FTC net neutrality letter addresses concerns about Internet 'hyper-giants'
In a letter filed with the US Federal Communications Commission regarding the pending net neutrality proposal, pro-cable company advocacy group The National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) believes that if the "fast lane" net neutrality proposal stands as is, then "hyper-giants" like Amazon, eBay, Netflix, Facebook, and Google could charge the cable companies to allow customers to access services, essentially holding Internet Service Providers hostage. The cable companies allege to have no defense against such tactics, and claim to lack a "practical ability" or the incentive to throttle said large Internet companies.
'Network optimization' should only hurt 5 percent of LTE userbase
Starting October 1, Verizon will begin throttling some of its "unlimited" LTE users, according to an official announcement. The carrier promises that only five percent of that group -- those using 4.7GB or more per month -- will be affected, and "only in places and at times when the network is experiencing high demand." Unlimited 3G access has been throttled in a similar manner for some time.
MacNN and Electronista staff deals for July 18, 2014
Yes, its that time again! Time for another episode of "Friday Deals!" Every Friday, we're going to take a look at sales, and bring you what we think are some of the best bargains on prime apps, gadgets, and peripherals for you, the discriminating MacNN and Electronista reader. All prices are verified at the time of publication, but any sales may not be valid if you're reading a few days down the line. Check pricing before you click buy!
Three prepares to offer subscribers free Wi-Fi in London Underground
British carrier Three is following the lead of other carriers in the country, by offering free Wi-Fi on the London Underground. The Next Web reports the carrier will be working with Virgin Media, the company that set up the original Wi-Fi network for the 2012 Olympic Games, to provide customers free access to the Wi-Fi network in 137 stations without buying a Wi-Fi pass. Three hopes to open up the network to its customers by the end of this month.
NT4600 chipset in partners' hands for testing, evaluation; 2015 ship date
Chip manufacturer Nitero, in conjunction with the Samsung Foundry, has announced the first Wi-Gig chipset for mobile. The NT4600 is the an 802.11ad chipset, based on 28nm HKMG LPP technology. Nitero is currently demonstrating the NT4600 to select partners and customers, and will start production shipments in 2015.
Bill aims to remove FCC regulatory power, seeks to protect 'state rights'
A bill sponsored by US Representative Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) has been passed, which aims to strip the Federal Communications Commission's ability to interfere with laws passed to limit municipal broadband networks. Passing 228-195, generally along party lines, the bill, if signed into law, would reinforce strictures that make it difficult in 20 states to offer municipal broadband services in opposition to services provided by for-profit giants like Comcast, Verizon, and Time Warner Cable.
New deadline gives public 72 more hours to comment on proposed changes
The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has extended the first deadline for public comment on the controversial "fast lane" net neutrality proposal. The extension, following a major crash of the nearly two-decade old comment system, extends through midnight on June 18. A second "reply comment" period will start after this period ends, however.
New NAS can push 30FPS 1080p video to five devices simultaneously
Synology America has unveiled the DS415play, the four-bay follow-up to 2014's popular two-bay DS214play. As the second Synology NAS to support hardware video transcoding, the DS415play delivers full 1080p HD video to nearly any media-streaming device, with multiple streamers able to connect simultaneously.
Big names team to build on existing 802.15.4 wireless networking protocol
Samsung Electronics, Nest Labs, and Freescale Semiconductor have teamed to form the Thread Group. The seven company-strong group has been formed to generate and develop Thread, another IP-based wireless networking protocol for home automation and control of the burgeoning "Internet of Things" market.
Internal card replacement for 'slightly older' MacBook Pros and Intel-based iMacs
After the release of the qCard 2, QuickerTek saw a need in other older Apple devices to be updated to the most recent Wi-Fi speeds. Issuing a card to update wireless in some "slightly older" MacBook Pros and Intel-based iMacs, the mCard aims to give a little more life to machines in future operating systems before consumers are forced to replace them.
Extra $2B Wi-Fi fund offered on top of existing E-Rate program
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has approved a $2 billion fund to help provide Wi-Fi equipment to schools to create wireless networks. The fund, on top of the existing E-Rate program within the Universal Service Fund (USF), came under criticism from teachers unions, schools, and other groups before being approved today by a vote of 3-2.
D-Link now shipping new 802.11ac Wireless Access Point device
D-Link has announced the release of the DAP-2660, a new high-power 802.11ac wireless access point. Enclosed in a low-profile white housing, the DAP-2660 can be installed on the ceiling or wall-mounted in locations that require access to a wireless signal. Its maximum wireless signal rates are up to 300Mbps using a 2.4GHz band, and 867Mbps using the 5GHz band. The access point supports advanced radio management features such as band steering, airtime fairness and load balancing.
National train Wi-Fi upgrade funds stem from punctuality fines
Train passengers in the United Kingdom could see an extension and improvement of onboard Wi-Fi services in the future. In an announcement one month after Amtrak revealed its Wi-Fi ambitions in the US, UK ministers have promised £90 million ($153.9 million) to fund a national train Wi-Fi network, funded in part by a £53.1 million ($90.9 million) fine handed to Network Rail for missing punctuality targets.
Service restoration in process, connectivity waiting on DNS propagation
Following Microsoft's seizure of dynamic DNS service No-IP domains on a claim that some were spreading malware, many customers' paid and free connections were no longer functioning. Many of these services have been restored tonight, as Microsoft has begun the process of returning domains to No-IP. As of this evening, all of the seized domains have been returned to the service, with .org redirect restoration waiting on the .org registrar to act. Not all DNS services have been updated, but Electronista can confirm that Verizon FiOS, Google, and OpenDNS are all resolving properly.
No-ip.com domains seized ostensibly to prevent malware spread
Updated with more testing Early Monday morning, Microsoft announced that had seized, by court order, 23 domains used by dynamic IP company no-ip.com. Seeing a preponderance of malware hosts using these domains, the company then routed all "known bad traffic" through Microsoft filters, in order to classify the identified threats. The move was not without innocent victims, however, as users who use the affected domains -- including paid users for legitimate VPN purposes and one MacNN employee -- are this morning unable to connect through the redirect, at least in part.
Builds in Safari 7.0.5
In addition to iOS 7.1.2, Apple has issued the final version of OS X 10.9.4 via Mavericks' Software Update feature. Like its sibling, v10.9.4 deals exclusively with bugfixes. It solves a glitch preventing Macs from automatically connecting to recognized Wi-Fi networks, as well as the reliability of waking a computer from sleep mode.
Users to be refunded last month of service, future of company in danger
In the fallout of the anti-Aereo Supreme Court decision, founder and CEO Chet Kanojia has emailed customers, declaring that while consulting with the courts, the television streaming service must shut down. Users will only be able to access the cloud-based antenna and DVR until 11:30 EST today.
Smart Connect feature manages traffic across three network bands for optimum speeds
The newest version of the high-speed 802.11ac wireless Nighthawk routers was announced by Netgear today. The Nighthawk X6 Tri-Band Wi-Fi router (R8000) offers improvements over the previous version, introducing tri-band technology with Smart Connect to make network sharing more flexible. The Nighthawk X6 features a 1GHz dual-core processor with three offload processors to aid in the balancing of the high demand on data in the modern home.
Offer for two or three years of LTE not being honored by Verizon
[Updated: Google now offering compensation to Pixel owners] Despite Google promising two years of 100MB free LTE data per month with the purchase of a Chromebook Pixel, a large percentage of users are finding that the offer is no longer being honored by Verizon. Users can still pay for data, but the free 100MB offer has seemingly expired, just over one year after the device launched, well short of launch offers.
Search and rescue dispatched to suspected plane crash, balloon located
A trial Google "Project Loon" Internet access balloon crashed off the coast of New Zealand yesterday. Locals, fearing a plane crash, called the country's emergency services who then vectored a helicopter to the site. The crashed test platform was discovered floating in the ocean. The crash echoes one in Washington state earlier this month, that knocked out power to some residents of Yakima.
Security researchers find September vulnerability attack to Germany
According to Dell's security researchers, a single piece of software, surrepitiously installed on some Synology network attached storage devices, has mined $620,000 of virtual currency Dogecoin. A combination of a vulnerability discovered in September and users not updating the system software of the appliances enabled the hack to occur, which installed the mining package, forcing the devices to run hot and transfer data slowly due to the load from the miner.
Four-bay fanless NAS accommodates 2.5-inch drives
Qnap Systems. today announced the release of the IS-400 Pro Turbo NAS -- an industrial, 2.5-inch SSD and hard drive compatible four-bay NAS designed for operation in difficult environments. QNAP's new IS-400 Pro is built with a fan-less design, and is built to operate across varying temperatures, environments and conditions.
Deal covers consumer speeds, not peering deals between companies
Some Democratic senators are looking at a ban on the US Federal Communication Commission (FCC) proposal to allow Internet "fast lanes." Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Doris Matsui (D-CA) have proposed a bill that codifies the FCC's existing authority to ensure that Internet Service Providers don't allow some content providers faster access at the expense of other services.
Balloon-based networking project upgrades to LTE, extends flight time
Google is stepping up its efforts in Project Loon one year after first announcing it, by performing more testing. The high-altitude balloon-based network project recently tested the scheme's effectiveness in Brazil, including the effect of the equator on balloon launches, and the use of LTE technology instead of Wi-Fi for potentially faster cellular connections.
Service touts security, speed, low bandwidth requirements
Troubled cloud computing company OnLive has announced CloudLift Enterprise, a new cloud-based Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS). The OnLive CloudLift Enterprise service offers businesses the ability to stream latency-sensitive graphics-intensive applications -- such as high-definition interactive demos, simulations and 3D programs -- from the cloud to virtually any device with little, if any, lag.
Peering deals seem to have little lasting effect on Netflix user speeds
After a bevy of consumer complaints were filed with the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) against Verizon and Comcast regarding Netflix "throttling," the regulatory agency has begun looking into the problem. The FCC demanded, and has received, the terms of peering deals that Netflix made with both Internet giants, and will examine the issue to see if there is anything that can be done on behalf of consumers.
Remarks repeat what Wheeler has said in the past about local broadband
US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler, after speaking with Chattanooga Tennessee mayor Andy Berke, took a hard stance against states' legislation and business deals with cable companies, which often prevent the buildout of municipal broadband. In a statement after the meeting, the chairman said in a blog post that he believes "that it is in the best interests of consumers and competition that the FCC exercises its power to preempt state laws that ban or restrict competition from community broadband. Given the opportunity, we will do so."
Locality one of 100 named by AT&T for future expansion
Winston-Salem, NC City officials ratified an agreement with AT&T to bring gigabit-class Internet access to residents and businesses. AT&T will provide U-verse with GigaPower over a fiber network with speeds capable of up to one gigabit per second. The agreement stemmed from a North Carolina Next Generation Network (NCNGN) initiative, composed of six cities, four universities, and local business leaders working to encourage development of high-speed broadband networks in the state.
Also available in special bundles
QuickerTek has introduced the QCard2, an 802.11ac Wi-Fi upgrade for older versions of the 13-inch MacBook Air or 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro. Instead of an external adapter, the QCard2 is a PCIe card that replaces the native AirPort card. Two different versions of the card are available: a two-port card for the Air, and a larger three-port card for the Pro.
Some apps not propagating
A number of users are reporting problems accessing functions in various Apple online services, including the App Store, the iTunes Store, and the Apple TV. People with an Apple TV, for example, may be unable to load the Movies or TV Shows apps, although other apps like iTunes Radio and Netflix are still up. At the iOS App Store, some titles -- such as Facebook Messenger or Skype 5.0 -- are apparently missing or otherwise not propagating correctly.
Secondary SSID will be enabled on 150,000 Comcast routers by end of June
Comcast subscribers in Houston will soon see a new secondary SSID broadcasting from their routers, as the company prepares to create more Wi-Fi hotspots. Approximately 50,000 Comcast routers in the area will begin to offer free "xfinitywifi" hotspot access to other Comcast subscribers, a move the company has previously tested and launched in other areas, despite the controversial nature of the program.
Bids requested by Amtrack to test Wi-Fi improvement feasibility
Amtrak is looking to increase the on-board Wi-Fi service on some of its trains running on the east coast of the United States. The company is soliciting bids for a "proof-of-concept" project for bolstering its Wi-Fi service, with the ultimate aim of providing a "high-capacity, broadband-speed Internet connection" for trains running between Washington and Boston.
One group hired known false grassroots campaign generator to sink measure
Two groups have written letters to the US Federal Communications Commission, opposing the FCC's new net neutrality proposal -- the American Consumer Institute (ACI), and Broadband for America. Both groups claim to be pro-consumer, and purportedly advocate for more choice and lower costs for subscribers. However, both groups are in fact heavily funded by the telecom industry, and are likely "astroturfing" for the cable industries in their fight against FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler's threat of Title II regulation by the FCC, embedded in the net neutrality discussion.
Verizon, Comcast anti-compete agreements, other legislation stymie process
Many US cities have large fiberoptic networking installations, paid for by taxpayer dollars, that are "dark," unknown, or unusable -- primarily due to telecom company lobbyists and threats to localities. At least 20 states have enacted laws or other legal barriers to prevent community access to these networks, and even more have signed non-compete agreements with Internet providers.
Network of 180 satellites will reportedly provide Internet to remote areas
Google is exploring the possibility of launching its own satellites into space, according to a report. The Wall Street Journal claims the search company is planning to invest more than $1 billion on a fleet of small satellites that could be used to spread Internet access into areas of the world that are not covered by more traditional forms of connectivity, such as cellular or wired connections.
Change in target speeds will affect federal money allocations for expansions
The US Federal Communications Commission is considering revising what it officially calls "Broadband Access." A proposal floated before the FCC will soon solicit comments on the definition of broadband, and is asking the public of 10Mbps or 25Mbps download and 2.9Mbps upload should be considered broadband.
10.53Gbps achieved on the 5Ghz frequency
Global technology company Huawei today announced that it has successfully achieved the industry's first 10Gbps Wi-Fi service in laboratory trials at Huawei's campus in Shenzhen. The new protocol, likely to be adopted as the 802.11ax standard, achieved a transmission data rate of 10.53Gbps on 5GHz frequency bands in a controlled environment.
D-Link and Facebook collaborate to offer 11AC Router with integrated Facebook Wi-Fi
Networking and connectivity company D-Link has announced its collaboration with Facebook to deliver D-Link's first wireless router with Facebook Wi-Fi. The D-Link 802.11ac router with integrated Facebook Wi-Fi is aimed at small businesses who wish to provide customers with a Wi-Fi hot spot, accessible by checking in via the business' Facebook Page.
Could reopen market for stolen iPhones, iPads
Two hackers from the Netherlands and Morocco claim to have found a critical vulnerability allowing them to break iCloud and the Activation Lock feature on iOS devices. The project is said to have taken five months, during which time they analyzed the data flowing between iPhones and iCloud. By spoofing iPhones into thinking they're connecting to Apple servers when they're really connected to a separate computer, the hackers say they can trick a device into undoing Activation Lock.
Makes Messages Server more stable
Apple has posted a minor update of OS X Server, v3.1.2. The patch deals with several sub-components, including Calendar Server, which has received unspecified improvements to import, invite, and group scheduling functions. Messages Server should be more stable while chat rooms are in use.
Project in development for some five years
Apple is in talks with Internet service providers as it works towards establishing its own content delivery network, says analyst Dan Rayburn. The company currently outsources data delivery infrastructure to firms like Akamai, potentially sacrificing quality in some cases. Having its own CDN should allow Apple to maintain end-to-end control.
Bug cutting off conversations for people switching from iPhone to Android
A new lawsuit -- filed through a federal court in San Jose, California -- is targeting Apple over problems with the delivery of SMS messages via iMessage, Bloomberg reports. The plaintiff notes that she, like a number of other people, suddenly stopped receiving texts from iPhone owners after personally switching from an iPhone to Android. Class action status is being sought in the case.
Downtime disrupted major publications
Adobe has issued an apology for Wednesday and Thursday's online services outage, which ultimately lasted about 28 hours. "We know we let you down. We apologize and are working to ensure it doesn't happen again," the company says. The cause of the downtime is said to have been server maintenance.
Dual band range extender uses wall plug, extends range of signal up to 30 meters
Diamond Multimedia has released a new product in its wireless range extender line. The dual-band WR600NSI, which plugs directly into a wall socket, acts as a wireless repeater, range extender and wireless bridge device with 802.11n technology. The WR600NSI supports 300 Mbps over both 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. The wireless range extender can also take wireless signal and convert it to a wired Ethernet connection.
Problem traced back to Adobe ID system
People have been unable to sign into Adobe online services -- including Creative Cloud -- for about 24 hours at this point, according to the company's status tracker. Trouble is said to have started around 3PM Eastern on Wednesday, preventing people from downloading apps, modifying team accounts, buying subscriptions, or creating new Adobe IDs. The cause appears to be a glitch with the Adobe ID system itself.
Includes Safari 7.0.3
Following a long beta period, Apple has released the final version of OS X 10.9.3. The update makes relatively few changes, but does improve support for 4K displays on 2013 models of the Mac Pro and 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro. It also restores the ability to sync contacts and calendars between a Mac and an iOS device using USB, instead of alternatives like iCloud.
Chairman's vision of 'fast lane' access may be misinterpreted by public
The Federal Communication Commission has voted on Chairman Tom Wheeler's revised net neutrality proposal, and has accepted it. Starting immediately, the US government will begin a long period of debate and public comment on the issue, which has already proven contentious amongst both Capital Hill insiders as well as the public at large.
Service testing 300GB limits in certain markets, with $10 per additional 50GB
Comcast seems to have a plan in place to have all users on a data cap on its broadband service within five years. Comcast Executive Vice President David Cohen told investors earlier today that "in five years Comcast at least would have a usage-based billing model rolled out across its footprint."
Router features dual-band technology, four Gigabit ports, tie-in with mydlink app
A new Wi-Fi router has been released from D-Link bringing dual-band Wi-Fi technology to the home with a splash of color. The next generation of the AC750 dual-band Gigabit cloud router features a cylindrical design similar to D-Link's gaming routers, but features some of the same technology found in the company's recent AC750 portable router and battery solution.
iCloud 'particularly bad' next to other cloud services
The Norwegian Consumer Council has filed a formal complaint about the terms and condition's for Apple's iCloud, charging that they violate several articles of Norwegian law concerning product marketing. Earlier in 2014, the Council conducted a survey of the terms for several cloud storage services in the Norwegian market, as part of a broader effort at improving terms for all digital services available to Norwegians. Based on data from that survey, the complaint alleges that iCloud's terms are "particularly bad," measuring some 8,600 words and ultimately "convoluted and unclear."