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Wireless Networks

Bluetooth Reaches Version 5

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Bluetooth Reaches Version 5

An email by Bluetooth Special Interest Group director Mark Powell reveals the next version of the Bluetooth wireless standard-- Bluetooth 5, an update promising double the range and speed of Bluetooth 4.2.

Named without a point number in the name of simpler marketing, Bluetooth 5 has the support of major technology companies (including Apple and Intel), and features "significant new functionality for connectionless services" such as location-based information and navigations. Such technology is identical to that used by wireless beacons, as well as the Apple AirDrop and Handoff features.

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Domotz Acquires Fing

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Domotz Acquires Fing

The Domotz home intelligence product and remote tech support offering sets to get further capabilities as the company acquires Fing, the network scanning mobile device app described as one of the most popular in the world.

Launched back in 2011, the Fing app allows users to quickly scan a network and see all connected devices, evaluate security levels, detect intruders and resolve network issues through a smartphone. The app boasts 12 million downloads and 6 million active users performing over 600000 network scans daily, discovering billions of connected devices every year around the world.

“At Fing, we have always believed in building networking apps that are seamless to use and productive for our users,” the developers say. “We are very excited to continue our work together with Domotz on new products and innovations that are even more relevant and loved by our user base.”

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MIT Locates People Through Wifi and Chronos

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MIT Locates People Through Wifi and Chronos

A team of researchers at CSAIL (the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligent Laboratory) develops Chronos-- a means to accurately locate users within "tens of centimetres" through the power of wifi signals.

While similar systems already exist, these need multiple access points for wifi triangulation, and in any case tend to not play nice with big objects in the environment. On the other hand Chronos needs only one AP and uses an algorithm to eliminate errors caused by obstacles.

Chronos locates users by calculating "time-of-flight"-- the time data requires to travel from a user to an access point. According to MIT the system is x20 more accurate than existing systems, with calculations (done by multiplying time-of-flight by the speed of light) having an average time-of-flight error of 0.47 nanoseconds.

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ABI: IoT Drives Wireless Devices

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ABI: IoT Drives Wireless Devices

According to ABI Research the global wireless connectivity market (excluding cellular) is to reach over 10 billion annual IC shipments by 2021, with various IoT verticals such as smart home devices creating new opportunities.

While smartphone continue to represent the biggest market, technologies such as Bluetooth mesh networking, emerging wifi protocols, 802.15.4 enhancements (such as ZigBee 3.0 and Thread) and the growing need for multiprotocol connectivity system on chips (SoCs) are main market drivers. For instance, the analyst predicts Bluetooth will be in 60% of total devices by 2021, with mobile phones making less than 45% of total Bluetooth shipments.

Bluetooth Smart is forecast to be in 16% of devices by 2021 thanks to strong growth in smart home and beacon application as well as "significant" presence in connected home and wearable devices.

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A Passive Means to Reduce Wifi Energy Use

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A Passive Means to Reduce Wifi Energy Use

University of Washington researchers reveal a means to reduce the power consumption involved with wifi networks-- "Passive Wifi" using virtually no energy even when providing data transfer speeds of up to 11Mbps.

For the curious Passive Wifi energy consumption reaches up to 49.28 µW when pushing 11Mbps transmissions. Energy use is even lower during 1Mbps transmissions, being around 14.48µW. According to the researchers such a rate is 1000x lower than Bluetooth LE and ZigBee, or 10000x lower than existing wifi chipsets.

To achieve such power reductions Passive Wifi involves a redesign of the power-hungry radios making a router, creating a single device users plug into walls. The plug-in device generates a continuous wifi signal which in turn is reflected by passive devices, creating a chain of low-power transmitters.

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