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Word - Becta Emerging Technologies

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Word - Becta Emerging Technologies

     TechNews

July 2008

TechNews is a technology, news and analysis service aimed at those in the

    education sector keen to stay informed about technology developments, trends and

    issues.

Please navigate the newsletter by clicking on items within the table of

    contents, or using bookmarks:

    Networking and wireless ................................................................................ 3 Analysis: Network Storage ...................................................................................... 3

    Networking and wireless news ...................................................................... 6

    WiMAX update ........................................................................................................... 6 Broadband update ...................................................................................................... 7 Next-generation broadband in the UK ........................................................................ 7 Mobile data use increases .......................................................................................... 8 Personal area networking ........................................................................................... 8 Global positioning data applications ........................................................................... 8 Femtocell standard agreed ......................................................................................... 9 Quantum encryption moves towards commercial reality ............................................ 9 Ofcom plans how to use newly freed spectrum ........................................................ 10 Ultra-low power processors ...................................................................................... 10

    Multimedia ...................................................................................................... 11 Analysis: Media Distribution ................................................................................. 11

    Multimedia news ............................................................................................ 14 Intel Video Search .................................................................................................... 14 Future of E-paper ..................................................................................................... 14 Large display news................................................................................................... 15 Handheld games console highlights for education ................................................... 15 Video and graphics hardware update ....................................................................... 16 Digital-only future for radio proposed ....................................................................... 16 BBC iPlayer ambitions .............................................................................................. 16 Google ordered to share YouTube records .............................................................. 17 TV not voice expected to drive telco business ......................................................... 17 Growth in 3G mobile TV ........................................................................................... 17

? Becta 2008 http://www.becta.org.uk/technews page 1 of 33 July 2008

Becta | TechNews

    Hardware ........................................................................................................ 18 Analysis: Ultra low cost PCs (ULCPC) ................................................................. 18

    Hardware news .............................................................................................. 20 ULCPC update ......................................................................................................... 20 Processor update Intel and AMD .......................................................................... 21 Universal power adapters ......................................................................................... 22 Mobile phones software and applications .............................................................. 22 Consumer electronic reliability research ................................................................... 23 Super computing ...................................................................................................... 23 Eco-friendly plastics ................................................................................................. 23 3D memory developments ....................................................................................... 24 Self-replicating manufacturing machine ................................................................... 24 Sonic-cloaking material proposed ............................................................................ 24

    Software and internet .................................................................................... 25 Analysis: Web Mashups ........................................................................................ 25

    Software and internet news .......................................................................... 27

    Microsoft Windows XP lifecycle changes ................................................................. 27 Virtual and streaming application delivery ................................................................ 28 Internet naming change proposals ........................................................................... 29 Firefox breaks download records ............................................................................. 29 Apple Mac update .................................................................................................... 29 Cloud based computing services as utilities ............................................................. 30 Web 2.0 update ........................................................................................................ 30 Cost of personal web use at work estimated at ?10bn ............................................. 31 US high school hacker faces jail .............................................................................. 31 Security scanning survey exposes flaws .................................................................. 32

    TechNews Information .................................................................................. 33 Disclaimer ................................................................................................................ 33 Copyright and permitted use .................................................................................... 33 To unsubscribe: ........................................................................................................ 33 Feedback: ................................................................................................................ 33

? Becta 2008 http://www.becta.org.uk/technews page 2 of 33 July 2008

Becta | TechNews

Networking and wireless

    Analysis: Network Storage

    Computing, whether at home, school or work, can generate huge amounts of data that needs to be securely and safely stored. The creative applications that so excite young people for example video and music production are demanding on disk space; and as electronic data forms the basis for assessment the quality of storage services must continuously improve.

    Hard disks are getting bigger. Currently a consumer-grade 1TB hard disk drive retails for around ?100/$200. This means that individual users have a great deal of capacity to use on their home computers and one of the challenges to network managers in schools is delivering appropriate storage options for the whole school.

    Network or large scale solutions will normally involve some kind of fault-tolerant drive array. This will normally use a number of drives connected to a special controller that allows for RAID. RAID (Redundant Array of Inexpensive Drives) systems use multiple drives working in parallel. The controller manages data to guard against data loss. This might be through disk mirroring (RAID 1) or striping disk (RAID 0). There are other RAID combinations but these are the most popular. RAID 1 means that any data is written to two drives therefore if one fails there is another copy.

    This means that for 2n drives, the total system storage capacity is n. RAID 5 uses a „spare‟ disk and writes data so that it can be recovered from the information held on the other drives. This means for n drives of same size the system has a capacity of n-1 drives with the spare drive holding information that is normally redundant. Computers accessing RAID systems see only one drive and read/write to it as normal. The RAID controller handles the actual management of the data.

    There are a number of benefits to externalising storage in this way. Firstly such systems are entirely designed to give reliable and speedy access to data with minimal operating system needs. Separating applications from storage means that if an application server is upgraded the data store can be maintained this reduces

    the risk of data-loss and disruption to users. Large data stores can allow efficient sharing of resources. Multiple applications can use the same disks, making capacity and disk management easier.

    The variations emerge in how these controllers are linked to servers. This might involve a LAN, a dedicated network or some kind of dedicated connection. DAS or Direct Attached Storage is where a storage array is directly connected to one or more servers. DAS arrays are not visible to the wider network and can only be accessed by the application servers they are directly connected to. This makes access to the data secure. The servers will normally be connected with a high-speed link, often Fibre. High speed fibre links in this model will offer around 10Gbps+ line rates, which equates to around 2000MBps in practice. The simplest DAS servers are just enclosures for drives and the access control is handled by the server and more complex units will load balance the requirements of many servers simultaneously. ? Becta 2008 http://www.becta.org.uk/technews page 3 of 33 July 2008

Becta | TechNews

DAS servers may be referenced by application servers as „local drives‟ – so the only

    difference is they are physically external.

    NAS or Network Attached Storage works in a similar way to DAS, but the NAS unit is connected to a LAN network, normally Ethernet. This allows storage to be added very quickly and easily to an existing installation. NAS boxes need to have some kind of network operating system on them. This might be a commercial system or it may be an opensource solution like FreeNAS. NAS units will support one or more standard network protocols, such as SMB. Host computers to access stored data then use these protocols. A NAS unit on a network is not by default private to a particular application or server and is more designed for general purpose file storage rather than supporting application servers. Access speeds are normally limited by the network so commonly 1Gbps.

    SAN or Storage Area Network combines these two approaches. This means it delivers network based file storage that appears to the client to be a local drive at similar speeds to DAS where fibre is used. This gives performance advantages and application compatibility but is more costly and complex. SAN is most commonly found in large enterprises who can afford the high initial investment. Where NAS implementations might be a single drive or small array, SAN systems are often large scale disk arrays and the largest storage units in the world. Large disk arrays, like large servers, may be virtualised. This means users do not access storage devices directly, but are presented with a part of the resource. This appears and functions as a separate drive but is easier to manage especially when the amount of storage needs to be varied. This could allow, for example. a large multiple disk/multiple server array to appear as a single drive or storage area to a number of users. These three solutions represent the alternatives available to a network manager who wishes to increase the resources available in his own direct management domain. In addition to being more physical drives, servers or disk arrays the manager could move the abstraction layer to include externally hosted services. The user will potentially see the same service (storage) whether the data was hosted on a drive in their own computer, on a school server, elsewhere in the local authority or potentially in the „cloud‟.

    Manufacturers are increasing the efficiency and capacity of hard disk drives alongside other research into new methods including 3D storage and increasing

    use of solid state drives. This will mean that the systems, behaviours and management issues will remain the same irrespective of the underlying physical

    (or virtual) device.

    When Google launched its Gmail service with 2GB of online storage developers were quick to write software that enabled registered users to use this as online storage. Despite not being officially supported at the time, this was the forerunner of a number of commercial services in this market.

    Online storage options use the NAS concept to offer pools of storage that are available anywhere in the world. Companies such as BT offer home backup services. The Digital Vault offers a number of pricing plans aimed at consumers. ? Becta 2008 http://www.becta.org.uk/technews page 4 of 33 July 2008

Becta | TechNews

http://www.digitalvault.bt.com/

Companies such as Google, Amazon and Microsoft have massive server

    infrastructure distributed around the globe. Both these companies offer individuals and companies the chance to buy into this „cloud computing‟ model. This means that for small unit costs (a few pence per unit) one can buy access to processor time and online storage. The ongoing costs can quickly mount up and there is a lack of direct control by the user as, for example it is impossible to tell where in the world this data is stored, but there is unparalleled flexibility and access to services. Consideration must be made of legal requirements when locating personal data outside of the UK so it might not be suitable for all applications. http://aws.amazon.com/s3

    https://www.google.com/accounts/ManageStorage

    http://skydrive.live.com/

    More „professional‟ and assured services similar to these are available from other vendors. The cost of a service tends to reflect the quality of service offered in terms of data location and resilience. Many Cold War-era bunkers have found new purposes as secure underground storage hubs.

    Cloud based computing offers a new way of delivering the whole spectrum of computer and data needs. Effectively everything except for a simple hardware client device could be moved out of the institution onto the network where instead of

    buying software or hardware the cost is for computing power and storage on-demand. This has the advantage of global access but costs may be unpredictable depending on the contractual model.

    For schools this gives a range of options. The core requirement for a normal school is unlikely to be high powered, speed-critical application servers. Rather the emphasis is on reliable storage that can be securely accessed from a range of clients, and backed up. The quantity of data being generated today has already outstripped the capacity of tape and CD-based systems that are only a few years old. There are however some important issues to be aware of RAID disk systems

    do protect from individual disk failure, but if the unit was stolen or damaged then external backups are still important. High volume solutions at the moment could be based on Blu-Ray Disc but that would still require 20 disks for a 1TB store and this is not designed as a professional backup solution. 300GB+ disks are expected to be launched by InPhase but these are expensive. Tape solutions now offer up to 500GB per tape and operate at hard-disk speeds, making them still the best solution, though the backup upgrade cycle cannot be forgotten. Other backup solutions do exist.

    There is no question that applications will continue to demand more storage driven by applications such as learning platforms. Institutions will, in the future, have more of a choice between self-provided services such as local disk arrays and external services that may be delivered on a revenue rather than capital basis. The technologies may change and capacity come down in price, but from a user or manager perspective this will not change the model or need for high capacity, high reliability storage services. Reliability will most often be achieved by moving storage ? Becta 2008 http://www.becta.org.uk/technews page 5 of 33 July 2008

Becta | TechNews

    out of commodity servers such as those in individual schools and to a managed environment in a local authority or commercial environment.

    Becta has published functional and technical specifications that are relevant to considerations of data management.

    http://schools.becta.org.uk/index.php?section=lv&&catcode=ss_lv_pla_02&rid=11280

    http://schools.becta.org.uk/index.php?section=lv&&catcode=ss_lv_pla_02&rid=11281

Networking and wireless news

    WiMAX update

    US telecommunications company Sprint has announced that it will launch its much heralded WiMAX service in Autumn 2008. The service will offer 4Mbps downstream and 2Mbps upstream potentially. Sprint also offers a home fibre service that expects to cover 12 million homes by the end of the year with 50Mbps downstream and 20Mbps upstream.

    http://www.itworld.com/sprint-nextel-to-launch-wimax-080618

    4G networks may either be based on WiMAX or on 3G LTE (Long Term Evolution) and there has been fierce debate over which standard will be adopted eventually. A number of key industry players have been increasingly vocal over possible mergers between the two technologies. Executives from Vodafone and Intel have recently been promoting co-operation and eventual merger. Competing systems face issues informing customers and delivering products to market so a unified approach is seen as the best way for the future.

    LTE plans to offer higher speeds than WiMAX and there are some differences in detail, but there are also common factors. Manufacturer Motorola has suggested that 85% of WiMAX equipment design can be reused for LTE systems.

    WiMAX is based on the IEEE 802.16 family of standards for delivering wireless broadband. 3GPP LTE (Long Term Evolution) is a project that is part of the evolution of the UMTS standard. The project will result in the UMTS version 8. Both technologies are expected to offer in the region of 100Mbps for mobile applications and 1Gbps for fixed wireless applications.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/7425756.stm

    A barrier to providing wireless services is availability of spectrum. The European Commission has announced that the 3.4GHz-3.8GHz band will be available for WiMAX services across Europe which is positive news to potential suppliers. This spectrum will be open to fixed, nomadic and mobile networks in other words

    unrestricted and in direct competition with 3G telecommunications data services. The alternative is to use the 2.6GHZ spectrum but progress across Europe has been slow in allowing use of this space.

    http://www.arcchart.com/blueprint/show.asp?id=483&qtabs=99999

    Intel-backed WiMAX provider Worldmax has announced it will be delivering Europe‟s first Mobile WiMAX network in Amsterdam by the end of the year. The service is ? Becta 2008 http://www.becta.org.uk/technews page 6 of 33 July 2008

Becta | TechNews

    expected to cost around ?20 per month for unlimited data use. The challenge to the market is to judge the wider demand for these services if there is to be sustained operation and profit. The Amsterdam network uses equipment supplied by Alcatel-Lucent.

    http://www.worldmax.nl/

Broadband update

    The BBC has investigated the different broadband speeds available in practice across the UK. Working with Thinkbroadband.com they concluded that the average speed across two months was 3.2Mbps. Northern Ireland averaged only 2.2Mbps whilst London users saw 4.5Mbps. Regulator Ofcom concluded earlier in the year that geography makes comparatively little difference to service availability. These figures suggest that broadband is available widely but the detail of actual performance can still vary.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/7431336.stm

    Ofcom have announced a Voluntary Code of Practice for the broadband industry that is aimed at increasing public confidence. This code suggests that providers should distinguish between the different types of speed headline, access line, actual and

    average. ISPs have been generally criticised in the past by some consumer and interest groups for advertised speeds that are rarely experienced for any length of time more theoretical maximums than actual service. One common specific complaint is the use of the term „unlimited‟ where actually there are caps on monthly usage, though this is not addressed in this code.

    http://www.ofcom.org.uk/telecoms/ioi/copbb/copbb/\

    Schools who benefit from the National Education Network are immune to these problems. The NEN is a closed, private network which does not normally suffer from any kind of congestion so the advertised speed should be reliably and consistently experienced.

    Next-generation broadband in the UK

    The government-sponsored Broadband Stakeholder Group has released a report suggesting that the benefit of adopting next-generation infrastructure will be in excess of ?16bn. The report does not put a particular speed figure on „next-

    generation broadband‟ but suggests it will be defined by services instead fast

    enough, reliable, delivering multimedia and video conferencing.

    http://www.broadbanduk.org/component/option,com_docman/task,doc_download/gid,1009/Itemid,63/

    Ofcom‟s Chief Executive has suggested that investment in networks will be matched by easing regulations and controls. This presents a key opportunity, not just for incumbent operators such as BT, but also large new entrants, to develop their networks.

    http://www.pcpro.co.uk/news/210519/ofcom-dangles-carrot-for-bt-fibre-investment.html

? Becta 2008 http://www.becta.org.uk/technews page 7 of 33 July 2008

Becta | TechNews

    BT has recently announced a ?1.5 billion pound investment in fibre optic broadband services. BT claims that 40% of homes will be in reach of a high speed service by 2012, with 1 million homes directly connected to fibre. The plans are conditional on Ofcom changing the rules to allow BT to make more return on the investment. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/7506742.stm

    Dundee is set to see 100Mbps+ connections to residents delivered through fibre routed through the sewers. H2O Networks, the provider, commented how Dundee‟s

    high population density makes it ideal for deployments of this nature. http://www.vnunet.com/vnunet/news/2219526/dundee-scotland-first-high-speed-city-fibre

Mobile data use increases

    A survey by global industry partnership The GSM Association has shown that data roaming traffic that is using a mobile phone for data whilst abroad grew 75%

    between April 2007 and 2008. They attribute his growth to an increasing number of 3G subscribers and lower costs. The European Commission has been aggressively targeting pan-European mobile use and the previously high costs of roaming. This development shows how as well as inexpensive broadband deals within a home country, the mobile broadband market is becoming universal. Mobile phone services are likely to come under pressure from alternative broadband sources such as WiMAX and this will likely drive even more competitive pricing.

    http://www.gsmworld.com/news/press_2008/press08_39.shtml

Personal area networking

    802.11-based Wi-Fi has become de-facto standard in a range of laptops and mobile devices. Intel is now pushing the spread of Wi-Fi into accessories and devices that might form a PAN or personal area network of linked devices. This places the technology in direct competition with Bluetooth. Intel is promoting the higher speed of Wi-Fi and the convenience of a single chip-set or approach across a range of applications. Commentators suggest this is at least partly driven by the comparative lack of market interest in Bluetooth in North America, in contrast with Asia and Europe where it is well embedded.

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/06/03/ozmo_intel_cliffside_bluetooth/

Global positioning data applications

    GPS phone tracking for new data opportunities.

    The most common application for GPS is location identification that is then linked to route finding. Researchers in the US are investigating how aggregated location data can be used in different ways. For example rather than concentrating on individual location they might look at crowd concentration, as evidenced through multiple GPS plots, to identify the most congested roads. This secondary data collection arguably removes any concerns over individual privacy.

    ? Becta 2008 http://www.becta.org.uk/technews page 8 of 33 July 2008

Becta | TechNews

    The developers of CitySense for the RIM BlackBerry system suggest that a new kind of passive social networking scene may emerge if a system can compare your movements to others discovering people with similar habits and interests for example.

    Whilst not using GPS, this kind of crowd flow analysis could be used in planning the design of buildings. Schools especially suffer from small corridors that become very busy at certain times of the day. If pupil flow behaviour was a factor in timetable planning then arguably lesson transition could become much smoother. http://www.technewsworld.com/story/63327.html?u=dley&p=ENNSS_88ea1a083ed351171d2bddb02dd31fb4&welcome=1213258460

Femtocell standard agreed

    The standards body for 3G mobile services has announced an official architecture for 3G femtocells. This agreement means that standards can now be developed and products launched over the next twelve months. There had been competitions between vendors to see adoption of their preferred approaches but now the debate has stopped and the product design can begin in earnest.

    Femtocells are small, relatively short range cellular cells that are used to improve coverage in a limited area such as a home or office. This approach, using multiple short range cells is the alternative to larger, wide coverage cells. These small cells might be linked to the core networks using consumer-grade technologies like DSL broadband. This could provide a range of services, including using existing handsets as IP telephones when in range and replacing Wi-Fi hotspots in some markets. Femto cells will use less power than Wi-Fi.

    http://www.3gpp.org/

Quantum encryption moves towards commercial reality

    Security researchers across the world are hoping to bring quantum encryption products to market within the next two years. Quantum encryption is expected to offer absolute security as any attempt to intercept messages altering the message irreversibly. A UK consortium involving the University of Oxford and private businesses is creating the world‟s first commercial test facility in London.

    A major barrier to adoption currently is the cost of equipment. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in the US suggest that the most common approach to date requires four single-photon detectors each costing between ?2500 and ?10000 each. They are looking at more affordable alternatives.

    Encrypted computer data may be a blessing for some users, but is likely to be unpopular with government and law-enforcement agencies who rely on signal intercepts to gather intelligence. In any case it is unlikely that such technology will be widely available soon. This technique is only suitable for communications and cannot be used to encrypt static or stored data. This kind of data must also be appropriately secured especially where personal data is involved.

    ? Becta 2008 http://www.becta.org.uk/technews page 9 of 33 July 2008

Becta | TechNews

    The Cabinet Office recently published a report on data handling procedures in government which should be required reading to those responsible for data security in schools.

    http://www.londonquantum.com/

    http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/~/media/assets/www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/csia/dhr/dhr080625%20pdf.ashx

Ofcom plans how to use newly freed spectrum

    Ofcom, the UK regulator and guardian of radio spectrum, has announced the process it intends to allocate the spectrum freed up by the move to digital from analogue TV. In addition to improving the picture quality and range of channels, a move digital TV will also free up a large amount of spectrum. Ofcom refers this to as the „Digital Dividend‟.

    The allocation of this spectrum will be based on a series of auctions. Ofcom have stated that the aim will be to “maximise the total value to society that using the digital dividend may generate over time” rather than being exclusively focused on revenue

    generation.

    There are few restrictions on the applications for the spectrum that is freed up. It may be used for mobile broadband, for additional digital TV services or for mobile television this will be a commercial decision for he successful bidder. http://www.ofcom.org.uk/consult/condocs/clearedaward/clearedaward/

Ultra-low power processors

    Sensors are becoming increasingly popular in a range of applications including medicine, surveillance and other types of pervasive computing. One issue with this kind of device is the power consumption and associated requirement for batteries. Alongside improvements in battery technology, such as fuel cells, and personal power generation such as building solar cells in clothing; there is a drive to make these sensors use less power. Researchers at the University of Michigan have announced a new ultra low power chip that users just 30 picowatts when in sleep mode. A picowatt is one-trillionth of a watt meaning that a watch battery could power such a device for over 250 years.

    Embedded, pervasive computing has a whole range of applications. It is likely that sensors become more common, linked to hardware and software agents that can change behaviour based on the observed context. These issues were included the TechNews article on Context awareness in May 2008.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080613174720.htm

    http://partners.becta.org.uk/upload-

    dir/downloads/page_documents/research/technews/may08.pdf#networking

? Becta 2008 http://www.becta.org.uk/technews page 10 of 33 July 2008

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