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Why public entities are becoming more supportive of the Open Source approach

Nowadays, public bodies such as international, federal and state entities are becoming more and more supportive of the open source movement and in general of “open” approaches.

In many countries, such as the US, the UK and France, governments have recommended adopting open-source software in their administrations. Indeed, benefits from open source are particularly well aligned with the objectives pursued by any government:

  • Keeping the IT budget under control: although open-source software is a commercial product and therefore not free of charge, it has a total cost of ownership that is generally lower than proprietary software;
  • Ensuring security and reliability, because the open code allows for complete audits to check for vulnerabilities;
  • Enhancing transparency and innovating to serve citizens better.

Government bodies such as FCC are also recognizing its value by actively contributing back to open source software: indeed, it became the first .gov to contribute to WordPress, the most used content management system.

 

Public entities are also encouraging wireless hardware vendors to allow interoperability with third-party systems based on open source in order to benefit end consumers: indeed, open source firmware can make wireless devices more powerful and more useful, allowing users to implement functions that have been disabled or omitted by manufacturers and ultimately giving them the freedom to customize their hardware. This concept empowers the idea of disaggregation, which means offering the option to select software from one vendor and run it on hardware from a different manufacturer.

In 2016, for example, the FCC required networking hardware vendor TP-Link to support open source firmware on its routers. In a settlement with the FCC, TP-Link agreed to pay a $200,000 fine to be compliant with the rules for the 5GHz band and to allow users to install open source firmware on its routers.

FCC’s rules for the 5GHz band, indeed, require router makers to prevent third-party firmware from changing radio frequency parameters in ways that could cause harmful interference with other devices and services. Router makers could be compliant with these FCC rules by placing limits on what third-party firmware are allowed to do or, alternatively, they could comply by entirely preventing the loading of open source firmware, and this is what TP-Link chose to do. Indeed, TP-Link’s software updates “precluded customer installation of third-party software, including open-source software,” to meet the new 5GHz requirements, the settlement said. In order to avoid further penalties, the settlement required TP-Link to “work with the open-source community and Wi-Fi chipset manufacturers to enable consumers to install third-party firmware on their Wi-Fi routers,” FCC stated.

“While manufacturers of Wi-Fi routers must ensure reasonable safeguards to protect radio parameters, users are otherwise free to customise their routers,” said Travis LeBlanc, chief of the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau. “We support TP-Link’s commitment to work with the open-source community and Wi-Fi chipset manufacturers to enable third-party firmware on TP-Link routers.”  

 

At Tanaza, we believe that disaggregation is imminent on the WiFi networking industry and that, considering the new market conditions, the unbundling of hardware and software is the future for WiFi professionals. For this reason, we developed full compatibility with many wireless devices from different vendors, allowing WiFi professionals to choose the hardware they want to work with and therefore to save on infrastructure costs and hardware while avoiding vendor lock-in. Tanaza’s firmware is based on OpenWRT, a Linux-based open-source firmware for embedded devices that enables the customization of wireless access points, as a result of its fully writable filesystem with package management. For more information about Tanaza and its wide range wide of supported access points, click here.

Related articles:

Update 2019: The list of supported OpenWRT Wireless Access Points Vendors

FCC proposes rules for unlicensed use of the 6GHz band

https://www.tanaza.com/blog/wifi-6-the-next-generation-of-wifi/

WiFi 6: the next generation of WiFi

WiFi 6: the next generation of WiFi

The next standard for wireless LANs, IEEE 802.11ax, has been conceived to transmit data faster, to better allocate bandwidth among several devices connected to a WiFi network and to more reliably deliver high-bandwidth applications (such as video streaming) than its predecessor, 802.11ac, also known as WiFi 5.

The new naming standard

The 802.11ax specification, also known as ‘high-efficiency wireless’, will be commonly referred to and marketed as WiFi 6.

This is a new naming standard set by the Wi-Fi Alliance®, with previous generations now being retroactively labelled as WiFi 5 (802.11ac) and WiFi 4 (802.11n). This new labelling convention will appear on devices as shown in the image below.

WiFi new naming convention by the Wi-Fi Alliance: WiFi 6, WiFi 5 and WiFi 4

This naming scheme is aimed at making it simpler for final consumers to recognize which of the IEEE 802.11 standards each WiFi device supports.

Faster data transfer speeds

WiFi 6 will have a single-user data rate that is about 40% faster than 802.11ac by virtue of a more efficient data encoding, resulting in a higher throughput: more data is packed into the same radio waves, and the chips that encode and decode the signals will increasingly get more powerful and will be able to handle the additional work.

The new standard also improves the performance on 2.4GHz networks that, despite the large investments of the industry on the 5GHz band to reduce interferences, is still better at penetrating physical obstacles.

WiFi 6’s predecessor, 802.11ac, only uses bands in the 5GHz spectrum; the new standard operates across both frequencies and will eventually expand this spectrum to include bands in 1GHz and 6GHz when they become available.

 

Better performance in dense environments

WiFi performance tends to get worse in crowded locations, such as stadiums, airports, malls and offices, where many WiFi enabled devices are connected to the network at the same time.

The new WiFi 6 incorporates many new technologies to overcome this issue, and according to Intel, it will improve each user’s average speed by at least four times in congested areas.

WiFi 6 can divide a wireless channel into a large number of subchannels, and each of these subchannels can carry data intended for a different device. This is achieved through the Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access (OFDMA), a modulation scheme which allows for resource unit allocation and will boost capacity, reduce latency and improve efficiency by allowing as many as 30 users at once to share the same channel. This technology is not a part of WiFi 5, which has regular OFDM; OFDMA is compared as a multi-user version of OFDM.

The new wireless standard has also an improved version of multi-user or MU-MIMO. Wi-Fi 5 Wave 2 introduced Multi-User MIMO, but it only supports four simultaneous connections on downstream (one on upstream). Wi-Fi 6 will instead be able to handle eight streams of data in either uplink or downlink, offering four times the maximum theoretical throughput of Wi-Fi 5 and supporting more users at once.

Image Source: Qualcomm

Extended battery life for client devices

The new Target Wake Time (TWT) feature enables access points to tell to connected devices when and how frequently they have to “wake up” to send or receive data, reducing power consumption and improving spectral efficiency. This technology will be very useful for both mobile and IoT devices, allowing them to effectively increase their sleep time and consequently extend their battery life.

Target Wake Time, in addition to saving power on the client device side, also enables wireless access points and devices to define and negotiate specific times to access the medium, reducing contention and overlap between users.

Target Wake Time (TWT) Feature

Image source: Qualcomm

When will we get WiFi 6?

While some routers already advertise “802.11ax technology” and many products supporting WiFi 6 were presented during CES 2019, 802.11ax WiFi won’t be finalized until the end of 2019. There also aren’t any WiFi 6 client devices available yet, so so these routers won’t bring any benefits to consumers before the transition is done: indeed, both the sender and the receiver need to support the latest generation of WiFi to gain the advantages.

Meet Hiro: the new Logo for Tanaza

Tanaza was founded with the idea to develop a sophisticated tool that could be so smart that it could be easily integrated to work in perfect harmony with any device from any vendor. Today, we have fully transformed our brand in order to capture what using Tanaza is really about: to disaggregate hardware and software to create reliable and cost-effective Wi-Fi networks.

 

Our new logo

In 2018, our design team, in partnership with Copystudio, created an entirely new Tanaza logo to reflect our vision.

The word “network” has been a key inspiration in the way we wish to visually communicate our brand. However, we found that design elements like lines and dots were not enough to shape our new brand idea. We wanted a memorable concept that could be easily recognized and understood. We wanted an impactful logo that could personify the meticulous manner with which we have developed our product and reflect the quality and reliability of our software. And so, we thought — who better than a spider to represent the creation of a robust and impenetrable network.

We are proud to introduce HIRO: the new symbol for our community of Wi-Fi professionals.

Tanaza has created a symbol. An original trademark that impersonates our shared values. An iconic symbol for our community of Wi-Fi professionals who embrace open networking.

We have also updated our wordmark. We have carefully designed our geometric letters, paying close attention to the “a”, as it is repeated 3 times within the word Tanaza. Additionally, we have also changed our primary color. We decided to abandon the bright orange that allowed us to differentiate ourselves from the very beginning within the Wi-Fi industry. Our new logo is predominately black and white, to balance the bold identity of our new trademark.

 

CES 2019: four interesting innovations in the wireless devices industry

CES is one of the biggest meetings for businesses of consumer technologies to present their new products and speak about the main innovations. During four days, more than 4K companies including manufacturers, developers, and suppliers of consumer technology hardware meet to exhibit their products and share their thoughts about their industry.

This year, the CES takes place in Las Vegas from the 8th to the 11th of January.

 So, what’s new? What are the main innovations within the wireless industry for 2019?

We made a list of notable products presented during the CES 2019. This list is not exhaustive.

The new D-Link 5G NR Enhanced Gateway, probably one of the best WiFi routers of CES 2019

D-Link, the Taiwanese networking company, launched its new WiFi router, the D-Link 5G NR Enhanced Gateway that allows super-fast wireless 5G internet data for home WiFi. It is conceived to receive a super-fast wireless 5G signal from any internet service provider and deliver internet to home connected devices. This D-Link WiFi router supports a faster form of 5G than the current Verizon 5G network (which is a 300 megabit-per-second speed network).
Even if 5G home internet network is still at an early stage of development, this D-Link WiFi router is probably one of the best WiFi routers presented to the CES 2019. This WiFi router will be available on the market in the second half of 2019.

TP-Link and its first family of WiFi 6 routers

TP-Link, the Chinese manufacturer networking products, unveiled its first WiFi 6 routers.
As we mentioned in a previous article, the WiFi alliance recently simplified the names for wireless standards, and the new generation of WiFi, WiFi 6 (802.11ax), is starting to arrive. TP-Link presented to the CES 2019 its first WiFi 6 routers: six wireless devices in total, varying from high-end routers to extenders, all using the new wiFi 6 standard in order to deliver better and faster internet. TP-Link is the first manufacturer of networking products to announce that their wireless devices will support WiFi 6.
WiFi 6 new standard should be launched throughout the year so these routers won’t bring any benefits to consumers before the transition is done and that consumer devices support WiFi 6.

Netgear Orbi mesh router will support WiFi 6

Netgear, the multinational computer networking company, is the second manufacturer to announce the release of WiFi 6 routers in the second-half of 2019.
The Orbi Mesh System will get an update and be able to receive WiFi 6 signal. Netgear announced that WiFi 6 devices will be fast enough to provide gigabit Ethernet speeds over a wireless networking signal. The update will come with the Netgear’s series of hardware RBK50.

MediaTek presents its new connectivity chipset with the latest WiFi 6 standard

MediaTek is a Taiwanese semiconductor company that provides chipset for wireless communication.  During the CES 2019, MediaTek reveals its new chipset that will be compatible with the latest WiFi standard: WiFi 6.
The chipset will prioritize traffic, bandwidth and user demands while delivering the new WiFi 6. The chipset will also support multi-user MIMO, increasing the channel capacity per device on a given network. Last but not least, it will allow for Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple-Access (OFDMA), optimizing activities, such as social media, youtube, Netflix, on a given network. This new chipset is designed for the new generation of WiFi 6 routers, access points and repeaters.

FCC proposes rules for unlicensed use of the 6GHz band

FCC proposes new rules for the unlicensed use of the 6GHz band

In response to the demands of high tech companies for a more so-called “mid-band” unlicensed spectrum, on October 23rd the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) unanimously voted to propose making available up to 1,200 MHz of spectrum for use by unlicensed devices in the 6 GHz band.

“Unlicensed devices that employ WiFi and other unlicensed standards have become indispensable for providing low-cost wireless connectivity in countless products used by American consumers”, we read in the official statement. Unlicensed devices include WiFi routers, connected home appliances, fitness trackers, cordless landline phones and baby monitors.

On December 17th, the FCC released its NRPM (Notice of Proposed Rule Making) document, outlining the proposed rules for unlicensed use of the 6 GHz band.

 

 

New rules to avoid interferences

 

Since various parts of the 6GHz frequency range are already used by fixed, mobile, and satellite services, the FCC commits to protecting these incumbents, while at the same time opening the band to an increase number of unlicensed devices.

Concisely, the FCC wants to introduce four new unlicensed subbands, named U-NII-5 to U-NII-8.

In the case of U-NII-5 and U-NII-7 (respectively, 5.925-6.425 GHz and 6.525-6.875 GHz) a new scheme called Automated Frequency Control (AFC) will protect incumbent users (mostly point-to-point microwave links) from harmful interference.

Conversely, the U-NII-6 and the U-NII-8 subbands (respectively, 6.425-6.525 GHz and 6.875-7.125 GHz) should be only used indoors at a lower power level. In those portions of the 6GHz band, licensed mobile services such as the Broadcast Auxiliary Service and Cable Television Relay Service already operate.

“The Commission tentatively concludes that this two-class approach can expand unlicensed use without causing harmful interference to the incumbent services that will continue to be authorised to use this spectrum,” we read in the NPRM document. Moreover, The U-NII-5 band is currently under study by the European Commission for a possible expansion of WiFi bands in Europe.

The objective of the proposed new rules is twofold:

  • To enable unlicensed devices to operate only on frequencies where the devices would not cause harmful interference to authorized licensed services
  • To allow a more intense use of a valuable spectrum resource to benefit consumers.

 

 

Creating new opportunities for the future of WiFi

 

The Wi-Fi Alliance praised the results of the October 23rd vote, stating that “the demand for WiFi connectivity has increased manifold while unlicensed access to critically important mid-band spectrum has remained relatively unchanged.”

“Today, more than ever, WiFi is expected to deliver vast amounts of data traffic that comes with broadband services such as 5G,” said Alex Roytblat, Senior Director of Worldwide Regulatory Affairs at Wi-Fi Alliance. “Wi-Fi 6 is designed to support these growing data throughput requirements, and needs additional unlicensed spectrum access to accommodate wider channels and other technical innovations. That is why access to the mid-band, 6 GHz, unlicensed spectrum is so important to Wi-Fi’s future.”

According to Claus Hetting, Executive Director of the WiFi-NOW organization, “The amount of frequencies available for WiFi to operate in could more than double, possibly already by the end of next year. This staggering amount of new spectrum will likely spark a massive new growth cycle for the WiFi industry and allow consumers and businesses to apply low-cost WiFi technology to multitudes of new use cases.”

 

If you want to develop a WiFi project, our business consultants can help get you started and make the most out of it by understanding your business needs and guiding you through all the different features of the Tanaza platform, showing how they can help you to deploy a successful WiFi project.

LigoWave is now officially a Tanaza Tech Partner

As of the begining of December, LigoWave is officially a Tanaza Tech Partner.

 Tanaza’s software solution is now fully compatible with LigoWave’s NFT series of wireless access points.

LigoWave develops high-quality networking equipment that enables customers in the wireless broadband and enterprise market segments to provide connectivity, and empower and enhance the security of their networks.

For more information about LigoWave’s wireless solutions, visit https://www.ligowave.com/solutions

By working alongside Tanaza, LigoWave aims to deliver a well-rounded WiFi solution that features a platform to provide easy guest WiFi access with a captive portal and branded, fully customizable splash pages with social login, phone number, and voucher-based authentication. Moreover,  Tanaza Cloud platform is a cost-effective and time-saving solution that also includes network management and monitoring capabilities, an advanced analytics dashboard, hotspot roaming and an array of integrations and APIs.

The Tanaza partner program is open to ISPs and MSPs and helps them generate recurring revenue streams and reduce on-site maintenance costs.

Find out more about Tanaza as a WiFi network management and social hotspot solution for enterprises and SMBs.