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Rich Tehrani
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Consumer Electronics

WiFi not Secure – Clarified

August 6, 2007

I just received this e-mail from Francois Doremieux, Senior Program Manager, Product Group: Customer Experience in response  to my WiFi is Insecure post from last week. I thought it worth sharing.   ----   Hello Rich It was a pleasure meeting you in Redmond last month.   I just read your "WiFi is not secure" article and I wanted to add a brief comment.   As we discussed in Redmond, the notion of security and quality at the network layer is only one way to look at it. I agree that it’s possible to snoop and intercept the packets over WiFi. Therefore, one cannot trust the network layer alone for security (as we had discussed in Redmond that it is not possible to trust the network layer alone for management of quality). That is why the approach we have taken with Microsoft UC is to provide security at the application layer, with strong authentication, non repudiation, signaling and media encryption (in the same way we did it for quality with the adaptive media stack).   Transport is a very important element of the stack, but it can’t solve all issues (and its solutions tend to not have the flexibility software brings to the application layer).

700 MHz Setback

August 3, 2007

Just when youthought it was safe to jump into the 700 MHz frequency with your own device along comes the Federal Communications Commission's Office of Engineering and Technology (OET) who says initial testing of the prototype devices showed they failed to swiftly track and avoid interference with other, licensed broadcasts.   The report stated the technology coalition behind the tests had hoped the use of so called white spaces - an unlicensed spectrum between TV channels -- would pass muster with regulators as early as October. The coalition effort is one of several efforts on the part of large companies offering Internet services and devices to expand options for consumer access to the Web.   The group includes companies such as Microsoft Philips, Google, Intel Corp., and Dell Inc. Members of the coalition want the ability to offer devices and services that don't have to be used on licensed networks operated by traditional telecom or cable companies.   But the OET’s test results put a damper on the group’s hopes, noting that "the sample prototype white space devices submitted to the commission for initial evaluation do not consistently sense or detect TV broadcast or wireless microphone signals."   Hopefully there will be a way to solve this dilemma. After all, the above companies represent some of the smartest technology minds in the world.

WiFi is not Secure

August 3, 2007

George Ou has an excellent write-up about how insecure Web 2.0 applications are over WiFi. The problem? Unencrypted traffic which can be recorded, analyzed and used against you. He starts with a basic example of a Gmail account getting hijacked. Even worse, using this technique you can potentially have your home address and your e-mail known to others who are lurking nearby and recording your traffic.

iPhone, U-Phone, Everybody G-Phone

August 2, 2007

This year has been the absolutely most tumultuous ever in terms of wireless communications and these changes can and will have a dramatic effect on your business. You can’t go anywhere these days without seeing Apple’s iPhone in action. Kids have them, Mac loyalists have them and most importantly, your coworkers have them.   The question is… How do you support them and what policies and procedures do you need in place to ensure you are ready for the onslaught of questions and interoperability issues this phone will bring to the market.   What about security? How will we deal with the potential for these devices to get lost without the ability to remotely wipe confidential corporate data?   If a single-industry changing phone wasn’t enough for telecom and IT managers to deal with, we now have Google’s G-Phone (or it could be called Google Phone… Time will tell) looming in the telecom wings just waiting to disrupt the service provider business model and potentially the way you plan and negotiate your wireless telecom contracts.   Then there is the 700 MHz spectrum with it’s potential to enable an army of devices on new wireless spectrum.

Nokia N800 Question

August 2, 2007

I received the following question today regarding the Nokia N800:   I'm seriously thinking of purchasing the Nokia N800. Since it is strictly a wireless device is there really enough free public wireless to make the purchase worthwhile. I'd be using it in Central Florida (Daytona Beach, Orlando, Tampa)and Louisiana (New Orleans Metro)areas mostly. Also, along Interstate 10, between Jacksonville, FL and New Orleans.

Google Phone

August 2, 2007

SunRocket and Star Trek

August 1, 2007

If you like VoIP and Star Trek do I have a blog entry for you. TMCnet’s Tom Keating writes up (turn down your speakers) what is happening with the shut down of SunRocket. Somehow he gets numerous Star Trek references in the post.   One issue he discusses is how the company is or is not notifying customers. I personally don’t know any of the company’s customers so I am unaware of what the company has done in this area.

Microvision

July 30, 2007

ActionTec

July 29, 2007

Many of us are familiar with VoSky Technologies the company behind the business class Skype gateways allowing a company to leverage the myriad benefits of Skype within their corporate communications infrastructure. If you need to catch up, I invite you to read an article written on the topic of Skype trunking by yours truly about a month ago.   So while Skype and VoSky are likely familiar names, most people are likely not aware of the fact that the company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Actiontec Electronics, a leading provider of broadband connectivity solutions for consumers and broadband service providers.   In a recent meeting with Lesley Kirchman Director of Marketing and Brian Henrichs VP of Business Development for the company I became aware the company’s tagline is “Solutions For a Digital Life.”   The company has been around since 1993 when it was in the analog modem business. Over time they evolved to do what a few companies have been successful at… Listening to telco needs, delivering on them and actually having the telcos buy.   The company has sold over five million devices and has roughly 300 people in their Sunnyvale, CA headquarters in the US. I think of the company as the Linksys of the service provider world as they sell gateways in countless DSL varieties, IPTV solutions and even FiOS solutions for Verizon.   Some of the more recent products allow you to transport data and entertainment within a house via wireless, HomePlug and numerous other technologies.   Another area of focus is technologies such as TR69 and WT140 which help can enhance the consumer experience.

Acision

July 29, 2007

When a single US phone company, Verizon reports that in one month, they were responsible for sending 10 billion text messages, you may want to stand up and take notice.   In order to learn more about the SMS space I decided to take a trip down to Plano, Texas where the UK-based Acision has one of it’s four US offices. The company was formerly named Logica CMG and is one of those companies most people never heard of but is responsible for providing technology many of us frequently use.   In short, the company is an enabler of various types of service provider messaging from SMS to voice and video. This month in fact the company celebrated it’s 15th anniversary of supplying the industry with Short Message Service Centers or SMSCs.   Thanks to Moore’s law and clever design, the capability of Acision’s SMSCs has dramatically increased over the years. In 1992 SMSC version 1.0 had a capacity of 10 messages per second.
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