Samsung Hosting a Meeting to Standardize 5G Standards

We’ve all heard about 3G and 4G, the standards that define the technology that has helped shape mobile communications and mobile phones for the last generation. Samsung looks to get ahead with the next generation by hosting a meeting in hopes of standardizing standards for the next generation, 5G.

Hosting the 3GPP RAN (3rd Generation Partnership Project – Radio Access Network) group, Samsung Electronics hopes that the meeting taking place in Busan, Korea, will help encourage companies to “discuss ways to support the effective integration of new services such as IoT (Internet of Things) into 5G, and measures to ensure the compatibility of 5G technologies”.

5G is not a new technology, having been in development by Samsung since 2011, but with more and more companies looking to have the first standards ready for June 2018, we could soon see a network that could see speeds of 1.2 Gbps for moving vehicles and 7.5 gigabytes for anyone who stands still for a minute.

With companies looking at rolling out the technology for 2020, the meeting hopes to cover everything from energy and cost efficiency to security and availability, all key factors in releasing a successful piece of technology that people not only accept and pick up but support years down the road.

New SMTP STS Email Security Standard Published by Industry Leaders

A number of engineers from some of today’s top tech firms have come together to provide a new standard of security for the sending and receiving of emails. Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, Comcast, LinkedIn and 1&1 Mail & Media Development & Technology are all part of this new standard that is named SMTP Strict Transport Security (SMTP STS). The new standard will allow email providers to define policies and rules that control the sending and receipt of encrypted email communications, which is a vast improvement over current email security.

When SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) was envisioned back in 1982, it included no facilities for encryption or security. This same protocol has been in use to this day, and despite additions over the years, such as  STARTTLS that have added support for TLS (Transport Layer Security) to SMTP connections, its adoption rate has been low and the majority of email traffic is as unencrypted as in the 80s. Between May and August 2014, in the wake of Edward Snowdon’s leaks, Facebook saw adoption for STARTTLS jump from 58% to a whopping 95%. STARTTLS is not without flaws, though, as it does not validate the digital certificates and is vulnerable to both man-in-the-middle attacks and simple stripping of the encryption.

The newly proposed SMTP STS addresses both of the main flaws that exist in STARTTLS. Firstly, it informs connecting clients that TLS is available and recommended for use as well as how the certificate should be validated and the consequence of failure to establish a TLS connection. SMTP STS policies are set via special DNS records added to the email for the server’s domain name, providing ways for clients to validate the policies and report failure. Man-in-the-middle attacks can be foiled by a mail server telling a client to cache its SMTP STS policies for a set duration, to prevent false policies being injected.

Whether this new standard will catch on the wider world of the internet remains to be seen, but with so many key companies involved in its development and security being such a key topic in the modern-day, we can only hope that it allows us to keep our emails that much secure and private.

AMD Teases Possible External GPU Standard

Gaming is a lot of fun and small computer systems are a joy because they are easier to carry around, but what if you want the graphics performance to be optional? For that to be an option we need some proper external graphics card support and it looks like AMD is working on just that, again.

We have seen multiple external graphics card solution over time such as Alienware’s Graphics Amplifier or MSI’s Gaming Dock that solve the problem with lack of graphics power in portable systems without increasing the size and weight of the ultrabook or laptop itself, but they’ve been limited to specific devices and that can be an issue that holds the adoption rate back.

AMD’s Robert Hallock teased us with something new via Facebook that indicates that AMD could be working on just such a solution. This isn’t the first time that AMD’s graphics department wants to do something like that, although they still were called ATI at the time. Some might remember the ATI XGP (eXternal Graphics Platform) from 7-years ago that already attempted this, but it never gained the large traction due to its natural limitations.

Ultrathin notebooks are awesome for their portability, but nobody in their right mind would use them as a gaming notebook. Those are some heavy items that while still portable, weigh as much as a stationary mITX system. This is where external graphics solutions come into play and we’re able to get the same graphics performance from a small portable system when needed while keeping it light enough to take everywhere for normal usage.

“External GPUs are the answer. External GPUs with standardized connectors, cables, drivers, plug’n’play, OS support, etc.”

AMD is a big believer in open and free standards and the way everything is worded points in the same direction rather than a single locked down product with an AMD branding. Standardization could make a huge difference here as long as the manufacturers adopt it and bring it to the market. Oh and just to clarify, none of the shown examples of external graphics solutions here is the new deal. Robert himself teased with a Razer Core graphics enclosure equipped with an AMD Radeon Nano card.

The teaser ends with the words “More info very soon”, maybe GDC? Only time will tell, but we’ll stay on the ball and keep you informed.

New Web Code to Reveal When You’re Blocked by Censorship

Web status codes are sent by websites to give you a summary when you attempt to access them, from the classic 404 error telling you that there is no content found, to less subtle ones like 204, which means you found the site, but it contains no body, so doesn’t actually have any content to send back. A new code, however, has been created for a slightly more frightening situation.

The new status code of 451 was posted under a title of “an HTTP status code to report legal obstacles”. Submitted as a proposed standard, the status code would be returned by websites when you can’t access a site due to “legal obstacles” which could range from a firewalled website to a copyright issue with the site in question.

This means that your browser could soon be returning a message saying that you are unable to access a site because of the content it contains, rather than a technical reason. This could escalate and be used as a way of blocking sites altogether, with companies blocking the return of 451’s, so what would say it’s blocked due to legal reasons appears to return a 404, saying the site does not exist.

With new codes come new clarity as to why websites are inaccessible or what information we get from them, the problem is that for this new standard to work all the companies involved would have to pass it without intercepting the message, a task that recent security issues and legislation is more than likely to worry a few people.

GDDR6 Memory Coming to Graphics Cards in 2016?

The graphics card market is full of interesting power struggles and if recent reports are true, it seems 2016 will be one of the biggest battles yet. AMD may have already put out some cards with HBM memory, and we’ve heard that Nvidia will be doing the same soon too, but don’t count GDDR memory out just yet! It seems that the upcoming GDDR5 standard is being developed by Micron, which will power mid-end graphics cards, while HBM2 will likely remain for higher end cards.

Of course, there’s some confusion here as JEDEC are already working on the GDDR5X standard, so where Micron fits in really remains to be seen, but that’s something we’ll have to wait and see. GDDR5X is said to double the bandwidth, so is GDDR6 is new standard, or just a further refinement of 5X? Either way, we can expect it to adopt a lower node, most likely starting from 20nm and working down from there, allowing for higher clocks, and lower voltages, although these kinds of improvements are the obvious targets for any increase in performance these days.

Our guess is that the revised GDDR standards will be acting as a bridge until HBM matures enough to cover a wider range of cards and budgets. Either way, 2016 is shaping up to be an exciting time in the GPU market, with new memory, new architectures, new cards and so much more on the horizon.

The BBC Implements HTML5 to iPlayer

I think we can all say that Adobe Flash Player is very much being knocked to its knees in recent months, from endless, and I do mean endless, vulnerabilities which put countless users at risk to the annoying aspect of running a plug-in which enjoys crashing and breaking functionality on a regular basis. Well, now the BBC has also seen the light and are implementing the HTML 5 web standard language within its BBC iPlayer service.

The move is seen as progress and an update which modernizes the service and security aspect of the site. The BBC state that it is “now confident [it could] achieve the playback quality you’d expect from the BBC without using a third-party plug-in such as Flash player”. Users have also been invited to visit a BBC site where they can set a cookie in their browsers that will allow them to access the HTML5 player when they visit iPlayer in future. However, the Flash version will remain available.

Security analysts have responded positivity to the news but have also confirmed that Adobe Flash still has a role; this has been echoed by security expert Chris Green, who says “The industry has moved on from trying to shoehorn one thing in, whether that is Flash or Microsoft’s Silverlight. It continues to be very effective in delivering rich content into web pages.”  

The BBC is testing the new more improved player on a range of browsers, these include Firefox 41, Safari on iOS 5 and above, Opera 32, Internet Explorer 11 (Good luck with that piece of, let’s say junk, as this is a family site) and Microsoft Edge on Windows 10 (Good luck with that piece of, to be fair I have not as yet tried edge but anything with the words browser and Microsoft in the title concerns me) and Blackberry OS 10.3.1 The BBC added that it was also going to “move away from the BBC Media Player app on Android devices” with users invited to join a limited beta test

HTML 5 is considered the standard in content delivery and the BBC are implementing this with the aim of modernizing the service, it will be interesting to see how it works and also how rapid the decline of Flash will be in the coming months and years. It is worth noting that Flash is used by Amazon and Hulu among others, which is positive for them, it’s just frustrating for consumers who have to put up with a range of exploits which make services insecure.

Thank you bbc for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of plus.google

New DockPort Display Standard Released From VESA

VESA, the Video Electronics Standards Association who are the governing body over the display connectivity standards (the people who write out the rules so-to-speak) have announced that they are expending the DisplayPort standard to allow USB3.1 data and power to be carried over the same cable that video signals are currently run over on the DisplayPort interface. Known as DockPort, the connection is physically the same, much like USB3.0 is with USB2.0, meaning that older DisplayPort only devices will be backwards compatible with DockPort enabled devices. When two DockPort devices are connected together, power and USB3.1 data will run over the cable, reducing the overall number of cables that need to be connected between the source and display.

As DockPort is an extension of an existing standard, it will be offered to current VESA members without any additional licensing fees, meaning that any products that feature the new standard won’t have to incur massive price jumps.

“As computing platforms become increasingly mobile, it becomes necessary to reduce the number of external connectors,” explained Steve Belt, Corporate Vice President – Strategic Alliances & Solutions Enablement AMD, a VESA member company. “With DockPort, VESA has developed a technology standard that enhances elegant docking designs, reduces mobile form factors, and enriches the user experience with streamlined, one-cable access to a wide range of external displays, peripherals and storage.”

Unlike HDMI which can only carry audio and video data, DockPort is set to be the first standard to carry non-video data across a display cable as well as the first standard to allow power to run alongside a video signal without interference. As the new standard begins to roll out, a number of vendors are showing off their latest product at Computex 2014 which is running this week, although there is no word if this standard is ready to hit the shelves just yet.

“The new DockPort standard demonstrates the enormous adaptability of the DisplayPort standard,” according to VESA Board Chair Alan Kobayashi, Fellow & Executive R&D Management for DisplayPort Group at MegaChips Technology America. “On the one hand, DisplayPort is a flexible A/V transport protocol that easily coexists with other protocols, like USB-it plays nicely with others. On the other hand, DisplayPort is also a robust and proven connector design whose electro-mechanical properties can accommodate data and power over a common passive copper cable and interface.”

Source: Press Release

Dell Becomes The First PC Maker To Adopt A Wireless Charging Standard

Desktop and laptop maker, Dell, has recently joined one of the world’s biggest wireless industry consortium, Wireless Power Consortium, namely the Alliance of Wireless Power, or A4WP for short.

The A4WP has announced that Dell is the first PC maker to adopt a wireless charging standard, joining other big name manufacturers such as LG, Samsung, SanDisk and others. Apparently the A4WP is about to standardized a method of wireless power transfer which uses near-field magnetic resonance tech. Their project name is called Rezence, which is said to be able to charge multiple devices at the same time.

“The development of magnetic resonance technology will improve the customer experience when it comes to wireless charging and bring the capability into more homes and businesses over the next few years,” said Glen Robson, Dell VP and CTO. “We are excited to work with other industry leaders in the A4WP to deliver on the promise of easy, flexible wireless charging across an array of mobile devices including smartphones, tablets and laptops.”

Nothing has yet been announced or even rumored about when Dell is planning to implement the new technology in notebooks or other mobile devices or equipment. However, the idea itself is quite remarkable, since you can charge multiple mobile devices at the same time. Another thing to ponder about is whether or not it will be more efficient than the old style cord charging principle.

Thank you Digital Trends for providing us with this information