★ THE BLOG ★ Ramblings on WiFi & stuff.

Hotspot 2.0 in the wild →

So, it seems public Wi-Fi may finally be coming of age big time. LinkNYCs blog has a write up of their "Secure" public WiFi:

 via Medium:

LinkNYC has two free Wi-Fi networks, ‘LinkNYC Free Wi-Fi’ and ‘LinkNYC Private.’...
The ‘LinkNYC Private’ network goes a step further, offering state-of-the-art encryption via HotSpot 2.0 and WPA to secure all wireless communications between devices and the Link, regardless of whether a website uses SSL security. This means that even casual browsing is protected from snooping. The network is one of the first in the country to offer an encrypted public network at this scale.


Hotspot 2.0, or 802.11u, OR "Wi-Fi Certified Passpoint" (Blerg.) is an amendment that specifies internetowrking between external networks. Per the amendment:

support for external authentication, authorization and accounting, together with network selection, encryption, policy enforcement and resource management.

At launch it will only support Apple mobile devices (of course), but will add other device support over time.

Hotspot 2.0 has been a thing for a while, and this is not the first network to provide it, but with all the attention this project is getting, I have the feeling Hotspot 2.0 may actually have it's day - like legit.

But, there's more! Fierce Wireless is reporting "AT&T in process of upgrading Wi-Fi in NYC parks with Passpoint". "Passpoint" is the Wi-Fi Alliance's marketed name for Hotspot 2.0. That's pretty huge. Two major wireless initiatives in the largest city in the U.S. rolling out secure public wireless.

For those unfamiliar with Hotspot 2.0 I refer you to this blog post by Ruckus Wireless' Dave Wright.

via @BLAKEKRONE: Where's Waldo? (or, The case of the missing wireless engineer.) →

Blake Krone, via his blog →

What do I mean by a skilled wireless engineer? Do I mean they are CWNE or CCIE or AC[]X? No, not at all. I simply mean someone that understands wireless and the challenges it brings when trying to design. It’s the person that knows about Co-Channel Interference and Adjacent Channel Interference, someone that understands when and how to use 20/40/80MHz channel widths, the person that knows you have to do a survey to get things right, etc.

I think sometimes we (myself included), as wireless engineers, make it seem impossible for people to think they can unlock the "secrets of Wi-Fi". No doubt there are some complicated things, but no more so than some other enterprise technologies out there as Blake points out. He thinks it's the PERCEPTION of wireless be too high an entry level and I tend to agree.

Maybe we need to preach some more "bare bones" wireless for the network folks out there that don't have the budget, or support, to access the expensive tools we all desire. Things like knowing WHAT to look for when doing a wireless scan, or basic understanding of channel management could go a long way to helping the many over-burdened IT individuals out there saddled with the task to install a WLAN. At the very least enough knowledge to know when to call in an "expert". In the end what we really need is to bring more people into the wireless fold.

FCC: The Next Step for LTE-U: Conducting Limited LTE-U Performance Tests

From the FCC blog: →

Today, the FCC’S Office of Engineering and Technology is taking an important step by granting a special temporary authority (STA) to Qualcomm to conduct very small scale performance evaluation tests of LTE-U equipment at two Verizon sites in Oklahoma City, OK and Raleigh, NC. OET routinely grants STAs and experimental licenses for parties to evaluate the performance of products and conduct testing, subject to the condition that no harmful interference is caused.

I've been quite outspoken about my concerns with LTE-U and it's co-existence mechanisms with Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi has become a pretty integral part of our economy, business-life, and our lives in general, and the dangers I see with letting LTE-U go live without testing and validating it's use in 5GHz I believe are real.

So, I'm glad the FCC is granting the STA so testing can happen in earnest. The Wi-Fi Alliance will has some involvement in the testing methodology and how it should be done. 

Previous tests by Qualcomm have been blown out of proportion by stating that it works better with Wi-Fi than Wi-Fi and would actually improve wireless networks - which was non-sense. The tests were conducted in ways that did not reflect how wireless networks are typically deployed especially in Enterprise environments.

I am not against LTE-U, I just think before a new technology that could be detrimental to another very vital communications technology is deployed, it should be properly tested and vetted.

Fierce Wireless: Work on LTE-U testing regime ongoing, but it's unclear when it will be finished

A top executive from the Wi-Fi Alliance said the group is making progress in its efforts to create a testing regime for LTE-U technologies, with the goal of creating some common ground between the Wi-Fi industry and the cellular industry over the controversial technology.

Looks like there may be some hope in the LTE-U Wars. Testing & validation of WiFi and LTE-U is important, but who knows how far this will go? The LTE-U stakeholders formed their own standards body, but working with the WiFi Alliance would help to validate, or in-validate the concerns of many of us in the wireless industry.


ZDNet: "These were the worst passwords of 2015, and they're only getting worse"

The most common password of last year is “123456,” which sadly probably isn’t a surprise considering statistically there’s a good chance that’s your password.

Following that, it’s “password” and “12345678,” which just shows that you aren’t even trying anymore.

And it gets stupider:

Perhaps the most telling detail is how far some of the previously most-common passwords are rising up the ranks year-over-year.

If you're using a password like this you get want you deserve.

I suppose the only thing worse is posting your passwords on a sticky note on your monitor? You could get the of these like my Mee-Maw uses!

I mean, Geez, we have PASSWORD MANAGERS now!