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Comms and Internet

A Plume for a Prettier Router

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A Plume for a Prettier Router

San Francisco-based Branch Creative proposes a nicer looking means for better home wifi-- the Plume, a compact, jewel-shaped  router in a self-contained "Pod" fitting in an electrical socket.

The concept behind the Plume is similar to that behind the Eero router and range extenders. Following initial connection to the ISP's router users simply need to connect multiple pods around the house to create a mesh-like network dubbed "Adaptive Wifi" by the company. The pods work together to ensure the best possible connection and, presumably, provide users with the fastest possible internet.

Further improvement comes through the Plume Cloud, a cloud-based control plane able to actively monitor home networks and continuously adjust signal speed and resiliency. Meanwhile the pods also have an ethernet port in case one needs a wired internet connection.

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How to Hide Smart Home Networking Using Tor

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How to Hide Smart Home Networking Using Tor

The smart devices making the Internet of Things (IoT) can expose sensitive customer data to hackers, the Tor Project says-- and as such it would be best to hide such networking using layers of encryption and network stealth.

How does one hide such networking? Using anonymous onion services, of course, specifically in the form of the "Home Assistant." A free, open-source platform, Home Assistant runs on Raspberry Pi and other smart home hubs, and can control and network the various devices making the IoT as a Tor hidden service, the same system Tor uses to obscure the locations of servers running on the so called darknet.

The result, according to The Guardian Project, is a stealthier and more secure system for the connection of smart homes to the internet. Adding further security is Home Assistant running as an authenticated hidden service, meaning Tor intermediary computers require a passcode (or "cookie") in order to connect to the destination computer.

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Box Updates Against Ransomware, Data Theft

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Box Updates Against Ransomware, Data Theft

Bitdefender updates the Box online security device with Vulnerability Assessment and Active Threat Control, allowing to further protect all connected devices.

Vulnerability Assessment identifies security weak links to bolster defenses against data theft, malicious attacks and other intrusions. Meanwhile Active Threat Control monitors processes and system events via machine learning and behaviour-based threat analysis to identify malware.

Customers can access the Vulnerability Assessment by opening the companion Box mobile device app and pressing the Vulnerable Devices button. The service proceeds to scan the network and identify all vulnerabilities.

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HomeGrid Forum Updates on G.hn

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HomeGrid Forum Updates on G.hn

One technology can fulfill the broadband needs of the home, the HomeGrid Forum says-- G.hn, a means to leverage on existing wiring to create a gigabit networking backbone.

According to the forum, despite many devices currently using wireless connections, wired networks still have a "major" role in the home, be it in the interconnection of fixed devices to providing a high-speed backbone for wireless access points. G.hn promises to fulfill such connectivity, delivering 1 millisecond backhaul to wireless video using existing infrastructure, be it powerline, coax, phoneline or fibre.

The technology is still in fairly early days, even if the HomeGrid Forum is pushing G.hn silicon and system certification. One company working on G.hn products is ARRIS, who is working on a router/gateway able to establish a high bandwidth network via electrical wiring and a wifi extender.

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Wifi Alliance Details 802.11ac Wave 2

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Wifi Alliance Details 802.11ac Wave 2

The Wifi Alliance expands the 802.11ac wifi standard with "Wave 2"-- essentially a means to boost current wifi bandwidths while retaining backwards compatibility.

According to the alliance Wave 2 doubles the bandwidth per channel to double performance should conditions be favourable. It also has four spatial streams, wider 5GHz channel support and MU-MIMO (multi-user, multiple input multiple output) support.

“In today’s world, people have more wifi devices per person and per household, and those devices require significantly more bandwidth,” the alliance says. “Wifi Alliance updated the wifi ac program to meet increasing user demands and to stay ahead of emerging applications, while preserving interoperability.”

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BT Claims No More Black Spots With Smart Hub 6

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BT Claims No More Black Spots With Smart Hub 6

BT promises to have a better wifi solution with the Smart Hub 6-- a router the company says is able to improve connections and boost speeds even in harder to reach rooms.

The Smart Hub 6 features 7 antennas, more than most routers supplied by UK broadband providers. A 3x3 array supports the 2.4GHz band, while the 5GHz band comes through a 4x4 array. The result is a signal range BT says reaching up to 500m, depending on obstacles around the home.

Further connectivity comes through x4 gigabit connectors and a USB port.

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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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Devolo Boosts Wifi With Repeater ac

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Devolo Boosts Wifi With Repeater ac

Customers wanting a simple means to extend the range of home wifi can find an ideal solution with the Devolo Wifi Repeater ac, a device the company says provides transfer rates reaching up to 1200Mbit/s.

The repeater uses both 2.4 and 5GHz wireless networking bands to allow for more flexibility in automatic channel selection, as well as faster combined networking speeds. It also includes an integrated LAN port for the wired connection of another device, such as a smart TV, PC, game console, STB or NAS drive.

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The Untangle Firewall Appliance for the Home Office

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The Untangle Firewall Appliance for the Home Office

Security vendor Untangle presents the u25 and u25w-- a pair of firewall appliances designed for home or small offices the company describes as "the smallest footprint of any network security appliance in the market."

The u25 is the wired model, while the u25w is the wireless option. Both promise quiet desktop operation, and feature an HDMI port, x3 gigabit ethernet ports and x2 USB ports to provide all required network security features.

Protection comes through unified threat management (UTM) complete with the latest Untangle NG Firewall release (v 1.2), and customers can manage internet traffic by application, website, port and protocol on a per-use or per-group basis. VPN capability provides seamless connectivity to corporate networks, while a captive portal is included with the wifi model.

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