Certain InterDigital subsidiaries will receive a $375 million cash payment from Intel in exchange for handing over roughly 1,700 patents and patent applications related to 3G, Long Term Evolution (LTE), and 802.11 wireless technologies. Intel plans to use its newly acquired wireless patents to help support its strategic investments in the mobile segment, the Santa Clara chip maker said. By adding to its already large and diverse patent portfolio, Intel also puts itself in better position to avoid costly lawsuits.
Well, that didn't take long. Just a couple of days after Buffalo beat Netgear to market with the first commercially available 802.11ac router, Netgear's responded by launching not only the R6300 Wi-Fi router it's been teasing us with, but also announcing a second, slightly cheaper 802.11ac-enabled router and a 802.11ac Wi-Fi USB adapter.
Most of the hot new products you hear about this early in a new year come out of the desert at the CES electronics convention – which takes place next week – but Broadcom decided to kick things off early and unveil its new line of “5G Wi-Fi” chips based on the still-in-development 802.11ac standard. Yes, they push Wi-Fi faster and farther than before, and no, “5G” has nothing to do with cellular networks. It’s just Broadcom’s catchphrase for the fifth generation of Wi-Fi. But hey, marketing tricks aside, how do up to 1.3Gbps wireless speeds sound?
While connecting to a wireless network can be as simple as a few button presses or taps, there is a lot that goes into making the bits magically travel through the ether. We’re going to take a look at some of the building blocks that go into making your wireless network stable and fast, with an eye toward security and standards. We’ll also look at some of the devices that can improve your wireless network, and ways you can use your Wi-Fi capability while away from home.
Battery performance on Wi-Fi enabled devices varies pretty wildly based on our experience, but the folks over at technologyreview.com think they finally know why. According to researchers over at the University of Texas, most Wi-Fi enabled access points don't properly implement the protocol designed to reduce the power drain on mobile devices. This makes performance somewhat inconsistent, but researchers think it's something that can be addressed going forward.
The power saving mode was designed to allow mobile devices to enter a "sleep" mode between packet requests, however most end up staying in a fully powered up state until the completion of the entire transfer. Depending on the size of the file, and the network latency, this can add a considerable amount of additional battery drain. Head researcher Eric Rozner concluded that "an HTC Tilt's total power consumption increases by threefold when using Wi-Fi". 3G data caps are likely to increase consumer dependence on Wi-Fi in the future, so clearly this is a problem that deserves a bit of attention.
We hope this is something the handset makers find a way to address given the relative ease of pushing updates to smartphone platforms, but if the problem is indeed with the access points, I wouldn't count on this unfortunate situation resolving itself anytime soon. Isn't this why we have the Wi-Fi Alliance? I guess they are still licking their wounds after arguing about 802.11n for seven years.
Don’t get all cozy with your Bluetooth 2.1 products just yet. There is another standard on the horizon that aims to take over your wireless life. The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) is touting a report that indicates 23 percent of Bluetooth equipped devices will run the new 3.0+HS standard by late 2010. This is expected to rise to 61 percent by 2011.
Bluetooth 3.0 was adopted on April 21 of this year. The new standard includes support for Alternative MAC/PHY (AMP) transport. AMP allows Bluetooth devices to use the 802.11 protocol for large data transfers. Additional power management technologies are expected to increase reliability as well. Circulation will start with external USB dongles for desktop and notebook PCs very soon.
After a long seven years of development and tweaking, the IEEE has finally approved the 802.11n high-throughput wireless LAN standard.
The new standard, which is reportedly capable of throughput of 300Mbps, has been changed six times since its first conception. And, according to the IEEE, all existing WiFi certified 802.11 Draft N wireless products will work with the final standard.
No word as to when the standard will make its way to market.