Tag: Wi-Fi

Carrier Wi-Fi on the Increase

wirelessmastThe Divination Department at Juniper Research has been chewing its laurel leaves and breathing in the vapours to give an oracle that predicts carriers will put more than four times the mobile data traffic onto Wi-Fi networks by 2019.

Mobile carriers will offload nearly 60 percent of mobile data traffic to Wi-Fi networks over the next four years.

Carriers in North America and Western Europe will be responsible for over 75 percent of the global mobile data being offloaded a spokes Juniper said.

The amount of smartphone and tablet data traffic on WiFi networks will increase to more than 115,000 petabytes by 2019, compared to under 30,000 petabytes this year, representing almost a four-fold increase.

Carrier Wi-Fi us has been increasing as many big mobile carriers and ISPs have deployed large numbers of Wi-Fi hotspots in cities using the existing infrastructure of their customers’ homes and businesses. This enables carriers to offload the saturated bandwidth on 3G and LTE networks.

Figures for 2013 put the total number of Wi-Fi hotspots owned by mobile operators worldwide at 6.5 million. That number is forecast to grow 62 percent by 2018 to 10.5 million.

The Juniper report thinks that small cells — femtocells, or low-power cellular base stations typically designed for use in a home or small business — will account for an increasing share of the data offloaded.

Juniper Research Chief augur Nitin Bhas said that with WiFi-integrated small cells, seamless data services can be extended to non-cellular devices as well, such as cameras and WiFi-only tablets, offering operators the opportunity to develop new revenue streams.

WiFi offloading currently offers a good solution to cellular data bottlenecks, but operators cannot rely solely on residential customers to carry the bulk of the data.

“Operators need to deploy [their] own WiFi zones in problematic areas or partner with WiFi hotspot operators and aggregators such as iPass and Boingo,” Bhas added.


Osborne backs the internet of things

gosborneGeorge Osborne, the UK chancellor of the exchequer, has promised to throw £40 million into research into the internet of things (IoT). He made the announcement during yesterday’s 2015 budget speech in the House of Commons.

And, in addition, Osborne said that it will spend a further £100 million in R&D on smart cities and future infrastructure in the UK.

Osborne said the UK government was still committed to improving net connections and wants to spend £600 million for better networks and ultrafast broadband across the UK.

The government is also spending money on looking at digital currency and improving wi-fi connections in public places.

Osborne said the IoT would connect everything from urban transport to medical devices to household appliances.

The £40 million will be used to create business incubators for startups that will work on the government’s smart cities initiative.

The tech industry is investing hundreds of millions in IoT applications, but so far there is a distinct lack of standardisation and there are worries about security when billions of devices are all potentially connected to each other.

Sound systems face wireless revolution

Screen Shot 2015-03-11 at 14.24.31Home audio systems are undergoing a sea change because of the popularity of mobile phones, according to a report from IHS Technology.

The analysts said that shipments of connected audio products – that includes wireless speakers, wireless sounders and connected AV receivers will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 88 percent.

In unit terms, that’s a rise from 1.5 million units in 2010 to close to 66 million units in 2016.

Paul Erickson, a senior analyst at IHS, said that its penetration of tablets and smartphones and streaming services including Spotify that are creating a shift in peoples’ perception.

“Consumers are seeking ways to wireless play audio from their mobile devices on speakers in the room they’re in, in multiple rooms in a household, and on speakers carried with the. This need will drive strong global growth in wi-fi and Bluetoosh connected speakers over the next few years,” he said.

Major players in the market will include Samsung, LG, Sony, Bose, Denon, and DTS.

And while prices for connected multi-room speakers are high, they will still be adopted by many people. Sony, Samsung and LG are all expected to put serious marketing bucks into the equation.

White space will speed up your connection

Screen Shot 2015-02-13 at 14.57.04A technology that makes use of gaps in radio and TV frequencies has been approved by regulator Ofcom.

Academics from Strathclude University tested the technique by producing a prototype system in Glasgow which Ofcom has approved.

Ofcom believes that the technique will allow internet access for ships and boats, machine to machine networks and other wide ranging applications. The white space technology can pass more easily through walls and has a greater range than wi-fi.

Ofcom will guide the industry on how to use the white spaces in the frequencies without affecting other channels.

It said it was likely that commercial applications of the technology will be available by the end of this year.

The wireless technology is also expected to be useful when products and services based on the internet of things finally kicks off.

A number of organisations and companies are already experimenting with the technology.

Shoppers face full on technology blast

highstreetCompanies using technology to track and attract shoppers mean the number of retail deployments by the end of this year has risen 100 percent compared to 2013.

This year, most deployments were in clothing, grocery and shopping malls using information like customer analytics, offers, product search and navigation.

But next year burger joints and coffee shops are expected to take up smartphone applications.

ABI Research senior analyst Patrick Connolly said: “We are seeing growth across all major technologies, including BLE, Wi-Fi and audio, with 2015 being an important year for handset based location, sensor fusion, magnetic fields and LED.”

Most deployments so far have been in the USA but that’s set to change next year and in coming years, without any single company having a dominant market share, he said.

“In 2015, we also expect to see camera analytics companies like ShopperTrak, Irisys and Brickstream playing an increasing role as they expand their offerings into BLE, Wi-Fi and in-store analytics,” he said.

Comcast gets customers to pay its power bill

nikolapic US telco Comcast has a wizard way to set up public Wi-Fi hotspots on the cheap.  It thought it could get its customers to use their home routers to send a “secondary signal” and get a decent coverage.

Now it appears that some people have a problem with the comms company effectively powering its network on their electricity bill. They also feel that they are inviting a security problem and stuffing up their own internet connections.

Two East Bay residents are suing Comcast for plugging their home’s wireless router into what they call a power-wasting, Internet-clogging, privacy threatening network of public Wi-Fi hotspots.

Toyer Grear and daughter Joycelyn Harris, claims Comcast is “exploiting them for profit” by using their Pittsburg home’s router as part of a nationwide network of public hotspots.

Comcast is trying to compete with major mobile phone carriers by creating a public Xfinity WiFi Hotspot network in 19 of the country’s largest cities. The company is activating a second high-speed Internet channel broadcast from newer-model wireless gateway modems that residential customers lease from the company. It plans to spread to 8 million hotspots by the end of the year.

The secondary signal is supposed to be separate from the private Wi-Fi channel customers use, and it was intended for houseguests or Comcast subscribers who happen to be in range and using mobile devices.

But Comcast started activating the secondary channel in the Bay Area this summer and although Comcast has said its subscribers have the right to disable the secondary signal, the suit claims the company turns the service on without permission and places “the costs of its national Wi-Fi network onto its customers.”

The suit quotes a test conducted by Philadelphia networking technology company Speedify that concluded the secondary Internet channel will eventually push “tens of millions of dollars per month of the electricity bills needed to run their nationwide public Wi-Fi network onto consumers.”

Under heavy use, the secondary channel adds 30 to 40 percent more costs to a customer’s electricity bill than the modem itself.

The suit also said “the data and information on a Comcast customer’s network is at greater risk” because the hotspot network “allows strangers to connect to the Internet through the same wireless router used by Comcast customers.”

Although Comcast has said it has enough bandwidth to handle the extra traffic Grear and Harris have suffered from “decreased, inadequate speeds on their home Wi-Fi network.

The suit asks for unspecified damages and an injunction preventing Comcast from using home wireless routers for its hotspot network.




Smartphones will win the day

smartphone-shoppingA report predicted that by 2018 over 50 percent of people will use either a smartphone or a tablet for all online activities.

Gartner said people will gradually move away from the PC as people use smartphnes and tablets more more.

Voice, gesture and other ways of communicating with devices online will be the rule of thumb, while 40 percent of enterprises will use wi-fi as the default connection and Ethernet will go away.

Security built into wi-fi appears to be adequate to the task, said Gartner, after the introduction of Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) into the equation.

And there’s more good news.  Gartner thinks by 2020 we’ll all be paying less than $100 for smartphone and other devices.  Subsidies or sponsorships will also reduce the cost of devices while by 2018 over half of business to enterprise (B2E) mobile apps will be used by business analysts using codeless tools.

Free UK wi-fi has big holes in it

Ed VaizeyThe UK minister of state for digital industries came under tough questioning about broadband in the House of Commons yesterday.

Ed Vaizey claimed that all UK homes have access to broadband and 97 percent have access to broadband at speeds of two megabits.  He claimed superfast broadband availability has doubled, and the average speed of broadband has trebled.

He also claimed that the UK has the lowest prices for broadband of the big five countries in the European Union, and in the United States.

But that position was questioned by Tory MP Anne McIntosh.  She claimed that 28 percent of farms and rurals businesses in Thirsk, Malton and Filey won’t have any fast speed broadband by 2016. She asked Vaizey what steps his department was taking to allow acccess. He claimed the government was well ahead with its plans in North Yorkshire.

Helen Goodman, Labour’s shadow minister of Culture, Media and Sport said that while many people were pleased with the recent announcement of 1,000 free wi-fi spots across the UK, the department’s own map shows that Glasgow, Newcastle, Nottingham, Sheffield and Bristol – with a combined population of four million – seemed to have no provision at all.

Vaizey said that the governmetn worked with the cities “so they came up with their own proposals… It is up to the cities how they choose to use the money”.

Virgin Media kits out 150 Tube stations with wi-fi

londonundergroundSince the London Olympics, Virgin Media has been adding wi-fi to stations on the London Underground.

And today it said it has now kiitted out its 160th station.  It said that over 2.5 million gadgets are now registered on its network with over 3TB (terabytes) of data downloaded every day.

It said the most used service are at the Waterloo & City Line at Waterloo station, Kings Cross and Oxford Circus.

The service lets you access Transport for London travel information and news and some other stuff at no charge for subscribers to Virgin Media broadband, EE, Vodafone, O2 and Three customers.

Virgin claims that represents around 95 percent of people in London.

If you’re one of the five percent, you can get a daily pass for £2, a weekly pass for £5 and a two monthly pass for £15.

Smart light bulbs strike a light

lightsonLight bulbs using LED technology that know where they are and can be programmed are still in an early stage of development.

But that is about to change, said ABI Research – suggesting that while shipments were less than 2.5 million units in 2013, by 2020 the installed base is likely to be over 400 million.

LEDs using 802.15.4 protocols – that’s wi-fi – are likely to be the winners representing a three quarter share of the market.  ZigBee Light Link will be the preferred way of connection.

Prices of LED bulbs are continuing to fall and the market is likely to be saturated pretty quickly because of their typically longer life.

There is quite a gaggle of players in the market already including Philips, GE, Osram, Belin, Insteaon, LG and Samsung.

Malik Saadi, director at ABI Research said that smart lighting will be fuelled by customer lifestyle patterns including automation and high energy efficiency.

Philips already sells light bulbs and lighting strips that can be programmed to turn on or off as people arrive at or leave their houses, and can be switched off and on remotely using the internet.

A load of meatballs? Italians might get free wi-fi

Spaghetti_and_meatballs_(cropped)The Italian government has come up with a novel way of fixing its aging and creaking broadband – it is going to introduce free wi-fi for tourists.

Italy has a problem in that its fixed line system is run by Telecom Italia which is broke and can’t afford to make any changes. The Telco is pretty much a monopoly which does not sit well with regulators.  At the same time no one really wants to fix it because that would take time and money.  Meanwhile there are American tourists shouting in the middle of Roma that they can’t stream their movies to their loved ones back in the Land of the Free.

Italian MPs’ answer is to provide free Wi-Fi in thousands of public places where foreigners are likely to hang out.  People will still not get it in their homes, but if they nip down to the local square with their mobile they might get a connection, along with a loud bloke wearing a Hawaiian shirt who is telling everyone how old the buildings are.

Under the plan, large shops, taxis, airports, law courts and other public places would have to set up an Internet connection and offer no-password wireless access free.

The plan is being pushed by Sergio Boccadutri, a member of the ruling Democratic Party  and has the backing of 100 MPs.

“Free Wi-Fi would have a big cultural impact and help the economy recover, starting from industries such as tourism.”

It will cost $6.3 million over three years as a contribution to buying equipment. The proposers aim to bring the bill before parliament by mid-2015.

In a recent study, penetration of broadband services with a speed exceeding 30 Megabits per second in Italy is lower than 1 percent, well below the European average of 6 percent.

Samsung commercialises 60GHz Wi-Fi

samsung-hqSamsung is developing 60GHz Wi-Fi technology that it says can manage  data transmission speeds of up to 4.6Gbps, or 575MB per second.

This is a five-fold increase from 866Mbps, or 108MB per second which is the maximum speed possible with existing consumer electronics devices.

If it does what it says on the tin, it would take a 1GB movie  less than three seconds to transfer between devices, while uncompressed high definition videos can easily be streamed from mobile devices to TVs in real-time without any delay.

Kim Chang Yong, Head of DMC R&D Center of Samsung Electronics said that Samsung has successfully overcome the barriers to the commercialization of 60GHz millimeter-wave band Wi-Fi technology, and will commercialise the technology.

“New and innovative changes await Samsung’s next-generation devices, while new possibilities have been opened up for the future development of Wi-Fi technology, ” Kim said.

Samsung’s 802.11ad standard 60GHz Wi-Fi technology maintains maximum speed by eliminating co-channel interference, regardless of the number of devices using the same network.

In other words, it closes the gap between theoretical and actual speeds, and exhibits actual speed that is more than 10 times faster than that of 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi technologies.

Commercially adopting 60GHz Wi-Fi technology has been difficult because it uses millimeter waves that travel by line-of-sight which have weak penetration properties.

Using millimeter-wave circuit design, high performance modem technologies and by developing wide-coverage beam-forming antenna, Samsung was able to successfully achieve the highest quality, commercially viable 60GHz Wi-Fi technology, Kim said.

Samsung also improved the overall signal quality by developing a micro beam-forming control technology that optimises the communications module in less than 1/3,000 seconds, if the environment changes. The company also developed the world’s first method that allows multiple devices to connect simultaneously to a network.

60GHz is an unlicensed band spectrum across the world, and commercialisation is expected as early as next year. Samsung plans to apply this new technology to a wide range of products, including audio visual and medical devices, as well as telecommunications equipment. The technology will also be useful for the Samsung Smart Home and other  Internet of Things projects.

SMEs held back by poor networks

whiffyA survey said that small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are worried about poor networking and security.

The survey, commissioned by Netgear which has something of an axe to grind, chose 500 companies with between one and 250 employees showed the SMEs’ concerns.

Three quarters of the firms said having a wireless network is essential to their business.  That figure rises to 84 percent for firms hiring more than 100 people.

A large number rely on wireless networks with 74 percent saying it makes the company more productive, and 75 percent saying it improves customer services.

But one in three firms surveyed said they had struggled to install an effective and secure wireless service.

And 31 percent thought about dropping all their IT wireless plans after they’d had bad experience with quality and reliability. A third worried about data security while a quarter weren’t sure how to introduce wi-fi into existing IT infrastructure.

Broadcom says people will still buy non 4G Wi-Fi

alleyneBroadcom Chief Executive Scott McGregor claims high-end smartphone makers will keep using his company’s Wi-Fi chips even though it is no longer pursuing 4G technology.

The outfit said in July it was winding down its money-losing cellular baseband chip business after struggling to compete against larger rival Qualcomm.

While getting out of baseband reduces costs and lets Broadcom concentrate on its better-performing networking and broadband businesses, it leaves the chipmaker at a competitive disadvantage flogging its Wi-Fi chips in the smartphone market.

McGreggor admitted to Reuters  that Broadcom was “definitely at risk,” but the reality of it remains to be seen.

 “The higher-end smartphone space is most likely to stay with Broadcom because that’s where they care most about the features and capabilities we offer.”

Broadcom currently makes Wi-Fi chips for Apple, Samsung and other high-end handsets. But without baseband technology, Broadcom’s Wi-Fi chips may be less attractive to low-end smartphone makers, who typically choose platforms that integrate both Wi-Fi and baseband in order to save money.

Apple and other manufacturers making top-tier phones could also eventually opt to combine Wi-Fi and baseband as technology improvements make it possible to squeeze more and more features onto single chip.

McGregor said steady improvements in Broadcom’s Wi-Fi technology, like increasing range, reducing interference and using wifi to determine precise locations, were reasons for manufacturers to keep buying Broadcom’s chips.

Shares of Broadcom have surged 26 percent since the company said in June it was deciding how to get out of baseband technology, which was costing about $600 million a year in research and administration costs.

Researchers exploit UHF spectrum

Knightly, Anand and GuerraBoffins at Rice University said they have discovered how to effectively use the unused UHF TV spectrum, creating streams of data over wireless hotspots that could operate for miles.

Edward Knightly, professor at the Rice department of electrical and computer engineering, said: “The holy grail of wireless communications is to go both fast and far.  Usually you can have or the other but not both.  Wireless local area networks today can serve data very fast, but one brick wall and they’re done. UHF can travel far, but it hasn’t had the high capacity of wi-fi.”

The researchers will show a multiuser and multiantenna transmission scheme for UHF at a conference in Hawaii today.

The UHF spectrum became available after the move to digital TV. UHF signals travel for miles and would be useful to provide broadband capabilities for remote communities.

Lead researcher Narendra Anand said: “When comparing UHF and wi-fi, there’s usually a tradeoff of capacity for range or vice versa. Imagine that the wi-fi access point in your home or office sends data down a 100-lane highway, but’s only one mile long.  For UHF, the highway is 100 miles long but only three or four lanes wide, and you cannot add any lanes.”

He said that efficiently using the lanes of UHF involves a multiantenna transmission technique that allows access by many people using the same channel simultaneously.

Pictured here from left to right are researchers Edward Knightly, Narendra Anand and Ryan Guerra.