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Bradley Mitchell

Wireless / Networking


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Why Gramofon Is a Unique Network Router

Tuesday April 15, 2014
Gramofon is a Wi-Fi network router. Those familiar with the Fon network know that Fon routers are specially designed to allow sharing one's Internet connection in the style of a wireless hotspot. Gramofon is the latest such device developed by Fon.

What makes this one different from other Fon routers or the hundreds of other Wi-Fi routers out there is its integrated support for music streaming. Gramofon connects to home stereo equipment via a line-in cable, streams music from Internet audio services and allows remote control from smartphone apps. It's a cool and uniquely packaged way to share favorite songs with friends and family, a usage that some have dubbed "social music." Initially targeting the Spotify service, Fon apparently has plans to add more social music options in the future.

Fon Introduces Its Social Music Router - Gramofon (gigaom.com)

Wi-Fi Steals Time and Attention at World Famous Trial

Wednesday April 9, 2014
The U.S. legal system is wrestling with some complicated technical and legal issues in the current Apple vs. Samsung patent trial, but wireless networking wasn't planned to be one of them. The federal courthouse in San Jose, California where the trial is being held is suffering from a case of wireless interference. Wi-Fi is being blamed, but the issue stems from too many people communicating on their smartphones while court is in session. Short of banning texting in the courtroom, the best solution appears to be building better wireless networks. The court should also seriously consider using a wired network for their internal communications.
More - Wi-Fi Interferes Court In Session (wwlp.com)

What Is a Schengen Cloud?

Saturday April 5, 2014
Those who travel in Europe know that the term "Schengen" refers to special agreements between countries that help people move more easily across borders. In response to allegations that United States agencies spied via the Internet on the computer networks of some European government offices, some in Europe are advocating the creation special private networks that outsiders can't reach. This concept, dubbed the Schengen cloud, seems to be generating nearly as much controversy as the original claims of spying, due to its serious business and political ramifications.
More - US Blasts Europe's Plan for Anti-Snooping Network as Unfair Advantage
See also - What Is the Schengen Agreement?

Who Is Vic Hayes?

Sunday March 30, 2014
Many people don't realize that Vic Hayes has been called "the father of Wi-Fi." Many online sources list a handful of other people as inventors of Wi-Fi, but Mr. Hayes had just as much impact (if not more) on the technology's development than any other individual.

Mr. Hayes is a university researcher who worked at international firm NCR where the basic technology that was to become Wi-Fi was developed. He led the committee (IEEE 802.11 Standards Working Group for Wireless Local Area Networks) that eventually standardized various Wi-Fi protocols.

See also - Introduction to Wi-Fi Wireless Networking
See also - Who Created the Internet?

The Issue of Offensive Wi-Fi Network Names

Saturday March 29, 2014
Park Slope is a neighborhood the size of a city within Brooklyn, NA (USA). A family-friendly and upscale place otherwise, Park Slope recently became the home of an X-rated Wi-Fi hotspot, targeting a nearby local business that sells to kids. Local laws apparently don't allow for any specific action to be taken against the hotspot owner. But it seems that a line must be drawn somewhere. Should everyone be free to name their Wi-Fi networks whatever they wish, even if it disparages the names of businesses, or people?
See also - The Politics of Wi-Fi Network Names (2012)
See also - Where's Your Favorite Wi-Fi Hotspot?

The State of Being Too Connected

Tuesday March 25, 2014
While we may have trouble putting down our smartphone, stepping away from the laptop keyboard, or shutting off our Internet TV, sooner or later we disconnect. The same can't be said for Chris Dancy, maybe the most connected human on the planet. Can one person really use up to 700 network devices in their day to day life? Apparently so. In fact, Mr. Dancy has stated that "it's impossible to truly disconnect when involved with so many systems. Is he a pioneer of the future or just an isolated individual living on the fringe? You decide.
More - Chris Dancy (chrisdancy.com)
See also - Introduction to Home Networking and Internet Television

Scottish Farmers Connect Cows to the Internet

Sunday March 23, 2014
Cows aren't very good at Web surfing, but that isn't stopping some farmers in Scotland from hooking them up to the Internet anyway. The idea is to remotely monitor the animals via electronic collars and collect data on their physiological well-being. These data may help to pinpoint why some animals are producing less milk and in some cases even reveal early signs of more serious disease, saving farmers significant time and money. Farming technology has grown increasingly sophisticated over the years, and this looks like an advance likely to spread worldwide. Let's hope corporate employers don't think about using this on their employees!
More - Cows Connected to Web to Boost Milk (bbc.com)
See also - Wireless Networks Down on the Farm (2004)

Does Your Car Have Ethernet?

Monday March 17, 2014
Most newer automobiles use built-in networking technology of various kinds although few consumers realize or think much about it. In fact, so many different kinds of in-vehicle networks have been developed that the automotive industry considers it an issue to be addressed. While some folks think the whole world will eventually go wireless, some believe the next wave of automobiles may use Ethernet as their primary networking standard, and a few car models do include it now, led by BMW. Will your next car be wired for Ethernet?
More - The Hype and Reality of In-Vehicle Ethernet (embedded.com)
See also - What Is an Ethernet Port?

Why Would Anyone Move to Green Bank, West Virginia?

Tuesday March 11, 2014
Located in the small region of Green Bank, West Virginia, the U.S. National Radio Astronomy Observatory draws many tourists. Almost no one actually lives there. Recently, however, some new residents have been moving in. Why? To protect the Observatory from interference, a large area around Green Bank called the National Radio Quiet Zone strictly limits the use of Wi-Fi and other radio devices. Some folks especially sensitive and/or fearful of the effects of radio waves have chosen to make the move to Green Bank to cope.
More - Dozens of Americans Settle in Small West Virginia Town Where Wi-Fi Is Banned (dailymail.co.uk)
See also - Is Wireless A Health Hazard?

Why Internet Service in the U.S. Is Slow

Friday March 7, 2014
According to at least one recent study, the United States ranks 31st in average Internet download speeds compared to other countries. Why? Some are arguing that Internet providers in the U.S. are too well insulated from business competition that would drive improved technology at lower prices. Others say that the U.S. population being spread across a large geographic area makes it very difficult for providers to cover everyone well. Both factors probably play a role. But isn't the fundamental issue that we Americans don't care enough about Mbps to make it a priority? It seems to me that many people are satisfied with 10 Mbps or 20 Mbps downloads, when 100 Mbps is becoming the norm in other countries. What do you think?
More - Why Is American Internet So Slow? (theweek.com)
See also - Top Internet Speed Test Services
See also - What Is 802.11ac?

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