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Comms and Internet

EC Opens Google Investigations

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EC Opens Google Investigations

The European Commission (EC) accuses Google of monopolistic practices as it opens antitrust investigations into two of the search giant's businesses-- online shopping comparisons and the Android operating system.

This makes the biggest EU case against a technology since the 10-year battle against Microsoft, which ended in 2004. In that case Microsoft was ordered to pay over $1.7 billion in fines, the biggest since a $1.4bn ruling against Intel.

Should Google lose the case it will face fines reaching up to 10% of its yearly earnings or as much as $6n.

"In the case of Google I am concerned that the company has given an unfair advantage to its own comparison shopping service, in breach of EU antitrust rules," EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager says. "Google now has the opportunity to convince the Commission to the contrary. However, if the investigation confirmed our concerns, Google would have to face the legal consequences and change the way it does business in Europe."

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Home Automation via Almond Router

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Home Automation via Almond Router

A firmware update adds home automation support to the Securifi Almond+ and Almond 2015 routers, allowing the two wifi devices to double as smart home hubs handling required automation commands.

The Almond+ is the higher-end device. It features ZigBee and Z-Wave support, 802.11ac dual-band (2.4GHz and 5GHz) wifi, gigabit LAN and wifi coverage reaching 465 square metres.

Meanwhile the Almond 2015 covers 279 square metres (a 30% increase over the original 2012 model, Securifi says), a smaller display and only ZigBee support support. The company says the router also doubles as a range extender when paired with an Almond+ unit.

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Facebook’s Drones Get Closer

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Facebook’s Drones Get Closer

Facebook’s project to deliver internet services via a fleet of high altitude drones has moved a step closer, acquiring both a name and a speculative timeline.

The name (or probably codename) is Aquila, appropriate in being both Latin and Italian for eagle. The timescale, according to the New York Times, will see the first flights this summer, with commercial deployment over the coming years.

Facebook, Google and SpaceX are all exploring alternative approaches to delivering internet services to remote regions of the world. Google has experimented with its Loons (high-altitude balloons), and has purchased a low-orbital satellite company. SpaceX has announced plans to launch its own fleet of internet satellites.

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IDC: WLAN Growth Slows Down

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IDC: WLAN Growth Slows Down

According to IDC the global WLAN market shows an incremental growth decrease in Q4 2014, as the combined consumer and enterprise market segments show 7% Y-o-Y growth.

The consumer WLAN market is up by 6.5% Y-o-Y in Q4 2014, a "slight" increase over the 5.6% Y-o-Y growth of Q3 2014 as the transition from the older 802.11n standard to the faster 802.11ac drives shipments across all geographies. As a result global consumer 802.11ac WLAN revenues grow by 155.6% Y-o-Y, while shipments are up by 206.6%.

EMEA shows impressive 802.11ac shipment revenue growth of 479.2% Y-o-Y.

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The Active Steering Wifi Chip

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The Active Steering Wifi Chip

Antenna maker Ethertronics launches the EtherChip EC482-- the first RF device from the company featuring Active Steering "beam steering" technology for wifi and other MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output) 5GHz applications.

Beam steering involves the generation of multiple signals from a single antenna. A combination of algorithms and RF signal monitoring predicts the optimal signal for use in the current situation, with the EC482 chip acting as master controller.

As the company puts the process provides "revolutionary improvements in range, data throughput and signal quality," as well as "interference reduction, robustness in multipath environments, improved connection reliability and better spectral efficiency."

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Better Wifi Through Eero

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Better Wifi Through Eero

According to San Francisco-based Eero home networking needs to be more like its enterprise equivalent through a mesh network formed by multiple cloud-connected wireless routers dubbed, well, Eero.

The Eero amounts to a router, wireless access point and range extender inside a small, white box. It features dual-wifi radios for simultaneous 2.4 and 5GHz connections, 802.11a/b/ac support and built-in Bluetooth 4.0, and according to the company provides up to 1000 square feet (around 92 square metres) of 50-100mbps wifi coverage. Thus the average house requires multiple Eeros, which is where the makers claim cleverness as the routers pair automatically to form an instant mesh network.

Eero also promises painless setup via mobile device (iOS or Android) app, as well as a cloud-connected component ensuring router software is up to date.

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HomePlug Gets Interoperability Event

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HomePlug Gets Interoperability Event

The HomePlug Alliance announces a multi-vendor event for HomePlug Netricity technology-- bringing together Cisco, Itron, Semtech (EnVerv) and Texas Instruments and the low-frequency, narrow-band IEEE 1901.2 standard.

The Netricity program is designed for long-range powerline networking applications, namely outside-the-home, smart grid, smart city and industrial control. Built using frequencies below 500kHz, the technology incorporates an IEE 802.15.4-based media access control (MAC) layer to enabled hybrid (wired + wireless) networks. The program complements and coexists with the high-bandwidth HomePlug AV and AV2 specifications and standards, as well as HomePlug Green PHY for smart home applications.

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HomePlug Alliance Gets AV2 Certification

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HomePlug Alliance Gets AV2 Certification

The HomePlug Alliance announces the availability of HomePlug AV2 MIMO certification for powerline networking products, as well as the launch of the first HomePlug AV2 certified products, at CES 2015.

Products and CES demos come from HomePlug Alliance members Broadcom, Qualcomm Atheros, D-Link and LEA Networks.

“HomePlug AV2 MIMO products are available now in retail stores worldwide, and many service providers are expected to include HomePlug AV2 MIMO technology in IPTV offerings,” the alliance says. “With MIMO technology, the next generation of HomePlug technology has arrived, delivering much higher data throughput and coverage.”

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D-Link Intros ULTRA Routers

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D-Link Intros ULTRA Routers

D-Link launches the ULTRA Performance series at CES 2015-- a trio of "aggressive" Stealth fighter-style 11AC wifi routers promising wireless speeds of up to 5.3Gbps, improved coverage and a revamped UI.

The routers (specifically the AC5300, AC3200 and AC3100) promise a range of advanced features, including Wireless 11AC Beamforming, automatic client assignment via Smart Connect and a QoS engine complete with drag-and-drop UI for simple prioritisation of applications and devices. Connectivity comes through high-power antennas (4 in the AC3100, 6 in the AC3200 and 8 in the AC5300), as well as gigabit ethernet ports.

Security comes through WPA, WPA2 and Wifi Protected setup. For further performance the AC5300 and AC3100 feature multi-user MIMO (MU-MIMO) technology enabling simultaneous transmission to groups of clients, making wifi networks more efficient and faster.

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