May 2006 Archives

VOIP implementation problems for Wi-Fi

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TIPPINST - Having attended the one day National Communications Network Research Centre (NCNRC) wireless workshop at UL yesterday I am now viewing Wi-Fi in a different light. The workshop reviewed the ongoing work of the Intel directed NCNRC project, in particular on Quality of Service control for 802.11 based networks, VOIP and Video, and introduced the range of test beds developed.

What was immediately evident is that the current implementation of 802.11 i.e b/g is not capable of supporting VOIP and in the future Video stream such as HDTV. I will now have to keep an eye out for 802.11e compliant devices that support QoS. The current implementations have no notion of prioritised or delay sensitive traffic. At the moment if you want an 802.11e access point you may want to consider the cisco 1200 AP and IOS 12.3(7)JA2 ) on Channel 6 which is capable of 802.11e EDCA operation

Mark Davis and his team in DIT are doing some interesting work to address this issue. As he stated in his presentation "If you can't measure it you can't control it" its this lack of measurement that really surprised me and I was to learn that it a common problem with Wi-Fi. There is requirement for funcionality to allow the codecs for VOIP to have a detailed picture of the current network so as they can be fine tuned. This would allow:

- Proper tuning of the playout buffer settings to compensate for jitte iin wireless networks
- Proper tuning of various MAC layer parameters (CWmin, CWmax, AIFS) to maximize capacity of the WLAN in terms of number of VoIP calls that can be supported

To this end DIT have been investigating the problems associated with how to figure out what bandwidth is available. Most laptops etc will tell you about the signal strength but have no way of indicating the available bandwidth. This is because:

- Bandwidth is shared rather than reserved
- Users must compete for bandwidth
- Network capacity is not fixed
- Users perceive different capacities

What they have produced is a Unified and tractable framework for characterising bandwidth usage on IEEE 802.11 WLANs.

Their radio resource monitor Non-intrusively measures bandwidth availability and utilisation, Operates in real-time and on a per-station basis in a variety of modes that includes 802.11b/g/a and e modes.

If you want to see the bw monitor in action you can visit http://probe.cnri.dit.ie

Visit www.cnri.dit.ie for more details

To summarise if you are considering a multimedia box to sit under the TV that will connect to the Internet and download programmes etc as well as VOIP you better ensure that you have structured cabling in place. Othewise you will have to wait for 802.11e compliant kit to come out on the market place.

TIPPINST - The Wimax standard is being heralded as the saviour of wireless broadband in rural areas due to its bandwidth and its ability to deal with some line of sight issues. At the Wimax World Europe Conference picoChip have been demonstrating its reference design for mobile WiMAX (IEEE802.16e-2005). picoChip are parterning with Wintegra on a complete reference design that will include its multicore DSP chip.

ElectronicsTalk

TIPPINST - If you have been notified about having a paper accepted for the DSD 2006 conference but as of yet have not received the author kit, I would recommend that you visit the DSD 2006 Author page on computer.org. All necessary instructions and latex templates are available on this page.

TIPPINST - The Department of Computer Science at Pudue University have some pratcial advice for those of you who are contemplating writing a technical report or thesis. Topics covered include

- Definitions And Terminology
- Terms And Phrases To Avoid
- Voice
- Tense
- Defining Negation Early
- Grammar and Logic
- Concept vs Instance
- Terminology For Concepts And Abstractions
- Drawing Only Warranted Conclusions

I would recommend that third level students would read this as many of the topics cover grammatical problems that we see every year.

Dissertation Advice

Munster Rugby Podcast

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With the week thats in it munsterrugby.ie have a podcast that features interviews with past and present players. Paul Collins is the MC for what is a good build up to the game on Saturday

Munster Rugby Podcast

I am surprised by the lack of discussion/venting of anger with regards to the unofficial rail strike amongst the irish blogging community. May be the majority of them reside in the city/town where they work or they don't have to use this service. Well here in Thurles about 145 people every morning are having to figure out how on earth they are going to get to work on time. Thurles has been marketed as a town that on an express run is only 80 mins from Heuston by rail, the alternative is 150 - 200 mins if the roads are not congested. Meanwhile our minister for Transport Martin Cullen is sitting quietly in his office saying nothing (possibly waiting for a committee or a consultants report to tell him what he should say)

Are we supposed to let 2 drivers in Cork make life a misery for people who rely on this service to get to work? People are trying to enjoy a better of quality of life by choosing to live outside major cities. Some people who commute to Dublin are having to make accommodation arrangements to stay in Dublin instead of travelling home to be with their family.

So where's the outrage ?

Have we just become complacent?

How to write a doctoral thesis

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TIPPINST - Having read this article by John3n I am feeling very inspired and motivated....

John3n How-to: How to write your Doctoral Thesis

TIPPINST - This first CIICT conference is being jointly sponsored and organized by Hangzhou Dianzi University and Dublin City University, and will be held in Hangzhou Dianzi University in the autumn of 2006. It is hoped that the conference will include participation from a number of Irish and Chinese universities, and from researchers in other countries. Authors are invited to submit papers describing original research in the areas of Information and Communication Technologies.

2006 CHINA-IRELAND INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGIES (CIICT06)


OCTOBER 18TH-19TH, 2006, HANGZHOU, CHINA
----------------------------------------


Conference web site: http://www.eeng.dcu.ie/ciict06
PDF version of this call: http://www.eeng.dcu.ie/ciict06/poster/ciict06_poster.pdf


CALL FOR PAPERS
---------------

China and Ireland are currently in the process of developing collaboration, including leading-edge research ties in the Information and Communications Technology area. Links have already been forged at governmental level under the auspices of the China / Ireland Science and Technology Research Fund, an agreement on Scientific and Technological Co-operation between the Government of the People's Republic of China and the Government of Ireland signed on the 8th September 2000. The purpose of this is to contribute to future co-operation in the field of science and technology between both countries. The interest of both governments is in furthering the development of their respective information and communications technology industries, and in supporting the expansion of domestic and international applications markets for their products, services and technologies.

There is already an established academic collaboration between China and Ireland, through joint research projects and reciprocal participation at international conferences. CIICT06 will focus on encouraging further growth in academic collaboration between researchers in China and Ireland in the broad area of Information and Communications Technology, thus facilitating exchange of ideas and dissemination of results of collaborative work.

Topics of interest include, but are not limited to,

* Signal Processing - Voice and Audio Processing, Digital Signal Processing, Image Processing, Multimedia Processing, Statistical Signal Processing, Array Processing, etc.

* Human Intelligence - Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition, Computer Hearing and Speech Recognition, Motion Capture and Intelligent Traffic Systems, Virtual Reality, etc.

* Communications - Wireless Communications Components/Circuits/Systems/ Networks, Fiber-optic Communications Components/Systems/Networks, etc.

* Circuits and Systems - Linear and Nonlinear Circuits and Systems, Intelligent Measuring and Controlling Instruments and Systems, Vehicle Electronics, etc.

* I.C. Design & EDA - I.C. Designs, RF I.C.s, Device Modeling & Simulation, SOC, EDA Technology, etc.

* Microwave & EMC - Microwave Circuit & Components, EMC/EMI Simulations and Measurements, EM Environment, Shielding and Grounding, High Power Microwave Applications, Advanced Materials and Devices for EM Applications, EM Simulators, EM Probe and Sensors, Coupling and Crosstalk, etc.

* Optics and Optoelectronics - Remote Sensing and IR Devices and Systems, Optical Devices and Instruments, Optical Information Processing, etc.

* Control Systems - Control Systems Theory, Control Systems Applications, etc.

* Modelling & Scientific Computing - Bioinformatics, Therapeutic Models, Computational Physics, Financial Models, Computer Based Auditing, etc.

* Security & Encryption - Public Key Infrastructure, Identity Based Encryption, Encryption Acceleration, Web Services Security, XML Security, etc.

* Software Engineering - Requirements Elicitation, Software Processes, Project Management, Professional Issues, Metrics, Formal Methods, Real-Time Systems, Tools, Open Source, etc.

* Natural Language Processing - Machine Translation, Computational Models of Semantics, Treebanks, Formal Syntax, Probabilistic Approaches, etc.

* Information Systems - Digital Multimedia, Database Engineering & Interoperable Systems, Data Mining, Information Quality, Networked Applications, etc.


IMPORTANT DATES
---------------

Submissions: 6th June 2006
Notification of Acceptance: 10th July 2006
Camera Ready: 8th August 2006
Conference: 18th-19th October 2006


CONFERENCE SPONSORS
-------------------

Sponsored by:
IEEE MTT Beijing Section
IEEE CAS Shanghai Chapter

Co-Sponsored by:
CIE Circuits and System Society
CIE Microwave Society
Zhejiang Institute of Electronics
RINCE, Ireland

Organized by:
Hangzhou Dianzi University
Dublin City University


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Reply to: ciict06@eeng.dcu.ie
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TIPPINST - DNS records and their associated SOA record structure as well as A , PTR and MX records are not the easiest things to troubleshoot. The web site dnsreport.com does a pretty good job at pin pointing any potential DNS record problems. The analysis of irishsilicon.com points out that I have no MX records and explains why this could be a problem. The SOA records are cross checked so as to ensure that serial numbers are in agreement across all name servers. Dnsreport also checks if all your name servers are in the same location, which is not recommended. I would recommend that you analyse your site using dnsreport.com especially if you are relying on a third party to manage your DNS records on your behalf.

TIPPINST - I am now reaching the stage where I have to start placing my thoughts on paper i.e. the thesis. One piece of advice I received while attending a workshop in 2005 in UL was to "stop talking and start writing". This advice is borne out by a recent article in inside higher ed
Yale have recently announced a plan to re-examine all of its Ph.D. programs — with an emphasis on what happens in the second through fourth years. This based on their belief that what happens in those years may well determine whether a student can wrap up a doctorate in six or seven years. While the Phd format inYale is very different to the Irish system the core principle hold true. It is necessary to commit thoughts to paper and start the daunting process.

Firewall woes

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TIPPINST - Network world have an article this week about how difficult it is to move from one firewall product to another. The lack of export utilities and the fact that vendors don't seem to keep to any common standard means that it can take up to 6 months for a large enterprise to move from one firewall to another. In most cases the firewall rules have to be rewritten from scratch. This has created a cottage industry so as least some one is gaining from it.

The lack of standards is a key problem however. In my previous employment we could not get a raptor firewall to talk to a cisco pix firewall even though they were supposed to be using the same tunnelling protocol etc. There is a still a 1980's mainframe mentality out there with firewall vendors. i.e. you either use our product throughout your enterprise or you do not use it all.

Network World - Swapping out firewalls easier said than done

Google Code Jam 2006 - So you think you can code

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TIPPINST - The Google Code Jam 2006 has now opened for Registration. The schedule is as follows

Monday, May 1, 8:00 a.m. Registration Opens

Tuesday, May 23, 8:00 a.m. Registration Closes

Tuesday, May 23, 11:00 a.m. Qualification Round begins

Wednesday, May 24, 11:00 a.m. Qualification Round ends

Tuesday, May 30, 7:00 p.m. Round 1 - 500 participants

Saturday, June 3, 11:00 a.m. Round 1 - 250 participants

Thursday, June 29, Championship Round - 50 participants

Google recognises that final exams may occur in May and June for students; however, please note that the online rounds in May and June only last 60-75 minutes. They hope that the June 29th finals in Dublin, Ireland will fit within students exam schedule.

Cash and Prizes: (Euros)
1st Prize 2,500
2nd to 5th 1,000
6th to 10th 750
11th to 20th 500
21st to 50th 150

The BBC reports that Google hope to use this event as a means to spot gradutate talent.

"Code Jam is one of the many ways we try and support engineering, programming and computer science communities around the world," said Google's UK engineering site director.

"This new European competition is one way for us to engage with smart people who enjoy solving problems."

"It's a fun way of finding, rewarding, and potentially recruiting some of those people to Google."

Affordable Wind Data logger kit

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TIPPINST - We are giving some thought towards using wind energy to offset our electricity bill. My renewable energy colleagues recommend that you measure your wind speed for at least one year so as to figure out the best wind turbine option. APRS offer a reasonable wind data logger package for measuring wind speed.

It records wind speed, wind gust, wind direction, time and date, temperature, battery voltage, and other important wind parameters. The Wind Data logger easily supports both simple and complex monitoring applications. The data logger can be used to record wind speed from a single anemometer, or it can be used for complex studies involving multiple wind instruments and other sensors.

The Wind Data Logger records directly to a Secure Digital card to provide nearly limitless logging periods. An inexpensive 128 megabyte card will store over a year worth of data at 30 second intervals. This means fewer trips to retrieve data from the wind data logger.

The kit costs 350 US dollars plus 50 dollars for shipping, import duties etc may apply

Companies such as proven energy's 2.5 KW solution and the wind save WS 1000 (which has been tweaked to produce 1.36 kw) provide solutions that plug into your mains so as to offset your ESB bill.

The Irish Govt has been publicising new initiatives to encourage commercial wind energy but yet domestic wind energy is not covered by grants. Also its not possible to sell any excess energy back to the Grid. If the Govt are serious about renewables, these issues need to be addressed.


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