Community Clouds

CNN reports Athens, Georgia, is building a “cloud” over several blocks of the downtown area. Anyone can have free Internet access. Students at the U/G School of Journalism and Mass Communication will be assigned to work with local merchants to come up with ideas that use wireless capabilities to bring in business.

Content ideas include:

  • Music: On any given night in this college town, 40 bands might be taking the stage at local bars and coffee houses. The wireless “cloud” could provide a chance to sample a song or two. Oregon Live does it now.
  • Retail: In a rush for lunch? Select a local restaurant menu, place an order, even pay online. By the time you walk a few blocks to the cafe, food would be ready.
  • World market: Small business world-wide could be included in the world economy by selling their products online. Language translation could eliminate barriers.

Other communities have similar projects:

Microsoft’s IPV6

Microsoft’s Windows CE .NET 4.1 upgrade includes an important new feature; IPV6, the sucessor to IPV4, the protocol that runs the internet. IPv6 increases the address space from 32 bits to 128 bits, providing a virtually unlimited number of networks and systems. IPv6 also supports quality of service parameters for real-time audio and video streaming. Microsoft XP, Cisco and Linux currently support IPv6.

The IPV6 Forum promotes IPv6 and wants to create a Next Generation Internet based on it. The IPv6 FORUM doesn’t develop protocol standards. That’s the job of the Internet Engineering Task Force which has sole authority for IPv6 protocol standards.

Microsoft collaborated with Lancaster University and Lancaster uses Windows CE .NET source code in its curriculum. The UK-based Lancaster IPv6 Resource Centre has more details on IPv6. Their Mobile-IPv6 Systems Research Lab researches Wide Area Networking infrastructure and services. The UK, of course, is years ahead of the United States in mobile, high-speed networking.

Freenet6 delivers IPv6 connectivity for end stations using IPv6 over IPv4 tunnels. Computers connected to Internet can use this free service to get connected on the 6Bone.

Vint Cerf, who co-created the Internet’s TCP/IP in 1973 with Robert Kahn, loves IPV6. He’s concerned about running out of IP numbers for cable set-tops and cell phones. The NSF’s vBNS Backbone Network as well as the multicasting 6-Bone run on it.

IPV6 will provide network services to .mars (as soon as The Earth upgrades it’s routers).

AT&T Wireless & Microsoft plan services

Microsoft and AT&T Wireless plan to announce on Wednesday new wireless services to business customers. The deal apparently calls for both companies to develop software and services for e-mail, calendars, data and other business applications.

Microsoft has cut deals with at most major US cellular carriers including VoiceStream, Sprint and Verizon. Microsoft has two major product lines, Pocket PC Phone Edition (for telephony on a PDA) and Smartphone (a Windows-powered cell phone). Microsoft wants a Windows phones in every hand.

Today Microsoft updated Windows CE .NET with new features such as IPv6; Speech API 5.0; better support for viewing Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Adobe Acrobat and Windows Media; performance improvements to Web browsing, and remote display protocol (RDP) technologies.

Windows CE .NET, the successor to CE 3.0, introduced 802.11 Zero Configuration, 802.1x and Extensible Authentication Protocol (EAP).

Among the anticipated Windows CE .NET devices is Motorola EVr-8401 Enhanced TV Viewer. It wirelessly connects to any cable modem or modem-equipped digital set-top terminal. Interactive programming, Internet, e-mail, chat, and instant messaging applications are accessible through a remote IR keyboard, touch-screen keyboard, or on-screen handwriting recognition. Bsquare is developing a variety of CE devices. There are many routes to the connected home but Wi-Fi appliances will likely be central to video distribution around the house.

Lord of the Rings

Progress was made on the Resilent Packet Ring standard last month in Vancouver, BC. The IEEE 802.17 Working Group is defining a Protocol for use in Local, Metropolitan and Wide Area Networks for transfer of data packets at rates scalable to many gigabits per second. The new standard will use existing Physical Layer specifications and will develop new PHYs where appropriate.

Fiber optic rings are widely deployed in Metropolitan and Wide Area Networks. These rings are currently using protocols that aren’t optimized or scalable. They need resiliency (with SONET-like rings) and cheaper costs (everything IP). That’s what the IEEE 802.17 Working Group is all about. They will hold a Plenary Meeting this November in Koloa, Kauai, Hawaii. Here’s a panoramic .jpg of Mauna Kea telescopes.

Boeing might be interested. Their Future Image Architecture will need 100 gigabits a second from space. Radio doesn’t have the bandwidth. Optics do. It might all come down to telescopes on mountains like Hawaii’s Mauna Kea (clickable photos). A millimeter array could provide back-up. Other sites might include White Sands and the VLT in Chile, the largest optical telescope facility on Earth. NPR’s Joe Palca reports on the idea of combining light from multiple telescopes.

Imagine a 100 Gigabit Resilent Packet Ring in space. The RPR would run a ring around the geosynchronous satellite platforms. They would really be simple RPR routers. Low Earth Orbit platforms link to them for image transfers or communications. Hyperspectral and other data could easy fill a GigE link at 60 GHz. For example, opto-chips can translate electrical signals – television, computer, telephone and radar – into optical signals at rates up to 100 gigabytes per second. Perhaps 100 different GigE nodes could link to a 100 Gig DWDM backbone. The geosynch optical up/down terminal could be in Hawaii. Hawaii is wired with all sorts of transpacific cable. Tyco has a 7.68 terabit connection terminating at Portland’s Brewery Blocks.

How about virtually “free” wireless bandwidth. World-wide. Boeing might be key to a truly global village. They could use a visionary like Craig McCaw. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist (or a United States citizen). It would be simple.

Glenn Fleishman has an alternative approach he calls the Houndstooth Networking Protocol. It’s delivered by a pack of wild dogs.

iPass Adds Another Box

Pronto Networks (FAQ), developer of fee-based wireless “hot spots”, today announced that iPass Roaming service will be integrated into Pronto’s wireless LAN system for seamless roaming between public hot spots. Pronto also works with roaming software competitor, GRIC.

Pronto’s core infrastructure solution, the Hotspot Networking System, will be iPass-compliant. iPass would like to becoming the defacto industry standard for roaming. They “opened” their roaming software for broad adoption through the Pass-One alliance which uses their Generic Interface Specification (GIS). It will work with a variety of “smart” clients, logging subscribers into different wireless locations with one password and fee structure.

Pronto uses a small diskless box which plugs directly into a DSL line. Similar one-piece “hot spot” boxes are available from Boingo and FatPort.

“Free” community lans can also use Sputnick and NoCat. Because they’re “free”, roaming software and billing services are probably less important.

Directed Energy?

War driving may be considered a crime by some – but hey, what about war killing by the military? Devices that do NOT conform to FCC part 15 regulations include; a weapon that fires radiation beams that make people feel they’re in a microwave oven. The US Army tested one earlier this year along with a laser-equipped Humvee to blast land mines. High-power microwave weapons may follow. The U.S. may use lasers from manned aircraft and high powered microwave from unmanned vehicles.

The latest fad is anti-gravity beams. Boeing’s Phantom Works is working on an anti-gravity device, according to Jane’s Defence News.

Russia has reportedly demonstrated the 4in (10cm) wide beam’s ability to repel objects a kilometre away and that it exhibits negligible power loss at distances of up to 200km (124 miles). Such a device, observers say, could be adapted for use as an anti-satellite weapon or a ballistic missile shield. Boeing is trying to develop a collaborative relationship with Russian scientist Dr Evgeny Podkletnov. But Podkletnov is said to be strongly anti-military and will only provide assistance if the research is carried out in the ‘white world’ of open development.

Boeing’s internal project is called ‘GRASP’ — Gravity Research for Advanced Space Propulsion. A GRASP briefing document obtained by Janes Defense Weekly sets out what Boeing believes to be at stake. “If gravity modification is real,” it says, “it will alter the entire aerospace business.”

It could be engineered into a radical new weapon. An ‘impulse gravity generator’, might produce a beam of ‘gravity-like’ energy that can exert an instantaneous force of 1,000g on any object — enough, in principle, to vaporise it,

NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama will shortly conduct a second set of experiments using apparatus built to Podkletnov’s specifications. Coincidentally (or not), the budget for the Breakthrough Propulsion Physics program has been cut. The BBC reports the military wing of the UK hi-tech group BAE Systems is also working on an anti-gravity programme, dubbed Project Greenglow.

Slash Dot has a thread but Charles Platt wrote an in-depth article in Wired. It turns out Oregon software developer Pete Skeggs, is sometimes credited as starting the gravity-enthusiast underground movement. He is also the President of Portland Robotics Club. In his own workshop Skeggs had tried to replicate Podkletnov’s experiment using some homemade electromagnets and a 1-inch superconductor that he ordered from the Edmund Scientific. His web site collects a variety of research.

Boeing has tens of billions in contracts for space-based weapons, satellites and hypersonic missiles .

On the other hand, maybe the Podkletnov Paper is just be another SIAC honeypot. SIAC runs The Phone Company for the federal government. Nanotubes may be just as wild. Your transporter is waiting, sir.