JULY/AUGUST 2005 (Vol. 9, No. 4) pp. 12-15
1089-7801/05/$31.00 © 2005 IEEE
Published by the IEEE Computer Society
Published by the IEEE Computer Society
From the Newsstand
|Mobile and Wireless Computing|
|Programming and Development|
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Mobile and Wireless Computing
"Planes, Trains Make Wi-Fi Pay," by Andy Dornan
To keep their business model from becoming obsolete in the face of expanding open Wi-Fi networks, hotspot providers are turning to venues that free networks can't reach. T-Mobile is experimenting with a paid hotspot service on trains in the United Kingdom, connecting the moving access point with WiMax base stations along the tracks. In the US, GoRemote's service now includes a database of free Wi-Fi networks, and the company has established a tie-in with Connexion, a Boeing service that's built into planes and uplinks to satellites.
"UWB: Too Much Competition?" by Andy Dornan
Generally, when rival groups push for divergent protocols, one wins or they compromise. Not so with Ultra Wideband. The UWB standard, known as 802.15.3a, will transfer data wirelessly at very high speeds over short distances of even just several feet. Over the long term, proponents hope it will replace the tangle of wires connecting PC and television components. This vision is complicated, however, by the fact that the two groups working on UWB standards couldn't agree and submitted separate protocols to the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which approved both earlier this year. The two standards promise similar results: speeds of roughly 500 Mbps within a few feet. However, they differ on both the MAC and physical levels, thus making them incompatible. The UWB Forum — led by Motorola — showed a working system and received FCC approval first. The other, more influential group is the WiMedia Alliance, which includes Intel, Nokia, Sony, and Hewlett-Packard.
7 June 2005
"Beyond WiMax," by John R. Quain
Manufacturers are already looking ahead to the next generation of wireless broadband service, even though the IEEE Working Group on Broadband Wireless Access Standards only recently finalized the first official WiMax specification. Mobile WiMax, or 802.16e, would let consumers roam without interruption between wireless hotspots. South Korea will probably be the first to offer WiMax roaming, perhaps by April 2006 thanks to government legislation that forced carriers to cooperate. The most likely technologies to use the service will initially be Mobile WiMax-compatible cell phones and PC cards for laptops, which feature maximum speeds of 15 Mbps.
"On Call via Wi-Fi," by Sebastian Rupley
A California hospital has found a way to keep in touch with its doctors and nurses wherever they are in the medical center without using cell phones, which interfere with patients' medical equipment. The solution for Mission Community Hospital in Panorama City is a wireless LAN with Wi-Fi phones. The system uses a Cisco-based 802.11g wireless network throughout the entire campus and SpectraLink NetLink Wi-Fi phones that use 802.11b. The gateways that interface with the phones are located in the hospital's central data center, and the Wi-Fi access points are sprinkled throughout the campus.
"Brown Goes Bluetooth," by Tom Mashberg
Not every enterprise that uses barcodes sees radio frequency identification (RFID) as the answer to its productivity challenges. Officials at the United Parcel Service say the company watched RFID R&D for 15 years but ultimately decided to invest US$120 million to hire Symbol Technologies of Holtsville, N.Y., to create a customized technology that combines Bluetooth and 802.11b technologies in one system. Deployment of Symbol's Bluetooth-equipped Emerald scanners, which are worn like rings, began in July 2003 and will reach all of UPS's 55,000 sorting workers by the end of 2006.
The ring scanner, paired with a Windows CE-based terminal worn on the belt, can handle up to 60 scans of shipping data per minute, twice the rate of the hardwired scanners UPS was using previously. Symbol addressed one of the biggest challenges — that both Bluetooth and 802.11b technologies send signals across the 2.4-GHz radio frequency — by outfitting scanners and terminals with special software to prevent information packets from colliding. UPS expects Symbol's system to pay for itself within 16 months with increased productivity, reduced equipment repairs, and fewer spare-equipment purchases.
Programming and Development
Dr. Dobb's Journal,www.ddj.com
"Naïve Bayesian Text Classification," by John Graham-Cumming
Graham-Cumming outlines how to create a naïve Bayesian text classifier — so-called because it also includes strong assumptions that usually have no basis in reality — that can automatically create metadata about a document, thus helping with activities such as spam filtering. Although spam filters are the most common use, naïve Bayesian text classifiers have other uses, such as email classification to identify malware, viruses, and even mutated versions of worms. Graham-Cumming claims that his 100-line classifier can outline a set of possible categories that a document might fall into and also learn from its work. "Feed it samples of spam and nonspam email, and it learns the difference," he says.
"Sourcefire's Real-Time Network Awareness," by Andrew Conry-Murray
Conry-Murray explains how Sourcefire's Real-time Network Awareness (RNA) software reduces false positives associated with intrusion detection. RNA uses passive monitoring, in which sensors analyze traffic, build profiles of every host that communicates through its network segment, track new hosts by their MAC addresses, and fingerprint those hosts' operating systems. The result is a more detailed picture of how the user's architecture is handling traffic and its security status. Conry-Murray says RNA's vulnerability-correlation system can be "clumsy and imprecise," however, and its ties to the Sourcefire intrusion-detection and prevention platform prevents users with other widely deployed IDSs from using it.
7 June 2005
"Web Graphics Overhaul," by Karen Jones
The Opera and Firefox browsers will soon support Scalable Vector Graphics. SVG support has been available for all browsers as a plug-in and is already integrated with the latest generation of mobile phones. Embedding the XML-based graphics language into browsers could improve users' Internet experience and raise the bar for online graphics, Jones says, by making figures dynamic and interactive. If, for instance, users visited a mapping site without SVG, they'd type in an address and get a map. To zoom in or look to the left, they'd submit requests that would go back to the server, which would create another map while the user waited. With SVG, users can zoom in or move around without waiting. The language also allows for adding overlays — to outline areas of interest on a map, for example.
24 May 2005
"Dealing with Dynamic IP Addresses," by Craig Ellison
Until recently, it was difficult for search engines to find links to personal webcams or other applications hosted by home users that allowed for remote access, given that these applications' IP addresses change regularly. A new set of protocols called Dynamic DNS (DDNS) could rectify this dynamic IP address dilemma. Currently, three major providers — DynDNS.org, Tzolkin, and No-IP.com — are offering the technology for the same annual fee of US$24.95. When users sign up for service, they turn DNS control over to one of these providers, who puts a small program on the users' computers; the application regularly sends an update packet to the provider outlining the user's current IP address. When someone tries to connect to the application via the Internet, his or her ISP contacts the root server with an inquiry. The root server then sends the ISP to the DDNS provider, which redirects the user request to the correct address.
"Wiki Wars," by David Greenfield
The open, group-editable Web format called wiki is an Internet tool designed to make it easier for people to collaborate on Web site content and then modify it for individual industries. Niche users such as software developers who want to post or document changes to their products have been using this format for some time. Recently, however, the firms JotSpot and Socialtext introduced wiki platforms that target enterprise collaboration. JotSpot's offering lets users transform editable Web pages into simple application-development platforms that include applets for tools such as calendaring and threaded discussions. Socialtext relaunched its Socialtext Enterprise as an appliance with directory, storage, and monitoring integration.
24 May 2005
"Linux Lasts Longer," by Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols
An international nonprofit security organization, the Honeypot Project ( http://project.honeynet.org), recently launched a study to determine why no one is hacking Linux anymore. As an unintended result, the organization found that unpatched Linux systems can exist on the Internet for months without being successfully attacked, whereas Windows systems are usually breached within hours. Project members set up 12 "honeynets" in eight countries, each with two or more "honeypots" — systems that don't do any work, but sense and track any interactions with them (that is, attacks, scans, or probes). Possible explanations for the dramatic difference between Linux- and Windows-based honeynets range from crediting Linux's security features to the simple fact that more Windows-based machines exist, which makes them statistically more likely to be attacked.
"Cell Phone Viruses: One of 10 Emerging Technologies that Will Change the World," by Stu Hutson
As people increasingly use cell phone technology to address their everyday needs, the dangers associated with successful malware multiply exponentially. Last year's Cabir worm, which spread through Bluetooth wireless connections, was one example that led research firm IDC to predict an increase in mobile security spending from roughly US$100 million in 2004 to almost US$1 billion by 2008, with a significant portion dedicated to antiviral protection.