Posts tagged " Internet "

Perfect online privacy?

March 23rd, 2018 Posted by News No Comment yet

True internet privacy could finally become possible thanks to a new tool that canfor instancelet you prove you’re over 18 without revealing your date of birth, or prove you have enough money in the bank for a financial transaction without revealing your balance or other details. That limits the risk of a privacy breach or identity theft.

The tool is an emerging cryptographic protocol called a zero-­knowledge proof. Though researchers have worked on it for decades, interest has exploded in the past year, thanks in part to the growing obsession with cryptocurrencies, most of which aren’t private.

Zero Knowledge Protocol (or Zero Knowledge Password Proof, ZKP) is a way of doing authentication where no passwords are exchanged, which means they cannot be stolen. This is cool because it makes your communication so secure and protected that nobody else can find out what you’re communicating about or what files you are sharing with each other.

ZKP allows you proving that you know some secret (or many secrets) to somebody at the other “end” of communication without actually revealing it. The very term “zero knowledge” originates from the fact that no (“zero”) information about the secret is revealed, but the second party (called “Verifier”) is (rightfully) convinced that the first party (called “Prover”) knows the secret in question. Why would you need to prove you know the secret without telling it? When you don’t trust the other person, but still need to persuade them that you know it. 

Much of the credit for a practical zero-knowledge proof goes to Zcash, a digital currency that launched in late 2016. Zcash’s developers used a method called a zk-SNARK (for “zero-knowledge succinct non-interactive argument of knowledge”) to give users the power to transact anonymously.

That’s not normally possible in Bitcoin and most other public blockchain systems, in which transactions are visible to everyone. Though these transactions are theoretically anonymous, they can be combined with other data to track and even identify users. Vitalik Buterin, creator of Ethereum, the world’s second-most-popular blockchain network, has described zk-SNARKs as an “absolutely game-changing technology.”

For banks, this could be a way to use blockchains in payment systems without sacrificing their clients’ privacy. Last year, JPMorgan Chase added zk-SNARKs to its own blockchain-based payment system.

For all their promise, though, zk-SNARKs are computation-heavy and slow. They also require a so-called “trusted setup,” creating a cryptographic key that could compromise the whole system if it fell into the wrong hands. But researchers are looking at alternatives that deploy zero-knowledge proofs more efficiently and don’t require such a key. 

How super-fast mobile broadband could change our world

October 6th, 2017 Posted by Case Study, News, Tech Talk No Comment yet

What impact could 5G – the new high-speed mobile technology being trialled around the world – have on the way we work and play?

Swedish transport company Scania believes lorries could use far less fuel if they drove much closer together, controlled by wirelessly communicating onboard computers.

But to prevent these “platooning” lorries crashing into each other, you’d better be sure your communications are fast and reliable. So Scania is working with Ericsson on trials of the new 5G (fifth generation) wireless broadband technology, due to be rolled out globally in 2020.

It promises much faster data transfer speeds, greater coverage and more efficient use of the spectrum bandwidth.

“Platooning works very well with wi-fi, but in dense traffic situations with many vehicles communicating, 5G is designed to offer more reliable communication,” says Andreas Hoglund, Scania’s senior engineer for intelligent transport systems. This is because 5G direct communication is designed to handle fast moving objects and congestion more efficiently, he says.

“Faster communication will make it possible to reduce the distance between vehicles in the platoon, which might further reduce the air drag and give positive effects on fuel consumption,” he explains.

This could help create “a more efficient, greener” world.

5G is designed to accommodate the growing number of devices reliant on a mobile internet connection – from fridges to cars – and is 10 times faster than the highest speed 4G can manage.

“It will enable a lot of applications which were unthinkable before,” says Mischa Dohler, professor in wireless communications at King’s College London.

South Korea has plans to implement 5G for the Winter Olympics in February 2018, giving visitors access to virtual reality (VR) content on their mobiles.

 

 

Balloon Masts

EE Shows off helium balloon mobile masts

February 22nd, 2017 Posted by Uncategorized No Comment yet

Mobile phone provider EE has demonstrated helium balloons and drones that could provide 4G mobile coverage following damage to existing infrastructure.

The devices are fitted with small mobile sites that include a base station and an antenna.

They could also be used to connect remote parts of the UK where coverage is thin.

EE said it planned to deploy such a network in a UK rural area this year.

BBC Drone Explanation

BBC Drone Explanation

The drones can stay airborne for up to an hour at a time and the “helikite” balloons for several weeks as they have a tethered power source.

The drone was designed to give short-term targeted coverage to aid search and rescue situations, EE said.

Innovation is essential for us to go further than we’ve ever gone, and deliver a network that’s more reliable than ever before,” said EE chief executive Marc Allera.

“Rural parts of the UK provide more challenges to mobile coverage than anywhere else, so we have to work harder there – developing these technologies will ultimately help our customers, even in the most hard to reach areas.”

It was the first time this had been tried out in the UK, said Kester Mann, analyst at CCS Insight.

Everyone immediately thinks of disruptive players like Facebook and Google when it come to things like balloon-based networks. The traditional networks need to step up so they don’t get left behind,” he told the BBC.

Google is developing a network of huge balloons to provide connectivity to rural areas around the world, known as Project Loon.

Last month the tech giant confirmed it had closed its internet drone project, Titan, which was designed to bring the internet to remote rural areas.

Facebook’s Project Aquila involves building solar-powered aircraft which will fly for months at a time above remote places, beaming down an internet connection.

 

Article first published on the BBC Technology pages 21st Feb 2017

 

Paul Ainsworth

Microcomms & Paul Ainsworth

December 14th, 2016 Posted by Case Study, hospitality No Comment yet

Described by the Michelin Guide as ‘A delightful Georgian townhouse on a harbour backwater, with a relaxed, buzzy vibe; run by a friendly, enthusiastic team. Seasonal modern cooking displays originality and the occasional playful element, and textures and flavours are bold yet refined.‘  – this is Paul Ainsworth at Number 6 in Padstow.

We are very happy to have been involved with Number 6 since it’s incarnation in 2012. The building the restaurant is housed in was being completely refurbished, unfortunately, the incumbent network company let down Paul Ainsworth’s team. Microcomms stepped in to rescue the project’s technical infrastructure – we’ve been working together ever since!

Paul Ainsworth

Padstow Townhouse

Paul_Ainsworth

Rojano’s in the Square

Padstow is a lovely, seaside town with old Cornish buildings. Walls are never straight, Internet can be patchy and cable-crazy networks often look like they were built in the 1960’s. Microcomms are helping to bring the Paul Ainsworth group’s buildings forward in time with new state-of-the-art networking and cabling, perfect WiFi and strong telephony services. Working closely with supremo General Manager, Alex Tozer, we are updating the infrastructure across Number 6, the gorgeous Padstow Townhouse and the Italian eatery Rojanos in the Square.

We’re working closely with Alex on both customer-facing challenges and the behind-the-scenes office requirements. As well as providing great client WiFi and telephony it is also vital that the three Padstow sites are able to interact easily, share communications and operate using the same systems for continuity.

If you get the chance to visit Cornwall – don’t miss these great places to eat and stay!