Tag : Wi-Fi

Shopper Safety – Beware of Fake Apps and Wifi Hotspots

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Now that holiday shopping is upon us, security researchers are handing out advice on how to protect yourself and your information from cyber hacking. More and more shoppers use their smartphones while they are shopping, to compare prices and deals at other stores or online. Reports by RiskIQ, an enterprise security firm, estimates that 30 percent of Cyber Monday and Black Friday shopping will be done on a mobile device.

Cyber criminals are well aware that shoppers are relying heavily on their smartphones this holiday season. Noticing that many consumers often connect to free wifi hotspots while shopping, hackers have taken to setting up fake wifi zones to entice people into connecting. Consumers may see a wifi network available named “Macysfreewifi” and connect without even second guessing – often times the store isn’t even in the mall! If you see a wifi network labeled with a store name that is nowhere nearby, do not connect. The same goes for wifi networks set up with the word “free”, often these are bogus as well. Hackers will also monitor communications over legitimate networks that are poorly secured and not properly configured, but this is a more difficult process than getting an unsuspecting shopper to connect to a malicious network.

Hackers are also known to repackage legitimate applications so that the fake application they create looks almost identical to the real thing, in the hopes you will choose theirs instead. Sometimes hackers will create a completely fake application from scratch, such as “Amazon Rewards” that does not exist in the official app stores. Many times these fake apps will promise rewards or points for downloading. The fake Amazon Rewards app was found to be a trojan, spread by using fake Amazon vouchers and a link to a fake website sent via SMS text messages. The fake app even accesses the user’s contacts to send the vouchers to more mobile phones without permission.

This is not the first fake application, and it most certainly will not be the last. RiskIQ found 1 million applications that have been blacklisted for using brand names in the title or description of the application to trick consumers. The only real way to avoid such applications is to go directly to official application stores such as Google Play and Apple App Store to download applications.

Things To Remember:

  • Download applications only from official app stores

  • Beware of apps that ask for permissions to contacts, text messages, stored password or credit card information

  • Question applications that have rave reviews, they are easy to forge

  • If you do not understand the warning on your device, do not click continue

  • Update your device to the most current operating system

  • Disconnect from the network if your phone begins to act up or crash

 


If you would like to educate yourself in more detail about the information presented in this blog post please visit : www.computerworld.com 

 

Ubiquiti’s Amplifi – What a mesh!

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The Amplifi system is best for those large homes struggling to get strong Wi-Fi connection throughout. Not only is the Amplifi a competent router with a firewall integrated, but it can also be used as a pure Wi-Fi access point and mesh network.

The web interface is basic, with all management needs being completed via the iOS or Android application. The Amplifi kit supports sshaccess out of the box via LAN or WLAN, not the WAN side. Amplifi does not support several features for power users, such as WPA2 Enterprise for 802.1X.

The base station comes with two mesh points, an AC adapter with a Micro-USB plug, a 1.5-meter Cat5 Ethernet patch cable, and a small instruction booklet. The setup includes involves first downloading the Amplifi application (this is where you will find the step-by-step setup instructions) and applying power to the base station by plugging it into my cable modem.

The device itself looks pretty cool, the design is modern with an LED light glowing from the bottom of the device. The mesh points and their articulated antenna heads are meant to plug directly into electrical outlets around your home. Each can be manipulated around to aid with reception. The antenna is not permanently affixed to the bottom of the plug component, and for good reason. The antenna is held in place by a very strong magnetic ball-and-socket. This way if the antenna is bumped or nudged it simply falls off without breaking the entire component and can be reattached without hesitation, great for kids, pets, and the clumsy alike.

The Amplifi data sheet advertises a max speed of “5.25Gbps” for the Amplifi HD. In a real world test performed by Lee Hutchinson, Senior Technology Editor for Ars, the 802.11ac test system was able to negotiate a transfer rate of 867Mbps in a relatively calm RF environment at a distance of about two meters from the base station. Though the Amplifi units don’t yet support 802.11k or 802.11r managed roaming, his phone and laptop had no issues jumping between the mesh points as he wandered around the house with file transfers in progress. The observed transfer rates varied between 100-500Mbps, though there was no bench-marking in place and the tests weren’t controlled.

Amplifi systems are offered with three models ranging in price from $199 to $349. Aggressive pricing considering the Eero is priced at $499 for a three-device starter pack, and the Apple Airport Extreme is priced at $199 and $99 for a mesh extension. Depending on your needs, the standard option would be more than enough for the average user.

 

 

 

 


 

If you would like to educate yourself in more detail about the information presented in this blog post please visit : www.arstechnica.com

Wi-Fi Capabilities Dramatically Increase with Beamforming

New things are coming in the world of Wi-Fi technology, in the form of beamforming and MU-MIMO. Beamforming makes it possible for routers to adjust their phase and power for better signal by allowing Wi-Fi routers and clients to exchange information about their locations. Beamforming, in either the explicit or implicit form, provides significantly better radio signals, faster forwarding, at greater distances. Devices manufactured in the last two years will support explicit beamforming, that allows client and Wi-Fi to communicate about their locations, and providing better steering of signals between the two. Implicit beamforming works in a similar way, steering signals based on the routers internal measurements rather than the respective locations of the router and the client. Prior to beamforming, Wi-Fi routers sent signals out in all directions. The signals need only go where Wi-Fi devices are, beamforming makes Wi-Fi capabilities more efficient by solving this problem and employing signals in the direction of devices. MU-MIMO, short for multi-user, multiple input, and multiple output, makes more bandwidth available to wireless users. Moving networking away from the one-at-a-time model to a more complex system, multiple devices can converse simultaneously.

David Newman with Network World, reviewed the MU-MIMO and beamforming capabilities within the Linksys EA-7500 and his results were noteworthy. After a quick power-up, online configuration, and downloaded firmware update, the router was up and running. Comparing transfer rates between the old 802.11n access point and the new Linksys EA-7500 router, Newman found a significant increase in results. The old 802.11n downloaded data at 25Mbps while the new Linskys EA-7500 downloaded data much faster at 58Mbps.

His conclusion is as follows:

So, can beamforming and MU-MIMO help you? The answer is “yes, for sure” if you’re in one of three categories:

  • if you’ve got devices 2 years old or newer, beamforming can help
  • if you’ve got distance issues, beamforming and MU-MIMO can help
  • if you’ve got multiple devices, MU-MIMO can help

In all these cases, we saw significant improvements using MU-MIMO and beamforming technology in the Linksys EA7500 Wi-Fi router.

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If you would like to educate yourself in more detail about the information presented in this blog post please visit: Review: Wave 2 Wi-Fi delivers dramatic performance boost for home networks

New Samsung Galaxy Tab Unit – T-Mobile

T-Mobile’s has come out with their first Android tablet, the Samsung Galaxy Tab.  It is a good piece of hardware, but it doesn’t have enough great apps to be compelling.  It’s hard to compete with other units like it for a variety of reasons, I feel not having enough apps is the largest one.  The iPad makes it difficult to set itself aside from the others.  Sprint also has its own version that actually came out two weeks ago, but just last week had the chance to play with this version.  Both are part of the same line of device and make up the first true tablet competitors to the iPad. I will say this, this unit is sort of a new breed, because unlike the iPad, they’re truly small and light enough to be used on the go. In any case, they’re well built and worth watching, though they need more custom apps to be truly useful.  The Samsung Galaxy Tab is about $399-$599. After playing with the unit I feel that the speed is great, nice camera that takes good pictures, and overall great performance.

This unit has 16GB of internal storage plus a memory card slot and the T-Mobile’s 3G network is very fast and reliable which is key.  The Galaxy Tab can’t hit T-Mobile’s maximum HSPA+ speeds of 7Mbps, but its got a healthy 2Mbps on the Galaxy Tab’s HSPA 7.2 modem using the Ookla speed test app. The device also has 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, and it had no trouble connecting to our WPA2 protected network. There’s no Wi-Fi sharing mode, though, but there’s a USB tethering mode.  Looking over the web reports it is documented that some people have achieved 7.0 hours of video playback time, with screen brightness set to automatic.  The battery life for the galaxy is shorter than the iPad’s battery life, but Apple’s tablet is larger, thus the larger battery.  The Galaxy Tab model runs on Android 2.2. But here’s the biggest problem with the Tab: there is currently one good app for Android tablets. It is the new Wall Street Journal app, and it’s just beautiful, with a ‘virtual newspaper’ look and feel that is far easier and more fun to read than, say, the New York Times’ or the AP’s list format.  It is reported that more apps are coming, but who really knows when that is happening.

Device Specifications
Screen Size- 7 inches
Storage Capacity- 16 GB
Dimensions- 7.48 x 4.74 x 0.7 inches
Weight- 13.4 oz
Networking Options- 802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11n, 3G
Email Access- Dedicated email app

iPad Can Be Used With Verizon Wireless

Verizon and Apple seem to be having problems about getting the iPhone on its network and being able to sell it.  It’s pretty funny that as a result, the carrier is getting the iPad instead. Apple and Verizon Wireless today announced that the Apple iPad will be available in more than 2,000 Verizon Wireless retail stores starting October 28.

AT&T still has the exclusive contract with Apple and of course someone got really creative with how to make this happen.  Verizon Wireless will not sell the iPad (Wi-Fi + 3G), the version of the tablet that runs on AT&T’s 3G network, it will instead sell the Wi-Fi-only iPad with its own Verizon MiFi 2200 Intelligent Mobile Hotspot.

The iPad will be available in three bundles:
•Apple iPad 16GB + MiFi: $629.99
•Apple iPad 32GB + MiFi: $729.99
•Apple iPad 64GB + MiFi: $829.99
As far as data plans for the iPad, Verizon will offer one: Up to 1GB of data for $20 per month.

Verizon’s bundle prices are the same as what you’d pay for the iPad with integrated AT&T 3G. But Apple and AT&T offer a choice of two service plans: 250MB a month for $14.99 or 2GB month for $25.
Incidentally, AT&T today also announced that it would begin selling the Wi-Fi + 3G iPad in its retail stores on the same day: October 28.
The upside to buying an iPad from Verizon? Versatility: The MiFi provides Internet access for up to five devices at a range of about 30 to 40 feet. But it is one more thing to tote along with you, though the MiFi is only about the size of a pack of cigarettes, but half as thick (3.5 by 2.3 by 0.4 inches).

It’s also one more thing you need to keep charged. Battery life varies depending on how many devices you have connected at once. In our tests, with four Wi-Fi connections, the battery dropped to one bar in an hour. In 90 minutes, it was almost fully drained. On the other hand, we were able to eke out 8 hours and 5 minutes of power on the iPad (Wi-Fi + 3G) running the 3G modem nonstop.  Lots of things to consider I suppose but it seems that this offering is a bit premature and not as seamless as it should be.