Archive for the ‘broadband news’ Category

The Answer Is Here! Solving Your Property’s Cellular Coverage Issues

April 12, 2013
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Ericsson reported in 2012 that from the third quarter of 2009 to the fourth quarter of 2011, mobile data transmission increased by 600 percent. Projections by Cisco seem to indicate that the trend will continue, especially as more video is delivered over the internet.

Indoor cellular coverage is becoming increasingly more important- literally by the day. The Pew Research Center reports that smartphone ownership has increased dramatically over the course of 2011-2012, from 35% to 46% of US adults, totaling a 31% increase in less than one year. Add to this the research conducted by Ericsson reported in 2012, showing a 600% increase in mobile data transmissions between the third quarter of 2009 and fourth quarter of 2011 alone, and it becomes undeniably evident that we are knee deep in the wireless revolution. In fact, 80% of multifamily residents now use their mobile phones as their primary phone, as the land line slowly recedes into the night of technologies past. The disappearance of the corded phone is being solidified by new business models introduced by money hungry cell phone companies; these giants are privy to the fact that data usage far outweighs voice communications, and have incented consumers to do away with land lines, by offering unlimited talk time, while adding (not-so-unlimited) data usage fees.

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The Pew Research Center reports that smartphone ownership increased from 35 percent of U.S. adults in 2011 to more than 46 percent of U.S. adults in 2012, a 31 percent increase in less than one year.

All of these changes, quite rapid changes mind you, are creating unintended consequences for many multifamily building owners and residents alike. As the building industry shifts focus towards energy conservation and more sustainable building practices it has become evident that many of the new building materials are particular resistant to cellular service penetration. As you can imagine, this is posing a huge problem for building owners and residents, especially as people become increasingly reliant on wireless technologies. If residents don’t have cellular service inside their homes, how will they make calls to friends and family? More importantly, how will they call 911?? These questions are not to be ignored.

Over 20 times a week someone from the multifamily industry is contacting Spot On Networks for suggestions on how to deal with this difficult, time-consuming, and potentially very costly issue. At Spot On Networks we have dedicated an enormous amount of time to helping building owners combat their cellular dilemmas, and are happy to say, we have just the solution for you.

The right answer can vary from property to property, dependent on the exact circumstances, budget, and level of convenience necessary for residents. The first solution is the DAS System. DAS stands for Distributed Antenna System, and can be quite costly to implement, coupled with extensive installation. Spot On has configured a solution to not only eliminate poor cellular coverage, but to offset the cost of installing an extravagant DAS System: CellBOOST. CellBOOST typically costs about 1/5 of a DAS System, AND provides property wide WiFi.  CellBOOST boosts cellular signal within a building by strategically placing a number of bidirectional amplifiers within the building, and a donor antennae on the roof which receives the cellular service from outdoors. CellBOOST is non-carrier specific, and is Passpoint 2.0 ready for the up and coming technologies.

The second possible solution would be to use existing WiFi applications. If WiFi is available at a property, residents can use mobile VoIP applications, such as Skype as an alternative phone service to make all of their calls, including calls to emergency services- however the location of said caller is not as visible as otherwise. For texting, there is an app called WhatsApp, which enables texts to be sent via Wi-Fi.

Lastly, the lonely Femtocell. The Femtocell is a small, low-power cellular base station designed for in home use. Although each carrier dubs the device something different, all versions are similar operationally: Plug in an internet cable, and use cell service from a single carrier (hence the “lonely”) in an individual apartment (for a fee, of course).

All of these solutions have their own pros and cons, however, when we take a look at the future, it becomes clear that the more effective solution for the long term would be along the lines of CellBOOST. Within a few months, the WiFi Alliance and the Wireless Broadband Alliance will release a compatible set of protocols and procedures that make WiFi networks complementary to cell carrier networks. ImageThe service, called Hotspot 2.0, uses the WiFi Alliance’s Passpoint 2.0 certification procedure for product certification to promote secure, seamless roaming between cell services and WiFi networks. (Read more here.) The first Hotspot 2.0 solution is expected to be introduced during 2013. Some access points are already Passpoint 2.0 certified, such as those deployed by Spot On Networks, used in CellBOOST. It is imperative to take a look at your property’s cellular coverage issues with an eye on the future- the DAS System will not hold up to the Hotspot 2.0, and neither will Femtocell. With all of these solutions available, cellular coverage issues within a building are soon to be a thing of the past (much like the beloved land line…), however, the important thing is choosing the right solution for your needs, and one that will stand the test of time.

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No Noise Is Good Noise

December 26, 2012

As internet usage and the increasing demand for immediacy expand, Internet Service Providers are quickly learning that unresolved glitches and errors in network functionality are creating much ‘noise’ on the social media front, ultimately translating into a bad rap- for property managers and providers alike.

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In an article written by David Daugherty for Broadband Communities magazine’s October 2012 Issue, he explains, “Noise is an indicator of how well a service provider performs day to day. If residents make noise in the front office about poor internet performance, rest assured they are voicing their discontent socially.”  This is especially a concern in the student housing sector, as students so widely rely on the internet and social media for many daily activities, such as schoolwork and entertainment. At student housing properties, this noise does not go long unheard, as social media sites are an optimal vehicle for the residents to ‘echo’ any issues they might be experiencing. Philip Emer, director of technology for Preiss Properties, states that in some cases, it has even proven helpful to use said social media thread to help diagnose and address certain problems networks may be experiencing. It is no secret that any problems with service not rapidly addressed, have a surprisingly efficient way of presenting themselves to not only fellow residents, but also property management, regional and corporate offices, and the service providers. In the long run, inadequate customer service definitely has the potential to create a poor reputation for all parties involved.

Luckily, there is a solution. It has taken some time, trial, and error, but the industry is now realizing that many former business models are in need of a total revamp, such as self-help and troubleshooting interfaces. It is important that any network used at a multi-unit facility, especially student housing, is fully managed and monitored to assure a seamless user experience. Subscribers are eagerly seeking swift, tech-savvy, easily attainable customer support representatives, and more service-oriented assistance, less reliant on the outdated do-it-yourself model. Daugherty says simply, “key stakeholders must understand that maintaining customer expectations is a never-ending task”.

Verizon, Google and the Net Neutrality Debate

August 17, 2010
Image: socialsignal.com

Hot on the tech news circuit last week was the Net Neutrality debate which is heating up as more companies begin to take sides.  If you are not familiar with what has been happening in the world of Net Neutrality, here’s a quick synopsis:

About a week ago, Google and Verizon, proposed an agreement that would seal the deal on Net Neutrality (keeping the Internet open), but it had one [not so] small catch.  In the agreement, wireless, mobile broadband would receive an exemption from Internet openness.  This has begun to spark massive debate over what would happen if this “proposal” were actually presented as a piece of legislation (this would need congressional and FCC approval and is not simply a business deal).  You can read the official agreement here. Concern has been label by some as “cable-ization” of the Internet – content that used to be all fair game and evenly accessible would be able to be pushed ahead, eliminated altogether,”premier” Internet content could be made available to those who paid more for their mobile service and certain users might receive “prioritized” content.

Anyone who has read an ounce of technology news in the last year understands that this is a very big deal.  With Smartphones making up for over 20% of the cellular industry and Wi-Fi networks appearing almost everywhere, it is safe to say that the future will be a wireless world.  I find it almost comical that wired Internet openness is protected in proposal…what a perfect distraction from what is really going on here!  Who cares so much about wired Internet when the whole world is becoming mobile?

Companies have begun to choose sides.  For example AT&T, which would obviously benefit from having more control over the content that is delivered and sold to it’s subscribers call the proposal, according to the New York Times, “a reasonable framework”.  On the flip side, companies that were born out of Internet openness like those of Facebook, were coming out not in support of the proposal.

Today the debate pot was stirred again as House Democrats “slammed” the proposal, according to PCWorld, in fact the proposal prompted Reps, Edward Markey, Anna Eshoo, Mike Doyle, and Jay Inslee to write a letter to the FCC chairman urging him to act on broadband regulation.  The letter referred to Internet doomsday prophesy such as, “closing the open Internet”, “inconsistent principals”, and creating demographics where users who need content the most would not be able to obtain it.

According to PCWorld, Richard Whitt, Washington telecom and media counsel for Google defended the proposal, stating, “No other company is working as tirelessly for an open Internet”.  That being said, the writing on the wall is very real and does present a future in which the, Internet-as-we-know-it, may suffer greatly.

For more on The Net Neutrality Debate, check out these articles:

NYT

PCWorld

Fiercebroadbandwireless.com

Obama works to add broadband spectrum for commercial use

June 28, 2010

According to the New York Times, President Obama will sign, today, a memorandum that will allow for 500 megahertz of broadband spectrum to be auctioned off.  The majority of spectrum will be available for commercial use – this addition spectrum will almost double what is currently available and is a necessary addition given the prediction of expected mobile device usage in the coming years.

Some of the plan, which will allow for the freeing up of spectrum which is owned by both the government and private companies, will need to be approved by Congress.  The plan comes in the wake of a March recommendation by the FCC in its “National Broadband Plan”.

Read the NYT article

Wi-Fi News and Technology – The Wi-Fi Revolution™

May 18, 2010

Please visit our new home. We are committed to providing you with up-to-date and accurate news on all things Wi-Fi (wireless).  The Wi-Fi Revolution™ blogs on breaking news in the Wi-Fi industry, Cell-Fi™ (using your Smartphone over Wi-Fi), the latest in Voice Over IP (VoIP) news, wireless technology, Wi-Fi enabled Smartphones, Cellphones and other devices, signaling traffic, data traffic, Wi-Fi as an amenity in MDUs (multi-dwelling units) and all things iPad, iPhone, Android, CALEA,etc.  We are currently in the last few days of our “Win a FREE iPad Contest”.  If you have been thinking of enter go here and enter your “What The Wi-Fi Revolution™ means to me” slogan in 10 words or less.  We will be ending the contest at midnight on Friday, May 21st and the winner will be announced on May 28th.  We have received some GREAT slogans and awesome comments about The Wi-Fi Revolution™!

New Droid features leak… Code Name: FroYo

May 17, 2010

Googles’ new Android Operating System 2.2 will be released later this month, but feature details are already being leaked.  Of most interest to us, the new Droid OS (code name: FroYo – think: the dessert) will be able to act as a Wi-Fi hotspot for Wi-Fi devices and tether via USB.   This is a feature that AT&T does not currently allow for the iPhone.  So, if Google is able to find a carrier that will make this happen it will be a huge bonus for the Android.  The other obvious bonus will be the Android’s ability to offer full Adobe Flash support – a feature that users have been pressing Apple for and a feature that Apple continues to leave out. Lastly, pcworld.com is reporting that Droid users will be able to save apps on a memory card as opposed to storing them all on their phone.

These potential features have the ability to give Google’s Droid a big advantage over the iPhone in the eyes of the consumer.  PCWorld.com is reporting “performance improvements of up to 450 per cent over Android 2.1”.  You can visit droidpolice.com for alleged testing of the new smartphone.

WiFi to 4G Roaming Technology

May 14, 2010

WiFi News out of Sweden.  Technology startup, Anyfi offers technology to increase the security of mobile Wi-Fi Hotspots.

Press Release courtesy of: www.wirelessdevnet.com

Lund, Sweden – Swedish startup Anyfi Networks today came out of stealth mode to present Anyfi.net, a Wi-Fi roaming technology they hope will shake up the mobile broadband industry. This new technology lets an Internet service provider offer the same Wi-Fi user experience both at home and on the go.

“Until now Wi-Fi hotspots have been difficult to use and inherently insecure. Our solution works with any Wi-Fi device out of the box and provides fully automatic WPA security” said Björn Smedman, CEO.

The trick is combining Wi-Fi with IP, Internet Protocol, to break the tie between logical network and physical infrastructure, much in the same way as Voice over IP separates your phone service from the physical line.

“You can think of it as Wi-Fi over IP” explained Björn Smedman. “Our cloud based matchmaking service keeps track of each device’s favorite network and makes sure it is available from the closest access point. By forwarding the raw Wi-Fi radio traffic over the Internet we can ensure security, even if an attacker is in control of the access point.”

According to the company this high level of security is one of the key features making the technology suitable for integration in modems of various types, and this is what makes it potentially disruptive, effectively turning Wi-Fi into a full-blown 4G technology.

“Today only about 1-2% of residential broadband capacity is actually used. The rest just goes to waste. At the same time we are seeing mobile networks brought to their knees under the load of data-hungry devices like the iPhone. If you can guarantee that there is no negative impact whatsoever to the subscriber, why not use some of that spare capacity to offload mobile?” asked Björn Smedman.

Using this reasoning a broadband connection with a Wi-Fi router at the end can be thought of as a building block of sorts and Anyfi.net is the mortar. By combining them, existing infrastructure can be transformed into a radio access network, license-exempt and Wi-Fi compatible. A fixed-line operator with a high density of broadband subscribers in an urban area could become a mobile operator over night by simply upgrading the modem software, something that can be done remotely. But smaller operators could also join together to collectively provide mobile Internet access, with worldwide roaming.

Episode 6: Spot On Wi-Fi TV

May 14, 2010

GO TO OUR NEW BLOGwe have a new look and a new homewe will keep posting here until we are sure that everyone is aware of the move.

Watch Spot On Networks VP of Sales, Oliver Oetterer, recap the 2010 Broadband Properties Summit! The Wi-Fi Revolution™ was in Dallas! Learn more about Community Wide High Speed Wi-Fi Internet and Cell-Fi™ (Save money.  Save minutes.  Use your smartphone over Wi-Fi).

Broadband in demand in the U.S.

May 12, 2010

The near economic collapse and recession that took place in late 2008/2009 resulted in a sharp decline in the demand for broadband.  Not only was the need for broadband down, but consumers saw communications as an area that could be cut back on to save money.  Come 2010 and things appear to be on the up and ups.  Jobs are being created, houses are being built/ sold again and broadband is back in demand.  According to the New York Times,

Demand for new broadband connections jumped during the first quarter of 2010, reversing what was a long slide in 2009, according to a new report by Durham, N.H.-based Leichtman Research.

Liechtman has posted that 1.4 Million have added broadband in the first quarter.  According to Liechtman:

  • The top cable companies added over 915,000 subscribers, representing 65% of the net broadband additions for the quarter versus the top telephone companies
  • Overall, broadband additions in 1Q 2010 amounted to 86% of those in 1Q 2009 — with cable having 108% as many additions as a year ago, and Telcos 63% as many additions as a year ago
  • The top cable broadband providers have a 55% share of the overall market, with a 7.3 million subscriber advantage over the top telephone companies — compared to 6.4 million a year ago