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Dash7 Wireless Networking Gains Momentum

Get ready for yet another low-power radio protocol

3 min read

Wireless data networks are sprouting up like daisies. Wi-Fi hot spots have proliferated. Bluetooth personal-area networks are everywhere. And the push to make electric grids smarter is bringing with it a proliferation of ZigBee radios that use the airwaves to connect electric meters, lamps, light switches, thermostats, and appliances. So it might come as a surprise that yet another wireless-networking scheme, called Dash7, is entering the fray—and appears to be gaining traction. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) first ratified the standard behind Dash7 in 2004, and it continues to be refined. Like Bluetooth and ZigBee, it's intended for low-power, low-bandwidth digital communications. But Dash7 hardware is designed to use even less power than other schemes, making it especially appropriate for such things as radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags, which must work for years without any external power source.

Whereas the familiar RFID tags used today for such things as door keys are passive devices (they draw their energy from the radio waves their readers emit), Dash7 tags are active, meaning that they make use of small batteries instead. So Dash7 readers don't have to transmit high RF power levels and consequently can be manufactured inexpensively—yet they can communicate with tags located hundreds of meters away or even farther when conditions are right.

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Why the Internet Needs the InterPlanetary File System

Peer-to-peer file sharing would make the Internet far more efficient

12 min read
An illustration of a series
Carl De Torres

When the COVID-19 pandemic erupted in early 2020, the world made an unprecedented shift to remote work. As a precaution, some Internet providers scaled back service levels temporarily, although that probably wasn’t necessary for countries in Asia, Europe, and North America, which were generally able to cope with the surge in demand caused by people teleworking (and binge-watching Netflix). That’s because most of their networks were overprovisioned, with more capacity than they usually need. But in countries without the same level of investment in network infrastructure, the picture was less rosy: Internet service providers (ISPs) in South Africa and Venezuela, for instance, reported significant strain.

But is overprovisioning the only way to ensure resilience? We don’t think so. To understand the alternative approach we’re championing, though, you first need to recall how the Internet works.

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