Tag Archives: Computing

Intel Touts New Ultra-High-Speed Wireless Data Technology

27 Feb

Small base stations could achieve huge data capacity increases using Intel’s modular antenna arrays.

Intel says it has prototyped a chip-based antenna array that can sit in a milk-carton-sized cellular base station. The technology could turbocharge future wireless networks by using ultrahigh frequencies.

Intel’s technology, known as a millimeter wave modular antenna array, is expected to be demonstrated today at the Mobile World Congress conference in Barcelona, Spain, says Ali Sadri, director of the millimeter wave standards and advanced technology group at Intel.

Any one such cell could send and receive data at speeds of more than a gigabit per second over up to few hundred meters—and far more at shorter distances—compared to about 75 megabits per second for the latest standard, known as 4G LTE.

For mobile cellular communications, both the Intel and Samsung technologies could eventually use frequencies of 28 or 39 gigahertz or higher. These frequencies are known as millimeter wave and carry far more data than those used in cellular networks today. But they are easily blocked by objects in the environment—and even water droplets in the air. So they’ve traditionally been seen as impractical for mobile devices.

To get around the blockage problem, processors dynamically shape how a signal is combined among 64, 128, or even more antenna elements, controlling the direction in which a beam is sent from each antenna array, making changes on the fly in response to changing conditions.

Several groups are working on such antenna arrays, but Intel says its version is more efficient. “We can scale up the number of modular arrays as high as practical to increase transmission and reception sensitivity. The barrier is only regulatory issues, not technological ones,” Sadri says.

A major problem is finding a way to get so many antennas into a mobile device. The NYU technology used a benchtop gadget hauled around the sidewalks of Manhattan for testing. It steers beams mechanically toward intended users. The Intel chip does the same thing by shaping the direction of the signal electronically, and is now packaged in a gadget smaller than a shoebox.

A number of companies are betting next-generation wireless technologies will need to use millimeter wave links to deliver all the data people want. The European Commission, for example, last year launched a $1.8 billion 5G research effort to help develop this and other technologies.


Source: http://www.technologyreview.com/news/524961/intel-touts-new-ultra-high-speed-wireless-data-technology/

More Connected Homes, More Problems

30 Aug

They might offer convenience or potential cost savings, but Internet-connected home appliances may also create security risks

As a growing number of Internet-connected home appliances hit the market, David Bryan and Daniel Crowley worry that digital ne’er-do-wells will get new ways to take control of these devices, unlocking your house, running up your heating bill, flushing your toilet—or worse—from afar.

Bryan and Crowley, both security researchers atTrustwave Holdings, have been trying to sound this alarm since they heard about the Lockitron, a $179 gadget designed to fit on a standard deadbolt and allow you to lock or unlock your home from your smartphone. At the time, the device had not yet begun shipping to customers, but it piqued Bryan and Crowley’s curiosity. They figured they’d try out other “smart” devices while they were at it, and over the past several months they’ve found that nearly all of them, including lights, a scale, and a toilet, had significant security shortcomings.

Their findings highlight a potential problem with the so-called “Internet of Things” and the new class of Internet-connected home products that you can monitor and manage remotely. These devices offer convenience and potential energy savings and sometimes just novelty (see “Home Tweet Home: A House with Its Own Voice on Twitter”). According to data from ABI Research, there are already more than 10 billion wirelessly connected devices in use, and by 2020 there will be more than 30 billion of them. While “hub” devices like smartphones and laptops make up most of this total today, the market researcher expects this will shift in favor of cheap sensors and node devices that make up the Internet of Things.

Yet as we connect more and more devices to the Internet, everything from the thermostat to the toilet to the front door itself may create a potential new opening for electronic intruders. As with computers, there are ways to protect these devices from outsiders, but Crowley and Bryan’s experiences indicate that, for now at least, this isn’t always a primary concern for companies in a rush to sell this equipment. Making devices more secure can add time to product development.

“It varies from device to device, but a common thread with a lot of these devices is they don’t require any authentication at all,” Crowley says.

For example, Crowley and Bryan examined the Veralight, which plugs into your home computer network and allows you to control and manage many types of household appliances. By default, it required no username or password to access the system, and they say they found numerous ways to bypass authentication even when it was turned on. More recently, Crowley and Bryan discovered how easily one could get a music-playing toilet called the Satis, which is controlled by an Android smartphone app, to flush itself repeatedly or play loud music. They recently discussed their findings at the annual Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas.

Crowley and Bryan say they’ve contacted each company whose products they believe have security flaws. Mostly, they’ve gotten no direct response. In a statement, the maker of the Veralight, Hong Kong-based Mi Casa Verde, said it believes its controllers “are as secure or more secure than any of the home automation products on the market today.” Lixel, the Japanese company behind the networked toilet, said in a statement that there are “several necessary conditions” that must be met to control the toilet remotely, such as pairing a smartphone with the toilet, which must be done with a separate unit that comes with the Satis.

Security researchers fear that the risks presented by these new types of gadgets are especially concerning. If hackers can exploit a weakness in a single type of Internet-connected home appliance or system—such as an Internet-connected door lock—they may be able to harm thousands of people at once. “It might be some effort to get this kind of scenario, but if breaking into one server means you get to ransack 100, 1,000, 10,000 people’s homes, that’s definitely worth it, and that’s where the real danger lies,” Crowley says.

Yoshi Kohno, an associate professor at the University of Washington who studies computer security and privacy in consumer technologies, says it’s hard to know exactly how big a problem this will be. But he has found “real vulnerabilities” in several Internet-connected things including cars, medical devices, and children’s toys. A toy that includes a webcam, for instance, could allow an online attacker to connect to the toy and turn on the webcam. “We as a community need to look holistically at all the emerging technologies and not just say, ‘Oh, it’s a toaster, it doesn’t matter,’ and think that everything matters until we believe that it doesn’t,” he says.

Even with security measures in place, there’s also potential for electronic eavesdropping, says Kamin Whitehouse, an associate professor at the University of Virginia who studies smart buildings. His research has shown that even if data traffic from wireless smart devices in the home is encrypted, an attacker can still analyze network traffic patterns and, by making a few assumptions about human behavior, get an idea of what’s going on inside the house. “Once the house starts becoming fully connected, there’s no reason to think that it won’t become a target,” he says.

For their part, Crowley and Bryan are optimistic that this will change. The smartphone-controlled door lock that first intrigued them recently began shipping to customers and offers security details and an e-mail contact for security-related questions. That’s an indication that Apigy, the company behind Lockitron, is focused on the issue, Crowley says. “That is big. It says something good about the state of security in that product,” he says. “It means we’ll probably have a tough time breaking it.”

Source: http://www.technologyreview.com/news/517931/more-connected-homes-more-problems/?goback=.gde_3176577_member_268434296#!

Car, Cloud, And Smartphones: The Future Looks Smart

10 Nov

It is not too far away the day when you will tap your smartphone and, within seconds, your car will be right at your doorstep. Or maybe your smart phone will start buzzing whenever someone comes warily close to your car, especially when you are busy shopping or sipping coffee with your friends. No, this is not a scene from the latest 007 flick, but it is reality. Nissan’s NSC-2015, the harbinger of that fusion between fiction and fact, is an electronic car which is going to step in the market in 2015. The car will be connected to your phone via cloud computing; hence, it can be easily monitored via smartphones. But don’t think it’s only another robotic car stuffed with features like auto-pilot, auto-sensor, or anti-burglar alarm.

Here is a list of tasks this NSC-2015 can do with and without the help of cloud computing.

1. You tap a button on your smartphone and the car will drive towards you. So there will be no need for you to worry about spotting your car in the parking lot.

2. You are somewhere away from your car and a person comes very close to your vehicle. You will immediately receive a notification about it and your car will prompt you to view a real-time video recording. Upon your consent, the exterior camera in the car will start capturing a 360-degree video that you can watch on your smartphone. If you cannot recognize the person, your smartphone will automatically switch the alarm on.

3. Be it slipping into reverse, moving forward, or making a perfect U-turn, NSC 2015 can do that for you, on its own, but it cannot drive you to your destination without your input; at least its first few generations will lack that auto-driving skill.

However, NSC 2015 will not be able to park itself among other non-robotic cars as it depends not on GPRS but long term evolution cellular and sensors to create an accurate map of the cars parked around. So until it is completely surrounded by similar cars, it will not be able to decipher the picture.

NSC 2015 indicates a future where cloud computing, smartphones, and automobiles will work together to make your driving experience easier and more pleasant.

By Durba Sengupta

Source: http://www.cloudtweaks.com/2012/11/car-cloud-and-smartphones-the-future-looks-smart/

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