The technology, dubbed Intel Smart Connect, was demonstrated at the Intel Developer Forum today. Justin Rattner, the chief technology officer at Intel, said it is possible to run updates while a computer is in low-power mode, dubbed sleep. That’s when you close your computer and the screen is off.
Charlie Tai, a principal engineer at Intel Labs, showed a demo (pictured above), where a lab prototype could install updates on a laptop using only about 6 percent of the central processing unit’s performance and a low amount of average power. By comparison, one of the best Ultrabooks (thin and powerful laptop) consumed 20 percent of the CPU’s power and a much higher amount of of average electrical power.
The challenge is that a wireless network frequently has to wake up the CPU to process traffic. But Tai said the Intel prototype is trained to ignore most of the traffic except for traffic related to updates. The prototype is code-named Spring Meadow. It works by optimizing the data downloaded at the network interface level. So you can get photo downloads or Twitter feed updates while the computer is idle.
Intel also showed a live demo of WiGig wireless transfer technology from one display or computer to another within the home.
Ali Sadri, head of the Wireless Gigabit Alliance, said that the effort has been under way at his industry consortium since 2009. It uses wireless connections that operate in the 60-megahertz wireless band, so it does not interfere with traditional Wi-Fi operating within the 2.4 gigahertz to 5 gigahertz radio bands. It is shorter range, but WiGig can transfer data at several gigabits per second. It took a while for the computers used in the demo to work, but once they did, Sadri demonstrated a live network transfer on stage. In the demo, a laptop with a WiGig radio was able to wirelessly connect to an external hard drive and dual high-definition monitors. It streamed an HD video from the notebook to the monitors.
Rattner also talked about how mobile and video traffic are exploding. Chris Neisinger of Verizon and Intel researcher Jeff Foerster said they were addressing the stress on communications networks by creating video aware wireless networks (VAWN), which can make the network infrastructure more efficient. In a study, researchers limited a network to 10 megabits a second and then streamed data to 10 devices at once. Users who get data at a rate of 1 megabit per second are very unhappy.
But using the VAWN connection, the bandwidth is more efficiently used, so the quality of the video stream is better.
Rattner also turned his attention to security. He said the tension between ease of use and increased security is clear if you ask someone how many different passwords they have to remember. Intel researcher Sridhar Iyendar said many users simply use the same passwords to log into different sites, putting themselves at risk in case one password is cracked.
He said once answer is “Client-Based Authentication Technology” that uses biometric technology on the user’s computer.
It sends an authentication out to all services that a person uses. Iyendar’s assistant wave a hand in front of a “palm vein” detector on a tablet computer. It logged him into Windows 7, and then he was able to view his bank account without having to log in once again. He walked away, and as the computer went to sleep, it locked Windows. Rattner said the authentication technology is coming soon, because no new hardware is needed to make it happen.
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