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Connectivity & Communications Posts - Page 20

FCC chairman wants one gigabit Internet community per state by 2015

At the US Conference of Mayors' Winter Meeting, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski has voiced opinion for at least one "gigabit community" in all 50 states by 2015. The FCC Chairman wants a Google Fiber-like gigabit network across the US and believes that "establishing gigabit communities nationwide will accelerate the creation of a critical mass of markets and innovation hubs" enabled by the gigabit Internet connectivity.

 

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At the moment, 42 communities in 14 states feature fiber optic Internet providers, but most of those installations aren't pushing gigabit speeds. In order to help out with the gigabit rollout, the FCC chairman has announced plans to create a new online and publicly accessable clearinghouse to collect and disseminate information about how to get the costs down, as well as increase the speed of broadband deployment across the United States.

 

We now have the problem of who would pay for it, as the current worldwide economy isn't strong to have the US government wholly fund the project. Could we see a telco or two step in, or Google possibly half finance the project? It looks like Internet access in the US is about to get interesting.

USB 3.0 about to get an injection of speed, will offer 10Gbps transfers and backwards compatibility, arrives in mid-2013

Currently USB 3.0 offers 5Gbps and with even cheap $150 SSDs offering read speeds of close to, or exceeding 500MB/sec, USB 3.0 is now... old. Well, the USB 3.0 Promoter Group has announced that an upcoming enhancement for USB 3.0 is on its way and will:

 

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Add a much higher data rate, delivering up to twice the data through-put performance of existing SuperSpeed USB over enhanced, fully backward compatible USB connectors and cables.

 

We should expect this new injection of speed to hit USB 3.0 in the middle of the year, and will also include improved data encoding for more efficient data transfer as well as backward compatibility for current 5Gbps USB 3.0 hubs and devices, including USB 2.0-based hardware. We should hear more during CES, but it's great to see USB 3.0 being pumped up to 10Gbps, the future is looking mighty fast!

Time Warner Cable increases 'Standard' service speeds by 50%

Time Warner Cable has announced that they are increasing the speed of their "Standard" service by 50 percent. This means the new "Standard" speed will be 15mbps, as opposed to the current 10mbps. There is no mention of an increase in price. To get the increased speed, you can reset your modem by unplugging it for 10 seconds.

 

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Alternatively, you can wait for it to automatically be rolled out to your division.

Landline subscribers in decline, 35.8% of American households don't have landline

Landline usage is in a decline. With the prevalence of wireless communications and VoIP, the number of landline subscribers is dwindling. The Center for Disease Control's Nation Health Interview Survey shows that 35.8 percent of American households have ditched the landline in favor of wireless choices.

 

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More evidence is present that landlines are heading the way of the dinosaurs: just shy of 16 percent of American households said that they "received all or almost all calls on wireless telephones despite also having a landline telephone." When combined with the 36 percent above, you can extrapolate that more than half of the US doesn't use a landline.

 

With wireless coverage continuing to expand and improve, the trend will likely continue, with only mission-critical or privacy-concerned users continuing to use landlines.

If Google rolled out their Fiber service across the US, costs are estimated at $140 billion

Google's super-fast Fiber service has officially rolled out in Dorothy's backyard, in Kansas, but hasn't burst out of Kansas' gates and across the US just yet. But the question is, just how much would it cost to roll out the Google Fiber service across the entire of the US?

 

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Well, according to the latest estimates from Goldman Sachs, it would come to the tune of around $140 billion. This is an incredibly huge sum of money, and while Google may be a huge and very powerful company - there aren't many companies who can just throw down $140 billion (estimated, it could cost much more than this) and rollout a Fiber network.

 

But, Google could roll it out in stages in bigger cities to see the reception from the consumers and continue from there. They could have a bigger 5-10 year plan where we see the super-fast Internet rolled out to all Americans.

Continue reading 'If Google rolled out their Fiber service across the US, costs are estimated at $140 billion' (full post)

Marvell shows off 802.11ac 4x4 wireless chip for enterprise and consumer applications

Marvell, a fabless semiconductor company, makes a plethora of wireless chipsets and other integrated electronics. Today, they are touting that they have the industry's first 802.11ac 4x4 wireless solution. Marvell says that it is "built to improve the throughput of enterprise and retail access points (APs) and the robustness of wireless video distribution."

 

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"I believe that with Marvell's new breakthrough 802.11ac 4x4 Wi-Fi solution, we are positioned to change the landscape for enterprise-class network infrastructure and carrier grade video applications, further empowering the entire spectrum of always-on devices. The new era of the digital lifestyle requires superior wireless connectivity which serves as a critical pillar for delivering live content across all screen sizes and 'Smart Furnishings' for connected consumers," said Weili Dai, Co-Founder of Marvell. "I am very proud to see our dedicated team of engineers continue to build ground-breaking wireless technologies that support the latest industry standards, significantly improving network capacity, performance and reliability for Wi-Fi devices accessing the cloud infrastructure. Working with the industry's largest and most innovative global carriers and OEMs over the last decade, Marvell has established a successful track record of delivering world class wireless solutions for enterprise, consumer and mobile applications."

Continue reading 'Marvell shows off 802.11ac 4x4 wireless chip for enterprise and consumer applications' (full post)

Happy Birthday to the SMS, which turns 20 today

"Oops, sorry, I didn't mean to send that text to you!" I'm sure we've all experienced that moment of frustration when we mistyped a number or accidentally replied to the wrong person. I know it's happened to me more than once. Well, we can thank Neil Papworth for that frustration.

 

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On December 3, 1992, Papworth issued the first text message from a computer and sent it to a mobile phone. The message? "Merry Christmas" Unfortunately for the recipient, texting had not been enabled on mobile phones quite yet, so he was unable to respond to the season's greeting.

 

Texting first entered commercial service in 1993 and gained more traction in 1994. In 1995 our frustrations were made even worse with the invention of predicitve text systems, such as T9. Cross-network compatibility was fully completed in 1999, seven years after the initial message had been issued.

 

Today we wish texting a happy birthday and hope that it lives a long and full life. I know texting is a staple of what I use my phone for, and I'm sure it's pretty high on most people's lists.

T-Mobile announce 10 new markets to receive 1900Mhz HSPA+

US telco, T-Mobile, have just announced that they are expanding their 1900MHz HSPA+ areas by ten new markets, which is part of the company's vision to move to the frequency completely. Currently, T-Mobile offer 1900MHz in Baltimore, Houston, Kansas City, Las Vegas and Washington D.C.

 

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The latest locations to receive improved coverage and speeds will be:

  • Phoenix, AZ: including Tempe, Scottsdale, Glendale, Peoria, Paradise Valley, Surprise and Ahwatukee
  • Mesa, AZ: including Chandler and Gilbert
  • Tucson, AZ: including South Tucson, Marana, and Vail
  • Silicon Valley: including Cupertino, Sunnyvale, Mountain View, Santa Clara, San Jose
  • Oakland, CA
  • San Francisco, CA
  • Stockton, CA
  • Modesto, CA
  • Miami, FL: including Coral Gables and Miami Beach
  • Fort Lauderdale, FL: including Hollywood

 

Users in these areas might have already seen 1900MHz HSPA+ coverage before, but T-Mobile now feels that they have enough towers supporting the service, to launch it "officially". T-Mobile are also looking to expand the same 1900MHz HSPA+ in Boston, Chicago, LA, Minneapolis, the New York metro area, Philadelphia, San Diego and Seattle. This should roll out over the coming months.

UK scientists want low-cost fiber optic network, could be capable of 40Gbps

There's a team of scientists in Bangor, Wales, who are working with current fiber optic technology hoping to boost its speeds. The team believe they've found a breakthrough that could see broadband speeds excel by a magnitude of 2,000 times what is on offer today.

 

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Fiber optic technology currently takes digital data, 1s and 0s, and converts them to light pulses. They then have the ability to travel very, very fast, but as data is continuously flowing through the cables and required to be sent over vast distances, signal degradation becomes a huge problem. At the moment there are a few ways of working around this, adding more fiber optic strands to the cable, implementing signal strength boosters and installing extra encoding and decoding lasers at each end.

 

Those three options are all very expensive and require massive investments in order to do so. The Bangor, Wales-based researchers want to keep the potential costs down by manipulating current technology. The one being worked on now is used by wireless networks and those in the digital broadcasting field. This technology is called Optical Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplex, or OOFDM.

Continue reading 'UK scientists want low-cost fiber optic network, could be capable of 40Gbps' (full post)

ConfirmedTT: Microsoft to retire Messenger, force 100M+ users over to Skype in Q1 2013

Fans of the Windows Live Messenger will be sad to hear that the service will be retired in Q1 2013. Existing users of Messenger will be shepherded towards Skype, which will give the communications platform a large boost in user base. Skype has roughly 280 million monthly active users, so an additional 100 million will be a large increase.

 

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Windows Live Messenger is on the down swing of product life. Last year, it was reported that Messenger had over 300 million monthly active users, not Microsoft is planning 100 million to be shifted, which is a massive drop from its peak. This shift will boost Skype's user base by roughly 36 percent, that is if everyone agrees to switch.

 

Some will likely be disappointed in the fact they are being forced to switch to Skype. However, there are some good, non-trivial reasons to use Skype over Messenger. Quite frankly, the service is quite a bit better. Check out the list that Microsoft compiled to encourage users to switch:

 

  • Broader device support for all platforms, including iPad and Android tablets
  • IM, video, and calling landlines and mobiles all in one place
  • Sharing screens
  • Video calling on mobile phones
  • Video calling with Facebook friends
  • Group video calling

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