Category Archives: Network

What Kind of Wi-Fi Access Point are You Attached to?

Tech Tips – I wrote a couple of days ago about the new Wi-Fi naming convention. If you are out and about using a public Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11) access point, how can you tell which version of Wi-Fi you are using?

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If you are using a Mac, that is easy! Hold down the Option key while you click on the Wi-Fi icon in your menubar. Under the access point you are currently connected to you will see the Physical Layer mode being used. In the example above, my MacBook Pro is connected to an IEEE 802.11n (Wi-Fi 5) access point.

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Conversely, if you want to know what your Mac will support, that is straight forward a well. Option-click on the Apple icon in the menubar, then click on System Information. When the window opens, go down and click on Wi-Fi under Network. The resulting window will list all versions of Wi-Fi that your Mac is compatible with.

For your iOS devices, making this determination is much harder. So far I have found no way to determine the type of Wi-Fi connection an iOS device is using. Even with third party Apps, this data seems to be absent. Apparently, a lot of information is not included in the API for App developers.

If (when) I find out how to make this determination on an iOS device I will update this article.


See my other Mac & OS X articles


 

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What Version of Wi-Fi Do You Have?

Wi-Fi, otherwise officially known as IEEE 802.11, is the communications standard by which we can be wirelessly connected to the Internet. Per Wikipedia:

IEEE 802.11 is a set of media access control (MAC) and physical layer (PHY) specifications for implementing wireless local area network (WLAN) computer communication in the 900 MHz and 2.4, 3.6, 5, and 60 GHz frequency bands.

The IEEE 802.11 standard was created and is maintained by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) LAN/MAN Standards Committee (IEEE 802). This committee is made up of interested volunteers from both the academic and corporate space.

Wi-Fi Version IEEE Standard Speed Released
1 802.11b 11 Mbps 1999
2 802.11a 11 Mbps 1999
3 802.11g 54 Mbps 2003
4 802.11n 600 Mbps [5] 2009
5 802.11ac 3460 Mbps [5] 2014
6 802.11ax target of 4 x version 5 [5] 2019

 

We have been using IEEE 802.11 or Wi-Fi for many years now (since 1999), but the standard has evolved as the technology has matured. Subsequent versions of the standard have steadily increased the data access speeds [4]. (NOTE: the table above shows thearetical maximum speed and is not necessarily what you will achieve) The result is that while we have devices that claim Wi-Fi compatibility, and many locations that offer Wi-Fi access, those ‘Wi-Fi’ are not necessarily the same [3].

Fortunately, each subsequent release of the 802 standard is backwards-compatible with the prior versions. That means if you walk into a coffee shop with an older Wi-Fi access point that is still only 802.11n compatible, your iPhone X with 802.11ac will automatically downgrade its connection to match the access point. Likewise if you have an iPhone 5 that is only 802.11n compatible and you are in a location with an 802.11ac rated access point, the communication will be limited to 802.11n speeds. You can check this site to see what you iPhone is capable of.

WFA_CERTIFIED_Flat_Web_LR.pngThe Wi-Fi Alliance is behind the “Wi-Fi Certified” logo that we see on basically every Wi-Fi enabled device [10]. Up until now, Wi-Fi implementations have been certified by the Wi-Fi Alliance, the non-profit that manages the implementation of Wi-Fi, by numbers and letters associated with the corresponding IEEE standard. It has now simplified the naming scheme by adopting more user comprehensible version numbers, such as Wi-Fi 5 or Wi-Fi 6 [2]. While the Alliance will be certifying devices, there is nothing to force vendors to comply with the new branding [2].

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As vendors adapt their device software to the new naming convention, users should see a visual indication, such as those shown above, to indicate which type of Wi-fi network they are connected to [2].

References:

  1. Wi-Fi 6: What’s Different, and Why it Matters
  2. Wi-Fi is adopting a simplified naming scheme based on version numbers
  3. The next generation of wireless networking will be called WiFi 6
  4. The evolution of WiFi standards: a look at 802.11a/b/g/n/ac
  5. 802.11: Wi-Fi speeds and standards explained
  6. The new version of Wi-Fi is called Wi-Fi 6 because rules don’t matter
  7. Wi-Fi 6 Will Arrive Next Year; Wi-Fi Versions To Get Simpler Names
  8. Wi-Fi versions to get names people can actually understand
  9. Newest WiFi Version Will Be Called WiFi 6
  10. Wi-Fi is adopting version numbers such as WiFi 6

Changing the DNS Provider on Your iOS Device

Tech Tip – Generally we all just let the network provider designate our DNS provider. You may want to change that and choose Quad9 for improved security, performance, and privacy for your iOS device. See that link for the story behind Quad9.

Changing the DNS provider on your iOS device is simple. Open Settings ==> WiFi.

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Click on the blue ‘i’ next to your selected WiFi network.

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Under the DNS heading click on ‘Automatic’ to the right of ‘Configure DNS’

Change the setting to Manual, then click on the ‘Add Server’ under ‘DNS Servers’ and enter the IP address of 9.9.9.9, then delete the others. Save your changes.

Now you are all set up to use the Quad9 DNS servers.

Unfortunately, you need to make this DNS change individually for every WiFi network you use. I am slowly updating both my iPhone and iPad to use Quad9 on each of the WiFi networks I use.


See my other iOS articles


 

Quad 9, a Better Choice For Your DNS

Tech Tip – As you know if you follow my posts, I listen to a lot of podcasts. While nearly it is nearly 10 months old (I have quite a podcast episode backlog), I listened to episode #638 of the Security Now podcast as I went on a walk earlier today. The primary subject of this podcast was Quad9.

So what is Quad9? From their web page:

Quad9 is a free, recursive, anycast DNS platform that provides end users robust security protections, high-performance, and privacy.

Why would you want to switch to Quad9? The video above gives a short (2:29) overview of how DNS works to resolve Domain Names into IP addresses, and how Quad9 can provide you with more protection. The Quad9 claims:

  • Quad9 blocks against known malicious domains, preventing your computers and IoT devices from connecting to malware or phishing sites (Quad9 pulls in security intelligence from 19 partners including: IBM’s X-Force, Abuse.ch, the Anti-Phishing Working Group, Bambenek Consulting, F-Secure, Netlab, and Proofpoint)
  • Quad9 systems are distributed worldwide for quick response with servers in more than 128 locations at present. More than 150 locations in total are scheduled for 2018 (published tests demonstrate Quad9’s response time [1,5,7,8])
  • No personally-identifiable information is collected by the system [4]

The founders of Quad9 include IBM, PCH (Packet Clearing House), and the Global Cyber Alliance (GCA). Quad9 works with several partnering groups to make Quad9 a safer, more secure and private way to do DNS lookup. While they have extensive tech in place to block malware domains, Quad9 also has whitelisting in place to prevent known valid domains from being accidentally blocked [1,4].

After listening to Steve Gibson talk about Quad9 on Security Now I decided to switch to Quad9. Shortly after I returned to my apartment I logged on to my MacBook and set up Quad9. If you are not sure how to change your DNS provider on your Mac, the video above shows you how.

You should make the change to Quad9 on your Mac too! You can also set the DNS on your iOS device.

 

References

  1. What is Quad9 DNS and is it Better Than OpenDNS
  2. Quad9 on Wikipedia
  3. New “Quad9” DNS service blocks malicious domains for everyone
  4. A Deeper Dive Into Public DNS Resolver Quad9
  5. DNS Resolvers Performance compared: CloudFlare x Google x Quad9 x OpenDNS
  6. What is Quad9?
  7. DNS Performance Comparison: Google, Quad9, OpenDNS, Norton, CleanBrowsing, and Yandex
  8. Quad9 DNS
  9. Free Quad9 DNS service aims to make threat intel more accessible
  10. New Quad9 DNS Service Makes the Internet Safer and More Private

See my other Mac and OS X articles


 

macOS New App Release – iGetter 2.9.6

iGetterLion

Product AnnouncementsPresenta Ltd. of Dobrich, Bulgaria has released iGetter version 2.9.6 for macOS. iGetter is a powerful, full-featured download manager and accelerator.

New in version 2.9.6:

  • Optimized for Firefox v60 .
  • Added support for TLS 1.1 and 1.2 when performing SSL communications, which is a requirement for most sites now. Integrated the SSL support into iGetter, so it won’t be dependable on macOS and third-party libraries.
  • Added new extension for Firefox v57, that supports the new WebExtension API. The new add-on is similar by functionality to the iGetter Chrome extension. The legacy XUL add-on will be used only with Firefox v56 or earlier.
  • Renewed the digital signing certificate.
  • Added a link at the SHA1 field in the History Info panel, that opens VirusTotal recent report for selected file’s SHA1 checksum.
  • Added new connection types for 50Mb Fibernet, 2Gb Fibernet, and 10Gb Ethernet, optimized for best performance at the chosen speed.
  • Added support for relative redirection locations, incl. the protocol part, as per RFC7231.
  • Added new User Agent for the Microsoft Edge browser.
  • Updated User Agents of Safari, Firefox, and Chrome for macOS, as well as Firefox for Windows with recent versions.
  • Added new command “Only files larger than 5MB” in the Chrome extension, that would allow transferring to iGetter only downloads larger than 5MB. The smaller files would be downloaded directly by Chrome.
  • The “Disable Integration” command state in Chrome extension is now saved through the browser restarts.
  • Implemented a workaround for an issue on macOS 10.13 High Sierra, which could lead to completed downloads still opened in iGetter, when double-clicked, etc.
  • Fixed an issue with some button icons (as transfer details and speed limiter on the main window, etc.) not appearing properly on macOS 10.13 High Sierra.
  • Solved an issue with the “URL” field of the “New URL” dialog not allowing more than 1000 characters, by extending the limit to 10000 characters.
  • Fixed an issue with the OS, choosing to use the discrete GPU instead of the integrated one, when displaying iGetter.
  • Fixed an issue on OS X 10.9 or later, that caused an error message about iGetterCMPlugin in the console log.

The International version of iGetter includes: English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Turkish, Japanese, Russian, Hungarian, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Polish and Portuguese (Brazil) localizations.

System Requirements: Requires macOS 10.6.x – 10.13.x

Pricing and Availability:
iGetter 2.9.6 is shareware. iGetter can be evaluated for as long as it’s needed to decide if it suits the user’s needs. A licensed copy is available for $25.00 (USD) through the website. All registered users will get free support by email and free upgrades in the major 2.x versions.

macOS New App Release – My IP 2.3

Product AnnouncementsTension Software of Milano, Italy has released My IP 2.3 for macOS, a utility app to see with which public IP address you are connected to the net (different from your IP address inside your LAN). It can work also in background and can optionally show the current IP in the menu bar.

The public IP is the IP address you use to connect to the global net, the address the rest of the world see you at. The public IP address sometimes can be static (always the same), sometimes dynamic (changed by the internet provider over time at any connection).

Obtaining the IP value of your connection could be not easy, particularly if you are behind a modem router. In the case you are using a modem router, using normal system utilities, your IP address will be indicated as equal to your LAN (Local Area Network) IP address, with is really just your address inside your local network, totally different from your true external public IP address on the internet.
Your internal IP address has no value outside your local area network.

My IP works instead indicating always your true internet IP address, the one the world can see you at, detecting the IP address your modem router uses to connect with the rest of the world, with is the address the rest of the world identify you and can use to connect to you.

Knowing your true public IP address is mandatory in many situations where you have to specify, especially for external use, at which address you are and can be reached by servers or desktops outside of your LAN.

My IP offers a simple and intuitive interface, a fast use and the option to work with 4 different servers to show your public IP address. It can optionally display the IP in the menu bar also when in the background and log the IP changes on disk. The log can be rewetted at any time.

Features:

  • Fast and easy to use
  • Useful to know your public IP address behind a modem router with a shared IP
  • Able to show your public IP where usually system utility fails showing just your LAN IP
  • Instant result available at launch
  • Can use 4 different servers to calculate your public IP
  • Can log the IP and its changes on a log on disk
  • Can optionally display in the menu bar the current Ip also when in background
  • Copy the IP from within other applications from the menu bar.
  • Includes embedded PDF User Guide
  • Has a similar native version for the iPhone , ‘My Public IP’ available on iTunes

New in this release:

  • Layout and Interface Update
  • Possibility to use a shorter check IP interval (from 5 seconds to 59:59)
  • Bug fixes
  • Various Optimization

System Requirements:

  • macOS
  • 1.6 MB

Pricing and Availability:
My IP 2.3 is just $2.99 USD (or an equivalent amount in other currencies) and is available worldwide through the Mac App Store in the Utilities category.

macOS New App Release – SkyVPN 1.0.5

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Product Announcement – Sentry Secure Communication of Los Angeles, California has released SkyVPN 1.0.5, a maintenance update to their popular private network application service for macOS. SkyVPN is known around the world for effectively bypassing emergent firewall blocks. But up until recently, it was only available on Android and iOS. Now, Mac users can get the same VPN service with the newly-released SkyVPN for Mac.

Have multiple devices on different operating systems? No problem. SkyVPN users can use the same VPN account on any device running iOS, Android, PC or Mac, at the same time. Most importantly, there is no limit on traffic consumption.

What’s Special About SkyVPN?
The VPN service market has exploded in the past few years and there are now a large number of VPN apps available. But SkyVPN is special. What makes SkyVPN different from all the other VPN apps?

SkyVPN is the only VPN app that provides free Premium service. At sign-up, users can take advantage of two different kinds of service:
1. Basic Service (free, US server only)
2. Premium Service (unlimited session time, global servers, even faster & more stable connection)

Users can easily earn unlimited premium traffic by spending several minutes watching ads and completing simple tasks. The more ads you watch and the more tasks you complete, the more premium traffic you can earn. You can also earn premium traffic simply by checking in every day. There’s no better or easier way to get premium VPN service than with SkyVPN for Mac, PC, Android, and iOS.

Whether you choose Basic Service or Premium Service, SkyVPN has the ability to bypass all kinds of firewall blocks. What’s more, the developers of SkyVPN are always working hard to improve their services so that users can maintain their internet freedom. Because of this ongoing commitment to improvement, SkyVPN has earned high praise among all its users.

What Users Say About SkyVPN:
“This VPN is best VPN I’ve ever seen. It unblocks my school WiFi, allows me to access any website, any app in school any time. And this VPN updates quickly. Sometimes it not working due to school firewall update. But it comes back so soon unlike other VPN, ONCE THE SCHOOL FIREWALL UPDATED, IT GONE FOREVER. I thought that I will never write a review, but SkyVPN changed my mind. Thanks to the development team thanks to the free network view” – by anastatua May 3, 2018

SkyVPN for Mac:
Want to access any website or browser on your Mac? It is easy to connect to the VPN server with the new SkyVPN for Mac. SkyVPN for Mac is powerful, fast, and stable…just like the mobile version. But SkyVPN for Mac has several advantages that other VPN services for Mac do not.

Across Multiple Devices:
SkyVPN users can log in on Mac with the same account they use on their mobile device. There’s no need to create an additional account for your Mac. In fact, one account can be used on 5 devices at the same time. And all 5 devices will share that account’s traffic.

Unlimited And Even Free:
If users already have a SkyVPN unlimited traffic plan on their mobile device(s), they can enjoy that same unlimited VPN service on their Mac for free. They can surf the internet, watch videos, play games, and much more. All with the confidence that SkyVPN offers the most secure VPN service available.

Pricing and Availability:
SkyVPN 1.0.5 is Free and available worldwide exclusively through the Mac App Store in the Productivity category.

macOS New App Release – Beyond

Product AnnouncementsMiln of Allier, Auvergne, France has released Beyond, their new app that makes it easy to run a web server on macOS. Every Beyond document is a web server. Opening and closing a document starts and stops a web server. As a true Mac app, Beyond is built around a modern document based architecture. Beyond supports AppleScript, Automator, drag and drop, undo and redo, and everything users expect from a macOS application.

Beyond is secure web server suitable for new users. The application and the web servers are sandboxed. Each web server is independent and can only serve files from the folder selected by the user. The server can not write files or execute scripts.

“I created Beyond because I wanted a fast way to test websites on my own Mac,” said Graham Miln. “Once I had proved the secure architecture, I could see the path from serving just my Mac to serving on the Internet was possible but not easy. It took more work than expected but Beyond can now map ports, ensure reachability, and get a domain name, all without needing the user to wade into a technical quagmire. The simple interface protects you from the complexity.”

Beyond’s web server requires little memory and processing power. Each server’s memory requirement is measured in tens of megabytes. A small web site will require only a few megabytes of memory. This makes Beyond suitable for running multiple servers on any Mac computer.

Beyond is ideal for users who need to develop, demonstrate, and test websites locally. Modern web development requires loading web pages from a server. Web browsers, such as Safari, show different behaviors when loading files from disk compared to a server. Using Beyond helps users run a server and see the final behavior without any complex set-up.

Miln offers a pay-for Beyond Membership. Membership expands the technical options available within the application. These options include control over the local TCP/IP port, the mapped port via NAT/UPnP, and passphrase protection to secure the served site.

Membership also includes the use of Miln’s reachability and domain name service. Running Beyond on a Mac is enough to serve computers on the same network. Reaching a wider audience, those on the Internet requires help from outside of the local network.

Beyond members gain access to Miln’s reachability service. This service actively tests each potential network address on your Mac for global reachability. This test involves checking both inbound and outbound traffic, on both IPv4 and IPv6 networks. This real-world test means users know which addresses are truly public and which are not. This information is displayed in the Beyond Network window of the application.

Once Beyond members have reachable servers, Miln provides a domain name as part of the membership. A domain name is assigned automatically for the Beyond user and is available globally. Members can use the friendly domain name to access and share their web server. Beyond domain names support both IPv4 A records and IPv6 AAAA DNS records, as appropriate.

Beyond provides a simple, secure, and free, macOS web server.

Beyond Membership makes the step from running a server on your Mac to serving the world, trivial.

System Requirements:

  • Mac OS X 10.13 or later
  • 7.6 MB

Beyond is free and is available worldwide through the Mac App Store in the Utilities category. A Beyond Membership is required to access advanced options, use the reachability service, and be automatically assigned a domain name. 1 year : 16.99 EUR / USD, 3 months : 6.99 EUR / USD Beyond Membership does not auto-renew. Access to the options and services ends when the membership period ends.

macOS New App Release – Putty for Mac 9.0.0

pscp_client

Product AnnouncementWinOnMacs of San Jose, California has released Putty for Mac 9.0.0 for MacOS today. Putty 9.0.0 is yet another major release, we now have full support for macOS High Sierra. Please see the full change-log below for all the exciting changes in this release.

Putty is one of the Best Terminal Emulators available today. It Supports different types of Network Protocols such as SSH, FTP, SCP, Telnet etc. In Windows it is used as SSH Client to connect to Your Linux server or for some other purpose But what will you do if you are on Mac? You might be thinking , Is there any Software like Putty for Mac Available? The answer is Yes! With the help of some other Software’s we can Use putty on MacOS although Putty is used widely on Windows Platform. Official Versions of Putty are available on Unix like Platforms, and now it’s widely available for Mac systems running OSX 10.9.5 or higher.

SSH is available by default in Mac and Linux or Unix. Although you can use terminal for SSH connections still there are some benefits in using Putty such as Other clients don’t keep connections alive whereas Putty does. Also it is cool to use Putty as your SSH client if you are doing some Amazon AWS, VMware ESXi or CISCO Stuffs, transferring files, managing files on a server or whatever.

Supported Protocols:

  • Telnet
  • FTP
  • SFTP
  • SSH
  • SCP

Version 9.0.0 New Features:

  • Font rendering and kerning has been improved
  • Compiled PuTTY on macOS 10.13.4 High Sierra
  • Improved Menu support, Edit Menu now works
  • Updated the Documentation
  • Minor bug fixes

The cost of Putty 9.0.0 is only $15.00 (USD). Anyone who purchased Putty in the past three months is entitled to a free upgrade. Putty comes with three months of free upgrades and of course, a 14-day money back guarantee. We now use FastSpring as our preferred storefront, you can pay with Credit / Debit Cards, PayPal, Amazon payments, Wire Transfer and more. This store is very secure, simple and fast.

How to Remotely Access Your Mac – Part 3

Product Review – In the prior articles of this series I described in “How to Remotely Access Your Mac – Part 1” how you can access your Desktop Mac from a MacBook when they are both on the same network and in “How to Remotely Access Your Mac – Part 2” I outlined how you might be able to use Back to My Mac to access your Mac from a remote network. But Back to My Mac does not work for everyone. There is an easier solution though – “TeamViewer“.

TeamViewer is a third party solution with the parent company having been launched in 2005. The focus of the product is to provide online support and collaboration. Some of the statistics claimed on the website for TeamViewer:

  • has been installed on over 1 billion devices (each device generates a unique ID)
  • creates 750,000 new IDs every day.
  • has over 20 million devices online at any given time
  • speaks your language with the software and support in more than 30 languages
  • 90% of Fortune 500 companies rely on TeamViewer to bring colleagues together across all platforms and all devices

TeamViewer IS a commercial product:

  • Single user business license $49/month
  • Multi-User Premium license $99/month
  • Corporate Team license $199/month

 

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HOWEVER, it is completely free for personal (computers and devices that are not being used for business or other commercial tasks) use. Per their website:

100% FREE for personal users! If you’re a student or are using TeamViewer to help friends and family, it’s completely free FOREVER. You’ll never be charged.

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To install, go the website and click on the TeamViewer 13 Download button. This will download the TeamViewer DMG file onto your Mac. Double click on the DMG file to mount the volume. Then simply double click on the icon in the window to install the package on your Mac and follow the provided instructions.

To make my discussion a little easier I will henceforth call the Mac I want to remotely access the ‘server’ and the Mac I want to access it from as the ‘client’. You have to install TeamViewer on both the remote ‘server’ and the local ‘client’ Mac.

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Once you have TeamViewer installed and running on the ‘server’ Mac, a blue icon will appear in the Menu bar. To set the Mac up for remote access, click on the icon and a drop-down menu will appear. Click on the “Setup unattended access.”

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Use the resulting panel to set the name and a password for remote access on the ‘server’ Mac. Make the password something you will remember or write it down in a secure location. You will need this when you attempt to access the ‘server’ Mac remotely.

Screen Shot 2018-04-30 at 5.32.18 PM

Now click on the TeamViewer icon again and select “Show TeamViewer” from the drop-down menu. In the column headed “Allow Remote Control” will be the ID for the ‘server’ Mac. For me, this is a nine-digit number similar to “123 456 789”. Write this down as you will need it when you attempt to access the ‘server’ Mac.

Now install TeamViewer on the ‘client’ Mac and run it. Click on the TeamViewer icon in the Menu bar. In the “Control Remote Computer” column enter the ID of the ‘server’ in the “Partner ID” field. Leave the selection as “Remote Control”. Now click on the “CONNECT” button to connect to the ‘server’ Mac. When prompted, enter the password you set up on the ‘server’ Mac for unattended access.

A window will open with the login screen for the ‘server’ Mac. You can then access the ‘server’ as if you were sitting at its keyboard.

If you are going to use TeamViewer I would suggest that you set up both the ‘server’ and ‘client’, then verify that the remote connection works while you have physical access to both. It is much easier to work out problems when you have both machines in front of you.

I have used TeamViewer a few times now to access the Mac Mini in my office in Round Rock, Texas from Henderson, Nevada. While it isn’t as efficient as being there, I can certainly access the data stored on the Mac and run Apps.

Having used it now a few times, I would consider TeamViewer a requirement for my Mac Toolbox on both my home desktop and my MacBook.

 

Pros

  1. Free for personal use
  2. Gives you complete access to your remote Mac

 

Cons

  1. Depending upon connection bandwidth, the response can be ‘laggy’
  2. Depending upon connection bandwidth, the image in the ‘server’ window can pixelate
  3. Third-party software

 


Read my other macOS articles