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YouTube restores Full HD streaming in India on mobile devices but only on Wi-Fi
by Rajesh Pandey
In late March, YouTube restricted the maximum video streaming quality on mobile devices in India to 480p to reduce the strain on mobile networks and network congestion in the country. Over three months later, the company has finally restored the ability to stream full HD content on mobile devices albeit with a catch.
While YouTube users on mobile can finally stream content in 1080p resolution, they can do so only while being connected to a Wi-Fi network. On mobile networks, the maximum video streaming quality is still capped at 480p. The feature is being restored slowly so it is possible that it might not show up on your mobile phone immediately. There's no word from YouTube if it also intends to remove the streaming quality restriction on mobile data or not.
The restriction was only applicable on mobile devices as YouTube users in India were still able to stream content in Full HD or higher resolution on their PC, tablet, or Android TVs.
Netflix, Prime Video, and other streaming services had also announced a reduction in their streaming quality in late March to avoid potential network congestion as millions of people switched to working from home and there was a rise in the usage of video calls and streaming services. However, all of them had restored the streaming quality back to their original levels in June itself.
OnePlus, Realme, and other Chinese OEMs join OPPO, Vivo, and Xiaomi's file transfer alliance
by Rajesh Pandey
OPPO, Vivo, and Xiaomi had announced an alliance for a unified file transfer protocol last year for their devices that would offer an AirDrop-like functionality. The feature was then rolled out to their devices at the beginning of this year. Now, more Chinese OEMs are jumping on the bandwagon and becoming a part of it. Namely, OnePlus, Realme, Meizu, and Black Share have joined this file transfer alliance.
The move will allow users of all these devices to quickly share large files between them without any third-party app. Apart from native system integration, another benefit of this file transfer protocol is that it uses the Wi-Fi P2P technology thereby allowing for transfer speeds of up to 20MB/s. The Wi-Fi P2P feature does not interfere with the Wi-Fi functionality of the devices in any way as well. The transfer protocol also supports a wide range of file formats including photos, videos, and documents. The move is expected to benefit over 400 million users worldwide.
The new unified file transfer sharing protocol should start making its way into devices from OnePlus, Realme, Meizu, and Black Share in the coming months via a software update. Since the feature does not require any additional new hardware, it should make its way to older devices that are still being supported by these OEMs.
Source: XDA, Weibo
UK: User data exposed by free Wi-Fi at several train stations
by Paul Hill
A researcher at Security Discovery has brought to light that user data of those who connected to free Wi-Fi hotspots at several train stations in the UK had been stored in a non-password protected database. The database contained 146 million records which included email addresses, age ranges, the reason for travel, device data, and other logs.
C3UK, which operates the database, restricted public access to the database on Friday, February 14th, the same day that it was reported. The firm did not respond to several of the researcher's emails, though, which sought confirmation that it had received the earlier messages about the issue.
According to Jeremiah Fowler who uncovered the issue, a database of emails like this increases the risk of targetted phishing attacks, he wrote:
As more and more free Wi-Fi hotspots begin to pop up around towns and cities, both providers and consumers will have to start thinking about how to better protect data. For end-users, data can be better secured by using tools such as Jigsaw’s Intra or a Virtual Private Network.
Android 10: How to easily share Wi-Fi networks using QR code
by Rajesh Pandey
It is very important that one uses a strong Wi-Fi password for their home or office network which is a mix of alphabets and numbers. However, a complex password can become a headache when you have guests over at your place and they want to use your Wi-Fi network. This does not mean you should use a weak Wi-Fi password to avoid such situations though.
In other cases, there is a possibility that your device is connected to a Wi-Fi network whose password you don't remember or have access to but would want your friends or family to join it. For such situations, Android 10 introduces a handy option of sharing a Wi-Fi network using QR codes. This QR code can then be scanned by any smartphone to join the Wi-Fi network.
The good thing is that this entire process works seamlessly and does not require one to download any third-party app. It even works with iPhones so irrespective of which phone your friends or family members are using, you can use this method to quickly connect them to any Wi-Fi network you want.
Wondering how you can share the Wi-Fi network using QR codes with your friends or family in a gathering? Follow the steps below.
Step 1: On your smartphone running Android 10, go to Settings -> Network & internet -> Wi-Fi. Depending on which device you are using, the option in the Settings menu might be different. You need to basically go to the Wi-Fi menu screen where all the available and connected Wi-Fi networks are shown.
Step 2: Your phone must already be connected to the Wi-Fi network whose password you want to share via QR code. Tap on the Wi-Fi name followed by the Share button.
Step 3: A QR code will then be displayed on your phone's screen. Simply open the camera app of another Android device or an iPhone and point it to this QR code. That device will then automatically give you a prompt to join the shared Wi-Fi network.
On Pixels and Android One devices, the Wi-Fi password will also be shown at the bottom. On Samsung Galaxy devices though, only the QR code is displayed and not the password.
Wi-Fi 6 may soon expand into the 6GHz spectrum, to be called Wi-Fi 6E
by João Carrasqueira
Wi-Fi 6, based on the 802.11ax standard, became very widespread last year, with the Wi-Fi Alliance starting to certify Wi-Fi 6 devices in September. Now, the latest version of the Wi-Fi standard could be expanding into a new spectrum for the first time in a while, adding 6GHz on top of the existing 2.4GHz and 5GHz variants.
In a press release today, the Wi-Fi Alliance announced new terminology to distinguish upcoming devices that support Wi-Fi 6 on the 6GHz spectrum - Wi-Fi 6E. As the organization notes, though, the 6GHz spectrum isn't yet available for Wi-Fi, as it's still pending regulatory approval around the world. Recently, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai expressed his intent to make the 6GHz spectrum available to Wi-Fi, so it seems possible that approval will come soon.
Phil Solis, research director at IDC, said that adoption is likely to ramp up very quickly due to the potential of the 6GHz spectrum for Wi-Fi:
Once it receives regulatory approval, it's expected that smartphones and consumer access points will be the first devices to adopt the technology, followed by business access points. Wi-Fi 6E will be especially useful for AR and VR, according to the Wi-Fi Alliance. It also helps address the spectrum shortage for Wi-Fi, providing contiguous spectrum blocks that can accommodate 14 additional 80MHz channels and seven additional 160MHz channels.
As you might be aware, higher frequency spectrum can provide much faster speeds and more capacity, but it has lower range and gets blocked more easily by obstacles. As such, the 6GHz spectrum is likely to have very specific use cases, and shouldn't be a replacement for existing Wi-Fi spectrum. Of course, we'll only be able to see its benefits when Wi-Fi 6E is actually available, and right now, there's no clue as to when that will happen.