Cobham validates core networks as they go virtual



Cobham Wireless has launched TeraVM LaaS (lab-as-a-service) for core network testing, intending to support mobile operator networks as they shift towards ‘network function virtualisation’ (NFV) infrastructure.

“The introduction of LTE-Advanced and 5G requires mobile operators to invest in virtual core network technology, in order to operate with dynamic flexibility and reduced cost,” said the firm. “TeraVM LaaS provides a comprehensive validation platform for the virtual evolved packet core [vEPC], offering an automation framework, that integrates with any orchestration [MANO] platform for both EPC network functions and test elements simultaneously.”

TeraVM LaaS offers end-to-end testing from RAN to core when used with Cobham Wireless’ TM500, which stress tests the impact of RAN traffic on the core network.

Partnering with ng4T, TeraVM LaaS can emulate thousands of base stations and millions of mobile subscribers in a single virtual machine.

According to ng4T COO Carsten Fuchs: “Combining TeraVM’s application traffic generator with the NG40 multi vRAN control plane load generator enables service providers to scale within a data centre, emulating hundreds of Gbit/s of real world data traffic, and millions of connections, at the same time.”

The Cobham product can be deployed as a virtual network function (VNF) due to the addition of its software defined lab (SDL) function, via Luxoft’s NFV automation and testing framework.

“Previously it would have taken one to two weeks to set up a complete RAN to core test lab. Now the unique SDL configuration that TeraVM LaaS offers means a single user can perform the set-up and testing of two vEPC test deployment configurations in less than an hour,” said Luxoft product manager James Hopson.

Cautioning, Cobham director Robert Winters said: “Virtual environments are more dynamic and flexible than their hardware-oriented predecessors. However, these new environments require careful benchmarking and validation, supported by an overarching requirement for security. VNF vendors have become more reluctant to provide benchmark figures due to the almost infinite configurability of underlying resources in a mobile service cloud. Adding containers and virtual network functions on x86 servers in the mobile network infrastructure introduces another abstraction layer adding to the challenge of performance validation.

Full article here.

Cobham’s product will be on show with Cisco’s vEPC at Cisco Live in Las Vegas next week.

Scientists build bacteria-powered battery on single sheet of paper



Instead of ordering batteries by the pack, we might get them by the ream in the future. Researchers at Binghamton University, State University of New York have created a bacteria-powered battery on a single sheet of paper that can power disposable electronics. The manufacturing technique reduces fabrication time and cost, and the design could revolutionize the use of bio-batteries as a power source in remote, dangerous and resource-limited areas.

“Papertronics have recently emerged as a simple and low-cost way to power disposable point-of-care diagnostic sensors,” said Assistant Professor Seokheun “Sean” Choi, who is in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department within the Thomas J. Watson School of Engineering and Applied Science. He is also the director of the Bioelectronics and Microsystems Lab at Binghamton.

“Stand-alone and self-sustained, paper-based, point-of-care devices are essential to providing effective and life-saving treatments in resource-limited settings,” said Choi.

On one half of a piece of chromatography paper, Choi and PhD candidate Yang Gao, who is a co-author of the paper, placed a ribbon of silver nitrate underneath a thin layer of wax to create a cathode. The pair then made a reservoir out of a conductive polymer on the other half of the paper, which acted as the anode. Once properly folded and a few drops of bacteria-filled liquid are added, the microbes’ cellular respiration powers the battery.

“The device requires layers to include components, such as the anode, cathode and PEM (proton exchange membrane),” said Choi. “[The final battery] demands manual assembly, and there are potential issues such as misalignment of paper layers and vertical discontinuity between layers, which ultimately decrease power generation.”

Different folding and stacking methods can significantly improve power and current outputs. Scientists were able to generate 31.51 microwatts at 125.53 microamps with six batteries in three parallel series and 44.85 microwatts at 105.89 microamps in a 6×6 configuration.

It would take millions of paper batteries to power a common 40-watt light bulb, but on the battlefield or in a disaster situation, usability and portability is paramount. Plus, there is enough power to run biosensors that monitor glucose levels in diabetes patients, detect pathogens in a body or perform other life-saving functions.

“Among many flexible and integrative paper-based batteries with a large upside, paper-based microbial fuel cell technology is arguably the most underdeveloped,” said Choi. “We are excited about this because microorganisms can harvest electrical power from any type of biodegradable source, like wastewater, that is readily available. I believe this type of paper biobattery can be a future power source for papertronics.”

The innovation is the latest step in paper battery development by Choi. His team developed its first paper prototype in 2015, which was a foldable battery that looked much like a matchbook. Earlier this year they unveiled a design that was inspired by a ninja throwing star.

The current work is available online in the journal Advanced Materials Technologies and will be presented at the IEEE MEMS 2017 conference in Las Vegas, Nevada on Jan. 22-26.

Read the full article here.

100 lm/W from a ‘100W’ LED replacement light bulb

Cree’s lighting division has created a range of high-end high-efficiency LED replacements for incandescent light bulbs.

Cree LED bulbs

The 100W replacement, for example, achieves a highly creditable 100 lm/W – delivering 1,650 lm from 16.5W.

What makes this remarkable this is the 2,700K (warm) white version, with a CRI of 85, and the bulb is dimmable – dimmability can cost up to 2W of consumption.

The naturally more efficient 5,000K (cool white) version creates 1,700 lm from 15W – 113 lm/W.

This is one of a portfolio of 25 new incandescent replacements aimed at delivering “on the true promise of LED technology to make lighting better than it was before”, said Cree “Most are projected to last 22-plus years, and some up to 32 years.”

Rated life of both bulbs above is 15,000 h, operating in environments between -25 and +45°C.

Amongst bulbs, there are also 40, 60 and 75W versions. Sadly for potential UK buyers, the whole range is only available for 120Vac operation.

There are also downlights, including a ‘100W’ 150mm recesses downlighter.

Output is lower – 1,100 lm, from 15W, so efficacy here is down to 73 lm/W, but colour rendering is up to 90+ CRI. Again, the LEDs are dimmable. Rated life is 35,000h, across -25°C and +35°C.

Amongst niche products in the range is a candelabra bulb that dimms to a very warm and candle-like 1,800K colour temperature, and there are PAR 30 and 38 spotlights – including a 15,000 lm 17W 25° PAR38.

Dimming on the product range is described as “to levels as low as 1%”, by Cree, and a tested list of compatible dimmers is available for each product.

Full article here.

Use Technology to Help Your Shopping

Use Discount Codes for Shopping

Use Discount Codes for Shopping

Raising a small child, or children, isn’t always the easiest thing to do, ask any parent. But when you are raising children you know that you have to always be on the lookout for a great deal. Thankfully, technology can be used to not only find the best deals, but also make your shopping trips easier on everyone involved.

You can use technology to find the best deals on items that you use every day. The first, and probably most obvious, way that you can do this is by searching for deals online.You can visit retail sites to find out what deals are being run both in stores and online. Many stores have turned to online exclusives to bring people into their brick and mortar stores, so you can always find a great deal there. You can also find Groupon discount codes for tons of great sites.

You can get the everyday items you need from a retailer like Mothercare if you know where to find discount codes. Technology is meant to make your life easier, and there’s no reason why it can’t translate to your shopping experiences, both online and in the store.

Another practical way that you can use technology and electronics to make shopping with your kids a bit easier is to give them something to occupy their time with. You know that if you go shopping with young children they will want to run around the store exploring and having fun. While there’s nothing wrong with this, sometimes you want to get in and out so having the right electronics can be critical.

You can give your child your smartphone to play with, just make sure that you have downloaded the appropriate games or books that they can play or read off it. You can have them use your phone while driving in the car, or even a tablet while you are running through the store.

Technology and electronics have always played a crucial in helping people have the best shopping experience. Whether you need to find the latest and best deals, or simply need something to keep your little ones occupied while you grab a few items, there is always something you can turn to. From discount codes to in store deals, technology has constantly been helping in the shopping experience.


Rollei Actioncam

Rollei Actioncam

London, UK 25th February 2015: Iconic camera manufacturer Rollei has today launched its 2015 ActionCamcorder range which boasts improved connectivity and recording resolution.

Rollei’s ActionCamcorder range is the only extreme sports camera that is box-ready for any extreme endeavour, due to the impressive number of accessories included. As well as the extensive list of accessories, including the waterproof casing, bike and helmet mounts, the updated cameras now feature WiFi connectivity and 1080p recording.

Jeremy Rother, UK Sales Manager at Rollei says: “With many extreme moments only happening once in a lifetime, it’s important to have a camcorder that’s not only reliable but also records in great quality. With our latest action camcorder range launching onto the UK market, we hope to inspire even more sports enthusiasts and ensure thrill seekers never miss the perfect moments from all their adventures.

“With more and more homes now containing at least one Smart TV, we wanted to create a product that connects to these devices as simply as possible so thrillseekers can relive the moment time and time again.”

The two cameras in the range, the ActionCam 400 and 410 cost £139.99 and £169.99 respectively. Each camera comes with RF wrist-wireless remote control, underwater case, rechargeable lithium-ion battery, frame holder, bike mount, helmet mounting kit and quick release mount.

The range includes:

The ActionCam 400 is a WiFi Action-Camcorder with Full HD video resoluti on (1080p/30fps). Integrated WiFi with up to 15 metre range, rechargeable lithium-ion battery and includes an underwater protective case for depths up to 40 meters and a rechargeable wireless wrist remote.

 The ActionCam 410 is a 4 Action-Camcorder with Full HD video resolution (1080p/60fps). Integrated WiFi with up to 15 metre range, rechargeable lithium-ion battery and includes an underwater protective case for depths up to 40 meters and a rechargeable wireless wrist remote.

For more information about the Rollei ActionCam 400/410, please contact the UK sales department on 020 8963 0444.

Bigshot DIY camera helps kids learn tech basics

Bigshot Camera

Bigshot Camera

The BBC has recently reported that A DIY digital camera designed to teach children about how the tech it uses works has been launched in the USA.

Owners of Bigshot’s device need to assemble its parts in a specific sequence to make it work. An online guide explains the science behind them.

It has been developed by a US computer science professor who used funds from Google and the US Department of Defense to develop the kit.

He aims to offer an alternative to other programming-focused projects.

“It’s about getting kids’ hands dirty,” Bigshot’s creator, Prof Shree Nayar, told the BBC. “In an age when software rules I want kids to know how to build hardware.

“We describe concepts that children would normally encounter at college, but try to make them accessible even to an 8 or 10 year old.

Owners of the camera must assemble its parts in the correct order to make it work

“That’s where a lot of our effort has gone in – to try and make things like image processing, electronics and display technology understandable at some level to younger kids.”

The camera features a hand crank to allow owners to take pictures when its battery runs out, and a rotatable wheel featuring three different lenses to let owners choose between regular, panoramic and 3D shots.

To bring the product to market, Prof Nayar has licensed the design to Hong Kong-based manufacturer EduScience which will pay him royalties on its sales.

He plans to use part of the cash to send Bigshot cameras to underprivileged children around the globe.

Read the full article on the BBC here.

Should You Trade-In Your Old Macbook Air?

Macbook Air

Macbook Air

It’s fair to say that as soon as you have bought pretty much any piece of modern technology, it’smodern technology already out of date. The rate of progress being made by the big IT companies around the globe mean that they are surpassing their own ‘latest’ advancements almost as quickly as they can get those advancements out on the shelves.

If you had wanted to sell macbook air devices recently, for example, you may have been rather dismayed (or perhaps excited?) at the announcement by Apple that they were to launch five new pieces of hardware technology.

These are: the iMac; the mini iPad (to rival the Kindle Fire for size and resolution); the macbook pro 13 (with retina display technology); the 4th generation iPad (also with retina display) and the mini Mac. Is your MacBook Air now obsolete?

Of course not. It will still do what it did that made you want to buy it in the first place. If your needs remain the same, there is no reason to change it for the latest model. But if retina display is something you really hanker for, then maybe trading it in to buy the latest version is worth it, especially if you want to use it as your main computer.

The new MacBook Air is about three-quarters of a kilogram lighter than the previous model, and is pretty close in weight to the MacBook Pro. There is even less reflectiveness in the new macbook Air’s screen, making it easier than ever to read even with the backlight, and the battery should last you about seven hours between charges.

So, if you fancy taking a closer look at the new MacBook Air and decide you like it (indeed have to have one), then how do you go about affording one? An obvious choice it to sell your MacBook Air and to use the proceeds towards cost of the new model. Sell online but make sure you’re selling to someone you know is going to pay so that you’re not wasting your time.

Article by Simon Lucas

Website Personalisation Software

online shopping

online shopping

Many analysts and businesses agree that the Internet is the place to be seen when it comes to retail and sales. High Street stores have huge overheads from business rates to point of sale merchandising every time a sale or promotion is on. The expensive high street shop rentals combined with falling visitor numbers are leading many retailers to concentrate more on E-commerce and online trading, it is considered by many as the future of retail.

Hand held applications for i-phones and android phones are becoming increasingly diverse and a new wave of online shopers are benefitting from this race for easy to use technology, retail giants are aware of this and they are making sure that their brands are ahead of the game to ensure they maximise profits wherever possible.

One of the main areas of E-commerce is online merchandising. Each E-commerce website is pitted against competition every minute of every day, millions of potential customers are browsing online for everything imaginable and retail businesses realise that online merchandising is as important, if not more so, than traditional point of sale merchandising, why? Because people can click to the next store if they don’t see what they want within seconds.

monitor image

monitor image

There are several ways of improving customer experience on E-commerce websites and one of the latest trends is website personalisation. Website personalisation software is cutting edge technology whereby a small piece of code is inserted into the template of an E-commerce website which then tracks a customers on-site activity and analyses their shopping behavior. This is then used to build a shopper profile for an individual or groups of individuals.

Shape your site experience around your customers

One of the leading companies in this field of website personalisation is Peerius. Peerius intelligently considers each individual visitor on their journey through an E-commerce website. It then looks at the products customers view, those they select, the ones they ignore, the journeys they complete and those they abandon.

The company then analyses clickstream data and utilises market leading behavioural modelling techniques to anticipate the buyer’s wants and needs. They then make comparisons with other buyers – identifying subsets of people with similar characteristics, and considering their behaviour in relation to that individual shopper. The result is an online store that’s personalised to each visitor… from home page to checkout.

Benefits of this software include:

  • Increased sales
  • Improved conversion rates
  • Enhanced customer experiences
  • Increased average order value
  • Easy to install on your website
  • Industry leading support

The future of online retail is changing fast and this form of web personalisation is critical for businesses to keep ahead of the pack and to help maximise sales.

Article by Simon Lucas

Printed Photo Albums

Printed Digital Photos

Printed Digital Photos

The development of the photograph over the last two centuries is without doubt one of mankind’s greatest feats to date, to be able to capture and record human existence throughout time is becoming more intriguing and important not only for nostalgic purposes but also as a documentation of what has been before.

Photograpy has been full of innovation and incredible awe inspiring technologies have emerged (such as movie film) from first development of the camera and the creation of permanent images produced in 1826 by the French inventor Joseph Nicéphore Niépce.

One of the greatest reasons for using a camera and probably what has driven camera development and sales since the idea of photography was first conceived is to capture family and friends for nostalgic purposes. The portrait photograph is not only for family parties and private moment, but also weddings and special events, and professional camera men and women make a living from this area of photography. Photo gifts are also big business with digital photo frames and pictures displaying loved ones and special moments on mantle pieces.

Photo Books

Photo Books

With modern digital and computer technologies, it was inevitable that the digital camera would eventually supercede the traditional camera film and cameras that supported it. Some argue that traditional film is making a come back, but this will only ever be for the enthusiasts. The ease and simplicity of digital cameras far outweighs that of traditional film cameras, also the ability to be able to store thousands of images on a small memory card or stick and the development of digital editing software means the digital camera is an exciting piece of equipment. Digital zoom lengths and pixel quality are constantly improving.

However, one downfall of the digital camera age is that, where traditional photographs could easily be compiled in photo albums, digital images often remain on memory cards or locked away in folders on computers waiting to be edited and shared on social media websites such as face-book and pinterest. The other problem is that not everyone uses facebook and other social networking sites, for many the traditional family photo albums is a great loss.

There is hope though, for those looking to recapture the ease of photo albums, a new line of photo books are available. This is thanks to advanced digital photo printing technologies. The digital images are simply printed on the pages of an album which you can offer as a photo gift to a friend or family member for them to treasure. It could be a holiday, birthday, wedding or any special occasion. To compliment this service you can now also have a photo canvas prepared with your favourite relative, loved one or even a favourite landscape or holiday image to hang on the wall or on a shelf.

The advances in such technology are paying tribute to older practices of displaying cherished photographs. Many high street photo, film and camera stores will offer this great service both in store and online, and can make an ideal gift for any occasion.

Article by Simon Lucas

Shared Web Space Vs Dedicated Servers

Fujitsu Tower Server

Fujitsu Tower Server

Most businesses who operate online, or who have an online presence will at some point need to consider web space, and with web space you need to choose a web host to provide that web space.

Most companies will simply browse online and choose a company which looks reputable or they will go by word of mouth, maybe a recommendation from a friend or their web designer. It’s a big scary world out there in the world wide web, there are a lot of unscrupulous companies and individuals out there who may claim to offer a good service, but in reality they may not live up to their word.

Web Space can be purchased cheaply, however this is usually on what is known as a shared server, which is basically one big powerful computer which hosts several websites on, from a handful of sites to hundreds. The trouble with shared servers is, if the web host does not look after and monitor the websites on the server carefully, they can operate illegally and carry out what is regarded as malicious activity, such as infecting other websites or computers. Search engines can penalise servers where this kind of activity is allowed to go un-monitored.

For this reason, many large companies or businesses who need a really secure web space will host their sites on what is known as a dedicated server.

Fujitsu Rack Server

Fujitsu Rack Server

Dedicated servers can be hired from hosting companies, but again the company needs to be trustworthy and guarantee your site is actually hosted on a dedicated server. Some people simply want full control of their site and they invest in their own dedicated server which will need to be permanently connected to the Internet.

Most people will generally only come into contact with Tower Servers and Rack Servers, both of which do the same thing. It can be more expensive to rent dedicated servers in comparison to shared server space but the rewards should be worth it. If your business requires stability on the net then a dedicated server will offer this better and if set up correctly will offer better security online. All servers can experience problems though and ‘down time’ where the server will have time offline can cause great problems for website owners on any server which goes down or is hacked into. This is where a bit of research and word of mouth experience can come in useful, as all web host companies will profess to have great ‘up time’ but in some cases, this can be far from the truth.

The amount of trouble a company will go to when backing up and uploading their website to a new server will make changing web hosts an experience which can be both costly and time consuming, search engines can also temporarily penalise a site which is constantly changed between servers. So research is the key and making sure you choose the web space for your website.

Article by Simon Lucas.