Hotspot 2.0 Streamlines New User Accounts

The Wi-Fi Alliance has expanded its Passpoint program, which provides seamless connection and WPA2 security, to include a streamlined method to establish new user accounts and connect Wi-Fi-only devices.

The WiFi Alliance is a non-profit trade organization formed to provide interoperability between device and promote the benefits of WiFi. The new features in Passpoint are particularly valuable to mobile and fixed operators, and open opportunities for other sectors, says the organization.

“Wi-Fi-first” business models have provided a disruptive counterpoint to traditional operator services, and retailers are deploying Wi-Fi as a way to improve customer engagement, says The Alliance. Wi-Fi roaming agreements among service providers are emerging as an important complement to traditional cellular roaming.

“Enthusiasm for Passpoint from both mobile and fixed operators continues to mount, and the strategic value of Passpoint extends into new segments as well,” said Edgar Figueroa, CEO of Wi-Fi Alliance. “What makes the new features exciting is that they empower businesses to realize the powerful commercial impact that Wi-Fi can offer by giving them the ability to engage with customers on a new platform in a secure and streamlined fashion.”

Passpoint was launched in 2012 and is based on Wi-Fi Alliance’s Hotspot 2.0 Technical Specification. Fixed and mobile operators, including Boingo, Orange, SK Telecom, and Time Warner Cable. More than 20 operators are now participating in Wi-Fi roaming trials based on Passpoint.

The Passpoint program expansion builds on its foundational authentication and security mechanisms, adding features that make Passpoint more versatile and scalable:

  • Online sign-up and immediate account provisioning: Passpoint now enables a streamlined process to establish a new user account at the point of access.
  • Secure registration: The process of establishing a new account or connecting a second device takes place securely.
  • Operator policy: Passpoint now includes the capability for service providers to distribute their specific subscriber policies, such as which networks to join and in what order of preference.

The Passpoint certification program test suite includes support from Aruba Networks, Broadcom, Cisco, Ericsson, Intel, Marvell, MediaTek, Qualcomm Atheros, and Ruckus Wireless.

iPhone 6 Approved for China

Apple® today announced that iPhone 6 and 6 Plus will be available in China beginning Friday, October 17 for all three major carriers. With support for TD-LTE and FDD-LTE, the new iPhones will provide access to the 4G/LTE networks from China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom across mainland China.

Reuters reports the phones received regulator scrutiny requiring Apple to reassure the Chinese government that the smartphones did not have security “backdoors” through which U.S. agencies can access users’ data.

In July, Chinese state media accused Apple of providing user data to U.S. agencies and called for ‘severe punishment’. Apple responded by publicly denying the existence of backdoors.

Apple won approval to sell the phones after also addressing risks of personal information leaks related to the operating system’s diagnostic tools, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) said on its website on Tuesday.

Apple earlier this month was hiring a head of law enforcement in Beijing to deal with user data requests from China’s government, reports Reuters, after it began storing private data on Chinese soil for the first time last month.

China iPhone Launch Delayed: Threat to National Security?

Apple is facing a potential setback in China, reports the NY Times, delaying the introductions of the new iPhone models in China.

On Wednesday, Apple told China’s three big state-owned mobile service providers that it would not release the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in mainland China on Sept. 19, when sales start elsewhere. The carriers had already booked advertising campaigns for the phones.

Apple did not explain the delay, executives at the carriers said, but it appeared the phones had not received approval from Chinese regulators.

The Chinese leadership and the state-controlled news media grew wary of foreign technology providers after revelations last year by Edward J. Snowden of American cyberspying. In July, CCTV, the main state-controlled television network, broadcast a report saying that the iPhone could represent a threat to China’s national security. The accusations were promptly rejected by Apple.

Apple declined to comment on Wednesday, as did representatives for China’s three main mobile carriers, China Mobile, China Telecom, and China Unicom.

In 2012, the US Intelligence Committee declared Huawei & ZTE Security Threats.

Huawei and Bain Capital Partners were forced to give up their bid in 2008 for computer-equipment maker 3Com after the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States raised objections. Huawei dropped plans to buy certain assets from 3Leaf Systems, a computer services company, after more problems with the foreign investment panel. Sprint eliminated Huawei as vendor in its massive Network Vision upgrade, after pressure from the government.

Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), an outspoken critic of N.S.A. surveillance, noted that the report flatly declared that the phone-logging program had not been necessary in stopping terrorist attacks.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper condemned Snowden’s actions as having done “huge, grave damage” to US intelligence capabilities, while lying to Congress.

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California Mandates Smartphone Kill Switch

California Governor Jerry Brown signed a law that will mandate all smartphones to come with a kill switch by July 2015. Kill switch software allows consumers to disable a phone after the device has been reported stolen and reactivate it only with a correct password or personal identification number.

The bill, introduced by State Senator Mark Leno, would be the strongest attempt yet by a U.S. state to fight smartphone theft, which accounts for more than half of crimes in several of the state’s largest cities.

Lawmakers believe that allowing smartphones owners to render their device unusable after it is stolen will reduce the appeal to thieves, who won’t be able to use or sell them.

If triggered by an authorized user, the kill switch will lock a handset and essentially make it useless. The feature must be installed and activated in new smartphones, but users will be able to deactivate it if they desire, and it must be resistant to attempts to reinstall the operating system.

The law doesn’t specify how the system locks the phone, nor what happens to the data on the phone when it’s locked. Each manufacturer can come up with their own system. It gives police the ability to cut off phone service in certain situations and typically requires a court order.

Minnesota enacted a similar law earlier this year, and the CTIA Wireless Association said all carriers will support kill switches by July 2015. The wireless industry removed its opposition to the bill after legislators agreed to postpone its effective date until July of 2015.

Apple already added a kill switch, called Activation lock, and Google and Microsoft are working on similar tools for Android and Windows Phone.

The four major U.S. wireless carriers (AT&T Mobility, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless), had already begun to implement a comprehensive stolen-phone blacklist.

The IMEI number (International Mobile Station Equipment Identity) is used by a GSM network to identify valid devices and can be used for stopping a stolen phone from accessing that network. The IMEI number is only used for identifying the device and has no permanent relation to the subscriber. The subscriber is identified by transmission of an IMSI number (International Mobile Subscriber Identity), which is stored on a SIM card that can (in theory) be transferred to any handset.

If a mobile phone is stolen, the owner can call their network provider and instruct them to “blacklist” the phone using its IMEI number. This renders the phone useless whether or not the phone’s SIM is changed.

But thieves can change a stolen phone’s IMEI number so that it won’t be recognized as a stolen device, or can ship it overseas where the blacklist has no bite.

Vehicle-to-Vehicle Network Proposed for United States

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is seeking input about a possible federal standard for vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications, which would let cars automatically exchange information, such as whether they’re close to each other.

On Monday, the NHTSA published a research report and issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) in hopes of collecting a lot of feedback before issuing a full NPRM in 2016.

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said the technology holds the potential to significantly reduce crashes, injuries and deaths on the nation’s streets and highways.

Vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications utilizes a wireless network where automobiles send messages to each other. Traffic signals or other stationary devices are called V2I, or vehicle to infrastructure.

A transponder would continually transmit the vehicle’s position, heading, speed and other information 10 times per second in all directions. It has a range around 1000 feet or about 10 seconds at highway speeds.

Vehicle-to-vehicle communications uses dedicated short-range communications (DSRC), using the 5.9GHz band, which is close to the new, higher power 5 GHz WiFi band authorized by the FCC. Proposed FCC rules would increase power for the U-NII-3 band–5.725-5.850 MHz, but it is drawing heavy criticism from highway advocates and wireless ISPs. The highway administration is concerned about possible DSRC interference from more powerful outdoor WiFi in the adjacent 5 GHz band.

The Association of Global Automakers has expressed concerns about more power in the adjacent 5 GHz WiFi band.

The TIA believes that the FCC acted correctly to promote use of the 5 GHz band by unlicensed devices, including allowing operations up to 5850 MHz which is adjacent to the automakers’ DSRC / U-NII-4 spectrum (5850-5925 MHz)

V2V would be a mesh network, meaning every node (car, smart traffic signal, etc.) could send, capture and retransmit signals. Five to 10 hops on the network would gather traffic conditions a mile ahead. That’s enough time for even the most distracted driver to take his foot off the gas. On the first cars, V2V warnings might come to the driver as an alert, perhaps a red light that flashes in the instrument panel, or an amber then red alert for escalating problems.

The intelligent highway communications network (using the 5.9 GHz band) is not directly connected to a car’s infotainment system which uses Bluetooth, WiFi and 4G commercial networks for passenger entertainment.

Five years ago infotainment ranked 27th on a list of features most cars shopper wanted. Now it’s in the top five.

According to research firm Analysys Mason, 11.5 million connected cars will ship this year, growing to around 170 million in 2023. General Motors’ OnStar service currently has 6 million customers. Worldwide sales of HUD-equipped cars will increase from 1.2 million units in 2012 to 9.1 million in 2020.

Here’s My Proposal for self-driving cars in Portland. See Dailywireless stories on Vehicle to Vehicle Communications: Moving Forward?, FCC Moves to Add 195 MHz to Unlicensed 5 GHz band, World Congress on Talking Cars, and 5.9 GHz Hits the Road, Inside Google’s Driverless Car, Driverless Cars Rolling Out in UK, Autonet Does Control and Diagnostic Apps, Verizon Forms Connected Car Venture, Automotive Telematics Goes 4G, Ford Lowers SYNC Costs, Google’s Driverless Car Explained, World Congress on Talking Cars, Connected Car Conference

Commercial Space Goes Higher Rez

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket make a soft splashdown in the ocean after delivering six ORBCOMM OG2 satellites to space.

A newly released video shows a view of the splashdown, which took place on July 14, in the Atlantic Ocean, on Spaceflight.com.

The July 14 launch with six Orbcomm communications satellites showed video of key milestones in the descent, such as two ignitions of the first stage to slow down the rocket.

In other news, an Atlas 5 rocket carrying DigitalGlobe’s WorldView-3 satellite, the most powerful Earth-imaging satellite yet for the commercial market, blasted off from California last Wednesday, by rocket-builder United Launch Alliance, a forced marriage between Lockheed Martin and Boeing.

WorldView-3 features a state-of-the-art multi-spectral imaging system, a high-speed data downlink operating at 1.2 gigabits per second and control moment gyroscopes that will allow ground controllers to quickly re-orient the spacecraft for on-demand observations. From an altitude of nearly 400 miles it will be able to image the entire planet as it rotates below. The satellite is capable of seeing objects just 25cm (10 inches) across and was launched by a Russian-built RD-180 first-stage engine.

The US Commerce Department, which licenses American commercial satellite imagery providers, says DigitalGlobe must wait six months before putting out any 31cm products. Previously, DigitalGlobe was only licensed to sell images with a resolution below 50 cm to the US military.

Its main competitor in Europe is Airbus Defence and Space, which have various satellites that can capture 70cm imagery (re-sampled to 50cm) with its Pleiades-HR Optical Imaging Constellation. Pléiades 1A and Pléiades 1B provide coverage of Earth’s surface with a repeat cycle of 26 days.

China will launch Gaofen-2 this year, the 2nd of five or six satellites to be launched for 1 meter Earth observation before 2016.

Then there is a raft of smaller operators with systems that generally work at 1m and above, with one or two now providing satellite video as well.

San Francisco-based Skybox Imaging, recently bought by Google, has video of Earth acquired by its small, free-flying SkySat-1 satellite.

Planet Labs, another San Francisco venture, has a “flock” of 28 nano-satellite imagers in orbit. The 28 satellites that make up Planet Lab’s Flock 1 were carried aboard Orbital Sciences’ robotic Cygnus vessel on a run to the space station. All 28 satellites orbit at an altitude of 400 kilometers, powered by solar panels. CubeSats allow scientists to measure multiple data points that would be unobtainable otherwise.

Satellite fleet operator SES has ordered its first high-throughput satellite. SES-12, recently ordered from Airbus, is scheduled for launch in late 2017 to SES’s 95 degrees east slot covering the Asia-Pacific region, with 14 gigahertz of spot-beam capacity — 70 Ku-band beams and 11 Ka-band beams. NSR’s newly released UltraHD via Satellite, 2nd Edition, forecasts over 820 channels of UltraHD content via Satellite by 2025, with Direct to Home (DTH) leading the charge.

A pair of covertly developed inspector satellites to monitor activities in geosynchronous orbit for U.S. Strategic Command blasted were launched on July 28th. The mission is scheduled to last one year.

Some 170 countries now have at least one satellite of their own and 11 nations have the capability to launch a spacecraft into orbit, said commander Gen. William Shelton, adding that with space launch also comes missile technology and the potential for anti-satellite shootdowns.

Presumably, the actual mission of the Angels Satellites is to blow up stuff. Not that any Lockheed, Boeing or retired military would personally benefit from any “space war”. After all, they appear to be on the same side as the Russians.

Engadget has a new Space page with current news, but Space Daily, SpaceFlightNow and Aviation Week are among the most comprehensive resources. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk often tweets after launches.

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