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The Internet of Trash: IoT Has a Looming E-Waste Problem

A lack of forethought will leave us with a mountain of obsolete devices and no way to dispose of them

2 min read
Illustration: Jude Buffum
Illustration: Jude Buffum

illustrationIllustration: Jude Buffum

In 2016, Masayoshi Son, the CEO of SoftBank Group Corp., predicted that in the next 20 years there will be a trillion connected devices in the world and orbiting the planet. This spurred his investment in Arm Holdings, the chip-design company, which is profiting from increased demand for battery-sipping chips meant for low-compute jobs. Arm’s microcontrollers are now inside rings, watches, and sensors on industrial equipment.

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How the FCC Settles Radio-Spectrum Turf Wars

Remember the 5G-airport controversy? Here’s how such disputes play out

11 min read
This photo shows a man in the basket of a cherry picker working on an antenna as an airliner passes overhead.

The airline and cellular-phone industries have been at loggerheads over the possibility that 5G transmissions from antennas such as this one, located at Los Angeles International Airport, could interfere with the radar altimeters used in aircraft.

Patrick T. Fallon/AFP/Getty Images
Blue

You’ve no doubt seen the scary headlines: Will 5G Cause Planes to Crash? They appeared late last year, after the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration warned that new 5G services from AT&T and Verizon might interfere with the radar altimeters that airplane pilots rely on to land safely. Not true, said AT&T and Verizon, with the backing of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, which had authorized 5G. The altimeters are safe, they maintained. Air travelers didn’t know what to believe.

Another recent FCC decision had also created a controversy about public safety: okaying Wi-Fi devices in a 6-gigahertz frequency band long used by point-to-point microwave systems to carry safety-critical data. The microwave operators predicted that the Wi-Fi devices would disrupt their systems; the Wi-Fi interests insisted they would not. (As an attorney, I represented a microwave-industry group in the ensuing legal dispute.)

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