Feeds

Wanna put your toaster and fridge online? Over to you, Ofcom

New wireless spec for 'Internet of Things' awaits rubber stamp

Remote control for virtualized desktops

A blueprint for connecting up toasters, kettles and toys, and popping them onto the internet, has landed on the desk of the UK watchdog Ofcom.

Version 1 of Weightless SIG's specification describes how devices can comfortably communicate over White Space - a collection of unused gaps in the radio spectrum. Gadgets can access an online database to discover locally available frequencies and use those slots to send and receive data between themselves. The system is awaiting approval by Ofcom.

Hardware using White Space spectrum should be declared legal in the UK later this year, but it will compete with rival communications standards that plan to shift into the same frequency bands - not to mention the licensed frequencies already squeezing in machine-to-machine chatter: for example, smart electricity meters and the like using 2G mobile networks to phone home data.

We're told Weightless SIG's spec is designed to work on cheap and simple electronics, and offers unprecedented battery life, a long connectivity range, 128-bit encryption, low packet overhead, and data transfer rates between 1kbps and 10Mbps. It's aimed specifically at the radio bands that were allocated for analogue TV transmission but are soon to be vacated by broadcasters. However, 2G networks are already here and Weightless SIG won't be alone in filling the White Space.

As well as companies planning to simply shift existing Wi-Fi standards down the frequency dial to take advantage of the empty space, there's 802.11af, an IEEE standard for using Wi-Fi in unused bands. Other standards, such as 4G/LTE, have been successfully demonstrated carrying machine-to-machine communications; software and chips supporting those standards are obviously already available.

Weightless SIG's technology is also in silicon: Cambridge-based Neul wrote the first version of the standard and spun out some chips earlier this year in the confidence they will be compatible with the officially endorsed version.

It's no surprise that the photograph accompanying the Weightless SIG spec announcement shows staff lined up on the stairs at Neul's UK offices: Neul is the main driving force behind the standard despite endorsements from Vodafone-owned Cable & Wireless Worldwide and processor designer ARM. More international backing will be needed if the standard is really going to connect up everything, but having a standard to endorse is an important step along the way. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
Broadband sellers in the UK are UP TO no good, says Which?
Speedy network claims only apply to 10% of customers
Virgin Media struck dumb by NATIONWIDE packet loss balls-up
Turning it off and on again fixes glitch 12 HOURS LATER
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Facebook, working on Facebook at Work, works on Facebook. At Work
You don't want your cat or drunk pics at the office
Soz, web devs: Google snatches its Wallet off the table
Killing off web service in 3 months... but app-happy bonkers are fine
Ofcom tackles complaint over Premier League footie TV rights
Virgin Media: UK fans pay the most for the fewest matches
Yahoo! blames! MONSTER! email! OUTAGE! on! CUT! CABLE! bungle!
Weekend woe for BT as telco struggles to restore service
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Internet Security Threat Report 2014
An overview and analysis of the year in global threat activity: identify, analyze, and provide commentary on emerging trends in the dynamic threat landscape.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.