Aerohive AP1130: Apocalypse-Proof AC Router

Aerohive Networks, a leader in Wi-Fi and cloud-managed mobile networking, today announced a new outdoor Gigabit Wi-Fi 802.11ac access point designed to provide highly resilient network access in challenging environments and can even be solar powered.

The AP1130 provides high-performance dual band concurrent (2.4GHz and 5GHz) 802.11ac (2×2:2) MIMO and has a 10/100/1000 Ethernet port.

Aerohive says it developed the AP1130 for two reasons:

  • To provide high-speed Wi-Fi to every mobile user, device and application, regardless of location.
  • To create highly resilient, high-speed backhaul connectivity between buildings or campuses.

Aerohive says it reduces obstacles to 802.11ac adoption by offering Gigabit Wi-Fi beyond the constraints of the office walls — and that it’s designed to survive the apocalypse.

The AP1130 is said to provide powerful tools to create connectivity anywhere – including long distance Point-to-Point and Point-to-Multipoint links. With an integrated buzzer to assist with antenna alignment and latency controls to assure high-speed transmission across distance, as well as certified omni-directional and high-power directional antennas, the AP1130 is said to be ready for any type of deployment. They added a directional antenna to ensure highly focused signal between two APs, increasing bandwidth potential.

Aerohive says their solution creates a unified wireless infrastructure for both backhaul and WiFi access. For organizations this means that a single management platform can be used to design, deploy, and support both indoor and outdoor wireless deployments. The AP1130 is available today starting at $1399 US list price.

Facebook Buying Drone Company

TechCrunch has heard that Facebook is buying Titan Aerospace, makers of near-orbital, solar-powered drones. They can fly for five years without needing to land and Facebook may use these high-flying drones to blanket parts of the world without Internet access, beginning with Africa.

Facebook apparently has plans to use 11,000 of these unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), specifically the “Solara 60″ model. According to TechCrunch, Facebook may have paid $60 million for the company. The Solara 50 has a 50 m (164 feet) wingspan. The upper surfaces of its wings and tail are packed with over 3,000 photovoltaic cells capable of generating up to 7 kilowatts. Technology demonstrations has flown with initial commercial operations planned for 2015.

Facebook does not have any plans to build or operate its own wireless network, reports Fierce Wireless. Instead it is working with carriers and partners around the globe to connect more people to the mobile Internet. At Mobile World Congress last week, Chris Weasler, Facebook’s head of global connectivity, said that it’s important for Facebook to focus on what it does best and leave the building of networks to operators.

But that was last week.

The Solara 50 and 60 models can be launched at night, then when the sun rises, they can store enough energy to ascend to 20KM (65,000 feet or about 12 miles) above sea level where they can remain for five years. A repeater on the aircraft re-transmits signals from a “base station” on the ground, which can be picked up by a mobile receiver.

As a communications relay, the Solara offers about an 18-mile radius of coverage easily covering all of New York City’s five boroughs, as shown in the map above. Of course 10 million people can’t simultaneously access one cell tower 12 miles away.

TriLumina’s “Light Engine” may provide up to 40 Gbps interlinks between the SOLARA nodes. “TriLumina’s optical backhaul technology will allow each SOLARA in a constellation to have aggregate access to a total of 120 Gbps via interlinks with its 4 neighboring constellation nodes,” Kyocera’s ultra-efficient macro base station, weighs less than 18 kg and uses only 211 watts or less power. It was shown at MWC 4 years ago.

The aircraft could supply regional Internet services, like those that Facebook’s is planning. Ars Technica and Defense Update have more on solar powered aircraft platforms.

Google will use high-flying balloons, among other technologies, to deliver Internet to remote areas. Google’s Project Loon sails through the stratosphere, where there are different wind layers. Using wind data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the balloons are maneuvered by identifying the wind layer with the desired speed and direction and then adjusting altitude to float in that layer.

Range Networks, the company that developed the open-source basestation software BTS wants to adapt their transceiver to use unlicensed white space spectrum for cellular networks all over the world.

It could dramatically change the face of mobile communications for billions of people in developing countries around the world, says ArsTechnica.

Related DailyWireless Space and Satellite News includes; Inside Google’s Loon Project, Project Loon Field Trip Hangout, First Four O3B Satellites Launched, Google Backhaul: Balloons & Satellites, Kymeta’s Flat Beamforming Antenna Links to Satellite, Blimp In A Box, ExactEarth Launches 5th AIS Satellite, Dish: Lower 700MHz Power Ups Speculation, Earth to Space Optical Communications – Again, O3B: Funded for Launch, Arianespace: Busy 2013, Gilat Does Satellite Cell Backhaul, SkyTerra 1 Launched, Broadband Satellites: Black Hole?, LightSquared: Phase 1, Intelsat Announces EpicNG Satellite Platform , Satellite 2012, Formation Flying Swarmbots, Flying Cell Towers, Range Networks: Open Source Cellular Networks

Solar-powered Wireless ISPs

Solar-powered Wireless ISPs are springing up like mushrooms thanks to cheaper solar panels, more efficient gear, and better monitoring.

The WISP conference last week had sessions on power backup, solar, and wind. Ubiquiti has a helpful overview on planning a wisp solar powered tower.

While a simple WISP tower might consume 20 watts per hour (or 480 watts over 24 hrs), a full-blown cellular system can easily consumer 20 times that amount or more. For remote locations, solar and wind turbines are sometimes required and wireless ISP technology is the only cost/effective solution.

A battery bank is used to store captured solar power for using at night or on rainy / overcast days. Most consultants advice enough battery powr to last 4 or 5 days and still not be discharged more than 50%.

With a tower consuming 20 watts, we might need 4 days of 480 watts/day, multiplied by 2 (for 50% discharge). This means the battery bank capacity needs to be 960 watts times 4 or 3840 watts. To convert the watts back to amp-hours, we would divide by the battery voltage rating (12) so 3840/ 12 = 320 Ah total, that’s 4 x 80ah batteries.

The solar panel will need to be able to capture enough solar power to run your equipment for the day, as well as recharge your battery bank following a rainy or overcast period. It also needs to be able to do this during winter.

So if the example has 4 hours of sunlight to capture 24 hours worth of power (480 watts), thats a basic requirement of an 120 watt solar panel. (480 / 4 = 120 watts per hour).

Of course details and requirements of each site can vary widely, so it’s always smart to get expert advice.

MinnowBoard: Embedded Atom Processing

Cheap, tiny computers, including the Raspberry Pi, Arduino Due, and BeagleBone, can be used by creative developers for all sorts of things. One thing these platforms have in common is an ARM processor.

Now they have some competition from Intel’s MinnowBoard. This $199 computer is only 4.2″ x 4.2″ board and runs an Intel Atom processor. A MinnowBoard with Intel’s new Bay Trail chips may be available in the future. Specs include a 5V/2.5A power supply and all sorts of bus and I/O support.

The MinnowBoard is an open hardware platform, a distinction that Arduino and BeagleBone can claim but Raspberry Pi cannot. MinnowBoard can load any operating system that can run on the Intel Atom processor.

It ships with the Angstrom Linux distribution, which is compatible with the Yocto Project, a Linux Foundation project to produce Linux distributions for embedded software. The Yocto Project supports ARM, MIPS, PowerPC and x86/x86 64 architectures. Might be handy for camera enabled, solar-powered WiFi hotspots, among many other things.

Inside Google’s Loon Project

At AUVSI’s Unmanned Systems 2013 is the center of the universe for drones this week in Washington, D.C.

It offers more than 100 technical sessions, panels and workshops with top speakers and leading experts.

Raven Aerostar will be featuring their lighter-than-air, persistent surveillance, military and radar technologies at the show. The company has been working closely with Google on Project Loon to provide broadband wireless internet access using Raven’s high altitude balloons.

The balloons are designed to be 60 feet tall and fly at an altitude of 66,000 feet. The teams designed sophisticated technology that can control the path of the balloons. Zero Pressure Balloons can maintain altitude from a few days up to multiple months and are capable of both short and long flight durations.

Raven’s Tethered Aerostats are designed to support a variety of payloads at altitudes ranging from a few hundred feet to several thousand feet.

Unmanned aerial vehicles, use gas or battery-powered motors.

A DARPA program called VULTURE (Very-high altitude, Ultra-endurance, Loitering Theater Unmanned Reconnaissance Element is being developed with Boeing with the SolarEagle flight demonstrator. Boeing is teaming with United Kingdom-based QinetiQ for the program. Maybe they’ll monitor all the cell towers in a community.

Car Sharing Apps

RelayRides has acquired Wheelz, says TechCrunch, making it the leading, peer-to-peer car sharing marketplace.

San Francisco-based RelayRides was launched about five years ago, and connects people who need a car with vehicle owners whose rides would otherwise be sitting idle. Car owners set the price and availability, and RelayRides provides the technology infrastructure and a $1M insurance policy to make the transaction safe and convenient. RelayRides has cars for rent in more than 1,200 cities across the country, all of them added since last year.

Unlike RelayRides, which enables car owners to list their cars and hand off keys, Wheelz requires that they install a piece of hardware into their cars. Its proprietary DriveBox technology would then enable renters to unlock the vehicles and get access to them without having to meet owners to hand off keys. Wheelz has a partnership with GM and OnStar to let renters gain access to cars by connecting with the automaker’s on-board computer and unlock doors, control and track the vehicles that have been rented.

FlightCar, on the other hand, allows car owners to rent out their wheels while traveling. Users park at the airport, for instance, and let another traveler use their cars until they return.

Zipcar, has more than 760,000 members and was acquired by Avis for $500 million in January.

Taxi operators reportedly provide the majority of complaints against ridesharing services. In a blog post, Uber, which currently only matches up passengers with commercially licensed taxi or town car drivers, announced intentions to join Lyft and SideCar in the ridesharing business.

In peer-to-peer car sharing, car owners rent their cars. Carsharing firms like ZipCar, by contrast, own and lease their own fleets of cars.

As of December 2012, there were an estimated 1.7 million car-sharing members in 27 countries, including so-called peer-to-peer services, according to the Transportation Sustainability Research Center at U.C. Berkeley. Of these, 800,000 were car-sharing members in the United States. As of November 2012, Zipcar had 767,000 members and offers 11,000 vehicles throughout the North America and Europe, making it the world’s leading carsharing network. Competitor Car2go is available in 17 cities worldwide with over 275,000 customers by January 2013.

Bicycle sharing systems, like car sharing systems, often rely on mobile apps to determine the availablity and location of vehicles. As of May 2011 there were around 375 bike-sharing programmes around the world, according to Wikipedia, made of an estimated fleet of 236,000 bicycles.

Capital Bikeshare, in Washington DC, is currently the largest bikeshare program in the United States with over 200 stations and annual ridership of more than two million. Alta Bicycle Share designs, deploys, and manages bicycle share programs and systems worldwide, including recent wins in New York City and Portland, Oregon.

There are literally hundreds of Car sharing and bike sharing apps. Bike share systems in Washington D.C., and Denver are working on pilot projects to make their services available to those without bank cards. The City of Portland plans to work with a private sector vendor to make bike share available to everyone.

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