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Apple encryption update, CB radio comeback … 5 things to know today

5 things to know today …

1. Apple’s refusal to open up the iPhone that belonged to one of the San Bernadino gunmen has elicited comments from both of the Democratic Party’s presidential hopefuls. Hillary Clinton said she can see both sides of the argument, and that she thinks most Americans can appreciate the importance of digital privacy, as well as the value of investigating the contacts on the gunman’s phone. Bernie Sanders said he supports Apple in its effort to protect customers’ privacy.

Meanwhile Bloomberg News Service is reporting the federal government is at work on anti-encryption tools it wants to use to gain access to suspects’ digital data. The report says the National Security Council has asked government operatives to develop “encryption workarounds.”

2. CB Radio could be making a comeback. Google, Federated Wireless, Intel, Nokia, Qualcomm and Ruckus Wireless are teaming up to develop solutions utilizing the 3.5 GHz Citizens Broadband Radio Service. Last spring the Federal Communications Commission opened up 150 megahertz of new spectrum in the band (3550 MHz – 3700 MHz). The six companies hope private enterprises and fixed operators will autonomously deploy LTE networks in these bands and allow subscribers from nationwide mobile networks to roam in these private networks.

3. Ericsson, Orange and Intel are using extended-coverage GSM (EC-GSM) to connect agricultural equipment to the Internet, and plan showcase their solution next week at Mobile World Congress. EC-GSM is an alternative to LTE for IoT, and also to low-power wide-area networks developed by companies like Sigfox and Ingenu.

The trial was conducted in the 900 MHz band in Paris for three months beginning last November. Ericsson said coverage extension of up to 20 dB beyond normal GSM coverage was achieved and GSM-EC was able to reach deep indoor basements as well as remote locations.

4. Juniper Networks announced two network functions virtualization-related alliances ahead of Mobile World Congress. The Silicon Valley company expanded its relationship with NEC and NetCracker, which is owned by NEC. The companies plan to offer solutions that combine NEC’s operating support system building model, which is an OpenStack-based cloud infrastructure, NetCracker’s OSS/business support systems, and Juniper’s networking equipment and virtual network functions, such as the company’s routing platform and virtual firewall.

Separately, Juniper has partnered with Affirmed Networks, creating a reference architecture that combines Affirmed Networks’ virtualized evolved packet core solution with Juniper Networks’ virtualization portfolio.

5. China’s Xiaomi may be ready to use in-house processors in its next-generation smartphones. According to Reuters, Xiaomi may put its own processors into its low-end smartphones as soon as this year. The fast-growing company has been a Qualcomm customer, but with China investing heavily in domestic chip design resources, it is likely Chinese phone makers will eventually make their own components as well.

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Martha DeGrasse
Martha DeGrasse
Martha DeGrasse is the publisher of Network Builder Reports ( At RCR, Martha authored more than 20 in-depth feature reports and more than 2,400 news articles. She also created the Mobile Minute and the 5 Things to Know Today series. Prior to joining RCR Wireless News, Martha produced business and technology news for CNN and Dow Jones in New York and managed the online editorial group at Hoover’s Online before taking a number of years off to be at home when her children were young. Martha is the board president of Austin's Trinity Center and is a member of the Women's Wireless Leadership Forum.

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