Automotive Telematics: Growing Connections

The Open Automotive Alliance (OAA), the Google initiative to boost the use of Android devices in cars, is making headway with Volkswagen and Volvo the latest to join. Google’s alliance, established in January, now has 35 members, including most of the world’s major car brands.

Android is the dominant operating systems for smartphones worldwide. LG is joining Google’s Auto Alliance, as well.

Kia, whose parent company Hyundai is a founding OAA member, said its infotainment integration will be one of the first products to emerge from the alliance. Starting in 2015, the Korean brand will offer Android Auto in select models in the US.

Google’s attempts at “owning” a car’s dashboard will compete with Apple as well. Volvo will let both devices be seamlessly connected. Volvo reaffirmed that all models based on its new scalable product architecture will offer Apple CarPlay access as well. And Audi announced this week it will integrate both the Google Android Auto and Apple CarPlay into its Audi Multi Media Interface (MMI).

The mapping industry got a jolt last week when Google purchased startup Skybox Imaging for $500 million. The acquisition has the potential to completely redefine expectations for online maps, with every city, street, even individual home or business viewable in near real-time.

In November, Skybox sent its first Earth observation satellite, SkySat-1, on a Russian Dnepr rocket. Skybox provides sub-meter imagery as well as 90-second videos from its network of satellites.

The U.S. government’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration plans to bring vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication to lower accident rates. But when and how this will happen remains unclear.

Meanwhile, Intel, Qualcomm and Nvidia are finding it harder to make inroads into the auto industry, reports Bloomberg.

The main hurdle, according to Bloomberg, is the industry’s safety and reliability standards, which far exceed those for computers or phones. Instead, most of the electronic components are provided by longtime suppliers, like Freescale, Renesas Electronics and STMicroelectronics, which have proven track records.

Intel’s general manager for datacenters explains how the chipmaker plans to crunch boatloads of data spewing from sensors. They’ll compete with Qualcomm’s 4G LTE, WiFi and DSRC solutions for connected cars and Nvidia’s Jetson platform.

The market for automotive chips is projected to grow 6.1 percent to $27.9 billion this year, according to IHS Corp. Within that business, sales of chips for automated driver-assistance systems, or ADAS, will increase an average of 13 percent a year through 2020, making it the fastest-growing area.

WiFi Roaming Between San Franciso & San Jose

Ruckus Wirelesstoday announced a major initiative with the City and County of San Francisco, the City of San José and Global Reach Technology to create the first large-scale municipal Hotspot 2.0 service that allows millions of visitors and residents to automatically and securely connect to and seamlessly roam using San José and San Francisco free Wi-Fi services. The new Hotspot 2.0 service is now live and operational.

Hotspot 2.0, developed by the Wi-Fi Alliance simplifies and automates how users securely connect to and roam between Wi-Fi networks.

Leveraging new Hotspot 2.0 technology, users in San Francisco and San José now can enjoy seamless and secure Wi-Fi data connectivity. The initial Bay Area Wi-Fi Hotspot 2.0 deployment supports Hotspot 2.0 enabled iOS 7 devices (iPhone 5/5s/5c, iPad 3, iPad Mini, iPad Air, iPad Mini Retina, and iPod Touch 5th Gen) as well as Apple laptops running OS X Mavericks.

“With the adoption of Hotspot 2.0, we are literally transforming the user Wi-Fi experience,” said Vijay Sammeta, Chief Information Officer for the City of San José. “Hotspot 2.0 makes our infrastructure smarter by eliminating tedious and cumbersome device configuration. Now people can securely connect to and roam using our networks in a transparent fashion. Things don’t get much easier.”

“With this Hotspot 2.0 network in place, we expect more and more peering with other network and authentication providers which will allow us to realize our collective vision for global Wi-Fi roaming,” added Flavio Aggio, Chief Technology Officer for the Department of Technology of the City of San Francisco.

Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi equipment, which has been Passpoint™ Certified by the Wi-Fi Alliance, is being used to power the new Hotspot 2.0 service. Authentication services are being provided through a cloud-based system operated by Global Reach, a Ruckus technology partner.

The Global Reach software platform includes the AAA servers (Authentication, Authorization and Accounting), Hotspot 2.0 device detection, and landing pages with the Hotspot 2.0 token. Users simply click to connect securely. Global Reach then provides each user device with a one-time provisioning file that automatically configures the requisite Wi-Fi settings and encryption without any human intervention.

Once a guest registers and is provisioned with the Hotspot 2.0 credential, they can automatically and securely connect to either of the cities’ WLAN infrastructures whenever they are in range.

WiMax Forum Objects to “Citizens Band” on 3.65-3.70 GHz

The WiMAX Forum, the global body that certifies and promotes products based on the 802.16 standard, is urging the FCC not to include the 3.65-3.7 GHz spectrum band in the anticipated 3.55-3.65 GHz Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS).

The 3.5G industry has already matured with 11 commercial networks globally, such as Relish in London, and the world’s first 3.5GHz Smartphone.

The 3.5 GHz Interest Group promotes LTE TDD spectrum bands 42 and 43. Global harmonization of 3.5 GHz spectrum will enable sharing of costs, particularly for chipsets and terminals.

The FCC hopes to add an additional 50 MHz from 3650-3700 MHz, in the Citizens Broadband Service. That includes incumbent WiMax operators. The proposed Citizens Broadband rules cover the spectrum between 3550 MHz and 3650 MHz, and the FCC seeks comment on extending the proposed service to 3700 MHz.

The FCC hopes to make 150 MHz available in the 3.5 GHz band and proposed a three-tiered access and sharing model comprised of federal and non-federal incumbents, priority access licensees, and general authorized access users.

The general public would be allowed access to the band on an “opportunistic basis” within designated geographic areas, but they would have to live with the interference caused by other users. Because the federal use in this band occurs primarily around the coasts, the FCC sees it as an opportunity for testing shared wireless broadband.

Small cells are a big driver of the new band, according to the FCC.

Current users in the 3650-3700 MHz band would be reclassified as general authorized access users. Incumbents in the 3.65 GHz band include Utilities and Oil and Gas companies, and hundreds of small Wireless Internet Service Providers mainly serving rural users.

“There are over 2,000 registrants currently in the 3.65 GHz FCC database, with over 100 Utilities as incumbent operators in this band,” said Declan Byrne, President of the WiMAX Forum. “The FCC is embarking on an innovative, but untested plan for spectrum sharing through dynamic spectrum management and the auctioning of one-year licenses for the 3.55 -3.65 GHz CBRS band.

“We simply advise caution from proceeding too rapidly into untested waters. Sandbox the innovation to the 3.55-3.65 GHz band, where such a novel approach is clearly necessary. There is time down the road to expand the CBRS with the additional 3.65 GHz spectrum if the new rules and processes work out,” concluded Byrne.

Still, some 50-60 percent of the U.S. population will not be able to use the 3.5 GHz band which is often used by million watt ship and aircraft radar. That generally eliminates commercial use along coasts and near DOD training sites. The Navy’s Aegis Spy Radar operates in S-band, from about 3.1 to 3.5 GHz using a 400 MHz wideband waveform constructed from ten 40 MHz bandwidth pulses frequency jumping from 3.1 to 3.5 GHz.

The 3.5 GHz Interest Group promotes LTE TDD spectrum bands 42 and 43. The Citizens Broadband Radio Service would essentially expand unlicensed frequencies, using spectrum sharing, with database technology similar to that developed for White Spaces.

Deployment of public access small cells will rise from under 30,000 in 2011 to 11.3 million in 2016, amounting to a capex spend of almost $4 billion, according to Maravedis, and will be partly driven by the availability of more spectrum, including 100MHz in the 3.5GHz band.

Another band being eyed for sharing between government users and commercial interests is the 4.9 GHz band, which consists of a contiguous block of 50 MHz located at 4940-4990 MHz and is currently designated for public-safety fixed and mobile uses.

In July 2012, a Presidential Commission recommended that the Federal Government identify 1,000 megahertz of federal spectrum for shared use to create “the first shared use spectrum superhighways.”

Related Dailywireless articles include; FCC Opens 3.5 GHz for Shared Access, FCC Boss Wheeler Pushes for 3.5 GHz Spectrum Sharing, FCC Paves Way for 3.5GHz Band Nationwide, FCC Dishes Dirt, Talks Up 3.5 GHz, FCC Limits Dish on LTE Terrestrial Spectrum, Dish: On the Move, Dish and Sprint Battle over PCS band Extension, FCC Approves 2.3 GHz for AT&T, AT&T Likely to Get 2.3 GHz, Sprint’s Dish Compromise, MetroPCS Merges with T-Mobile USA, T-Mobile Gets AWS Spectrum from Breakup, FirstNet: The Asymetrical Threat, Spectrum War: Unlicensed, Shared and Auctioned, White Spaces: Nationwide by Mid January, FCC: TV Auction in 2014, Genachowski Lobbies for Unlicensed White Spaces, Universal Service Reform Passed

Google I/O: Multi-headed Hydra

Today in San Francisco at Google I/O 2014, Google kicked off their 7th annual I/O developers conference. This year, they’re focusing on three key themes: design, develop, and distribute.

Android Version 5.0, dubbed “L”, featuring a further refined interface called Material Design, additional tools and APIs for developers, and a new runtime that is optimized for 64-bit processing. More details will be available tomorrow.

The company also provided additional details on Google Play Services 5.0 with enhanced services for Android wearables to easily communicate and sync. Android Wear is its platform for wearable devices like smart watches, while a new program called Google Fit collects Android users’ health and fitness data.

Google also announced Android Auto, its initiative to install Android functions into vehicles, Android TV with features full Google Cast support, so you can also use it just like a Chromecast. It also lets Android apps control TVs.

The Android One program will develop low-cost Android phones. Google is initially teaming up with Indian smartphone makers like Karbonn and Spice. A Micromax Android One device was demoed with dual-SIM and SD card slots, a 4.5-inch display and FM radio priced at just $100.

Google’s announcements enhance Android smartphones as the hub of a wide range of electronic devices. It faces competition from Apple’s iOS as well as Microsoft’s Windows Phone, Tizen, Firefox, Ubuntu and other alternative smartphone platforms.

However, much of Google’s business is focused around mobile advertising, and in that area the company continues to face challenges, writes Mike Dano of Fierce Wireless.

According to eMarketer, Google’s remains the most dominant company in the digital advertising space, but its position is slipping. In 2014, Google will take 31.5 percent of the $140.2 billion global advertising market, down from 31.9 percent in 2013, eMarketer estimated.

Mobile will account for 85.9% of digital ad search dollars by 2018, reaching $28.41 billion, according to a new report from eMarketer released today. And Google’s share will fall to 64.2% — down from 82.8% in 2012.

LG’s Smartwatch on Android Wear

Google didn’t give out too much info on the LG G Watch during its I/O keynote, but, LG had plenty to say after the keynote ended, with pricing, availability, and specs for LG’s Android Wear smartwatch.

LG’s smartwatch will be priced at $229 and will ship “around” July 7th. With voice recognition, the LG G Watch can be used without any buttons or keys. Users can send text messages and search for useful information just by saying, “Ok Google”.

The G Watch will feature a 1.65-inch 280×280 resolution “always-on” display and uses an LCD IPS display rather than AMOLED.

LG’s smartwatch is powered by a Snapdragon 400 processor clocked at 1.2GHz, and has 4GB of storage and 512MB of RAM. It measures 37.9 x 46.5 x 9.95mm and weighs 63g, which makes it slightly smaller than the Gear 2. It will come in two colors – White Gold and Black Titan – and is IP67 water resistant. It has a 400mAh battery inside, which is bigger than the Samsung Gear 2 (and Gear Live’s) 300mAh battery.

Netgear Announces Six Antenna WiFi Router

Chipmaker Broadcom, today announced that its latest 5G WiFi chips are used in the NETGEAR Nighthawk X6 WiFi router (R8000) which uses six antennas. In contrast, the ASUS’ RT-AC87U uses Quantenna’s chipset in its new four antenna 802.11ac WiFi router.

Netgear calls it a “Tri-Band” router, referring to the three radios in the XStream architecture, explains Small Net Builder. One radio covers the 2.4 GHz band, while the second radio covers the low 5 GHz band (Channels 36 – 48) and the third radio covers the high band (Channels 149 – 165). NETGEAR’s specs say the R8000 supports alternative distros that will be available from MyOpenRouter.com.

Netgear says the Nighthawk X6 delivers up to 3.2 Gbps, for simultaneous connectivity of Internet of Thing (IoT) devices, online gaming and high definition video streaming to multiple screens. NETGEAR, however, states it will be only “Multi-user MIMO Ready”, so it may not be shipping a full “Wave 2″ device — yet.

Multi-user MIMO allows multiple transmitters to send separate signals and multiple receivers in the same band. By contrast virtually all 802.11ac routers use single-user MIMO where only one client can be served at a time (sequentially). Qualcomm is also working on Wave 2 chips along with software upgrades for its processors and clients.

Both Quantenna and Qualcomm-Atheros have announced four-stream “Wave 2″ 802.11ac chipsets supporting Multi-User MIMO.

Netgear’s Quad-stream Wi-Fi router runs on a 1.4 GHz dual-core processor in contrast with Netgear’s R7000, which is based on a 1 GHz Broadcom BCM4709A SoC. It has two USB 3.0 and one eSATA port for sharing storage and printers. It costs $299 on Amazon with shipments starting July 11.

ABI Research estimates that 40 percent of all ac devices shipped in 2013 were handsets.

After 802.11ac comes 802.11ad, which would add the unlicensed 60 GHz band to Wi-Fi. According to Ali Sadri, Director of the Intel Mobile Wireless Group and Chairman of the WiGig Alliance, WiGig has been confirmed as the baseline specification for draft 802.11ad.

Related Dailywireless articles include; Qualcomm: Chips for MU-MIMO, Small Cells, Home Gateways, WiFi & Hotspot 2.0 at MWC , Netgear Readies Four Radio Router, Marvel 802.11ac: Now with 4×4 Beamforming, Fast Transistion to 802.11ac Predicts ABI, Broadcom 802.11ac for Phones, Netgear 802.11AC WiFi Router, Cisco 802.11ac Router with Cloud Control, Quantenna: 802.11ac Chipset, Buffalo 802.11ac Routers,