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FYI: Ticking time-bomb fault will brick Cisco gear after 18 months
Saturday, 04 February 2017 10:32

Updated Cisco has issued a warning that an electronic component used in versions of its routing, optical networking, security and switch products prior to November 16, 2016 is unreliable – and may fail in the next year and a half, rendering affected hardware permanently inoperable.

"Although the Cisco products with this component are currently performing normally, we expect product failures to increase over the years, beginning after the unit has been in operation for approximately 18 months," Cisco said in its advisory .

"Once the component has failed, the system will stop functioning, will not boot, and is not recoverable."


Ofcom splashed 11% more cash on legal costs with £4.9m war chest
Friday, 03 February 2017 22:06

Communications regulator Ofcom splashed an extra 11 per cent on legal costs in 2015/16 compared with the previous year, spending £4.9m seeing off threats from operators.

"Our legal costs will normally fluctuate year-on-year, in response to the type and volume of work we undertake, and importantly how companies respond to our decisions," said Ofcom in a Freedom of Information response to The Register .

The regulator does not disclose how much it spends fighting sueballs from individual operators.

Last year was busy for Ofcom, having recommended a legal separation of Openreach from BT in its Digital Communications Review in February

Humble Pai: New FCC supremo promises long overdue transparency
Friday, 03 February 2017 09:56

The new chairman of the US Federal Communications Commission, Ajit Pai, has come good on a promise to modernize the regulator by getting rid of its most infuriating habit: secret orders.

For reasons that have never been adequately explained, the FCC maintains an arcane procedure where its documents are kept secret until FCC commissioners vote on them. Only then are they published.

As Pai himself pointed out in the formal announcement [PDF] of a "pilot project" that would do away with that practice, "that's not to say that the contents of FCC proposals and orders remain secret to everyone –

Broadband internet in New York is so garbage, the state's suing Charter
Thursday, 02 February 2017 06:36

New York's Attorney General is suing cable giant Charter on claims of false advertising of its internet speeds.

AG Eric Schneiderman says Charter defrauded New York state residents when it promised internet speeds and reliability it was not able to deliver. He is seeking damages likely to reach billions of dollars.

The lawsuit [PDF], filed in the New York State Supreme Court, claims that Charter (through its ownership of Spectrum and Time Warner Cable) advertised its services in New York as high-speed and free of outages, then failed to deliver on either of those points.

"Spectrum-TWC promised Internet speeds that

Let's replace Ethernet with infrared light bouncing off mirrors!
Wednesday, 01 February 2017 13:58
Penn State's micro-electro-mechanical mirror chips

Penn State and Microsoft hope these transmitters could cut cords in data centres

Microsoft-supported boffins hope to eliminate cables in the data centre entirely.

They're not, however, deluded enough to think that Wi-Fi is the answer. With thousands of switch ports in a decent data hall, connections have to be uncontested and point-to-point, so the Penn State University researchers have been working on free space optical (FSO) communications over infrared wavelengths.

FSO isn't itself a new idea, but the university's added a little special sauce by creating kit that automates the business of aiming the transmitter at the receiver.


AT T ready to trial latest attempt at pumping internet over power lines
Wednesday, 01 February 2017 13:28

AT&T says it is set to begin public trials of a project to backhaul high-speed mobile internet over power lines.

These power lines will carry internet traffic to and from cell towers so the masts can beam 4G/LTE and 5G coverage to nearby phones. That's particularly useful for people out in the countryside, and more convenient than ripping up sidewalks and tunnels to lay fiber to antennas. Network traffic follows the lines of electricity.

The US telco behemoth says it will run two trials of test networks (one in the US and one outside) later this year: specifically, they will

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