing things safe. So if you’re worried about static, take the appropriate precautions.

Connect Components to the Motherboard

While some prefer to mount the motherboard in the case before they do anything else, it’s easier with many builds to connect key components like the CPU and the RAM, without leaning over inside the chassis.

The CPU

Whether you’re going with an Intel or and AMD build, the first step is to release the tension lever on the CPU so that you can drop the processor into the CPU socket. (The big difference here is that on Intel builds the pins are on the socket while in AMD’s case, the pins are on the CPU.)

The arrow/triangle on the top of the CPU needs to line up with one on the socket or the socket cover. Don’t attempt to install a CPU with the arrow facing the wrong direction, or you could damage your chip, your board, or both! Once your CPU and socket are properly aligned, you can drop the chip in place, and it  will settle into the socket under its own weight. If it doesn’t, pick up the CPU and re-seat it. Don’t force the processor into the socket or you’ll almost certainly damage something. Once you’ve got the CPU settled correctly in the socket, press the tension lever back down (on Intel motherboards like the one in the image above, this will also include a metal plate that holds the CPU in).

Note that the above instructions pertain to the mainstream platforms for AMD (the AM4 socket) and Intel (socket LGA 1200). Enthusiast platforms like Intel’s Core X (LGA 2066) and AMD’s Threadripper (sTRX4) have different/more complex CPU installations, with the Intel chips involving two levers and Threadripper requiring Torx screws and a slide-in plastic bracket. The Threadripper CPU install process in particular is tricky and, given the price of chips and TRX40 motherboards, we would not recommend Threadripper as your first PC build platform.

Once the cooler is installed, plug the fan connector into its header on the motherboard. This is usually somewhere close to the CPU socket and labeled something like “CPU_FAN.” 

The Cooler

Many processors come with coolers in the box. If you’re not doing any heavy overclocking, those may be good enough, though lots of builders also like to buy more powerful (and often quieter) aftermarket coolers, which may also just be more attractive.

If you decide to use the stock cooler, you’ll find that it already has thermal paste applied. With aftermarket coolers, you’ll generally need to apply your own thermal paste. You don’t need much–just a pea-sized amount applied to the center of the CPU will spread when you put the cooler on. Again, serious overclockers and PC build veterans will have techniques for evenly spreading thermal compound. But for novice builders and those not looking to achieve the maximum possible overclock speeds, dropping a small amount in the center and letting the CPU cooler spread the thermal paste works just fine. Just make sure you don’t add too much paste; you definitely don’t want it squirting out the sides onto the socket and surrounding PCB.

Stock coolers for Intel processors use push pins that go through holes in the motherboard. We recommend pushing opposite corners in to evenly spread the thermal paste, and to keep from putting uneven pressure on one side of the CPU. AMD stock coolers have metal arms that snap into notches on a plastic bracket on either side of the socket. Aftermarket coolers mount in various ways, so be sure to consult the instruction manual, as mounting aftermarket coolers can be surprisingly complicated, often involving a large backplate that has to be mounted behind the motherboard.

Memory

Installing RAM is a snap–literally. First, make sure that the latches for each memory slot are open. Some boards have latches on both sides of a RAM slot, while others–often budget boards–have a latch on one side, with the other end fixed in place. Once your latches are opened, look at each DIMM and position it over the slot such that the small divot on the bottom of the RAM stick is aligned with the matching bump on the board. Finally, push down on the DIMM on each edge until it snaps into place, causing the latches to close on their own. The process requires a bit of force, but if you’re having trouble, make sure that you’re not putting the module in backwards.

If you’re installing two RAM sticks in a board that has four slots, check the motherboard manual to make sure you’re installing your DIMMs in the right slots. If you put them in the wrong slots you may not get the best performance possible, or one of the sticks may not be recognized by the motherboard/operating system.

M.2 SSD

If you’re using an M.2 SSD, now is as good a time as any to install it, because later on other parts may get in the way.

If it’s already installed, remove the screw located across from the M.2 slot and slide the SSD in at an angle. Make sure the notch lines up with the slot, similar to RAM installation. If the notch doesn’t line up, your drive may not be compatible with that slot. Slowly lay the SSD flat and secure the mounting screw. This tiny screw is easy to drop, which is another reason to install M.2 drives before putting your motherboard into the case.

Putting the Motherboard in the Case

Now that we’ve built the core platform (minus the graphics card, which we’ll do later), we’re going to install the CPU and RAM-equipped motherboard in the case. If you haven’t yet, remove the side panels on your chassis. Most cases have thumb screws holding their panels in place, which makes it easy to remove them.

Standoffs


First, gather the standoffs that came with your case and find the proper place to install them. They’re likely marked on the case based on the size of the motherboard you chose. Many cases have standoffs preinstalled, so you may be able to skip this step. If standoffs are preinstalled in the wrong spot for your motherboard, you can use needle nose pliers to get  them out.

I/O Shield


The I/O shield, which covers the area around your rear ports, comes with your motherboard. You’ll need to fit the shield into the chassis before you install the motherboard itself, making sure it’s the right-side up so that your motherboard ports will fit through the holes once both are installed. You’ll have to use some force to snap all four corners into place. Be careful of sharp edges (that’s why you have the band-aids) as well as metal bits that can block the ports–especially if you have a budget motherboard.

The exception are some premium boards, which ship with this shield pre-attached, but you won’t find that on most boards.

The Motherboard


Now, it’s time to put the motherboard in. Make sure the holes on the motherboard line up with the standoffs you installed and that the ports line up with the cutouts on the I/O shield. Once the board is in, put the screws into the standoffs to anchor the motherboard in place.

Adding the Power Supply and Traditional/SATA Storage

Now for a few parts that aren’t attached directly to the motherboard.

Power Supply


The PSU is usually mounted to the back at the case. Sometimes you’ll find it at the top, but it’s usually mounted at the bottom, where it can pull in cool air from under the chassis. Once you put it in place, it’s generally as simple as screwing it into place with four screws at the back of the case. Then, plug in the 24-pin power connector and supplemental/CPU power connector into the motherboard.

SATA Storage


We added M.2 storage earlier, so now it’s time for SATA drives, which could be a 2.5-inch SSD or hard drive, or a traditional 3.5-inch hard drive. Connect the SATA data cable to the motherboard and your drive or drives, then connect the SATA power connector from the PSU to your drive(s). Mount the hard drive or SSD in the appropriate bracket and screw or snap it into place. Note that bracket/drive mounting methods and placement vary by chassis model.

Inserting the Graphics Card

This is an optional step. If you’re using an Intel or AMD CPU with integrated graphics and don’t plan on serious gaming, you may not need or want a discrete graphics card. Many AMD CPUs, as well as high-end Intel models, don’t have on-board graphics, though, and will require a graphics card in order to connect and output to your monitor.

To install the GPU, you’ll likely have to remove some slot covers on the back of the case, so that the HDMI, DVI and other ports show through, letting you can connect your monitor(s) later.

Connect the GPU into the PCIe X16 slot on the motherboard (it’s the long one, and you’ll want to use the topmost one if there’s more than one on your motherboard). If necessary, plug the PCIe power connectors from the power supply into the card. (You may not need to do this on lower-end cards).

Add a Wi-Fi Card (if necessary)

Most motherboards come with an Ethernet port on them and many also have Wi-Fi built-in. However, if you need wireless access and your computer doesn’t come with a Wi-Fi card, you’ll need to install one in one of the PCIe slots, a short M.2 slot, or attach a USB Wi-Fi dongle. If you’re gaming, an Ethernet connection is probably your best bet for reliable connectivity.

The Last of the Cable Connections

OK, just a few more cables to go until we try turning the PC on. Make sure the connectors for any fans are plugged into the motherboard fan headers. Then, attach the front-panel audio cable, USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 case connectors to those headers. You’ll want to consult your motherboard manual for this, because their location varies by motherboard model.

Lastly, there are the tiny front-panel connectors, including power, reset, HDD activity light, etc. Those need to go to the appropriate pins on the motherboard (usually in the bottom-right corner if your motherboard is mounted in the traditional orientation. You’ll need to consult your motherboard manual to see where each should go, as this also can differ based on board make and model.

Double check that you’re using the right headers. These things are small (and so are their labels), so it’s easy to mess them up if you’re not paying close attention.

Turn the Computer On

Once all that’s done, it’s a good idea to double check to make sure there are no extra fan headers or power cables still waiting to be routed to the right connector. Then plug the PC in, plug in and connect your monitor (to one of the ports on the graphics card, if you’ve installed on) and your keyboard and mouse.

Hit the power button on your monitor, then turn the power supply switch on (on the back of the power supply) and then press your PC’s power button. If everything is working, the PC should turn on and run its POST (power-on self test). Since your operating system isn’t installed yet, you may get an error message about a missing boot drive, or you may get sent straight to the UEFI/BIOS.

Cable Management

This is where you make your case pretty and ensure better air flow. We’re doing this after we know that the system boots properly, because we’d hate to tear apart all of the careful wiring and cut a bunch of zip ties just to have to re-seat a component or reroute a cable. You could of course install your operating system before this step. And clean cable routing is of course less important if you don’t have a case with a window. But we like things neat and pretty, so it’s time to shut the system down, unplug the power cable and clean things up.

Routing some cables through the back of the case during the build process is a good first step toward a clean build. But this is where we’ll shove any extra cable slack through the back panel, break out the zip ties to neaten things up and then, put the side panels back on. You could spend hours making your cable routing as perfect as possible. But just spending 15 minutes making an effort to clean up your cables can make a huge visual difference in what your final build looks like.

Install an Operating System, Drivers and Updates

Preferably before the build process, you’ll want to make a USB install drive for either Windows 10 or the Linux build of your choice. For Windows 10, simply navigate to Microsoft’s Download page and click the “Download Tool Now” button. You’ll download and run the Media Creation tool which will turn any 8GB or larger USB drive into a Windows install disk. If you don’t already have a Windows 10 key, you can get one cheap or for free. If you have a problem with the OS, you can try to reset Windows 10 to factory settings.

Plug the USB drive into your new computer, power on and you should boot into your operating system installer, which will step you through the process. If the system doesn’t access your drive, you may need to navigate to the BIOS and make sure your USB key is available as a boot device and that it’s placed in the boot order before your internal drive or drives.

Once you’ve installed your operating system, when you first connect to the internet, Windows 10 is pretty good these days at getting device drivers. However, you should still go to the manufacturers’ product pages for your parts to make sure you have or get the latest updates.

Finally, when your OS and drivers are all updated, it’s time to start using your PC! The one that you built. Install some games, stream some movies, edit some photo or video, chat on Discord–whatever it is you like to do with your PC. And remember: Whenever you’re ready to add more features or performance, you can always upgrade.

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Online Marketing Guide

The most extensive and comprehensive introduction to online marketing that you’ll find anywhere.

  • Why We Wrote this Guide? Online marketing moves at the speed of light. To keep up, you need a strong foundation with the judgment to think critically, act independently, and be relentlessly creative. That’s why we wrote this guide — to empower you with the mental building blocks to stay ahead in an aggressive industry.There are plenty of guides to marketing. From textbooks to online video tutorials, you can really take your pick. But, we felt that there was something missing — a guide that really starts at the beginning to equip already-intelligent professionals with a healthy balance of strategic and tactical advice. The Beginner’s Guide to Online Marketing closes that gap.
  • Who This Guide Is for? We wrote this guide for an audience of first-time marketers, experienced entrepreneurs and small business owners, entry to mid-level candidates, and marketing managers in need of resources to train their direct reports. Most of all, we want you to walk away from this guide feeling confident about your marketing strategy.
  • How Much of this Guide Should You Read? This guide is designed for you to read cover-to-cover. Each new guide builds upon the previous one. A core idea that we want to reinforce is that marketing should be evaluated holistically. What you need to do is this in terms of growth frameworks and systems as opposed to campaigns. Reading this guide from start to finish will help you connect the many moving parts of marketing to your big-picture goal, which is ROI.

1. Be Laser Focused on Your Customers

Your customers, prospects, and partners are the lifeblood of your business. You need to build your marketing strategy around them. Step 1 of marketing is understanding what your customers want, which can be challenging when you’re dealing with such a diverse audience. This guide will walk you through (1) the process of building personal connections at scale and (2) crafting customer value propositions that funnel back to ROI for your company.

2. Build Your Marketing Framework

Mediocre marketers think in terms of campaigns. Great marketers think in terms of growth frameworks. Learn how to position your marketing strategy into a sustainable, ROI-positive revenue engine for your brand. Gone are the days of shallow branding. Leverage metrics to build a solid revenue stream.

3. Develop Your Brand’s Story

When people spend money, they’re thinking with both their rational and emotional brains. The most effective marketing frameworks appeal to both. Storytelling is one of the most powerful tools that your company can wield to build customer connections. This guide will walk you through the mechanics of cultivating your company’s story. 

4. Get ‘Em to Your Site: Foundations of Traffic Acquisition

You can have the most amazing web storefront, blog, or product in the world, but if you’re not getting traffic, your business’s growth strategy will fall flat. This post will walk you through some of the most common free and paid traffic acquisition frameworks for bringing visitors to your website.

5. Get the Plumbing Right: Foundations of Conversion Optimization

Traffic acquisition is only half the marketing equation. You need to invest the time in building a strategy for driving sales. Conversion optimization is the practice of (1) converting first-time visitors into customers and (2) converting first-time customers into repeat buyers. This post will teach you how.

6. Build Audience Connections with Content Marketing

Content marketing is more than just blogging. When executed correctly, content including articles, guides (like this one), webinars, and videos can be powerful growth drivers for your business. Focus on building trust and producing amazing quality. And most of all, make sure that you’re capturing the right metrics. Create content to generate ROI. Measure the right results. This guide will teach you how.

7. Find Customers with Paid Channel Advertising

Paid channel marketing is something you’ve probably come across in some form or another. Other names for this topic include Search Engine Marketing (SEM), online advertising, or pay-per-click (PPC) marketing. Very often, marketers use these terms interchangeably to describe the same concept — traffic purchased through online ads. Marketers frequently shy away from this technique because it costs money. This perspective will put you at a significant disadvantage. It’s not uncommon for companies to run PPC campaigns with uncapped budgets. Why? Because you should be generating an ROI anyway. This post walks through the basics of how.

8. Amplify 1:1 Connections with Email Marketing

Email marketing has a bad rap. Why? Because in the majority of cases, it’s spammy. When executed correctly, email marketing can be incredibly powerful. The trick is to prioritize the human-to-human connection above the sale. Balance automation with a personal touch. This post will teach you how. 

9. Drive Incremental Sales Through Affiliate Marketing

It’s hard to believe that the Internet is now multiple decades old. Affiliate marketing has been around since the earliest days of online marketing. It’s a great solution for businesses that are risk-averse or don’t have the budget to spend on upfront marketing costs. Use affiliate marketing to build a new revenue stream for your ecommerce or B2B business. 

10. Get Found with SEO

Search engines are a powerful channel for connecting with new audiences. Companies like Google and Bing look to connect their customers with the best user experience possible. Step one of a strong SEO strategy is to make sure that your website content and products are the best that they can be. Step 2 is to communicate that user experience information to search engines so that you rank in the right place. SEO is competitive and has a reputation of being a black art. Here’s how to get started the right way. 

11. Get the Word Out with PR

You’ve launched an amazing product or service. Now what? Now, you need to get the word out. When done well, good PR can be much more effective and less expensive than advertising. Regardless of whether you want to hire a fancy agency or awesome consultant, make sure that you know what you’re doing and what types of ROI to expect. Relationships are the heart and soul of PR. This guide will teach you how to ignore the noise and focus on substantive, measurable results. 

12. Launch Your Social Strategy

Your social media strategy is more than just a Facebook profile or Twitter feed. When executed correctly, social media is a powerful customer engagement engine and web traffic driver. It’s easy to get sucked into the hype and create profiles on every single social site. This is the wrong approach. What you should do instead is to focus on a few key channels where your brand is most likely to reach key customers and prospects. This post will teach you how to make that judgment call.

13. A Quick Note on Mobile

Most businesses aren’t optimized for the mobile web, and that’s a problem. We operate in a cross-platform world. Smartphones and tablets are taking over. If you’re not optimizing your site for mobile visitors, you are likely losing money. Learn how to craft a data-driven mobile approach. This guide will help you learn the ropes.

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Types Of Watches

A watch showcases the wearer’s personality. It can also convey his taste, wealth and even humor.
Choosing a watch is so overwhelming. There are so many things to consider. Having an appropriate watch for any event in your life will ensure that you really are dressing the part wherever life takes you. Here we have rounded up all the best watch styles to add to your growing collection. If you like collecting watches then you might want to get a watch case to keep them organized.

Watches need to be looked after thoroughly. Many things can affect your watch, dust, wind, and a lot more. Keeping them away from these elements and storing them the right way isn’t that difficult. A watch case allows you to organize and store your watches, thus maintaining them when they’re not in use. We have curated a list of the best watch cases to store your prized possessions in, pick the one you like and show them off in style!

Types of Watches

  1. Analog Watch
  2. Digital Watch
  3. Automatic Watch
  4. Chronograph Watch
  5. Diving Watch
  6. Dress Watch
  7. Quartz Watch
  8. Mechanical Watch
  9. Pilot Watch
  10. Field Watch
  11. Smart Watch
  12. Luxury Watch

1. Analog Watch

Analog watches have displays with a miniature clock-face with 12 hours, an hour hand, and a minute hand. Some analog watches also have a second hand. There are analog watches with traditional numbers and analog watches with Roman numerals. Most analog watches have marks representing the 60 minutes in an hour. Also, called as Analogue Watch.

2. Digital Watch

Digital Watch is a watch in which the hours, minutes, and sometimes seconds are indicated by digits, rather than by hands on a dial.

3. Automatic Watch

An automatic watch is a watch that continues to operate due to the regular motion of the wearer’s wrist. Automatic wristwatches don’t need winding if worn daily. The energy is stored by using a half-disc metal weight, called a rotor, that spins when the arm is moved. This energy is used to power the watch and can keep the watch going at night or while the watch isn’t being worn. Stored energy in an automatic wristwatch can keep an unworn watch running for 24 to 48 hours. Also, called as Self-Winding Watch.

4. Chronograph Watch

“Chronograph” is just a fancy word for “stopwatch.” Using a chronograph is easy. You just press the start/stop button on the side of the watch to start or stop the stopwatch; push the bottom button to reset back to zero. The chronograph function on chrono watch dials lets you time races and events.

5. Diving Watch

Diving Watch is a watch designed for underwater diving that features, water resistance greater upto 100 m (330 ft). The typical diver’s watch will have a water resistance of around 200 to 300 m (660 to 980 ft), though modern technology allows the creation of diving watches that can go much deeper. Also, called as Dive Watch or Diver’s Watch.

6. Dress Watch

A dress watch is the most elegant of watches. It has one purpose and that’s to tell time. It need not have complications.

A dress watch needs to be simplistic. Elegant. And above all, minimalistic. It isn’t some gaudy watch that’s bejeweled with diamonds or a chronograph that is so big it looks like a clock. It is subtle, understated and charming. They aren’t intended to be worn with jeans and a t-shirt; to the gym; or bowling on Saturday night. It pairs with your business suit, your dinner jacket, and in some cases, a tuxedo.

7. Quartz Watch

A quartz watch is powered by an electronic oscillator synchronized by quartz crystal. The electric current causes the quartz inside to pulsate with a precise frequency. The frequency is broken down through an integrated circuit where power is released through a small stepping motor setting the watch hands in motion. Quartz watches will need battery replacements from time to time.

8. Mechanical Watch

A mechanical watch is a watch that uses a mechanism to measure the passage of time, as opposed to modern quartz watches which function electronically. It is driven by a spring (called a mainspring) which must be wound periodically. This makes the ‘ticking’ sound characteristic of all mechanical watches.

9. Pilot Watch

Gracing the wrist of pilots, these aviation timepieces have reached the apex of the ideal fusion of style and durability. From the Fortis Aviatis collection to squadron watches, pilot watches are tough and ready for anything. Also, called as Aviator Watch.

10. Field Watch

Field Watch were designed for officers who needed to coordinate attacks, tell time at night, and sport a wristwatch that could withstand the rigors of battle, all while still looking good. Field watches continue to evince a military-esque vibe and are rugged, functional, and stylish all at the same time.

11. Smart Watch

A smartwatch is a portable device that’s designed to be worn on the wrist, just like a traditional watch. Smartwatches, however, like smartphones, have touchscreens, support apps, and often record heart rate and other vital signs.

12. Luxury Watch

These watches are great for watch collectors or watch connoisseurs and the ones who appreciate great precision and handcrafted complications in a watch. Such watches are often encased in precious gemstones and other expensive materials.

When you find yourself in the market for a new watch, keep these characteristics in mind.

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Watch Cleaning Guide

Whenever I start thinking about the relative cleanliness of a given watch, I often think back to May of 2019 when the news cycle briefly focused on whether or not most of us even bother to wash our legs in the shower. If you happen to have missed this low-stakes bit of dirty drama, it’s worth a scan back to simpler times when we saw fit to argue about leg cleanliness, and I could cite “Hoda & Jenna” as a news source. 

While most of my posts often hinge upon my attempt at forcing you – my long-suffering audience – into the position of asking “James, what is the point of all of this?!” I need not belabor this specific point. Your watch is dirty. It lives on an interactive and generally uncovered part of your body that also happens to be the fleshy bridge between your elbow and the part of your body that most actively touches the world around you. And, if a non-zero number of you can’t be bothered to wash your own legs, then when was the last time you took a moment to consider the state of your watch? That summer rainstorm your Speedy managed to survive doesn’t count, and neither does jumping off a dock with your trusty Seiko diver on wrist (bless you nonetheless). Like with cars, clothes, and indeed your own very filthy legs, watches need to be actively cleaned. 

A well-loved Seiko in need of a cleaning. (Photo: Gishani Ratnayake)

Assuming that will be the bulk of my browbeating about dirty legs, I didn’t want to do a how-to that relied solely on my dilettante methods for keeping my watches clean, so I phoned a friend who knows a thing or two about grimy no-good stinky watches (and worse). Jason Gallop is the owner and resident watchmaker with Roldorf & Co, a family-operated watch retail and service outlet based in the downtown area of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. I used to live in Vancouver and hold Jason and his business in very high regard. Additionally, Jason is a BHI and WOSTEP-trained watchmaker who graduated in the same class as Peter Speake-Marin, Stephen Forsey, and some guy named Kari. Lastly, for those that want more intense examples of dirty watches (and have the stomach for the visual) don’t miss the Toxic Tuesday stories that Jason runs on the Roldorf Instagram account – where watches come into their service desk looking like they just finished a Tough Mudder event (see below, sorry). 

Thought I was exaggerating? This is one of the more tame examples found in Roldorf’s Toxic Tuesday collection. Again, I am sorry. 

The good news is that it’s not all that hard to keep your watches clean, and I asked Jason for some simple and actionable tips that you can do from home. Before we get into the nitty and the gritty, please consider the following. First, before you take any steps beyond wiping the tail of your t-shirt over your crystal to get rid of a fingerprint, please know your watch. I know that sounds dumb, but if you want to follow the steps below, you need to understand the condition of your watch in a specific way. While the following is designed to introduce the absolute minimum amount of moisture and abrasion to your watch, it will still be prudent to have some assurances of water resistance and the general condition of the watch and the ways in which it keeps the outside world, well, outside. This is of considerable importance if you would like to clean vintage watches, for which moisture is generally a very bad thing.

With that in mind, there will be no wet rags, no dunking, and certainly no suggestion that you run your watch under the tap to rinse it off. While some watches can indeed be treated in this manner, we’re taking a lighter approach. Let’s take a look at what you will need.


The Kit

My simple home kit for cleaning my watches. 
  • A watch-specific brush or a soft-bristled toothbrush, preferably one that has been used (thus extra soft) and then carefully cleaned and dried before going anywhere near your watch
  • Toothpicks
  • A clean microfiber cloth 
  • A pack of simple anti-bacterial and eco-friendly sanitary wipes 
Jason’s tools for cleaning a customer’s watch.

If you want to use what the pros use, Jason uses a Cape Cod Detail Brush, peg wood, a Cape Cod microfiber cloth, microfiber detail sticks, and wipes from Medtrica (shown above). With your tools sorted, here are the simple steps. 


Step 1: Inspect The Watch

Take a closer look. 

Cleaning your watch is a great time to get nice and close (preferably with a simple magnifying glass) and take a look at the condition of your watch. Look for damage that may allow for the ingress of moisture. Pay specific attention to the condition of the crown, or other moving parts. Likewise, look at the edge of the crystal (where it is mounted to the case). If your crystal has a chip or even any visible area where it is not firmly connected to the case, your watch needs to be professionally inspected and serviced (and then cleaned). 


Step 2: Remove Your Bracelet Or Strap

Removing the bracelet for access to those hard-to-reach areas. 

Assuming you are comfortable doing so, remove the bracelet or strap from your watch with an appropriate spring bar tool. This will allow you access to one of the dirtiest parts of your watch, the inner side of the lugs and the endlink of the bracelet. While we will talk about cleaning and caring for non-bracelet options in a future post, removing your bracelet will make both the watch and the bracelet much easier to clean. Whatever mount you prefer, take it off and set it to the side for a moment. 


Step 3: Wipe The Watch

Rub a dub dub. 

Take one of the wipes and carefully wipe every facet, nook, engraving, and edge. A once-over should not take more than a minute or two, and with the watch mostly clean, you will be able to better see the more stubborn collections of dirt. 


Step 4: Toothpick (Or Brush) Time

Still dirty? Work the cleaning wipe with the flat edge of a toothpick. 

If you have any sticky grime that didn’t come off with the wipe, take a toothpick and cut off the brittle tip. Then, wrap the toothpick in the edge of the wipe and gently work the harder edge into the problem areas (while ensuring the toothpick does not tear through the wipe). If the cleaning has disrupted some horological detritus, gently brush it away with the detailing brush (or your soft-bristle toothbrush). Please keep in mind (again, know your watch) that softer metals may be scratched by something like a toothpick, so it’s best to be as thorough as possible with the wipe, especially on precious metal cases. If you aren’t sure, please don’t suffer a scratch. Just call your AD and have your special watch cleaned professionally. 


Step 5: A Microfiber Finish

Finish the cleaning with a fresh microfiber. 

Finish the cleaning with a soft and clean microfiber that can quickly absorb any excess moisture (and help with oils from your skin as you’re holding the watch). Wrap the cloth around your finger and use your fingernail to ensure the cloth gets into all of those tough-to-reach spots like the bezel edge, the crystal edge, and the inner lugs and caseback seam. 

You now have one hopefully very clean watch. For those who removed their bracelet, the above steps are largely similar for cleaning a bracelet but you can start by bathing the bracelet in warm soapy water, brushing it clean with the toothbrush, and then laying it in the fold of a paper towel and tapping the water (and dirt) free from the bracelet as it sits flat.  

A warm bath for your bracelet. 

Don’t forget to remove your spring bars and pay close attention to the endlinks (especially if they are of the dirt-trap folded variety) and the clasp – with special care for extra bits like wetsuit extensions. If your bracelet is very complicated (especially when it comes to the clasp), be sure that you follow any direction from the manufacturer and/or speak to your AD concerning specific cleaning procedure. Once the bracelet is clean, it can be quickly dried with a microfiber cloth.

Pat the bracelet in a fold of paper towel and watch the grime break free from the metal. 

And there you have it – fresh, clean, and ready for a non-gross existence on your wrist. Now that you’ve completed this deep clean, Jason recommends keeping the watch clean by giving it a quick once over with a cleaning wipe every few days. This is especially important given the recent renewed focus on hand-washing and how the act commonly sees water and soap collecting under a watch and causing additional grime to build up over time. Whenever possible, it is best to take your watch off when washing your hands and put it back on a clean (and dry) wrist.

Okay, you’re clean. Re-mount your bracelet or strap of choice and wear that sparkling watch wherever your (probably) dirty legs take you. 

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History Of Paper

The history of paper is inextricably linked with that of culture and science.

The spark that set off the invention of paper was simple but extremely significant.

Humans had an urgent need: to communicate certain information to each other in written form. The information had to be set on a lightweight and durable medium that was easily transportable. The invention of paper allowed papyrus and parchment to be replaced with a material that was easier and, with the advent of new production techniques, cheaper to make.

The arrival of digital media has perhaps obscured the fundamental role that paper has played in spreading knowledge: it should not be forgotten that, until a few decades ago, the dissemination of any idea required a sheet of paper.

It’s interesting to note that the first definition of paper provided by the Treccani children’s encyclopaedia in Italy is: “A material that is essential for spreading ideas in everyday life. Over the centuries, paper has made an enormous contribution to progress, from enabling citizen participation in democratic life to raising levels of knowledge and education.”

The history of paper has mirrored the evolution of human society over the centuries: from the dissemination of scientific and philosophical knowledge to the spread of education right up to the creation of the kind of political and historical consciousness which gave birth of the modern nation state.

The history of paper: Chinese origins

Historical sources credit the invention of paper to Cai Lun, a dignitary serving the imperial Chinese court who, in AD 105, began producing sheets of paper from scraps of old ragstree bark and fishing nets. The Chinese guarded the secret of paper making jealously for many centuries until, in the 6th century, their invention was brought to Japan by Buddhist monk Dam Jing. The Japanese immediately learned papermaking techniques and began using pulp derived from mulberry bark to produce this precious material themselves.

Ancient fragment of Chinese paper
The oldest fragment of paper found to date, belonging to a map, was discovered in 1986 in Fangmatan, north-eastern China.

The history of paper: reaching the Arab world

The Arab world discovered the secrets of papermaking in AD 751, when the governor-general of the Caliphate of Bagdad captured two Chinese papermakers in Samarkand and, with their help, founded a paper mill in the Uzbek city. From here, aided by an abundance of hemp and linen, two high-quality raw materials perfect for making paper, production spread to other cities in Asia, particularly Baghdad and Damascus.

The process for making paper employed by the Arabs involved garnetting and macerating rags in water to obtain a homogenous pulp, which was then sifted to separate the macerated fibres from the water. The sheets thus obtained were subsequently pressed, dried and finally covered with a layer of rice starch to make them more receptive to ink. In the same period, people in Egypt and North Africa also started to make paper using the same techniques employed in the Arab world.

Paper reaches Europe

It wasn’t until the 11th century that paper arrived in Europe, with the Arab conquest of Sicily and Spain. However, paper was quickly considered an inferior-quality material compared to parchment, so much so that, in 1221, Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II prohibited its use for public documents. Rice starch, in fact, was an attractive food source for insects, which meant sheets of paper did not last long.

The history of paper owes much to the paper makers of Fabriano, a small town in the Marche region of Italy, who started producing paper using linen and hemp in the 12th century. By using new equipment and production techniques, these papermakers introduced important innovations:

  • They mechanised rag grinding by using hydraulic hammer mills, significantly reducing the time it took to produce pulp.
  • They started gluing sheets with gelatine, an additive that insects didn’t like.
  • They created different paper types and formats.
  • They invented watermarking.

Watermarking involved using metal wires to add decorations to paper which became visible when the sheet was held up to the light, allowing hallmarks, signatures, ecclesiastical emblems and other symbols to be inserted.

Fabriano paper
Fabriano paper

From the 14th century, papermaking began to spread to other European countries and, at the end of the 15th century, with the invention of movable-type printing, production really took off. The discovery of America and the subsequent European colonisation brought papermaking to the New World. Interestingly, in his book “Paper: Paging Through History”, Mark Kurlansky tells a curious anecdote: when the North American colonies rebelled, they boycotted all British goods, except the fine paper produced by London’s paper mills.

Paper as a means of mass communication

The industrial manufacture of paper began in the 19th century with the expansion of mass-circulation newspapers and the first best-selling novels, which required enormous quantities of cheap cellulose. In 1797, Louis Nicolas Robert created the first Fourdrinier machine, which was able to produce a 60-cm-long sheet. As demand for papermaking rags outstripped supply, alternative materials were sought, like wood pulp. With the development of new techniques for extracting fibres from trees, the price of paper fell dramatically, and paper soon became a product of mass consumption. In Britain alone, paper output soared from 96,000 tonnes a year in 1861 to 648,000 tonnes in 1900.

The Fourdrinier machine invented by Louis Nicolas Robert.
The Fourdrinier machine invented by Louis Nicolas Robert.

Once again, the history of paper and the history of humankind were closely intertwined: with the spread of cheap paper, books and newspapers became accessible to all, leading to an explosion of literacy among the middle classes. But it wasn’t until the turn of the century that paper would be employed for other uses, like toilet and wrapping paper, toys and interior decoration.

The environmental impact of paper and environmental choices

Paper manufacturing uses significant amounts of natural resources: between 2 and 2.5 tonnes of timber and 30-40 cubic metres of water are required to make one tonne of paper. What’s more, electricity and methane gas are needed to power the industrial machines used in the various production phases and, depending on the type of paper, a host of polluting chemical additives. That’s why, whenever possible, it’s important to choose sustainable or recycled paper to reduce the environmental impact of paper production.

 A card made from recycled paper
A card made from recycled paper

Sustainable paper is made out of wood cellulose originating from  Forest Stewardship Council-certified forests, where strict environmental, social and economic standards apply. Recycled paper, on the other hand, is made out of recovered paper. However, the chlorine used to bleach it, as well as other chemical additives used, mean that recycled paper is often not as environmentally friendly as commonly thought. To be sure that you are choosing a genuinely eco-friendly product, opt for paper with the Ecolabel certification, the European ecological quality label awarded to environmentally sustainable products.

Alternatives to paper

An excellent alternative to traditional paper is Crush paper, produced by venerable Italian papermakers Favini, made out of fruit and vegetable by-products. Production of this paper releases 20% fewer CO2 emissions and uses up to 15% less cellulose than traditional paper, and is suitable for many applications, from food and wine labels to premium-quality invitation cards, catalogues and brochures.

Crush paper by Favini
Crush paper by Favini, made from agro-industry by-products.

The latest innovation from Favini is Remake, paper made from 25% leather off-cuts, 40% recycled cellulose and 35% FSC-certified virgin cellulose fibres. It’s a fine-quality recyclable and compostable material, perfect for printing sophisticated publications and luxury packaging.

Another great substitute is hemp, a highly durable material that has been used to make paper since ancient times, first by the Chinese and later by the Arabs. Cultivation of this plant does not require pesticides and provides a quantity of fibre per hectare that is 3-4 times greater than traditional forests. Its main drawback is the cost of processing hemp pulp, which is much higher than conventional cellulose extraction.

Our article on the history of paper finishes here, but we’re sure that, thanks to continued technical innovation, many more surprises lie ahead! The history of paper is far from over, and this fascinating and useful material will remain with us for years to come.

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History Of Lottery

Today players all over the world can place wagers on the outcomes of lotteries on the other side of the world using their computers and smart-phones, but this is a long way away from the origin of what we now know as the lottery. Although the way we experience the lottery has changed a whole lot over the years, the basic concept dates back to the earliest human civilisations, and its history can be traced back across the globe. 

History of the Lottery

Looking at the origin of the word itself is a useful way to trace the lineage between the different incarnations of the lottery over the centuries. It came from the Dutch word ‘lot’, meaning ‘fate’, which is a pretty interesting way of thinking about how a lottery works. We still use expressions like ‘drawing lots’ today, when we want to make a random decision about something (like who’s going to make the coffees in the office). It’s pretty safe to assume that this type of decision-making process goes back to the very earliest human tribal groups, as it was probably quite difficult to find volunteers to go after that sabre-toothed tiger.

LOTTERIES IN THE ANCIENT WORLD

There is evidence that a type of lottery existed long before the Dutch came up with that word in the 15th century, as historians have traced a version of a lottery all the way back to the Ancient Chinese Western Han Dynasty, which was a period of time around 200 years before the birth of Christ. People at that time played what was known as the ‘white pigeon game’ – basically a form of keno – which got its name because birds were used to send the results of the draws out to far-flung villages. Some of the proceeds from these early incarnations of the lottery were used to fund part of the Great Wall of China, just one example of lotteries relating to famous historical people and places.

The Ancient Romans adopted various forms of lottery too, albeit for different purposes. For example, the Roman elite used to have draws after dinner parties with various lavish prizes on offer for their guests, although one suspects that the best prizes ‘somehow’ found their way to the most influential members of the group! In later years, Augustus Caesar introduced a lottery where all citizens of Rome could buy tickets and where the prizes were a selection of whatever treasures the army had brought back from their latest conquest. Some of the proceeds of this type of lottery were used to fund the upkeep of the public streets and buildings of the capital.

History of the Lottery

LOTTERIES IN THE MIDDLE AGES

Lotteries became established in what is now Belgium and the Netherlands around the 15th century, and that is where the word ‘lot’ came in. Later on the practice of lotteries resurfaced in Italy once more when Milan used the practice to raise funds for its war against Venice. In Genoa, they used a random draw to decide which 5 of the 90 council members would be selected for offers, and people started to bet on the outcome. This raffle only happened twice a year and with people still enthusiastic about betting on lotteries, the organisers replaced the councillors’ names with numbers and in doing so created the first number-based lottery. To this day, the Italian SuperEnalotto draws 6 numbers from 90 to determine the winning selection, in a nod to its Genoese origins.

The first lottery in England organised by the government was a rather unusual affair, showing perhaps that they had not quite grasped the concept as quickly as their European cousins. While today the lottery balls are often drawn by minor television celebrities, no less a figure than Queen Elizabeth picked out the winning balls of the English lottery in 1569.  Unusually, the value of the total prize pool was exactly equal to the price paid for all of the lottery tickets – although the top prizes were greater in value than the others – making it close to the ‘Secret Santa’ tradition which is imposed upon reluctant office workers every year. Although the lottery was very expensive at the time it would certainly have attracted a certain sector of society, because anybody who bought a ticket was automatically exonerated of any (non-violent) crime they had ever committed!

EARLY AMERICAN LOTTERIES

Other European nations such as Spain and France were also quick to use lotteries for various purposes, but it may surprise you to learn that the relatively new country of America was an extremely early adopter of the practice. As early as 1655 the settlement of New Amsterdam (you may be more familiar with its modern name of ‘New York’) organised a lottery where players had to guess how many bibles were sold in the town over a certain period of time. Although the United States has a somewhat strained relationship with some forms of gambling today, many of its founding fathers (George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson) and historical institutions (Yale, Harvard, Rockerfeller Centre) were involved with or funded by organised lotteries.

History of the Lottery

The oldest lottery still active today is the Dutch National Lottery, which has been going strong since the first draw back in 1726 in The Hague. In second place is Spain’s ‘El Gordo’ (‘the fat one’) which has been run every year since 1812 and which today is widely considered to be the biggest lottery in the world. This Spanish Christmas lottery is more of a yuletide tradition than Santa Claus in Spain, with an estimated 75% of the population buying a share of a ticket each year in the hope of winning a top prize which regularly amounts to hundreds of millions of euros.

THE IRISH SWEEPSTAKES

Within a couple of years of declaring independence from Britain, Ireland was to launch what became a somewhat controversial lottery known as the Irish Sweepstakes. The idea behind the draw was to raise money for the piteously underfunded hospitals of the country, and as the local population was too small to raise enough capital a lot of tickets were sold in the UK and America, often to emigrant Irish. Coinciding with the grim years of the Depression in the States, the widely-publicised tales of Irish Sweepstake winners became for many a beacon of hope in desperate times. However, despite the millions of dollars being raised annually by the lottery in its early days a suspiciously small amount was going towards the improvement of dilapidated hospitals, while the organisers of the lottery in Ireland (and various shady ‘middle-men’) were becoming exceedingly rich. Eventually in 1987 the (now completely above-board) Irish Sweepstakes was replaced by the National Lottery in Ireland, with the Irish Lotto still a popular draw around the world.

In the 21st century lotteries proliferate in countries all around the world. From the gigantic US Powerball to the Oz Lottery in Australia, from the Swedish Lotto to the hugely popular Mega-Sena draw in Brazil, lotteries continue to attract as much interest and excitement as ever. It seems that humans will never lose that desire to bet upon the outcome of random lottery draws and to let ‘fate’ determine the outcome.

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History Of Wifi

The history of WiFi is long and interesting.  In 1971, ALOHAnet connected the Hawaiian Islands with a UHF wireless packet network. ALOHAnet and the ALOHA protocol were early forerunners to Ethernet, and later the IEEE 802.11 protocols, respectively.

Vic Hayes is often regarded as the “father of Wi-Fi.” He started such work in 1974 when he joined NCR Corp., now part of semiconductor components maker Agere Systems.

A 1985 ruling by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission released the ISM band for unlicensed use – these are frequencies in the 2.4GHz band. These frequency bands are the same ones used by equipment such as microwave ovens and are subject to interference.

In 1991, NCR Corporation with AT&T Corporation invented the precursor to 802.11, intended for use in cashier systems. The first wireless products were under the name WaveLAN. They are the ones credited with inventing Wi-Fi.

The Australian radio-astronomer John O’Sullivan with his colleagues Terence Percival, Graham Daniels, Diet Ostry, John Deane developed a key patent used in Wi-Fi as a by-product of a Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) research project, “a failed experiment to detect exploding mini black holes the size of an atomic particle”.

In 1992 and 1996, CSIRO obtained patents for a method later used in Wi-Fi to “unsmear” the signal.

The first version of the 802.11 protocol was released in 1997, and provided up to 2 Mbit/s link speeds. This was updated in 1999 with 802.11b to permit 11 Mbit/s link speeds, and this proved to be popular.

The WiFi Brand and Trademark

In 1999, the Wi-Fi Alliance formed as a trade association to hold the Wi-Fi trademark under which most products are sold. The name Wi-Fi, commercially used at least as early as August 1999, was coined by the brand-consulting firm Interbrand. The Wi-Fi Alliance had hired Interbrand to create a name that was “a little catchier than ‘IEEE 802.11b Direct Sequence.’ ” Phil Belanger, a founding member of the Wi-Fi Alliance who presided over the selection of the name “Wi-Fi,” has stated that Interbrand invented Wi-Fi as a pun upon the word hi-fi. Interbrand also created the Wi-Fi logo.

WiFi Logo
WiFi Logo

The yin-yang Wi-Fi logo indicates the certification of a product for interoperability.

WiFi Standards and Development History

802.11-1997 (802.11 legacy)

The original version of the standard IEEE 802.11 was released in 1997 and clarified in 1999, but is now obsolete. It specified two net bit rates of 1 or 2 megabits per second (Mbit/s), plus forward error correction code. It specified three alternative physical layer technologies: diffuse infrared operating at 1 Mbit/s; frequency-hopping spread spectrum operating at 1 Mbit/s or 2 Mbit/s; and direct-sequence spread spectrum operating at 1 Mbit/s or 2 Mbit/s. The latter two radio technologies used microwave transmission over the Industrial Scientific Medical frequency band at 2.4 GHz. Some earlier WLAN technologies used lower frequencies, such as the U.S. 900 MHz ISM band.

802.11b (1999)

The 802.11b standard has a maximum raw data rate of 11 Mbit/s, and uses the same media access method defined in the original standard. 802.11b products appeared on the market in early 2000, since 802.11b is a direct extension of the modulation technique defined in the original standard. The dramatic increase in throughput of 802.11b (compared to the original standard) along with simultaneous substantial price reductions led to the rapid acceptance of 802.11b as the definitive wireless LAN technology.

Devices using 802.11b experience interference from other products operating in the 2.4 GHz band. Devices operating in the 2.4 GHz range include microwave ovens, Bluetooth devices, baby monitors, cordless telephones, and some amateur radio equipment.

802.11a (2012, OFDM waveform)

Originally described as clause 17 of the 1999 specification, the OFDM waveform at 5.8 GHz is now defined in clause 18 of the 2012 specification, and provides protocols that allow transmission and reception of data at rates of 1.5 to 54 Mbit/s. It has seen widespread worldwide implementation, particularly within the corporate workspace. While the original amendment is no longer valid, the term 802.11a is still used by wireless access point (cards and routers) manufacturers to describe interoperability of their systems at 5 GHz, 54 Mbit/s.

The 802.11a standard uses the same data link layer protocol and frame format as the original standard, but an OFDM based air interface (physical layer). It operates in the 5 GHz band with a maximum net data rate of 54 Mbit/s, plus error correction code, which yields realistic net achievable throughput in the mid-20 Mbit/s.

Since the 2.4 GHz band is heavily used to the point of being crowded, using the relatively unused 5 GHz band gives 802.11a a significant advantage. However, this high carrier frequency also brings a disadvantage: the effective overall range of 802.11a is less than that of 802.11b/g. In theory, 802.11a signals are absorbed more readily by walls and other solid objects in their path due to their smaller wavelength, and, as a result, cannot penetrate as far as those of 802.11b. In practice, 802.11b typically has a higher range at low speeds (802.11b will reduce speed to 5.5 Mbit/s or even 1 Mbit/s at low signal strengths). 802.11a also suffers from interference, but locally there may be fewer signals to interfere with, resulting in less interference and better throughput.

802.11g (2003)

In June 2003, a third modulation standard was ratified: 802.11g. This works in the 2.4 GHz band (like 802.11b), but uses the same OFDM based transmission scheme as 802.11a. It operates at a maximum physical layer bit rate of 54 Mbit/s exclusive of forward error correction codes, or about 22 Mbit/s average throughput.

802.11g hardware is fully backward compatible with 802.11b hardware, and therefore is encumbered with legacy issues that reduce throughput by ~21% when compared to 802.11a.

The then-proposed 802.11g standard was rapidly adopted in the market starting in January 2003, well before ratification, due to the desire for higher data rates as well as to reductions in manufacturing costs. By summer 2003, most dual-band 802.11a/b products became dual-band/tri-mode, supporting a and b/g in a single mobile adapter card or access point. Details of making b and g work well together occupied much of the lingering technical process; in an 802.11g network, however, activity of an 802.11b participant will reduce the data rate of the overall 802.11g network.

Like 802.11b, 802.11g devices suffer interference from other products operating in the 2.4 GHz band, for example wireless keyboards.

802.11 (2007)

In 2003, task group TGma was authorized to “roll up” many of the amendments to the 1999 version of the 802.11 standard. REVma or 802.11ma, as it was called, created a single document that merged 8 amendments (802.11a, b, d, e, g, h, i, j) with the base standard. Upon approval on March 8, 2007, 802.11REVma was renamed to the then-current base standard IEEE 802.11-2007.

802.11n (2009)

802.11n is an amendment that improves upon the previous 802.11 standards by adding multiple-input multiple-output antennas (MIMO). 802.11n operates on both the 2.4 GHz and the 5 GHz bands. Support for 5 GHz bands is optional. It operates at a maximum net data rate from 54 Mbit/s to 600 Mbit/s. The IEEE has approved the amendment, and it was published in October 2009.

Prior to the final ratification, enterprises were already migrating to 802.11n networks based on the Wi-Fi Alliance‘s certification of products conforming to a 2007 draft of the 802.11n proposal.

802.11 (2012)

In May 2007, task group TGmb was authorized to “roll up” many of the amendments to the 2007 version of the 802.11 standard. REVmb or 802.11mb, as it was called, created a single document that merged ten amendments (802.11k, r, r, n, w, p, z, v, u, s) with the 2007 base standard. In addition much cleanup was done, including a reordering of many of the clauses. Upon publication on March 29, 2012, the new standard was referred to as IEEE 802.11-2012.

802.11ac (2013)

IEEE 802.11ac-2013 is an amendment to IEEE 802.11, published in December 2013, that builds on 802.11n. Changes compared to 802.11n include wider channels (80 or 160 MHz versus 40 MHz) in the 5 GHz band, more spatial streams (up to eight versus four), higher-order modulation (up to 256-QAM vs. 64-QAM), and the addition of Multi-user MIMO (MU-MIMO). As of October 2013, high-end implementations support 80 MHz channels, three spatial streams, and 256-QAM, yielding a data rate of up to 433.3 Mbit/s per spatial stream, 1300 Mbit/s total, in 80 MHz channels in the 5 GHz band.

Vendors have announced plans to release so-called “Wave 2” devices with support for 160 MHz channels, four spatial streams, and MU-MIMO in 2014 and 2015.

802.11ad (2010)

IEEE 802.11ad is an amendment that defines a new physical layer for 802.11 networks to operate in the 60 GHz millimeter wave spectrum. This frequency band has significantly different propagation characteristics than the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands where Wi-Fi networks operate. Products implementing the 802.11ad standard are being brought to market under the WiGig brand name. The certification program is now being developed by the Wi-Fi Alliance instead of the now defunct WiGig Alliance. The peak transmission rate of 802.11ad is 7 Gbit/s.

802.11af (2014)

IEEE 802.11af, also referred to as “White-Fi” and “Super Wi-Fi” is an amendment, approved in February 2014, that allows WLAN operation in TV white space spectrum in the VHF and UHF bands between 54 and 790 MHz.

It uses cognitive radio technology to transmit on unused TV channels, with the standard taking measures to limit interference for primary users, such as analog TV, digital TV, and wireless microphones.

Access points and stations determine their position using a satellite positioning system such as GPS, and use the Internet to query a geolocation database (GDB) provided by a regional regulatory agency to discover what frequency channels are available for use at a given time and position. The physical layer uses OFDM and is based on 802.11ac.

The propagation path loss as well as the attenuation by materials such as brick and concrete is lower in the UHF and VHF bands than in the 2.4 and 5 GHz bands, which increases the possible range. The frequency channels are 6 to 8 MHz wide, depending on the regulatory domain. Up to four channels may be bonded in either one or two contiguous blocks.

MIMO operation is possible with up to four streams used for either space–time block code (STBC) or multi-user (MU) operation. The achievable data rate per spatial stream is 26.7 Mbit/s for 6 and 7 MHz channels, and 35.6 Mbit/s for 8 MHz channels. With four spatial streams and four bonded channels, the maximum data rate is 426.7 Mbit/s for 6 and 7 MHz channels and 568.9 Mbit/s for 8 MHz channels.

Future WiFi enhancements and upgrades:

802.11ah

IEEE 802.11ah defines a WLAN system operating at sub-1 GHz license-exempt bands, with final approval slated for September 2016.

Due to the favorable propagation characteristics of the low frequency spectra, 802.11ah can provide improved transmission range compared with the conventional 802.11 WLANs operating in the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands. 802.11ah can be used for various purposes including large scale sensor networks, extended range hotspot, and outdoor Wi-Fi for cellular traffic offloading, whereas the available bandwidth is relatively narrow. The protocol intends consumption to be competitive with low power Bluetooth, at a much wider range.

802.11ai

IEEE 802.11ai is an amendment to the 802.11 standard that will add new mechanisms for a faster initial link setup time.

802.11aj

IEEE 802.11aj is a rebanding of 802.11ad for use in the 45 GHz unlicensed spectrum available in some regions of the world (specifically China).

802.11aq

IEEE 802.11aq is an amendment to the 802.11 standard that will enable pre-association discovery of services. This extends some of the mechanisms in 802.11u that enabled device discovery to further discover the services running on a device, or provided by a network.

802.11ax

IEEE 802.11ax is the successor to 802.11ac, and will increase the efficiency of WLAN networks. Currently in development, this project has the goal of providing 4x the throughput of 802.11ac.

802.11ay

IEEE 802.11ay is a standard that is being developed. It is an amendment that defines a new physical layer for 802.11 networks to operate in the 60 GHz millimeter wave spectrum. It will be an extension of the existing 11ad, aimed to extend the throughput, range and use-cases. The main use-cases include: indoor operation, out-door back-haul and short range communications. The peak transmission rate of 802.11ay is 20 Gbit/s. The main extensions include: channel bonding (2, 3 and 4), MIMO and higher modulation schemes.

802.11-2016

IEEE 802.11-2016 is a revision based on IEEE 802.11-2012, incorporating 5 amendments (11ae, 11aa, 11ad, 11ac, 11af). In addition, existing MAC and PHY functions have been enhanced and obsolete features were removed or marked for removal. Some clauses and annexes have been renumbered.

Outdoor Grade WiFi and Hotspots

Some vendors have extended WiFi technology to include Outdoor WiFi and proprietary extensions such as Mesh and other features. These devices allow greater use access to WiFi in public spaces.

CableFree Amber Crystal 802.11ac MIMO radio WiFi
CableFree Amber Crystal 802.11ac MIMO WiFi radio