Ten years ago, I remember driving around my neighborhood with a laptop, wireless card, and an antenna looking at the Service Set Identifiers (SSID) of all the open wireless networks. Back then, a home user’s packets often flew through the air unencrypted with nary a thought to who might be listening.
As a protocol, Wireless Fidelity (WiFi), has continually improved (IEEE 802.11) and today it is the preferred communication channel for a multitude of home devices including video game consoles, cameras, streaming video devices, mobile phones, tablets, and list goes on. As October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month, we outline typical WiFi risks and share sensible precautions.
In my last three homes, the Internet Service Provider (ISP) installation technician arrived with a cable modem that included four Ethernet ports and native WiFi default enabled. In each case, the technician explained that I could manage the cable modem through the settings webpage. When I inquired about management authentication credentials all of the technicians told me that passwords were not enabled by default, which naturally caused some consternation due to the obvious security implications.
It turns out that most ISPs will provide a modem without WiFi capabilities upon request. You can also request that a WiFi enabled modem be converted to bridge mode which will allow you to attach and manage your own WiFi access point (AP) without worrying about conflicts. Read More »
I was driving home the other day when I heard a radio report on densely populated California cities. What’s interesting was a mention of a small California city that is ranked as the nation’s fourth most dense urbanized area. I guess that a lot of people don’t know Delano, a central valley city with a population density of 5,483 people per square mile. It’s surprisingly more dense than the New York-Newark, N.J. metropolitan area which is ranked the 5th.
Many people with many devices in a densely populated area can pose a challenge to WiFi networks. I was talking to a Cisco customer in the New York City area a few days ago. He said that deploying WiFi was not as straightforward as it used to be. There are many RF interferences near his office and many new SSIDs that he never saw before.
Last week at the ODVA Annual Conference--as part of ODVA’s announcement of a new energy initiative and white paper--Cisco’s Bryce Barnes roused a packed-house audience representing ODVA’s ~200 industrial and automation suppliers with a compelling speech on the immediate need for Optimization of Energy Usage (OEU™) in the Production domain. Energy consumption statistics for the industrial sector are staggering, most estimates suggesting half of the world’s total delivered energy, and that amount is projected to increase by 40% over the next 25 years. For Manufacturers, energy typically constitutes the first or second highest portion of product variable costs, and most manufacturing companies now report as part of their governance a sustainability strategy that is core to their overall business strategy. Furthermore, volatility of energy markets--closely linked to the stability of governments, international relations and policies--raises the risk profile for continuity of supply, production and satisfaction of customers. Optimizing energy consumption, minimizing energy costs and mitigating energy risks are clearly top of mind business imperatives for the Manufacturing CEO.
Mark Wylie discusses the importance of energy optimization to sustainable manufacturing operations. Check out Mark’s December blog on factory energy management.