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Connectivity & Communications Posts - Page 22

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.




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?




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."





"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.




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.




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.




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.




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

Google Voice having trouble with SMS functionality

The Verge has reported that Google Voice, that wonderful--trust me, it is--service by Google which allows you to text through the internet, as well as make and receive calls from a single number, is having issues with its texting capabilities. Users on the Google Voice forums have reported that sending a text results in it being sent from a random number.




Not only is every single text sent from a random number, responses sent to those texts never arrive back at the sender. One of the forum comments made the point that now would be the perfect time to do some pranking. This is unfortunate for this to be happening, as it makes texting through Google Voice basically impossible.


The problem occurs both in the Google Voice app, as well as on the website. The good news is that phone calls do not seem to be affected by this bug, so if that's all you use Google Voice for, you can carry on using it as if all was normal. We'll keep you updated as to the cause of this bug, if and when Google comments.

Kim Dotcom proposes new $400 million broadband plan for NZ

Well, Kim Dotcom is quite the great guy, isn't he? NZ Herald is reporting that the MegaUpload founder is proposing free broadband to the entire population of New Zealand, where he is looking to resurrect the Pacific Fibre cable connecting New Zealand with the US.




Dotcom revealed the plans just 24 hours ago, which would cost $400 million to complete, but doubling New Zealand's bandwidth. It would set up his new company, create countless jobs and a data center on offer to the rest of the world. Dotcom would provide New Zealand ISPs such as Telecom and Vodafone with free access for individual customers, and charge a fee for business and central government.


NZ residents would be charged a fee by ISPs, but it would be very, very low - down to around 1/5 of current broadband plans, and roughly three-to-five times faster, but best of all - no data limits. The $400 million would be partially funded by, with the rest of the funds coming from investors.

Continue reading 'Kim Dotcom proposes new $400 million broadband plan for NZ' (full post)

AT&T and T-Mobile join forces in the wake of Sandy, share networks for benefit of users

Wireless giants T-Mobile and AT&T have come together, at least temporarily, for the benefit of customers affected by Hurricane Sandy. The storm which hit the northern east coast earlier this week has knocked out power and caused untold amounts of damage. People have been stuck at home by streets being flooded, with nothing to do as they have no internet, power, or cell service.




This is where the partnership comes in. AT&T and T-Mobile have agreed to share networks temporarily so that users will be able to get more cell coverage in the affected areas. Since many of the cell towers of both networks have been affected by the storm, this is definitely a good move by the companies to create good will.


It's also just a really compassionate thing to do. It's great that the two companies use similar technology as it allows them to basically flip a switch at the main office to allow this roaming. Users will not have to do anything to make this happen and should be able to just reap the benefits of the expanded network.

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