ComTech: IT Support Stirling

The internet of things and the connectivity issue

I have been reading a lot lately about the internet of things (IoT) and I must admit it does sound awesome. Imagine a world where everything is connected to the internet and I do mean everything. Fridges that can sense when you are short of milk and send you a text message to pick up some on your way home or bridges that can detect ice on their surface and send that information wirelessly to your car which automatically slows down are just two of the many possibilities available with the internet of things.

All this is based though on being connected to the internet and at the moment this is where the house of cards falls down.  If your devices are located inside buildings then you should have a reliable broadband connection and have no problems.  The problems start when you leave the building and get out into the “wilds”.  Getting online when out and about relies on being able to pick up either 3G or 4G and in certain parts of the UK mobile coverage is rubbish.  Only last week there were calls to improve mobile signal coverage in rural Wales where at the moment signal is appalling.  It is the same in the north of England and extensively so in Scotland.  You can’t have electronic devices connected to the internet if they can’t actually connect to the internet.

Take my house as an example.  I live in Alloa which lies in the central belt of Scotland (basically where most people in Scotland live) so you would think mobile coverage should be good.  It isn’t.  I am currently with O2 on a two year contract and it is sketchy to say the least. Other networks do have better coverage here (EE for example) but there are too many places in Scotland where you can’t get anything better than 2G.

As a lot of regular readers know I travel throughout Scotland for work.  I have clients all over the place who I need to assist if (and when) problems arise with their IT.  This usually means remoting into their systems and fixing any issues.  For this reason I have EE 4G mobile broadband, Three 3G mobile broadband and the data allowance on my O2 Phone.  In theory this gives me three networks to choose from so you would think at least one would have 3G signal.  I have lost count of the number of places in Scotland where I get 2G at best!!

For the internet of things to work mobile operators have to pick up the batton and run with it.  Their network coverage must improve as it is no longer good enough to say “well most people are covered”. Instead we need “almost all areas are covered” and only then will the internet of things come to its full potential.

About the Author


Hi I’m Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Cisco, Windows, OS X and Linux based IT Support to small businesses throughout Scotland.

Follow @Comtech247 on Twitter



The cloud and the connectivity issue

I have just spent a lovely 4 days in the Dumfries and Galloway area of Scotland. Lovely beaches, lovely people and even the weather played nice (for the most part).  This area has very few population centres with Dumfries being the largest with roughly 30,000 people.  Ideal for a holiday then but what about working down here. If you are a business in these parts I would guess you won’t be embracing the cloud very much, unless you have an office in one of the few population centres, and the reason? Mobile signal is shockingly bad.

Between myself, my wife and the inlaws we had 3 networks – O2, EE and Virgin and none of them had any internet connectivity worth shouting about.  If you are a business in these parts that needs to be online while out and about you are going to struggle.

I had this exact conversation with someone at a networking event earlier in the week.  My stance was that no connectivity = no internet while theirs was there is always someway to get online, whether it be coffee shops, Macdonalds, mobile coverage etc. I can see their point but but unless you can actually get to a Starbucks, Cafe Nero etc you will have no wifi down here.  It was the same when I went to the Western Isles last year.  The mobile coverage out there was even worse.

If you have an office with good broadband then going for cloud based solutions does make sense.  If you work near a big population centre with coffee shops etc that have free wifi and also good mobile phone coverage again cloud does make sense. If you work in a remote area then cloud is not such a good idea.

Anyone work in remote areas and use cloud based solutions? I would love to hear how.

About the Author


Hi I’m Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows, Mac and Linux based IT Support to small businesses in Stirling, Alloa and Falkirk.

Follow @Comtech247 on Twitter



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