Wireless LANs have been a boon for networking both in the home and at work. But there are still some places (like hospitals) where the wireless networks can cause interference with other equipment, or have their performance impeded by the presence of other radios. The Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute claims to have come up with 3Gbps alternative using LED lightbulbs for wireless Internet access. Continue reading
It’s been a big year for nanophotonics, the technology that makes it possible to build chips that use pulses of light to communicate. A year ago we wrote about progress at MIT in developing photonic chips that use light beams to perform computational tasks. Now IBM has announced it has developed a scalable silicon nanophotonics chip on the path to enabling 100 Gpbs networks. Continue reading
Rather than just assuming everyone knows whatMoore’s Law is, I’m just going to include it here. Basically, Moore’s Law says that the number of transistors on a chip will double about every two years. This has mostly held true (though advances seem to be coming faster) for computers, but other technologies progress at a much slower rate. The specific kind of technology we’re talking about here is radio, or Wi-Fi, technology.
The main problem with improving radio technology is that radio is an analog system, rather than a digital one. While scientists have begun to hit some limits in what can be done on a chip, digital technology is easier to improve and easier to shrink. Try shrinking analog technology too far and it begins to malfunction.
It looks like some of the bloom is off the cloud computing rose. Last year’s Gartner hype cycle showed that cloud computing had entered the notorious “trough of disillusionment,” which emerging technologies enter when they fail to meet expectations and lose their appeal to the technology press. This is immediately preceded by the self-explanatory “peak of inflated expectations.” Continue reading
The “smart home” has been promised to us for years, mostly through press releases and the occasional TV commercial where someone’s refrigerator calls the repairman before they know there’s a problem, or you can remotely open and close your garage door with a smartphone from miles away.
Unfortunately, all of these efforts have involved a patchwork of communication capabilities from a variety of appliance, electronics, security system, and heating and cooling vendors, none of which can work together. Microsoft thinks it may have an answer with its HomeOS, which could provide centralized control of smart devices.