Facebook is Testing a Super-Speed Wi-Fi System

When it comes to technology, Facebook wants to be standing at the front of innovation with creating tools to help blind people make sense of their news feeds and their free internet service being used around the globe, but if you really want to see something then you should check out their super-speed wi-fi system they have installed at their campus.

Facebook’s campus in Menlo Park, California has a super wi-fi. What do we mean by a super wi-fi? Well, anything that servers speeds of over one gigabit per second would count as super. This means its more than 100 times the average speed of a typical house’s internet speed in the US!

Facebook doesn’t want to stop there, looking to expand the test to a large scale system in downtown San Jose later this year and then in other areas around the world. Jay Parikh, head of infrastructure and engineering at Facebook says that rolling over other high-speed options, such as Google Fiber, can prove to be difficult in urban areas, so creating a wireless infrastructure would be both cheaper and easier to deploy.

The problems title is named Terragraph and is based on the technology known as WiGig. By placing WiGig hubs on light poles and common street furnishings, Facebook hopes to create a fast wireless network that anyone can use to send and receive information on the 60 GHz radio waves the systems designed around.

Researchers Develop Ways to Calculate Distance Through WiFi

We all use WiFi at some point, be it at work or at home, we rely on the technology to avoid the miles and miles of cables that we would overwise have to plug and unplug every time we wanted to grab a drink or watch a movie on Netflix. Researchers may have developed a way to accurately calculate distance through WiFi, a feature that could see wireless communications made more secure and controlled.

Researchers from MIT’s CSAIL team managed to achieve the feat using just a single router by measuring the “time of flight” for the WiFi signals between both the transmitter and receiving components, with a margin of error of just 0.5 nanoseconds, 20 times more accurate that other systems. Once the time was calculated they multiplied it by the speed of light, resulting in the distance between people and their wireless routers.

Using a four room apartment as an example, the researchers managed to locate the correct room for a user 94% of the time. Not stopping there the researchers took the technology to a cafe and managed to track down if someone was within the cafe with a 97% accuracy. Not stopping at wireless routers the technique was then applied to a drone, restricting the distance of the drone from the operator with an error margin of just 2-inches.

With the ability to limit or restrict access to a network by a user’s distance, public networks, and drones could be made more secure and with greater control of who, and where, people can access the systems.

ASUS RP-AC56 Dual-Band Wireless AC1200 Range Extender Review

Introduction


When you invest in a wireless network repeater in order to increase your range and cover dead spots in your home, you can either go for a run-of-the-mill unit that provides you with the basic functionality or you can go all out and get a device like ASUS’ RP-AC56 wireless dual-band AC1200 range extender and access point. The ASUS RP-AC56 is anything but ordinary and today I’ll take a closer look at everything this little device has to offer.

The ASUS RP-AC56 can extend your existing 802.11ac dual-band Wi-Fi network with speeds up to 1167 Mbps and thanks to its two external antennas it will have a great ability to enhance Wi-Fi signal coverage and boost your Wi-Fi everywhere. But it does a lot more than that, it also comes with a Gigabit Ethernet LAN port for even more connectivity as well as a 3.5mm audio jack for music streaming.

The dual-band repeater supports both the legacy 2.4GHz band and the newer 5GHz band for AC1200 speeds. The two external antennas support MIMO for the best connection even when multiple devices use it at the same time. With speeds up to 867 Mbps on the 5GHz band you can get close to what a wire connection has to offer, at least with the proper signal strength and isn’t that just the reason that we want a device such as the RP-AC56.

ASUS made sure that the setup is as easy as it can be, all it takes is a push of a button thanks the easy WPS setup. Hit the button on your router and then on the repeater, wait for a little bit, and the connection will be established. And that really is all you need to do, but you can do more. The LEDs on the front don’t just show which network band is being used, they also show the signal strength in three steps (Red, Yellow, Green) which in return allows you to find the perfect position for maximum coverage.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uf-0m-BMyo0

As previously mentioned, the RP-AS56 comes with a convenient Gigabit Ethernet LAN port built-in and the function of it depends on the usage of the RP-AC56. The flexibly designed device can work as a normal repeater, but it can also work as a wireless access point or as a media bridge. In access point mode it can be connected to any wired network and create a personal Wi-Fi hotspot. In media bridge mode it can be connected to any Ethernet-compatible device to give it Wi-Fi capability where it didn’t before.

The LAN port can also be used for easy access to the web-based configuration menu without the need for any driver disc or application, but it isn’t something that is needed. You can naturally also set it up wirelessly from devices such as your tablet or smartphone.

You can also connect speakers directly to the RP-AC56 wireless repeater and stream your favorite music direct from any mobile device that has the ASUS AiPlayer app installed. It is compatible with a wide range of multimedia formats and delivers a smooth and effortless streaming experience. The AiPlayer app is available from the App Store and Google Play and it also works for streaming without extra software when used from a Mac and iOS device.

Additionally, the RP-AC56 also supports ASUS’ ExpressWay feature that uses the dual-band capabilities to create an efficient connection with improved reliability. In normal mode, the repeater uses the two bands simultaneously for connecting to devices for the widest compatibility. ExpressWay can dedicate one band for connecting to the router and the other band for connecting to the device as long as one of them supports the 5GHz band. It also features the hassle-free Roaming Assist technology. With this enabled, you never have to switch connections manually between RP-AC56 and your ASUS router as you move around the home. Your device will connect automatically to the strongest Wi-Fi signal whether it’s from the router or the repeater.

Features

  • Extend your existing 802.11ac dual-band Wi-Fi network with speeds up to 1167 Mbps.
  • Two external antennas enhance Wi-Fi signal coverage and boost your Wi-Fi everywhere.
  • Quick and secure setup with just a press of the WPS button.
  • Smart LED signal indicator helps you find the best location for optimum Wi-Fi performance.
  • Rotating mains plug for flexible positioning in any power socket. (Not in all regions)
  • ASUS AiPlayer app for streaming music, with multi-protocol support.
  • ASUS ExpressWay uses full-speed device connections to boost performance.
  • Roaming Assist helps you to get a stable connection everywhere in the home or office.

Packaging and Accessories

The ASUS RP-AC56 comes in a great looking retail box that shows how the device looks on the front where it also shows the main features and highlights the Android and iOS support.

The rear of the box explains what the device does and how you can utilize it. It also showcases the AiPlayer for wireless streaming and more details on the features. Overall it’s a great box where you shouldn’t be left with any questions as to what the device you’re holding in your hands can do.

Inside the box, we find a quick start guide and ASUS VIP Member Warranty Notice in multiple languages as well as a 3.5mm audio cable to connect the repeater to an amplifier or speaker set.

Raspberry Pi 3 Includes Wi-fi and Bluetooth

Computers are weird things, they get smaller each year and yet still their power and what each of them can do increases every time we blink. A prime example of this is the recent surge of mini-computers, with some hardware being as small as your phone while also letting you add and customise to your heart contents. From touchscreens to the next generation of robot wars, the small component has inspired a generation but without wireless technology, it seemed to lack something. That could change with an FCC document showing that the next generation of Raspberry Pi may solve that problem

First let’s be clear, you can connect the older Raspberry Pi’s to the wireless network but you needed to buy a wireless dongle, which means another thing you can forget and a USB port that you’ve got to take up in order to use it. The documents show that not only will the next Raspberry Pi include everything you need for wi-fi connections but it will also include Bluetooth.

The documents don’t really show that much difference, with everything else pointing to the same specification as the Raspberry Pi 2, but that doesn’t mean it won’t change.

Do you use a Raspberry Pi, or maybe something similar and if so what do you use it for?

Synology Router RT1900ac High-Speed Wireless Router Review

Introduction


Synology has a long experience producing network attached storage and surveillance devices so it was just a matter of time before they expanded into more similar areas. They got the knowhow and the expertise to do so and today I’m taking a closer look at their first router, the Synology Router RT1900ac Wireless Gigabit Ethernet router.

Let us first have a look at the basic hardware specifications. The Synology RT1900ac is built around a powerful dual-core CPU with a 1GHz clock speed and it comes with 256MB DDR3 memory. The dual-band 802.11ac wireless router can transfer with up to 1300 Mbps on the 5GHz band and up to 600 Mbps on the 2.4GHz band. It is equipped with three external and replaceable MIMO omni-directional high-gain dipole antennas with 3.5 dBi for the 2.4GHz band and 4.6 dBi for the 5GHz band.

With a hardware base like that, you don’t need to worry about lags or bottlenecks. The RT1900ac has four Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports and one Gigabit Ethernet WAN port, all located on the rear in-between the three antenna mounts. The RT1900ac features a power button which is a nice thing to see on a router and while it isn’t a feature that is used a lot, it is great to have when needed.

Both the wired and wireless network connections will benefit from Synology’s bandwidth prioritization and network traffic control system that allows you to prioritize the important traffic such as your games. After all, you will always want to have the lowest latency that will give you that extra edge on the virtual battlefield. But that doesn’t mean that the Synology RT1900ac only is good for gaming, it is also awesome for streaming. You can enjoy buffer-free playback of your 4K movies when streaming them to your media devices around the house.

You don’t even need other devices in order to stream your favourite movies, shows, or music to your smart TVs and audio systems as the RT1900ac is DLNA compatible and comes with both a USB 3.0 and an SD card slot. You can also use it to stream from other network storage locations should you not want to use the direct storage features.

The access to connected devices isn’t just limited to media streaming. You can share any files on a USB storage drive or SD card (SDXC) via the Synology RT1900ac and access the contents from anywhere as well as share files with family, friends, and coworkers. The RT1900 supports all the common protocols such as SMB, AFP, FTP, or WebDAV. Whether you use a Windows PC, a Mac, an Android, or an iOS device, you’ll have access to it all.

As mentioned, Synology has quite some experience within the network area and they naturally created a great operating system for their new router. The new operating system is called Synology Router Manager (SRM) and it includes both basic and advanced tools such as VPN support, RADIUS server, and more.

The operating system is very similar to DSM, Synology’s NAS operating system, and comes with the same user-friendly interface and multi-task abilities. You can also go beyond the basic and pre-installed features and download more functions through the Package Center. Transform your router into a personal VPN server, professional RADIUS authentication server, 24/7 download hub or make it into your multimedia hub. The choice is yours.

We have seen two out of four sides on the new Synology Router RT1900ac so far and below is the third side where we also find features to highlight – there is something everywhere on this router. On this side we find a button to turn the Wi-Fi completely off and back on again for when it isn’t needed. There is a growing concern among some people who fear that exposure to wireless signals of all sort can affect us and those people, and everyone else too, have the ability to easy switch the wireless signals on and off depending on when they are needed.

Next to the Wi-Fi on-off switch we find the WPS button for easy connectivity between the router and other devices. A simple touch of the button on both devices and they will pair with each other and establish a connection. No need to search for the correct Wi-Fi network among all the possible ones and no need to enter any complicated passwords.

There is one more thing that I haven’t shown you yet and that is located right on the front of the router, around the corner from the USB port and SD card slot, and it is the one button that I have been missing on every single device with these ports since they came into existence. A hardware eject button. Simply press the button and the operating system will safely unmount the drive and make it ready for safe ejection. This is so much easier than having to log into an administration interface just to press a button to eject the drive.

Now that we’ve seen what the Synology Router RT1900ac is all about, it is time to mount the antennas and get a closer look at them. The squared antennas look out of the norm and fit well with the router. Synology also added smart Beamforming technology that lets the RT1900ac focus wireless signals toward up to six simultaneous devices and thereby increase the range, reduce the latency, and economize the power consumption.

Synology packed the Router RT1900ac with quite a few great features such as application layer quality of service (QoS) that lets you see how much bandwidth is consumed by individual applications and devices and then lets you restrict the amount of bandwidth the device or application is allowed to use. It also comes with parental controls such as time scheduling for individual devices as well as intelligent and manual web filtering.

Synology also added support for their QuickConnect service which makes remote control and access as easy as the local. Just register a unique and customizable QuickConnect ID, and you’ll to be able to log in to Synology Router Manager, access connected storage devices, and do much more from anywhere with an Internet connection.

Packaging and Accessories

Synology packed the RT1900ac in a simple brown box which is all that is needed. It has a sticker on the front showcasing the router itself and its feature highlights.

The rear side of the box has another sticker with a few more details and the device’s specifications and usage scenario as well as what the package contains.

Inside the package is a power adapter with connection options for the region where you purchased the device, in this case there is a UK and a slim-EU plug included. There are also three high-gain antennas and the extra stand in case you should want to have it in an upright position.

Raumfeld Adds Google Cast And SoundCloud Support to Wi-Fi Speakers @ CES 2016

CES 2016: Raumfeld is one of the most respected audio companies in the world and renowned for creating beautiful wireless speakers which sound absolutely phenomenal. Their range spans across various sizes and designed for use with a home cinema setup. The majority of Televisions exhibit tinny, lifeless speakers which have a dull complexion even at prices in excess of $1000. As a result, dedicated soundbars which fit on top of a TV’s stand is an essential purchase for people targeting the best possible experience. In this particular field, Raumfeld are masters and constantly striving to manufacturer the highest grade of speakers around. While talking at great length about the company and their products, I inspected the workmanship of a number of speakers and was completely in awe of the build quality.

Not only that, Raumfeld is adding Google Cast support which allows users to stream music from popular apps such as Pandora and Google Play. On another note, SoundCloud functionality is also on its way and enhances the flexibility of Raumfeld’s product range

Max Boit, general manager at Raumfeld said in a press release:

“Raumfeld prides itself on manufacturing streaming speakers that sound as good as traditional premium hi-fi speakers,” 

“The integration of Google Cast allows us to offer the same hi-fi sound quality and the convenience of multi-room from a vastly expanded range of sources.”

Sadly, due to the nature of CES’s show floor, I wasn’t able to listen to the speakers although Raumfeld invited me to a private showing and we will be sure to provide an update on our thoughts.

https://youtu.be/at8gA-BNMDE

Wi-Fi Alliance Approves New 802.11ah Standard

The Wi-Fi Alliance has announced a new Wi-Fi solution that offers a greater range while using less power. The new 802.11ah standard, dubbed HaLow, operates on the unlicensed 900MHz band, boasting twice the range of the 2.4GHz standard, and offers greater wall penetration. It is hoped that HaLow will power the next generation of IoT (internet of things) devices, since it will require less power of its devices, while able to transmit across larger distances.

“Wi-Fi HaLow extends Wi-Fi into the 900MHz band, enabling the low power connectivity necessary for applications including sensor and wearables,” the announcement on the Wi-Fi Alliance website reads. “Wi-Fi HaLow’s range is nearly twice that of today’s Wi-Fi, and will not only be capable of transmitting signals further, but also providing a more robust connection in challenging environments where the ability to more easily penetrate walls or other barriers is an important consideration.”

“Wi-Fi HaLow will broadly adopt Wi-Fi protocols and deliver many of the benefits that consumers have come to expect from Wi-Fi today, including multi-vendor interoperability, strong government-grade security, and easy setup,” the statement adds.

“Wi-Fi HaLow is well suited to meet the unique needs of the Smart Home, Smart City, and industrial markets because of its ability to operate using very low power, penetrate through walls, and operate at significantly longer ranges than Wi-Fi today,” Edgar Figueroa, President and CEO of Wi-Fi Alliance, said at CES 2016 during the reveal of HaLow. “Wi-Fi HaLow expands the unmatched versatility of Wi-Fi to enable applications from small, battery-operated wearable devices to large-scale industrial facility deployments – and everything in between.”

New Startup Kickstarts Stylish Signal-Blocking Tin Foil Hats

Are you one of the unlucky few who fall victim to government mindreading via invisible microwave beams? Are you spending far too much money on tin foil to protect your brain from being probed, or are you just self-conscious when wearing your ramshackle silver hat in public? Well, good news everybody! A new company based in London is Kickstarting a batch of stylish, signal-blocking tin foil hats, so you won’t have to resort to wrapping your head in foil any more.

Shield Apparel has launched the Shield, described as “signal proof headwear”, suitable for blocking “signals from cell phones, wi-fi routers, microwaves and it generally blocks waves transmitted from electric devices,” according to the Kickstarter campaign.

“We know that we need to say something more about the technology and design to grab your attention and trust, so here we go,” the Kickstarter reads, in some kind of weird, metatextual self-commentary. “To achieve the signal proof quality we use a unique fabric (pure silver) which is antimicrobial, antiodor, washable and was originally produced for military purposes and we put it between the hat’s layers.

“It’s not blocking for 100% percent,” the blurb adds, “but better than nothing.” Better than nothing? Phew! At least it’s not a complete waste of money…

It seems that the Iluminati is probing more minds than previously thought, with 194 backers pledging £10,085 towards the Shield’s £13,000 goal, with 10 days to go. Will you be investing in tin foil hats or is this taking it a bit too far?

French Prime Minister Denies Tor and Public Wi-Fi Ban Demand

Earlier this week, leaked documents revealed that French police were pressuring President Francois Hollande (pictured above) to ban the Tor browser and to block public Wi-Fi in a state of emergency. Hollande’s Prime Minister, however, has denied that any such demand was made, and added that the French government would not entertain such a notion in the name of “freedom”.

“A ban of Wi-Fi is not a course of action envisaged,” Prime Minister Manuel Valis said, as reported by English language French Newspaper The Connexion, which adds that France has plans to outlaw Tor, either.

“Internet is a freedom,”Valis added. “[It] is an extraordinary means of communication between people, [and] it is a benefit to the economy.”

Police liaison DLPAJ revealed that law enforcement bodies were also seeking the powers to “require [service] providers to give security forces access codes” for communications applications, such as Skype, Viber, and WhatsApp.

France has been in a state of emergency since the Paris terror attacks that took the lives of 130 people on 13th November, and will run until 26th February, 2016. Valis warned, though, that the period could well be extended on that date, saying, We can’t rule out that possibility, depending on the level of danger, and we have to act with a great deal of responsibility.”

Image courtesy of Business Insider.

 

France Looks to Ban Tor and Public Wi-Fi

In the wake of the Paris terror attacks, French police has submitted proposals to ban anonymous web browser Tor and block Wi-Fi networks in public places to President Francois Hollande (pictured), according to French newspaper Le Monde (via Business Insider). La Monde has acquired documents that show the French government is taking the proposal very seriously and it could be included in France’s new anti-terrorism bill, which could come into effect as early as January.

According to Vice Motherboard, French authorities want “to block or forbid communications of the Tor network” and “Forbid free and shared wi-fi connections” when a state of emergency is declared, similar to mobile phone networks being taken down during such a time.

If France does introduce a ban on the Tor browser, it has two options with which to enforce it: a legal ban, which would outlaw its use at risk of prosecution, and a technological ban, which would require the installation of a China-esque national firewall that blocks Tor entry nodes. The latter is sure to worry free speech and civil liberties activists.

The recently imprisoned Silk Road creator, Ross Ulbricht, operated using a combination of Tor and public Wi-Fi in an effort to make himself more difficult to track and monitor.

TP-Link Touch P5 AC1900 Wi-Fi Gigabit Router Now Available

TP-Link’s smart wireless router with a touchscreen is now available and the Touch P5 is unlike other routers. You can control all the features without the use of PCs or smart devices, directly on the router via the 4.3-inch capacitive touchscreen. A sweet extra function that can come in handy.

The Touch P5 features four Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports and one WAN port besides the AC1900 WiFi connection. The three antennas and up to 1300Mbps on the 5GHz band and 600Mbps on the 2.4GHz band provide a great connectivity for lag free gaming and 4K video streaming alike.

The router features both guest networks and parental control as well as USB sharing. The powerful 1GHz dual core processor inside should provide plenty of power to run all this simultaneously. The Touch P5 was designed as a versatile unit and it can act as a router, repeater, or access point.

With its clean, user-friendly design, The Touch P5’s display interface provides an ideal portal through which to quickly access and manage your network settings. Now you can modify parental controls, add/remove devices from your network, and change guest access privileges with a few taps on your router’s display. For added functionality, the touchscreen display can also function as a clock, when not in use.

TP-Link’s Touch P5 routers are now available at the TP-LINK store and other major retailers. It features a 2-year limited warranty and 24/7 tech support. The MSRP is set for $204.99 which isn’t all bad considering you get the best available Wi-Fi along with a fancy touchscreen for control.

TP-Link also released a new video showcasing the router in a setup environment.

This video below was the first time we got a view on the TP-Link Touch P5 back in May 2015.

New Augmented Reality App Lets You See Radio Waves

In the modern era, radio waves are everywhere, from crisscrossing Wi-Fi signals, cellular signals, GPS, Bluetooth and many others. Yet we often aren’t aware of them, with human perception limited only to the visible light spectrum of electromagnetic waves. However the new augmented reality app, Architecture of Radio, seeks to give us a glimpse into the invisible world of data around us. When you point a device running the app in a direction or move it around, it creates a view of spherical waves emanating from radio wave sources, overlapping and crossing over each other, like waves in the sea.

The app works by compiling data about radio wave sources from public databases, including 7 million cell towers, 19 million Wi-Fi routers and a number of satellites. Access to this data allows the app to provide the user with a display of the signals in their area. Unfortunately, this relegates the app to more of an artistic curiosity than a truly useful application, as the app does not gather data in real-time from nearby devices, meaning that potential uses of such an application, such as testing ranges on wireless hardware are nonexistent. However, the app is still technically impressive, as collating and visualizing the volume of data stored in its source databases is no simple feat.

The app is to be featured as a piece at the ZKM Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe in Germany, by its designer Richard Vijgen. However for those who want a little bit of invisible art for themselves, the app can be downloaded now on iOS, with a version for Android in the works.

Image credit to Architecture of Radio

Linksys RE6700 AC1200 Amplify Wi-Fi Range Extender Review

Introduction


Wireless networks are great, that is as long as you are close enough to your router to get a signal strength you like. If you router shouldn’t be strong enough to reach the furthest parts of your home or you just need a stronger signal, then you might want to invest in a range extender. Today I’m taking a closer look at the Linksys RE6700 AC1200 Amplify Dual-Band Wi-Fi Range Extender, or just Linksys RE6700 for short.

I’ve tested a few range extenders lately, but most of them were 2.4GHz mode only. That isn’t ideal for today’s devices that usually come with dual-band features and high-speed 5GHz network. The Linksys RE6700 is a dual-band device that can provide up to 300 Mbit/s on the 2.4GHz band and up to 867Mbit/s on the 5GHz band, making up the AC1200 rating. The RE6700 features a range extension all the way up to 1000 square meters, an area that should be more than enough for most homes.

One of the great thing with wireless range extenders is that they are compatible with pretty much any hardware that you already have. They simply hook themselves up on your existing network, with minor configurations, and extend the coverage and signal strength of your existing network. It couldn’t be simpler to get a better wireless network.

Linksys included the amazing Spot Finder technology in the RE6700 that allows you to find the perfect location for the range extender with ease. The range extender has a spot finder meter built into its web interface where you can use it from your PC or mobile devices. Turn the RE67000 on and find the perfect location for your new range extender in just 3 simple steps.

A downside to many wireless network range extenders is that they take up a power outlet that you otherwise might need. Linksys made sure that this won’t be an issue on the RE6700. The added power outlet pass-through for prevents the worry about blocked power outlets in your home that you otherwise need for other devices.

The RE6700 also features beamforming technology that makes sure that you have the best signal to connected devices simply by strengthening the signal in the direction of connected devices. The crossband technology allows for the simultaneous use of both bands rather than relying on one radio band to do all the work. This allows information to be obtained on one band and transmitted on the other, resulting in reduced dropped data packets, faster media transfer speeds, and a stronger, more consistent signal throughout your home.

You might think that we are done with the features now, after all, this is just a range extender. But there is more to show on the RE6700. Linksys also included a 3.5mm audio jack that allows you to connect speakers directly to the range extender and stream music wirelessly from your iOS or Android smartphone, tablet, or laptop. Continuing, Linksys also added a Gigabit Ethernet port to the range extender that allows you to connect devices that don’t have their own wireless adapter.

Linksys added both a power button and a WPS button to the RE6700. The power button is a nice touch, allowing you to turn the extender function off without having to unplug it. The WPS button allows for easy connection setup between the range extender and your router. A click on the WPS button on each device and the two will be automatically paired. There is also a tiny hole for the reset button in case you need to reset the configuration.

Feature Highlights

  • Increase your current router’s Wi-Fi range to up to 10,000 square feet
  • Enjoy Wi-Fi speeds up to AC1200Mbps (N300 + AC867)
  • Spot Finder Technology makes optimal placement easy
  • An integrated power outlet allows you to maintain availability of the wall plug
  • Beamforming and Crossband technologies focus and strengthen signals to help reduce dead zones
  • Stream music wirelessly throughout your home with Wi-Fi audio
  • Works with virtually any router

Packaging and Accessories

Linksys packed the Amplify AC1200 Wi-Fi range extender in a colourful box that displays all the main featuers right on the front.

The rear explains the technology behind it a little more while also explaining a little about the built-in streaming feature.

The added features such as audio jack and Gigabit Ethernet port are also displayed on the box itself.

Inside we find the range extender itself, a quick start guide, and a regulatory information leaflet.

Li-Fi Networks 100 Times Faster Than WiFi in Real World Tests

Thanks to Estonian startup Velmenni, Li-Fi is making the leap out of the labs and into the real world. Velmenni have announced that they have been going ahead with trials of the technology in Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, in some of the city’s offices and industrial areas.

Velmenni reports that the LiFi technology that they have been testing is able to send data at as much as 1Gbps, outstripping common WiFi setups 100 times over and 10 times faster than most common 100Mb/s fiber internet connections. The CEO of Velmenni, Deepak Solanki spoke to the International Business Times on the topic, giving more insight into the company’s projects on the technology: “Currently we have designed a smart lighting solution for an industrial environment where the data communication is done through light. We are also doing a pilot project with a private client where we are setting up a Li-Fi network to access the internet in their office space.”

This is where the key difference between WiFi and LiFi come to light. While LiFi may be faster than WiFi, it has the limitation of relying on light. This means that, Li-Fi is unusable through walls and other opaque objects. However this limitation on access could also allow LiFi networks to be more secure than current WiFi networks, as anyone wishing to access the system would need to be directly in the light of the Li-Fi node.

One thing that Solanki and Professor Harald Haas, the inventor of Li-Fi, have in common is that Li-Fi has the potential to become ubiquitous that WiFi, as every light emitting device could theoretically be fitted with a Li-Fi chip allowing it to serve dual purposes as both lighting and as a network connectivity point. And it could be sooner than we think, with Solanki estimating a rollout could begin within 3 or 4 years, and begin with retrofitting our current lighting infrastructure with Li-Fi support.

I don’t think the sun will start providing the internet to us any time soon, but mass adoption of Li-Fi could at least bring the nerds out of their darkened rooms and into well-lit ones.

Linksys Announced Two New Wi-Fi Range Extenders

Linksys announced two new additions to its line-up of Linksys Wi-Fi Range Extenders, the Linksys AC1200 BOOST EX (RE6400) and Linksys AC750 BOOST (RE6300). Both new range extenders help boost the Wi-Fi signal bars in areas of your home where they are so weak that mobile devices have trouble connecting to the Internet and at the same time it improves the coverage everywhere else.

Wi-Fi signals are easily affected by a lot of things, both the physical objects they have to pass as well as interference from other electrical devices, so Wi-Fi range extenders can be a great thing in many homes and make your online experience a lot more pleasant. Both range extenders come equipped with Cross-Band technology and can provide a coverage of up to 7,500 square feet (RE6400) or up to 6,500 square feet (RE6300). You can also a wired device like a gaming console, Blu-Ray player, smart TV, or streaming player to your Wi-Fi network via the Gigabit Ethernet port.

Key Features:

  • Dual-Band Wireless-AC technology featuring wireless AC1200 and AC750 versions
  • Works with any router or gateway including routers supplied by service provider
  • Push Button Connect feature simply syncs range extender to a home router
  • Easy setup from mobile devices with exclusive Spot Finder Technology for optimal placement
  • Cross-Band Technology maximises the simultaneous use of both bands for a faster and stronger signal
  • Beamforming Technology concentrates the signal and focuses it directly to connected devices for optimal performance
  • Gigabit Ethernet Port to connect additional devices for a hard wired connection
  • Two external antennas for enhanced performance and throughput

The two new range extenders compliment Linksys already existing lineup very well and place themselves in the middle. They are also cost effective devices as they’ll only set you back £49.99 and £59.99 respectively and will be available for purchase in late November.

HP Tackles ‘Ink Anxiety’ With 50% Reduced Costs and Instant Ink Printers

Low-cost printers from HP, Epson, Brother and more all seem like a superb value-for-money proposition but the cold, hard reality is they are extremely expensive to run due to extortionate ink prices. Often, these budget printers are half the price of official replacement ink cartridges and DIY kits are overly messy. For heavy users, a Laser printer is essential. However, HP’s latest venture could dramatically change the fortune of ink-based printers. The company has decided to tackle ‘ink anxiety’ head-on and reduce cartridge prices by 50%

The scheme works through integrated Wi-Fi, and smart cartridges can detect the remaining ink level before automatically ordering replacements directly from HP. This service is entitled, “instant ink” and pricing starts at a mere £1.99 per month. However, from is a huge word when it comes to consumer pricing so it’s an unknown entity how expensive this service could be on certain models. HP also dispatch a pre-paid package to return your empty cartridges and dispose of them in an environmentally-friendly manner. Stephen Nigro, senior vice president at HP imaging and printing, said in a statement:

“Customers want printing to be affordable, convenient and meaningful.”

“With HP Instant Ink, customers can enjoy low cost of ownership and print what matters most to them without the worry of running out of ink or spending too much.”

This is a wonderful idea and could instigate the beginning of cheap, consumer-friendly cartridges. Not only is the price fantastic, but HP’s commitment to providing simple replacements without requiring any technical knowledge is revolutionary. HP’s customer service team should be able cope with customer demands and ensure replacements are dispatched before any remaining ink runs dry. Hopefully, other manufacturers will follow HP’s lead.

Thank you VentureBeat for providing us with this information.

Researchers Prove That Drones Can Be Disabled Using the Right Sound Frequency

Researchers at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) in Daejon, South Korea, seem to have found an easy way to take out drones from the sky using ‘the right sound’. They explained that some components inside drones are vulnerable to certain frequencies, so with the right one, you can disable them.

One of the researchers stated that components such as gyroscopes have been made to resonate with sound above the audible spectrum, but some of them are still in the audible spectrum, which makes them vulnerable to interference. In an experiment, they used a speaker attached to a drone and connected to a laptop via Wi-Fi. When the right sound was played through the speaker, the drone dived down and crashed.

Of course, you won’t be able to physically attach a speaker to a drone in most cases if you want to make it crash, but this proves that sounds can be used to crash drones. Other experiments involved attaching a speaker to a police shield and making a sonic wall, but without the proper high-tech equipment to keep aim on the drone while it spirals out of control, it is useless.

The conclusion is that drone enthusiasts shouldn’t worry about it, unless your neighbour silently attached a speaker to your drone. Using high-tech sound disruptors, as far as I know, is illegal in most countries, so if you’re not piloting a high-tech military drone, you should be fine.

Thank you PCWorld for providing us with this information

This Is Why Strapping a Wi-Fi Connection to a Sniper Rifle Is a Bad Idea

We have come to a point where we embed a lot of technology to weapons, sometimes even too much technology. This is the case of TrackingPoint, a company that makes such smart weapons. One sniper rifle the company produces is so advanced that it would make anyone a pro-marksman when fired. But, as expected for something this advanced, the gun can be hacked.

A group of hackers found a way to hack the sniper rifle via Wi-Fi. Yes, the gun actually has a Wi-Fi antenna that lets you connect and stream its view to other devices. However, the Wi-Fi is off by default. Turning it on, the hackers proved that adjusting some variables can alter the target, so you might be aiming for something, but eventually hitting an entirely different target in the end.

The hack is also very advanced in a way, being able to tap into the ‘root’ permissions of the gun. This means that a hacker can be granted full access to the gun and even lock the user out of it. However, one truly relieving thing is that the gun cannot be fired remotely, requiring manual trigger fire at all times. Hackers can still remove the safety mechanism, so this is still a bit worrying.

From the looks of it, hacking the gun proves to be a challenge. First of all, the Wi-Fi needs to be on, but since most people use sniper rifles in the wilderness and not in their back yard, the likeliness of it being on is next to zero. Even so, the hacker needs to be next to the gun, so as previously mentioned, hiding in a bush with a laptop is also not practical. It might sound next to impossible to hack it, but the hackers tell that malware can be installed on it, so an attacker can somehow hack it at some point and have it targeting or altering stuff at a certain time and place.

All this makes you wonder, doesn’t it? We previously mentioned about machine guns that can target and decide when to shoot and those most likely have Wi-Fi connectivity as well. Once we get to that point where autonomous guns and military machines become more popular, what would happen if someone were to ‘accidentally’ place a malware on one of their networks? Scary, isn’t it? What are your thoughts? Let us know!

Thank you WIRED for providing us with this information

Free Wi-Fi Hits the Streets of New York… In Bins?

A lot of companies were looking into providing free Wi-Fi, a project that seems to have been of big interest as of late. However, nobody would have predicted where free Wi-Fi would come from
on the streets of New York. Would you have thought that your regular street bin would also be an access point in the near future? I thought so.

Bigbelly is a company based in Massachusetts who deals with waste management. Their first project was to put in place ‘smart’ bins that would signal when they are full or become smelly, so the latter would have more priority and be taken care of swiftly and efficiently. However, the company seems to have an even bigger project up their sleeve.

The company apparently teamed up with Downtown Alliance to place Wi-Fi hotspots inside the bins. This means that New York residents will have free Wi-Fi on the streets, thanks to their bins! Tests were performed daily and the results came as a big success. They say that the hotspots are able to hold a lot of simultaneous connections, the size of a small business, with speeds of 50 to 75 Mbps. Another amazing thing about the free Wi-Fi providing smart bins is that they do not get interference from radio towers or other wireless access points, since they are placed at ground level.

The project may give free Wi-Fi to citizens, but it may help do even more. It is said that the smart bins would help the government collect data about waste management or display public service announcements and alerts. Tests will still be performed throughout the year to make sure that nothing major crops up, but the project does seem a great success and the company is now looking to expand the project even further, provided that sponsors are found and willing to help the project financially. So what is your take on this? Let us know in the comments below.

Thank you The Huffington Post for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of UC Santa Barbara Department of Geography

Linksys Launched New Wireless Range Extender and High-Gain Antennas

Linksys launches a new wireless range extender and two new high-gain antenna packs to help you deal with those dead zones you might have in your setup or just plain extend the network range. The new Wi-Fi range extender is the Linksys AC1200 Amplify Wi-Fi Range Extender (RE6700) and the Linksys WRT004AND and WRT002ANT are the two new dual-band omnidirectional high-gain antenna two and four-packs.

The RE6700 Wi-Fi range extender provides a Wi-Fi signal boost into rooms throughout the house with a simple, elegant, and easy-to-install solution. The built-in power outlet maintains use of an existing wall outlet with pass-through functionality so you don’t lose the use of that outlet which often are limited where you actually need them.

The Wi-Fi extender is a dual-band device and works simultaneously as N300 and AC867 Mbps extender for maximum coverage. Two external and adjustable antennas provide great performance. It also features a Gigabit LAN port where you can connect cabled devices to your wireless network.

A 3.5mm audio jack allows you to connect speakers to the range extender and stream music wirelessly from your iOS or Android smartphone, tablet or laptop. The RE6700 works with any router or gateway including those provided by your ISP.

Linksys also developed the Spot Finder Technology which enables you to visually see the best placement spot for the range extender in the home by using your smartphone, tablet or laptop. Spot Finder Technology automatically activates when the setup process is launched and you just have to follow a few prompts for a hassle-free setup and improved Wi-Fi to existing dead zones.

The RE6700 is available starting today at major retail and online resellers for an MSRP of £89.99.

Linksys’ high-gain antennas, the first of their kind, are available in a 2- and 4-pack (WRT004ANT and WRT002ANT) and help improve a router’s signal strength specifically at the edge of a Wi-Fi network and the result is enhanced Wi-Fi performance.

The new dual-band high-gain antennas are the first of their kind and compatible with any wireless router that features an RP-SMA connection. They deliver 4dBi in the 2.4GHz band and 7dBi in the 5 GHz band for up to double the antenna gain over stock antennas. The omni-directional capability extends Wi-Fi coverage for both 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands on the horizontal plane.

Linksys WRT004ANT and WRT002ANT Omni-directional High Gain Antennas are also available now, but it is a pricey upgrade. They come with an MSRP of £89.99 and £44.99 respectively for the 4-pack and 2-pack.

 

Smartphone Wi-Fi Will Be Smarter Than Ever Before With This New Tech

Up until now, Wi-Fi devices on your smartphones were able to connect to saved access points and act as a means of connecting you to the Internet. Sure, there are some apps that let you stream over Wi-Fi, but essentially it was not used to its full potential.

The Wi-Fi Alliance now came up with a new technology by the name of Wi-Fi Aware, which lets your smartphone do even more with its wireless power. The tech is said to allow your smartphone to communicate with nearby devices and exchange information. Think of it as a heartbeat, letting devices know it is present in the vicinity and gathering what other devices have to ‘say’ if they are near you.

Wi-Fi Aware is an alternative to low-powered Bluetooth connectivity and yes, this means it’s even better at saving power than just having your Wi-Fi always on. So how can this help you? It’s simple. Let’s say you have something you like on Facebook and can find in a store. Once you enter a mall and a store has the items you want on sale, Wi-Fi Aware will send you a notification about it once you get near the store. Have a friend you haven’t seen in a long time? No problem. If he is in town and near you, Wi-Fi Aware will tell you and ask if you would like to send him a direct message.

Essentially, Wi-Fi Aware is a smart way of keeping aware of what is near and of interest to you. This means that all information received is tailored to you specifically based on your interests, so it won’t tell you about what shoes are on sale early in the morning when all you want to know is where you can get the best deal on coffee.

We are not aware of any Wi-Fi Aware-enabled apps at the moment, but Wi-Fi Alliance officials say that the tech could land in social media applications such as Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn sooner than expected.

Thank you TechCrunch for providing us with this information

ProxyHam Anonymising Router Disappears

A remote router that was to ensure absolute anonymity over Wi-Fi connections has been mysteriously shelved by its developers. ProxyHam, an untraceable “hardware proxy” designed to protect the identity of anyone who used it, was due to be unveiled at the DefCon conference later this month, but has now been pulled from the event after development of the device was ceased.

Rhino Security Labs, the developers of ProxyHam, announced on Twitter, “Effective immediately, we are halting further dev on #proxyham and will not be releasing any further details or source for the device,” following up with, “Existing #proxyham units will be disposed of and no longer be made available at @_defcon_”.

The circumstances of the device’s demise appear rather shadowy, with Rhino Security refusing to disclose the details of why it has called time on ProxyHam. In response to a concerned Twitter follower, Rhino Security said, “Can’t go into too much more detail, but are immediately shutting down all #proxyham research”.

Only a few weeks ago, Rhino Security’s Ben Caudill, creator of ProxyHam, was waxing lyrical about the hardware, which is based around a Raspberry Pi mini-computer. Caudill told Wired that ProxyHam would be “that last-ditch effort to remain anonymous and keep yourself safe,” boasting that “The KGB isn’t kicking in your door. They’re kicking in the door of the library 2.5 miles away.”

Wired contacted Caudill for more information regarding the project’s closure, to which he responded, “I can’t say much, which is unfortunate. It’s frustrating for me and for the team as a whole.”

Pure speculation, but it sounds as though an external influence has forced ProxyHam into the ground. Whether that’s governmental, legal, or corporate pressure, we’re unlikely to ever know.

Thank you Wired for providing us with this information.

Japan Installs Wi-Fi Hotspots on Mount Fuji

Japan is a picturesque country which combines its traditional roots with modern technology. Nothing signifies this ethos more than the installation of Wi-Fi hotspots on the hugely popular tourist destination, Mount Fuji. Internet access will be available from July 10th to those who successfully ascend to the top and can now instantly share their photos of the awe-inspiring view. At 12,389 feet, Mount Fuji brings in some of the most ambitious climbers and attracted more than 285,000 people last year. Throughout the trek, there will be hotspots on eight different locations run by the telecom company, NTT Docomo.

A Yamanashi tourism official told the Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun,

“We hope people will use the service not only to tell about the attractions of Mount Fuji to people abroad but also to obtain weather and other information to ensure their safety,” 

Internet access is free for a 72-hour period which allows you to take a wide range of photos and store them in the cloud. This move is intended to enhance the volcano’s social media presence and encourage more tourists to reach the peak. I presume it will become a popular hotspot with smartphone users who can now take “selfies” next to the idyllic view.

Thank you The Daily Dott for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Cupegraf.

Microsoft Found a Way to Improve the Battery Life of Wearables

A team of researchers over at Microsoft have finally found a way to improve the battery life of wearables. We all know that the latter don’t come with a big battery pack, so finding workarounds to extend their battery life has always been a priority for manufacturers.

The technique is said to involve pairing wearables with smartphones via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi in order to shift all heavy workloads to the smartphone, hence having your smartphone acting as an external processing unit. This means that your wearable will act mostly as a way of displaying data from your smartphone, having it draw just enough battery to sustain the pairing connection.

Researchers over at Microsoft are said to have tested the system, named WearDrive, on an Android phone. The results showed an improvement of over three times in energy consumption for the wearable and an acceptable energy consumption impact on the handset. In addition, the wearable had its execution performance increase eight times compared to it not being paired to the smartphone.

While wearables don’t have the performance nor battery life of a fully fledged smartphone, the technique seems to help quite a lot in performance as well as battery life. Also, WearDrive is said to automatically deactivate itself when not in range of a paired smartphone, so you don’t have to worry about it running in the background.

Thank you TechSpot for providing us with this information

Here’s How to Get $200 off Your Newly Bought Samsung Galaxy Note 4

It’s been a while since Samsung launched the Galaxy Note 4. Even so, people do enjoy it and proof stands in the number of people owning such an Android device. Samsung did pay attention to this and is still interested in getting people to buy the Note 4 with a new rebate promotion in the US.

According to the rules, everyone who purchased a Samsung Galaxy Note 4 handset at full price from a retailer or carrier is eligible to get $200 back. In order to get your hands on the cash, Samsung needs your contact information, the handset’s IMEI and the Wi-Fi MAC address, along with a photo of the receipt that has the purchase date clearly visible.

Once all the above have been submitted, it is said that it usually takes up to two working weeks to receive the money. One thing to take into account is that wireless carriers such as US Cellular or Sprint are not eligible. Also, the offer is only available between the 7th and 26th of July, so you have to hurry if you don’t want to miss this chance!

More information on the terms and conditions can be found here and you can start your rebate application here.

Thank you Android Central for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of TheGadgetBook

iPad Software Glitches Lead to American Airlines Flight Delays

Last night there were more angry American Airlines travelers than there should have been, and it can be blamed on iPad software. Delays were caused for flights due to issues with software on the iPads that the airline uses in its fleet of airliners that were to take the place of manuals that could weight up to 35lbs.

The software issue proves that making things better with technology can also really come back to bite you. The iPads the pilots use in the cockpits replaces up to 35 pounds of manuals in each airliner, making a decent fuel saving in the fleet as a whole. But last night the iPads experienced issues with planes having to return to gates for a Wi-Fi connection in order to fix their issue.

On one of the flights, passengers were told that the pilot’s and copilot’s iPads went blank. On another cross country flight passengers were told that the iPads had to be “completely rebooted”. An American Airlines spokesperson said, “We’ve identified the issue, we’ve identified the solution, and we are working on it right now.” They claimed that the issue only affected “a few dozen flights”.

Maybe it is time for American Airlines to look into Android tablets, you think?

Thank you The Verge for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of wikipedia.

IFixit Tears Down the Brand New Apple Watch

The eight months waiting time since Apple introduced the Apple Watch to the world has been a long wait for some people, but that wait was over yesterday when the Watch officially started to sell. iFixit is well-known for their teardown of Apple products and they’ve of course also taken the Watch in for a close inspection and to find out just exactly what is inside this device.

The teardown is still ongoing while I am writing this piece and it’s being updated in real-time until they’ve taken everything apart that can be taken apart. The watch looks like a solid piece of engineering and the assembly looks great, but then again it has to be perfect if you want to fit this amount of technology and a battery into such a tiny device.

The previously rumoured diagnostics port hidden between the armband and the watch itself was also discovered. iFixit is also taking a closer look at Apples first foray into inductive charging, a thing that many believe will be the future for a lot of mobile devices.

Apple Watch Specifications:

  • Pressure-sensitive, flexible, touchscreen AMOLED Retina display
  • One model measuring 38 mm (vertically) with 272 x 340 pixels (290 ppi), the other model measuring 42 mm (vertically) with 312 x 390 pixels (302 ppi)
  • Custom-designed Apple S1 SiP (System in Package)
  • 8 GB onboard storage
  • NFC + Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n + Bluetooth 4.0
  • Accelerometer + gyroscope + heart rate monitor + microphone + speaker

As previously mentioned, the teardown is still ongoing and you can head over to the official page and stay up to date with the latest findings.

Thank you iFixit for providing us with this information