Wednesday, December 13, 2017

What 5G Networks Should Be Like

5G is the next generation of cellular networks and is already rolling out in test cities across America. I am not sure how cellular networks will look by 2020 when most of 5G is slated to be turned on but here are features I would like to see.

Every device is a cellular device:
This means that your TV, computer, phone, DVR, Chromecast, refrigerator, washer, dryer, and toaster will all have some soft of Internet capability with a 5G device. This is a lot of devices so IPv6 will obviously be used.
I even believe that home and possibly business wireless networks will eventually become unnecessary.

One standard worldwide:
Ok this one might not happen but it should! All 5G networks should be the same standard across the world and work on any providers network.

Backward compatible:
Should be backward compatible to at least 4G if not 3G networks.

I believe that the 5G radio itself should have a firewall with fully closed settings as a default then the manufacturer or user of the device will open what services need to go in and out. Each 5G provider should have a easy to use tool/service that will run a security check/probe against your 5G devices to look for known vulnerabilities.

Virtual Networking:
Imagine you have 30 or so 5G devices in your home. Now imagine linking all of them to the same virtual network that belongs to just your devices. You can be anywhere on your providers network and maybe even any provider's network and all your devices can talk to each other. This is not a far fetched idea and would have lots of benefits.
From a home user's perspective lets say you have security cameras all over your property, your rental property, your parents house, and even on your car. The physical location does not matter and you can securely access these cameras from your phone or tablet that is also connected to this secure virtual network.
For a business this is a huge plus! Right now there are MPLS networks through a single provider. VPNs between locations, and then there are servers and resources that are accessed through the public Internet. By setting up virtual networks all the business 5G devices could easily talk to each other with minimal configuration.

Customer Control:
You should be able to control each of your devices bandwidth, usage as well as security settings at any time from a user friendly console.

Lots of Services:
Just think how many services ISPs could offer with the 5G and even 4G capabilities. Like content filtering, Intrusion detection, Anti-Virus, advanced firewalls, caching, data compression, and so much more.

Cost is key!
In order for 5G to really get to its full potential the price is going to have to be economical. If you want your fridge to be online a consumer is not going to pay very much but a few dollars and then for usage per device seems reasonable.
Billing by usage instead of speed makes more sense to me. Should be full speed all the time or at least what the network can handle. Devices and users that use a small amount of data will pay less that those that use a lot of data.
Pricing per GB now is too expensive. It should be more like a dollar a GB not the $10 to $20 it is now.

Zero Cost Bandwidth:
This is already done. If a company like Netflix wants to pay to subsidize a user's bandwidth for their streaming then they should be allowed to do that. Since an ISP is there to make money they don't care where the money comes from. I know what many of you are thinking. What about a small company that wants to compete with NetFlix or Youtube. Think of this from the ISP side. Streaming video uses a LOT of bandwidth and is the most expensive data to push through a network. Someone has to pay for all that bandwidth, sorry but that is just how business works.

Bottom line is 5G has a lot of potential with 10 to 100 times throughput, much higher density and lower latency than 4G networks. If the Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T's play their cards right they may quickly put terrestrial based ISPs out of business.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Focused Sirens

How many of us have been woken up by sirens in the night that are miles away and have nothing to do with where you are. Instead of blasting the high pitch sound everywhere it should be more directional.

I believe some ways of doing this would be to:
- Control the shape of the siren horn
- Control the pitch based on distance and atmospheric conditions
- Control the volume

A camera/radar/lidar system can be used to look at distances in front of the emergency vehicle as well as where intersections are and turns ahead. When approaching an intersection the siren can increase the width of the horn/cone as well as volume and pitch.

Volume as well as the focus of the siren can also be increased for vehicles that are not paying attention or may have their radio too loud to notice the siren.

In addition a second siren could be installed to have a dual pitch with one being more focused in front of the emergency vehicle for even more power to alert vehicles in the direct path of the siren.

The concept is to still alert vehicles and pedestrians in the path of the emergency vehicles while minimizing sound pollution in the area. Especially at night when it is generally quiet and atmospheric conditions allow sound to travel further.

So much more sleep for people while still safely alerting those that an emergency vehicle is trying to get through.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Consolidated Billing

Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, HBO Go, and so many more. So many have cut the cord but what about all these new bills. $12 a month, $10, $15, $20 now all of a sudden you are paying almost as much and you can't just simply select a channel or pay a single bill. FRAGMENTED!

Eventually Google TV, Apple TV, or someone will aggregate all these services together and make is super easy to browse through them but there is still the billing. Even if you set up an automatic payment with a credit card you still a lot more services to pay for individually.

How about a consolidated billing service. Here is how that might work.

You go to your favorite consolidated billing service provider and for this example let's call them

You set up an account on and then place checkboxes next to the services you want. So you select Cox, Amazon, Hulu, DirecTV, and Netflix.
Next you put in your billing information and your done. Within hours or even faster all these services will be set up under your email address and a password setup across all the accounts.

Now you can pay one bill, if your payment info changes you can change it in one place.

So why would these companies even want to associate with a service like this?
- All billing and billing customer service issues are resolved by
- The services would be paid on time all the time
- Contracts would be dealt with from the side
- Payment issues are resolved from the side
- If it is as easy as checking a box then more users are more likely to use a service

Why would a customer want to use this?
- A discount can be provided for signing up for multiple services
- Easy single checkbox to sign up
- All in one place account management as well as password resets
- One place to contact for all billing issues

Then to cover costs takes a few percent from the transactions just for being a "broker" to everything.

Could even consolidate basic support to remove burden of simple account issues, password resets, notification of service outages, etc.

This can work for just about any recurring service that you pay for including
- Cellular services
- TV/Cable/Satalite
- Internet providers
- Utilities/Electric/Water/Gas

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Keep the lock, replace the tumbler

There are lots of electronic door locks available today but they all have the same problem. They are much larger than a typical mechanical lock and must have a power source.

There are two parts to an electronic lock. The key and the motor to open the bolt or lock itself. The key is typically a RFID badge, numeric code, fingerprint, etc. Then once the user is authenticated the lock has a motor that will open the bolt or unlatch the mechanism to allow the door to be opened.

Because of this there must be a battery for power and most of the time the entire door handle assembly replaced with something much larger. This is sometimes difficult and also more unsightly.

I propose a hybrid of an electronic lock that fits into the same small space as a mechanical lock while still maintaining the same dimensions of a circular tumbler assembly that fits in most door locks/knobs today. It can even continue to use the same old fashion key as a backup.

Simply have a key with an RFID chip on it that is a flat blade like a normal key but smooth on both sides and is a narrower width than a normal key. A normal key would line up the pins to allow the tumbler to be turned thus unlocking the door. The RFID key would also engage a mechanism that uses a very small amount of power that would allow the tumbler to turn regardless of the pins positions and allow the key to then turn and unlock the door.

The power can be from the key itself being inserted like a magnetic generator. If the lock needs extra power the key can be inserted and removed multiple times like a generator moving back and forth. This is used in many non-battery emergency flashlights.

The electronic locks can be programmed with a master key or a fob of some sort that will use a NFC type of setup from a smartphone. If there is an issue a normal key can still be used to open the tumbler providing access.

The unlocking of the bolt itself requires most of the power but since you are turning a physical key that part is done by the user. Thus eliminating a larger lock being needed to house a motor and gear assembly.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Autonomous Vehicles Laws

They are here and eventually everyone will have one and many, many, many laws are sure to follow. Driver-less cars or "Autonomous Vehicles" in my opinion will make the world a safer and better place.

How many people ride a horse or a buggy to work. The correct answer would be very few. But when cars or the "horseless carriages" were new I am sure many people thought to themselves they would never get in one. Here we are over a century later and now the automobile is going to drive us around. I'm good with that once they get the bugs worked out.

But fast forward a few decades or maybe even sooner and as with all technology the laws will play catch up with autonomous vehicles. Here are a few that I think we are going to have and really need to have.

- No one can drive on the highways manually. Meaning eventually once the technology is sound driving without the aid of the computer will be illegal as it will basically be dangerous.

- Software updates will be required as a part of annual inspection. Similar to smog laws. Also critical security patches will be automatic and required in order to be on public roads.

- Drivers license tests will consist of what to do in a computer malfunction and how to operate the computer systems. No more parallel parking or traffic merging.

- My guess is controlling a fully autonomous vehicle while impaired (drunk, high, tired) is still going to be illegal as you are responsible for any malfunction as well as telling the vehicle where to go.

- In the case of an accident all autonomous vehicles will require highly precise "black boxes" for data tracking and telemetry as well as computer debugging. This way the insurance companies can find out who or what is at fault. The entire insurance system may change as it will be insuring computer code instead of people.

- All Autonomous vehicles in proximity to each other must have basic communications with each other in order to make better and quicker decisions to avoid collisions.

- Hacking or otherwise modifying the autonomous code will be a criminal offense.

- Emergency vehicles can communicate with all surrounding vehicles to clear a path. All autonomous vehicles must obey these emergency vehicles as long as it is safe to move out of the way.

- Personal vehicles can be placed in an emergency mode in case a passenger or the driver needs emergency assistance. For example if someone is having a heart attack the driver/person in control (can call them a pilot) can initiate an emergency request to the nearest hospital. Their vehicle would then have priority through traffic and be allowed to go beyond typical speed limits within reason. To prevent abuse of this system a report with law enforcement would be required after each use. Inappropriate use of the emergency mode would be fined with possible suspension of the operators license.

Beyond the laws there will be special trips and vacations where you can actually drive a car or truck for recreational purposes. Like offloading or racing.

Finally security is going to be a major issue and is already a concern. There has to be "air-gap" in place between critical systems and say a wireless hot-spot in the car or the infotainment system. As other vehicles communicate with each other they must follow a strict set of rules and be truthful and accurate in their information. Bad data from other vehicles can cause collisions.