Roaming Roundup


Three roaming vendors announced software upgrades or roaming expansions today:

  • iPass and KT Corp., Korea’s WiBro carrier, today announce an agreement to allow iPass enterprise customers to use KT’s Wi-Fi network, NESPOT, which includes more than 14,000 hotspots. The agreement will enable the 500,000 plus active monthly iPass users to access KT hotspots as part of the iPass Global Broadband Roaming network. iPass says it offers the world’s largest Wi-Fi roaming network available through a single access client, iPassConnect. The network already includes over 23,000 active Wi-Fi hotspots available in 52 countries. KT uses the 802.1x standard for authentication across its entire footprint, making the network one of the most secure and advanced Wi-Fi networks in the world.
  • NetMotion Wireless has launched a new version of its Mobility XE mobile VPN solution. Mobility XE version 6.5 makes it easier for enterprises to manage the security and productivity of their mobile workers who are using wireless networks. It was developed in response to growing demand from large enterprises, which are increasingly deploying mission-critical applications such as field force automation systems and full-function, line-of-business applications to their mobile workforces.
  • GoRemote, a leading provider of secure managed broadband network services, today announced that the retail subsidiary of Hallmark Cards has agreed to use the GoRemote Branch Office solution to securely network over 400 of Hallmark’s corporate-owned retail stores across the United States. Through implementing a broadband IP VPN solution like GoRemote Branch Office, Hallmark can enable Point Of Sales (POS) transactions, inventory control systems, HR applications, email and other future needs.
  • The Nomadix Service Engine (NSE) software is embedded on Nomadix Gateways that reside in venue, carrier, or service provider infrastructure to enable connectivity. The recently announced AG 5000 Metro Gateway allows up to 4,000 simultaneous users and is optimized for Metropolitan HotZones and Digital Cities. Using Nomadix Dynamic Address Translation (DAT) and other Plug& Play technology, the NSE software immediately and invisibly adapts a computer s proxy settings to enable a secure, easy-to-use connection. Once connected to the network, the user can be presented with a variety of service options.

In other news, Funk Software today announced that Steel-Belted Radius will run on the SuSE Enterprise Server 9 (SLES9) and Red Hat (Enterprise and Advanced Server 3) versions of Linux.

Steel-Belted Radius is a RADIUS/AAA server that lets administrators centrally manage all remote/VPN, WLAN and wired 802.1X users and equipment — providing enhanced security, easier, more streamlined management and granular control over who can access the network and how.

It runs on Windows, Solaris and Linux and is fully compliant with the RADIUS specification, the IEEE security standard 802.1X, and all popular WLAN protocols, including EAP-TTLS, EAP-PEAP, EAP-TLS and Cisco’s LEAP.

Steel-Belted Radius on Linux is currently in beta and scheduled to be available in September 2005. Pricing for new customers is $4,995 per server for the Enterprise Edition, $12,000 per server for the Global Enterprise Edition, and $22,000 per server for the Service Provider Edition.

[Thanks, Tim Higgins]

Wavesat Delivers WiMax, Intel, Not


 

Taiwan-based WiMax vendors are developing WiMAX solutions using chips from Canada-based Wavesat, since they’re having difficulty getting WiMAX chipsets from Intel, according to Digitimes.

Being the sole ODM partner for the production of related 802.16-2004 enabled CPE (customer premise equipment) products in Taiwan, GemTek Technology is currently the only Taiwan-based company that can secure Intel s first WiMAX single silicon solution, the PRO/Wireless 5116, to manufacture its CPE products, which are due to launch by the end of the third quarter of this year.Intel s ODM partner policy has forced other Taiwan makers, including Z-Com, JStream Technologies and Alpha Networks, to use Wavesat chipsets to develop their WiMAX products, the sources noted.

Z-Com has chosen Wavesat s Evolutive WiMAX solution to develop its 802.16-2004 compliant CPE products, which are scheduled to be launched in Taiwan and China in the fourth quarter at the earliest, said the sources.

JStream, a subsidiary of Kinpo Electronics, will also use Wavesat s WiMAX chipsets to develop its subscriber units and outdoor base stations for Taiwan-based wireless ISP providers and other customers worldwide, the sources said.

 

 

New Wifi Record – 125 Miles!


 

A new distance record was set this weekend at Defcon for unamplified wireless — 125 miles!

Wifishootout challenges teams to wirelessly connect two computers at extreme distances using stock “WiFi” radios. On July 30, 2005, the efforts the iFiber Redwire team paid off. They drove a trailer loaded with equipment to Utah Hill, near Beaver Dam in the state of Utah. Their comrades were located southwest of Las Vegas at the top of Mount Potosi.

 

 

A collection of homemade antennas, surplus 12 foot satellite dishes, home-welded support structures, scaffolds and a couple of 300 mW, Z-Com s XI-325 radio cards with a power output of +25db and sensitivity of -84db (at 11 Mbps).

The final result was a full 11 Mbps data tranfer rate over a distance of 125 miles, a new world record for an unamplified wireless networking connection. The team shattered their previous world record of 55.1 miles, with their 125-mile, 11-Mbit connection reportedly lasting for 3 hours.

Congratulations to the team of Andy Meng, Ben Corrado, Justin Rigling and Brandon Schamer!

Is it legal? Duhh.

What’s the maximum legal limit? It actually isn’t very much lower. You can’t exceed a total gain of +52dB (158 watts EIRP), according to Point-to-Point rules.

According to FCC regulations, 2.4 GHz Part 15.247 point-to-point transmitters may use a 30 dBm transmitter (one watt) with a 6 dBi antenna (which increases signal strength four times). That results in 4 watts EIRP. But for every 3 dB increase in antenna gain, the transmitter power output must only be reduced by 1 dB. That’s a net gain of 2dB for every doubling of antenna gain. A large antenna can output MUCH more than 4 watts (point-to-point only).

The FCC is only interested in interference. The more directional the beam, the less interference. Power is measured at the antenna connector, so subtract any cable loss between the amplifier and the antenna. Refer to the following table:

 

Power at antenna (dBm/watts) Max Antenna Gain (dBi) EIRP (dBm) EIRP (watts)

30 dBm (1 W)

6

36

4

29

9

38

6.3

28

12

40

10

27 dBm (500 mW)

15

42

16

26

18

44

25

25

21

46

39.8

24 dBm (250 mW)

24

48

63

23

27

50

100

22

30

52

158

So, according to this table, the maximum legal power (158 watts of EIRP), would be obtained with a + 22db radio (a little under 200mW) into a +30db antenna (at 2.4GHz, that would be a 6 foot dish).

Calculating Range:
How far can YOU go? Terabeam has an online calculator for determining range. Michael Young recommends a minimum of +10 dB to +20 dB “fade margin” – more for longer ranges. Compute your System Operating Margin (fade margin) using his on-line calculator. For sensitivity start at -84dB for a 2.4 GHz radio. Newer chips from Atheros claim sensitivities up to -105 dB, which should help.

Roughly speaking, you combine the losses (path loss, cable & connector loss) with the gains from the antennas, radio output and sensitivity of receiver. Using (dB) instead of milliwatts (mW) simplifies calculation because you can just add and subtract the numbers.

Power needs to be translated from millwatts (mW) to decibels (dB) in order to use the calculator. Here’s the dB translation you can substitute in the on-line calculators; 30 dBm (1 W), 27 dBm (500 mW), 25 dBm (300mw), 24 dBm (250 mW), 23 dBm (200 mW), 21 dBm (125 mW), 20 dBm (100 mW), 17 dBm (50 mW) and 15 dBm (30 mW). 

 

Add up the range calculations including Free Space Loss, Downtilt and Fresnel Clearance Zone for a rough estimate of range.

You can theoretically calculate the gain and power of the 125 mile system used in Las Vegas:

They used a 12 foot dish and a 10 foot dish with two Z-Com XI-325HP+ 300mw WiFi radio cards. A 12 foot dish has a gain of 35db at 2.4 GHz, a 10 foot dish about 33db, the power output of the Z-Com XI-325HP+ 300mw Wireless PCMCIA radios is (25 dBm) and their sensitivity is 11Mbps (-85 dBm), 5.5Mbps (-88 dBm), 2 Mbps(-89 dBm) and 1 Mbps(-92 dBm).

I get a Theoretical System Operating Margin of 20.9 db with a range of 125 miles.

By way of comparison, a 2 foot dish at 2.4 GHz has a gain of 21 db, a 4 foot dish has 27 dBi gain, and an 8 foot dish has 32db gain, with the gain of a 12 foot dish (ideally) around 35db. Next, plug in Terabeam’s System Operating Margin calculator using and an antenna gain of 35db on one side and 33db on the other (or figure two, 34db dishes).

A fully legal longshot would have to use a less powerful card (23 db or 250 mW, less 1 dB loss) into a 30 db gain antenna (a 6 foot dish at 2.4GHz). That totals +52dB gain (the maximum at 2.4 GHz). Sensitivity is the name of the game and the 250 mW radios have about -84db sensitivity. Using two 23dB radios and two 6 foot satellite dishes, I get a theoretical range of 70 miles (with a 19.9 Theoretical System Operating Margin). That might get you to a nearby mountain.

WiMax was designed for this sort of thing, of course. WiMax has the same power limitations as WiFi (in the unlicensed bands), but it uses 256 OFDM carriers, forward error correcton and narrower bandwidth, increasing the range. A powerful 5.8 GHz radio coupled with a 3 foot dish should deliver 70 miles routinely (line of sight).

Maybe next year MIMO will be a player — and the shootout will move to the Himalayas.

Make Magazine has more coverage on Defcon.

DailyWireless has more on Cheap Long Shots, 72 Mile Longshot, Seattle Wireless Fieldday, WiFi Signal Boosters Portland to Seattle WiFi Proposal, Intergalatic Longshots, Intercontinental WiFi and 100 WiFi Video?.

 

OSCON 2005


 

OSCON, the Open Source Conference, will be held August 1-5, in Portland and the Oregon Convention Center.

This year, O’Reilly will introduce the Open Source Business Review, along with an impressive group of keynotes, speakers, sessions, tutorials, events and exhibitors.

A Schedule, Blog and Wiki is also available. The Convention Center has a Wireless Network (FAQ), although the convention could supply their own (like last year).

Tuesday evening, the first annual Google-O’Reilly Open Source Awards will award five prizes of $5,000 to the leading Communicator, Hacker, Diplomat, Integrator, and Evangelist for 2005.

Here are some Tips on Schmoozing at OSCON, offered by Robert Bernier.

When it comes to approaching strangers, the schmoozer is as fearless and gregarious as they come. He is always on the move; he quite literally never stays put in one spot. He can cover a keynote speech, a BOF, and a tutorial, and work an exhibition booth, all in the space of a few hours. The schmoozer goes to parties and socials and plies his trade in such unusual places as the elevator or a hotel hallway. The schmoozer constantly scans crowds looking for worthy people to speak with. He looks for the technically adept and zeros in on people who love to gab about what they do well.  

 

Drupal, a content management framework, will have Drupal developers attending bird-of-a-feather meetings (BOFs), social gatherings, and/or real working sessions. A free, offsite Drupal conference is being held at Portland State University. This event will be in 2 parts. Part 1 (informational, for users and newbies) on Tuesday August 2 and Part 2 on Saturday August 6th (for technical people and coders).

FOSCON is a free OSCON. It’s being held at the lavish conference facilities of Free Geek in Portland, located at: 1731 SE 10th Avenue, Portland OR. They’ll start at 6:30PM and go till 10:30PM or so.

Portland’s Open Source Development Lab, which provides access to a range of enterprise-class hardware and a variety of testing and development tools and services, has attracted a variety of related open source businesses and projects to the area.

 

Skype VideoPhone?


 

I knew it was over when I downloaded Skype, Michael Powell, chairman, Federal Communications Commission, explained. When the inventors of KaZaA are distributing for free a little program that you can use to talk to anybody else, and the quality is fantastic, and it s free it s over. The world will change now inevitably.  

 

Recently, a friend wanted to chat with me using Skype. I had to admit I haven’t used it. I use a standard telephone with a calling card. Seems like less trouble.

But recent developments in podcasting, headsets and even “VideoSkype” have spurred my interest.

One application that may benefit is podcasting. Recording phone conversations can be be accomplished with Audio Hijack Pro (Mac) and Hot Recorder (PC). Audioblog has a video blogging service. Using a digital camera, you can record and publish video in a matter of seconds. With a Blogmap.

Here’s a review of recent Skype developments:


CNN/Money compare VoIP services. Telephone adapters are included in the price, but you’ll pay for shipping.

Provider Cost

 

 

Skype is free (VoIP) software you run on your PC. If two people are running it, the service is free, since it travels over the internet, bypassing the switched telephone network.

You can download Skype for Windows, Mac OS X, Linux and Pocket PC at no cost. Then you plug in a headset, speakers or USB phone and start calling free (if they also have Skype).

SkypeOut allows you to call other people who don’t have Skype. It costs few cents per minute for national or world-wide coverage. You dial directly to their home, business or cell phones.

SkypeIn is a real phone number your friends can call.

The new IP-700M USB World Phone from IPFones, is a USB phone with an LCD display. It’s embedded with Skype software and works even with a normal dial-up internet access. It plugs into your computer’s USB port and uses Windows 2000 or XP. It retails for $70.

 

 

You can scroll through the LCD interface to view your Call Log, Contacts, etc. To dial someone you can simply scroll down and highlight the contact (in your Contacts or the Call Log) and then press the green handset icon. It works and acts much like a cell phone — with better audio.

The second generation IP-700M2 USB World Phone is said to have built-in 32 MB, 64 MB flash drives making available any files the end-user wants to store and carry around.

Tim Higgins reviews a cordless phone that handles both Skype and normal PSTN calling. The $140 Cordless DualPhone requires a USB connection to your computer.

Hotspot aggregator Boingo Wireless and Skype recently announced Skype Zones – Boingo hotspots that allow Skype users “unlimited Wi-Fi access” for $7.95 per month or $2.95 for two hours of access, report Tom’s Networking and C/Net. Here’s the free Skype/Boingo beta software.

Vonage says it has set a $100 price tag for its WiFi VoIP handset, which should be available by late summer or early fall. A $39 WiFi Phone is not far off.

Skype plans a public beta test of its two-way video phone service in August, probably at the end of the month, reports Internet.com.

Skype’s video calling service was given a brief public viewing at the Always-On conference in San Francisco last month. It is a video-enhanced PC to PC phone service and is expected to be free when it is offered commercially. Skype has licensed compression codecs from On 2 Technologies, a video compression technology pioneer. On2 just announced the release of VP7 Personal Edition, which it calls a free personal-use version of VP7 Video for Windows encoder. More than 600,000 users have downloaded On2’s VP6 video compression software.

The release is sure to get the attention of Vonage, which began packaging the Packet8 videophone with its service last year.

 

The Packet8 desktop phone uses a broadband connection to transmit audio and video and was initially listed for $299 plus a $29.95 monthly fee.

 

Video4skype, allows anyone with a VoIP Skype account to make video-calls. Flash Meeting software offers a free download of their easy-to-use videoconferencing application. The upstream capacity of EV-DO and HSPDA cellular networks (about 56Kbps) will likely limit mobile video calls for public safety users. They may need WiFi or WiMax, which is capable of 512Kbps upstream.

 

 

Will Skype sell out for $3 billion to Rupert Murdoch? Will Skype be in camera-equipped PocketPCs, for videoconferencing on the move? Will Skype revolutionize communications?

 

 

With free video calling – world-wide? You bet!

 

$200 Wireless Helicopter


 

Want to obliterate low flying traffic reporters?

What you need is this four-bladed terror from the sky; the remote controlled X-UFO from Firebox.

The X-UFO can be operated 4 to 5 minutes on rechargable batteries depending on flying conditions. It uses 4 X AA batteries and a 12V NiMH rechargeable battery and can be operated up to 300 feet away via the rechargeable remote.

The X-UFO costs 119.95 (around $225). You’ll have to rig up your own teenie weenie wireless webcam (or camphone). The $129 Concord DVx digital camera (with two AAA batteries), records 640×480 MPEG-4 on an SD card, for example. Samsung has a website dedicated to their their solid-state Sport Camcorder.

A helium balloon might be more practical as a platform for aerial photography, but the X-UFO sports a killer bonus; powerful LEDs that makes it look like an invader from Mars.