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Atheros Joins the Cloud Router Shift
Insists 'Streamboost' Crowd-Sources Network Management
by Karl Bode 10:44AM Monday Jan 07 2013 Tipped by Revcb See Profile
Cisco recently annoyed more than a few users by forcing router owners to connect to the cloud, a surprise decision that initially wouldn't let users even log directly into their routers anymore. While Cisco backtracked quite a bit (and have since indicated they'll likely sell Linksys entirely) the trend toward connecting devices to the cloud whether you want that to happen or not is well afoot (see gaming mice that require Internet connections).

Now chipset vendor Atheros is announcing a new cloud-driven "Streamboost" 802.11ac router technology that also uses optional (fortunately) cloud functionality. According to a Qualcomm/Atheros press release, both D-Link and Alienware will be showing off this technology at CES in routers marketed toward gamers. Atheros is pitching the technology as a way to crowd-source network management, purportedly making your network more efficient:
quote:
Click for full size
Qualcomm StreamBoost also incorporates an opt-in, cloud-based service that continually increases the intelligence of the router, allowing new applications and devices to be identified and optimally managed as they are added to a network.

StreamBoost's interface makes understanding and using routers more intuitive than ever before. For the first time, users can view all computers, tablets, phones and other connected devices on the home's network—as well as the applications they are using, and the real-time bandwidth usage of each application and device—on one easy-to-use StreamBoost interface.
Nobody has gotten their hands on this technology yet, so it's impossible to state whether it actually works. Granted many users are perfectly happy with all of the network management occurring locally without Atheros' help. Also unmentioned by Atheros is one of the primary reasons for developing this technology: collected data can be sold to third parties creating additional revenue streams.

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rtalcott

join:2003-12-02
Albuquerque, NM

2 recommendations

roll your own

I am still using a wrt54g...when I need to upgrade I'll buy an ARM board and build my own Linux based router...

rt

BoteMan

join:2002-11-11
Fort Lauderdale, FL

1 recommendation

Re: roll your own

As well, I vote "no".

The answer is for some enterprising individuals to port Tomato or other hot firmware load-of-the-minute to this new box and let Atheros, et al, know what you really think of their idea.
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TechnoGeek

join:2013-01-07

Re: roll your own

Ditto on the no vote.

Running a DD-wrt linksys router. When the time comes to replace it, might just build my own.

fifty nine

join:2002-09-25
Sussex, NJ
kudos:2

Re: roll your own

Ditto here too. Running pfsense (FreeBSD based) on an atom box. Works great!

danclan

join:2005-11-01
Midlothian, VA

2 recommendations

It all about the data sell...

Routers are set and forget devices. There is no reason for "cloud" anything other than remote support which is already available for nearly all routers anyways.

The only reason is data collection and resell. Who better to collect where you have been and what your pc's visited. This also of course raises SERIOUS privacy concerns. I will never activate any router cloud service and neither should the general public.

And yes if I am the government I would be all over this "feature" for future investigations and spying opportunities...with a warrant....of course

Simba7
I Void Warranties

join:2003-03-24
Billings, MT

Re: It all about the data sell...

said by danclan:

And yes if I am the government I would be all over this "feature" for future investigations and spying opportunities...with a warrant....of course

They don't need a warrant, thanks to FISA being passed.

cork1958
Cork
Premium
join:2000-02-26
said by danclan:

Routers are set and forget devices. There is no reason for "cloud" anything other than remote support which is already available for nearly all routers anyways.

The only reason is data collection and resell. Who better to collect where you have been and what your pc's visited. This also of course raises SERIOUS privacy concerns. I will never activate any router cloud service and neither should the general public.

And yes if I am the government I would be all over this "feature" for future investigations and spying opportunities...with a warrant....of course

Exactly!!

Screw ANYTHING in the clouds as that is exactly where it sounds like the people who come up with this garbage have their heads!
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jap
Premium
join:2003-08-10
038xx

1 recommendation

Good idea

This got the Ars Technica treatment late last Friday.

Application/protocol specific traffic shaping is the goal. Crowd-sourced prioritization tables live in firmware updates which can be either manually applied by router owner (router does not submit traffic data for cloud analysis) or auto-updated by Atheros (does submit).

A good and much needed development ... as long as Atheros collects no data unless explicitly given permission.

»arstechnica.com/gadgets/2013/01/···-reason/

danclan

join:2005-11-01
Midlothian, VA

Re: Good idea

They did and many readers saw this is a pretty useless feature. I have yet to see an average home that really needed QOS. Sure there are those here reading this "might" need it but in general the average home has little need.
talz13

join:2006-03-15
Avon, OH

Re: Good idea

I think any home that has more than a couple users, and frequently uses video streaming or VoIP can benefit from QoS.

FFH
Premium
join:2002-03-03
Tavistock NJ
kudos:5

Re: Good idea

said by talz13:

I think any home that has more than a couple users, and frequently uses video streaming or VoIP can benefit from QoS.

Almost every router has basic QOS options that are easy to set and forget that give priority to VOIP and media streaming. The extra bells and whistles of this device aren't really needed. It is no doubt more about collecting info than it is about QOS requirements.
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talz13

join:2006-03-15
Avon, OH

Re: Good idea

I was simply referring to the line "I have yet to see an average home that really needed QOS"

jseymour

join:2009-12-11
Waterford, MI

1 recommendation

No Thanks, No Way

I recall when I was looking for a smart remote, several years ago, and a lot of people were raving about the Harmony remotes. I bought one and then found out that to actually use it, I had to connect it to a MS-Win PC and "the cloud." Back it went.

A couple years ago we needed a new thermostat for the furnace. I thought it would be neat to have a wireless one. Found the Filtrete 3M Radio Thermostat. Quickly found out that the way the wireless works is the thermostat talks to Radio Thermostat's servers, then your computer, etc. works through those. Back it went.

Not a chance in hell I would have my Internet border router hooked to cloud services.

Jim
CharlesH1

join:2011-04-29
Milpitas, CA

1 recommendation

Re: No Thanks, No Way

said by jseymour:

I recall when I was looking for a smart remote, several years ago, and a lot of people were raving about the Harmony remotes. I bought one and then found out that to actually use it, I had to connect it to a MS-Win PC and "the cloud." Back it went.

I don't quite understand your objection to how the Harmony setup works. To configure one, the configuration application on the PC connects to a server to get the IR codes for devices you might want to control, so you can just say what model TV or A/V box or whatever you have, and all of the codes for that device are configured with one click. New devices are added to their database as they become available. There is no Internet activity involved with the actual usage of the remote.

XANAVirus
Premium
join:2012-03-03
Lavalette, WV
Reviews:
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·Comcast

Re: No Thanks, No Way

This is why I went with a URC remote, at least the Digital R50, as it didn't require downloads from a remote sever to program.

What if the server goes down, then no one can configure their remotes and they'd be useless until it comes back (and, what if it never did - although that's a little unlikely).

Sure, I can't add newly-released devices to the remote (without training it), but I can at least go with the local database, which happened to include all my devices - and besides having to plug the remote into a computer, would you have to do that to charge it too?

Seems like a waste if you did, because no one would be able to use the remote until then (especially if you have the computer far away from the TV).

BoteMan

join:2002-11-11
Fort Lauderdale, FL

Re: No Thanks, No Way

said by XANAVirus:

...What if the server goes down, then no one can configure their remotes and they'd be useless until it comes back (and, what if it never did - although that's a little unlikely).

I have an Acoustic Research ARIR200 Infinite Radio that streams a bunch of music and scanner streams off the Internet. I used to be able to store up to 6 preset stations via their online web portal. Said web portal went belly up a few months ago and they have no intention of seeking a replacement, so the presets currently in the radio are stuck in there forever and ever.

So it's not unlikely. In fact, relying on ANY "cloud" service for an extended period is akin to living on borrowed time, flaky business models and the Next Big Thing being what they are.
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travanx

join:2002-01-15
Altadena, CA

Re: No Thanks, No Way

I have a Harmony Link remote and if Logitech's cloud ever goes down this device is useless. The nice thing when it does work is that harmony tech support is pretty fast in adding whatever features that may be missing into your account. For instance they setup my zone2 to work for my receiver. But of course the problem is if the cloud goes away I have a useless device.

I don't think the average user would care or even know if their router was connected into the cloud. Look at all of the routers out there installed by companies that still have WEP setup for wireless.

I also bet if people had any idea what QOS is and if it was a benefit to them, they might actually use it. But that's probably where people start to learn about other firmwares to try to fix their issues.