Opensource Dronecode Project Announced

The Dronecode Project, administered by the nonprofit Linux Foundation, aims to establish common technology for use across the industry. The concept behind Dronecode is to create an open hardware and software stack, where companies can plug in modules for enhanced performance whether it be sensors, piloting, mission planning or other functions. The Android ecosystem is their model.

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Chris Anderson, who started DIY Drones and later 3D Robotics, is behind Dronecode. It utilizes open source hardware and software and includes the APM/ArduPilot UAV software platform and associated code. Examples of Dronecode projects include APM/ArduPilot, Mission Planner, MAVLink and DroidPlanner.

Founding members include 3D Robotics, Baidu, Box, DroneDeploy, Intel, jDrones, Laser Navigation, Qualcomm, Skyward.io, Squadrone System and others.

PX4 ​is an independent, open-source, open-hardware project aiming at providing a high-end autopilot. The PX4 from 3D Robotics, for example, features advanced processor and sensor technology for controlling any autonomous vehicle.

ArduPilot (also ArduPilotMega – APM), was created in 2007 by the DIY Drones community, based on the Arduino open-source electronics prototyping platform.

H.265 encoding, available on Qualcomm’s 810 smartphone processor can reduce HD bandwidth by 50%. Portland’s Elemental Technologies can do the number crunching in the cloud, bring real-time video to all manner of displays.

OpenVX provides mobile developers with an industry standard API to deliver embedded computer vision and computational imaging chipsets that can keep UAVs on track.

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“Open source software and collaborative development are advancing technologies in the hottest, most cutting-edge areas. The Dronecode Project is a perfect example of this,” said Jim Zemlin, executive director at The Linux Foundation.

“By becoming a Linux Foundation Collaborative Project, the Dronecode community will receive the support required of a massive project right at its moment of breakthrough. The result will be even greater innovation and a common platform for drone and robotics open source projects.”

See: Columbia River Drones

Iliad Drops Bid for T-Mobile US

French Internet and mobile firm Iliad today said it has discontinued its pursuit of T-Mobile US (pdf). The company says that Deutsche Telekom and T-Mobile “refused to entertain” its offer.

The French phone company said its new offer was for 67 percent of T-Mobile and values the stock at $36 a share including cost savings, according to a statement today. Iliad’s previous $15 billion cash bid, or $33 a share, for a 56.6 percent stake, was rejected in August as too low.

According to Iliad, “Following this offer rejection, Iliad put in place a consortium with two leading private equity funds and Tier-1 international banks allowing it to improve significantly the terms of its offer by enhancing the cash amount and increasing the share of T-Mobile US’ capital to be acquired from 56.6% to 67%”. This new offer was valued at about USD 36 per share.

Iliad’s French operator Free Mobile, launched in 2012, built their own 2.6 GHz network to cover at least 25% of the French population. Free is now the second largest ISP in the country.

The French public is the beneficiary of this competition, notes Engadget. Rates are now lower across the board, with Orange, SFR and Bouygues all launching discount brands.

More than 8 million consumers flocked to Free Mobile as Orange and France’s two other wireless operators, Vivendi’s SFR and Bouygues suffered steep declines in sales. In April, Vivendi vacated the market altogether by selling SFR to Luxembourg-based Altice in a deal valued at 17 billion euros, reports Bloomberg.

Free offers 20 GB/mo 4G service along with unlimited voice and messaging for $US27/month. The Freebox Revolution router, which delivers a triple play of broadband, TV and landline telephone calls to Iliad’s 6 million subscribers, is a big reason Iliad’s stock returned 151 percent in the three years ended on June 24.

France owns 28.4 percent of Orange, previously France Telecom, which is Europe’s fourth-biggest telecom operator. Some in the government were concerned that Iliad did NOT charge higher prices. Orange has decided not to pursue a merger within the marketplace despite encouragement from the French government.

Orange and Bouygues Telecom, France’s third-largest mobile provider, had discussed partnership to buy SFR, but now Altice will merge SFR, France’s second-largest mobile provider, with its French cable unit Numericable.

Related Dailywireless articles include;
French Operator Iliad Bids for T-Mobile US, Unlimited Voice Not Data, New Normal, Viva la Free Network!, Sprint and T-Mobile: Joint Bidding on 600MHz?, T-Mobile/Sprint Agreement?

Alcatel-Lucent: Virtualization Gets Real

Alcatel-Lucent has struck a carrier virtualization partnership with South Korea’s national operator, KT. The two companies have signed a “technical collaboration agreement” that will involve the development of NFV capabilities for KT’s “Giga” Network, based on the vendor’s CloudBand platform, reports LightReading.

KT’s Gigatopia strategy involves building a high-speed, integrated wired/wireless next-gen network that is ready for all manner of future media and data transport and geared up for the Internet of Things. The Cloud-based wireless network approach was largely developed by AlcaLu subsidiary Nuage Networks.

KT chief executive Hwang Chang-gyu urged the world’s leading mobile carriers and manufacturers to collaborate in establishing the so-called “GiGAtopia,” referring to a mobile environment connected through superfast gigabit technology.

Evolved Packet Core is an evolution of the packet-switched architecture used in GPRS/UMTS. The use of individual circuits to carry voice and short messages are now being replaced by IP-based solutions. The radio access network (RAN) provides the radio access technology. Much of that cellular hardware is now being “virtualized” in the data center.

Alcatel-Lucent is delivering virtualized mobile network functions to KT with evolved packet core (EPC), IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) and radio access network (RAN).

Cloud RAN virtualizes the hardware. Hardware that was once located on the mast or at the base of a cellular tower is now being replaced by software running in a data center, creating a virtualized radio network. A fiber link connects the remote RF head to the data center. Alca-Lu’s CloudBand platform is one of the leaders bringing cloud computing and IT technologies to wireless networks.

China Mobile showed VoLTE via virtualized network at Mobile World Congress using Alcatel-Lucent’s virtualized proof of concept LTE RAN basestation and virtualized evolved packet core solutions.

The Alcatel-Lucent opened a Customer Network Center in Japan this month. It was created to make the trend towards cloud-based networking, tangible for customers. It will allow for demos and interoperability testing of virtualized solutions over the CloudBand NFV platform to support Alcatel-Lucent’s Japan NFV/Network Transformation initiative which is already under way in Japan.

Alcatel-Lucent’s Light Radio uses smart active antenna arrays to deliver multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) gains and sophisticated beamforming in a very small footprint. RF energy can then be dynamically beamed where it is needed based on changes in cell loading and traffic density.

Saudi Arabia’s Mobily is the first service provider globally to deploy Alcatel-Lucent’s lightRadio Wireless Cloud Element Radio Network Controller (WCE RNC), a new platform that underpins Alcatel-Lucent’s virtualized LTE RAN activities.

Alcatel-Lucent is collaborating with Intel to speed industry move to cloud-based radio access networks while China Mobile conducted a proof of concept demonstration of Lucent’s Cloud RAN at Mobile World Congress 2014.

Alcatel-Lucent and Qualcomm are collaborating to develop small cell base stations that enhance 3G, 4G and WiFi networks to improve wireless connectivity in residential and enterprise environments.

Small cells aren’t just about adding coverage. Location-based services with targeted marketing and advertising are big drivers.

Samsung: Here Comes 60 GHz, 802.11ad

Samsung Electronics today announced a 60GHz (802.11ad) Wi-Fi technology that enables data transmission speeds of up to 4.6Gbps, a five-fold increase from 866Mbps, using the 5 GHz band. The 60 GHz Wi-Fi technology will enable a 1 gigabyte movie to be transferred between devices in less than three seconds while allowing uncompressed high-definition videos to be streamed from mobile devices. Samsung likely to include WiGig as a differentiator in its Galaxy and
Note smartphones by the end of 2015, say industry observers.

Samsung says its 802.11ad technology eliminates co-channel interference, no matter how many devices are accessing network. Samsung also enhanced the overall signal quality by developing what they say is the world’s first micro beam-forming control technology that optimizes the communications module in 1/3,000 second increments.

The Wireless Gigabit Alliance (WiGig) was a trade association that developed and promoted the adoption of multi-gigabit speed wireless standards over the unlicensed 60 GHz frequency band. The alliance was subsumed by the Wi-Fi Alliance in March 2013.

Samsung notes there are challenges in commercializing 60 GHz Wi-Fi because millimeter waves that travel by line-of-sight and have weak propagation characteristics that will be easily blocked by walls.

Chipsets supporting 60GHz 802.11ad are coming from a variety of sources including Qualcomm, Marvel and Broadcom as well as small, fabless semiconductor firms like Nitero. Qualcom’s Snapdragon 810, due next year, includes WiGig. Qualcomm acquired Wilocity in July 2014, and Nitero has announced its mobile WiGig solution.

Samsung said it plans to put its 802.11ad technology in a variety of devices, including audio visual and medical devices, as well as telecommunications equipment.

Eventually, the Wi-Fi Alliance expects chipsets to support all three bands, enabling both compatibility and new uses.

Samsung isn’t the first to promote 60 GHz for consumers. Dell introduced the Latitude 6430u laptop at the 2013 CES which included both 2.4 and 5 GHz connections, as well as a new 60 GHz connections.

Here’s a review of evolving WiFi standards:

  • IEEE 802.11n: Increased the maximum raw data rate from 54 Mbit/s to 600 Mbit/s by using as many as four spatial streams with a double width channel (40 MHz). MIMO architecture and wider channels improved speeds on 5 GHz and 2.4 GHz channels.
  • IEEE 802.11ac: Provides high throughput in the 5 GHz band. It uses 80 MHz and 160 MHz channel bandwidths (vs. 40 MHz maximum in 802.11n) and supports up to 8 spatial streams (vs. 4 in 802.11n)
  • IEEE 802.11ad: Now with the WiGig specs folded in, provides high throughput in the 5 GHz band and 60 GHz bands. The 60 GHz band is stopped by walls, so range will be shorter, but the spectrum is wider, supporting nearly 7 Gbps throughput.

The unlicensed 60 GHz band varies slightly around the world. The standard divides the unlicensed 60 GHz band into four 2.16 GHz wide channels. Data rates of up to 7 Gbits/s are possible using OFDM with different modulation schemes. A single-channel version for low-power operation is available and can deliver a speed up to 4.6 Gbits/s.

ABI Research estimates over 1.5 billion chipsets with 802.11ad will ship in 2018. Smartphones will account for nearly half of all 802.11ad-enabled products in 2018, though with less than half the volume in smartphones compared to 802.11ac, says the research firm.

The IEEE 802.11ac and 802.11ad standards may also use Multi-user MIMO (MU-MIMO), where simultaneous streams are transmitted to different users on the same channels.

Related Dailywireless articles include; WiGig: 60 GHz WiFi Rolls Out, WiGig to Demo 4K Wireless at Intel Forum, WiGig Folded Into Wi-Fi at 60 GHz, Marvel 802.11ac: Now with 4×4 Beamforming, Fast Transistion to 802.11ac Predicts ABI, Broadcom 802.11ac for Phones, Quantenna: 802.11ac Chipset,

Goodyear Blimp Gets Competition

The Goodyear Blimp is often in the sky at major television events, and with the launch of a new Goodyear Blimp in August (Wingfoot One), Goodyear officials expect their fleet of three blimps to cover 160 events in 2014.

Doug Grassian, senior manager for airship communications at Goodyear in Akron, Ohio, explained the television operations to TV Technology.

On site at the event, the crew sets up microwave gear that carries signals from the ship to the network television production truck. They generally test the system out a day before the event.

The typical equipment complement starts with an Axsys Technologies’ Cineflex V14 gyro-stabilized pan/tilt head that can also rotate. The Cineflex V14 has an integrated Sony HDC-1500 camera and Fujinon 9.7×42 lens with a 2X extender.

Inside the ship, there’s a Sony PVM-1741A HD monitor and a Tektronix WFM5200 waveform monitor for the camera operator. A Sony PDW-HD1500 HD video recorder captures the feed for safe-keeping.

For the microwave downlink, Goodyear uses Janteq and Nucomm microwave transmitters and receivers, with Gigawave antennas picking up the signal at the production truck.

The balloon-like body of the airship – the “envelope” – is made of polyester with an innovative film from DuPont™ called Tedlar, surrounding a semi-rigid internal structure, which differentiates this airship from previous Goodyear blimps. The new airship can do up to 73 mph, which means it can cover more ground, and more events, than the older 50-mph models.

Wingfoot One replaces the Spirit of Goodyear that was retired.

Helicopters like the the all-new Cabri G2 may soon give small helicopters like the Robinson R-22 and R-44 some serious competition.

The company has also signed a deal with Eurocopter to develop an unmanned variant. An unmanned demonstration used a four-dimensional flight plan that was uploaded to the helicopter.

Another competitor, the Enstrom 480B-G, is equipped with the Garmin G1000H glass cockpit.

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The cost/effectiveness of drones will be hard to top for many applications. They can now be equipped with Lidar, Flir, tiny hyperspectral cameras and 360 degree cameras (videos).

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Of course FAA rules allowing coverage over public areas is still in the works.

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.