Good news for everyone who’s tired of shoddy Wi-Fi connectivity in crowded cafes: the Federal Communications Commission is here to help. As CNET reports, FCC chairman Julius Genachowski made an important announcement at the Consumer Electronics Show on Wednesday when he discussed plans to free up 195MHz of spectrum on the 5GHz band, a move that will significantly boost Wi-Fi performance and ease congestion on crowded networks. The reallocation of spectrum on the 5GHz band would also represent “the largest block of unlicensed spectrum that has been made available for expansion of Wi-Fi since 2003,” CNET writes. The 5GHz band is currently being used by numerous federal government agencies, although Genachowski expressed confidence that the FCC can work with others in the government to get the spectrum free for unlicensed use.
Researchers at North Carolina State University have come up with a breakthrough technology that could actually make the Wi-Fi hotspot at your local Starbucks perform well. As IDG News reports, the new WiFox protocol was designed specifically for public Wi-Fi hotspots that suffer from degraded performance while being used by several different devices at once. Specifically, the new technology “monitors [Wi-Fi] traffic and implements a ‘priority’ mode when a router is in danger of being overloaded of traffic,” thus clearing Wi-Fi congestion and reducing packet loss. The researchers found that WiFox boosted crowded hotspot performance by between 400% and 700% overall, depending on how many users were in a particular area.
Why settle for using either LTE or Wi-Fi when you could use both? That’s the question that researchers at several major universities have tried to answer by developing a new wireless technology capable of opening up more bandwidth by delivering the best of both wireless worlds. According to Technology Review, the new wireless tech has been developed by “researchers at MIT, the University of Porto in Portugal, Harvard University, Caltech, and Technical University of Munich” and is able to “seamlessly weave data streams from Wi-Fi and LTE” to deliver data more efficiently. More →
JetBlue (JBLU) is looking to keep its customers more entertained than ever before while traveling. According to a purported internal memo obtained by The Verge, the discount airline will soon partner with ViaSat (VSAT) to offer free high-speed Internet access across its entire fleet. Initial tests are said to be very fast with 10 Web pages loading in an average of 1 minute and 18 seconds, almost eight times faster than an unnamed competitor. The company will offer in-flight Wi-Fi for free until at least 30 planes have been equipped with the technology, and then the service will reportedly remain free for only “basic email and browsing” purposes. JetBlue will begin rolling out its high-speed wireless networking in the first quarter of 2013, the memo stated. More →
Wi-Fi has been one of the most useful technologies developed over the past couple of decades and it’s about to get even better now that manufacturers will be allowed to create devices that run on the former television “white space” spectrum that lets signals travel farther and penetrate more deeply into buildings. And to help speed up the adoption of this so-called “Super Wi-Fi,” wireless technology company Spectrum Bridge has announced a certification program for wireless OEMs that want to zip through the Federal Communications Commission’s rigorous certification process that the commission put in place to make sure that “Super Wi-Fi” devices don’t interfere with television broadcasts being run over adjacent spectrum. Spectrum Bridge’s full press release follows below. More →
A small group of New York City payphones will soon be getting a new lease on life through a pilot program that will transform the old phones into Wi-Fi hotspots, GigaOM reported. The hotspots, which will be ad-free and open to the public, will initially be available at 10 payphones throughout three of the city’s boroughs. The payphones feature “military grade” antennas that can provide service up to 300 feet away, and installation is being provided free-of-charge by Van Wagner Communications. New York is planning to eventually expand its hotspot program to more of the city’s 13,000 payphones, and the ongoing cost and maintenance will be provided by the payphone companies. It was previously reported that New York was planning to revive roughly 250 old phone booths with 32-inch Internet-ready “smart screens.” More →
The HTC One X may be one of the spiffiest new Android devices so far this year but some One X users are reporting that design flaws are impeding their ability to connect to Wi-Fi. As Dustin Karnes at Android Guys reports, an Xda-Developers member called bigoliver has found that the One X can potentially have several Wi-Fi related problems that will either adversely affect the device’s battery life or render it totally incapable of connecting to Wi-Fi networks. More →
The International Trade Commission on Tuesday ruled in favor of Motorola Mobility in its patent infringement claim against Apple. The Cupertino-based company’s iPhone and iPad were found to be in violation of Motorola’s Wi-Fi technology patent, however they did not infringe on three other patents that Motorola asserted against the iPhone-maker. “We are pleased that the ALJ’s initial determination finds Apple to be in violation of Motorola Mobility’s intellectual property, and look forward to the full commission’s ruling in August,” Motorola told CNET in a statement. The ruling is preliminary and still must be approved by the ITC’s six-member commission. More →
Apple’s new iPad has already seen massive success, selling over 3 million units in less than four days of availability. The tablet features an updated A5X chip, a beautiful Retina display and 4G LTE connectivity. Due to the blazing fast 4G speeds on Apple’s iPad Wi-Fi + 4G models, it is estimated that half of all new iPads sold will be LTE enabled. Analytics firm Localytics has countered previous reports, however, stating that only 6% of all iPad sessions using apps with its tracking software installed connect to the Internet through a cellular network. The firm found that 89.7% of all iPads are Wi-Fi only, while 8.8% were 3G-enabled and 1.5% included 4G. Users with iPads equipped with 3G use cellular data 45% of the time, while users with 4G devices only utilize LTE 36% of the time. Localytics compiled its connectivity report using data collected between March 16th and March 21st, and the company’s infographic can be found after the break. More →
In a recent report, an analyst for global financial firm UBS predicted that sales of Apple’s new iPad tablet will be split 50/50 between Wi-Fi-only and Wi-Fi + 4G models. “With an HD screen, faster processor and higher-resolution camera, we believe this device will drive demand for faster connectivity,” UBS senior analyst John Hodulik said in research note. Due to Verizon’s superior LTE coverage, Hodulik believes the carrier has a definite edge over AT&T when it comes to selling the device. GigaOm reported on Thursday that previous generations of the iPad were split 60/40 between Wi-Fi-only and 3G models, although it is unclear if users’ tablets were actively subscribed to a carrier’s network. More →
HTC has acknowledged that some the company’s handsets contain a security hole involving the handling of certain data requests while connected to a Wi-Fi network. Security researchers Chris Hessing and Bret Jordan discovered the vulnerability, which could use the android.permission.ACCESS_WIFI_STATE permission to create a command to view all Wi-Fi credentials while connected to the network. The researchers discovered the flaw in September, however over the past few months they have worked with HTC and Google to patch things up before going public. The hole could have been used to transmit information to a remote server using the Internet access permission. Read on for more. More →
Flying home for the holidays and navigating through crowded airports — or facing flight delays, as is often the case — may be a hair less dreadful this year. Skype announced recently that it is sponsoring free Wi-Fi in more than 60 U.S. airports from December 21st until December 27th. To activate the service, simply follow these directions:
- Sign in to Skype.
- Go to Tools > Options… > Skype WiFi Access.
- Tick Enable Skype WiFi Access.
- Connect to a WiFi public hotspot.
- In the Skype menu bar, click Tools > Skype WiFi Access.
- Follow the instructions on the screen to select and join a compatible public WiFi network.
Skype’s full press release, which includes a list of every airport where free Wi-Fi will be available, follows after the break. More →
During the Law Seminars International event in Seattle on Tuesday, Trilogy Partners chairman John Stanton said he spoke frequently with Steve Jobs about Jobs’s dream to create a wireless network owned and operated by Apple. “He wanted to replace carriers,” Stanton explained. “He and I spent a lot of time talking about whether synthetically you could create a carrier using Wi-Fi spectrum. That was part of his vision,” Stanton added, noting that he worked with Steve Jobs from 2005 through 2007. Jobs originally wanted to take advantage of unlicensed spectrum that Wi-Fi networks use, although it is unclear how advanced his plans or intentions for such a project were. Jobs reportedly nixed the idea in 2007 and, four years later, the iPhone is now available on three major U.S. wireless carriers and one regional carrier. IDG, which first reported the story, said Stanton was the former head of Voicestream before it became T-Mobile, and he also worked for McCaw Cellular, which later became AT&T. More →