The February 2023 issue of IEEE Spectrum is here!

Close bar

How the Internet of Things Could Fracture Wi-Fi

New mesh Wi-Fi networks improve coverage, but at the cost of interoperability

2 min read
Illustration by BloodBros
Illustration: BloodBros

Wi-Fi is the invisible workhorse of modern life. But Wi-Fi is struggling. And the next phase of the Internet—the Internet of Things—could break it.

Startups and Internet service providers are developing an application layer that divorces some functions from the base networking standard, IEEE 802.11. Many new features sprouting up within this layer—such as mesh networks (a set of routers that work together to extend wireless coverage) and provisioning tactics (which define how wireless devices connect to networks)—have been developed in response to the Internet of Things.

Keep Reading ↓Show less

This article is for IEEE members only. Join IEEE to access our full archive.

Join the world’s largest professional organization devoted to engineering and applied sciences and get access to all of Spectrum’s articles, podcasts, and special reports. Learn more →

If you're already an IEEE member, please sign in to continue reading.

Membership includes:

  • Get unlimited access to IEEE Spectrum content
  • Follow your favorite topics to create a personalized feed of IEEE Spectrum content
  • Save Spectrum articles to read later
  • Network with other technology professionals
  • Establish a professional profile
  • Create a group to share and collaborate on projects
  • Discover IEEE events and activities
  • Join and participate in discussions

How Police Exploited the Capitol Riot’s Digital Records

Forensic technology is powerful, but is it worth the privacy trade-offs?

11 min read
Vertical
 Illustration of the silhouette of a person with upraised arm holding a cellphone in front of the U.S. Capitol building. Superimposed on the head is a green matrix, which represents data points used for facial recognition
Gabriel Zimmer
Green

The group of well-dressed young men who gathered on the outskirts of Baltimore on the night of 5 January 2021 hardly looked like extremists. But the next day, prosecutors allege, they would all breach the United States Capitol during the deadly insurrection. Several would loot and destroy media equipment, and one would assault a policeman.

No strangers to protest, the men, members of the America First movement, diligently donned masks to obscure their faces. None boasted of their exploits on social media, and none of their friends or family would come forward to denounce them. But on 5 January, they made one piping hot, family-size mistake: They shared a pizza.

Keep Reading ↓Show less
{"imageShortcodeIds":[]}