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Verizon launches NETGEAR Jetpack AC791L -- the carrier's first 4G LTE-A mobile hotspot

Verizon launches NETGEAR Jetpack AC791L -- the carrier's first 4G LTE-A mobile hotspot | WiFiNovation | Scoop.it
With the loss of unlimited mobile data, consumers need to be more mindful of their behaviors. With that said, the one decent byproduct of data caps is that sharing the data can be both easy and affordable.
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New AT&T gadget turns your car into a Wi-Fi hotspot

New AT&T gadget turns your car into a Wi-Fi hotspot | WiFiNovation | Scoop.it
AT&T earlier this week unveiled a nifty new gadget that can even to turn your old clunker of a car into a mobile hotspot.
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Xirrus addresses both bleeding edge and low-cost segments with two product launche

Xirrus addresses both bleeding edge and low-cost segments with two product launche | WiFiNovation | Scoop.it
Xirrus brings its 802.11ac Wave 2 Wi-Fi solution, to market, and launches its new low-cost 802.11ac Wi-Fi access points, which replace, and are cheaper than, older 802.11n APs.
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Hands on: TP-Link Archer D7 802.11ac router

Hands on: TP-Link Archer D7 802.11ac router | WiFiNovation | Scoop.it

While 802.11ac routers were thin on the ground when the 802.11ac spec was announced, the good news is that there is now a growing number of options available. I got to spend some quality time one - TP-Link's Archer D7 802.11ac capable router/ ADSL2+ modem.

Wondering why you should get excited about 802.11ac? Here's why. It's the 5th generation of Wi-Fi and if industry hype is to be believed, it is faster and more scalable. When networking pundits say faster, they're really not kidding either.

802.11ac is designed to offer theoretical wireless speeds of up to a whopping 1.3 gigabits per second, (which is over twice the theoretical maximum of the current defacto Wi-Fi standard, 802.11n). In addition to muscular throughput speeds, it should also theoretically handle more simultaneous connections - up to eight MIMO data streams at once (802.11n typically maxes out at four).

Then there's beamforming, a nifty feature that can beam a concentrated wireless signal to a specific location. Not all 802.11ac routers will support it, but it looks like just the thing for fixing interference and coverage deadspots.

Having finally got my hands on both an 802.11ac capable router and notebook (a Macbook Air) I was itching to see how well it worked in practice....

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Poor Wi-Fi risks losing hotels repeat business

Poor Wi-Fi risks losing hotels repeat business | WiFiNovation | Scoop.it

The hotel and leisure industry is based on understanding and meeting customer needs. But new research from network hardware company NETGEAR suggests that this doesn't stretch to the importance guests place on good Wi-Fi connections.

The study finds that 76 percent of hospitality venues are convinced that their quality of service and facilities are far more important to customers than Wi-Fi. As many as 43 percent believe customers think poor or non-existent wireless access is a price worth paying for the experience on offer.

However, the report's findings show that consumers disagree with these assumptions. Around a third of leisure travelers say they would not return to a hotel that offered inadequate wireless access, a number which rises to two-thirds of business guests. For boutique hotels, this could result in a potentially damaging drop in occupancy rates, further compounded by guests abandoning on-site restaurants and cafés for places where they can get a good connection.

The study also suggests a blurring of the lines between work and leisure travel. People on a leisure break -- in particular young professionals below the age of 24 -- are now just as concerned about losing online contact with work (22 percent) as they are about missing updates from friends and social networks (29 percent).

"Smaller hospitality and leisure venues must accept that for many people Wi-Fi is now a basic need," says Jonathan Hallatt, NETGEAR's Regional Director UK, Ireland & South Africa. "Wherever we are, whether it's for work or pleasure, we immediately look for Wi-Fi access so we can stay in touch with our online world. People expect to be able to decide for themselves whether or not to connect, not to have that decision made for them. Failure to provide a reliable wireless network means customers will spend less money while they are with you, shorten their visit and never return. The financial impact of this cannot be ignored. Strong and consistent Wi-Fi should be seen as a revenue generator, not a cost".

It seems the message is starting to get through with 29 percent of hospitality venues admitting that poor Wi-Fi could result in guests complaining during a visit, 23 percent accepting it could lead to negative online reviews and 37 percent saying that it could mean the loss of repeat business.

Another recent survey by Pixmania shows that 31 percent of UK holiday-makers rate good internet access above a clean room or a good hotel restaurant. A Wireless Nation report by Arquiva last month also showed that one in three customers will stay longer, and one in five will pay more, at a venue that offers reliable Wi-Fi.

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St Pancras International WLAN upgrade promises gigabit speeds

St Pancras International WLAN upgrade promises gigabit speeds | WiFiNovation | Scoop.it

The owner of St Pancras International, Stratford, Ebbsfleet and Ashford high-speed rail stations, HS1 Ltd, has deployed what it claims to be the most advanced and highest performance Wi-Fi network accessible to the UK public.

Its ad-supported network will be deployed in two stages across the HS1 estate, with the first phase focusing on extending coverage across St Pancras International’s substantial site.


The second phase, beginning in autumn, will see capacity boosted by 20 times, said HS1. The company hopes the finished network will enable an upper limit of 7,000 users to stream HD content at the same time.

To accomplish its goals, HS1 plans to upscale 24 single radio units to 54 multi-radio Xirrus802.11ac APs. It will also upgrade its internal fibre ring from the current 200MB speed to 1GB–  with an intent to go up to 20GB speeds in the future.

“As a network we are always looking at how we can improve commuter’s journeys. With the latest figures showing that the number of people accessing the internet using a mobile phone has more than doubled between 2010 and 2013 – from 24% to 53% – now feels like the right time to install the service,” explained HS1 commercial director Wendy Spinks.

“Whether commuters are rushing to catch a train and want to download the latest film for their journey, or find themselves in-between meetings with nowhere to work from, this new technology will completely change the way visitors can use their time in the station.”

HS1 said it also hoped the upgraded network would bring benefits to its retail tenants, such as the possibility of HD video advertising, and attract more customers and non-travelling visitors to the station’s facilities.


The deployment will be managed by US-based wireless outfitWIFI Metropolis, which already runs a number of hotspots at the other end of the Eurostar rail link in Paris. The HS1 roll-out will be its first move into the UK.

WIFI Metropolis’ Greg Smith said that renewing wireless networking equipment had become the Achilles' heel of almost all major public network installations, which tended to end up becoming technically obsolete.

“In a traditional public implementation, you can barely complete a connection in five minutes - at St Pancras, when fully implemented, five minutes is a two-hour movie, a few books, magazines and secure access [to] email,” he said.

St Pancras and other mainline rail stations are good examples of what is becoming known as the 'third place', defined by Aruba Networks CEO Dominic Orr as neither work nor home, but where work is still carried out and internet access is becoming a priority.

A number of other transport hubs and providers are planning, or have carried out, high-speed wireless deployments, including Heathrow Airport, which last year scrapped a paid-for WLAN installed during the last decade which by its own admission was no longer fit for purpose.

HS1, meanwhile also revealed plans to launch its own smartphone and tablet app at St Pancras in the next few months, offering services such as special offers, and station and local information.

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What's happening to train wi-fi?

What's happening to train wi-fi? | WiFiNovation | Scoop.it

The UK government is promising to improve wi-fi connectivity on trains, while making services up to 10 times faster. What will happen, asks Justin Parkinson.

Train passengers hate it when wi-fi cuts out. It stops them getting work done, denies them access to the latest news and prevents them keeping in touch with others via emails and social media.

Ministers are promising that a £90m upgrade across England and Wales will stop them being "constantly disrupted by poor signal". This will be part-funded by a £53.1m fine levied on Network Rail for failing to ensure enough trains run on time. It is expected that a universal service, offering broadband speeds up to 10 times the current level, free to all train users, will be in place within a few years.


Currently trains receive 3G signal from ordinary mobile phone masts, which is "forwarded" to passengers through an onboard wi-fi system. Provision can be patchy, particularly in rural areas or when passing through tunnels or by embankments. Operating companies often charge for connections while on board, whileseveral do not offer any wi-fi at all.

Network Rail is installing its own transmitters along lines, which it says will get the whole network connected. The government's latest announcement is about upgrading the trains themselves to ensure they pick up the signals and distribute them quickly to carriages via the upgraded onboard wi-fi system.

There will be enough capacity to deal with all passengers' needs "and then some", a Network Rail source says. Users of routes into London, Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield are expected to be among the first to benefit, within "three or four years". So, will it turn trains into a better working environment?

"These things are announced by the government, but the detail comes later," says Trevor Tupper, treasurer of the West Sussex Rail Users Association. "So we shall have to see."

Some other European countries, including Sweden, have updated their on-train wi-fi. "It used to be that we kept losing connectivity," says Henrik Torstensson, chief executive of Lifesum, a health app company. "But now you can do quite heavy-duty work on the train. It's not quite state-of-the-art but the coverage is very good. The only problem I've encountered is that too many people want to use it as it's so popular."

But not everyone will welcome more connectivity. "When I started commuting people liked to have a sleep after reading the paper, which was nice," says Tupper. "Now they are working from the start of their morning journey until they get home at night."

WiFiNovation's insight:
The answer
  • Network Rail is setting up its own transmitters along lines in England and Wales to ensure blanket coverage
  • Operators are updating receivers and wi-fi hubs on board trains
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Blueprint: Street-Level Small Cell Wireless Backhaul For Outdoor Small Cells

Blueprint: Street-Level Small Cell Wireless Backhaul For Outdoor Small Cells | WiFiNovation | Scoop.it

The global small cell market can be represented as being partially “indoor” small cells (pico, femto cells), or “outdoor” small cells (“micro” cells). Backhaul availability is of critical/primary interest to the success of this mobile network segment (see Figure 1). In the indoor environment, small cells can often capitalize on existing backhaul infrastructure, however in the outdoor small cell case the picture is quite different.


In the outdoor environment, fiber “close” to a micro-cell site doesn’t generally mean that there is a point-of-presence which allows cost effective or timely deployment of a fiber spurline to the micro-cell site (located on a store front, or lamp-pole for example). As a result, wireless backhaul technology is a very important contributor to the expected build-out strategies in small cell networking. Fiber penetration statistics sit about ~16% , which includes FFTH and FTTB/E, so it’s logical to assume that Fiber to the Street-Lamp-Pole (SLP)” or “Traffic-Light-Pole (TLP)” is a very small value.

A growing market consensus is that micro-cellular network segments will tie into local macro-cellular points-of-presence (PoPs) . These PoPs tend to be on high point locations in the dense urban environment. The problem with servicing these from the macro PoP is that the “street furniture” onto which the micro-cell equipment is mounted generally doesn’t have a clear LoS connection path. Assuming installations at/near roadway intersections, only 5% - 15%  of these locations have clear LoS to the elevated macro PoP locations.

As a result of this reality, conventional Line-of-Sight (LoS) radio link technology has been seen as somewhat limiting, despite its other positive attributes, namely;

  • Many spectrum choices. Lots of available spectrum in site-licensed, area-licensed, or unlicensed segments.
    o At high frequencies, antenna sizes can be made very small whilst beam shaping for optimized spatial filtering of static and dynamic multipath contributors in the path.
  • Very high degree of deployment success certainty.
  • Predictable over-life availability performance.
  • Use of FDD technology which allows for low delay and low delay-variability.
  • The use of very high frequency radio systems in street-level backhaul links allows the use of the low-multipath channel just above the vehicular traffic in the roadways, assuming they have properly design antenna beam shapes. This avoids, or largely mitigates flat and selective fading impacts to the radio link (which results in superior link performance stability).


Despite some of the attractive strengths of LoS radio systems, the path blockage reality has incented various non-Line-of-Site (so called nLoS or NLoS) radio system products have been brought to market. Generally, these systems rely on low RF frequencies (i.e. < 6GHz) and the use of modem/waveform techniques that allow varying degrees of tolerance of the harsh propagation environments involved (i.e. OFDM, MIMO). There are several residual artifacts that the operator has to accept when adopting this technology, namely;

  • There is very limited spectrum available.
    o Difficult to achieve the needed high capacities.
    o If operating unlicensed, there is a significant risk of interference. This can negatively impact capacity, but also can severely impact delay and delay variability.
    o Spectrum allocations often drive the use of TDD technology, which negatively impacts delay and delay variability.
  • It is not possible to predict with certainty the success/outcome of the installation of a non-LoS radio link.
  • It is not possible to know the over-life radio link availability.
  • Small physical form factors [usually] dictated by microcell installations cause larger beamwidth operation. This in turn leads to an increased vulnerability to flat and selective fading, particularly acute when considering street-level links in which the dynamic impacts of vehicular traffic can have severe impacts the radio channel performance.


Higher frequency waveforms have also been used to build nLoS/NLoS links using reflected/bounced path geometries. 28 GHz was used this was in the 1990’s by CellularVision to deliver consumer TV services. Recently similar types of links have been demonstrated successfully at frequencies above 6 GHz and as high as 60 GHz . However, these suffer from the difficulties in predicting performance in advance of installation, similarly to sub-6GHz.

The resulting reality is that the various wireless solutions have different attributes that need to be optimally combined such that the resulting “networking” solution provides a predictable, reliable and available backhaul; function.

So how does this get done? One backhaul networking solution (see Figure 2) can be composed of the following:

  • LoS high capacity radio shot from a macro [high] site to a street level PoP.
  • Once at the street level, build rings, zig-zagging LoS radio shots up the center of the roadways. The use of high frequency delivers high capacity, low delay & delay variability, and stable operation in the presence of vehicular (and other) multipath.
  • The use of self-healing rings is desirable because in order to keep availability high … as there are unforeseen propagation impairments, and network node outages that are a reality. Downed poles, interruptions to power, elevated maintenance equipment (etc.) need to be realistically considered.
  • Spur shots used to pull in local base station sites which can’t be directly designed onto the ring path.
  • Use of nLoS radio technology to address [the odd] blocked link which can’t be deigned out of the solution
WiFiNovation's insight:

In summary, understanding the beneficial attributes and limitations of various wireless technology solutions can allow optimized combinations of LoS and n/NLoS technologies into reliable and deployable backhaul networking solutions – a key enabler for outdoor small cell deployments.

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UK trainlines to get speedy Wi-Fi connections costing £90m

UK trainlines to get speedy Wi-Fi connections costing £90m | WiFiNovation | Scoop.it

Internet access is about to be added to major commuter trainlines across England and Wales, with passengers travelling on the busiest routes to be connected first. 

The plan is to offer Wi-Fi speeds around 10 times faster than that currently available on main train routes. 

With costs estimated to top £90 million, access to the new Wi-Fi service should be free for passengers, but won’t arrive for another three or four years. 

“We all know how frustrating it can be to have our phones calls and internet use constantly disrupted by poor signal when travelling on trains,” said transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin. “At the moment it happens to often. Passengers expect and deserve better and with these plans, that is what they’ll get.”

Routes into London from Kent, Brighton, Bedford and Portsmouth along with services into Leeds, Sheffield and Manchester are expected to be the first to be upgraded to the new speedier Wi-Fi. 

“The coalition government is working hard to build a stronger economy and fairer society,” said Lady Kramer, a transport minister. “Today’s announcement that we are proving free Wi-Fi on trains means people can more easily work and keep up with friends while on journeys.” 

Apparently, part of the funding for the upgrade is expected to come from the multi-million pound penalty to be imposed on Network Rail for missing punctuality targets. 

“As well as steps we have already taken to make train travel as affordable and efficient as possible, we hope free Wi-Fi will encourage even more people to make the greener choice and travel by train.”

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The Best Hotels for Free Wi-Fi

The Best Hotels for Free Wi-Fi | WiFiNovation | Scoop.it

Regardless of where you're staying, hotel Wi-Fi always seems like a crapshoot. Sometimes it's free, sometimes it's expensive, and oftentimes it's so slow it doesn't matter. Over on Hotel WiFi Test, they take a look at which hotels tend to have the fastest, cheapest Wi-Fi. 

Hotel WiFi breaks down their results by chain, so when you're traveling you can at least play to the odds instead of looking into each specific hotel. Here's a summation of their results:

To put it simply, in a number of less expensive hotels, WiFi is faster and free, as opposed to Marriott, where WiFi is comparatively slow and costs extra. Travelers that happen to be loyal to the Marriott brand would be better off staying in Courtyard by Marriott, especially in the United States. WiFi will most likely be free and even a bit faster than in Marriott Hotels and Resorts.

Of the major hotel chains, Hotel WiFi found that Quality, Ramada, Best Western, and La Quinta tended to have the fastest free Wi-Fi. More upscale chains like the Hilton or the Marriott tended to charge for Wi-Fi more often. Head over to Hotel WiFi for their full results.

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Why Airlines and Airports Alike Need to Embrace Free Wi-Fi

Why Airlines and Airports Alike Need to Embrace Free Wi-Fi | WiFiNovation | Scoop.it

You know that. We know that. The Finns know that. So do airlines and airports. It’s only a matter of when.


Tony Tyler, Director General and CEO of IATA feels it’s high-time that airports got around to giving passengers free, easy to access, Wi-Fi at all terminals around the world. He said so at the SITA IT Summit last week, when addressing attendees.

Skift was present and asked Tyler whether he believed airlines should offer free Wi-Fi on board to passengers, and that was when Tyler’s forward-thinking moment passed. “No,” he replied, appearing annoyed with our silly question.

The argument, not only by Tyler but from others present, was that comparing Wi-Fi at airports to Wi-Fi on planes wasn’t apples-to-iPhones. Infrastructure to provide Wi-Fi on aircraft, we were told, is much more complicated than infrastructure to provide Wi-Fi in airport terminals.

A helpful member of the audience wrote us, via Twitter, that rocket launches are involved; but was unable to satisfactorily answer a follow-up question, via Twitter, on whether fees paid by passengers for Wi-Fi cover the costs of those rocket launches.

A member of the audience, who identified himself as United Airlines, replied that airlines do provide free Wi-Fi; giving as his example passengers who crowd the terminal area around the United Airlines Lounges, so they can use the lounge Wi-Fi intended for lounge customers.

These are the times we live in — when ordinary decent people can’t count on keeping the Riff-Raff away from their exclusive Wi-Fi transmissions — which only serves to lower the quality of the connection for everybody.

In fact, that argument makes sense, both on the ground and in the air. With insufficient bandwidth, the quality of the connection deteriorates with every additional user on the network — whether or not they hold a United Airlines loyalty membership card.

But, at the heart of all of this is the quest for revenue. Even if it is only the promise of revenue. As Skift has previously reported, the number of passengers willing to reach for their wallets to pay for Wi-Fi onboard is very small.

It is so small that some airlines, despite the thinking of Tyler and peers, have opted to offer free Wi-Fi, in full or in part, to their customers.

Norwegian Airlines offers free Wi-Fi to its passengers on European routes (which is where it is available for now), because, they have told Skift, people expect it and there’s not much point to charging for it. They view it as a product enhancement, a way to keep customers happy.

JetBlue currently offers their Simply Surf Fly-Fi service for free, marketed as the fastest active Wi-Fi connection in the sky. The introductory free period was supposed to end this month, but JetBlue has decided to extend it.

JetBlue also announced at the SITA IT Summit that it will launch a second satellite to expand Fly-Fi capabilities. Nok Air offers free Wi-Fi to their passengers, and, yesterday, Saudi Arabian Airlines announced that their premium passengers will receive free OnAir Wi-Fi onboard.

Ian Dawkins, Chief Executive Officer at OnAir, told us at the Brussels Summit that Wi-Fi will soon become a differentiating commodity, and that airlines are likely to start offering some level of connectivity onboard free-of-charge, with other premium services providing the revenue opportunities

WiFiNovation's insight:

You’re going to be able to access the internet everywhere some day soon, without having to pay for it.

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802.11ac Deeper Dive Webinar Recap

802.11ac Deeper Dive Webinar Recap | WiFiNovation | Scoop.it

Last week, AirTight’s Senior Technical Marketing Engineer, Robert Ferruolo (@RAFerruolo), added another chapter to the AirTight 802.11ac webinar series.  Robert presented on “802.11ac Deeper Dive” focusing on features that come along with the 802.11ac wireless platform.


During the presentation, Robert broke down channel availability, QAM, beamforming, MIMO, MU-MIMO, frame aggregation, and error correction.  To view the recording, click here.

Throughout this 6-part series, we’ll continue to break down why 802.11ac should be a serious consideration for your wireless network. The series will address the inevitable migration from 802.11n to 802.11ac.

We’ll be continuing to post our Q&A sessions for all of our webinar series. Stay tuned for more updates on upcoming webinars and their corresponding Q&A

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Virgin Trains to Offer Free Wi-Fi Along its Railway Routes

Virgin Trains to Offer Free Wi-Fi Along its Railway Routes | WiFiNovation | Scoop.it

UK based railway operator, Virgin Trains has pledged to offer free WI Fi in its trains as part of its franchise renewal agreement.

In a statement, the company said that all 76 of its Pendolino and Super Voyager trains will be equipped with "superfast WiFi", which Network Rail intends to support by providing track-side infrastructure.

The company said that this would be the first major intercity deployment of 4G technology on the UK rail network and provide free WiFi to all customers.

It didn't elaborate on how fast its "superfast" service would expect to be, nor when it would be made available to customers though.

The new West Coast franchise will run until March 2017.

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Internet par la lumière : le Li-Fi devient réalité

Pour la première fois, une entreprise (SOGEPROM) va s'équiper en LIFI, cette technologie qui permet de remplacer le WIFI par la lumière. Avantages : plus de risques de piratage ni d'effets supposés sur la santé à cause des ondes radio.
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Gogo gets OK to speed up in-flight Wi-Fi

Gogo gets OK to speed up in-flight Wi-Fi | WiFiNovation | Scoop.it
Traveling can be a burdensome process even when everything goes right. And chief among frequent flyer complaints is the lack of Wi-Fi access, or, when it’s available, the low quality of Wi-Fi, which in airplanes is often far too slow to stream video.
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Top 5 Myths About 802.11ac | BCW

Top 5 Myths About 802.11ac | BCW | WiFiNovation | Scoop.it

The latest Wi-Fi standard, 802.11ac, was approved in January 2014 and for the first time, enables Gigabit speeds over wireless operating three to 15 times faster than the previous standard, 802.11n. As the 802.11ac standard becomes more widely adopted, enterprises must proactively strategise to develop a plan to support the new standard.

While on the surface it may seem as if the only option is to rip and replace the entire Wi-Fi infrastructure, forklift overhauls are not the only viable approach. In an effort to demystify 802.11ac for IT managers and emphasise best practices for migration, I have compiled and debunked the top five myths about 802.11ac.

1. IT Managers Must ‘Rip & Replace’

While 802.11ac technologies are being adopted at a rapid pace, the reality is that legacy Wi-Fi (802.11n and previous standards 802.11a/b/g) will continue to be with us for years to come. Rather than focusing on a replacement strategy, it is more practical to approach the situation with a coexistence strategy. Wi-Fi standards and systems are created in general to be backward compatible. This allows Wi-Fi clients of all types to operate together on the same network.

However, running both old and new clients on the same Wi-Fi network is not optimal – slower clients will slow down faster clients, stunting the performance benefits of faster technology such as 802.11ac. It is best to create an environment where older 802.11a/b/g/n and newer 802.11ac devices operate at the same time but using separate resources, in particular separate radios on the access point.

Programmable wireless infrastructure provides a practical way to achieve this – start with a small number of 802.11ac radios in the network to match a smaller number of clients. Then migrate towards more 802.11ac radios as the client base grows.

2. 802.11ac Will Require New Infrastructure

The answer here of course depends on the state of the existing network and anticipated use. In many cases, 802.11ac gear will fit into existing environments that supported 802.11n. If the wired network is very old, this may not be the case. Since the capacity of the wireless is greater with 802.11ac, uplinks from APs, the core network, firewalls and the WAN pipe must be able to accommodate the increased traffic. Otherwise, a new weak link of the network will be exposed.

How quickly this becomes an issue depends on wireless client support for 802.11ac. Initially, there will not be as many 11ac clients on your network but this will change over time. Upgrades may be needed at some point but could be staggered in time to spread out costs. Bottom line, Gigabit Ethernet should be used for 802.11ac AP uplinks since the APs are capable of moving well over 100Mbps of data. Power over Ethernet must be considered to power the APs, whether PoE or PoE+. And if the upgrade of the wireless in significantly greater network usage, the impact on existing WAN bandwidth must be considered.

3. 802.11ac Will Solve Performance Problems

While 802.11ac enables higher speeds, it is not a panacea that will fix all problematic or poorly designed networks. The most effective way to increase capacity on a network is to add more radios. While 802.11ac adds more capacity per radio, the actual increase in performance for many clients will be less than one might expect. While 802.11ac Wave 1 might provide throughput of more than 600Mbps per radio, most clients will never experience that performance.

Tablets and smartphones, for example, typically have only one antenna and do not support multiple data streams that increase performance. Even when 802.11ac support is added to these devices, they will not run at full 802.11ac speeds given their size, form factor and power restrictions. Faster clients such as laptops may achieve such speeds, but only when very close to the access point. Wireless is a shared medium – multiple clients share radio resources like a hub, not individual connections like a switch. Until more spectrum is allocated for Wi-Fi, design will remain critical to ensure appropriate capacity is provisioned per user to deliver a good experience.

4. 11ac Means The Latest & Greatest Wi-Fi

802.11ac may be the name of the new technology, but how it is actually implemented in a product can vary dramatically. First of all, there are several variations of 11ac – Wave 1 products supporting up to 1.3Gbps data rates, Wave 2 products supporting up to 3.47Gbps and future versions beyond that. And within each Wave, there are different radio types – 2×2 supporting two streams, 3×3 supporting three streams with 50 percent more capacity, and 4×4 coming in the future.

And if those aren’t enough variables, the way that an access point is designed can have a huge impact on the performance of the wireless network. The processing power in the AP, its memory, the use of a central vs. integrated controller, the type and design of the antennas, the number and types of Ethernet uplinks, etc. can all have a significant impact on the performance of the final product.

There can be a big range in performance between consumer-oriented or low-end enterprise APs designed to minimise manufacturing costs and high end enterprise APs designed for to take full advantage of the technology. Test and compare the products you are considering – it is not just about what is on the label.

5. 802.11ac Design Is Same As Legacy Networks

Most wireless networks, including many that are relatively new, were designed with the intent of maximising coverage rather than maximising capacity. As Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) has become pervasive in wireless networks everywhere, network designers must consider different requirements than they did just a few years ago. Devices such as smartphones and tablets require greater signal strength than the laptops older wireless networks were designed for. And greater device densities translate to more wireless equipment required.

In many cases, it is the new requirements for use of the network rather than the upgrade to new 802.11ac technology itself that dictates the design. So consider the design criteria for the existing wireless network that is being replaced before finalising your new 11ac design. If elements such as device density, device type, expected bandwidth, etc. have changed significantly, an AP-to-AP swap may not be appropriate. In most cases, predictive design techniques can be used to determine equipment quantity and placement for 802.11ac designs. In some cases, active site surveys may be needed to ensure an appropriate design.

While it is important to develop a plan to migrate to an 802.11ac-compatible network, it is equally important that enterprise IT managers recognise that the upgrade process will take time. IT managers must also recognise that the upgrade need not be undertaken all at once, but rather executed in phases to ensure the new network is scalable and future-proof.


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Zain to offer high-speed Wi-Fi to customers at Avenues Mall

Zain to offer high-speed Wi-Fi to customers at Avenues Mall | WiFiNovation | Scoop.it

Zain, the leading telecommunications company in Kuwait, announced that it will be providing high-speed Wi-Fi Internet coverage to customers at the Avenues Mall in Kuwait.

The company’s Wi-Fi coverage will extend across the entire mall, which is the most visited in Kuwait, before the end of the year.

Possessing the most advanced wireless network in the country, Zain entered into an agreement with the Avenues Mall to provide its customers with high-speed Wi-Fi, and offer them the convenience of remaining connected to their smartphones, tablets, and other electronic devices while in the mall environment.

The Avenues Mall is one of Kuwait’s and the Middle East’s most active and dynamic shopping destinations, having been visited by almost 42 million visitors in 2013. This enormous number of shoppers encouraged Zain to provide superior quality high-speed Wi-Fi service to the retail center.

Zain explained that Wi-Fi technology offer a wide range of features that enrich the user’s overall experience. For instance, Wi-Fi provides an enhanced indoor coverage range, as well as improving smart devices’ battery life while connected to the internet. In addition, customers can enjoy unlimited download on their smartphones and tablets when connected to a Wi-Fi network.

Zain is dedicated to remaining the leading telecommunications provider in Kuwait, and as such is constantly looking to innovate its technologies and the services it provides. This encouraged the company to further extend its gratitude to its loyal customers by providing them with high-speed Wi-Fi at Kuwait’s largest and most prominent shopping destination.

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Vodafone Selects Alcatel-Lucent Public Access Small Cells | Light Reading

Vodafone Selects Alcatel-Lucent Public Access Small Cells | Light Reading | WiFiNovation | Scoop.it

Alcatel-Lucent (Euronext Paris and NYSE: ALU) today announced that it has been selected by Vodafone Group as a Supplier of Reference for LTE metro cells with integrated Wi-Fi capability. The award is part of Vodafone’s investment program, Project Spring. Small cells are a critical component in the rollout of LTE ultra-broadband services, augmenting the existing network as well as adding capacity in areas of high usage by offloading traffic from the macro network to provide the best possible customer experience.

Vodafone’s award to Alcatel-Lucent signifies the operator’s commitment to developing multi-vendor heterogeneous networks (Hetnets) in order to provide the best possible customer experience. The use of small cells will enable Vodafone to bring connections closer to the end user, ensuring an exceptional mobile ultra-broadband experience including enriched multimedia services wherever consumers are located.


Key Facts:

  • Vodafone has named Alcatel-Lucent a Supplier of Reference for small cell and Wi-Fi technology.
  • The award adds Alcatel-Lucent as a supplier to Vodafone’s Project Spring organic investment program.
  • As supplier of reference, Alcatel-Lucent can bid on business in all Vodafone countries with its Metro Cell Outdoor small cell products.
  • This award consolidates the long term small cells partnership between Vodafone and Alcatel-Lucent, initiated years ago through the deployment of Alcatel-Lucent residential and enterprise small cells in multiple properties for Vodafone, followed more recently by Alcatel-Lucent´s latest generation of small cells trial in the Netherlands.
  • Alcatel-Lucent’s market leading small cell portfolio has over 115 contracts in over 45 countries.


    Luis Martinez Amago, President of Alcatel-Lucent’s EMEA region, said: “Vodafone Group is taking a leadership role with the deployment of small cells throughout their global properties and by serving as an industry reference with the deployment of a multi-vendor heterogeneous architecture. In being named a Supplier of Reference, Vodafone has given Alcatel-Lucent a strong endorsement that our small cells will help them to deliver high quality service to their customers. We are grateful for the opportunity to help Vodafone deliver an extraordinary and differentiated ultra-broadband experience for their customers.”

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New York Seeks to Avoid Wi-Fi Disruption After Gowex’s Fall

New York Seeks to Avoid Wi-Fi Disruption After Gowex’s Fall | WiFiNovation | Scoop.it

New York City authorities are seeking ways to avoid a disruption of free public Wi-Fi services after Spain-based provider Let’s Gowex SA said it will declare insolvency after having falsified financial accounts.

The city has a contract worth $245,000 with Gowex, one of the organizations picked last year to provide mobile Internet access across its five boroughs, said Ian Fried, a spokesman for the city Economic Development Corp. It has paid the company about $185,000 of that amount so far, he said.

The city government set up free-of-charge wireless corridors last year to cater to tourists and visitors and help attract businesses, and said it’s planning to expand coverage. Wi-Fi connections are becoming more important as they offload traffic from mobile networks and frequently offer higher bandwidth.

In Manhattan, coverage includes areas of Flatiron district and Roosevelt Island. Corridors also run along East Fordham Road from Grand Concourse to Arthur Avenue in the Bronx, areas of downtown Brooklyn, Long Island City in Queens and St. George commercial district in Staten Island.


Downtown Service


The Gowex contract runs through Sept. 2016. The other partners in the program are neighborhood-improvement groups Downtown Alliance, whose sponsors include JPMorgan Chase & Co., Flatiron 23rd Street Partnership and Downtown Brooklyn Partnership and the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

Gowex’s collapse won’t affect Wi-Fi service in a downtown Manhattan corridor overseen by the Downtown Alliance, a non- profit organization, said Maria Alvarado, a spokeswoman for the group. The Downtown Alliance uses a different vendor to provide the service, she said in an e-mail.

Jenaro Garcia, the founder and chief executive officer of Gowex, stepped down July 6 after taking responsibility for presenting fake accounts for at least the past four years. Garcia had previously said a report from research firm Gotham City Research LLC claiming Gowex was overstating its earnings contained “lies.”

Deutsche Telekom AG, Europe’s largest phone company, said yesterday it was reviewing its network-sharing deal with Gowex.

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Ever wanted a projector/mobile hotspot combo? Sprint’s got you covered

Ever wanted a projector/mobile hotspot combo? Sprint’s got you covered | WiFiNovation | Scoop.it

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In the age of Chromecast and other over-the-air streaming methods, folks aren’t exactly yearning for a portable pico projector. Going one step shy of putting said projector into a phone (looking at you, Samsung), Sprint today introduced the LivePro, a combination mini projector and mobile hotspot powered by Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. Sharing YouTube clips with your friends and family while on the go just got a little more weird.

Sprint is calling it a “world’s first,” but we’re left wondering if it was even necessary. Sprint has us asking that question quite often, so it’s nothing out of the usual. The projector portion features a “10-inch to 10-foot projection display” and the 3G/4G hotspot can offer up to 8 WiFi connections simultaneously. A 4-inch touch display gives access to that Jelly Bean user interface and the gadgets 5000mAh battery can even be used to charge a smartphone. Sprint (by way of ZTE) really thought of everything with this one.

The most ironic part? The projector support WiFi Miracast to wireless broadcast video content to the projector. OK, we get that this could be useful when there is no compatible TV nearby, but let’s be real. I suppose we get the angle that this could be a useful business tool, but most modern offices have more than enough equipment on hand to make easy work of showing slides at a meeting.

In short, the LivePro is a device that attempts to do everything you never needed it to do, and it doesn’t do it cheap. When purchased via a Sprint Easy Pay plan, the LivePro will run $18.75/month for 24 months, or $450 total. Welcome to the framily, LivePro!


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What’s next for Wi-Fi? A second wave of 802.11ac devices, and then: 802.11ax

What’s next for Wi-Fi? A second wave of 802.11ac devices, and then: 802.11ax | WiFiNovation | Scoop.it

Now that blazing-fast routers based on the IEEE 802.11ac standard are finally entering the mainstream, intrepid engineers are busily cooking up all-new hardware that will make that gear’s performance seem quaint by comparison.

That’s not to say 802.11ac is about to fall by the wayside—after all, the IEEE didn’t officially ratify the standard until December 2013. It’s just that the chipsets capable of delivering all the features and performance in that standard are still in development.

You see, most of the first wave of 802.11ac routers were based on draft versions of the 802.11ac standard. While some newer routers, such as Netgear’s six-antenna Nighthawk X6, are implementing cool tricks to squeeze more performance from that technology, a second wave of 802.11ac routers will hit the beach in early 2015.


Wave 2 802.11ac routers will deliver maximum physical link rates in the range of 7- to 10Gbps.


These devices support a number of optional features in that standard that will deliver even higher wireless performance. At the same time, new and complementary wireless technologies designed for specialized applications will also appear.

But there’s no point in trying to cheat obsolescence by putting off your next router purchase: The industry is already hard at work developing the successor to 802.11ac. Let’s dive into what’s next for Wi-Fi.


The two-party system



The IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) defines Wi-Fi standards such as 802.11ac and the older 802.11n. The Wi-Fi Alliance (an association of companies that build wireless-networking devices) certifies that the hardware based on those standards will work together.


Wi-Fi Alliance certification is not a requirement (manufacturers must pay for the designation), but it can be reassuring to consumers, especially in the early days. That's because the IEEE can take several years to finalize its standards (it started working on 802.11ac in 2008 and finished in late 2013). Manufacturers often don't want to wait, so they'll bring new products to market as soon as the ink dries on an early draft. Buffalo shipped the first 802.11ac router in 2012, but the Wi-Fi Alliance didn't launch its first 802.11ac certification program until mid 2013.

SU-MIMO (single-user multiple input/multiple output) technology was one of the hallmarks of the older 802.11n standard. It allowed multiple spatial streams to be transmitted to a single client. This technology was carried over to the 802.11ac standard, which added a more-powerful modulation technique (among other things) to deliver a maximum physical link rate of 433Mbps per spatial stream.



Since it can support up to three such streams simultaneously, a Wave 1 802.11ac router can send and receive data at a maximum physical link rate of 1.3Gbps. Compare that to 802.11n routers, which provide up to three spatial streams with maximum physical link rates of just 150Mbps each (for aggregate throughput of just 450Mbps).

Wave 2 802.11ac routers will arrive sometime in 2015. These devices will also operate on the less-crowded 5GHz frequency band, but they’ll take advantage of several optional elements of the 802.11ac standard: First, they’ll support a feature called MU-MIMO (multi-user multiple input/multiple output), which allows them to transmit multiple spatial streams to multiple clients simultaneously.



Second, they’ll bond multiple channels on the 5GHz frequency band to create a single channel that provides 160MHz of bandwidth (Wave 1 802.11ac routers can also bond 5GHz channels, but the bonded channel is only 80MHz wide). Third, where 802.11n and Wave 1 802.11ac routers support a maximum of three spatial streams, Wave 2 802.11ac routers will potentially support up to eight spatial streams.

Using some combination of wider channels or additional spatial streams (there isn’t enough available bandwidth to do both), improved beamforming, and other techniques, Wave 2 802.11ac routers will deliver maximum physical link rates in the range of 7- to 10Gbps. Quantenna Communications announced its first Wave 2 802.11ac chipset last April....

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Gogo Wi-Fi Services Launch on Japan Airlines Domestic Flights

Gogo Wi-Fi Services Launch on Japan Airlines Domestic Flights | WiFiNovation | Scoop.it

Japan Airlines confirmed that it will launch Gogo-powered Wi-Fi onboard select flights between Haneda-Intani, Haneda-Fukoka, and Haneda-Hakodate starting July 23.

The airline will also add the service to flights between Haneda-Sapporo (New Chitose) starting August 2.

The service, marketed as JAL SKY Wi-Fi, will be sold in 30-minute increments for JPY 400 (around $4), or for the duration of the flight–priced according to the flight length and the type of device used.

Smartphone usage will range between JPY 500 for short flights between Haneda and Osaka to JPY 700 for longer flights between Haneda and Okinawa.

Tablet and Notebook usage will cost JPY 500 on flights between Haneda and Osaka, JPY 700 on flights between Haneda and Fukoka, and JPY 1,200 on flights between Haneda and Okinawa.

The Boeing 777-200 aircraft offering the Gogo-powered JAL SKY Wi-Fi product will be marked at the door and at several points in the bulkhead of each travel class with the JAL SKY Wi-Fi logo.

The company includes a caveat on possible restrictions to the service in its announcement, stating:

“Regarding the Wi-Fi sent via communications satellites, some lags in speed might occur when downloading or streaming videos. To ensure the connection speed, the number of wireless LAN capable device will be restricted when using the in-flight internet service at the same time. JAL will continue to improve this new service while monitoring passenger use.”

At its big reveal of Gogo’s 2Ku service at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, Gogo had announced that Japan Airlines would launch a trial of this connectivity service.

JAL will also provide pre-loaded entertainment delivered to passenger devices via the onboard Wi-Fi — free of charge — on these flights and give passengers free access to its website, allowing them to check flight information.

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dailywireless.org » Boston Subway Gets Comcast WiFi

dailywireless.org » Boston Subway Gets Comcast WiFi | WiFiNovation | Scoop.it

Comcast announced today that it has activated Xfinity WiFi hotspots in the subway platform areas on Boston’s Green Line from North Station to Kenmore. Comcast is the first provider to offer WiFi in portions of the first subway line to open in the United States.

InSite Wireless, a Virginia company that is currently performing the installation of wireless service on the MBTA, recently announced that it has partnered with all the major wireless providers — Sprint, AT&T, Verizon,T-Mobile, and Comcast for WiFi services on the project. InSite is a major player in distributed antenna systems (DAS).


The RADIAFLEX cable as deployed in Boston is a radiating cable, similar to regular cable but with slots cut into the outer conductorthat allows the cable to work like a sprinkler hose and “spray out” low levels of signal along its entire length. InSite Wireless has installed over 60,000 feet of RADIAFLEX across the MBTA network

As a neutral host DAS provider, each of the 4 big wireless carriers and Comcast can use the system.InSite’s distributed antenna system covers 35 stations and provides connectivity throughout the 19.5-mile network of underground tunnels.

New York City’s subway wireless system was built by Transit Wireless. Phase two of the installation added 40 new stations in Manhattan and Queens. The ultimate goal is to bring wireless service to all 277 of New York City subway stations by 2017.

The Base Station Hotel is one of three pieces that make up the network, explains Gizmodo on a tour of the facility. Each carrier gets routed by fiber in the ceiling into a Radio Frequency Headend. It basically consolidates all the carriers’ wires down into just a few fiber cables. The Remote Fiber Node at the subway station eliminates bulky electronics by sending RF frequencies over fiber to the remote basestation.

Boston’s MBTA also offers Wi-Fi hotspots on trains. Unlike New York, Boston subway users will be able to use their wireless devices from the street to the underground platform, and during their ride. In NYC, by contrast, only the subway platforms are enabled for wireless connections.

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Comcast raises your electric bill by turning router into a public hotspot

Comcast raises your electric bill by turning router into a public hotspot | WiFiNovation | Scoop.it

Since last year, Comcast's wireless gateways have by default broadcast a second signal that turns each customer's modem and router into a public Wi-Fi hotspot. It's all part of Comcast's plan to create a nationwide Wi-Fi network of more than 1 million hotspots that the cable company can sell access to.


Routers broadcast public Wi-Fi signals, unless you ask Comcast to turn it off.


Comcast deflected criticism by arguing that the hotspot's bandwidth is separate from the bandwidth subscribers pay for, so it won't reduce the customer's Internet speeds. But what about electricity? Alex Gizis, CEO of Speedify, which makes software that bonds Internet connections to combine bandwidth, decided to investigate.


"As a bandwidth-obsessed engineer, I wanted to understand exactly what Comcast is doing here," he wrote last week. "Despite their claims that these routers cost subscribers nothing extra, we actually measured the power consumption on the router they sent us and were surprised by the results."

Unlike the guest networks that Internet customers set up for visitors, for which the homeowner can choose a password, the Comcast hotspots can be logged into by anyone with a Comcast subscription or anyone who buys temporary Wi-Fi access passes from Comcast. That means random people passing by your home could use the hotspot to get on the Internet.

To test the effect of people using the hotspot, Gizis plugged the Comcast modem and router into a power strip that was being monitored by a "Kill A Watt" meter. After testing the devices while idle, "we then connected two Windows laptops to the Xfinity hotspot, one watching Netflix and the other downloading files," he wrote. "You could immediately see the difference in the power meter, as the devices jumped from 0.14 Amps when idle, up to 0.22 Amps when actually being used. To translate this into dollars and cents, we used the average cost of power here in the Mid-Atlantic, which is $0.162 per KWh."

It may be unlikely that a hotspot will be used by passersby constantly, but if it were, it would cost the Comcast subscriber "up to $22.80 per year for those of us here in Philadelphia, or $1.90 per month," according to Speedify. (Comcast disputes these results—see the update below.)

Gizis started a Change.org petition demanding that Comcast compensate customers by raising their Internet speeds.

Speedify isn't a neutral observer here. The company has previously boasted that its channel bonding service can help Comcast customers reclaim the extra bandwidth from the hotspots, for a monthly or yearly fee.

To disable the hotspot on an Xfinity gateway, Comcast customers can log in to their account, navigate to Users & Preferences, and then click on "Manage Xfinity WiFi." They can also call customer service directly.

UPDATE: Comcast spokesperson Joel Shadle told Ars that the Speedify test relied on Comcast's business equipment, rather than the equipment that's used for the residential hotspot program, and that the equipment was outdated.

"There shouldn't be any discernable difference in the amount of electricity you're using because your router is already plugged in to do your own wireless in your home," Shadle said. Any extra amount of electricity usage "would be nominal at most," he said.

While it's possible people could use the hotspot from outside a subscriber's home, "the signal doesn't really stretch too far... it's not like the signal stretches all the way out to the street," Shadle said.

Speedify added a note to its blog post, saying, "Comcast has reached out and indicated that they would like us to retest with newer equipment. We’ll update our results as soon as we receive this new hardware."

Speedify told Ars that it will conduct the next text with the "latest, regular consumer hardware."

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Dish Delivers New WiFi Set-Tops

Dish Delivers New WiFi Set-Tops | WiFiNovation | Scoop.it

Starting today, Dish Network LLC is shipping its new Wireless Joey set-top, part of the company's Hopper whole-home DVR system and the first box in the industry to include 802.11ac WiFi. Support for the latest WiFi standard comes courtesy of the Broadcom Corp. BCM4360 chipset. The Broadcom chip operates in the 5GHz frequency band and uses 3x3 multi-input/multi-output (MIMO) technology with beam forming and auto frequency selection.

Despite their obvious appeal, wireless set-tops have been slow to take off over the last few years. AT&T Inc.  introduced its first wireless client boxes in 2011, but only recently have other service providers followed suit. Notably,DirecTV Group Inc., which AT&T plans to acquire, has put serious marketing muscle behind its own Wireless Genie Mini set-top, which just launched in April.

Now Dish is looking to get the wireless word out too. The company emphasizesthat its new Wireless Joey provides all of the same functionality as its wired Joey model, including trick-play features like pause/rewind/fast forward, PrimeTime Anytime with automatically recorded primetime TV, and AutoHop for commercial-free playback of select shows.

On the silicon front, both AT&T and DirecTV use chipsets from Quantenna Communications Inc. for WiFi delivery. AT&T originally sourced its wireless technology from Broadcom, but switched to Quantenna in 2013. A spokesperson for Quantenna noted that DirecTV's implementation in particular supports up to six client set-tops with the Quantenna chip. Currently, the Dish system supports three wireless boxes.

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