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Telecommunications

A fundamental property of metamaterials is the ability to produce negative refraction

Duke University is on a roll, showing off yet another potentially game-changing property of the exotic man-made substances known as metamaterials. This time the property could have deep consequences for the transmission of information via light. Maybe the most important potential use of all.  Read More

The IEEE has announced the completion of the IEEE 802.22 wireless network standard, which ...

The IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) has announced the completion of the IEEE 802.22 wireless network standard, which has been in the works since 2004. Utilizing unused white spaces between channels in the TV frequency spectrum, the 802.22 standard will serve Wireless Regional Area Networks (WRANs), which are meant to bring broadband access to sparsely populated rural areas, as well as to developing countries.  Read More

Akamai's State of the Internet report provides a global snapshot of global Internet use

Akamai might not be a household name but between 15 to 30 percent of the world’s Web traffic is carried on the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based company’s Internet platform at any given time. Using data gathered by software constantly monitoring Internet conditions via the company’s nearly 100,000 servers deployed in 72 countries and spanning most of the networks within the Internet, Akamai creates its quarterly State of the Internet report. The report provides some interesting Internet-related facts and figures, such as regions with the slowest and fastest connection speeds, broadband adoption rates and the origins of attack traffic.  Read More

A new augmented reality system allows engineers to provide visual instructions to remote t...

It can be very frustrating trying to fix something, when the person instructing you isn’t there in person, but is instead communicating with you over a phone line – “Whaddaya mean, ‘The silver cap’? Which silver cap?!” This is why engineers sometimes need to be flown in to factories or other places that use complex machines, to make repairs that simply can’t be explained verbally. Researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Communication, Information Processing and Ergonomics, however, have developed an augmented reality system that lets those engineers provide real-time visual instructions to distant on-site technicians ... and it can be done without internet access.  Read More

Wi-Fi hotspots may be proliferating, but so are the devices that access them (Image: Flori...

Although the number of Wi-Fi hotspots has increased dramatically in most places over the past few years, the explosion in the number of smartphones and laptops attempting to make use of such connections means that getting decent download speeds is as difficult as it always was. Not only is this frustrating, it can also be a major drain on the batteries of mobile devices. In an effort to address one of these problems, a Duke University graduate student has developed software called SleepWell that allows mobile devices to take a nap to save power while they wait for their turn to download.  Read More

A newly-developed optical amplifier is said to allow fiber optic signals to travel four ti...

As the amount of information being electronically shuttled around the planet continues to grow, so does the need for effective means of relaying it. The use of optical fibers has definitely helped in that regard, although thanks to a recent breakthrough at Sweden’s Chalmers University of Technology, optical fiber signals may soon be able to travel four times farther than they are presently able to. Researchers there have created an optical amplifier, capable of amplifying light while maintaining a relatively noise-free signal.  Read More

The WISPER routers (top left), the WISPER dispenser (middle) and base station modules (bot...

Even though firefighting is one of the most dangerous jobs in the world, firefighters still communicate using analog radio signals, that can be blocked by concrete walls. This means that, upon venturing into a burning building, a firefighter might have no way of letting their commander know their present location – a situation that could prove deadly, if they ended up trapped or injured. In order to address the situation, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate has created a new three-part system that lets fire crews keep track of the location and well-being of every member of their team, all the time.  Read More

Eutelsat has announced that its new KA-SAT broadband satellite has now gone into service, ...

Happily, the days of painfully slow dial-up internet speeds are now but a distant memory to many city and town dwelling broadband users throughout Europe. But for the estimated 13 million households living beyond the reach of ADSL or the even greater number who suffer from slow broadband connection speeds, waiting a good while for web pages and media to load into a browser is still the source of daily angst. One solution for surfers eager to grab more bandwidth is to install a satellite service and Eutelsat has just announced that its new KA-SAT high throughput broadband satellite launched in December of last year has just gone into service.  Read More

Google developer preview of WebRTC: making real-time communication free to implement

Less than a month after Microsoft bought Skype for US$8.5 billion, Google has released a developer preview of WebRTC - an open framework enabling implementation of voice and video Real Time Communications in the browser with the use of HTML 5 and JavaScript APIs.  Read More

Fraunhofer's Marc Gayer, Manfred Lutzky and Markus Schnell (L to R), developed AAC-ELD to ...

Engineers from one of the main players responsible for the development of the MP3 codec, the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS, have taken a similar approach in an effort to provide telephone calls and video conferences with sound quality approaching that of direct communication, while at the same time cutting delay times that often sees both speakers talking over each other. Their solution is a new audio coding technology called Enhanced Low Delay Advanced Audio Coding – or AAC-ELD – that they claim results in long-distance communications that appear almost as if the participants are sitting across from each other.  Read More

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