Halloween 2011

For Halloween 2011, Tyler Card designed a wearable camera costume using a Nikon DSLR and an old laptop.

NASA engineer Mark Rober used some red sauce and two iPad 2s that makes it look as though he has a vast, open, and bloody wound through the core of his torso.

Here’s Google’s Halloween Doodle:

In other news, Mexico’s powerful Zetas drug cartel has created plenty of enemies, but now have a new adversary: the hacker collective Anonymous.

In a video uploaded Oct. 6, an Anonymous spokesperson said that unless the Zetas release one of the group’s members, the group will reveal the photos, names and addresses of Zetas-affiliated cops and taxi drivers.

Carriers Kill Free Wi-Fi

Carrier provided Wi-Fi solutions continue to gain momentum among service providers around the world, pushing out free public WiFi for paid, carrier-connected service.

Shaw Communications of Canada is conducting a trail of HotSpot 2.0 enabled by Cisco (pdf). It will enable automatic authentication ONLY for Shaw customers using smartphones and tablets.

Shaw and Cisco plan to deploy pay Wi-Fi networks throughout Western Canada. Cisco’s Ray Smets (below) explains their “carrier-grade” WiFi solution for service providers.

Cisco’s Service Provider Wi-Fi system features:

  • Increase revenue through subscriber retention
  • Protect the network with network-wide security
  • Increase capacity using unlicensed spectrum
  • Persistent IP device authentication and roaming
  • Centralized configuration and management

Other carriers utilizing “unlicensed” WiFi technology include Ruckus Wireless which was selected by The Cloud, the UK’s largest public access Wi-Fi provider, to supply indoor WiFi, expanding its nationwide Wi-Fi network.

The Cloud provides public Wi-Fi — for its subscribers.

Other carrier-controlled WiFi networks include:

With the development of 802.11n, one WiFi network can now hog ALL the available channels on the unlicensed 2.4 GHz band, effectively eliminating nearby “free” competition in a mall or other public place. Ruckus says beamforming is a solution.

Another solution would be to use the carriers’ own licensed frequencies – with femtocells.

According to anew report by In-Stat Research entitled “Wi-Fi Hotspots: the Mobile Operator’s 3G Offload Alternative,” worldwide hotspot venues are projected to increase to over 1.2 million venues in 2015 from under 421,000 in 2010. Usage will follow similar growth, increasing from four billion connects in 2010 to 120 billion connects by 2015.

AT&T Expands LTE with 4G Phones

AT&T will release its first 4G LTE smartphones and expand its LTE network to nine additional markets on November 6. The Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket and the HTC Vivid are both compatible with AT&T’s HSPA+ and LTE networks and run Android Gingerbread.

The Galaxy S II Skyrocket features a 4.5-inch Super AMOLED Plus (800×480 pixels) touch screen, a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, and 16GB of internal memory, with an expansion slot. It has an 8-megapixel camera capable of 1080p HD video capture and a front-facing 2-megapixel camera. Pricing for the Skyrocket is $249.99 with a two-year contract.

The HTC Vivid costs $199.99 on contract, and features a 4.5-inch qHD (540×960 pixels) touch screen a 1.2GHz dual-core processor. It also has an 8-megapixel camera, along with a f2.2 28mm lens for better low-light performance, and 16GB of internal memory with expansion capabilities.

Data plans start at $15 per month for the DataPlus plan, which gets you 200MB of data. You can get an additional 200MB of data for $15. For DataPro plan offers 2GB of data for $25 per month, with the option to purchase another 1GB of data for $10.

AT&T will expand its LTE network to include Boston, Washington D.C., Baltimore, and Athens, Ga on November 6. The company first launched its LTE network on September 18 in five markets–Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, and San Antonio–and plans to reach 15 markets and 70 million Americans by the end of the year.

Incentive Auctions: Going Nuclear

Three incentive auction bills have been introduced in Congress this month. Incentive Auctions would auction off unused television channels and give some of the proceeds to broadcasters.

Under the Administration’s plan, the government would fund a dedicated a $10B, LTE-enabled, first responder broadband network, nationwide. Incentive auctions would raise funds by selling television spectrum.

There are basically two pieces to incentive auctions:

  1. Smaller broadcasters might vacate their dedicated channel and co-habitate on a digitial subchannel on a competitor’s channel.
  2. Currently unused television channels “white spaces” would be sold to the highest bidder (probably big telcos).

Yochai Benkler, Professor of law at Harvard University, says “incentive auctions” threaten the future of wireless innovation. Here’s an excerpt (edited for brevity) from the Huffington Post article.

The proposed spectrum auctions are being promoted under the false premise that boosting mobile broadband, smart grid communications, inventory management systems, mobile payments, and health monitoring requires auctioning exclusive pieces of licensed spectrum.

In reality, these markets are fast developing through unlicensed wireless applications, like WiFi. When the iPhone crashed AT&T’s mobile broadband capacity, the company didn’t buy more spectrum on secondary markets; it used WiFi to carry much of the data. In the past year WiFi traffic on AT&T’s hotspots has tripled.

Today, about half of iPhone and 90 percent of iPad page views are carried over WiFi. Indeed, almost two-thirds of all smartphone and tablet data traffic is carried over WiFi rather than over the carriers’ networks, whose hunger is driving the demand for auctioning TV bands.

In Japan, a good place to see the near future of mobile broadband, the second largest mobile carrier contracted a California firm to roll out 100,000 hotspots as a core strategy for its next generation mobile broadband network.

But it’s not only mobile broadband. When you use your E-Z Pass at a toll booth or Speedpass at the gas station, you use unlicensed technology like WiFi, but in a different band.

As the deficit supercommittee searches every corner to make budgetary ends meet, one solution they are considering, “incentive auctions” of the TV bands, could threaten the future of wireless innovation.

The last Republican and current Democratic FCC chairs presided over the bipartisan creation of TV White Spaces, a policy that permits device manufacturers to expand the capabilities of unlicensed devices by sharing the TV bands with broadcasters.

The TV Band auctions being pushed through the supercommittee threaten to displace these white space devices. As we look at the enormous success of unlicensed wireless strategies across the most dynamic markets, we see that doing so is penny wise, pound foolish.

Not only will auctions burden development of unlicensed strategies, if the last major auction is any indication, they will allow AT&T and Verizon to foreclose competition in their markets.

In the United States, unused “white space” television frequencies are primarily in the UHF band. The White Spaces Coalition consists of eight large technology companies that includes Microsoft, Google, Dell, HP, Intel, Philips, Earthlink, and Samsung. Various proposals, including IEEE 802.11af, IEEE 802.22 and those from the White Spaces Coalition, have advocated different standards for the United States.

Another plan, made up of mostly low-power television stations and backed by Sinclair Broadcast Group. They want a piece of the auction, too. Neither Broadcasters or LPTV operators paid taxpayers one dime to use [OUR] spectrum. Now they want taxpayers to pay THEM. Talk about hubris!

President Obama included authorization for incentive wireless spectrum auctions and spectrum reallocation for public safety as part of his American Jobs Act. Microsoft seems generally supportive of incentive auctions. Others are not.

Here’s an alternative two step plan:

  1. Carriers build out D Block. Carriers – even content providers like Apple, Amazon, Google and Microsoft – may pay for the privileged of building out a shared 700 MHz D-block network — saving taxpayers perhaps $10 billion.
  2. White Space is free. Half the television spectrum might be reserved for “unlicensed” white space. That might save taxpayers billions in Universal Service Fees, now used to subsidize broadband to rural users. Large carriers, willing to pay big bucks for spectrum, will pass on that cost to consumers.

Shared D Block would enhance broadband for everyone. Carriers pay for it, saving $10 billion. With unlicensed “free” white space spectrum (like Wi-Fi), consumers wouldn’t need USF government subsidies – saving another $5 billion. At least $15 billion would be saved to pay off the debt in this alternative approach.

The White House spectrum plan gives first responders their own 700 MHz LTE network. But rural citizens would be locked out of commercial 700 MHz LTE access — and they would be locked out of [free] unlicensed “white space” broadband access.

What kind of deal is that? What’s in it for consumers or entrepreneurs? Nothing.

Large telecom companies may soon eliminate “free” Wi-Fi by installing company owned and operated hotspots. Now big telecoms want to control the new “white space” band. Since “white spaces” can cover several city blocks and penetrate walls, it may represent an even bigger threat to telecom revenue.

The fact is “free” spectrum helped create one of the biggest economic booms in the history of the nation. Congress may sell this golden goose for a quick buck.

Related stories on DailyWireless include; FCC: Spectrum for Sale , NTIA “Finds” 1.5 GHz of Federal Spectrum, White Space Trialed, D-Block Legislation Stalled , Broadband Disability Act, Public Service Radio Convention, Public Safety Net Removed from Debt Ceiling Bill, D-Block Gets a Hearing, National Wireless Initiative, White House: D-Block to Police/Fire, State of the Spectrum, Mobile: Trillion Dollar Industry, White Space War, White Space To Go, White Spaces Get IEEE Standard, FCC Okays White Spaces , White Spaces: It’s The Law, NAB to FCC: White Spaces Illegal, Free White Space Mapping

TelcoTV: Here Comes 802.11ac

TelcoTV, the largest video conference focused on the U.S. service provider market, celebrated its tenth anniversary in New Orleans this week. The three day conference included vendor-hosted workshops, a Cloud Services summit, TelcoTV learning tracks, and keynote presentations.

Nir Shapira, CTO of Celeno Communications, explains the latest WiFi standard – 802.11ac – in Converge. It will likely be the preferred wireless tv delivery method in homes.

The 802.11n standard, utilizing Multiple Input, Multiple Output (MIMO) technology, has become the cornerstone of many IPTV home networks, since it boosts speed significantly over earlier WiFi standards.

While 802.11n was the first standard to introduce the concept of MIMO, 802.11ac will offer several improvements over 802.11n.

The main 802.11ac benefit is better throughput. The committee targeted compressed video delivery on multiple channels. Compressed video streaming usually does not require more than ~80Mbps of aggregate throughput (assuming an average HD video stream is compressed to 10-20 Mbps), but it needs to deliver this relatively modest throughput to the edge of the home.

The main improvement in 802.11ac is wider bandwidth (BW) channels. A mandatory 80 MHz bandwidth mode has been defined, doubling the maximum of 40MHz BW supported by 802.11n.

With mandatory 80Mhz BW, operation in the 2.4GHz band is practically impossible, so 802.11ac is targeted to operate solely in the 5GHz band. At 5 GHz, spectrum is available to accommodate up to four non-overlapping 80MHz channels in Europe and five 80MHz channels in the US.

It is yet to be seen how efficient the usage of 80MHz channels will be in dense environments. Where operation runs into problems, it will fall back to 40MHz. An optional 160MHz BW mode was also defined which is less able to handle interference.

A high level of performance can be achieved with less transmit or receive antennas compared with 802.11n, resulting in more cost-effective devices.

The expected PHY throughput for various BW and MIMO dimension options. However, 2×2 80 MHz is still inferior to 3×3 40MHz. It is therefore expected that 802.11ac devices targeting video delivery applications will not rely on 2×2 or 1×1 radio configurations and will consist of at least 3 radios on the video source side of the link.

Similarly to 802.11n, 11ac will support the optional features of LDPC coding and beamforming. LDPC is an advanced coding method that typically achieves an additional gain of 2dBs compared with the mandatory convolution code that was inherited from the legacy 802.11a/g standard and is usually still used by most 802.11n devices.

Beamforming is a method by which a multi-antenna transmitter focuses the transmitted energy towards the target device antennas, and is the theoretically optimal transmission scheme in a MIMO channel. Instead of blindly emitting energy in all directions, the transmitter uses a concrete channel estimation to shape the transmission. Beamfoming gain is significant across all the relevant signal-to-noise (SNR) range and is at least 5dBs.

The new multi user (MU) mode is considered a true breakthrough. Termed MU-MIMO (distinguished from the single-user (SU) beamforming mode inherited from 802.11n, this new mode can deliver several simultaneous data streams to several different users simultaneously.

While in SU-MIMO mode (as in 802.11n), three spatial streams required three receive antennas, in MU-MIMO mode three spatial streams can be delivered simultaneously to three single antenna users, thus reducing dramatically the overall complexity of a home network.

The main promise in 802.11ac might be the adoption of optional modes in 802.11n like beamforming and LDPC. These technologies are already being used successfully in a handful of video delivery devices today on top of 11n, so the main benefit from 11ac is interoperability. Together, these two technologies can quadruple link performance in a typical home environment and significantly improve reach and robustness.

In-Stat estimates that nearly 350 million routers, client devices and attached modems with 11ac will ship annually by 2015, following a sharp curve up from about 1 million units in 2012, probably the first year when 11ac products will be sold, Dickson said.

But even in 2015, shipments of 11n will outnumber sales of the new technology, with an expected 1.5 billion products equipped with 11n, more than double the estimated 700 million in 2011. The 802.11ac standard will be backward compatible with 11n, and products are likely to support both.

Halloween Apps

Here are some Android and iPhone apps to get you into the Halloween spirit. Compiled from Mashable, Top Free Halloween iPad Apps, ZD Net, Handango App Store, Apple App Store, Amazon Mobile Apps, and Android Marketplace.

  • Trick or Tracker allows you to sync your phone with your kids’ and receive text updates on their location; kids can locate the parents too. The app will also notify parents if the kids venture outside a pre-set boundary (Android, $4.99)
  • Google Latitude Lets you link locations. The transmission can be one way (you can see your kids but they can’t see you), or both ways (everyone can see everyone). For Android, Apple, BlackBerry and other devices, free)
  • SecuraFone (iPhone and Android, $8.99 per month) lets you create a virtual fence and notifies you when it’s breached.
  • Guards Up, a perimeter tracking capability to let you know if your little monster has stayed within the agreed upon trick-or-treating zone or has strayed out of it
  • Halloween Sound Box Play 84 awesome HIGH quality spooky sound effects; witches cackle or classic scary movie sounds (Free)
  • Carve-a-Pumpkin the easiest — and safest (no knives involved!) — way to make jack-o-lanterns (Free)
  • Haunted Halloween Wallpapers Decorate your iPhone with high qualityg Halloween wallpapers
  • Haunted Face – transform your face into a 3D animated ghost. You can even record and share your ghoulish videos to spook your friends ($0.99)
  • DJ Halloween Sound effects will loop continuously. Choose more than one button to create your own halloween mix ($0.99)
  • Haunted Houses, Ghost Tours find a spooky location near any area ($2.99)
  • Halloween Costume Catalog Just shake for a costume. There are over 100 options for both men and women–some spooky, others silly (Free)
  • Angry Birds Seasons all tricks and no treats for the pigs ($0.99)
  • Ghost Radar ($0.99): Detect paranormal activity for the iPhone, iPod touch, iPads.
  • Halloween Gourmet 30 delicious recipes for Halloween ($1.99 for iPad)
  • HauntedFace for iPhone and iPod touch transforms 2D portrait images into frighteningly realistic 3D ghosts.
  • ZombieBooth features over 50 ghastly variations of the undead, each with the ability to blink, scowl, breathe and growl erratically or as the user interacts with them.
  • Facinate Halloween – lets you add goofy costume props to your photos.