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Google has a new ambitious plan to use solar-powered drones to zap high-speed internet from the heavens down to Earth.
According to reports from The Guardian, the secret project is called SkyBender, and is centralized in New Mexico's Gateway to Space terminal. Google's Project SkyBender is using solar-powered Solara 50 UAVs from the Google Titan division to experiment with high-speed millimeter-wave radio transmissions. The drones essentially beam the transmissions from the skies down to one of two targeted transceivers, bestowing wireless internet to a given area.
High-frequency millimeter-wave transmissions may ultimately pave the way for 5G technology; the signals are up to 40 times more efficient and powerful than 4G LTE, and can transmit up to multiple gigabits of data per second. "The huge advantage of millimetre wave is access to new spectrum because the existing cellphone spectrum is overcrowded. It's packed and there's nowhere else to go," said Jacques Rudell, a specialist from the University of Washington.
WhatsApp users rejoice: the cross-platform mobile messaging app is now totally free for everyone.
The Facebook-owned messaging titan announced today that it has removed all subscription fees from WhatsApp, and the service will be free to use for all users.
"We're happy to announce that WhatsApp will no longer charge subscription fees. For many years, we've asked some people to pay a fee for using WhatsApp after their first year. As we've grown, we've found that this approach hasn't worked well. Many WhatsApp users don't have a debit or credit card number and they worried they'd lose access to their friends and family after their first year. So over the next several weeks, we'll remove fees from the different versions of our app and WhatsApp will no longer charge you for our service."
CES 2016 - TP-Link has unveiled the world's first 802.11ad router that leverages three bands for a total speed of up to 7.2Gbps.
TP-Link's new Talon AD7200 router taps into the power of WiGig--the brand for Qualcomm's new 802.11ad standard--to deliver ultra-fast speeds. The Talon AD7200 sports a tri-band access point chipset that combines the monstrously-fast 60GHz WiGig with 802.11ac's 2.5GHz and 5GHz frequencies, totaling up to an insane speed of 7.2Gbps.
Although WiGig presents tremendous gains over traditional Wi-Fi, the new band can't penetrate walls and is limited to a single area. Luckily the Talon AD7200 will automatically switch over to the most efficient frequency at any given moment without interrupting tethered connections. So if you walk outside of WiGig's potent-but-limited range, the router will switch over to 802.11ac Wi-Fi without breaking a stride. The AD7200 also supports older frequencies including 802.11 a/b/g/n.
Can you believe it has been three years since Google launched its Google Fiber service in Kansas City? Well, Comcast is now rolling out its own gigabit Internet service, connecting its first customer in Philadelphia.
Comcast is doing things a little differently to Google when it comes to connecting users up to its 1Gbps service, so instead of laying new fiber connections to houses, Comcast is using the new DOCSIS 3.1 standard. DOCSIS 3.1 works over the current "hybrid fiber coaxial" networks, so it's much cheaper to roll out, and once Comcast has it all setup, it should be able to deploy 1Gbps connections to most, if not all of its customers.
Now, the cost. Considering Comcast is offering its insanely fast 2Gbps service for $300 per month, it uses an entirely different technology. Comcast's 2Gbps service requires customers to live "within close proximity" to their fiber network. The company hopes to have its 1Gbps service in "several parts of the country" before the end of next year.
It looks like USB Type-C just took a step in the right direction, with the reversible USB port being upgraded to include the Thunderbolt 3 transfer protocol from Intel.
The latest USB Type-C based devices can be found in the new Dell XPS 12, XPS 13 and XPS 15 systems that were announced in October being the first to feature the new port. Intel has called Thunderbolt 3 "port nirvana" thanks to it being capable of transferring data at 40Gbps, twice as fast as Thunderbolt 2, and four times as fast as USB 3.1 which has a ceiling of 10Gbps.
Thunderbolt 3 is quick enough to transfer a 4K video in less than 30 seconds while the port itself can drive two 4K displays at 60Hz, and it can quick charge notebooks at up to 100W. Getting Thunderbolt 3 into the USB Type-C protocol is a big win for Intel, as Thunderbolt connectivity has never reached the high hopes of Intel, but direct integration with USB Type-C is something exciting for Thunderbolt and especially Intel.
A new technology medium called Li-Fi is ready to shake up the world of wireless connectivity, offering real-world speeds of 1Gbps--100 times the speeds of traditional Wi-Fi.
With 4K resolution just around the corner, the world's appetite data consumption is about to become much more voracious. Communications titans will need to find a new wireless solution to transmit ever-growing data-streams at an efficient rate, and eventually Wi-Fi will have to be left behind. In comes Li-Fi, the light-based technology that was able to hit insane 224 Gbps speeds in a lab environment.
Li-Fi uses the visible light spectrum to transmit data, meaning that everyday LED bulbs can be turned into portable hotspots. In order to transmit data, Li-Fi bulbs use modular pulses of light that flicker in nanoseconds to transmit data streams. Imagine having an intensely powerful and efficient Wi-Fi hotspot in every room of your house--that's the kind of potential that Li-Fi has.
If you live in the UK and have subpar Internet, that will hopefully all change in the next few years if the UK government has a say about the matter.
The UK government is working on a Universal Service Obligation that would see all UK residents with at least 10Mbps Internet connections by 2020, where providers would be required to connect you, even if you live in a remote area. Starting early next year, consultations will begin, where it will hopefully see Internet access being branded as a basic utility, just like electricity and water.
But even by 2017, the UK expects to have around 95% of people connected to broadband. But, this expansion needs to be large enough to encompass the rest of the UK residents, and at least 10Mbps. The UK government says the Internet would be "affordable", but didn't state where pricing will start.
Google is following up its recently released TP-LINK OnHub router with a second, this time partnering with ASUS to make it happen.
It's said the second iteration will also feature "faster Wi-Fi, easy set-up, and simple management with the Google On app", but this time something called Wave Control as well. Essentially, you wave your hand over the top of the OnHub to boost Wi-Fi speed for a particular device. Judging by the supplied image, that means bringing the device near the OnHub, so this won't really work for desktops.
The Federal Communications Commission is getting ready to make 5G mobile Internet a reality, drafting rules that would allow companies to broadcast cellular signals at far higher frequency spectrums than what we have today.
The FCC's proposed new "flexible user service rules" would allow transmission of signals in the 28, 37, 39, and 64 to 71GHz bands. All of these bands are above and beyond the 700 to 2600MHz that 4G LTE networks use, with the FCC wanting public comment on any other bands above 24GHz that could be used for 5G.
It believes that the distance limits and ease of obstruction of using the spectrum above 28GHz can be overcome, and when it does overcome these issues, 5G mobile networks can push speeds of between 1Gbps and 10Gbps - around 1GB/sec to your smartphone, through 5G. The FCC specifically cites "dynamic beam-forming antennas as an engineering advancement that can support high-frequency, high-capacity networks" reports TechSpot.
You may have noticed a "+ New" button show up on Skype recently. It seems unassuming, but it marks a pretty significant change in how the instant messaging software works. With it, you can message anyone via email, Facebook, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, or Twitter, and they can join the chat as a guest.
It's not full-on cross-platform integration as we've seen with services like Trillian, but that's likely impossible in an official capacity, so this is the next best thing.
See it in action in the video below, which features people dancing for some reason.