Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


Forgot your password?
Slashdot Deals: Deal of the Day - Pay What You Want for the Learn to Code Bundle, includes AngularJS, Python, HTML5, Ruby, and more. ×

Deutsche Telecom Upgrades T-Mobile 2G Encryption In US 27

An anonymous reader writes T-Mobile, a major wireless carrier in the U.S. and subsidiary of German Deutsche Telecom, is hardening the encryption on its 2G cellular network in the U.S., reports the Washington Post. According to Cisco, 2G cellular calls still account for 13% of calls in the US and 68% of wireless calls worldwide. T-Mobile's upgrades will bring the encryption of older and inexpensive 2G GSM phone signals in the US up to par with that of more expensive 3G and 4G handsets. Parent company Deutsche Telecom had announced a similar upgrade of its German 2G network after last year's revelations of NSA surveillance. 2G is still important not only for that 13 percent of calls, but because lots of connected devices rely on it, or will, even while the 2G clock is ticking. The "internet of things" focuses on cheap and ubiquitous, and in the U.S. that still means 2G, but lots of things that might be connected that way are ones you'd like to be encrypted.
Wireless Networking

The Big Hangup At Burning Man Is Cell Phones 167

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "L. J. Williamson writes in the LA Times that with no running water, no plumbing, and no electrical outlets Burning Man isn't the kind of place to expect full bars on your smartphone and for many of the participants that's a big part of its charm. 'If you want to partake in the true Burning Man experience, you should leave your phone at home,' says Mark Hansen. In past years, the closest cellular towers, designed to serve the nearby towns of Empire (population 206) and Gerlach (population 217), would quickly get overwhelmed each August when Black Rock City (population 50,000 or so) rose from the featureless playa. Although Burning Man attracts a sizable Silicon Valley contingent including tech giants like Jeff Bezos, Larry Page, and Sergey Brin — the feeling of being 'unplugged' has become an integral part of the Burning Man experience. But another part of the event is an intrepid, DIY ethos, and in that spirit, David Burgess, co-creator of OpenBTS, an open-source cellular network software, brought a homemade in 2008, an 'almost comical' setup that created a working cellular network that routed a few hundred calls over a 48-hour period. In each subsequent year, Burgess has improved the system's reach and expects to have about three-quarters of this year's event covered. Burning Man proved an ideal test bed for development of Burgess' system, which he has since made available for use in other areas without cellular networks. 'People who have a lot of experience in international aid say Burning Man is a very good simulation of a well-organized refugee camp,' says Burgess. 'Because there's no infrastructure, it forces us to contend with a lot of problems that our rural customers have to contend with in very remote places.'"

Ask Slashdot: Best Pay-as-You-Go Plan For Text and Voice Only? 246

sconeu writes "My wife uses an assistive communication device. She wants to use it for SMS texting... We currently have Verizon, so we don't have a SIM. The computer will take a SIM. I'm looking for a pay-as-you-go plan where I can take the SIM from a cheap phone and put it in her computer. Any suggestions?" It would be interesting to hear how this question would be best answered both in the U.S. and around the world.

ITU To Choose Emergency Line For Mobiles: 911, or 112? 354

First time accepted submitter maijc writes "The International Telecommunication Union will determine the standard emergency phone numbers for new generations of mobile phones and other devices. AP reports that member states have agreed that either 911 or 112 should be designated as emergency phone numbers. 911 is currently used in North America, while 112 is standard across the EU and in many other countries worldwide."

Lone Packet Crashes Telco Networks 57

mask.of.sanity writes "A penetration tester has shown that GSM communications systems can be taken down with a handful of malformed packets. The weakness was in the lack of security around the Home Location Register server clusters which store GSM subscriber details as part of the global SS7 network. A single packet, sent from within any network including femtocells, took down one of the clusters for two minutes."

Verizon-Branded iPhone 5 Ships Unlocked, Works With Other Networks 100

An anonymous reader writes with this news from "If you're planning to get a new Verizon iPhone 5, there might be a little bonus feature included that neither Apple nor Verizon are keen to admit. As units have started making it out of the stores, it appears that the Verizon version of the device is fully unlocked out of the box and able to connect to any GSM network. Verizon support is apparently confirming to customers that the device is unlocked. At the very least, this doesn't appear to be a mistake. It likely has to do with the way the iPhone's radios are designed along with the implementation of LTE on Verizon. This might make the device a little more palatable to those on the fence about upgrading, especially for anyone that travels."

AT&T Killing Its 2G Network By 2017 102

The Wall Street Journal reports that AT&T has plans to shut down its 2G network by January 1, 2017. Roughly 12% of its contact wireless customers — 8.4 million people — have 2G handsets, and the company plans to gradually move them to devices running on more modern networks. "The timeline for the 2G shutdown was made in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday. An AT&T spokesman said the company no longer sells 2G handsets to contract or prepaid customers. Along with phones, the company does have some other devices connected to its 2G networks, but it also expects that they will transition to more modern technology in coming years. As the carriers deal with ever increasing data usage on their networks, they also are facing a spectrum shortage to carry all the traffic. Shutting down legacy networks is one part of the plan, along with acquiring new spectrum and finding innovative ways to use unused airwaves."

In Rural UK, Old 2G Phones Beat 3G Smarphones For Connectivity 88

hypnosec writes "A new research has showed that smartphones are worse in connectivity than 2G enabled mobile phones in remote areas in the United Kingdom. The research conducted by telecom watchdog OfCom has revealed that users should invest in mobile phones different than latest Smartphones, if they prioritize best reception for calls. 'As would be expected, all the 2G operators have widespread coverage of the roads that were surveyed with relatively few not-spots. 3G coverage is much lower on the roads driven, likely reflecting the stage of network roll out in Devon at the time of the study,' the OfCom has reported."

Apple: "We must Have Comprehensive Location Data" 556

An anonymous reader writes "Apple's iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, the iPhone 4, and iPad models are keeping track of consumers whereabouts. Mac computers running Snow Leopard and even Windows computers running Safari 5 are being watched. But the question is why? 'To provide the high quality products and services that its customers demand, Apple must have access to the comprehensive location-based information,' Apple says."

Rumor — AT&T Losing iPhone Exclusivity Next Week 353

MojoKid writes "An inside source over at HotHardware reports that AT&T will lose their iPhone exclusivity on 1/27, coincident with Apple's upcoming press event next week, though it's not yet clear what other carriers will be stepping in to pick up the iPhone. For anyone who has followed the saga, you may notice that you haven't seen AT&T fighting to extend their original exclusive agreement as of late. In fact, they have spent most of their time fighting Verizon's negative ad campaigns. This may not be all that surprising. Inside of AT&T, word is that the iPhone is causing more trouble than ever before. On some level, having the iPhone is hurting AT&T's image. Do you remember hearing about AT&T's 'horrible network' before the iPhone? The iPhone itself doesn't really handle the switch from 3G to EDGE very gracefully, so calls that are in-progress tend to fail whenever 3G connections aren't optimal and the phone attempts to step down to EDGE. It seems that AT&T may finally be tired of taking the heat."

Kindle Finally Ready For Global Distribution 145

geirnord writes "Previously a US-only device, the Amazon Kindle 2 is now finally available in an international edition. The new device is identical to the Kindle 2, with the exception of Edge and 3G support. That means Whispernet-like functionality over most of the world." Reader pasm notes a report at The Guardian which points out higher ebook prices for international Kindle users. "When asked by the Guardian precisely how much downloads would cost, an spokesman revealed that foreign customers — including those in Britain — would be paying $13.99 (£8.75) per book instead of the American price of $9.99 (£6.25). That amounts to a 40% premium for the same title." The spokesman said the higher prices reflected higher operating costs and VAT rates.

Computers are unreliable, but humans are even more unreliable. Any system which depends on human reliability is unreliable. -- Gilb