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Mobile operators must embrace power of the ‘and’

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Operators need to take a holistic approach to their network and embrace the ‘power of and’ if they are to meet rising customer demand, improve scalability and reduce network complexity.

Speaking during a keynote conference session at Broadband World Forum, Federico Guillén told the conference session there is no single technology or access mode which will deliver ubiquitous ultrafast connectivity, and instead a combination of technologies is required. This is especially true if the industry is to deliver on the promise of 5G.

Those operators which don’t recognize the ‘power of and,’ he warned, could fail to meet speed and connectivity targets and lose ground to competition.

“The strategy of deploying fiber to the most economical point in the network is still valid, but the combination of fixed fiber, wireless and other access technologies is now even more crucial to the operator’s business case,” said Guillén. “Fixed networks are going to be essential for the growth of 5G, for example, as they will complement wireless for mobile transport. We will also see a combination of fiber and fixed wireless access to deliver ultra-broadband to the home using technologies such as WiGig. This convergence of fixed and wireless is one aspect of what we are calling the ‘power of and’.”

According to Guillén, the second element of this approach is delivering a gigabit experience both to and into the home. This, he continued, has been a pressure point for operators with poor in-building wiring or Wi-Fi, and can comprise more than 30% of calls to a broadband operator’s helpdesk.

“With all the focus on getting ultra-broadband to the front door, it is also important not to neglect the in-home network,” said Guillén. “Wi-Fi is a critical part of the end-to-end service, but is often the weak link. Delivering a gigabit experience both to and throughout the whole home is crucial, and we need to reach a point where end-users don’t have to think about their Wi-Fi – it’s just there.”

Guillén went on to explain that virtualization will have a key role keeping operational costs low as the network gets more complex, provided it is used in the right way.

“There is no doubt that virtualization can simplify networks, and the third ‘power of and’ is in the network and the cloud; moving hardware here makes networks easier to manage and scale,” he said. “However, virtualizing everything is not the answer. Operators must look at the business case for virtualization and identify which areas are going to provide the most value.”

Guillén’s presentation comes as Nokia launches Intelligent Access, an enhanced portfolio of access solutions to build gigabit-ready networks. This includes Software Defined Access Network (SDAN) technology and a new carrier-grade in-home Wi-Fi solution.

“The ‘power of and’ is the driving concept behind Intelligent Access. By taking a holistic approach, operators can enhance their network, deliver a gigabit experience to the end-user and make their operations faster, better and smarter,” Guillén concluded.

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Opera launches built-in VPN on Android browser

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Opera has released a new version of its mobile browser, Opera for Android 51, which features a built-in VPN (virtual private network) service.

A VPN allows users to create a secure connection to a public network, and is particularly useful if users are unsure of the security levels of the public networks that they use often.

The new VPN in Opera for Android 51 is free, unlimited and easy to use. When enabled, it gives users greater control of their online privacy and improves online security, especially when connecting to public Wi-Fi hotspots such as coffee shops, airports and hotels. The VPN will encrypt Internet traffic into and out of their mobile devices, which reduces the risk of malicious third parties collecting sensitive information.

“There are already more than 650 million people using VPN services globally. With Opera, any Android user can now enjoy a free and no-log service that enhances online privacy and improves security,” said Peter Wallman, SVP Opera Browser for Android.

When users enable the VPN included in Opera for Android 51, they create a private and encrypted connection between their mobile device and a remote VPN server, using strong 256-bit encryption algorithms. When enabled, the VPN hides the user’s physical location, making it difficult to track their activities on the internet.

The browser VPN service is also a no-log service, which means that the VPN servers do not log and retain any activity data, all to protect users privacy.

“Users are exposed to so many security risks when they connect to public Wi-Fi hotspots without a VPN,” said Wallman. “Enabling Opera VPN means that users makes it difficult for third parties to steal information, and users can avoid being tracked. Users no longer need to question if or how they can protect their personal information in these situations.”

According to a report by the Global World Index in 2018, the use of VPNs on mobile devices is rising. More than 42 percent of VPN users on mobile devices use VPN on a daily basis, and 35 percent of VPN users on computers use VPN daily.

The report also shows that South African VPN users said that their main reason for using a VPN service is to remain anonymous while they are online.

“Young people in particular are concerned about their online privacy as they increasingly live their lives online,” said Wallman. “Opera for Android 51 makes it easy to benefit from the security and anonymity of VPN , especially for those may not be aware of how to set these up.”

Setting up the Opera VPN is simple. Users just tap on the browser settings, go to VPN and enable the feature according to their preference. They can also select the region of their choice.

The built-in VPN is free, which means that users don’t need to download additional apps on their smartphones or pay additional fees as they would for other private VPN services. With no sign-in process, users don’t need to log in every time they want to use it.

Opera for Android is available for download in Google Play. The rollout of the new version of Opera for Android 51 will be done gradually per region.

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Future of the car is here

Three new cars, with vastly different price-tags, reveal the arrival of the future of wheels, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK

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Just a few months ago, it was easy to argue that the car of the future was still a long way off, at least in South Africa. But a series of recent car launches have brought the high-tech vehicle to the fore in startling ways.

The Jaguar i-Pace electric vehicle (EV), BMW 330i and the Datsun Go have little in common, aside from representing an almost complete spectrum of car prices on the local market. Their tags start, respectively, at R1.7-million, R650 000 and R150 000.

Such a widely disparate trio of vehicles do not exactly come together to point to the future. Rather, they represent different futures for different segments of the market. But they also reveal what we can expect to become standard in most vehicles produced in the 2020s.

Jaguar i-Pace

The i-Pace may be out of reach of most South Africans, but it ushers in two advances that will resonate throughout the EV market as it welcomes new and more affordable cars. It is the first electric vehicle in South Africa to beat the bugbear of range anxiety.

Unlike the pioneering “old” Nissan Leaf, which had a range of up to about 150km, and did not lend itself to long distance travel, the i-Pace has a 470km range, bringing it within shouting distance of fuel-powered vehicles. A trip from Johannesburg to Durban, for example, would need just one recharge along the way.

And that brings in the other major advance: the i-Pace is the first EV launched in South Africa together with a rapid public charging network on major routes. It also comes with a home charging kit, which means the end of filling up at petrol stations.

The Jaguar i-Pace dispels one further myth about EVs: that they don’t have much power under the hood. A test drive around Gauteng revealed not only a gutsy engine, but acceleration on a par with anything in its class, and enough horsepower to enhance the safety of almost any overtaking situation.

Specs for the Jaguar i-Pace include:

  • All-wheel drive
  • Twin motors with a combined 294kW and 696Nm
  • 0-100km/h in 4.8s
  • 90kWh Lithium-ion battery, delivering up to 470km range
  • Eight-year/160 000km battery warranty
  • Two-year/34 000km service intervals

Click here to read about BMW’s self-driving technology, and how Datsun makes smart technology affordable.

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