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Wi-Fi Technology News

Google Maps gets a Wi-Fi-only Mode

Google started to roll out an offline mode for its Google Maps application a few days ago. If you own an iPhone you’re out of luck, though, at least for the moment, because the update is only targeting Android for now.


The Wi-Fi-only mode can be toggled on or off in Google Maps’ settings. If you are in areas where you don’t have access to an Internet connection, the application will make use of previously saved offline data. And the good news doesn’t stop here: those huge offline maps can also be stored on your SD card, and this means that your smartphone’s memory will not be filled with gigabytes of data.


Visible Light Communication Speeds Reach 2GB/s

Wi-Fi is now an established technology, and newer standards push it to the limit, with the goal of reaching higher and higher data transfer rates. The results have been moderate so far, though. A researcher from Data Alliance claims that real-life scenarios limit the theoretical speed of 600 Mbps to less than 200 Mbps – in fact, in most cases, the speed rarely exceeds 80 Mbps.

Fortunately, scientists at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology have invented a new technology that makes use of laser light and is able to transfer data at speeds that reach 2 GB per second. Called VLC, the acronym for visible light communication, the technology is also energy-efficient. The laser lights used in this demonstration had a white color, which was achieved by combining blue green and red lights.


The quality of the generated white light is comparable to the one that can be achieved with today’s LED technologies. The same system can also be used to create LED lights that are much more efficient in comparison with today’s LED-based light sources.


LinkNYC is Operational

Several cities around the globe have started to set up free public Wi-Fi networks, with the goal of providing free Internet access to their citizens. New York City began building its own Wi-Fi network a few months ago, and today LinkNYC is already functional in the city.

City Bridge, the company that will build Link NYC, is supposed to set up about 8000 kiosks across the city. The company has managed to install about 300 kiosks so far, and most of them can be found in Manhattan. Fortunately, a map on their website shows the location of these kiosks.


To connect your device to LinkNYC, search for a “LinkNYC Free Wi-Fi” network, and then enter your email address. Of course, most people will not want to give away their personal email address. Still, you can create a disposable email address, and then use it to sign up for services like this one.

If you run an Apple device, you will be pleased to find out that LinkNYC also offers a secure network, which encrypts your data. But why have they forgotten about Android users? This is a question that really troubles me.

Each kiosk also includes a built-in, Internet connected tablet that can be used freely. Don’t expect a high-end model, though. It’s a slow tablet, but it does the job. The Google Maps application is built into it, and this means that you will be able to get directions anytime you get lost in the city.




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