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Connectivity & Communications Posts - Page 11

Where can you find the world's fastest 4G? Down Under, mate

According to OpenSignal's State of LTE report for Q1 2014, Australia leads the pack in terms of the fastest LTE/4G speeds in the world. Australia's leading ISP, Telstra, is helping to drive that back home for the country.

 

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The OpenSignal report looks at countries all across the globe, analyzing their 4G networks to see who has the best coverage, speeds and carriers. 17 countries in total were compared, with Italy coming in second place, and in second-to-last, the United States. The average download speed experienced in Australia was 24.5Mbps, while the US trailed behind with just 6.5Mbps.

 

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If we compare the speeds with the last report taken, the US was sitting at 9.6Mbps, and is now reaching an average download speed of 6.5Mbps. Australia on the other hand, has increased from 17.3Mbps to 24.5Mbps.

No more congestion or dead zones for mobiles? Yes thanks, pCell

Steve Perlman, has something that could truly solve some of the problems we have with mobile data congestion, dead zones and more, with his new 'pCell' device.

 

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Current cellular networks use a tower to transmit a radio signal, forming a large cell that provides wireless signal to all mobile devices within that area. This umbrella of signal will feed out whatever you need in terms of data or calls. Cell tower capacity is then shared through mobile devices, taking turns to avoid interfering with each other, and once more people enter the area, speeds can drop.

 

Companies simply can't just add more antennas in order to prepare for the increased demand, as their signals would be disrupted if they're placed too close together. This is where Artemis Networks' pCell technology comes into play, as it enhances the signal itself, with multiple waves combining to form stronger waves.

Continue reading 'No more congestion or dead zones for mobiles? Yes thanks, pCell' (full post)

Connected TVs top 60 percent of households, according to TDG Research

At least 60 percent of households in the United States with broadband Internet access also have at least one connected television, according to information released from The Diffusion Group (TDG) Research. Broadband adoption is slowing due to a mature, stable market, but connected TVs are on the rise, with that trend expected to continue moving forward.

 

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In broadband households with at least one Internet-enabled TV, average ownership totaled 1.6 units, and it's possible that number will increase in 2014.

 

"Whether net-to-TV video will somehow topple traditional pay-TV service models has been a red herring from the beginning," said Michael Greeson, TDG president and director of research, in a press statement. "The real debate is the extent to which the growing availability and expanding use of 'OTT TV' services will have on the time viewers spend watching traditional pay-TV given the growing array of sources at their disposal."

 

The majority of new HDTVs have some type of connected features - so it might not necessarily be consumers showing great interest - as opposed to simply purchasing a new TV that allows Internet access.

Google Fiber is being cranked up to 10 gigabit

When Google first unveiled its Fiber service, most thought its 1 gigabit speeds were out-of-this-world... well, not so much now that the Mountain View-based giant is working on 10 gigabit connections.

 

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Yes, 10 gigabit: 10 times the speed of its already-blazingly-fast 1 gigabit service. Google CFO, Patrick Pichette, has said: "That's where the world is going. It's going to happen. That's what we're working on. There's no need to wait". The technology for 10 gigabit connections isn't quite ready, with Google still in the research phase of things.

 

Pichette has made it very clear that it could be years before we see connections laid into the ground at the consumer scale, but also said that Google has no intention of stopping the 1 gigabit speeds that are being offered up by Google Fiber. With the FCC requesting gigabit connections in all 50 states across the US by the end of next year, it will be interesting times ahead for US residents.

Toyota issues Prius recall over faulty software

A software glitch has forced Toyota to recall 1.9 million vehicles sold worldwide from 2010 to 2014, trying to fix an error that causes the car to stall. The recall hits 1 million cars in Japan, 700,000 in the United States and the remaining 200,000 from Europe and other select markets.

 

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Specifically, Toyota will have car dealerships install updated software to fix a bug that leads to heat buildup in the car's circuit transistors, which obviously caused damage. Engine warning lights would trigger an alert, but the vehicle would also occasionally stall while driven.

 

No reports have been submitted to Toyota regarding accidents or injuries from the unexpected error.

 

Toyota has helped usher in hybrid vehicles to mainstream auto buyers, and the Prius currently has three generations. The issue is limited to the latest generation Prius, and will take time before the Japanese automaker can remove the egg from its face.

Comcast recently hacked, customers should change passwords

Comcast subscribers are now recommended to change their passwords after the NullCrew FTS hacker group successfully hacked at least 34 Comcast servers. The hack took place earlier in February, but didn't receive much attention, and many Comcast users were still unaware they faced any type of security exploit.

 

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All 34 Comcast mail servers fell victim to the same exploit.

 

Much to the delight of the hacker group, when originally targeting Comcast, a Comcast Twitter support team member naively asked "Hello, how can I help?", in which the group said, "Fix the vulnerabilities in your mail servers before we pwn them?, taunting the oblivious customer service rep.

 

Comcast is the biggest U.S. ISP and appears to have neglected closing a security hole in which the NullCrew FTS team was able to collect information - and didn't share customer data in a public pastebin - specifically targeting e-mail accounts.

Smart HDTVs, streaming products help drive connected living room

Manufacturers have finally figured out how to attract consumers to connected high-definition TVs (HDTVs), using third-party Web-based apps to draw in users. Smart TVs will capture the "majority of television shipments" this year, and more U.S. consumers will have smart TVs than connected TVs by 2015, according to Business Insider.

 

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Original Web TVs initially seemed appealing, but were wrongly predicted TV viewers would want to use the TV to browse the Internet in a traditional manner. Some companies embrace open platforms, such as LG, Roku and Google Chromecast supporting open source, while Apple, Samsung and other companies rely on closed infrastructures.

 

Apple TV and Roku set-top boxes lead the market for streaming devices, though Google Chromecast also sold a large number of units. Apple TV racked up 8 million units shipped during all of 2013, while Roku shipped 4.5 million units.

Google nixes pornographic content on Chromecast

Google may have opened up the Chromecast SDK for developers, but don't expect to see any porn through the $35 product - banning any content that contains nudity, graphic sex acts, and sexually-explicit material.

 

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Google also warned child porn supporters that the authorities will be notified whenever discovered. From the Google fine print:

 

"We don't allow content that contains nudity, graphic sex acts, or sexually explicit material. Google has a zero-tolerance policy against child sexual abuse imagery. If we become aware of content with child sexual abusive imagery, we will report it to the appropriate authorities and delete the Google Accounts of those involved with the distribution."

 

This isn't a big surprise, as Google decided to turn down porn-related apps from its Glass product, with the company trying to get its product supported for all audiences. Gambling apps also are banned from Chromecast, including online casinos and sports betting apps that reward gamers with cash or other currency.

Google launches Chromecast SDK, as consumers await flood of apps

Less than one year after the public launch of its Chromecast HDTV dongle, Google has finally opened up the software development kit for developers trying to get in on the fun. The Cast SDK was previously available, but was in a restricted form as Google worked with exclusive partners to give them earlier access to create Chromecast apps.

 

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"With the Chromecast, we're resetting consumer applications," noted Rishi Chandra, Google Chromecast director of product management.

 

App developers now have the ability to integrate Chromecast apps with Google Android, Apple iOS, or Web-based apps - and Google developers believe the potential for Cast-enabled apps is huge - joining Netflix, YouTube, Chrome, and a small number of apps Google immediately included support for from launch.

Time Warner Cable loses subscribers, rivals lick their chops

Cable provider Time Warner Cable suffered through another turbulent year, losing 831,000 paid subscribers in 2013. The No. 2 broadcaster in the United States lost 119,000 during Q1, 191,000 in Q2, 306,000 in Q3, and 215,000 subscribers in Q4 - but still has 11.5 million video subscribers in the United States, though that number is expected to decline further.

 

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Several companies have shown interest in trying to acquire Time Warner Cable, with Charter Communications expected to raise its bid for the struggling cable provider. As Time Warner Cable continues to lose subscribers, both Charter and Comcast are likely to show great interest in picking up the company.

 

Although there are disputing reports of cord cutting, in which subscribers go to Netflix and other online-based services, cable and satellite providers are clearly struggling. Premium subscription channels such as HBO and Starz are increasingly opening up content through connected TVs, tablets and smartphones, which will continue to increase.

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