December Newsbits

By Naomi Graychase

December 19, 2007

Wi-Fi improves quality of care for nursing home residents; Wi-Fi Alliance names new Executive Director; Atheros heads in GPS direction; JetBlue offers in-flight Wi-Fi; 802.11n takes off at Denver International Airport; and more.

Under the Federal Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987, long-term care facilities are required to provide services that enable residents to attain and maintain physical, mental, and psychosocial well-being. Toward that end, Samarion, a privately-held healthcare technology corporation that specializes in elder care, announced today that it will be using Aruba Networks' wireless solutions to help provide restraint-free fall prevention, wandering and elopement prevention, as well as resident, staff, and visitor safety and security management, staff management, facility monitoring, and a family-and-friends communications system.


SamarionSolution, Samarion’s long-term care enterprise-quality improvement system, was first unveiled in October and will now be upgraded to include Aruba’s WLAN components, which enable vital client-to-core security solutions. Aruba’s network will deliver critical alerts and status updates to staff members equipped with Wi-Fi-enabled smart phones, facilitating rapid response and efficiency improvements.


December 14th, 2007

The Wi-Fi Alliance today announced that it has named Edgar Figueroa as its new Executive Director. Figueroa will replace  Frank Hanzlik, the Wi-Fi Alliance Managing Director since 2004.

“I look forward to working with the Wi-Fi Alliance and its members as we enter a new phase of our growth, in new markets and in new geographies,” said Figueroa in a press release.

The Wi-Fi Alliance describes Figueroa, who has for several years led the operations for the WFA's certification program, as being instrumental in establishing the WFA headquarters in Austin, Texas, and the research and development lab in Santa Clara, CA. 

A graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, Figueroa holds a Masters in Technology Commercialization and undergraduate degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Mathematics.  He is also a veteran of the United States Navy.

December 13th, 2007

Atheros Communications announced today that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire u-Nav Microelectronics, a privately-held fabless semiconductor company specializing in global positioning system (GPS) chipsets and software that enable mobile location-based products and services. u-Nav's flagship product, the uN3010, is a single-chip GPS receiver.

The research firm, In-Stat, forecasts the number of GPS-enabled mobile devices to grow from 180 million units in 2007 to 720 million units in 2011. With this acquisition, Atheros is zeroing in on that market.

December 11, 2007

JetBlue today launched the maiden voyage of BetaBlue, an Airbus A320, the first aircraft in its fleet to offer free in-flight Wi-Fi.

This morning, passengers on a flight from New York to San Francisco were treated to free in-flight Wi-Fi access thanks to a partnership with Yahoo! and RIM, makers of the ever-popular BlackBerry. Also thanks to Yahoo! and RIM, Internet access was limited to Yahoo! Mail and Yahoo! Instant Messenger, and BlackBerry e-mail and messaging.

Direct Web access and access to other services—such as AOL Instant Messenger—are not permitted. iPhones are also not compatible with the service.

JetBlue will provide this limited Wi-Fi access only on a small number of transcontinental flights, but it is expected to expand (or roll back) the service based on customer feedback.

Virgin America had previously announced plans to roll out a more extensive wireless broadband initiative in its fleet next year. It has partnered with AirCell, as has American Airlines. [For more on in-flight Wi-Fi, read: "In-Flight, Online."] 

December 10th, 2007

Meru Networks announced today that Denver International Airport (DIA) has deployed its 802.11n draft 2.0 system throughout the 1.5 million square-foot facility.

The WLAN will provide free wireless access to the 40+ million travelers who pass through the airport every year, and it will provide managed wireless services to the 30 airlines, and hundreds of concessionaires and stores at the airport. DIA is the fifth busiest airport in the United States.

The deployment utilizes Meru’s AP300 APs and MC3000 wireless controllers. The AP300 is equipped with two a/b/g/n radios to simultaneously support the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz spectrums, which provide backward compatibility with legacy 802.11b/g clients and prepare the network for the next-generation of 802.11n clients. [For more on 802.11n, read: "802.11n Delivers Better Range."]

December 6th, 2007

Ekahau Inc. has upgraded its Wi-Fi-based Real Time Location Systems (RTLS) and site survey tools. Ekahau Site Survey (ESS) 4.0 is the latest version of Ekahau’s Wi-Fi site survey tool, which allows users to create, improve, or troubleshoot enterprise-grade Wi-Fi networks. Among the new features in ESS 4.0: optimization for light-weight access points, such as Cisco LWAP, Aruba Mobile Edge, the Nortel Networks WLAN Portfolio, and Siemens HiPath; and automatic location determination of all nearby access points. ESS 4.0 also addresses the problem of Wi-Fi signal leakage between floors.

“Our goal with ESS 4.0 was to simplify the challenges IT professionals face when deploying and managing Wi-Fi networks. We feel we have achieved that with improved site survey and network planning functionality that takes away the guesswork and complexity,” said Arttu Huhtiniemi, product management director at Ekahau.

ESS 4.0 will ship next month. [For more on RTLS, read: "Location, Location, Location."]

Atheros Communications has announced two new Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) designs: a second-generation GbE Controller (AR8121) and a new 6-port GbE Switch (AR8316), the company’s first. The new GbE designs are part of the Atheros ETHOS Ethernet solution portfolio. 

According to a press release: “The Atheros AR8121 is the industry's smallest, most highly integrated PCI Express Gigabit Controller designed to meet the size, performance and cost requirements of the consumer laptop and desktop PC market. Atheros' second-generation GbE controller is available in an ultra-compact 48-pin QFN package, measuring only 36mm2. In comparison, the nearest competitive solution is more than twice the size. The highly integrated AR8121 has the industry's lowest external component count. Despite its compact size and high integration, the AR8121 delivers industry-leading GbE performance and power savings.

“The Atheros AR8316 is the industry's smallest 6-port Gigabit Ethernet Switch available in a cost-effective 176-pin LQFP package, which significantly lowers the cost of the switch. This design sets a new value standard in GbE technology for home networking and SMB equipment manufacturers. Now Atheros' is providing its world-class customer base with a complete, end-to-end networking solution including the Wi-Fi, wireless network processor (WNPU) and GbE or Fast Ethernet switches – for router and gateway products. Customers gain the benefits of exceptional integration, performance and value, all from a single, trusted source.”

The AR8121 GbE Controller and AR8316 6-port GbE Switch are currently sampling and will be in volume production in the first quarter of 2008. [For more on GbE, read: "Don't Bet Against Ethernet."]

December 5, 2007

Atheros Communications has released a new compact, single-chip 802.11n solution for Macs and PCs. The new dual-band AR9280 and single-band AR9281 PCI Express (PCIe) are part of the Atheros XSPAN(TM) family.

In these draft 802.11n PCIe solutions, Atheros moved forward with an eye toward integration and solution cost. The chipmaker expects that PC manufacturers utilizing the solutions will be able to accelerate the transition of their platforms from legacy 802.11a/g to the latest 802.11a/g/n or 802.11g/n technology.

"Atheros' new single-chip XSPAN solutions are designed to help our PC customers supercharge the performance of core notebook platforms with 802.11n technology,” said Ben Naskar, vice president and general manager of the Wireless Networking Business Unit for Atheros, in a press release. "Our innovative approach to chip and total system design allows us to deliver 11n performance at costs that intersect legacy Wi-Fi technology--the PC market sweet spot.”

These solutions support Windows XP, Windows Vista, Mac OS, and Linux operating systems. The Atheros AR9280 and AR9281 solutions are currently sampling to customers and will be in volume production in the first quarter of 2008. [For more on 802.11n, read: "802.11n Delivers Better Range."] 

December 3, 2007

NEC will unveil a wireless surveillance camera this week at iExpo2007 in Japan. The camera is unique in that it is powered by fluorescent light bulbs. The camera shoots images every 10 seconds, and supports VGA (640 x 480), QVGA (320 x 240), and QQVGA (160 x 120) resolutions. Images are transmitted via Wi-Fi. (For a review of another wireless camera, read: "Linksys Wireless-B Internet Video Camera.")

Today Nokia announced the launch of Nokia Internet Radio, a service that allows users to listen to Internet radio stations over their mobile devices. Interested users must download an application (for free) from the Nokia Web site. Nokia Internet Radio service is supported by both packet data and WLAN connections. (For more on wireless Internet radio, read: "Wireless Internet Radio Shoots for Mainstream."

The software will be embedded in forthcoming Nokia S60 3rd edition devices, and is currently available for download to the Nokia N82, Nokia N91, Nokia N95, and Nokia N95 8GB.

U.S. mobile startup Berggi announced today that it has cemented a three-year strategic partnership with SINA, China's largest Web portal and online media company. The two companies will co-develop and deliver ad-supported mobile applications, including mobile e-mail, for the ever-expanding Chinese mobile market. [For more on ad-supported models, read: "MetroFi's Ad-supported Wi-Fi."]

 Naomi Graychase is Managing Editor at Wi-FiPlanet.

Originally published on .

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