Tuesday, April 24, 2018

20 Gbps - In Your Home - In Your Car - In Your Pocket

Fixed wireless is a term used to define wireless services to the home, often used to provide residential broadband service where fixed broadband service (cable, DSL, etc) is not available. It's just a fancy term for cellular data service to a residence.
Currently LTE (download speeds between 5 and 12 Mbps [Megabits per second] and upload speeds between 2 and 5 Mbps, with peak download speeds approaching 50 Mbps) is used by providers offering fixed wireless service. Some nice bandwidth when you have a good connection...... 
Recently, Verizon announced  the launch of next-generation 5G wireless residential broadband services in three to five U.S. markets in 2018. The first commercial launch is now scheduled in Sacramento, CA, in the second half of 2018. 5G will be  a significant upgrade to LTE services, supporting a theoretical speed up to 20 Gbps with a latency of ~1 ms, enabling providers like Verizon to offer superior broadband access without running fiber-optic cables to the sides of homes. 
The days of fiber to the home (FTTH) products like FiOS are numbered. Full phase 5G rollouts by all major providers should be across the U.S. by 2020. Don't give up on fiber though. Additional backhaul capacity will require lots more fiber. That fiber won't be running directly to homes but will be running to cell towers - both large and small.
5G is coming and going to come quickly. ABI Research, a market-foresight advisory firm providing strategic guidance on the most compelling transformative technologies, forecasts that the global fixed wireless broadband market will grow 30% in 2018 and will generate US$18 billion in service revenue. As 5G fixed wireless broadband access is set to be launched in North America in 2018, it is set to expand and provide consumers with better quality service in the years to come. 
What could you do with 20Gbps in your home, your car, your pocket.....??

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Apple Pay – How Printed Store Receipts are Handled

Diane and I had an interesting couple of transactions. Around the holidays, Diane and I went to one of the big box retail stores and bought her Mom a couple of boxes of disposable heating pads for a sore shoulder. I used the Apple Pay app on my watch to pay for the pads. Last week her Mom let us know she did not need the second box so Diane brought that box back today with the original receipt.

There was some confusion at the store about the credit card number on the original receipt because it did not match either of the two cards Diane and I have. We were concerned the original transaction may have gone on someone else’s card and, with us returning the heating pads and getting credit on one of our cards, we may have gotten ourselves in some kind of trouble.

When Diane got home we looked at our credit card detail and sure enough – the $77.85 we spent on December 27 was listed. So, why was the last four unknown (to us) digits wrong on the original receipt? A little more digging found similar receipts with the same unknown four digit number for Apple Pay purchases.

With a little investigating, we were able to figure out what happened.  When you use Apple pay the card number on the receipt reflects your device ID, not the last 4 digits of your credit card. There is also no name on the receipt – it will be listed as “Contactless”. This way if you drop a receipt and someone picks it up there is no way you can be identified. It has no personal information on it. If you use Apple Pay check it out the next time you buy something using it.

Not having to take may card out of my wallet, no Personally Identifiable Information (PII) on the receipt...... added privacy and security – good stuff!