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New Wi-Fi software separates data traffic from control traffic

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Ruckus Wireless has developed the Virtual SmartZone Data Plane, a virtual data plane for Wi-Fi that separates data traffic from control traffic on large wireless networks.

Carriers and enterprises will now have maximum flexibility in network deployments, installing multiple data flow managers across a distributed network to help optimise cost and performance based on user demands.

The new software – called Virtual SmartZone Data Plane (vSZ-D) – works with Ruckus’ Virtual SmartZone controllers, which provide a software-based system for managing wireless networks. Virtual SmartZone has built strong market momentum in just one year, with more than 700 customers in production networks – managing more than 200,000 access points. Virtual SmartZone is an early highlight in the industry’s network functions virtualization (NFV) movement, which encapsulates key network functions in software that can run on industry-standard hardware.

“Ruckus is once again leading the way in Wi-Fi innovation, making it easier for carriers and enterprises to virtualise and optimise their networks,” said Greg Beach, vice president of product management at Ruckus. “Separating control and data traffic delivers significant flexibility, cost and performance advantages for networks that support thousands of devices and access points.”

Virtual SmartZone Data Plane provides a flexible, cost-effective approach to aggregate and tunnel end-user data for specific application or security policy needs. Tunneling traditionally drives up cost and lowers performance, requiring expensive physical controllers to be replicated at each site – while increasing hardware and labour costs as the network grows. By contrast, vSZ-D distributes the workload across multiple, inexpensive systems – requiring only a single controller instance along with inexpensive vSZ-D deployments at remote sites. Data also moves faster because it can bypass the controller with only incremental impact on each site.

Functionally, the vSZ-D is manageable by the Virtual SmartZone controller, while enabling independent scaling of control and data planes. Multiple vSZ-D instances can be deployed at distributed sites – or an instance can be deployed centrally, helping to afford maximum network design flexibility. The NFV-based design eliminates deployment limitations due to physical computer hardware and geographic location. Virtual SmartZone controllers feature a tremendous level of flexibility: scaling up to 300,000 devices, offering single and multi-tenancy, and enabling “WiFi-as-you-grow” for networks to expand and adapt to the changing needs of their business. The SmartZone software platform supports all of Ruckus’ ZoneFlex indoor and outdoor wireless access points.

Key vSZ-D product features include:

·         Encrypted data tunneling: Provides flexible options for data tunneling from all types of Virtual LANs (VLANs), including guest traffic encryption; point of sale data tunneling for PCI compliance; VoIP traffic tunneling; and seamless roaming across Layer 2 subnets.

·         Dynamic data plane scaling: Provides scale and resiliency for large deployments supporting 1Gbps, 10Gbps or higher throughput – which can be dynamically tuned without needing software updates.

·         Cluster architecture: Provides scale and resiliency for large deployments supporting up to 30,000 access points and 300,000 devices. One Virtual SmartZone controller can manage up to two vSZ-D instances, and four-controller cluster can manage up to 8 vSZ-D instances.

·         Support for multiple hypervisors: Provides initial support for two of the industry’s most widely deployed virtualisation engines – VMware vSphere and KVM (OpenStack).

vSZ-D is immediately available as an extension to Ruckus’ existing Virtual SmartZone controllers – offered in a “high scale” version (vSZ-H) for carriers and large enterprises, and an “essentials” version (vSZ-E) for large and mid-size enterprises. Virtual SmartZone software extends the Smart Wi-Fi technology that has made Ruckus so popular, including proprietary breakthroughs such as BeamFlex+ adaptive antenna technology, ChannelFly predictive channel selection, SmartMesh self-optimised network meshing and Dynamic PSK Wi-Fi security – all of which help Ruckus deliver reliable, secure and scalable high-performance Wi-Fi for enterprise and service providers.

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Revealing the real cost of ‘free’ online services

A free service by Finnish cybersecurity provider F-Secure reveals the real cost of using “free” services by Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon, among others.

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What do Google, Facebook, and Amazon have in common? Privacy and identity scandals. From Cambridge Analytica to Google’s vulnerability in Google+, the amount of personal data sitting on these platforms is enormous.

Cybersecurity provider F-Secure has released a free online tool that helps expose the true cost of using some of the web’s most popular free services. And that cost is the abundance of data that has been collected about users by Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon Alexa, Twitter, and Snapchat. The good news is that you can take back your data “gold”.

F-Secure Data Discovery Portal sends users directly to the often hard-to-locate resources provided by each of these tech giants that allow users to review their data, securely and privately.

“What you do with the data collection is entirely between you and the service,” says Erka Koivunen, F-Secure Chief Information Security Officer. “We don’t see – and don’t want to see – your settings or your data. Our only goal is to help you find out how much of your information is out there.”

More than half of adult Facebook users, 54%, adjusted how they use the site in the wake of the scandal that revealed Cambridge Analytica had collected data without users’ permission.* But the biggest social network in the world continues to grow, reporting 2.3 billion monthly users at the end of 2018.**

“You often hear, ‘if you’re not paying, you’re the product.’ But your data is an asset to any company, whether you’re paying for a product or not,” says Koivunen. “Data enables tech companies to sell billions in ads and products, building some of the biggest businesses in the history of money.”

F-Secure is offering the tool as part of the company’s growing focus on identity protection that secures consumers before, during, and after data breaches. By spreading awareness of the potential costs of these “free” services, the Data Discovery Portal aims to make users aware that securing their data and identity is more important than ever.

A recent F-Secure survey found that 54% of internet users over 25 worry about someone hacking into their social media accounts.*** Data is only as secure as the networks of the companies that collect it, and the passwords and tactics used to protect our accounts. While the settings these sites offer are useful, they cannot eliminate the collection of data.

Koivunen says: “While consumers effectively volunteer this information, they should know the privacy and security implications of building accounts that hold more potential insight about our identities than we could possibly share with our family. All of that information could be available to a hacker through a breach or an account takeover.”

However, there is no silver bullet for users when it comes to permanently locking down security or hiding it from the services they choose to use.

“Default privacy settings are typically quite loose, whether you’re using a social network, apps, browsers or any service,” says Koivunen. “Review your settings now, if you haven’t already, and periodically afterwards. And no matter what you can do, nothing stops these companies from knowing what you’re doing when you’re logged into their services.”

*Source: https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/09/05/americans-are-changing-their-relationship-with-facebook/
**Source: https://www.theverge.com/2019/1/30/18204186/facebook-q4-2018-earnings-user-growth-revenue-increase-privacy-scandals
***Source: F-Secure Identity Protection Consumer (B2C) Survey, May 2019, conducted in cooperation with survey partner Toluna, 9 countries (USA, UK, Germany, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Brazil, Finland, Sweden, and Japan), 400 respondents per country = 3600 respondents (+25years)

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WhatsApp comes to KaiOS

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By the end of September, WhatsApp will be pre-installed on all phones running the KaiOS operating system, which turns feature phones into smart phones. The announcement was made yesterday by KaiOS Technologies, maker of the KaiOS mobile operating system for smart feature phones, and Facebook. WhatsApp is also available for download in the KaiStore, on both 512MB and 256MB RAM devices.

“KaiOS has been a critical partner in helping us bring private messaging to smart feature phones around the world,” said Matt Idema, COO of WhatsApp. “Providing WhatsApp on KaiOS helps bridge the digital gap to connect friends and family in a simple, reliable and secure way.”

WhatsApp is a messaging tool used by more than 1.5 billion people worldwide who need a simple, reliable and secure way to communicate with friends and family. Users can use calling and messaging capabilities with end-to-end encryption that keeps correspondence private and secure. 

WhatsApp was first launched on the KaiOS-powered JioPhone in India in September of 2018. Now, with the broad release, the app is expected to reach millions of new users across Africa, Europe, North America, Southeast Asia, and Latin America.

“We’re thrilled to bring WhatsApp to the KaiOS platform and extend such an important means of communication to a brand new demographic,” said Sebastien Codeville, CEO of KaiOS Technologies. “We strive to make the internet and digital services accessible for everyone and offering WhatsApp on affordable smart feature phones is a giant leap towards this goal. We can’t wait to see the next billion users connect in meaningful ways with their loved ones, communities, and others across the globe.”

KaiOS-powered smart feature phones are a new category of mobile devices that combine the affordability of a feature phone with the essential features of a smartphone. They meet a growing demand for affordable devices from people living across Africa – and other emerging markets – who are not currently online. 

WhatsApp is now available for download from KaiStore, an app store specifically designed for KaiOS-powered devices and home to the world’s most popular apps, including the Google Assistant, YouTube, Facebook, Google Maps and Twitter. Apps in the KaiStore are customised to minimise data usage and maximise user experience for smart feature phone users.

In Africa, the KaiOS-powered MTN Smart and Orange Sanza are currently available in 22 countries, offering 256MB RAM and 3G connectivity.

KaiOS currently powers more than 100 million devices shipped worldwide, in over 100 countries. The platform enables a new category of devices that require limited memory, while still offering a rich user experience.

* For more details, visit: Meet The Devices That Are Powered by KaiOS

* Also read Arthur Goldstuck’s story, Smart feature phones spell KaiOS

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