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The work of a Stanford ant biologist, and a computer scientist have found that harvester ants on the hunt for food, use a similar method to that of the protocols used to control traffic on the Internet.
Deborah Gordon, a biology professor at Stanford, have been studying ants for more than 20 years. When Gordon discovered how the harvester ant colonies were sending out more ants to get food, she called in Balaji Prabhakar, who is a professor of computer science at Stanford, who is an expert on how files are transferred on a computer network.
At first, he didn't know why Gordon had called him, as ants had nothing to do with his field, but the next day, he realised:
The next day it occurred to me, 'Oh wait, this is almost the same as how [Internet] protocols discover how much bandwidth is available for transferring a file! The algorithm the ants were using to discover how much food there is available is essentially the same as that used in the Transmission Control Protocol.
In an emergency, everyone seems to pull out a cellphone to try and contact both emergency personnel and family members. This causes problems for emergency crews who are trying to communicate. This is why researchers in Germany have suggested using personal wireless routers as a backup network.
The idea is that emergency crews could flip a switch that would open up a network, similar to guest networks present on some routers, that could be used for voice and data services. The whole premise of this idea hinges on having near 100 percent coverage, which wouldn't be a problem in most medium-to-large cities.
"With a communication range of 30 meters, a mesh network could be easily constructed in urban areas like our hometown," said the research team. An "emergency switch would enable an open guest mode that on the one hand protects people's privacy, and on the other hand makes the existing communications resources available to first responders," says the paper.
However, potential security risks may prevent this from ever being instituted, though it will likely be investigated further. If a hacker were to gain access to the "emergency switch," they theoretically could have a network of access points from which to do other nefarious activity. And it's likely there would be no trace.
Our latest poll had 7,300 people who answered, What download speed internet access do you use?
Firstly, I want to say that I am sorry for the 146 or so of you that are still on 56k modems. I don't quite know how you survive, but you deserve some sort of medal.
The poll was a popular one with a lot of votes being entered and the results were quite close. The most popular internet connection amongst TweakTown readers is one with a 10 Megabit/s download speed. In a close second was 20 Megabit and third went to 5 Megabit with 11% of the votes.
We made a bit of a fluff with the poll and didn't create any options between 100 Megabit and 1 Gigabit, we're sorry about that.
At first, you might think this is a bit of a ridiculous idea, but when there's a market for something, someone will pounce on it. Well, the Bluetooth Bulb is here, and we should really call it a next-generation light bulb, because it is.
The Bluetooth Bulb sports, as its name suggests, Bluetooth connectivity. It will let you pair your phone with one or more of the lights in your house, and control them through an app that you download onto your phone. You can switch the Bluetooth Bulb's off, on, change brightness, set a time, and a special RGB bulb even lets you change the color ambiance, cool, right?!
You'd think for a device like this, it would be a buy-and-throw-away once it dies, but don't worry, every single part is reportedly replaceable. At the moment, Bluetooth Bulb is simply a patented prototype right now, so you might want to unfortunately put your credit card away for now.
Logitech and Skype have jointly announced the new Logitech TV Cam HD. The new device features an HD camera that sits on top of your TV and outputs the video via an HDMI cable. This device should make it easier for families to share everyday moments from the room that a large amount of time is spent in.
"Amazing connections happen when the video calling experience moves to the TV in the living room: the most popular and comfortable place in the house," said Joerg Tewes, vice president of Logitech's digital home business group. "Because of the size of the TV screen and the quality of the video, the new Logitech TV Cam HD with Skype brings a whole new social element to the living room, helping you feel like your family and friends are right there with you. It's a transformative experience."
All that is required to make calls is the device and an Ethernet or Wi-Fi connection. Users operate the device using the included remote to sign in and make video calls to other Skype users on any Skype-supported device. Users can also call mobile or landlines using their Skype credit straight from the device.
Back in December of 2010, India's richest man, Mukesh Ambani announced through a 36-page handwritten memo to executives that he planned to build one of the world's most advanced telecommunications networks.
The Wall Street Journal has reviewed his memo, which describes a 4G wireless service with "99.999%" network availability, "integration with an app store, ours or others" in order to help smartphone users order fast food, or buy a movie ticket, sourcing of mobile divisions from China and Taiwan, content deliver to "3 screens", cellphones, laptops and TV, and two 300,000-square-foot data centers.
Well, then. Just two years later, Ambani, chaiman of the energy conglomerate Reliance Industries Ltd., looks to be putting these plans into action in the hopes of throwing India into the forefront of wireless broadband technology, all while bringing millions of Indians online for the first time ever.
A storm is coming in the form of a battle between Thunderbolt and USB 3. With non-Mac computers just starting to get access to Thunderbolt's 10Gbps transfer speeds, USB 3 has taken the upper hand in power delivery with a newly approved specification for both USB 2 and USB 3 that allows up to 100W of power draw.
At 100W, USB 2 and USB 3 can deliver 10 times more power than what Thunderbolt can. Furthermore, 100W is enough to satisfy most devices' requirements for charging, including several laptops. This means that almost any peripheral should be able to be charged via USB. It's almost time to say "bye" to proprietary connectors.
"USB Power Delivery enables a path to greatly reduce electronic waste by eliminating proprietary, platform-specific chargers," said Brad Saunders, USB 3.0 Promoter Group Chairman. "We envision a significant move toward universal charging based on this specification, most notably for charging notebook PCs using standardized USB power bricks or when connected to USB hubs and desktop displays that integrate USB Power Delivery capabilities."
TP-LINK has announced a new pocket-sized wireless router that is affordable and useful. Measuring up at just 2.5" square and a depth of less than 3/4", the micro-sized router really can be taken with you while on the go, whether that be traveling or just running across town. The device is smaller than a credit card.
The device is said to provide 150Mbps wireless access speed and can be powered by a USB or external power supply. It is said to be powerful enough to deliver that speed inside an average-sized room. While you won't be winning any performance awards, it's perfect to get a smartphone, tablet, or other device onto a single, wired internet connection.
The TP-Link Nano can be used to create an instant Wi-Fi hotspot by plugging in an Ethernet cable from your existing network or modem. It also functions as a Wireless Router, Range Extender or Wireless Bridge. The stylish cube design is small enough to fit into your pocket and plugs right into an electrical outlet without the hassle of using a power cord.
Thunderbolt may not be everywhere yet, but we are still waiting on mechanically-driven hard disk drives to die their mainstream death, for speed reason anyway, but it looks like Thunderbolt has a future filled with speed.
Intel isn't slowing down their rampage of Thunderbolt, with the company already planning more than one new controller, including a Falcon Ridge part that is said to double the current throughput from 10Gbps per channel, to 20Gbps per channel.
Current-generation controllers, codenamed "Cactus Ridge", arrived earlier this year starting with Apple's latest Mac products. Cactus Ridge-based parts combined DisplayPort and either two or four PCI Express lanes (depending on the chip used) over a single cable, with 10Gbps of bidirectional bandwidth per channel.
Falcon Ridge is a fourth-generation controller and is set to be unleashed in 2014, offering 20Gbps per channel. At the moment, it's not clear whether Intel will be able to hit those speeds while using the current copper cables, or if they'll need to bake in some more expensive optical variety.
Western Digital, a manufacturer known for their hard drives and not networking gear, has entered a new market today with the release of a new line of home networking gear called My Net. The new family of products contains a Gigabit switch, three dual-band Wi-Fi routers, and one dual-band router with 1TB or 2TB of network attached storage.
First off, the new N900 Central is a router that features built-in network attached storage. Speeds of up to 900Mbps are possible thanks to the dual-band connectivity. It features the typical 4+1 Ethernet connections for wired networking and comes with a USB for printers or additional storage. The basic N900 is almost the same except it trades the storage for an extra USB and 3 more LAN ports.
The N750 and N600 both feature 5 GigE ports but that is where the similarities end. The N750 can manage 750Mbps and features 2 USB ports. Meanwhile, the N600 can only reach a combined speed of 600Mbps and only features one USB port. The My Net Switch doesn't have any storage, router, or wireless functions, but instead provides 8 GigE ports.
The My Net Switch runs $70 and the N600, N750 and N900 routers are going to set you back $80, $120 and $180, respectively. The N900 Central with 1TB of storage goes for around $300 and the 2TB version is $350.