Friday, January 21News That Matters

Tag: Wireless Communications

How 5G Clashed With an Aviation Device Invented in the 1920s

Technology
Altimeters are a key part of the 787’s landing system, turning on the reverse thrusters that slow the plane once it has landed. Mr. Lemme said a Boeing patent suggested that the function was totally automated, meaning that even a pilot landing a 787 manually would not be able to reverse the plane’s thrusters if the altimeter malfunctioned. The 787’s landing gear brakes, which are triggered by weight, would still function, as would its wing spoilers, which are only partly controlled by altimeter readings. But Mr. Lemme said a lack of reverse thrusters would make it difficult for pilots to stop planes before they reached the end of the runway.“You absolutely could have some planes running through runways,” he said.Boeing did not respond to a request for comment.The F.A.A. on Friday issued a ...
AT&T to Delay 5G Service at Some Airports After Airlines Warn of Chaos

AT&T to Delay 5G Service at Some Airports After Airlines Warn of Chaos

Business
“To be very clear, we’re incredibly disappointed that we are at this point, that the entire U.S. airline industry is facing major disruption as new wireless technology is activated,” he said. “The two should be able to coexist, but that only comes with better understanding of potential impacts.”The industry and the aviation regulators had raised concerns about 5G interference over the past several years. In November 2020, for example, the International Air Transport Association, a global trade group, warned that such interference could trigger automated systems to intervene in ways that would be dangerous and confusing to pilots. The system might, for example, force planes to pull up to avoid phantom objects, or could prevent planes from warning pilots of real obstacles.Airlines and the F....

Verizon and AT&T’s 5G Cellular Service Can Proceed After Deal Is Reached With U.S.

Technology
Federal aviation officials have agreed not to ask for further delays to Verizon and AT&T’s new 5G cellular service, clearing the way for the companies to start their service while avoiding a major clash with regulators who said it could endanger flights.In addition to delaying the start of their service by two weeks, the carriers will temporarily put in place measures designed to address the government’s safety concerns about the technology, particularly around certain airports.The agency had expressed concerns that the new 5G service uses signals that clash with equipment pilots use to land in poor weather. Officials have said they could restrict the use of that equipment, known as radio altimeters, which could ground or reroute flights under some conditions.In a letter to the wireles...

BlackBerry Ends Service; Devices Will Stop Working January 4

Technology
To legions of executives, journalists and politicians — even the leader of the free world — they were once-indispensable devices for staying connected when ordinary cellphones wouldn’t suffice. Anything else was for amateurs.The devices, with the quirky-sounding name BlackBerry and the QWERTY keyboard that conditioned many people to type with their thumbs, were more ubiquitous than iPhones during the late 2000s.But as of Tuesday, Blackberry models that use the company’s operating systems will go the way of the Commodore computer and the LaserDisc. So will their trademark trackballs and Tic Tac-sized letter keys.As part of an “end of life” decommissioning program that was initially announced in 2020, BlackBerry said that as of Jan. 4, 2022, it would no longer support the devices as the Cana...

It’s Time to Stop Paying for a VPN

Technology
This sent me down a rabbit hole of seeking alternatives to paying for a VPN. I ended up using some web tools to create my own private network for free, which wasn’t easy. But I also learned that many casual users may not even need a VPN anymore.Here’s what you need to know.What Has Changed About VPNsNot long ago, many websites lacked security mechanisms to prevent bad actors from eavesdropping on what people were doing when browsing their sites, which opened doors to their data being hijacked. This helped VPN services become a must-have security product. VPN providers offered to help cloak people’s browsing information by creating an encrypted tunnel on their servers, through which all your web traffic passes.Let Us Help You Protect Your Digital LifeBut in the last five years, the internet...
In Race for 5G, Alarm and Security Services Get Stuck in the Middle

In Race for 5G, Alarm and Security Services Get Stuck in the Middle

Technology
In the alarm industry, the biggest companies, like ADT, seem to be coping best with the challenge of meeting the sunset date set by AT&T.In its statement to the government, AT&T cited comments that the chief executive of ADT made to Wall Street analysts, saying the company was “on track” with conversions from 3G. Of its 2.9 million alarm systems needing upgrades, about 800,000 remain. But in a standard quarterly filing with the government, the company warned that the pace of its upgrade program could change depending on Covid trends and access to customer sites.ADT has the buying clout to get chips and equipment before others, and its customers are more likely than smaller operators to be in metropolitan areas, said Brian Ruttenbur, an alarm industry analyst at Imperial Capital, an...
How the Taliban Can Use Social Media to Tame Afghanistan

How the Taliban Can Use Social Media to Tame Afghanistan

Technology
Last Friday, when Taliban forces took the key city of Herat, they distributed images and videos of militia leaders posing with Ismail Khan, a well-known local commander and Taliban opponent, showing him unrestrained and appearing at ease.The message was clear, said Mr. Sayed: “If we can treat Ismail Khan, a top enemy, with such respect, there will not be danger for anyone.”In Kabul, many Taliban-trained journalists have been busy on the streets, often holding a microphone with the logo of the group’s propaganda site. In one video posted to the Twitter account of the Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid, a reporter interviews residents in Kabul’s Shahr-e Naw area. When he asks a young boy about the takeover of the capital, the boy responds, “We are happy and have been living in peace.”While ...
‘Welcome to the Mesh, Brother’: Guerrilla Wi-Fi Comes to New York

‘Welcome to the Mesh, Brother’: Guerrilla Wi-Fi Comes to New York

Technology
Before the recent vision, the city’s last major broadband intervention was negotiated under Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg in 2006. New York entered a franchise agreement with Verizon that gave the company the privilege of burying fiber-optic cable under city streets in exchange for installing high-speed Fios in every neighborhood. But Verizon has failed to do so in many low-income neighborhoods. In a public hearing in April, the city’s chief technology officer, John Paul Farmer, testified that the relatively few providers in some neighborhoods meant that there was little market pressure to bring the prices down. “The current oligopolistic system is broken, and it has built digital inequity into the streets and neighborhoods of New York,” he said.The city recently reached a settlement with Ver...
Facebook Goes Boring. Yes!

Facebook Goes Boring. Yes!

Technology
This article is part of the On Tech newsletter. You can sign up here to receive it weekdays.Technology alone, even if it’s cool and backed by billionaires like Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk, isn’t sufficient to bring online the roughly 3.5 billion people worldwide who aren’t using the internet.That’s why I appreciate a holistic approach taken by Facebook that smartly considers the complexity of the challenge.The company’s initiative started a few years ago with the simple but profound premise that everyone — governments, citizens and companies including Facebook and businesses that sell internet service and equipment — needs to benefit from the internet in order for it to spread everywhere. That required finding ways to lower the costs to connect the world.If this sounds a bit ho-hum or difficu...
Cell Service in the Hamptons is Not Good

Cell Service in the Hamptons is Not Good

Technology
Bess Rattray, 54, a writer and volunteer emergency medical technician, grew up in East Hampton and now lives near the village’s main business district. Ms. Rattray’s cellphone frequently fails in her own home, forcing her into the front yard.Sometimes, she said, her phone will simply say “unavailable,” which typically occurs when there are “too many people using” cellphones in the area. “That’s bananas in this day and age,” she said. “In this incredibly wealthy area, and so close to the biggest metropolitan area in the country.”The Hamptons’ lack of reliable service, she said, also presents a real safety hazard. “We all know, in the emergency services, there are places where radios and cellphones might not work,” she said. “You go off the road in one of those places and you’re sort of out ...