Is there an unsecured wireless network near you?
American cable giants go bananas after FCC slams broadband rollout
Saturday, 09 January 2016 06:45

A big fight has broken out between ISPs and their regulator, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), in the US.

The FCC's annual Broadband Report will be published shortly, and late Thursday, chairman Tom Wheeler put out a " factsheet " about its main finding: that broadband is "not being deployed in a reasonable and timely fashion to all Americans."

The report will be discussed at the FCC's next meeting on January 28 and Wheeler noted in his summary that the regulator is required to "take immediate action" if it makes that finding.

Unsurprisingly, the ISPs are not happy, and USTelecom

BT and Openreach: Splitsville or not? We'll not find out till Feb – at the earliest
Saturday, 09 January 2016 01:24

UK comms regulator Ofcom's much-awaited digital communications review, which will determine whether to break BT's broadband monopoly by forcing a spin-off of Openreach, will not be released until late February at the earliest.

The Strategic Review of Digital Communications will set the regulatory framework for the industry for the next 10 years.

It had been anticipated the document would be out in January, but the regulator had not set a concrete date for the proposals beyond saying they would be out by the turn of the year.

Speaking in the House of Commons this week, digital minister Ed Vaizey said

Internet of Things in Five Minutes
Sunday, 10 January 2016 00:00

If you’re looking for the quickest way to go from zero to voice-controlled home automation system, you should spend five minutes checking out [Hari Wiguna]’s project on Hackaday.io where he connects up IoT gadgets and services into a functioning lightswitch. (Video below the break.)

[Hari] demonstrates how to set up a complex chain: Amazon Echo to IFTTT to Adafruit.io as a data broker, which is then polled by an ESP8266 unit in his home that controls his X10 setup. (Pshwew.) But each step along the way is designed to be nearly plug-and-play, so it’s really a lot like clicking Lego …read more

ESP8266 GoPro Remote Adds Buttons, Screen
Thursday, 07 January 2016 00:00

Last year we featured a GoPro camera remote by [Robert Stefanowicz] that was built around an ESP8266. [Robert] has been working hard on improving this project, and has just released version 2, which adds a screen and multiple buttons. These additions allow the remote to become a two-way device: you can use it to monitor the status of the GoPro, keeping an eye on things like the battery level and the current video mode.

[Robert] decided to make his own PCB to do this, so it’s also a good intro into the stinky art of PCB etching. He isn’t finished yet, …read more

Look what Gbps fiber brings: Competition, then new router chips
Tuesday, 05 January 2016 12:10

It's not often that a couple of services create a market segment on their own, but that's what Google Fiber and Comcast's 2Gbps home broadband rivalry seem to have done.

To cope with such high speeds, Broadcom has baked up silicon that once would have been at home in an enterprise-grade router: a 1.8GHz, 64-bit quad-core ARM-compatible processor wrapped up with enough muscle for a 2.5Gbps Ethernet PHY interface.

Launched at this year's CES hypemare in Vegas, the BCM4908's Runner packet processor is specified for 5Gbps system throughput "without taxing the CPU," the company's announcement says.

On the user side,

Ten Mile Raspberry Pi WiFi (with a Catch)
Thursday, 07 January 2016 03:00

How would you like to have a WiFi connection that covers 10 miles? Or how about an even wider network made up of a mesh of multiple nodes? It is possible, but there is a catch: you probably need a ham radio license to do it (at least, you do in the United States).

What makes it possible is the realization that conventional WiFi channels 1-6 are inside an existing US ham band. That means (if you are a ham) you can elect to use FCC part 97 rules instead of part 15 that governs WiFi routers. That means you …read more

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