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Interference: the great connectivity challenge

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As more users connect to the Internet, frequencies become congested causing data interference. However, MARCO DE RU, CTO of MiRO, believes that there are still ways companies can ease interference allowing users to connect to the Internet without any hassles.

Many of the factors affecting the potential for interference between wireless operators have been accelerated by industry trends that include the development of new broadband and multi-channel technologies. In a nutshell, as technology becomes more readily available, more users connect to the Internet, resulting in more congested frequency bands and hence more interference on data links.

According to MiRO’s CTO Marco de Ru, in 2008 the entire market was geared up to adopt 5.8 GHz as the new silver bullet ISM frequency on which to operate. This was a result of the fact that the 2.4 GHz frequency was no longer regarded as viable for fixed broadband usage, since there was very little spectrum available and interference was increasing.

“Since there was a much wider spectrum available in the unlicensed 5.8 GHz band, it was the obvious answer. Furthermore, the necessary equipment was readily available and inexpensive. However, 10 years later we find ourselves in a similar situation, with the 5.8 GHz frequency being overcrowded and interference being a serious issue. Although the 17 GHz ISM frequency is available, products are not easily obtainable, the range is limited, it is expensive and it is only point-to-point,” says De Ru.

Although not new, implementing Prism Filtering, GPS synchronisation, shielded and slanted antennas together with other strategically selected technologies in one combined solution, is one of the factors that differentiates Ubiquiti from the pack with regard to problem solving in this space.

De Ru explains that even though electronic filtering has been available for some time, technology has improved drastically and with its airPrism technology Ubiquiti has taken this to a new level of interference mitigation. “There have been up to three times greater TCP/IP throughput levels when using airPrism, in comparison with other Wi-Fi technologies for a typical case of co-located interference. It is a robust solution for this issue and requires no communication between radios. In fact, it functions very effectively despite noise from other vendors’ radios and it enables greater system capacity and overall throughput by further reducing out-of-band energy.”

Ubiquiti also recently launched GPS Sync for the AirMAX ac series of products. This delivers over 90% higher throughput than competing synchronised systems. It also provides consistent latency and jitter, which is great for VoIP providers that run their service over wireless links. GPS Sync allows users to synchronise their network and achieve more throughput with much less spectrum, by leveraging spectrum re-use (see figures 2, 3 and 4).

On typical tower installations, an antenna frequently ‘hears’ co-located devices as loudly, or even more loudly, than the intended CPE (customer premises equipment) or PtP (point-to-point) radio. Ubiquiti’s airMAX ac high-isolation antennas help to alleviate this problem by reducing the energy received by nearby radios.

“Further developments around isolation/horn antennas have also taken this to new levels. Asymmetrical horn antennas are ideal for cluster sector installations with high co-location requirements. They also improve beam-shaping for specific deployment and environment needs. They similarly offer the best front-to-back ratio in the industry and the lowest side lobe radiation,” says De Ru.

The bottom line is that the market needs to make smart decisions with respect to the spectrum that is currently available, using products that are affordable. “MiRO aligns itself with forward-thinking suppliers like Ubiquiti, who constantly seek solutions to industry-derived issues. This is evident in the enhancement of a number of pre-existing technologies to address the challenges faced with interference,” De Ru adds.

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AppDate: DStv taps Xbox, Hisense

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DStv Now for Xbox and Hisense

Usage of DStv Now, the online DStv service available free to DStv customers, is increasing rapidly with more than two million plays of live and Catch Up content per week. In addition to using DStv Now to watch TV on tablets and smartphones, an increasing number of DStv customers are also opting to use it as their primary method of getting DStv on additional TVs in the house. This is set to increase with the release of two new big-screen TV apps, one for Xbox gaming consoles (Xbox One, Xbox One S, Xbox One X) and another for Hisense smart TVs (2018 and newer models).

Expect to pay: A free download.

Platform: Any of the Xbox One range of gaming consoles and 2018 or later Hisense smart TVs.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your Xbox console or HiSense smart TV.

Santam Safety Ideas

Start-up businesses that have a FinTech or InsurTech business venture brewing are called to enter the third annual Santam Safety Ideas competition. Safety solutions or InsurTech ventures that are ready for piloting could win up to  R150 000 worth of incubation support and R200 000 in seed funding. 

The Safety Ideas competition was launched two years ago in partnership with LaunchLab,  Stellenbosch University’s startup incubator that facilitates valuable connections for corporates and startups sourced from the startup ecosystem and partner universities in South Africa. The previous winners are Herman Bester and Anton Swanevelder, co-founders of MyLifeLine – a wearable panic device that won the competition last year; and Ntsako Mgiba and Ntandoyenkosi Shezi, co-founders of Jonga – a cost-effective security system for low income families, which won the competition in 2017.

Entries close on 28 February 2019. For more information on how to enter, visit: www.santam.co.za/safetyideas/

Click here to read about the FNB Snapchat lens, Spotify Free with data saver, and 00:37.

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Fortnite fixes hackers’ hole

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Epic Games has repaired a vulnerability that exposed Fortnite, the world’s most popular game of the moment, to hackers. The hole, which was left in Epic’s web infrastructure,  allowed hackers to target players with email that appeared to come from Epic Games, but would have led them to a phishing site, where their log-in details would have been stolen.

Researchers at cyber security solutions provider Check Point Software alerted Epic to vulnerabilities that could have affected any player of the hugely popular online battle game.

Fortnite has nearly 80 million players worldwide. The game is popular on all gaming platforms, including Android, iOS, PC via Microsoft Windows and consoles such as Xbox One and PlayStation 4.  In addition to casual players, Fortnite is used by professional gamers who stream their sessions online, and is popular with e-sports enthusiasts.

If exploited, the vulnerability would have given an attacker full access to a user’s account and their personal information as well as enabling them to purchase virtual in-game currency using the victim’s payment card details. The vulnerability would also have allowed for a massive invasion of privacy, as an attacker could listen to in-game chatter as well as surrounding sounds and conversations within the victim’s home or other location of play. 

While Fortnite players had previously been targeted by scams that deceived them into logging into fake websites that promised to generate Fortnite’s ‘V-Buck’ in-game currency, these new vulnerabilities could have been exploited without the player handing over any login details.

Click here to read how the Fortnite hack would have worked.

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