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Wireless Networks

Wifi-Enabled Objects With No Battery Required!

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Wifi-Enabled Objects With No Battery Required!

Researchers at the University of Washington solve one of the issues the Internet of Things poses by 3D-printing plastic objects with built-in wifi capabilities-- no power source or electronics required!

"Our goal was to create something that just comes out of your 3D printer at home and can send useful information to other devices," a team member says. "But the big challenge is how do you communicate wirelessly with wifi using only plastic? That's something that no one has been able to do before."

The team 3D-printed three wifi-enabled objects-- a weighing scale, a flow sensor and an anemometer able to measure wind speed using commercially available plastics and wifi receivers. A combination of 3D-printed springs, gears and switches (based on the same principles allowing battery-free watches to keep time) translates motion into antenna-transmitted data, while backscatter techniques reflect radio signals emitted by a wifi router or other devices.


IDC: "Lackluster" Growth in Q3 2017 Enterprise WLAN

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The enterprise WLAN market sees the lowest Y-o-Y increase in over 2 years in Q3 2017, IDC reports-- 2.8%, a "significant growth deceleration" compared to the 9.4% Y-o-Y growth of Q2 2017.

Enterprise WLAN revenues for the quarter total $1.49 billion.

However, despite such weaker than expected results the analyst says the enterprise WLAN market remains strong, and growth should return to the normal mid- to high-single digit rate in upcoming quarters. Upgrades to 802.11ac-based hardware remain a shipment driver, part of the ongoing enterprise digital transformation (DX).


KRACK Attack Affects Wifi!

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KRACK Attack Affects Wifi!

Researchers warn of a serious flaw in the WPA2 protocol securing all wifi networks-- one allowing attackers to steal passwords, emails and other supposedly encrypted data!

Dubbed Key Reinstallation Attacks (or KRACKs), such attacks even allow those with malicious intent to inject ransomware and malware into a website a user is visiting, all while simply being in range of a vulnerable device. These can be any wifi-capable device, although the flaw is "particularly devastating" in the case of Linux and Android 6.0.

How does KRACK works? As the researchers put it, attackers can duplicate a vulnerable WPA2 network, impersonate the MAC address and change the wifi channel. The fake network acts as a "man in the middle," forcing devices to connect to the rogue network instead of the protected original.


Intel Focuses WiGig on VR

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Intel Focuses WiGig on VR

According to Aanandtech Intel is giving up on most of its 60GHz 802.11ad-- aka WiGig-- networking products, as it has plans to discontinue all current WiGig devices before focusing the technology on VR applications.

WiGig offers higher performance than 802.11ac, reaching up to 4.8 gigabits per second. However the use of the 60GHz band (as opposed to the 5 or 2.4GHz of regular wifi) limits the technology to a very short range. It also requires line of sight between device and base station, with essentially zero penetration through walls. As such, using WiGig as a wifi replacement requires putting a base station in every room of the house.

That said, despite such limitations WiGig makes for an excellent cable replacement-- such as in VR headsets, which is where Intel is going to use the technology. Back in May 2017 HTC showed off a Vive running on WiGig, the result of a collaboration with Chipzilla. Other companies are also interested in WiGig, including AMD (who acquired Nitero for millimeter wave radio technology) and the Facebook-owned Oculus.


Bluetooth Getting Mesh Capability

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Bluetooth Getting Mesh Capability

The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) add a new capability to the wireless connectivity standard-- mesh networking, enabling many-to-many (m:m) capability and the creation of large-scale device networks.

The technology is compatible with Bluetooth 4.0 and higher, and operates on Bluetooth Low Energy (LE). It is ideal for building automation, sensor networks and other Internet of Things (IoT) applications involving tens, hundreds or even thousands or devices. According to the SIG, Bluetooth-based mesh networks are inherently self-healing, with no single point of failure, scalable to thousands of nodes and include "industrial-grade" security.

In addition Bluetooth offers global interoperability, since multi-vendor interoperability testing is conducted during the specification development process, not after the release of the specification.


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