ipv6 fundamentals

Industry confidence in investing in Wi-Fi reaches record levels

By Zenobia Hegde

The level of industry confidence in Wi-Fi investment is at its highest-ever, according to the Wireless Broadband Alliance’s Annual Industry Report for 2017. As the wireless industry becomes crucial to delivering high quality, high speed, low latency connectivity, the new global study has revealed that over 80% of those surveyed feel as or more confident than they did a year ago. And when looking at unlicensed spectrum more broadly, almost half (47%) feel more confident.

The report, compiled by Maravedis on behalf of the WBA, comes at a significant time for the wireless ecosystem. There is a growing consensus that the success of 5G, unlike previous generations of standards, will rely on the convergence of multiple Radio Access Technologies (RATs) in unlicensed, shared and licensed spectrum, with Wi-Fi playing the central role.

Developments in the latest Wi-Fi standards, including 802.11ax, will improve Wi-Fi performance and capabilities to support 5G use cases – including high density networks, extreme Mobile Broadband (eMBB) and aggregation of multiple frequencies, amongst others.

“Wireless use cases are expanding rapidly, enabled by new technologies and spectrum in the unlicensed and shared bands”, said Adlane Fellah, senior analyst, Maravedis. “These innovations are laying the foundations for the 5G era, in which Wi-Fi will play a central role.”

As industry attention moves toward monetising Wi-Fi, the study also highlights the drivers of additional traffic over the network, as well as use cases with initial revenue potential in different verticals. In this year’s survey, the services most important to monetisation strategies for 2018 according to respondents included location based services (37.5%), roaming (33%) and marketing analytics (almost 33%).

The three Wi-Fi use cases tipped to drive near term revenue potential include: extending internet access and media to a full smart home, richer and more efficient enterprise services driven by cloud managed networks and security, and expansion of the Wi-Fi roaming model.

The report also highlights the power of Wi-Fi, along with Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) technologies, to provide a rapid and cost effective deployment of various Internet of Things (IoT) applications, including the deployment of smart cities. But interoperability between different technologies, independent certification of devices and equipment and collaboration between different city stakeholders were identified as areas that connected city ecosystems must urgently address.

The WBA’s Connected City Advisory Board produced the second version of its Blueprint in November 2017, which intends to help cities develop their plans to become smart and emphasises the need to bring together the complex value chain of city stakeholders.

Also uncovered in the report is the rising adoption of the WBA’s Next Generation Hotspot (NGH) to support seamless authentication and multi-RAT access. The survey found that NGH had crossed the chasm with 23% of respondents confirming its implementation, and 30% planning to by the end of the year.

“As Wi-Fi continues to evolve, enabled by new technologies, it has the ability to support new connected services and use cases in the 5G era across all segments including, Carriers & Service Providers, Connected Cities and Enterprise & Hospitality ecosystems”, said Shrikant […]

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Climbing the ranks in automation

By Zenobia Hedge

The top three countries that are leaders in manufacturing have remained fairly similar over the last few decades. The US, China and Germany have continued evolving to export a large amount of products to the world. To remain high in the ranks, these countries have adopted automation, optimised their manufacturing processes and advanced production processes.

Strong economy and large populations suggest that these countries will remain leaders in manufacturing and automation for years to come. However, as the industry grows, smaller countries are beginning to emerge as competitors in the industry, says Jonathan Wilkins, marketing director at EU Automation.

North and South America

Many countries in South America are driven by manufacturing. For example, in Chile, manufacturing contributes towards around 16% of the gross domestic product (GDP) and over 14% of the working population are employed in a manufacturing role.

States in Northern America are also looking south to improve their manufacturing sector. As the world’s eleventh largest economy, Mexico excels in a range of industries such as aerospace, automotive and food and beverage. The automation industry in Mexico is growing rapidly, with over 6,320 robotic units sold in 2015, tripling previous figures.

Mexico is also looking to greaten its presence in the global manufacturing industry by increasing company growth.The country is the first Spanish-speaking nation to partner with Germany at Hannover Messe 2018. At the trade show, Mexico intends to exhibit its new technologies and strengthen its international trade relations.

Central Europe

Western European countries such as the UK and Germany are regarded as the manufacturing leaders of Europe. However, some central European countries have rapidly growing economies due to their investment in manufacturing. Poland, for example, has seen its economy triple in the last decade.

Manufacturing exports contribute towards 33% of the GDP in Poland, compared to an average of 22% among other emerging nations. With a population of over 40 million, more jobs are created to meet the industry demand and support the growing economy.

Poland’s increasing presence in the manufacturing industry was highlighted when they were invited to be the partner country exhibiting at Hannover Messe 2017. As one of the fastest growing markets for automation, the country is now one of Germany’s most lucrative trading partners.

The Mighty-Five

The Asia Pacific region is one of the key players in automation, with Japan and China relying on automated factories to ensure a successful manufacturing industry. Smaller countries are beginning to invest in this technology to experience the benefits and grow their economies.

A group of countries known as the Mighty-Five are expected to rapidly evolve as manufacturing competitors over the next decade. Malaysia, India, Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam aim to invest in automation to offer the world low cost labour with high quality results.

The countries each excel in different areas of automation. India’s economy, for example, relies on the IT industry as the largest private employer in the country. Between 2013 and 2014, India exported over $167 billion(€143.44 billion) worth of IT and software services. The industry is expected to improve further as standard of living continues to improve in the country.

These countries still have a long way to go to compete with manufacturing giants, such as China or the US. Yet the rapid growth of automation in these countries suggests that the global manufacturing sector may look very […]

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Clear Blue Technologies and the Telecom Infra Project develop smart OpenCellular power management

By Zenobia Hedge

Clear Blue Technologies Inc., the Smart Off-Grid™ company, and the Telecom Infra Project (TIP), an initiative co-founded by SK Telecom, Intel, Nokia, Facebook and Deutsche Telekom in 2016, announced a collaboration as part of TIP’s OpenCellular project group to improve connectivity in remote areas of the world. The collaboration is focused on OpenCellular-Power, an open source power solution designed to deliver highly reliable, low-cost solar power for the OpenCellular wireless access platform.

TIP and Clear Blue will jointly provide the Smart Controller Management application programming interface (API) for OpenCellular-Power. The API will define how the OpenCellular-Power system communicates with the cloud to enable users to remotely monitor its status, transmit data and alarms, control smart battery settings and more. Clear Blue will also deliver the first smart off-grid remote management and control service for OpenCellular-Power.

Miriam Tuerk, co-founder and CEO of Clear Blue Technologies, said “We are honored to be collaborating with TIP’s OpenCellular project group. The internet is one of the most powerful forces shaping our society, but in rural areas around the world, billions of people are being left behind. We are excited to provide our smart off-grid remote management and control capability to deliver reliable, low-cost power for telecom services in these communities.”

Dr. Kashif Ali, chair of TIP’s OpenCellular project group, stated: “Clear Blue’s experience managing smart off-grid devices around the world has given them first hand knowledge about what is needed to deploy highly-reliable and low maintenance power systems, such as OpenCellular-Power. The result of this collaboration will help to extend OpenCellular-Power’s reach and give more people access to the many benefits of connectivity.”

Using the open API, system owners will also be able to use Clear Blue’s Illumience Smart Off-Grid management service, which today controls, manages and proactively services off-grid systems for telecom, lighting, security, the Internet of Things, and other critical infrastructure, in 33 countries worldwide. Its weather forecasting, extensive management control, and alert capabilities also help prevent outages or enable remote troubleshooting to ensure that system issues are quickly resolved.

Adds Tuerk: “Through its advanced data analytics and control capabilities, Clear Blue’s Smart Off-Grid management service will deliver the high reliability, long-term performance, and low maintenance cost that helps make these systems economically viable for small, remote communities.”

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Rethinking our approach toward personal threat models in an IoT world

By Ars Staff

Enlarge / IoT products like Amazon Key come with a whole set of risks that consumers aren’t equipped to assess themselves. (credit: Amazon)

Every time a major Internet-connected-product is released, we keep coming back to the debate over security vs. convenience. The progression of arguments goes something like this:

  • One group expresses outrage/skepticism/ridicule of how this product doesn’t need to be connected to the Internet;
  • Another group argues how the benefits outweigh the risks and/or how the risks are overblown;
  • There will be news stories on both sides of the issue, and the debate soon dies down as people move on to the next thing; and
  • Most users are left wondering what to believe.

As a security researcher, I often wonder whether the conveniences offered by these Internet-connected-devices are worth the potential security risks. To meaningfully understand the nuances of this ecosystem, I consciously made these devices a part of my daily life over the past year. One thing immediately stood out to me: there seems to be no proper mechanism to help users understand the ramifications of the risk/reward tradeoffs around these commonly used “personal” Internet-connected-devices, which makes it difficult for users to have any sort of effective understanding of their risks. I pointed out the same in a recent CNN Tech article about Amazon Key, where I also said:

A simple rule of thumb here could be to visualize the best case, average case, and worst case scenarios, see how each of those affect you, and take a call on whether you are equipped to deal with the fall out, and whether the tradeoffs are worth the convenience.

Without knowing a user’s specific needs, this is probably as close as it gets to any sort of “useful advice” any security professional could give. But this is still only a semi-useful platitude, because it doesn’t answer a very important question:

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Flexera issues warning about cyberattacks like the Equifax Breach: they’re probably just the first known victim

By Sheetal Kumbhar

As 143 million Equifax consumers continue to pick up the pieces from stolen Social Security numbers, birth dates, drivers’ licenses, addresses and credit card numbers, Flexera has another warning – expect a long tail of incidents and breaches in the months and years to come.

Flexera, the company that’s reimaging how software is bought, sold, managed and secured, surveyed over 400 software suppliers, Internet of Things (IoT) manufacturers and in-house development teams to publish its Open Source Risk – Fact or Fiction? report. Though open source software (OSS) helps software suppliers be nimble and build products faster – today’s report reveals hidden software supply chain risks all software suppliers and IoT manufacturers should know about.

For instance, criminals who potentially gained access to the personal data of the Equifax customers exploited an Apache Struts CVE-2017-5638 vulnerability. Apache Struts is a widely used open source component – a framework for Web servers – used by companies in commercial and in-house systems to take in and serve up data. The use case of this open-source component makes it a prime target for cyberattacks.

Case in point? While as much as 50% of all code found in commercial and IoT software products is open source, according to the Flexera report:

No OSS Policy is Bad Policy: Only 37 % of respondents have an open source acquisition or usage policy. 63% say either their companies don’t have an open source acquisition or usage policy, or they don’t know if one exists.
No One’s in Charge of OSS: 39% of respondents said that either no one within their company is responsible for open source compliance – or that they don’t know who is.
OSS Contributors Aren’t Following Best Practices: 33% of respondents say their companies contribute to open source projects. But, of the 63% who say their companies don’t have an open source acquisition or usage policy, 43% said they contribute to open source projects.

“We can’t lose sight that open source is indeed a clear win. Ready-to-go code gets products out the door faster, which is important given the lightning pace of the software space,” said Jeff Luszcz, vice president of product management at Flexera. “However, most software engineers don’t track open source use, and most software executives don’t realise there’s a gap and a security/compliance risk.”

Report takeaway for software and IoT companies? Your processes for managing open source security and licensing haven’t kept pace with open source’s rapid adoption – and it’s putting you and your customers at risk.

“Open source processes protect products and brand reputation. But, most software and IoT vendors don’t realise there is a problem, so they’re not protecting themselves and their customers,” said Luszcz. “This endangers the entire software supply chain – for the vendors whose products are exposed to compliance and vulnerability risk. And also for their customers who most likely don’t even know they’re running open source and other third-party software, or that it may contain software vulnerabilities.”

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