Wi-Fi 6

We talked about Wi-Fi a couple weeks ago. Let’s expand on that. Now they have given Wi-Fi version numbers for the different protocol types identified by the letter suffix on 802.11. Let’s start with 802.11 and what it is.

The 802.11 protocol is set forth by the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc.) They are the ones who set the standards of what is under each protocol, specifically the IEEE 802.11™ Wireless Local Area Networks, the working group for WLAN standards. They have regular sessions and presentations about 802.11 protocol. There is one being held right now in Bangkok, Thailand.

The Wi-Fi Alliance® has now assigned version numbers to different Wi-Fi protocols.

  • Wi-Fi 6, which will be available next year will be 802.11ax standard.
  • Wi-Fi 5 is the 802.11ac standard
  • Wi-Fi 4 is the 802.11n standard

Older standards are not being given a version number because they are not widely used anymore.

Wi-Fi Certified WiGig™ will bring bands of 60 GHz with multi-gigabit speeds, suitable for virtual reality and HD streaming. Wi-Fi security WPA3™ will have increased crytographic strengths.

Sources and Further Reading:
http://www.ieee802.org/11/
https://www.wi-fi.org/news-events/newsroom/wi-fi-alliance-introduces-wi-fi-6
https://www.wi-fi.org/discover-wi-fi/wi-fi-6
https://www.wi-fi.org/discover-wi-fi/next-generation-wi-fi

Wi-Fi

We recently upgraded our Wi-Fi through our provider. What was new was we noticed two different bands to choose from. One was just a regular band (at 2.4 GHz) and a new one showing as 5 GHz. So what is the difference? Let’s find out.

Coming right to my mailbox, I received a newsletter and there was an article referenced to it. So let’s go over it.

First we learn that 2.4 GHz will support up to 450 Mbps or 600 Mbps dependent on router class. That comes with the standards you may see on router boxes as 802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11n, or 802.11ac. Not sure what mine was since it’s not printed on the box itself, I found the manual for it online and found it has all the above! So let’s chase this rabbit and find out what the difference between these classes are.

802.11b was better than the original 802.11 standard in July 1999. It brought the speed up to 11 Mbps. 802.11g, brought about in 2002, is supported by all devices and network equipment and supports up to 54 Mbps bandwidth. It is the least expensive to buy and run. 802.11n came about in 2009 and gives up to 800 Mbps bandwidth, an improvement over 802.11g but a little more expensive than 802.11g. 802.11ac has the fastest maximum speed and best range but more expensive. It uses dual-band wireless – thus the 2.4 and 5 GHz we can now see. Its bandwidth is 1300 Mbps on 5 GHz and up to 450 Mbps on 2.4. This is also called Wi-Fi 5. There are a few other 802.11 standards. 802.11ad is fast but the device must be within 11 feet. 802.11ah is a lower energy but goes beyond the reaches of 802.11ac.

So now I’ve learned that I am seeing two bands because of the 802.11ac standard. The 2.4 GHz band happens to be used by other things as well. Old cordless telephones as well as garage door openers and baby monitors for instance. The 5 GHz band has fewer connections and higher speeds, however the shorter waves makes it harder to penetrate walls. You may need to use extenders for this band. If your device can use ethernet, then that will be the best connection you can have. The 5 GHz band is best used for streaming where you would experience less interference.

802.11 Standards Explained
Difference Between 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz

Your Wi-Fi is probably vulnerable

It has recently been found that WPA2 protocol is vulnerable to hacking. They are known as Krack Attacks (Key Reinstallation AttaCKS) and there is a website where you can learn more about it. It is found that Android and Linux are most vulnerable to this exploit. They can be tricked into reinstalling an encryption key with all 0s that will allow them to enter your network and then get to sites you visit and capture your login credentials.

If you watch the video below you will see it is a rather involved process to actually crack into the network but that doesn’t stop someone who is intent on getting into your network.

There isn’t a whole lot you can do because this vulnerability bypasses any security measures. Some of the more simple things you can do is not use unsecure Wi-Fi. Ever. Keep your firmware to your router updated. Do not downgrade to even more insecure protocols like WPA or WEP.

More about LED Light Bulbs

Last week, the Victor crew discussed light bulbs. This week we will speak more about specialty LED light bulbs.

There are special LED light bulbs you can purchase that you can control through an app. Not only can you control the brightness but you can control the color. These light bulbs are a lot more spendy.

LIFX makes one you purchase for $39.99 each. They are the equivalent to a 60W bulb. With the app you can schedule the times they are on, change the color or brightness, or create your lighting schemes. They integrate with Nest, Amazon Echo and few other smart home devices. This brand started as a Kickstarter project.

Another one is by ilumi. It is a Bluetooth enabled bulb that can be controlled through an app as well. Wi-fi is not required for the bulb itself. This bulb will set you back $59.99. You can choose settings like Daylight, Sunlight, Natural White, Early Morning, Sunrise, Warm White. Change colors and brightness as well. This bulb got its start when the developers won first place that came with $5,000 prize in the annual Business Idea Competition at the University of Texas in Dallas in 2010. The prize money helped fund their company. In 2013 they used Indiegogo and Kickstarter and raised $200,000. In 2014, they went on Shark Tank and their company was further helped by Mark Cuban.

Do you own a Kindle? Here’s an alert!

If you do own a Kindle from Amazon, the Victor crew has some news for you. You will need to make sure you update it by tomorrow, March 22, 2016. What happens if you don’t? You will have to do it manually after that in order to access the Kindle Store or sync with the cloud. You won’t be able to download your books.

This is the warning you will receive from Amazon:

Your Kindle is unable to connect at this time. Please make sure you are within wireless range and try again. If the problem persists, please restart your Kindle from the Menu in Settings and try again. If you see this message on your device on or after March 22, you will need to manually install the latest software update for your device. Go to Fire & Kindle Software Updates for more details.

Here is the page you can find all the details: http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/ref=help_search_1-6?ie=UTF8&nodeId=201994710&qid=1458317761&sr=1-6

Connectivity on the Go

Jody’s crew came across a new gadget called goTenna. It is a small device that comes in pairs. You pair each goTenna with a smart phone and if you go somewhere that has limited connectivity, you can use this as your own network. The goTenna itself has to be within 20 feet from the smart phone. You can use the free app to send free texts or share a location.

The range depends on the terrain and elevation. Theoretically, you can expect about 3.6 miles. Less in the city more in the desert.

Some practical applications might be camping trips, hiking, shopping, amusement parks – whenever the family might need or want to split up. It is waterproof and dustproof. It’s not very large and has a snap-on holder to hook to your gear.

Right now you can pre-order a pair for $149 for shipping in early 2015. A family pack of 4 goes for $289. Right now these prices are half off the retail price!

Devices making their debut

Jody‘s crew was out and about looking for what’s coming out new before the end of the year. Here is what we found:

From Nokia:
Lumia 2520 tablet. This runs Windows RT operating system. It has a 10-inch HD screen with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 800 processor, a 6.7 megapixel camera, a keyboard. It has LTE and wi-fi. Cost is about $499.
Lumia 1320 and 1520 smartphones. Both run Windows Phone 8 and have 6-inch screens. The 1520 has a full HD screen, LTE and quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor, 32GB storage, expandable to another 64GB with a MicroSD card, 20 megapixel camera. Cost is $749. The 1320 comes with dual-core processor, 720p screen resolutio, 5 megapixel camera, LTE. Considered a lower end, will cost $339. Because of their larger screen size they are considered “phablets”.
Asha 500, 502, 503 phones. These are lower end phones that Nokia hopes to better compete with Android. The 503 has 3G for $99. It comes with a 3-inch screen and 5 megapixel camera. The 502 has a 3-inch screen as well but no 3G. It will be $89. The 500 will cost $69 for a 2.8-inch screen and 2 megapixel camera. All 3 have wi-fi and hold 2 SIM cards.

From Apple:
iPad Air. This iPad is thinner and lighter than previous models. Prices range from $499 to $929 depending on capacity and connectivity options. It comes with a 9.7-inch LED backlit Multi-touch display, A7 chip, FaceTime HD camera with 720p HD video, 5 mega-pixel photos, 1080p HD video recording. You can get this in wi-fi or wi-fi + cellular.
iPad Mini. Has all the great features of the iPad Air in a smaller size. The price varies from $399 to $829 – just $100 cheaper than its iPad Air counterparts for same size and connectivity.

Sidenote – This is for sale but Microsoft has a 383-inch screen Surface 2 Tablet in Trafalgar Square, London. Read about it here.