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RFID News Roundup

Ekahau intros Wi-Fi monitoring, troubleshooting tool for mobile phones, tablets; RF Code, Server Technology announce wire-free power monitoring for data centers; Google unveils Nexus S phone, incorporating NXP's NFC technology; NFC Forum launches certification program, publishes four specs; Austriamicrosystems teams with NXP on solution for product authentication, extends agreement with Future Electronics; ISO publishes updated ISO 18000-6 standard with support for BAP.
Dec 09, 2010The following are news announcements made during the past week.

Ekahau Intros Wi-Fi Monitoring, Troubleshooting Tool for Mobile Phones, Tablets
Ekahau, a provider of Wi-Fi based real-time location systems (RTLS), has announced its Ekahau Mobile Survey, a Wi-Fi toolkit for enterprises designed specifically to operate on mobile phones and tablets. According to Ekahau, the application—intended for monitoring, analyzing and troubleshooting Wi-Fi networks—is now available for most versions of Android-based smart phones, many of which already have built-in Wi-Fi capability. The Ekahau Mobile Survey also works on tablet computers, such as Samsung's Galaxy Tab. The application, Ekahau reports, is a tool for analyzing Wi-Fi networks in real time via a smart phone or a tablet computer, thus minimizing the need for IT managers to carry separate devices. Ekahau Mobile Survey performs active and passive tests to determine if a Wi-Fi network is functional and meets the requirements for coverage and performance for different services, such as voice-over-IP (VoIP), video, data and real-time location tracking. It measures coverage, data rate, and packet delay and loss, in order to ensure that the network can meet the performance needs for the various services running across it. Additionally, Ekahau Mobile Survey can detect rogue access points. When a user is not actively utilizing Ekahau Mobile Survey, the application continues monitoring the network in the background, without impacting the mobile device's ability to perform other tasks. If the user visits a location where the network does not meet the service requirements, an alarm will sound to alert that individual to the problem. All errors are then logged for detailed analysis at a later time. Ekahau Mobile Survey also integrates with Ekahau Site Survey (ESS), the company's laptop-based flagship Wi-Fi planning, verification and troubleshooting tool. When Ekahau Mobile Survey is used in conjunction with ESS, the infrastructure layout and configurations on the map can be viewed directly on the smart phone or tablet. This map-view also shows the status of nearby access points in real time. Purchasing ESS is recommended for professional users, but not required for using Ekahau Mobile Survey in a standalone mode. Ekahau Mobile Survey is available now for $299, and can be used with newer-model Android phones: Samsung's Galaxy S, Motorola's Droids 1/2/X and Milestone models, HTC's Desire line (standard/HD/Z), Google's Nexus One (and the forthcoming Nexus S), Sprint's Evo 4G, and T-Mobile's G2 and myTouch 3G. The application requires both a larger screen to host the user interface (older phones have smaller screens), and version 2.1 of Google's Android operating system (OS). The application currently works only with smart phones that run the Android operating system, because each mobile phone OS—such as those developed by Microsoft, Apple or Research in Motion (e.g., BlackBerry)—requires specific coding for the application to work on it. What's more, the company notes, although Apple's iPhones have a Wi-Fi programming interface, it is closed, and the Apple App Store has banned any applications that attempt to utilize the iPhone Wi-Fi interface for displaying information regarding the Wi-Fi networks. However, Ekahau says, it is considering developing the application for other mobile-phone platforms besides Android.

RF Code, Server Technology Announce Wire-Free Power Monitoring for Data Centers
RFID firm and IT asset-management solutions provider RF Code has teamed with Server Technology, a power-distribution and -management provider, to offer an integrated, rack-level, wire-free power-monitoring solution designed for data-center energy optimization. The jointly developed solution integrates Server Technology's Smart and Switched cabinet power distribution units (CDUs) with RF Code's active RFID hardware and management software, to offer data-center managers insight into overall power utilization, individual device power utilization or both. The combination allows RF Code's 433 MHz active RFID tags to capture and then transmit power-monitoring in-feed and device-level information captured from the Server Technology CDUs, to RF Code's wire-free RFID readers. Those readers, the companies report, then relay the information to RF Code's Sensor Manager software, which manages the power-monitoring information and makes additional computations regarding power utilization. Specifically, the new RF Code R170 PDU Tag for Server Technology plugs into the serial port on Server Technology's Smart or Switched CDUs. Power-monitoring data provided by the solution includes amperage, voltage, apparent power, active power kW, outlet status changes (on, off and reboot), capacity and breaker status. Customers can utilize Sensor Manager to manage the data using live table views, map views, interactive graphing and reporting, scheduled graphing and reporting, alerting and thresholding. RF Code's partnership with Server Technology is similar to one that the firm announced in September 2010 with Raritan (see RF Code, Raritan Launch System for Monitoring Server Power Consumption).

Google Unveils Nexus S Phone, Incorporating NXP's NFC Technology
Google has announced that it has integrated NXP Semiconductors' PN544 NFC controller into its new Nexus S mobile phone, co-developed by Google and Samsung, which, the companies report, offers users access to NFC-based services and applications. According to Google, Nexus S is the lead device for its Gingerbread/Android 2.3 release, and is the first Android device to ship with the new version of the Android platform. It features a 4-inch contour display, a 1 GHz Hummingbird processor, front- and rear-facing cameras, 16 gigabytes of internal memory and NFC hardware that will enable users to leverage the device to read information from NFC tags. It also features a new keyboard and a text-selection tool, Internet (voice-over-IP/session initiation protocol [VoIP/SIP]) calling, improved copy/paste functionality and gyroscope sensor support, Google adds. "Android's openness has provided a great platform for accelerated innovations," said Eric Chu, Google's Mobile Platforms program manager, in a prepared statement. "We are always looking for creative ways to enhance and extend the utilities of mobile devices with new technologies. With NXP's contribution, the introduction of NFC in Android provides developers, service providers, and device manufacturers a game-changing opportunity to deliver new services while enabling users to interact with each other and the physical world in ways previously not possible." After Dec.16, 2010, says Andy Rubin, Google's VP of Engineering, the Nexus S will be available for purchase (unlocked or with a T-Mobile service plan) online, as well as at all Best Buy and Best Buy Mobile stores in the United States; after Dec. 20, it will be available at Carphone Warehouse and Best Buy retailers in the United Kingdom.

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