Wireless & Internet Tech

Wifi's New Superpower... X-Ray Vision?

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Researchers at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory use the power of wifi to gain one of Superman's many powers-- using the wifi-based "Wi-Vi" to detect movement through walls.

Wifi xrayIn concept Wi-Vi is similar to radar and sonar imaging, only using low-power wifi signals to track movement in closed rooms or behind a wall. The system requires 2 transmit antennas and 1 receiver, with one transmitter sending out a signal that is the inverse of the signal from the other.

Due to nulling effect, the signals from the two antennas cancel each other out when "bouncing" back after hitting static objects-- but not when reflecting off moving objects. The receiver tracks the time it takes for signals to reflect back from a moving object (such as a person in a room) and calculates where it is at any time, producing a "sort of" X-ray effect.

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Wifi Alliance Starts 802.11ac Certification

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The Wifi Alliance starts certification of 802.11ac products with the Wifi Certified 11ac program-- with hopes of bringing networking products with higher data rates, greater capacity and reduced latency to market in the near future. 

wifi certified802.11ac wifi operates on the 5GHz band. Most wifi certified products are also dual-band (operating on either 2.4 or 5GHz bands), providing networks with double capacity as the 5GHz band finds use for high-performance applications and 2.4GHz for basic needs. 

ABI Research forecasts 2014 dual-band wifi chipset shipments will reach 1.5 billion units. 

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Hppy Bday SMS!

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The Short Message Service (SMS) celebrates its 20th birthday-- on 3 December 1992 "Merry Christmas" was sent from a PC to a mobile device over the Vodafone UK network.

Makkonen SMSThe idea behind SMS has an even older origin. Back in 1982 the "father of SMS," former Finnish civil servant Matti Makkonen, revealed his idea for a mobile phone messaging service over pizza at a telecoms conference.

Makkonen dislikes the title (since others put the work behind the technology), but allowed for a rare interview on the topic with the BBC-- one done, more than aptly, via SMS.

The interview reveals Makkonen's preference for touchscreens ("Slow enough to think and sometimes even edit what I write"), a passion for the Finnish language (and its 160 characters) and his belief SMS is here to stay, even if in free instant messaging form.

He also insists the actual launch of SMS was on 1994 with the launch of the Nokia 2010, the first mobile phone allowing for easy message typing.

Go Texting SMS Pioneer Matti Makkonen 20 Years On (BBC)

ABI: 60GHz to Hit Mass Market

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After years as a niche technology, 60GHz technology is set to become a mass market solution ABI Research reports-- with annual enabled device shipments to exceed 1 billion units by 2017.

wigigDriving such growth is the linking of the WiGig and Wifi Alliances and the forthcoming ratification of the 802.11ad standard, both advancements encouraging wifi IC vendors to add 11ad to future tri-band solutions (as in 11n/11ac/11ad).

Many describe 802.11ad as the next step for wifi, after 11ac.

Vendor partnerships are also bearing fruit-- the Wilocity-Qualcomm Atheros team up paved the way to more WiGig/802.11ad devices, such as the first ultrabook from Dell carrying the technology.

ABI expects mobile devices to be the next market embracing the technology, primarily for media streaming between TVs. Growing 11ad adoption from smartphones will give rise to further adoption from connected home equipment, driving the market from external solutions (such as dongles) to integrated solutions.

"We expect a significant amount of consolidation in the market over the next 18 months as the 11ad market starts to take off,” ABI adds. “In some instances, smaller 60GHz technology focused companies will be swallowed up by the dominant wireless connectivity suppliers, others will be driven out of the market or at least into the margins as 11ad becomes an established technology, but without a push from the big guys the market will fail to gain traction.”

Go 60GHz Technology, 11ad Driving Market Growth (ABI Research)

CEDIA White Paper on Mobile Devices

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CEDIA releases the 3rd white paper in the Mobile Devices in Residential Systems Integration series-- "Using Mobile Devices as a Control Platform."

CEDIAThe white paper tackles the use of mobile devices within control applications, and provides guidance on design considerations in integration and automation with mobile devices.

Both high-end and budget-conscious customers increasingly demand the integration of mobile devices into integrated systems-- making it a must for installers to learn how to do exactly that.

“Many consumers want to use a device they are familiar with, such as a smartphone or tablet to control their home,” CEDIA says. “This can sometimes be challenging to integrate, but the considerations outlined in this white paper can help dealers create a seamless control experience.”

The white paper is now available free of charge for Region 1 CEDIA members.

Go Using Mobile Devices as a Control Platform