AT&T began the month by pulling the plug on its all-you-can-eat mobile data plans. That decision to impose data caps might just have been part of its bid to cope up with explosive demand for mobile bandwidth. Data volumes have risen 5000 percent during the past three years. According to AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson, the ridiculously high demand for mobile bandwidth is precisely the problem currently afflicting its network.
“So we've been working to get the voice quality back in shape and we've actually done that in New York,” Stephenson told CNBC in an interview. He revealed that the carrier would spend $19 billion on network upgrades over the next five years.
This, Stephenson feels, this will be enough to make AT&T the number one mobile broadband provider in the US, “probably one of the top in the world."
TrendNet might pigeonhole its TEW-647GA Wireless N Gaming Adapter as a gaming-console peripheral, but we think it’s much more useful than that. The tiny device is capable of linking any hard-wired Ethernet device—be it an Xbox, a PC, or a Blu-ray player—to an 802.11b/g/n wireless network for a street price less than $50.
Granted, Microsoft’s own Xbox 360 Wireless N Networking Adapter is smaller still (and draws its power from the Xbox 360’s USB port), but that device is nearly twice as expensive and it doesn’t support anything other than the Xbox 360. The TEW-647GA is a lot prettier to look at, too, with its dual antennas stealthily concealed inside its black plastic housing.
There are three external antennas broadcasting on the 2.4GHz spectrum, each one with three spatial streams to produce a record 450Mbps theoretical wireless throughput, TRENDnet says. You'll also find Multiple Input Multiple Output (MIMO) antennae technology to improve signal strength and boost wireless coverage.
"TRENDnet's ability to launch this ground breaking 450Mbps product ahead of other brands says a lot about our recent growth," stated Pei Huang, President and CEO of TRENDnet. "We are ecstatic to set a new performance threshold in the consumer wireless revolution."
As it stands, you can't purchase a service plan for any product through Verizon, no matter how many subscribers wish they could. But according to Boy Genius Report and one of their "highly placed sources," Verizon Wireless is at least testing out an Apple product.
"We have been told that the model they are testing is a CDMA-compatible device, and while our source mentioned LTE in some capacity (possibly another model), we haven’t been able to independently confirm that part of it," Boy Genius Reports writes in a blog post.
As many have done recently, BGR goes on to speculate that we might soon see an Apple product offered through Verizon, but will we really? On the record, Verizon maintains that it has no plans to support any Apple devices in the "immediate future," and as far as anyone knows, Apple's exclusivity agreement with AT&T is valid and runs for another 2 years. Even if Verizon is testing the iPad on its network, it doesn't necessarily mean anything, as companies often test devices.
Still, this will only fan the speculatory flames that are already running hot, and at a time when AT&T just announced new data plans, including one for the iPad.
Virtualization and enterprise networking specialist Meru announced plans to add new features to its enterprise Wi-Fi diagnostics, monitoring, and security software. The updated applications run on the Meru Service Appliance, a standalone server that runs Meru's E(z)RF Network Manager and other applications.
"Wireless networking has infused virtually all aspects of the enterprise, as users from the remote office to the manufacturing floor have come to expect predictable yet untethered access to data, video and other applications services from their device of choice," said Ram Appalaraju, senior vice president of marketing at Meru. "We believe these expectations have placed considerable pressure on IT to create a networking environment that will be flexible and reliable, yet operationally efficient. With these new network management applications integrated into the Meru Service Assurance Platform and powered by our underlying Virtual Cell™ technology, we believe enterprises will be able to offer their users a consistently productive experience with the ability to proactively manage and mitigate application performance issues."
Meru also said it is introducing a wireless intrusion detection/prevention application with monitoring and verification capabilities able to detect unauthorized Wi-Fi access points. The software will be able to protect against DoS attacks, password hacks, and physical layer attacks, Meru said.
We are eagerly anticipating a future of neural implants that can form brain-computer links, but one British scientist is out to bring us down. Mark Gasson has become the first human be infected with a computer virus. This feat was accomplished with small RFID chip Gasson had implanted in his hand. In the experiment, the virus infected chip was able to pass the infection to other devices, thus propigating much like biological viral vectors.
This proof on concept is of concern as a future of implantable devices is coming on fast. Various medical devices could be infected with viruses that then spread to other people. The idea is scary to be sure. People put up with computer viruses and security holes, but what can we do if the threat has the ability to cause real harm? Before you know it, we'll be reviewing Norton 360 Bio-Implant Edition.
So will you one of the cyborgs of the future, or is the whole idea too creepy?
Alaska Airlines is taking Wi-Fi to the skies on six Boeing 737-800 aircraft, the company announced earlier this week. The Wi-Fi service comes courtesy of Aircell's Gogo inflight Internet and will be offered free of charge for the next couple of months by entering the promotional code ALASKAVISA.
"Through July 31, our customers traveling on Wi-Fi-equipped planes will be able to try out the new Gogo service at no cost, courtesy of the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Card," said Joe Sprague, Alaska's vice president of marketing.
Alaska Airlines said it plans to install Gogo on the company's entire fleet of 737-800s and -900s by the end of summer, with 737-400s and -700s to follow suit later this year.
Someone in Facebook's think-tank deserves a raise, because this latest idea is nothing short of brilliant. Helping users side step data charges that would normally occur from accessing the social networking site on the go, Facebook has gone and partnered with 50 wireless operators so that cell phone users can log in without being charged a cent.
"We are targeting people whose major barrier is they have little experience on the mobile Internet. They want to try it, they want something super simple, super fast. And they are potentially afraid of browsing costs," said Henri Moissinac, who heads Facebook's mobile business. "If you take an iPhone user in San Francisco, that's not his problem."
The way it works is users will direct their phone's browser to 0.facebook.com, which is a text-only version of Facebook. It's designed specifically for mobile phones working with limited bandwidth.
Unfortunately for those us in the States, Facebook doesn't have any domestic partnerships in place, though Henri Moissinac, the head honcho for Facebook's mobile business, says he hopes to eventually strike some deals. In the meantime, the new site is available in 40 different countries, including Brazil, India, Indonesia, and Turkey.
Two-year service agreements have become the norm as wireless providers try to entice potential subscribers with subsidized smartphones, but according to an AP report, it isn't necessarily working. Instead, buyers are trending towards prepaid cell phone service.
"I would love to have an iPhone. I just can't swallow the $70 or more bill that would come with it," said Jeff Finlay, a 45-year-old stay-at-home dad in San Antonio.
With most prepaid services, consumers can buy minutes in advance usually for around 10 cents to 20 cents each. When the minutes run out, they can simply refill their accounts. For the past several years, prepaid plans mainly targeted consumers who didn't have the credit to qualify for a wireless plan, but have started to see a wider audience more recently as everyone looks to cut back costs. According to the New Millennium Research Council, about one-fifth of Americans with cell phones are on prepaid.
Making prepaid service even more popular, it's now possible to make unlimited calls and text messages for $45 a month, or half of what it would cost with a contract on Verizon. Not everyone needs unlimited usage however, and at Tracfone, the largest independent provider of prepaid service, customers pay an average of $11 per month.
When Intel unveiled its newest wireless HD streaming technology (WiDi) at last year's CES we were excited by the possibilities, but were a bit unsure how committed the processor giant would ultimately be to pushing the technology forward. Almost a year later we have seen the capabilities trickle out to a handful of Core i5 and Core i3 laptops, but not much else.
Well Intel finally broke the silence on its future plans for WiDi, and it's full steam ahead for gadgets of all shapes and sizes. Intel is hoping that the technology will eventually be adopted into every netbook, tablet, and even mobile phones in the near future. The optimistic words came from Wireless Display Product Manager Kerry Forrell who says that "we fully expect to take the technology there", but wouldn't commit to a specific time frame.
Taken on its own we would assume this is just a product manager trying to plug his latest toy, but CEO Paul Otellini himself told investors earlier in the week that "what we'll be doing over the next few years is take the Wi-Di capability that's in laptops today and extend that into all the Intel platforms". Forrell clarified that he hopes to see native support in future HD TV's as well, but only time will tell.
Do you think WiDi will ever catch on? Standards put forward by a single company rarely seem to take hold, but if any company has the marketing and financial resources to push this one forward it's Intel.