Wireless Networking

FCC Prohibits Blocking of Personal Wi-Fi Hotspots 117

Posted by Soulskill
from the don't-be-a-jerk-marriott dept.
alphadogg writes: The FCC on Tuesday warned that it will no longer tolerate hotels, convention centers or others intentionally interfering with personal Wi-Fi hotspots. This issue grabbed headlines last fall when Marriott International was fined $600,000 for blocking customer Wi-Fi hotspots, presumably to encourage the guests to pay for pricey Internet access from the hotel.
Communications

FCC Fines Verizon For Failing To Investigate Rural Phone Problems 94

Posted by timothy
from the shrugging-it-off dept.
WheezyJoe writes Verizon agreed to a $5 million settlement after admitting that it failed to investigate whether its rural customers were able to receive long distance and wireless phone calls. The settlement is related to the FCC's efforts to address what is known as the rural call completion problem. Over an eight-month period during 2013, low call answer rates in 39 rural areas should have triggered an investigation, the FCC said. The FCC asked Verizon what steps it took, and Verizon said in April 2014 that it investigated or fixed problems in 13 of the 39 areas, but did nothing in the other 26.

"Rural call completion problems have significant and immediate public interest ramifications," the FCC said in its order on the Verizon settlement today. "They cause rural businesses to lose customers, impede medical professionals from reaching patients in rural areas, cut families off from their relatives, and create the potential for dangerous delays in public safety communications." Verizon has been accused of letting its copper landline network decay while it shifts its focus to fiber and cellular service. The FCC is working a plan to protect customers as old copper networks are retired.
Communications

For New Yorkers, Cablevision Introduces a Wi-Fi-Centric VoiP Network 43

Posted by timothy
from the they'll-take-manhattan dept.
The New York Times reports that Cablevision Systems plans to announce on Monday the start of a low-cost mobile phone service that will use Wi-Fi for connectivity rather than standard cellular networks, the first such service to be introduced by a cable operator. Called Freewheel, the service will offer unlimited data, talking and texting worldwide for $29.95 a month, or $9.95 a month for Cablevision’s Optimum Online customers — a steep discount compared with standard offerings from traditional cellular carriers. Freewheel customers initially must use a specific Motorola Moto G smartphone, which is being sold for $99.95. The service goes on sale next month, and no annual contract is required. (Reuters carries a similar story.)
Input Devices

Ask Slashdot: Where Can You Get a Good 3-Button Mouse Today? 423

Posted by timothy
from the hiding-with-the-egg-cream dept.
guises writes Ever since mouse wheels were introduced the middle mouse button has been sidelined to an inadequate click-wheel function, or in some cases ditched altogether. This has never sat well with me, a proper middle button is invaluable for pasting, games, and navigation. More than that, my hand categorically rejects two button mice — the dangling ring finger causes me genuine physical discomfort. I have begged Logitech on multiple occasions to make just one, among their many screwy specialty mice, to replace the Mouseman which I loved so dearly. I thought for a moment that I had been answered with the g600, only to find that they had put the right mouse button in the middle.

So my question to Slashdot is: where does a person turn for a three button mouse these days? I've only found two, both ergonomic and priced accordingly. I use the Contour and like the shape and wheel position, but would love to find something wireless and with a higher DPI sensor.
Businesses

Smartphones, Tablets and EBay Send SkyMall To Chapter 11 65

Posted by timothy
from the not-to-mention-deal-extreme-and-amazon dept.
alphadogg writes SkyMall, the quirky airline catalog, looks as though it may be grounded before long. Parent company Xhibit has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and seeks to sell its assets. In an SEC filing, Xhibit explains that it has fallen victim to an "intensely competitive" direct marketing retail industry that now includes the likes of eBay and Amazon.com. Smartphones and tablets are largely to blame for SkyMall's downfall, according to the SEC filing. "Historically, the SkyMall catalog was the sole in-flight option for potential purchasers of products to review while traveling. With the increased use of electronic devices on planes, fewer people browsed the SkyMall in-flight catalog."
Verizon

Verizon About To End Construction of Its Fiber Network 200

Posted by Soulskill
from the you're-stuck-with-comcast dept.
WheezyJoe writes: If you've been holding out hope that FiOS would rescue you from your local cable monopoly, it's probably time to give up. Making good on their statements five years ago, Verizon announced this week it is nearing "the end" of its fiber construction and is reducing wireline capital expenditures while spending more on wireless.

The expense of replacing old copper lines with fiber has allegedly led Verizon to stop building in new regions and to complete wiring up the areas where it had already begun. The fiber network was profitable, but nowhere near as profitable as their wireless network. So, if Verizon hasn't started in your neighborhood by now, they never will, and you'd best ignore all those ads for FiOS.
EU

TWEETHER Project Promises 10Gbps MmW 92-95GHz Based Wireless Broadband 54

Posted by timothy
from the fater-than-a-station-wagon-full-of-tapes dept.
Mark.JUK writes A new project called TWEETHER, which is funded by Europe's Horizon 2020 programme, has been set up at Lancaster University (England) with the goal of harnessing the millimetre wave (mmW) radio spectrum (specifically 92-95GHz) in order to deploy a new Point to Multipoint wireless broadband technology that could deliver peak capacity of up to 10Gbps (Gigabits per second). The technology will take three years to develop and is expected to help support future 5G based Mobile Broadband networks.
Blackberry

Blackberry CEO: Net Neutrality Means Mandating Cross-Platform Apps 307

Posted by timothy
from the fantasy-world-of-atlas-shrugged dept.
DW100 writes In a bizarre public blog post the CEO of BlackBerry, John Chen, has claimed that net neutrality laws should include forcing app developers to make their services available on all operating systems. Chen even goes as far as citing Apple's iMessage tool as a service that should be made available for BlackBerry, because at present the lack of an iMessage BlackBerry app is holding the firm back. Some excerpts from Chen's plea: Netflix, which has forcefully advocated carrier neutrality, has discriminated against BlackBerry customers by refusing to make its streaming movie service available to them. Many other applications providers similarly offer service only to iPhone and Android users. ... Neutrality must be mandated at the application and content layer if we truly want a free, open and non-discriminatory internet. All wireless broadband customers must have the ability to access any lawful applications and content they choose, and applications/content providers must be prohibited from discriminating based on the customer’s mobile operating system. Since "content providers" are writing code they think makes sense for one reason or another (expected returns financial or psychic), a mandate to write more code seems like a good way to re-learn why contract law frowns on specific performance.
Google

Google Plans Major Play In Wireless Partnering With Sprint and T-Mobile 101

Posted by samzenpus
from the here-comes-the-google dept.
MojoKid writes There's a new report suggesting Google is partnering with select wireless carriers to sell its own branded wireless voice and data plans directly to consumers. According to sources and the "three people with knowledge of the plans," Google will tap into networks belonging to Sprint and T-Mobile for its new service, buying wholesale access to mobile voice and data in order to make itself a virtual network operator. That might sound disappointing on the surface. Had Google struck a deal with Verizon and AT&T, or even just Verizon, the deal could potentially have more critical mass, with great coverage backed by a company like Google and its services. The former might be a winning combination but at least this is a start. The project will be known as "Nova," which is reportedly being led by Google's Nick Fox, a longtime executive with the company. Apparently Fox has been overseeing this for some time now, and it seems likely a launch will take place this year.
Robotics

DARPA Wants Atlas Robot To Go Wireless 19

Posted by Soulskill
from the need-mobility-to-kill-all-humans dept.
mikejuk writes: Atlas is a humanoid robot, one of the most advanced in the world. But it's always had cables that provided it with power and made it look a little like a dog on a leash. It was designed to provide a hardware platform for teams competing in the DARPA Robotics Challenge — a competition designed to encourage the construction of an effective disaster response robot. DARPA now says the finals of the challenge later in the year will require that the robots be completely wireless.

Power will be supplied by an onboard 3.7 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery. That battery will drive a variable-pressure pump which operates all of the hydraulic systems. The pump makes ATLAS much quieter, but introduces a complication for the teams: it can be run at low pressure to save power and then switched to high pressure to get harder work done. Managing power consumption will be a very difficult task, but DARPA has also upped the prize money to $3.5 million in total.
Communications

NJ Museum Revives TIROS Satellite Dish After 40 Years 28

Posted by timothy
from the zip-zooming-along dept.
evanak writes TIROS was NASA's Television Infrared Observation Satellite. It launched in April 1960. One of the ground tracking stations was located at the U.S. Army's secret "Camps Evans" Signals Corps electronics R&D laboratory. That laboratory (originally a Marconi wireless telegraph lab) became the InfoAge Science Center in the 2000s. [Monday], after many years of restoration, InfoAge volunteers (led by Princeton U. professor Dan Marlowe) successfully received data from space. The dish is now operating for the first time in 40 years! The received data are in very raw form, but there is a clear peak riding on top of the noise background at 0.4 MHz (actually 1420.4 MHz), which is the well-known 21 cm radiation from the Milky Way. The dish was pointing south at an elevation of 45 degrees above the horizon.
Security

Simple Rogue WiFi Hotspot Captures High Profile Data 67

Posted by samzenpus
from the protect-ya-neck dept.
jones_supa writes Gustav Nipe, president of Sweden's Pirate Party's youth wing, was successful with somewhat trivial social engineering experiment in the area of the Sälen security conference. He set up a WiFi hotspot named "Öppen Gäst" ("Open Guest") without any kind of encryption. What do you know, a large amount of unsuspecting high profile guests associate with the network. Nipe says he was able to track which sites people visited as well as the emails and text messages of around 100 delegates, including politicians and journalists as well as security experts. He says that he won't be revealing which sites were visited by specific experts, as the point was just to draw attention to the issue of rogue network monitoring. The stunt has already sparked criticism in Swedish newspapers and on social media, with some angry comments saying that Nipe breached Sweden's Personal Data Act.
Wireless Networking

Pirate Activist Shows Politicians What Digital Surveillance Looks Like 81

Posted by timothy
from the count-your-spoons-around-the-public-servants dept.
An anonymous reader writes How to make politicians really understand the dangers of mass digital surveillance and the importance of information security? Gustav Nipe, the 26-year old president of the Swedish Pirate Party's youth wing, tried to do it by setting up an open Wi-Fi network at the Society and Defence National Conference held in Sälen, Sweden, and collecting and analyzing the metadata of conference attendees who connected to it. Nipe set up an open wireless Internet access point named "Open Guest" and over 100 delegates used this particular unsecured Wi-Fi network to go online. The collected metadata showed that, among other sites, they visited those of daily Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet, Swedish private ads website Blocket, eBay, and tourism sites. "This was during the day when I suppose they were being paid to be at the conference working," Nipe noted for The Local.
Communications

Marriot Back-Pedals On Wireless Blocking 179

Posted by timothy
from the customer-is-right-if-we-get-caught dept.
gurps_npc writes "Marriot Hotels had been illegally blocking Wifi hotspots in Nashville. They thought they owned the airwaves inside their hotel and wanted to charge guests for using them. They claimed to be 'surprised' they were breaking the law. Other hotels have complained to the FCC, asking for permission to do it legally. The FCC had fined Marriot $600,000 for their actions, among other things. They have stopped their illegal blockage, in part because of public backlash and in part because the government told them they were criminals.
Wireless Networking

Where Cellular Networks Don't Exist, People Are Building Their Own 104

Posted by Soulskill
from the teach-a-man-to-mobile-and-he'll-tweet-for-the-rest-of-his-life dept.
New submitter TechCurmudgeon writes: According to a story at Wired, towns in Mexico that aren't served by the nation's telecom monopoly are taking matters in their own hands with the help of a non-profit and open source technology. "Strategically ignored by Mexico's major telecoms, Yaee is putting itself on the mobile communications grid with the help of a Oaxaca-based telecommunications non-profit called Rhizomatica." A locally-made tower is the backbone of Yaee's first cellular network. The town's network is composed of two antennas and an open-source base station from a Canadian company called NuRAN. Once Yaee gets the tower installed and the network online, its 500 citizens will, for the first time, be able to make cell phone calls from home, and for cheaper rates than almost anywhere else in Mexico.
Security

Wireless Keylogger Masquerades as USB Phone Charger 150

Posted by Soulskill
from the in-case-you-were-running-out-of-attack-vectors-to-worry-about dept.
msm1267 writes: Hardware hacker and security researcher Samy Kamkar has released a slick new device that masquerades as a typical USB wall charger but in fact houses a keylogger capable of recording keystrokes from nearby wireless keyboards. The device is known as KeySweeper, and Kamkar has released the source code and instructions for building one of your own. The components are inexpensive and easily available, and include an Arduino microcontroller, the charger itself, and a handful of other bits. When it's plugged into a wall socket, the KeySweeper will connect to a nearby Microsoft wireless keyboard and passively sniff, decrypt and record all of the keystrokes and send them back to the operator over the Web.
Hardware

EnOcean Wireless Sensors Don't Need Batteries (Video) 46

Posted by Roblimo
from the almost-like-heinlein's-gramps-schneider-in-magic-inc. dept.
'The EnOcean technology is an energy harvesting wireless technology used primarily in building automation systems; but is also applied to other applications in industry, transportation, logistics and smart homes,' says Wikipedia. There's also a Siemans spinoff company called EnOcean, and today's video is an interview with its president, Jim O'Callaghan. But EnOcean technology is the real star here. The idea is that energy-efficient sensors can be powered by energy harvesting, i.e. drawing energy from their surroundings, including such low-level sources as light, temperature changes, and pressure, which can be the pressure of your finger on a switch or even changes in barometric pressure. The EnOcean Alliance has a professionally-produced video that describes their technology and notes that self-powered wireless sensors not only save energy but save miles of wire between sensor nodes and controllers, which means it's possible to install more sensors sensing more parameters than in the past. (Alternate Video Link)
Security

Asus Wireless Routers Can Be Exploited By Anyone Inside the Network 68

Posted by timothy
from the coming-from-inside-the-building dept.
An anonymous reader writes A currently unpatched bug in ASUS wireless routers has been discovered whereby users inside a network can gain full administrative control, according to recent research conducted by security firm Accuvant. Although the flaw does not allow access to external hackers, anyone within the network can take administrative control and reroute users to malicious websites, as well as holding the ability to install malicious software. The vulnerability stems from a poorly coded service, infosvr, which is used by ASUS to facilitate router configuration by automatically monitoring the local area network (LAN) and identifying other connected routers. Infosvr runs with root privileges and contains an unauthenticated command execution vulnerability, in turn permitting anyone connected to the LAN to gain control by sending a user datagram protocol (UDP) package to the router. In relevant part: The block starts off by excluding a couple of OpCode values, which presumably do not require authentication by design. Then, it calls the memcpy and suspiciously checks the return value against zero. This is highly indicative that the author intended to use memcmp instead. That said, even if this check was implemented properly, knowing the device’s MAC address is hardly sufficient authentication,” said Drake. Here are the technical details at GitHub.
The Internet

FCC Favors Net Neutrality 255

Posted by Soulskill
from the not-neutral-on-neutrality dept.
dkatana writes: Yesterday, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said net neutrality is high on the agency's agenda, and a set of rules will be proposed beginning of next month. He also talked about reclassification of internet providers such as Google Fiber as Title II Telecom Companies. If Google and other fiber providers are given pole access, it could be the beginning of a race to deploy fiber-to-the-home to many cities and towns, where the cost of digging trenches has deterred many initiatives and protected the monopolies of the entrenched telecom providers. Advocates for net neutrality believe that Title II classification would allow the FCC to protect Internet services by regulating against paid prioritization. A related article suggests one side effect of the internet becoming a public utility will be higher costs for internet access.
Power

Wireless Charging Standards Groups Agree To Merge 65

Posted by Soulskill
from the combining-their-powers dept.
jfruh writes: The world where our gadgets all charge wirelessly has been delayed by several factors, one of which is that there are three industry groups promoting rival technological standards. That problem is now a little closer to a solution, as the Alliance for Wireless Power and the Power Matters Alliance announced a plan to merge.