Tag Archives: Networks

U.S. Pumps $400 million to fund next-gen wireless research 

The U.S. National Science Foundation will spend more than US$400 million over the next seven years to fund next-generation wireless research in an effort to bring super-fast mobile service to the country.

U.S. officials hope the investments, announced Friday, will speed up the county’s move to next-generation 5G mobile service, potentially offering speeds of 10Gbps, and allow for a rapid expansion of the internet of things. 

The next-generation mobile services will enable self-driving cars, an “always on” IoT, smart cities, new virtual reality offerings, and video to aid police, firefighters, and emergency medical responders, said John Holdren assistant to President Barack Obama for science and technology.

“Time and again, history has shown us that when we make sustained federal investments in fundamental academic research and in public-private partnerships … we as a nation reap the benefits,” Holdren said at an NSF event in Washinton, D.C., Friday.

The NSF funding, part of a new White House Advanced Wireless Research Initiative, includes $50 million as part of a partnership with more than 20 mobile companies and trade groups to roll out advanced wireless testing sites in four U.S. cities. The testing will include deployment of small cells to boost signals of high-band, millimeter wave spectrum.

Friday’s announcement piggybacks on a Federal Communications Commission vote Thursday to open up nearly 11 gigahertz of high-band spectrum to 5G and IoT services.

The NSF expects to spend $350 million over the next seven years on fundamental research and testing of next-generation wireless technologies, the agency said.

The FCC and other agencies want to focus on making spectrum available so that wireless companies can experiment with the best ways to deliver new services, said FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler. Some countries have pushed to set 5G standards before moving forward, but not the U.S., he said.

To read more and the original story follow this link to Network World. 

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Americans are wary about IoT privacy

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Americans are in an “it depends” state when it comes to disclosing personal information over internet-connected devices, according to a new Pew Research Center study. The study proposed different scenarios to which 461 Americans expressed whether they believed being monitored by a device was acceptable, not acceptable, or depended on the situation. Pew Research Center found that some scenarios were acceptable to the majority of Americans, but the answers often came with caveats. For example, most consumers find a security camera in the office acceptable, but with restrictions; one person said, “It depends on whether I would be watched and filmed every minute of the day during everything I do.”

Here are the responses to the IoT-related scenarios the study presented:

• Office surveillance cameras: More than half (54%) of Americans believe that it’s acceptable for a surveillance camera in the workplace, making it the most acceptable of the six proposed scenarios. Another 21% answered “it depends,” while 24% said it would not be acceptable.

• Sharing health information with your doctor: 52% of Americans believe it’s acceptable for their doctor to utilize a website to manage patient records and schedule appointments, 20% answered “it depends,” and 26% thought it was not acceptable. This correlates with iTriage survey, which indicated that 76% of consumers feel comfortable transferring wearable health data to their practitioner. 

• Usage-based auto insurance: 37% of respondents answered it was acceptable for auto insurance companies to collect information via a UBI dongle, such as Progressive’s Snapshot, and offer discounts for safe driving. 45% said it was not acceptable, while 16% said “it depends.”

• Smart thermostat: 27% of respondents said it was acceptable for a smart thermostat in the house to track where the occupant is and share that data. More than half of respondents (55%) said it was not acceptable, and 17% answered “it depends.”

Through focus groups and open-ended answers, Pew narrowed down the top reasons consumers believe sharing information is unacceptable: Through focus groups and open-ended answers, Pew narrowed down the top reasons consumers believe sharing information is unacceptable:

1) The threat of scammers and hackers;
2) Being repeatedly marketed from companies collecting data;
3) They do not want to share their location;
4) They think it’s “creepy”;
5) The companies collecting the data have ulterior motives to use it.

Data privacy will continue to be a big trend as the Internet of Things market matures. Device makers should be transparent about the data being collected and what it’s used for. Further, they should ensure the devices and their associated data storage bases are secure.

To read more of this article and the original story follow this link to Business Insider.

This World Map Shows Every Device Connected To The Internet

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A striking map created by John Matherly at search engine Shodan shows significant disparities in internet access across the world.

The graphic maps every device that’s directly connected to the internet. We first noticed it when geopolitical expert Ian Bremmer tweeted it.

Some of the dark spots on the map could be attributed to low population density in those areas, but by looking at the map it’s clear that internet access isn’t equal across the world.

The different colors indicate the density of devices — blue indicates fewer devices and red indicates more devices at a given location.

As you can see from the map, the US and Europe have very high levels of internet connectivity, with the exception of the less-populated areas of the western US. Africa is mostly an internet blackout, and Asia has much less internet connectivity than Europe and the US despite having very dense population centers in some areas.

Matherly told Business Insider how he put the map together (at least for a tech guy):

The way it was performed is fairly straightforward:

1. Use a stateless scanner to send a Ping request to every public IPv4 address

2. Keep track of which IPs responded with a Pong

3. Find out where the IP is physically located using a GeoIP library (i.e. translates from x.x.x.x -> latitude/ longitude)

4. Draw the map

Steps 1-3 took about 5 hours and the final step took 12 hours. This is possible because nowadays we have the technology (stateless scanning) to very efficiently talk to millions of devices on the Internet at once.

Source: Business Insider

Wi-Fi group attracts cable companies Charter, Liberty Global as new members

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The importance of Wi-Fi to cable operators, mobile carriers and telcos is evidenced by the list of 14 companies joining the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA), whose mission includes enabling Wi-Fi interoperability and roaming. The group said the new members “have joined its efforts to unite the ecosystem and progress the development of carrier Wi-Fi throughout the world.”

The list includes U.S. cable MSO Charter Communications, international cable company Liberty Global, Saudi Arabian mobile operator Mobily, Australian telco Telstra and Canadian telco Telus. Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU), Broadcom and Gemalto are also among vendors on the list of new WBA members.

The new members are joining WBA “at a pivotal time when Next Generation Hotspot (NGH) networks are now a commercial reality and operators are reaping the benefits of an improved carrier-grade of Wi-Fi,” the group said. Cable operators, in particular, have aggressively jumped on the Wi-Fi bandwagon as they seek to extend their customer touch points beyond homes and businesses and offer a less expensive wireless data alternative to costly cellular data service.

“These new additions join at a critical time when the benefits of Wi-Fi have been fully recognized and solutions such as NGH, carrier Wi-Fi and community Wi-Fi have finally broken in to the commercial world. Our new members play a crucial role in ensuring that consumers connecting to a Wi-Fi network will be exposed to the best user experience possible, regardless of time or location,” said Shrikant Shenwai, WBA CEO.

In February, the WBA rolled out its definition of carrier Wi-Fi, identifying the requirements that a carrier Wi-Fi network needs to provide a consistent user experience, have fully integrated end-to-end network capabilities and offer advanced network management. The alliance also collaborated with the Small Cell Forum on a white paper regarding next-generation hotspot-based integrated small cell Wi-Fi. The two groups are expected to maintain an ongoing collaboration with that will produce more research.

Existing WBA members include early advocates of Wi-Fi and offloading from cellular to Wi-Fi, including AT&T (NYSE: T), Boingo Wireless, BT, Cisco Systems, Comcast, Intel, iPass, KT, NTT DoCoMo, Orange and Time Warner Cable. The WBA has more than 100 members from various parts of the Wi-Fi ecosystem. Its operator members collectively serve more than 1 billion subscribers and operate more than 10 million hotspots globally.

The fifth Wi-Fi Global Congress and 25th WBA Roundtable Conference will be held Oct. 6-10 in San Francisco.

For more information and the full press release follow the source link below. 

Source: Fierce Wireless

Charter Users In St. Louis Get Sudden Speed Boost

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A magical and wonderful thing has happened to some customers who have Charter Internet service After restarting their cable modems for some reason or another, they found that their home internet connections had received a speed boost. It was a big one, boosting real-life speeds from about 30 mbps to 100 mbps.

Reports of the speed boost cropped up on DSLReports on a thread about a planned speed boost elsewhere. St. Louis residents shared their good fortune with the world.

Confusingly, Charter does offer a 100 mbps service tier to customers. As Legit Reviews points out, these speedsters received a speed boost from 100 to 120 mbps, but is that enough to continue paying for the upgrade?

If you’re a Charter customer in that area, try power cycling your modem to find out whether you get the update, too. You may find a pleasant surprise.

The question is: why? Sure, St. Louis is in the same state as Google Fiber rollout site Kansas City, but it’s a long drive and a heck of a commute.

Source: Consumerist

Laser Demonstration Reveals Bright Future for Space Communication

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Dec. 23, 2013 — The completion of the 30-day Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration or LLCD mission has revealed that the possibility of expanding broadband capabilities in space using laser communications is as bright as expected.

Hosted aboard the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer known as LADEE, for its ride to lunar orbit, the LLCD was designed to confirm laser communication capabilities from a distance of almost a quarter-of-a-million miles. In addition to demonstrating record-breaking data download and upload speeds to the moon at 622 megabits per second (Mbps) and 20 Mbps, respectively, LLCD also showed that it could operate as well as any NASA radio system. “Throughout our testing we did not see anything that would prevent the operational use of this technology in the immediate future,” said Don Cornwell, LLCD mission manager at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

For example, LLCD demonstrated error-free communications during broad daylight, including operating when the moon was to within three degrees of the sun as seen from Earth. LLCD also demonstrated error-free communications when the moon was low on the horizon, less than 4 degrees, as seen from the ground station, which also demonstrated that wind and atmospheric turbulence did not significantly impact the system. LLCD was even able to communicate through thin clouds, an unexpected bonus.

Operationally, LLCD demonstrated the ability to download data from the LADEE spacecraft itself. “We were able to download LADEE’s entire stored science and spacecraft data [1 gigabyte] in less than five minutes, which was only limited to our 40 Mbps connection to that data within LADEE” said Cornwell. Using LADEE’s onboard radio system would take several days to complete a download of the same stored data. Additionally, LLCD was to prove the integrity of laser technology to send not only error-free data but also uncorrupted commands and telemetry or monitoring messages to and from the spacecraft over the laser link.

LLCD also demonstrated the ability to “hand-off” the laser connection from one ground station to another, just as a cellphone does a hand-off from one cell tower to another. An additional achievement was the ability to operate LLCD without using LADEE’s radio at all. “We were able to program LADEE to awaken the LLCD space terminal and have it automatically point and communicate to the ground station at a specific time without radio commands. This demonstrates that this technology could serve as the primary communications system for future NASA missions,” said Cornwell.

The ability of LLCD to send and receive high definition video was proven with a message from NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden, completing the trip to the moon and back with only a few seconds of delay. “Administrator Bolden’s message demonstrates NASA’s support for advancing this technology for both space and Earth applications,” said Cornwell. “It also allowed the LLCD team to showcase the quality and fidelity of our HD video transmissions over our laser communication link to and from the moon.”

Cornwell acknowledged that the LLCD mission is another great example of NASA partnerships with outside organizations to advance unproven technologies. He credits the work of Don Boroson and his team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Lincoln Laboratory (MIT/LL) in Lexington, Mass., for developing and operating both the space and ground laser communications terminals for LLCD. “We could not have made such great strides without the work of our partners at MIT/LL,” Cornwell said. “Their years of work and knowledge produced a communications system that far exceeded our expectation.”

NASA’s follow-on mission for laser communications will be the Laser Communications Relay Demonstration (LRCD). Also managed at Goddard, LCRD will demonstrate continuous laser relay communication capabilities at over one billion bits per second between two Earth stations using a satellite in geosynchronous orbit. The system also will support communications with Earth-orbiting satellites. More importantly, LCRD will demonstrate this operational capability for as long as five years, thus building more confidence in the reliability of this laser technology.

“We are very encouraged by the results of LLCD,” said Badri Younes, NASA’s deputy associate administrator for Space Communications and Navigation (SCaN) in Washington, which sponsored the mission. “From where I sit, the future looks very bright for laser communications.”

So it appears NASA could be making the next paradigm shift in communications in the not too distant future. The same technology that has vastly upgraded our broadband connections on Earth could be expanding communications possibilities for NASA in the not-too-distant future.

Source: Science Daily

The Emerging Technologies Shaping Future 5G Networks

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The fifth generation of mobile communications technology will see the end of the “cell” as the fundamental building block of communication networks.

It may seem as if the fourth generation of mobile communications technology has only just hit the airwaves. But so-called 4G technology has been around in various guises since 2006 and is now widely available in metropolitan areas of the US, Europe and Asia.

It’s no surprise then that communications specialists are beginning to think about the next revolution. So what will 5G bring us?

Today we get some interesting speculation from Federico Boccardi at Alcatel-Lucent’s Bell Labs and a number of pals. These guys have focused on the technologies that are most likely to have a disruptive impact on the next generation of communications tech. And they’ve pinpointed emerging technologies that will force us to rethink the nature of networks and the way devices use them.

The first disruptive technology these guys have fingered will change the idea that radio networks must be made up of “cells” centred on a base station. In current networks, a phone connects to the network by establishing an uplink and a downlink with the local base station.

That looks likely to change. For example, an increasingly likely possibility is that 5G networks will rely on a number of different frequency bands that carry information at different rates and have wildly different propagation characteristics.

So a device might use one band as an uplink at a high rate and another band to downlink at a low rate or vice versa. In other words, the network will change according to a device’s data demands at that instant.

At the same time, new classes of devices are emerging that communicate only with other devices: sensors sending data to a server, for example. These devices will have the ability to decide when and how to send the data most efficiently. That changes the network from a cell-centric one to a device-centric one.

“Our vision is that the cell-centric architecture should evolve into a device-centric one: a given device (human or machine) should be able to communicate by exchanging multiple information flows through several possible sets of heterogeneous nodes,” say Boccardi and co.

Another new technology will involve using millimetre wave transmissions, in addition to the microwave transmission currently in use. Boccardi and co say that the microwave real estate comes at a huge premium. There is only about 600MHz of it. And even though the switch from analogue to digital TV is freeing up some more of the spectrum, it is relatively little, about 80MHz, and comes at a huge price.

So it’s natural to look at the longer wavelengths and higher frequencies of millimetre wave transmissions ranging from 3 to 300 GHz. This should provide orders of magnitude increases in bandwidth.

But it won;t be entirely smooth going. The main problem with these frequencies is their propagation characteristics—the signals are easily blocked by buildings, heavy weather and even by people themselves as they move between the device and the transmitter.

But it should be possible to mitigate most problems using advanced transmission technologies, such as directional antennas that switch in real time as signals become blocked. “Propagation is not an insurmountable challenge,” they say.

Next is the rapidly developing multiple input-multiple output or MIMO technology. Base stations will be equipped with multiple antennas that transmit many signals at the same time. What’s more, a device may have multiple antennas to pick up and transmit several signals at once. This dramatically improves the efficiency with which a network can exploit its frequencies.

Continue reading by clicking the source link below.

Source: MIT Technology Review

Report: U.S. ranks 31st in broadband speed tests

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According to the latest numbers from Ookla’s Net Index, the United States ranks 31st among every other country for internet download speeds, and 42nd for upload speeds. The data was gathered from the average of the past 30 days of speed tests done on Seattle-based Ookla’s Speedtest.net site.

While that still puts the U.S. in the top 20 percent of countries, there’s a lot of room for improvement. As Internet-connected devices continue to drive economic growth, increasing broadband speeds to keep up with the rest of the world is key.
The expansion of fiber networks, including Google Fiber and Seattle’s effort to bring fiber connectivity to parts of the city brings the promise of improving the U.S.’s standings.

But overall, the U.S. is in a tough spot, because of its size compared to some of the other countries on the list. Bringing effective Internet infrastructure to a country that spans almost 3.8 million square miles is a much different challenge, compared to 4th place South Korea, which measures 38,691 square miles.

Click here for the graphic on internet connectivity for 186 countries in report.

Source: GeekWire

Car-to-Car Communication Put At Risk By FCC Wi-Fi Proposal

Technologies being developed to aid in communications between cars may be affected by the Federal Communications Commission’s plan to increase Wi-Fi spectrum.

Bands reserved since 1999 for car-to-car communication may become collateral damage in the FCC’s search for more wireless spectrum, and potentially puts the future of self-driving vehicles at risk.

A letter from automotive trade associations has been sent to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski in protest of the plans, reports Bloomberg. Parallels were drawn with the LightSquared wireless broadband network proposal, which was at first approved by the FCC, before it was discovered that the signals affected GPS equipment. By opening nearby spectrum to other devices, the possibility of crosstalk or interference with the allocated-to-automotive bands could effectively cause an accident to occur.

The systems currently being developed allows cars at short range to communicate automatically, with data such as speeds, changes in direction, and other important details being transferred between the cars, with the ultimate goal of reducing collisions and vehicular accidents. Currently undergoing testing in Ann Arbor Michigan inside 3,000 vehicles, the technology is said by automakers to cost as little as $100 per vehicle to install, both from new and as an after-market option.

The FCC will be voting on the Wi-Fi proposal on February 20th.

Source: Electronista