Articles about Comms

Cell tower, view from below. Image by Shutterstock.com

NSW government mulls unified public safety comms

The government of the Australian state of New South Wales has completed a review of emergency services telecommunications, and has decided it wants a single statewide network. The review (PDF here), conducted by the NSW Telco Authority, concludes there's no point to having individual agencies own and operate their own networks …

Disney's light-bulb moment: build TCP into LEDs for IoT comms

Since lights are everywhere, and LED lamps are The Way of The FutureTM, it makes sense that they be used for communications. Now, boffins working for Disney Research have taken LED-based comms a step further, adding a Linux TCP/IP network stack to a consumer lamp. Their work, published here, pushes visible light communication …
£10 notes. Pic: Howard Lake

CityFibre coughs £90m for nearly all of KCOM's UK comms network

Broadband player CityFibre claimed it is shaping up to be a viable “challenger” to BT after coughing £90m for KCOM’s national comms infrastructure – excluding Hull and East Yorkshire. The deal, which includes 1,100 km of duct and fibre network in 24 cities – 21 of which are new to CityFibre – and a long distance network, was …
Paul Kunert, 14 Dec 2015
chef presents a roast chicken in pomegranate sauce. Photo by Shutterstock

'International tax' needs reform. Google's chicken bill makes me chuckle – comms guy

Google's communications veep has called for reform of the international tax system in wake of the backlash against the company's £130m tax deal with HMRC. Speaking on the Andrew Marr Show yesterday, Peter Barron said: “We think that the international tax system, which has been around since the 1920s, could do with reform and …
Kat Hall, 01 Feb 2016
British Transport Police cop. Pic: Gordon Joly

Motorola splashes £817m buying out police comms biz Airwave

Motorola has snapped up Airwave, the walkie-talkie biz used by Blighty's emergency services, for £817.5m. Airwave reckons it is the largest private operator of a public safety network in the world, delivering voice and data communications to more than 300 emergency and public service agencies in Great Britain. However, the …
Kat Hall, 04 Dec 2015

Europe's satellite laser comms system set to shine

The European Space Agency (ESA) and Airbus Defence and Space are poised to launch the first orbiting component of the European Data Relay System (EDRS), aka the "SpaceDataHighway", described as "the most sophisticated laser communication network ever designed". On 27 January, the EDRS-A node will lift off from Baikonur …
Lester Haines, 20 Jan 2016

Feds ponder jamming journo comms in Australian Parliament

Canberra's appetite for security theatre could soon see comms blackouts in Parliament House as a response to terrorist threats. The proposal emerged by way of a briefing with the president of the press gallery, David Speers, who told Fairfax Media it's part of a plan to ramp up parliamentary security. As well as armed …

Baikonur hosts satellite laser comms node launch

The first orbiting component of the European Data Relay System (EDRS) is due to blast off at 22:20 GMT tonight from Baikonur Cosmodrome atop a Russian Proton rocket. Also dubbed the "SpaceDataHighway", EDRS is described as the "the most sophisticated laser communication network ever designed", which when fully operational will …
Lester Haines, 29 Jan 2016
Abbott and Costello dressed as policemen

Nosy Brit cops demand access to comms data EVERY TWO MINUTES

Police forces across Blighty made more than 700,000 communications data access requests in the space of three years, responses to an FOI request from Big Brother Watch have revealed. Privacy worrywarts will be alarmed by the level of email and phone snooping demands that have been submitted by cop shops across the country, …
Kelly Fiveash, 01 Jun 2015

El Reg lays claws on RockBLOCK Mk2 Iridium sat comms unit

Heads up Our chums at Rock Seven – supplier of Iridium satellite comms units to our audacious spaceplane ballocket mission – have announced the release of the RockBLOCK Mk2. The RockBLOCK MK2 In common with its predecessor, the new kit can "send messages of 340 bytes and receive messages of 270 bytes using Iridium Short Burst Data (SBD …
Lester Haines, 31 Mar 2015
Black Widow

AMX backdoors US govt's comms system with Batman-inspired surveillance mode

AMX, which supplies communications kit for the White House, US military, and several of the largest corporations, built a superhero-themed surveillance backdoor into its products. An analysis of the AMX NX-1200 communications controller by researchers at SEC Consult showed the device had a "setUpSubtleUserAccount" function. …
Iain Thomson, 21 Jan 2016
Airbus are overjoyed about having the biggest one around.

Airbus plots exit from government comms biz

Airbus is reportedly considering selling its public safety radio business, with Alcatel-Lucent and Thales apparently interested in writing a cheque to obtain the operation. Bloomberg's off-the-record briefers say that €500 million-plus business is slated for sale by the end of the current quarter. Originally formed when …
Checking comms at supersonic speeds

Supersonic Bloodhound car techies in screaming 650mph comms test

Engineers from the Bloodhound supersonic car world record attempt have been testing their radio comms gear as plans to stream the 1,000mph (1,610kmph) event live come together. Live-streaming the car's record-breaking run is no trivial matter. Given that you can’t even maintain a phone call on a London train, trying to …
Simon Rockman, 29 Jan 2015
Graph of US dollar going up CC 2.0 https://www.flickr.com/photos/68751915@N05/ 401kcalculator.org.

Charter Comms to wed Time Warner Cable in monster merger

Charter Communications has confirmed plans to merge with Time Warner Cable in a cash and shares deal worth $78.7bn. The earlier rumoured price of $55bn covers the cash element of the sale, while the remaining $23.7bn will be made up of Charter Communications shares. Charter additionally said it planned to acquire Bright House …
Fibre Optic by Barta IV https://www.flickr.com/photos/98640399@N08/ cc 2.0 attribution https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Pakistan wants to copy GCHQ and eavesdrop on world+dog's comms

Pakistan's intelligence agencies want to snoop on all communications crossing its borders. Documents published by Privacy International (PI) on Wednesday (PDF) show Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency proposed a programme to monitor all international IP traffic coming into and out of the country, encompassing …
Jennifer Baker, 22 Jul 2015

Iridium sat comms module comp goes completely TITSUP

Competition Inventive readers still have until 5pm UK time on Friday to brew up a suitably inspired acronym/backronym for our forthcoming final Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) test flight, and the best suggestion will earn its creator a spanking-new RockBLOCK Mk2 Iridium satellite comms unit, courtesy of our mates at Rock Seven …
Lester Haines, 08 Apr 2015
Optus Logo

Optus to provide comms to Australia's offshore detention centres

Singtel's Australian arm, Optus, has won a three-year, AU$115-million deal to provide “end-to-end telecommunications and managed IT services” to Australia's Department of Immigration and Border Protection.” Upon receiving news of the contract win, Vulture South asked Optus if it Australia's offshore immigration detention centres …
Simon Sharwood, 05 Nov 2015
Tesla Coil, Steve Beger (Flickr), Creative Commons 2.0

Qualcomm, Daimler in wireless comms, charging tie-up

Qualcomm's won a deal with Daimler (whose Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 team it sponsors) to push wireless tech into the latter's luxury cars. The two also reckon they'll try and crack the tough nut of charging electric vehicles without cables. Under a deal announced on the weekend, the two companies say they are “assessing the …
Toilet

Suffering a comms blackout in the loo? Now you don't have to

Ever wanted to shoot the shit with “friends and strangers” while on the bog? Fear not because the Pooductive app has emerged that allows you to do just that, AND it’s free. The realtime messaging service allows users to make contact with like minded individuals in other countries or those in your own that are within a 250 to …
Paul Kunert, 23 Aug 2015
Stephen Hawking, weightless and happy

Legendary Brit physicist Stephen Hawking gets full Intel comms refresh

Pioneering physicist Stephen Hawking has received a replacement communication system following a three-year project with Intel to overhaul his previous 20-year-old comms platform. The refit occurred following a rapid deterioration in Hawking's word-per-minute rate, which dropped from a 20wpm rate 10 years ago to just under 1wpm …
Kat Hall, 02 Dec 2014
GCHQ Benhall doughnut aerial view

Ex-GCHQ chief: Bulk access to internet comms not same as mass surveillance

IPB A specially convened, one-off chinwag about the so-called "tech issues" in the UK government's latest draft super-snoop bill failed to get to the nitty-gritty on Tuesday afternoon. Parliament's science and technology committee faced down industry bods, the former boss of GCHQ and a number of academics to try to better …
Kelly Fiveash, 11 Nov 2015
Graph of US dollar going up CC 2.0 https://www.flickr.com/photos/68751915@N05/ 401kcalculator.org.

Charter Comms to acquire Time Warner for US$55bn: lotsa reports

Comcast may have given up trying to acquire Time Warner Cable, but junior US telco Charter now looks set to swoop with a deal of its own. Comcast spent the better part of a year trying to spend the better part of US$45bn to acquire Time Warner, but the deal collapsed beneath the weight of regulator discomfort and industry …
Simon Sharwood, 25 May 2015

WIN a RockBLOCK Mk2 Iridium sat comms unit

Competition As promised earlier this week, today we're giving readers the chance to win an all-new RockBLOCK Mk2 Iridium satellite comms unit, courtesy of our chums at Rock Seven. The RockBLOCK "allows you to send and receive short messages from anywhere on Earth with a clear view of the sky" via Iridium Short Burst Data (SBD), offering the …
Lester Haines, 03 Apr 2015
NBN Co Customer premises equipment

Comms Alliance preps vectored VDSL2 connection rules

The Communications Alliance has published drafts two key standards associated with the introduction of vectored VDSL2 services to the Australian market. Once the standards are formally adopted, they will provide the specs permitting vectored VDSL2 modems to be connected to the network; and requires that line filters support the …
Siemens GSM-R train cab radio. Pic: Joshua Brown

German railways upgrade their comms tech from 2G to 4G

German choo-choo chaps Deutsche Bahn are replacing their GSM-R communications technology and has commissioned a consortium of Siemens Convergence Creators and Huawei to sort out the migration of the system across northern Germany's railway lines. GSM-R is a technology which dates back around 15 years and provides both voice …
Simon Rockman, 03 Aug 2015
shutterstock_150125084_police_woman(2)

Emergency-service comms omnishambles worsens as HP dives for the door

Things have gone from worse to even worse for the Government’s attempts to replace the ageing emergency-services network, as HP has withdrawn its bid. HP has followed Telefonica in deciding that the terms of the deal were too onerous and deciding it didn’t want to be part of Emergency Services Mobile Communications Programme ( …
Simon Rockman, 10 Jul 2015
CIE Oz Data Set

Australia's comms regs broken says Vodafone (as it would)

Telstra's continuing incumbency is an expensive luxury, according to the carrier's competitors, that sucks more than AU$3 billion into the carrier's maw each year. That's the conclusion of a study which reckons a fixed-line customer buying from Telstra is paying AU$20 too much each month, or $9 per month for mobile services. …
Crypto fingers

Channel Islands firm touts all-in-one secure comms app

A British start-up has launched a fully encrypted communications platform for mobile devices that aims to challenge established apps such as FaceTime and Skype, and even heavily-touted privacy-engineered devices like the BlackPhone. Pryvate from Criptyque offers encrypted email, voice and video calls as well as secure instant …
John Leyden, 29 Oct 2015
GCHQ as seen on Google Earth

Bulk comms spying is not mission creep, insists UK foreign sec

The minister responsible for the oversight of GCHQ has today defended the interception of bulk communications data, saying it does not amount to mission creep by Blighty's intelligence agencies. Speaking at the Royal United Services Institute, Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said it was necessary to address public concerns …
Kat Hall, 10 Mar 2015
Image from Shutterstock 161369036

Boffins set to reveal state of play on fully duplex comms - on the same FREQ

A conference at Bristol university is set to reveal the current state of the art on Full Duplex technology, which allows for transmitting and receiving signals on the same frequency at the same time. The idea that a radio can simultaneously shout and listen has been regarded as both old, established technology and a bonkers …
Simon Rockman, 11 May 2015
Malcolm Turnbull from ITU pictures flickr feed https://www.flickr.com/photos/itupictures/

Australia: your real comms minister is George Brandis

Australia's tech sector could be forgiven for regretting the welcomes it gave Malcolm Turnbull to the communications ministry in 2013. The Attorney-General's Department, in fact, seems to exercise more effective ministerial control over the telecommunications industry than its own minister. In 2013 it was argued that Turnbull …
You can't shut me up, Jennifer Moo, Flickr, CC 2.0

Optus tells Department of Comms to sit down and shut up

The relationship between the Australian government and the telco sector continues to deteriorate, with more carriers pushing back against Canberra's micro-management of their operations, with both industry regulation and security reforms as ongoing battlegrounds. Optus is the latest to raise its voice against the Department of …
Top and bottom views of the RockBLOCK

LAST CHANCE to get yer cut-price Iridium satellite comms unit

Reader offer Before heading off to the pub for a well-deserved pint this fine Friday, we'd like to remind readers that you only have a few days left to get 10 per cent off a Rock Seven RockBLOCK Iridium satellite comms unit, as used by our Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) team, as part of its emergency abort system. Top and …
Lester Haines, 27 Sep 2013
Intel's XMM 6255

Chipzilla gives birth to a TINY comms chip

Intel has shrunk a 3G-plus-power amplifier combo with a 300 square millimetre footprint, which it's targeting at Internet of Things applications. Chipzilla's XMM 6255, described here, is the world's smallest so far, the company says. It's got 2G and 3G capabilities, and Intel says LTE is on the drawing board for the future. …
Deflated dome at Waihopai Base

Complicit Kiwis sniffed Pacific comms says Snowden

New Zealand snooped on friendly Pacific island nations' communications to hand the haul to the NSA, according to the latest nugget to pop out of Edward Snowden's PR machine. Snowden newsletter The Intercept has shared its latest drop with the New Zealand Herald, saying in 2009 the country's Government Communications Security …
Police outside 10 Downing Street. Credit: zongo

Home Office: It's an EMERGENCY! We need proper comms

The Home Office is seeking suppliers for its Emergency Services Network contract, part of moves to replace the incumbent gaffe-prone £2.9bn Airwave contract due to expire in 2016. Contracts will be awarded in 2015 for radio, television, communication, telecommunication and related equipment, with the new ESN will going live from …
Kat Hall, 21 Nov 2014

Ex-cop: Holborn fireball comms outage cover for £200m bling heist gang

Last Wednesday's blaze in Holborn, which knocked out power and internet access across London, could have been sparked by thieves pulling a daring heist to pocket £200m in precious stones and metals. "I think that probably was deliberate," John O’Connor, former head of Scotland Yard's Flying Squad told capital radio station LBC …
Iain Thomson, 09 Apr 2015
Oblivion, the movie comms officer desk

Sat comms kit riddled with backdoors for hackers – researcher

Security researchers claim to have uncovered myriad security problems with satellite communication systems. But while major manufacturer Iridium said the security weaknesses identified by security researchers at IOActive were in hand, Thuraya, another satellite comms service, has criticised the report as inaccurate. Ruben …
John Leyden, 23 Apr 2014
Shaun of the Dead

We've made a profit, shouts Azzurri Comms. Yeah, 'made' is right

Azzurri Communications is out of intensive care now it has its debts under control but it still took a whopping £58m inter-company loan to turn a loss-making year into a profitable one, avoiding any board level blushes. The integrator majors on unified comms (UC) with Avaya and Mitel, and sells connectivity, security services …
Paul Kunert, 12 Feb 2015

Ofcom: We're going to shake up the digi comms market

UK regulator Ofcom has announced a wide-ranging review of digital communications, looking at infrastructure and competition. The review will examine incentives for efficient investment and effective competition drive good outcomes: coverage, choice, price and quality of service for consumers, citizens and businesses. It will …
Simon Rockman, 13 Mar 2015
NBN Co logo

Labor names Jason Clare shadow comms spokesbloke

Debate over Australia's National Broadband Network has a new combatant: Jason Clare, member for the western Sydney seat of Blaxland. Clare was today named the Labor opposition's shadow minister for communications, meaning he gets the job of marking Australia's communications minister Malcolm Turnbull. Labor's recent …
Simon Sharwood, 18 Oct 2013
ISIS Islamists in Iraq

Jihadi terrorists DIDN'T encrypt their comms 'cos of Snowden leaks

The Snowden leaks have not changed the way jihadi terorrists communicate, according to a new study. A report by Flashpoint Partners concludes that jihadi/terrorist groups, their recruits and affiliates are making greater use of secure communications tools. Yet the report ascribes this to the development of new encrypted …
John Leyden, 18 Sep 2014
eyeofSauron

UK says comms metadata can kill personal privacy

The UK's inquiry into whether it conducts mass surveillance and the legality of such an effort has recommended tighter controls on access to communications metadata. The inquiry, which as we've reported finds that mass surveillance capabilities exist in the UK, but are used appropriately. The inquiry also rejects use of the …
Simon Sharwood, 12 Mar 2015

Chairman grabs CEO's chair at British Airways' IT and comms supplier

KCom Group recorded a first-half year profit slide on the back of infrastructure and fibre optic investments with a downturn in business broadband and large enterprise integration work not helping. Despite the slight stumble for the six months to 30 September, the LSE-listed telco – which provides comms to private and public …
Paul Kunert, 26 Nov 2013
Sony logo

Sony slurps Altair Semiconductor to make 'things' sing

Sony has put US$212 million on the table to buy LTE silicon vendor Altair Semiconductor. The Israeli chip developer runs the gamut from 200 Kbps low-power (and low-cost) Internet of Things comms chips up to 450 Mbps chipsets for base stations, mobile Internet and motor vehicle applications. In December, the takeover target …

OMG, sorry about 'poor comms' on Facebook secret emoto-meddle tests. Laters!

A top Facebook chief has admitted the firm did a poor job of informing its users about a controversial 2012 experiment that manipulated the emotions of nearly 700,000 people on the free content ad network. COO Sheryl Sandberg told reporters during a meeting in India on Wednesday that Facebook had made a hash of the secret test …
Kelly Fiveash, 03 Jul 2014

Comms giant Vodafone ready to smash up hosting and services market

Hosting and managed services players are about to face a heated battle as comms bigwig Vodafone prepares to jump into the market later this year, sources close to the vendor are claiming. The telco acquired Cable & Wireless Worldwide in the spring of 2012 and sucked up a load of hosting and management service capability that is …
Paul Kunert, 12 Jun 2013
BrickArms' Toy taliban figure

'Tech giants who encrypt comms are unwittingly aiding terrorists', claims ex-Home Sec Blunkett

Former, draconian Home Secretary David Blunkett – who held the post at the time of the 9/11 attacks in the US – has claimed that technology companies that encrypt communications on their networks are helping terrorists to spread fear. The Labour MP, writing in Saturday's Daily Telegraph, lambasted Martha Lane-Fox for telling …
Kelly Fiveash, 09 Nov 2014

Cisco okayed for UK government comms

Cisco has had a bunch of products certified as secure by the GCHQ's information security arm, the Communications & Electronics Security Group (CESG). The certification only covers the products to handle information up to the UK government's “Official” classification – that is, most government information. However, as the …
Tangle of cables attached to a telegraph pole

Find someone else to untangle your comms

Unified communications (UC) is both complicated and boring. The goal is to help companies, from SMBs to global conglomerates, to increase productivity. At its most basic, UC is the bringing together of as many forms of business communication as possible to create a single, easily accessible user experience. Most organisations …
Trevor Pott, 21 Jul 2015