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Bradley Mitchell

Bradley's Wireless / Networking Blog

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Testing the Video Quality of Your Internet Connection

Friday May 30, 2014
Numerous speed test services are available on the Internet to measure how many bytes of data your connection can handle. But often what you really want to know instead is whether your connection has enough juice to keep up with the video streams you're trying to watch. One way to check your setup's Internet video performance is the Google Video Quality Report.
See also - How to Map a Network Drive in Microsoft Windows 7

Facebook Wi-Fi Router Now Available From D-Link

Thursday May 29, 2014
Small business owners looking to attract customers with free Wi-Fi have a new option available now in the Wireless AC1750 Facebook Wi-Fi Router. D-Link joins Cisco and Netgear who each also offer hardware compatible with Facebook's service. The idea is to offer owners a simple way to promote their business while making it easier for customers to sign into these Wi-Fi hotspots.
More - Connect to Your Customers with Facebook Wi-Fi (facebook.com)
See alao - Getting Free Wi-Fi From Facebook (2013)
See also - How-To Guide for Coping With Wi-Fi Addiction
See also - Top Tips for Hiring Computer Network Professionals

IPv4 May Never Go Away

Monday May 26, 2014
It should be obvious by now that much of the world doesn't want to let go of IPv4. That despite years of advocacy from proponents of IPv6 explaining how it solves various problems with the old standard. While the last unassigned blocks of IP addresses in Europe and other places were handed out a few years ago, the allocation process continues. Address blocks previously assigned to one place that aren't well utilized can be reclaimed and re-assigned elsewhere. It's possible that IPv4 will never actually disappear completely from the Internet, based on how this so-called transition is going.
More - IANA Starts Handing Out Recovered IPv4 Addresses (May, 2013)
See also - When Will IPv4 Addresses Run Out (2010)

Would Your Life End Without Wi-Fi?

Thursday May 22, 2014
Some columnists think that without Wi-Fi, life would end, at least for the typical modern teenager, who allegedly spends more than 40 hours per week staring at digital devices. The idea of online addiction sounds funny at first but quite serious if a whole generation of young people is affected. The term Generation C (sometimes, "Gen C") has even been coined to refer to this. If you find yourself unable to resist pulling out your phone when out with friends, or while walking, or maybe even when waiting at a traffic stop, you too are likely addicted.
More - What Is Internet Addiction? (addictions.about.com)
See also - Generation Connected Disconnected: An Unexpected Study of Living Without WiFi (huffingtonpost.com)

Do U.S. Internet Providers Purposely Slow Down Their Networks?

Monday May 19, 2014
A recent article in PC World suggests U.S. Internet providers allow permanent congestion on their networks. The implication is that some service providers use their network traffic difficulties as a way to increase the demand for more bandwidth that normally leads to higher prices. While this could theoretically happen anywhere in the world, data collected by Level 3 Communications specifically points to the USA as the country that seems most affected. It's completely possible that that the data are the unintentional result of poor management practices or special challenges around building high capacity networks in the U.S. Are U.S. ISPs really so bad?
See also - Why Internet Service in the U.S. Is Slow

Using Wi-Fi to Catch Fish

Saturday May 10, 2014
Wireless technology has permeated many aspects of our lives, even the ancient pastime of fishing. It seems some modern fisherman are either not patient or not experienced enough to find fish using traditional methods and have sought out wireless solutions. For example, products like Vexilar FishPhone have been created that utilize underwater Wi-Fi cameras to take real-time pictures and send them back to a smartphone in the boat. Put me in the camp of those who think this takes away the sport and fun of angling. If it were possible to catch fish with a Wi-Fi hook, I'm sure some folks would go for that solution as well.
More - Angling Technology: WIFI Gone Fishin' (southernminn.com)

How Digital Pickpocketing Works

Sunday May 4, 2014
Did you know that with a little (not a lot) of technical know-how, an average smartphone can be turned into a device that steals credit card numbers from people nearby? Here's how digital pickpocketing works. First, the thief constructs a wireless RFID reader. With the right apps and updates, many Android phone can serve the purpose. Next, the thief runs their software and waits for the reader to come into a range of an RFID-enabled credit card, a process sometimes called RFID skimming. Most credit cards in the U.S. don't have RFID chips, but for the ones that do, readers within range can pick up the wireless signals transmitted when that card is being used to make a transaction. The thief could be the person immediately behind you in line, sitting on a nearby bench, or pretending to shop a few yards away.
More - Digital Pickpockets Using Smartphone Technology to Steal Credit Cards (komonews.com)
See also - RFID To the Rescue (idtheft.about.com)

Why Some Hotels Still Charge for Wi-Fi

Wednesday April 30, 2014
A hotels.com survey published earlier this month confirmed free Wi-Fi is the most valuable amenity hotel guests seek (along with free food). Why then don't all good hotels make their Wi-Fi free? A key issue that applies in majority of cases but often gets overlooked, is capacity. Offering a free network service in an establishment of any significant size will quickly clog the average building network with download traffic. To avoid this situation, a hotel owner can choose to either upgrade their infrastructure, or charge fees that lower usage to more manageable levels (at the risk of losing some guests to competitors). What would you do if you were a hotel owner?
More - Five Excuses Hotels Have Given About Why They Still Charge for WiFi (hotelchatter.com)
See also - Mastering the Use of Wi-Fi Network Security Keys
See also - Hotels at About.com

What Is Fly-Fi?

Sunday April 27, 2014
Fly-Fi is the trademark name for JetBlue Airways in-flight Wi-Fi service. JetBlue is hardly the first airline to invest in such a service, but the company has focused on both the network technology (a form of satellite Internet) and marketing promotion in attempts to position theirs as the best. In particular, Fly-Fi networks offer high capacity, supporting high-definition streaming video and other data-intensive applications simultaneously for many passengers on board.

In-flight Wi-Fi services have been slow to get off the ground (heh) due to cost of building the infrastructure, and the practical reason that many travelers would rather sleep on a plane than stay connected. JetBlue's base service is planned to remain free until June, at which time we should learn more about where Fly-Fi is headed (heh).

More - Fly-Fi Active Routes (jetblue.com)
See also - Wi-Fi - The Technology Formerly Known as Wireless Fidelity

When Wireless Technology Fails Emergency Responders

Friday April 25, 2014
A recent survey by the Find Me 911 coalition suggests emergency dispatchers in the U.S. face difficulty tracing the location of wireless calls. Concerns over the ability of cell networks to report the location of mobile phones in emergencies have existed going back many years, but these results (if you trust the method used to obtain them) suggests the industry still has a long way to go.

Here's one particularly chilling account from an emergency responder in Missouri, USA: Received a 911 from a cell phone with an open line. It was a female that sounded as if she had her mouth gagged. She was getting beat [and] even her dog was being hurt. The lat/long came to an abandoned building in St Louis City... Could not pinpoint her location, and her phone died. She was never found.

See also - Wireless E-911: A Crisis in Location Data (findme911.org)
See also - What Is a Wireless Dead Zone?

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