Is there an unsecured wireless network near you?
Manhole Covers Hide Antennas
Tuesday, 08 January 2019 03:00

5G is gearing up to be the most extensive implementation of mesh networking ever, and that could mean antennas will not need to broadcast for miles, just far enough to reach some devices. That unsightly cell infrastructure stuck on water towers and church steeples could soon be hidden under low-profile hunks of metal we are already used to seeing; manhole covers. This makes sense because 5G’s millimeter radio waves are more or less line-of-sight, and cell users probably wouldn’t want to lose connectivity every time they walk behind a building.

At the moment, Vodafone in the UK is testing similar …read more

Finding the Goldilocks Cell Module
Saturday, 05 January 2019 15:01

If adding a cell modem is dealing with a drama queen of a hardware component, then choosing from among the many types of modules available turns the designer into an electronics Goldilocks. There are endless options for packaging and features all designed to make your life easier (or not!) so you-the-designer needs to have a clear understanding of the forces at work to come to a reasonable decision. How else will Widget D’lux® finally ship? You are still working on Widget D’lux®, aren’t you?

OK, quick recap from last time. Cell modems can be used to add that great feature …read more

Huawei CEO defiant on security claims, vows to be so good, 'no market can keep us away'
Thursday, 03 January 2019 22:59

Increasingly in the crosshairs of government paranoia and beset by its place in the US-China trade war, Huawei's rotating chairman Guo Ping has come out swinging in a letter to staff.

There's no denying the Chinese giant's networks business is under pressure. The USA, Australia and New Zealand have officially blocked its kit from national telecommunications networks, and other countries – most prominently Canada, the UK and Germany – could very well follow suit.

"Our products and solutions have earned the trust of our customers in more than 170 countries and regions," said Ping. "We have a very strong track

US states join watchdog probing CenturyLink's Xmas data center outage that screwed 911 system
Thursday, 03 January 2019 08:19

Wyoming is the latest US state to formally probe CenturyLink's network outage, which black-holed 911 calls over Christmas.

America's comms watchdog the FCC, and regulators in Washington state, are also investigating the blunder – asking exactly how it happened, and why it took so long to resolve – along with Wyoming's Public Service Commission, which joined the fray this week.

On Thursday, December 27, CenturyLink's external cloud network fell over , knackering its data centers in California, New York, Virginia, the UK, Singapore, and elsewhere. The upshot: unlucky subscribers' business and home broadband, TV, and phone services lost connectivity. Private

Underclocking the ESP8266 Leads To WiFi Weirdness
Saturday, 05 January 2019 18:00

Sometimes the best hacks come from the most basic of questions. In this case, [CNLohr] was wondering what would happen if he started to reduce the clock speed of the ESP8266’s Baseband PLL (BBPLL) while still trying to communicate with it. You know, as one does. The results ended up being fairly surprising, and while it’s not immediately clear if there’s a practical application for this particular trick, it’s certainly worth some additional research.

The idea here is that the BBPLL is the reference clock for the entire system, including all of the peripherals. So underclocking it doesn’t just slow …read more

Another greybeard has left us: Packet pioneer Larry Roberts dies at 81
Wednesday, 02 January 2019 23:00

Obit One of the internet's founding fathers, ARPANET packet-switching pioneer Larry Roberts, has died aged 81.

Before ARPANET, telecommunications connections were carried over "circuit-switched" networks. A voice call, for example, used dedicated resources end-to-end, and the rudimentary data networking of systems such as Telex were handled the same way.

However, a number of academics proposed a different architecture for data transmission. Computers, they argued, could share their network connections and communicate by breaking data into discrete packets, addressing them to their destination, and letting the recipient reassemble the data.

That work was independently pioneered by Paul Baran in the USA

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