Items tagged with wireless

Did you know that you could create and use a QR code to better facilitate using stronger security on your wireless network? A QR code is not in and of itself more secure than manually typing in a passcode, but if you want to use a long string of 63 characters and symbols, you would otherwise need an exceptional memory. Let's be real, who has time to remember a unique set of 63 characters? For the most part, it is not really feasible. At the same time, using a long passcode can help defend against brute-force attacks. The thing about WPA and even WPA2 is they are vulnerable to password cracking attacks, and the weaker the passcode, the easier it is crack. That's where using a QR code comes into... Read more...
Over the past few months, we have seen a spattering of Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) routers enter the fray, including the ASUS ROG GT-AX11000 and Netgear Nighthawk AX8, both of which we recently put to the test. There was a caveat to our testing, however—we had to benchmark them using Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) hardware, because at the time, Wi-Fi 6 had not yet really permeated the marketplace on the client side. That's to say, practically every modern device with Wi-Fi connectivity is sporting a Wi-Fi 5 adapter. In a sense, companies like ASUS and Netgear had put the cart before the horse. It is not that these companies are obtuse. Rather, they recognized where the market was headed and essentially got... Read more...
Every major wireless company likes to thump its chest and proclaim it is home to the best network, in terms of speed and coverage, but is there a clear winner? According to the latest USA Mobile Network Experience Report by OpenSignal, Verizon leads the way more often than not, though the results are a bit more surprising when you dig into the individual tests. OpenSignal tested wireless performance in five different categories—4G Availability, Video Experience, Download Speed Experience, Upload Speed Experience, and Latency Experience. Verizon won three of the five categories, those being 4G availability, videos, and uploads. Click to Enlarge (Source: OpenSignal) What's interesting, though,... Read more...
If you are itching to be one of the first on the block with 5G wireless connectivity, AT&T is getting ready to turn on its network in a few select cities. Unlike Verizon's 5G service, which is using proprietary technology -- at least initially -- AT&T says that its 5G network is "standards-based". At the moment, there is only one device that is certified for use on AT&T's 5G network, and that's the Nighthawk 5G Mobile Hotspot. This little device will allow your notebook, tablet, or any other Wi-Fi capable device to hop on AT&T's network and enjoy the faster data speeds and incredibly low latency. Unfortunately, AT&T isn't giving us any concrete details on how fast... Read more...
Stronger wireless security is headed to homes and businesses. That's because the Wi-Fi Alliance this week formally introduced Wi-Fi Certified WPA3, the next generation of Wi-Fi security with new capabilities to bolster personal and enterprise wireless networks. The new standard builds upon and ultimately replaces WPA2, which has seen widespread adoption over the past 10 years, enabling more robust authentication. No small upgrade, WPA3 delivers increased cryptography strength for highly sensitive data markets. There are two modes, WPA3-Personal and WPA3-Etnerprise, both of which use the latest security methods and disallow outdated legacy protocols. Both also require the use of Protected Management... Read more...
It was right around a year ago when AT&T trumpeted plans to expand its '5G Evolution' network to 20 metro areas before flipping the calendar to 2018. That number has since ballooned, with AT&T today announcing the launch of 5G Evolution connectivity in parts of 117 new markets, bringing the total number of markets served with that technology to 141. "We’re building a 5G network that will fundamentally change the way the world lives and works," said Melissa Arnoldi, president of Technology & Operations. "5G will provide a wireless experience that is faster, more responsive and more secure for our customers." It is an aggressive roll out for sure, though to be clear, 5G Evolution... Read more...
Wireless carriers have already started extolling the benefits of 5G over existing 4G LTE networks, the primary one being raw speed. 5G reckons to be much faster than 4G, which could open up a new world of possibilities on mobile. The question, how much faster will 5G actually be in real-world settings? Qualcomm has been conducting simulated tests over the past several months to answer that very question, and the results are pretty exciting. "There is a lot of interest from various stakeholders in the mobile ecosystem—cloud platform providers, application developers, device OEMs, and others—in understanding the real-world performance that 5G NR mobile networks and devices will deliver,"... Read more...
Most of us have had a love-hate relationship with wireless networking. It’s a wonderful technology when all your devices remain connected and perform well in every room of your house, but that’s not always the case. When your devices intermittently drop off or can't find a strong enough signal strength for reliable web browsing, or even if you're suffering through endless video buffering, there isn’t much you can do in that moment, but accept you’re at the mercy of your wireless router. Networking companies sought to fix that with wireless network extenders, but most of those early devices were a messy affair that required separate network names and manually selecting... Read more...
The FCC has been catching heat in its current form for making changes to existing regulations governing broadband internet access. The big change the FCC made was to eliminate the net neutrality rules that forced ISPs to treat all traffic equally, no matter the service or application. Another place where the FCC was considering a big change was with a plan that could have weakened the definition of what speed and type connection qualifies as "broadband."  Thankfully, the FCC is stepping away from a new classification that would change the definition of broadband. The draft 2018 Broadband Deployment Report has now been issued by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. The good news is that the FCC has chosen... Read more...
AT&T has positioned itself to be the first U.S. company to roll out real, honest-to-goodness mobile 5G service in a dozen markets by late 2018, the company announced today. And unlike AT&T's 5G Evolution service, which in many areas is just a rebranding of 4G LTE, what AT&T is pitching here is true 5G wireless performance that conforms to 3GPP's recently introduced 5G new radio (NR) standards. "5G will change the way we live, work and enjoy entertainment," said Melissa Arnoldi, president, AT&T Technology and Operations. "We’re moving quickly to begin deploying mobile 5G this year and start unlocking the future of connectivity for consumers and businesses. With faster speeds... Read more...
A security expert at Belgian university KU Leuven has discovered a major vulnerability in the Wi-Fi Protected Access II (WPA2) protocol that could a expose a user's wireless Internet traffic, including usernames and passwords that are entered into secure websites. The vulnerability affects most devices and several operating systems, including Android, iOS, Windows, Linux, and OpenBSD. "Attackers can use this novel attack technique to read information that was previously assumed to be safely encrypted," Marthy Vanhoef, a security expert at Belgian university KU Leuven, wrote in a detailed report (PDF) outlining the vulnerability. "This can be abused to steal sensitive information such as credit... Read more...
For all the attention that has been poured onto Android 8.0 Oreo, one thing that has kind of flown under the radar is support for Wi-Fi Passpoint. This is a technology that was introduced by the Wi-Fi Alliance back in 2012 to make bouncing from one hotspot to another a smooth and seamless transition, and it is included in Google's Android 8.0 update, which Google describes as the biggest change to the foundations of Android to date. This is a big convenience that is coming to Android. Without it, roaming a city landscape and going from one hotspot to another is an annoying affair that requires multiple logins as you go about your business. Wi-Fi Passpoint eliminates that hassle by keeping you... Read more...
Netgear has a solution to eliminate those pesky Wi-Fi dead zones in your home and to extend wireless coverage to every nook and cranny. It is called the Nighthawk X6S (model EX8000) and it is an AC3200 tri-band Wi-Fi range extender, which itself does not sound all that sexy, but there is more here than meets the eye. One thing that makes this range extender stand out from the competition is Netgear's patented FastLane3 technology. FastLane3 is a fancy marketing term Netgear came up with to describe three critical components of the Nighthawk X6S, those being tri-band Wi-Fi, a dedicated Wi-Fi link from the extender to your router, and an optimized antenna design inside the range extender. That... Read more...
It is only a matter of time before all of the major wireless carriers in the United States upgrade their wireless infrastructures to 5G, which will provide a significant boost in performance over 4G. In preparation for that day, Apple has begun testing next-generation wireless technologies so that its future iPhone models such as (potentially) the iPhone 8 will be ready for the high-speed revolution. We know this because the FCC made public an experimental license filed by Apple that gives the company permission to use a new wireless technology called millimeter wave. "Apple Inc. seeks to assess cellular link performance in direct path and multipath environments between base station transmitters... Read more...
As you read this, you're more than likely surrounded by wireless signals. However, wouldn't it be great if those waves of energy could be utilized for purposes other than just delivering data? Apple sure thinks so, as its latest patent application thoroughly highlights. The proposed patent is titled "Wireless Charging and Communications Systems With Dual-Frequency Patch Antennas", and refers to using wireless routers and other wireless hardware to keep devices - such as an iPhone or iPad - charged. Imagine never having to worry about the charge of your phone as long as you're inside yor home - it sounds almost too good to be true. The best thing about this proposed tech is that it's not... Read more...
AT&T is putting the word out that it is "creating a 5G network that will change the world," only it's not really a 5G network. It is more like a rebranded 4G network that AT&T is calling 5G Evolution, a fancy marketing term that is supposed to make customers think of real 5G, the next generation successor to 4G LTE that will offer significantly faster speeds than what is available today. To be fair, that's also the pitch from AT&T—the company says its 5G Evolution network "offers twice the speeds" of its 4G LTE network, at least in Austin, Texas. And that may very well be true, but make no mistake, 5G Evolution is not the same as 5G no matter how much AT&T wants customers to think... Read more...
Would you be willing to have a super-small microchip inserted into your hand, all for the sake of added convenience? To some, the mere concept might sound outlandish, and it'll undoubtedly be tough to avoid recalling certain sci-fi flicks that center around such implantable technology. Believe it or not, microchip injections are becoming more common, and are likely to only become even more popular in the future. At the Swedish start-up hub Epicenter, the company has begun injecting microchips into its employees -- and yes, it's an opt-in procedure. 150 people have so far agreed to the body modification, simply because the equivalent of a quick piercing can open doors for you in the future. Literally.... Read more...
Just when you've gone and upgraded your home network to 802.11ac (Wireless-AC) territory, Qualcomm comes out today and starts talking about a fancy new standard, 802.11ax. More specifically, Qualcomm unveiled what it says is the first end-to-end 802.11ax portfolio with new system-on-chip (SoC) solutions for network infrastructure (IPQ8074) and client devices (QCA6290). This is the next generation of wireless connectivity and as is the case with every generational leap, it is a faster solution than the one it will ultimately replace. In this case, 802.11ax can deliver up to 1.8Gbps on the client side through Dual Band Simultaneous (DBS) combining 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands, all while consuming two-thirds... Read more...
The hope that Google would eventually roll out its crazy fast fiber optic Internet service to virtually all corners of the continental United States was dashed on Monday when the company announced it was hitting the pause button on future expansion efforts. Google's sudden shift in strategy also means there will be some job losses in the coming days and weeks. What this all means to you depends on where you live. Google isn't completely abandoning its Fiber service. In the eight metro areas where Google Fiber already exists, the service will continue to be offered and supported. Google will also proceed with plans to expand in four additional areas that it previously committed to. However, there... Read more...
Google's making it easier to try out its potentially game changing Project Fi smartphone wireless service by now allowing you to sign up for a group plan. Previously the service was only available to individuals, which meant juggling multiple accounts if you wanted to get the whole family on board, but now you can have up to half a dozen people on a single plan. They don't have to be immediate family members, either. Heck, they don't even have to be related. Google is dropping any pretenses that people won't end up sharing a group plan with friends and co-workers, so feel free to add anyone you want to your account. Of course, as the primary account holder you're on the hook for their data usage,... Read more...
A team of smartypants from MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Labl (CSAIL) have developed a new Wi-Fi system purportedly capable of transmitting wireless data more than three times faster than the Wi-Fi we use today. And on top of being significantly faster, it doubles the range of modern day Wi-Fi transmissions. The new system is call MegaMIMO 2.0 and it could eventually find its way into the Wi-Fi routers that consumers buy for home use. For that to happen, companies such as Netgear and Belkin/Linksys would have to adopt and implement the technology, though bigger benefits could be had in the commercial sector. While faster and more far reaching wireless sounds enticing, the... Read more...
Call it a first-world problem if you like, but the larger your home, the trickier it can be blanketing it in wireless connectivity. Dead zones have a nasty habit of popping up in remote corners separated by walls and doors, and that's one of the reasons why your choice in router matters. It's also the main selling point of Netgear's new Orbi Wi-Fi System. There's a lot of fancy marketing speak associated with Orbi but what it essentially boils down to is an easy-to-configure router and range extender (more on that in a moment), the latter of which Netgear calls a satellite. Like Google's OnHub series, the Orbi doesn't look like a traditional router that you'd feel compelled to hide in the bedroom... Read more...
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