This Week In Tech And Telco: Finally, 5G!

Another week, another Friday, another tech and telco roundup. We actually hit double figures last week, making this rundown our 11th. Hopefully you’ve been here for all 11, but if you’re new, welcome!

Every week this roundup gets bigger and better, because let’s face it, there’s just too much news. We added a ‘Got more time?’ section last week, so make sure you’re scrolling right to the bottom for some extra bite-sized info.

Person reading a newspaper
Photographer: Roman Kraft | Source: Unsplash

Verizon’s 5G network is live

Verizon has turned on the first parts of its 5G mobile network a week ahead of schedule. The service is live in parts of Chicago and Minneapolis. But as we’ve learned with 5G, things aren’t so simple.

Areas with stable high-speed connections were reportedly difficult to find, however, if you do find 5G it should be as fast (if not a little faster) as 450Mbps (down), Verizon claims. Once you move out of an area where the 5G network is active, the 4G LTE network will take over.

One report claims customers in parts of Chicago and Minneapolis can get 600 Mbps or higher with a Moto Z3 and its 5G Moto Mod.

MIT cuts ties with Chinese tech firms Huawei, ZTE

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has severed ties with Huawei Technologies and ZTE Corp as U.S. authorities investigate the Chinese firms for alleged sanctions violations, the school said on Wednesday.

Just when we thought the US’ efforts to shun Huawei were not packing a punch, MIT has joined the boycott and become the latest top educational institution to unplug telecom equipment made by Huawei and other Chinese companies to avoid losing federal funding.

"MIT is not accepting new engagements or renewing existing ones with Huawei and ZTE or their respective subsidiaries due to federal investigations regarding violations of sanction restrictions," its vice president for research, Maria Zuber, said in a letter on its website.

MIT Building 10 and the Great Dome, Cambridge MA

Amazon to launch 3,000 satellites to help connectivity

Kuiper Systems, owned by Amazon, plans to launch 3,236 satellites into low-Earth orbit to offer broadband to areas with poor connectivity.

Three filings (here, here and here), spotted by GeekWire and made to International Telecommunications Union last month, describe plans to put thousands of satellites in low-Earth orbit.

These satellites will be used to provide broadband to areas where connectivity is poor, or boost connectivity in regions where standard services are available.

The plans were submitted by Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on behalf of a company called Kuiper Systems, which, overnight, Amazon confirmed it owns.

In the email, the company explained: "Project Kuiper is a new initiative to launch a constellation of low-Earth orbit satellites that will provide low-latency, high-speed broadband connectivity to unserved and underserved communities around the world."

Ocean clouds seen from space
Photographer: NASA | Source: Unsplash

Huawei smart glasses expected this summer

We’ve waited a long time for smart glasses - with the Google Glass not materializing to much and Snapchat’s glasses failing to impress consumers - and now Huawei has announced its smart glasses.

The wearable eyewear, detailed at the recent Huawei P30 launch event, is expected to be out later this year. The Chinese smartphone manufacturer revealed that the new designer shades were developed in collaboration with popular South Korean luxury eyewear brand, Gentle Monster.

AMS-IX and Batelco to launch IX in Bahrain

AMS-IX has a new strategic partner in the Middle East. They are teaming up with Batelco to build out a neutral IX in Bahrain, providing new interconnection opportunities in the Persian Gulf. Batelco has been increasing its links with Europe, most recently adding a node in Marseille. Meanwhile, AMS-IX recently busted through the 6Tbps mark at its flagship exchange in Amsterdam.

Got more spare time?

  • Operators must ditch copper networks: Telecoms operators need to acknowledge the commercial opportunities presented by full fiber networks and stop wasting money on the maintenance and renovation of their legacy copper infrastructure, according to a host of industry experts. (Total Telecom)
  • Vodafone has installed its 5G tech at Birmingham New Street Station making the travel hub the first UK train station to be connected to superfast mobile data and Vodafone the first mobile network to roll out 5G trials in the city. (IT Pro)
  • CenturyLink's Vyvx suite of fiber-based broadcast services is now providing secure, high-performance connectivity into Google Cloud Platform (GCP). Vyvx Cloud Connect provides broadcasters, as well as studios and stadium venues, a path for getting live and linear video in and out of the cloud. (Converge!)
  • The World Organisation (WHO) has stated that Electromagnetic Fields (EMFs) or radiations emitted by telecommunications masks do not cause cancers or anything untoward to human health. (Guardian.ng)
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