How the Semiconductor Shortage is Influencing Supply Chains

In a Secure High Level Laboratory Scientists in a Coverall Conducting a Research. Chemist Adjusts Samples in a Petri Dish with Pincers.

You may have noticed the recent price increase for consumer and business electronics, and it’s all caused by issues related to the global semiconductor shortage. How have these supply chains, stable for so long, been dealt such a severe blow to the point where acquiring new computers and networking equipment is so challenging? Read on to find out.

The Law of Supply and Demand

In 2020, as COVID-19 forced the majority of businesses and organizations to shift to remote operations, the global demand for new computers skyrocketed. 2021 has not been much better. While this looks like a great benefit for the semiconductor industry at first glance, that is only half of the equation. The industry may have seen its sales expand to nearly half a trillion dollars over the past year, but at what cost?

When the supply chain cannot keep up with demand, it is natural that the supply will eventually run dry. When you compare this immense demand to the PC market in previous years, you might start to see why such a shortage exists. The stagnation in the PC market coupled with the increase in demand for these devices, as well as other electronics and the greater need for cloud computing, led many industry professionals to forecast increases of another 12 percent in 2021 to $511 billion.

As a result of this massive bump in demand, the industry simply was not prepared for the influx of sales and, thus, could not keep up with it. The shortage itself began in the second quarter of 2020, and its effects have been felt by manufacturers, retailers, and businesses alike.

The Greater Ramifications

The semiconductor shortage doesn’t only impact computers and smartphones; it is causing ripples all over for any devices that require them. One notable example is the automotive industry, which has experienced several halts in production due to the chip shortage.

On a greater scale, the electronics industry has had to make several hard choices related to hardware simply because the pieces required to make their devices are not available in the needed quantities. As you might imagine, this shortage has a considerably larger impact on smaller organizations, as large-scale manufacturers have the advantage of more capital to invest in buying up the remaining stock.

How This Affects Your Business

It might not be clear how this semiconductor shortage will affect your business, but what is clear is that people with an understanding of this industry are not holding their breath expecting the issue to resolve itself. Businesses, in particular, will need to keep their eyes on the market for any signs of recovery, as the need for new hardware and increased data processing capacity will drive the demand for semiconductors until the shortage recedes.

It’s likely that businesses will see increased prices for the foreseeable future–at least for the next four to six fiscal quarters, or until the supply chain is able to recover and fulfill demand. AE Technology Group will keep an eye on this situation so we can best serve our clients. After all, we want to help you get the best resources at a reasonable price. If you have any questions or concerns about this semiconductor shortage, AE Technology Group is happy to help. To learn more about how we can help you navigate this situation, reach out to us at (516) 536-5006.

Computer Tip of the Day: Internet Speed And Your Business

computer tip of the day internet speed and your business

If a positive internet “surfing” experience is desired, whether at home or at the place of employment, the following points should be considered:

  • Bandwidth
  • Latency
  • Computer health
  • Internet Browser Extensions

Bandwidth is the allowance of data that may be downloaded per given unit of time. For example, if a typical DSL plan of 1-20 Megabits/sec is purchased, that means the ISP (internet service provider) will allow downloading approximately 1-20 megabits of data per second. To put that into better perspective, contrast it with the speed of a dial-up Internet connection plan of approximately 20-30 kilobits per second, which is only a very small fraction of 1 megabit. Therefore, if high-speed internet is desired, it’s probably better to not choose a dial-up internet connection plan.

However, don’t be fooled by only looking at the data allowance per second when choosing a plan. There’s a variable one must consider called network latency, and can usually only be determined by reading the reviews of a given ISP. Latency refers to the delay that data must endure after given the command to transfer, and many different factors can contribute to latency. For example, if one is considering purchasing a satellite internet plan, keep in mind that although the data allowance per second might look good, it just so happens that the latency of a satellite network could be such that it will not feel like you are using a high-speed internet connection; the internet connection will feel very slow.

After the above is considered and the internet plan is purchased, it’s pretty much up to the computer user to make sure the device being used to access the internet is in good health. Even with the fastest internet plan available, a computer in poor health will diminish the speed of the internet service being used such that all that glorious speed will not be noticeable. This means making an effort to become familiar with computer maintenance. An internet service provider might offer computer maintenance as part of a purchased plan, but it would save a lot of money to do a little research and become familiar with maintenance.

Using the internet typically happens via an internet browser. With the explosion of internet usage in the last decade, internet browsers such as Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Chrome have made available extensions or add-ons which can enhance the internet experience. Adding these to your browser, each with a specific purpose, can come with a negative side. Sometimes these extensions can cause a browser to become slow or to crash, therefore, using too many of these simultaneously can greatly diminish the speed of the internet. It would be in a computer user’s best interest to learn how to turn extensions and add-ons off.

Please contact us for a consultation.

Tech Term of the Week: Motherboard

tech term of the week motherboard
Tech Term Motherboard Chipset

Your computer is built from countless parts and intricacies, one of which is the motherboard. In this weeks’ tech term, we’ll go in-depth into what the motherboard does for your computer, as well as why it’s so critical for continued operation.

What the Motherboard Does

The motherboard is essentially the computer’s internal control center, or its “brain.” It’s the communication hub of your device. It’s basically the central circuit board that your device’s components connect to and share data with, helping your computer do its job. Without a motherboard, you can’t really call a computer, a computer.

The motherboard is the first part of the computer that receives power. Once it has booted up, it will then power up the other components.

The Parts of the Motherboard

Each motherboard has several parts that are needed in order to function properly. Depending on the model, you may have different parts or specifications. Regardless, all motherboards will contain the same basic components.

  • Chipset: The device’s chipset is what allows your data to be transferred to other components throughout the motherboard. You’ll see two different sides of the motherboard’s chipset: the Northbridge and the Southbridge. Communication to other components is made possible through the chipset.
  • CPU: The CPU (Central Processing Unit) is the part of the computer that transfers data from the Northbridge to the different parts of your PC. A more powerful CPU creates a faster and better experience for the user.
  • Slots: The slots of the motherboard are used to hold together its parts. Here are some of those parts:
    • Random Access Memory, or RAM
    • PCI(e), which connects to expansion cards, like video, network, or sound cards
    • SATA, which connect to storage drives like HDD and SSD

Let us know what you think we should cover for future tech terms in the comments below.

Password Protection – Computer Tip of the Day

password protection computer tip of the day

Password Protection

One of the most important things to make sure you do when browsing the web or even just using your computer in general, is to make sure your passwords are as secure as possible in order to keep your data safe from hackers and keep your accounts secure from various kinds of attacks on your accounts and personal information.

What many people don’t seem to realize is that there are a number of different ways to get hacked that can be easily avoided by users, in theory. The most common methods currently used to try and break into your accounts are dictionary attacks, cracking security questions and social engineering. In addition, many people making hacking their accounts easier on hackers by setting extremely simple passwords which can be easily guessed or using the exact same password for multiple accounts.

Dictionary Attacks

Dictionary attacks are when a hacker figures out your password by trying a massive number of different options one after another until they manage to break into your account through repeated attempts. The primary method of avoiding having your account broken into like this is to is to avoid things like spelling words backward, common dictionary words and consecutive combinations of letters like qwerty, asdf and so on.

Breaking Security Questions

Quite a few people use common words or names like their first name, their pet’s name or their place of work as answers to their security questions and all of these things are extremely straightforward to figure out with a bit of research. You can easily make these questions much harder to figure out just by making the answers to your security questions something a lot harder to figure out as well as making them things that a potential hacker couldn’t find just by browsing your Facebook page.

Social Engineering

This is a fancy term for elaborate lies and it is an alternative to standard hacking. Social Engineering is where a hacker attempts to manipulate you into revealing certain pieces of confidential information like their email password or social security number.

Reusing Passwords

Using the same password on multiple occasions is generally not the best idea as it does make hacking you much easier. It also exposes multiple accounts to being hacked simultaneously as breaking the password on one account will allow a hacker access to every single account that uses that password.

For more tips and hints on how to protect your accounts from hackers, contact us today!

Tip of the Day: Maximizing Your Start Menu

tip of the day maximizing your start menu

start menu

Did you love the start button functionalities from Windows 7, but dislike what happened with Windows 8 and Windows 10? We’ve got a hot tip for you that returns that feature with multiple options that you can tweak to your hearts content. It’s a shell replacement program called Classic Shell, which gives you that awesome Windows 7 start menu that we all knew and loved with both new and old functionality.

Go to http://www.classicshell.net/ to download the software to your computer so that we can get started. The program is no longer being actively developed by the original creator, but not to worry! Classic Shell has been around for many years with many features and solid stability that it will be good well into the future. Once you get the program installed you can immediately see it by pressing your start button like you always do… cool huh?  If you right click on the new start button you will see the new settings for the Classic Start Menu. Right click and go to Settings to get into the real fun. By default you will see the basic options for you to poke around in, but if you are feeling adventurous you can check the box that says Show all settings. If you like to tweak everything then this is perfect for you, otherwise keep it simple and just do the basics. Play around with the colors, themes, styles, and settings until you love your new start button experience. We rely on the start menu so much, so why not give it a splash of your own style and enjoy that awesome Windows 7 style button.

Once you get everything setup to your exact liking you do not have to worry about losing all of your hard work if something were to go wrong! In the options menu for Classic Shell there is a Backup button you can press to make a file backup of all the settings you just changed. Hit the Save to XML file option and save that backup file anywhere on the disk drive so that it will not get lost. Better yet… transfer that file to one of your cloud storage accounts so that it will never get lost. Some examples of cloud storage services would include Google Drive, Dropbox, or Box. Any of those will be the perfect place to keep your start menu settings online forever! When you are ready to restore that file just go to the Backup button and hit Load from XML file to get back up and running.

contact us