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Telecommunications

Samsung's giant satellite network could enable high-speed internet access across the globe

A highly ambitious proposal recently advanced by Samsung describes the deployment of a huge network of 4,600 near-Earth satellites that would provide internet coverage on a truly global scale. The artificial constellation would more than double the number of working satellites in orbit around our planet and lead to low-latency and (potentially) low-cost access to about 200 GB of internet traffic a month for up to five billion people, no matter their location.Read More

Google's Project Loon balloons to cover Sri Lanka with internet access

Bringing internet to remote regions by sending internet-enabled balloons into the stratosphere sure sounds like a wild idea, but it's about to become a reality for the resident of Sri Lanka. The government of the island nation has just announced a partnership with Google that will bring affordable high-speed internet access to every inch of the country using the company's Project Loon balloons.Read More

There is a way to use dying UHF channels for 'super Wi-Fi' data connections

To say that pulling data out of the air via a Wi-Fi connection is more popular in the United States than pulling down a video signal from a local UHF television station probably won't come as a surprise to most Americans, but use of the UHF spectrum is still prioritized for TV signals. Now researchers at Houston's Rice University have demonstrated how UHF frequencies can be used for so-called "super Wi-Fi" without significantly interfering with legacy TV broadcasts.Read More

LED lightbulbs create wireless networks wherever they are installed

Various researchers have created ways to transmit wireless information from LED light fittings, to act as a form of enhancement to Wi-Fi based networks known as "Li-Fi." But now engineers at the University of Virginia (U.Va) have come up with a new twist on this theme – they claim to have created an algorithm that makes almost any device fitted with standard visible- light LEDs able to communicate with other equipment with similar LEDs. So, for example, the LED headlights in your car could communicate to the car in front of you through its LED taillights, or the LED display in your clock radio could tell the coffee maker to turn on via its indicator light.Read More

Facebook rolls out free video calls for its Messenger mobile app

The world's largest social network has today added free video calls to its Messenger mobile app. The move pits Facebook against already established video chat services, such as Apple Facetime, Microsoft's Skype and Google Hangouts, affording users yet another way to get some remote face-to-face time with the tap of a button. Read More

Periscope turns any iPhone user into a live broadcaster

Not all that long ago, to call yourself a broadcaster you needed the blessing of station executives and a pretty smile. But communications technology is advancing so quickly that anybody with an internet connection can now share their perspective with the world. Twitter and Facebook brought this idea into the mainstream with text, photos and emails and now new players are arriving to take things in almost-scary new directions. Launched today, the Periscope live video app can turn anybody with an iPhone into a citizen journalist, whether they be streaming the scene of a disaster-zone or coming at you live from the breakfast table.Read More

Full-duplex radio integrated circuit could double radio frequency data capacity

Full-duplex radio communication usually involves transmitters and receivers operating at different frequencies. Simultaneous transmission and reception on the same frequency is the Holy Grail for researchers, but has proved difficult to achieve. Those that have been built have proven complex and bulky, but to be commercially useful in the ever-shrinking world of communications technology, miniaturization is key. To this end, engineers at Columbia University (CU) claim to have created a world-first, full-duplex radio transceiver, all on one miniature integrated circuit.Read More

Net neutrality win: US FCC reclassifies broadband as a public utility, bans internet "fast lanes"

The United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) today voted 3-2 to uphold the principles of network neutrality – that is, to force Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to treat all web traffic as equal. This prevents ISPs from being able to throttle or block users' connections to certain websites, or to offer "Internet fast lanes" whereby large websites could pay for their content to be delivered at a higher speed. Open Internet advocates see this as a huge step to protect the internet's current status as a free and open platform that offers equal opportunities to small and large content providers.Read More

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