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Comms and Internet

Longer Battery Life With New Z-Wave Chip

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Longer Battery Life With New Z-Wave Chip

Sigma Designs announces the 700-Series Z-Wave platform at CES 2018-- a chip the solution provider claims can squeeze 10 years of use from a single coin-cell battery.

As well as being low power, the 700-Series chip offers a range of over 90m, meaning it can cover multi-stories in a house and the far end of the yard. It carries all the hardware required, including integrated software tools, large memory and many peripherals, making it both efficient and future proof.

Security is also covered thanks to the Z-Wave Security 2 (S2) framework, while Z-Wave SmartStart pre-configures to the network before reaching the home.

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ZigBee and Thread Join IoT Forces With Dotdot

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ZigBee and Thread Join IoT Forces With Dotdot

The ZigBee Alliance and Thread announce what is described as a a solution to the fragmentation of the connected device industry-- Dotdot, an open, interoperable IoT language running over the Thread IP network.

According to the two companies, the IoT currently faces the same challenges as the early internet since connected devices lack the equivalent of open, universal protocols over IP. Dotdot, as a common device language over the Thread IP network, promises to be the solution to such woes, providing "the high-quality, interoperable user experiences needed to drive growth."

Dotdot is not a new standard. Instead it allows the ZigBee standard to work on the Thread network. Both standards are backed by industry-leading companies, and already find use in homes and offices. As such, Dotdot simply extends IP to low-power IoT devices, providing an option in end-to-end connectivity and interoperability.

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Wifi-Enabled Objects With No Battery Required!

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Wifi-Enabled Objects With No Battery Required!

Researchers at the University of Washington solve one of the issues the Internet of Things poses by 3D-printing plastic objects with built-in wifi capabilities-- no power source or electronics required!

"Our goal was to create something that just comes out of your 3D printer at home and can send useful information to other devices," a team member says. "But the big challenge is how do you communicate wirelessly with wifi using only plastic? That's something that no one has been able to do before."

The team 3D-printed three wifi-enabled objects-- a weighing scale, a flow sensor and an anemometer able to measure wind speed using commercially available plastics and wifi receivers. A combination of 3D-printed springs, gears and switches (based on the same principles allowing battery-free watches to keep time) translates motion into antenna-transmitted data, while backscatter techniques reflect radio signals emitted by a wifi router or other devices.

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KRACK Attack Affects Wifi!

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KRACK Attack Affects Wifi!

Researchers warn of a serious flaw in the WPA2 protocol securing all wifi networks-- one allowing attackers to steal passwords, emails and other supposedly encrypted data!

Dubbed Key Reinstallation Attacks (or KRACKs), such attacks even allow those with malicious intent to inject ransomware and malware into a website a user is visiting, all while simply being in range of a vulnerable device. These can be any wifi-capable device, although the flaw is "particularly devastating" in the case of Linux and Android 6.0.

How does KRACK works? As the researchers put it, attackers can duplicate a vulnerable WPA2 network, impersonate the MAC address and change the wifi channel. The fake network acts as a "man in the middle," forcing devices to connect to the rogue network instead of the protected original.

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Bluetooth Getting Mesh Capability

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Bluetooth Getting Mesh Capability

The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) add a new capability to the wireless connectivity standard-- mesh networking, enabling many-to-many (m:m) capability and the creation of large-scale device networks.

The technology is compatible with Bluetooth 4.0 and higher, and operates on Bluetooth Low Energy (LE). It is ideal for building automation, sensor networks and other Internet of Things (IoT) applications involving tens, hundreds or even thousands or devices. According to the SIG, Bluetooth-based mesh networks are inherently self-healing, with no single point of failure, scalable to thousands of nodes and include "industrial-grade" security.

In addition Bluetooth offers global interoperability, since multi-vendor interoperability testing is conducted during the specification development process, not after the release of the specification.

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TP-Link Routers Get HomeCare Security

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TP-Link Routers Get HomeCare Security

TP-Link presents HomeCare-- a networking security solution featuring built-in Trend Micro antivirus control, dynamic security features and customisable parental controls.

Available as a firmware update for select TP-Link products (namely the recently announced Deco M5 Whole-Home Wifi System and Archer C5400, C3150 and C2300 routers), HomeCare promises an all-in-one solution combining speed with comprehensive security features. An intrusion prevention system protects against malware and hackers, while malicious site blocking prevents access to dodgy websits from within the network.

An additional security layer quarantines previously infested devices joining the network, and provides instant warnings for users to take necessary steps to fix infected devices. Trend Micro should also keep the system up to date with regular updates, ensuring the network remains protected against new threats.

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Eero Wifi Enters Second Generation

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Eero Wifi Enters Second Generation

The Eero mesh-based wifi system enters its second generation, with an updated router claiming to be twice as fast and twice as powerful as its predecessor even as it maintains the same form factor.

Like the first Eero router, the new version remains a router, wireless access point and range extender inside a small, white box. The update adds tri-band technology, allowing it to broadcast on 3 wireless bands simultaneously. The Eero can use any of the 3 bands to send data to device or communication between nodes, as per network demands.

Another addition is support for Thread, the smart home communications protocol developed by the Google-owned Nest. Thread is reportedly easier to deploy than ZigBee and Z-Wave but so far no device on the market supports it, making the Eero update something of a future-proof home automation device should Thread grow into a viable smart home networking protocol.

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Asus Blows Hole in Blue Cave Router

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Asus Blows Hole in Blue Cave Router

The Asus Blue Cave is an AC2600 dual-band wifi router unlike any other-- the design features a antenna-less design with a hole in the middle, making it look like a Dyson bladeless fan.

First presented at Computex 2017, the Blue Cave promises "smooth wifi" and "smart protection." It runs on the latest Intel wifi chipset, and includes Trend Micro protection for "every connected smart devices on the network, including IoT devices." A companion app provides granular control (such as network usage, family time limits and app internet access) while IFTTT support provides means for users to create formulas to run their smart homes and digital lives.

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TP-Link Gets on Mesh Networking Bandwagon

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TP-Link Gets on Mesh Networking Bandwagon

TP-Link is the next company to announce a home wireless mesh networking system-- the Deco M5, a means to blanket the home with wifi using three access points.

Similar to other mesh networking offerings from the likes of Google, Netgear and Eero, the Deco M5 covers up to 450 square metres using 3 access points. In case customers need more coverage the system scales scales to 10 access points. Wireless comes through a dual-band system using the AC1300 wireless standard, and promises speeds of up to 400Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and 867Mbps on the 5GHz band.

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