Wireless & Internet Tech

Multiple Improvements for Bluetooth

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The Bluetooth standard receives a couple of improvements promising more useful devices-- the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) updates it to version 4.1, and Broadcom combines it with wireless charging on a single SoC.

BluetoothBluetooth 4.1 allows for devices able to "remember" lost connections for longer, with automatic reconnection as soon as devices are in range. It improves on the coexistance of Bluetooth and LTE radios on the device, and adds bulk data transfer capability.

Devices running the updated standard will also be able to run as both peripheral and hub-- the Bluetooth SIG gives the example of a smartwatch acting as a hub by gathering information from a heart rate monitor while simultaneously acting as a peripheral as it pushes notifications to a smartphone.

For the future the Bluetooth SIG plans to add IP connectivity-- allowing devices to communicate over IPv6 via Bluetooth radios to create a "fundamental wireless link" in the so-called Internet of Things.


The Portable Wireless Router

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Portable routerStarTech launches the Wireless-N Travel Router (R150WN1X1T)-- a small, portable router allowing customers to easily connect wireless-only devices to wired networks.

Ideal for customers wanting 802.11b/g/n connectivity in hotel rooms, conference centres or boardrooms, the portable router fits over iPad wall chargers and includes a pass-through USB port to charge devices while in use.


Infonetics on Home Networking

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According to Infonetics Research multiscreen video is an important networking industry driver, pushing global H1 2013 home networking device revenues worth $5.4 billion with 6% Y-o-Y growth.

“Like broadband CPE, home networking devices continue to grow as fixed broadband subscribers increase around the globe," the analyst says. "The types of services being delivered over data networks are growing as well, with the most important being multiscreen video.”

Infonetics Networking

W. European and N. American operators distribute video around the home through higher-end gateways and STBs packing both wired and wireless technology. These in turn drive a secondary market of MoCA STBs and HomePlug adapters connecting TVs, Blu-ray player, game consoles and a growing peripheral ecosystem to home networks.


Wifi? Make Way for Li-fi

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UK-based researchers at the Ultra-Parallel Visible Light Communications (UP-VLC) project announce a breakthrough in visible light communications (VLC), reaching data transfer speeds of 10Gbps with a system using tiny micro-LEDs.

micro LED VLCThe researchers hail from the universities of Edinburgh, St Andrews, Strathclyde, Oxford and Cambridge.

Reportedly the system transmits 3.5Gbps through each of the 3 primary colours (red, green, blue) making up white light, this increasing the amount of data the light can "carry." This makes the the basis of what the researchers call light fidelity or "li-fi," a potential low-cost alternative to radio-based wireless internet.

"If you think of a shower head separating water out into parallel streams, that's how we can make light behave," Prof Harald Haas tells the BBC.

Allowing the micro-LEDs to handle millions of light intensity changes per second is Orthogonal Frequency Divisional Multiplexing (OFDM), a dgital modulation technique making what amounts to an extremely fast on/off switch.


Wifi Goes Under the Sea

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Underwater networking should move beyond cables researchers at the University of Buffalo propose as they start testing their first wireless internet modems designed for underwater use. 

underwater modem Of course these are not any regular modems-- the oversized (18kg) bright yellow devices use high-pitched chrips, not radio, to push what amounts to an aquatic version of the TCP/IP networking protocol. Their use? Bringing the Internet of Things to watery realms. 

The use of acoustic signals is crucial, since while radio works poorly underwater sound waves penetrate water better with superior range.  

“A submerged wireless network will give us an unprecedented ability to collect and analyze data from our oceans in real time," lead researcher Tommaso Melodia says. “Making this information available to anyone with a smartphone or computer, especially when a tsunami or other type of disaster occurs, could help save lives.”