Pragmatic 53: Overlapping Signals

16 January, 2015

CURRENT

There is a growing trend to eliminate the wires and go wireless for data and for power. Can it work? Is it practical? Dive in.

Transcript available
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sponsors during show on your host John Geagea and I join today as always by my co-host Vic Hudson eight or Vic graduate area very good thank you what today I'd like to talk about the trend of going from wired to wireless and when I say that I mean are excelling in noticing particularly Apple doing but not just Apple are although a lot of the stuff is going this way whether getting rid of wires and are going to wireless and what prompted this is why I don't do topic-based episodes and besides I certainly don't do rumours but I can I still will take a year if I see something that that sparks off some your thing is worth discussing then you know fine so what triggered this off is some a gentleman by the name of the Mark Gurman evening with this gentleman and a thinker might have heard some things he's written about So he revealed quote unquote revealed that the next MacBook Air would come in a 12 inch model with a single power and data port power/data port based around USB type C connection and only headphone jack would remain on the other side you now quickly realistically change this now sincerely lead to what the mockup bottom line is it's a digital mockup you are not I'm not mocking the mockup actually hang on I am but never mind that the truth is that I'm not interested in whether or not that actually true but here's what is true reflect on the fact that in the last six or seven years Apple have released a wireless Bluetooth keyboard actually noted before the a minium Bluetooth keyboard there was the other white plastic Q but I had one of those as well are and the magic mouse is you also is wireless and now the magic trackpad as well so they're moving away from and is no wide option you can't get a wired Apple mouse anymore you can't get a wired our magic trackpad for example it is wireless or it's nothing there so it's pretty clear to me that Apple is going for the whole here is a beautiful iMac on your desk let's say you will have a keyboard you have a mouse you will have trackpad interface with this thing then they argue me nowise between it and the computer so that's that's what they're pushing a bladder in your battery charger with the arm with the envelopes I believe they are our rebadged thing like that I know that anyway point is that they are systematically eliminating wise olein with the Bluetooth low energy brassiere got me thinking our with Wi-Fi with Bluetooth especially gritted for low-energy there is undeniably a trend that wireless is the way to go but problem of God is that that simply is not true for a lot of things so the obvious thing to happen to explore that and figure out why we think think it sounds good cool right pure and simple energy can be transported are wirelessly essentially you data is modulated power essentially low-power but is modulated energy and of course power has purely about charm you are moving a charge from one place to another so data and power need to be tackled separately so let's start with the simplest and easiest which is wireless data so let's talk about optical wireless data and optical sense the very first kind of wireless data arm optically was infrared it doesn't immediately come to mind for a lot of people because they think you wireless data why are we to our Wi-Fi right which will now Bluetooth that's a doormat that all from an optical point of view infrared came before that now wavelengths aside obviously insinuates it it it infrared to think about yellow laser in a fibre-optic cable that the laser is essentially bounces inside between the inner core and the outer sheath of the fibre optics and are not going into along this protracted discussion about fibre is a whole other episode but think of infrared like unbounded fibre-optic so you're transmitting are an LED or a laser our infrared transmitter and it's essentially bouncing around the entire room so it is wireless and is broadcast unlike fibre-optic which is essentially transmitted down a single fibre in the single cable's infrared on the lower surface sound like a great idea but it's very pride interference so you can get a lot of reflections off the walls are you gonna get a very different a bit error rate our inner reliability essentially I'd buy some of the rooms light are brightly lit or of its daytime our verses are if it's dark in the room offers nighttime so that's going to affect its performance the data rates therefore have to be much lower otherwise is to be knocking to get are an accurate younger consistently accurate data transfer from one point to another very varied yet it is exactly so low about low data rates therefore means low bandwidth therefore means you can't transfer very much so is really great for basic messaging like a remote-control but that not much else like turn this on turn that off select this button this channel up volume up volume down beyond that is not much else you can do now I I've played with a few IR our infrared blasters IR blasters and that there is awakening I and infrared communications links have actually had a couple of those IAI played around with one in the late 90s and again in about 2005 and I have not seen one since the mid-noughts are and it was a professionally for infrared link our datalink and is that was around about the time that Wi-Fi was becoming more ubiquitous in and in industrial environment so you know it's pretty unusual to get an IR datalink that is not a remote-control but the bottom line is the generating that infrared is in fact very low-power and that's the other main reason it's also been around for a long time its low-cost so there's lots of good reasons to use infrared is also a lot of bad things about infrared so infrared operates between a series of our infrared wavelengths problem with that is that it basically means that you don't have many options because if you change your wavelength too much then it ceases to be our wealth infrared art but okay why is that a problem what it means is that because it's scattered because it hasn't spread a lot of interference there is only a small subset of channel of wavelengths they will use on because I will have an visible light otherwise intimate pushbutton you'd see the flashing and SMB distracting for a lot of people there so it's going outside visible spectrum and that's fine that it you just got a much narrower spectrum and because it's I anyone can do it so if I have three remote controls in the room and I will push a different but at the same time following is which will get truly infrared receiver so it's a party line just like any other radio communications channel but because you're transmitting optically yet there is no you cannot do arm code division multiple access photon Eckley the people that one dive in the physics of those as to why should be obvious as to why but never mind that okay so basically it it it limits the way you can manipulate the signal to embed data into a rate yet exactly and and the bottom line is that it is in a room think of the analogy this way I got Wi-Fi in my room okay and I've got multiple iPhone is now one of those iPhones at all your base station sitting in the corner there has to be a physical visible link between the two younger one I spell see the other and if they are all talking to it once it won't work that's the problem so it's not a good multiple access protocol it's extremely limited in range is prone to interference low bandwidth in another words it's just not a winner okay so is our first example of wireless data summary mention the radio equivalents so the radio because of wireless are are the predominant standards and there is a lot there are a lot of standards but honestly, to biggies which are Bluetooth and Wi-Fi and really knock and talk to much about because frankly that's not what's interesting though I'd I'm sorry I don't think that that's as interesting as what I would rather talk about so let's just say that Bluetooth low-energy art is still uses more energy than infrared but it's a hell of a lot better than the earlier versions of Bluetooth are Wi-Fi is not energy-efficient at all which is why our low-energy devices will prefer Bluetooth there's a bunch of reasons why but must not show all onto itself but the Wi-Fi will give you a high bandwidth but unfortunately I bandwidth and high data rates means more power and that makes it a bad choice for wireless devices typically the only reason it can go on smartphones to charge a smartphone every day can you imagine having in a remote-control that you had a charge every single day and I know that the harmony one remote so you have like out there rechargeable batteries in the Michael I believe yes are not sure I'm not familiar with I think they are the point is that you don't charge them every single day and I think that having a remote-control that work and Wi-Fi you had a charge every single day in Latvia bedded down yeah it's near it's a sort of technology that it's great for something that has a lot of data transfer but most things don't elicit a smart phone or tablet in most of the devices around the house they don't need that so no headphones for example you are light switches or or television remote all that stuff so radiate ego and cause great great thing about radio is it works between walls you can digitally encoded so that you can have overlapping signals and using yellow crosscorrelation you can actually extract overlapping signals from top of each other and spread spectrum technology you which means you have multiple access you can have CDMA technologies now you can have my Mo you can have all sorts of other different things of talk about different episodes of the show not gonna go there however cables so we took a going wireless and wireless data input other of different options there but you know what what about the cables so just briefly the most common cables you can use the data transfer are going to be made out of copper single core stranded doesn't matter twisted pair copper is the most common by far the most common is flexible it's relatively cheaper than the price it keeps going up because people keep needing it are or aluminium which is now cheaper again but it's not as flexible so you a members or or alumina if you prefer the other North American brand name that everyone has come to associate with the metal itself it is the name of metal is aluminium are so anyhow are although it will be an aluminium aluminium alloy are sometimes steel is uses wealth far less common because steel has not as good a resistance it's it's got a high resistance than both are cooperating million so you know that's how you will get are the data around however why mention optical before obviously you can trap it in fibre optics single mode fibre multimode fibre PCF mortgages plastic or fibre you bottom line fibre optics though the light bounces around inside the fibre optics taking the light pulses from one into the other a brutally carrying data that is a whole other topic how that works for another day maybe bottom line it can't carry any powers any carrying light and light does not have enough energy and it is so is only good for data progress copper is capable in larger diameters of carrying energy like energy for charging and that is actually very very useful so as I was saying before wireless methods are best thought of as one enormous cable transmission line where you call it is a large room and a device can talk at any time and has no control there is a limited amount of bandwidth and wireless once it's gone it's gone but if you encapsulate that in a cable you can have technically or have less bandwidth it's not as wide open ocean as the ether promote that is true you'll get less spam bites you can have bandwidth stacked up against it's a each other in a in space right but I do hate this expression space division multiple access is a cop out to me because you retire you can estimate system might space division New Year are conjures up images of some kind of thing in this outer space or something but space division multiple access IIA just an expression of her people use for using lots of cables bundled together but the cables because they contain all of that informational and energy inside them you can then stack up a whole bunch next to each other and in parallel you can pass enormous amounts of information when you lay a fibre optic cable fibre because a tiny really small micro metres in little in diameter you can have 48 core cable is very common like project work on the moment 48 core cable is the standard now where using something like two dozen of those because maybe two dozen yellow and that's half utilised debt so and that's an enormous amount data needs of these fibre optics single mode fibre you can get your gigabit data over hundred and 10 km of range that's huge no Anna technology is improving all the time you put a bunch those fibres in parallel and hey presto you've got DA not as gigabit fibre you got terabit fibre you and you will never get terabit wireless between those two points for anywhere near that amount of cost you just won't get so wireless has issues with a lot of people talking at once it's behind the amount of bandwidth you can do on a cable but not because the bandwidth in and of itself EEE it in of itself the bank it is actually better because you've got no impediments other than the radio transmitting and receiving but that the ether itself has less restrictions on a cable does the capacitance of the cable increases the fibre optics you know the young are the aberrations you reach a certain point we can't put more data in it that there'd making all sorts of strides with wavelength division arm multiple Teilhard access technologies Yahweh with wavelength division multiplexing I should say a fibre optics that you is improving but this still a limit where the different wavelengths against an interfering with each other and is a sci-fi can push before the physics get in the way soaked encapsulating it causes more problems in a lot of respects but because you can stack up next to each other you get a higher net transfer rate because your hire you transferred your data transfer density think that way maybe is better with cables that are the best part there is no interference to or from other uses and same physical proximity and I'm in pursuit of stuff DO you decent our firearm DO any fibre optic cable the fibres ascending like the lights contained within the fibre there is no interference in a Effective interference it's perfect it's beautiful and I love fibre however you know songs you got shielding I like using a coaxial cable for transmission line or if you are using shielded Five Six 60 whatever hanky using doesn't matter you and is well shielded you can stack up as many as you want next to each other in fact the twisted pairs that they use for the standard unsure Pfizer is usually good enough to avoid interference and crosstalk so you generally speaking cables I can interfere with each other was of wireless no wireless you will get interference okay so that's all well and good you might just say rah rah hang on I like cables or hold on a second what we want to get rid cables in the first place wealth freedom is freedom baby are that was such a bad Austin Powers quote anyhow Kate should shoot me now cables can get damaged axes Austin Powers still cool article to scale is it still cool or is it just over a still enjoy watching every now and then I did hear a rumour a little while back about a possible fourth movie in the works are space balls to this to search for more money evincing that happens are but if it was anyone before then you Jones of gout marbles out when it's done okay and then and then reinsert them properly so I can find my way to the exit of the theatre moving on cables can get damaged I mean you can always get a cricket bat and have a swipe at the air a few want to knock on a break it while I mean in a my break you back or you cricket bat cannot care for but should not gonna hurt the ether mind you if you broke out like a quantum singularity or a black hole that I can't throw one of those though connectors also have a finite number of connect disconnect cycles before they are worn out and we talked about this previously on our the goldplated something of the extra oxygen cables. No other the longest titles of an episode he was 17 anyway ability of nebula commissioners but yet there is a limited number of connect disconnect cycles that every connectors are obviously connectors suck but the biggest and simplest problem with cables is that you have to carry them so imagine if your iPhone could only talk to the Internet if it was connected by a cable I mean they would suck Ray device just lost a lot of appeal what exactly so you need to carry a cable ran everywhere with you and answer it that's ridiculous right we think that's ridiculous so all right before I go any further though a lot of talk about our first sponsor and that is equally software in engineering of work in a lot of companies that use a mishmash collection of different tools to provide the basic functionality that you need to get work done things like file sharing wikis announcement pages in department landing pages there disconnected disorganised and I for whatever reason everything to work in 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very minimal learning curve now you may have heard people talking manacle in the past were taken from a summit that is played with it for a while it is worth your time to investigate is worth the time to look into it and how can you well it's easy just visit igloo software or one word.com/pragmatic and sign up for a trial today it's free for groups of up to 10 people for all time right is no credit card required no obligation to sign up and have a play today and I say play because honestly doesn't feel like doing work so I like to thank igloo once again the sponsoring pragmatic solicitors talk about mice and keyboards quickly a whole USB in the wild thing about an estimate earlier but I thought it might be fun and has a get a regular list is now I have a strange idea of what's fun this is fun let's figure this out power that enters the household of the grid let's assume going straight into the mouse like it like it used to back in the good old days so there's no batteries no wireless neither anything it's just as you need to use it electrons are used they are consumed there is no loss well there is lost but is not much loss so consider that your baseline now I'm going to charge a set of batteries through the proprietary charger okay the loss so that we talked about in previous episodes between 5 to 10% when you charge a battery so you have to put in 100 set hundred and 10% or thereabouts of the energy the children try and extract that hundred percent of energy out senior put in an extra 5 to 10 if you think of it that way it has a nice minute but the idea is that there is 510% worth of lost their right geckos because once the Ali and the other downside is of course the energy dissipates over time even if the battery is in the news it'll naturally dissipate which you if you have drawing electricity from the outside world that is not the case right allergist is always there on the gritty for drawdown only when you need it now you obviously that it's the law of large numbers it's agreed it was a lot of other inefficiencies in all sorts of the law caveats that that essentially think of it that way think of as an infinitely small impedance you can simply draw whatever the heck you want whenever you want with no significant loss was the battery you you have put that charging once you take those batteries output into the device are devices to consume exactly the same amount of energy it is difficult to draw from the batteries the batteries are dissipating energy the batteries are very lost energy instead in their charging cycle thievery loss energy twice by going to a battery okay there is absolutely no doubt whatsoever that batteries will use more power than if you apply the wiring to them in this directly into the wall that has an infinite supply of any of electricity But having said that there are certain applications were going wireless with a battery is the preferred method for usability reasons and that's fine so I said before how would you feel a walk around the iPhone tended to the wall well because they were not like that that would suck bad they would be extremely high level of socket edge so when people say how you know about the keyboard and mouse thing let's skip with the power cable because I clean up my desk it irritates me and I've even I have even from time to time flirted with that expression of my hand up so therefore I must buy extension have irritated myself and I did anyhow there is no real measurable functional benefit from having a wireless keyboard or a wireless mouse and I say that and I mean that there is no measurable functional benefit now there is a visual benefit I'm not looking at cables but honestly there's really no other advantage because it makes whatever device you're using heavier because it's gotta carry the batteries now it's essentially increases the complexity of the device while generally speaking as something it does and honestly you have to go through the mechanism of removing the batteries to putting in freshly charged batteries all that extra little thing you gotta do and maybe that's only once a month bogus twice a month you know what if you plug your your laptop mouse in as always plugged into a desktop you never have to do that ever you leave a plugged in how people plug and unplug their mouse from their iMac or their Mac Pro all three people in the world have a Mac Pro these days you know whatever you've got my arm Mac mini if your laptop that you constantly disconnecting and reconnecting in taking taking to and from work like I do that's different but unplug the mouse in I don't like the keyboard more accurately now know what I do I have a hub I am plug the hub in a so I really have to do that was upon having a wireless keyboard on top of that there is no point is a very unplug something there you know so when people serve say yeah but now I can now type in my lap it's far more convenient we note you can type you like with a cable to trip over the cable is a functional benefit we not from RSI point of view that makes me cringe typing with the keyboard sitting in your lap as is generally not the best angle for the vast majority of people's that's going about our RSI anyway I refer you to the episode I recently did with the are with the guest host John Syracuse will be talked about RSI in a it's all about the angles there and that's not a good angle so you far better to create more room on your desk using a monitor arm then you are by replacing wide devices with wireless devices in my opinion because you can always bundle the cables and keep them off to one side and frankly you were reclaimed desk space if your moral stand while it sucks monitor arm will give your budget space underneath us and I've done I've got a monitor arm on my desk now I've got the Yonex blackjack about speakers I've got my keyboard can slide underneath there to get out a way to be more workspace because I can do that now goal at space underneath now I can put whatever wander there and all my cables were bundled together and essentially young writers have like the power and are a couple USB connections in an external monitor and yes I could put on thunderbolt and one power connector from wide but that's expensive there so you are saying is like what I do not see the benefit I just don't eyes don't so arm are essentially accepting inefficiency for tidiness and additional expense because it's more expensive with having to maintain batteries and some thought to myself okay let's let's think about the connector failure versus battery failure so it was a surmountable reliability the long-term reliability of this because the problem got is a batteries file if using rechargeables if using alkaline is then Odea you know you have new new one of those is gonna cost money and then your recycling problem then you got environmental questions Rick there is no question that arm rechargeable batteries are better for the environment overall the question plenty studies I have incited any but I know that that is the case feel free to look that one up at the bottom line is that that those batteries are still going to fail now how often to connect this file versus how okay connectors and cables file versus batteries failing so if we go all in with wireless on the basis that there are no connectors and that's our advantages to 1 of the reasons are we doing it so I get away from connectors while then we need to we eliminate we need to eliminate device of change will batteries because every connection point for a battery is a point of failure and people sale but they don't fail there simple no they get gulped up all the time they get corroded things go wrong okay how many times have you had a device where the spring that is keeping a double a battery in place just gets loose over time doubt you know it happened to be lots and lots and lots usually on cheaper gear but you know what happens a lot to me and it's not just it's like everything from radio control cars to Armenia to my keyboards to wireless mice that I've tried different points in my life in a it just happens solo besides grabbing change will batteries for year and no actually I almost think if you try to go the argument of I'm gonna get rid of all of my connectors well go to an integrated battery piano and object can't change the battery then well if the rechargeable batteries last five years and 10 years Archie discovered by new device about how many people are still using the same people they did 10 years ago all the listeners with a mechanical keyboard or an apple extended to keyboard raise your hand now okay hello you are the minority the vast majority of people use the keyboard the computer came with my laptop that's easy but you know me they just they are only the nutters will keep their keyboard and I mean that an affectionate way to buy the way nutters are Odea okay just defended the nutters but you know what it's fine you EY he would use a 10 years but seriously 20 years good onya but that's just not that's just not the majority of people sorry there okay so honestly I think that the integrated battery makes more sense because you eliminate the connectors okay so let's look at the connector failure on a USB keyboard how often do you actually unplug the USB keyboard and I sort of lose this before it's not often visit every thousand seven batteries to really win in terms of overcoming connectors connect they need to be integrated without connectors when that means rechargeable in some applications with a current drain is very very low yesterday change the battery ever thought about this Harry devices out there like that have got a forever battery in an unchangeable lifetime barrier like a little long life lithium I thought of one a new one it's the tile in other tireless I do not echo the tiles kickstart a project on preachers kickstart and it's a very small and the dimensions escape me but I think it's like half an inch square about you like 10 mil 12 mil square is relatively thin and these things are like they're whitening a little small hole in the top left corner I think it is and what tile is it's a Bluetooth low energy device that you can connect to ascetic EC can put that in the young deer the springy God I don't have the technical name of this someone can correct me I'm sure unless you know the answer which is you know the round split ring thing that you put your keys on a key keyring that thing simple hello through the whole it you have an adhesive and you can stick it to things and what this thing does is allow you to track things are within a 30 m ranges of 30 m or so 30 foot 10 men arrange sites all well and good to say find my iPhone okay there's a problem iPhone battery is dead stigma these things in the back of it and it'll find it when you get physically close the thing signifies last known location was in the house is dinnerware and house we can use the tile to find so you buy these impacts of vitamin A combine individually environment packs of 510 whatever and I'm not Ivan tried them but by all accounts they're pretty cool and the battery and the blast I think it's about a year or so maybe some like that because you change the battery that's the concept it's disposable I sell enough of these things if they take off they work well in the popular FFFF then I'll mass-produce them on a bigger scale price will come down economies of scale that's how Motorola made pages so cheap I say cheap they want that cheap but that's a very very small subset right Harry devices are out there really that you can get away doing that in you need to have seen rechargeable and once you embrace that you embrace inefficiency and additional cost so it has to be really worth it the connectors argument I think fails you want to get rid of the connector arm issue from connectors dunking up we were waterproof something that's different and we talked about this on the ER are on the watch this time and space (38 we talked about that so again okay so I guess enough about connectors and batteries let's talk about that the that the bulk of the what I want to talk about and this is beaming power because I had a couple of theories about this one and I find the idea to be fascinating beer although also insane at the same time insanely fascinating okay beaming power hours start by talking about crystal radio is not crystal radio is I do not write so crystal radio is built on these and I was a kid absolutely totally spiffy drill you know tops mad to think of other slang expressions for an appropriate level of excitement was experienced so before there was mains power it was commonplace to have a crystal radio because crystal radios are draw their energy from the radio waves themselves they essentially are vile slide vibrate and data data could God in a mean audio full radio from AM radio it's directly converted in the radio energy into audible energy through small low-power earpieces it would be a piece and you can hear the crystal radio so that any crisp other radio are refers to the young Galina crystal of detector that was commonly is nearly dark restoring early days of crystal radios that was arm before the mid-1920s happened and the 920s they had done valve amplifiers that change the entire experience because he went away from having to have an earpiece to having a powered loudspeaker that you can hear the radio on from anywhere across the room so that sort of took over very quickly now it sounds ideal the idea of crystal radio because you're essentially powering the radio plus you're transmitting the data and you doing it all wirelessly that out perfect rides like yes success that sound like however it it was cool at the time and you can still get away with it by their effectiveness is diminished as the distance increases away from the radio transmitter because inverse square law again talked about this before as you distance your doubles are it's basically one over the square of the distance in the in terms of power because in expanding my front assuming I'm a directional antenna and is propagating is perfect sphere when I was a perfect sphere and is no such thing as an isotopic radio because noticing the pricing points was a radio signal blah blah blah point on a point is that moving on well I said point is moving on is point on K over too much coffee on enough coffee hereunder raided eyes I am really doing a bad job he I'm sorry okay so eventually though arm people want to have a louder and more consistent audio from the radio so the powered transmitters that they came up with in the mid-1920s they gave Nancy could be 1010 miles away you be 40 miles away and you would get the same sort of quality experience from the same radio in the sublevel wide the crystal radio simply did not gather enough power further it too far away from them from the radio transmitter so eventually they became an oddity rather than the mainstream arm from portability point of view as well are things had to evolve quite a lot so crystal radios actually persisted for quite a while because they were smaller more portable and of course early days did need batteries but as batteries improved and you know things like Garcia beheaded on receivers improved and figures are stability improved all other good stuff you crystal radio sorter when the weather died ON we went to 1 we went to power transistor radios and portability reasons analogous given up misty podcasts there yeah some of the societies do that and okay so the next thing to talk about is microwave energy but before we do talk about microwaves like to about a second sponsor this episode and that is Lynda.com Nellie.com is an easy and affordable way to learn you can instantly stream thousands of courses credit by experts in their fields of business software web development graphic design audio and lots and lots more too many to list here and I have an enormous library of titles you can 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pro X is a huge amount of information broken down into easily manageable chunks and is really helped in learning how to edit using this podcast using that software may be getting the pages numbers Keynote now this they stink up nicely and I say nicely of quote between the Mackie iPad the iPhone but it is if you are scratching the surface was possible well Lynda, strength always apps on the latest versions if you're in office 365 it's the same deal with the word Excel and PowerPoint this cause on WordPress photoshop Google Drive Google sites SCO fundamentals if that sort of thing they've got it there really is something for everyone what is it worth for such an enormous library of really great stuff well for one low monthly price of $25 you get completely unrestricted access to over 100,000 video tutorials that huge hundred thousand tutorials in the Lynda.com library however Premier members with an annual plan they can download because their iPhones iPads render advice and watch them off-line premium cannabis can also download the project files in practice along with the instructor now I'm talking with an icon for a while now and have enjoyed the content on offer years I'm happy to be able provide pragmatic listeners with a special offer to access all the courses for free for 10 days seeking given a shot and see how good they are visit Lynda.com/pragmatic to try Lynda.com free for 10 days that's LY NDA.com/pragmatic thank you to Lynda.com the sponsoring pragmatic do you like microwaves Vic I like eating things in the so would you say that your microwave heating kind of person I definitely would say that and I don't even know what I mean when I say that okay microwaves to be clear is a range of the radio spectrum so are again talked about this before the exact frequency range doesn't matter the point is that high frequency range RF IDs are an example of microwave energy being used to transmit power but as we talked about down episode articles episode 47 which was the enteric interrogation signal we talked about this motorman RF IDs there it only has enough power to make the eat whole beeper go beep a few times for a goes flat that's it there so the thing with microwaves and their properties for heating though it is a law side since you mentioned hitting things is that Percy Spencer in 1946 of the Second World War the story which may will be apocryphal but here it is anyway was said to have accidentally melted chocolate bar in his pocket before he realised the microwave antenna that was in front of him was what was doing it many years later breath of refinement and a bunch companies sort of go and ended up with the microwave oven and K honestly the concert behind the microphone has really changed how lots more about it I can the last 40 years of it's all change it's all become more about controlling the amount of energy going in there but really you pulse a bunch of energy in letter bounce around gets absorbed by the food pulse and Maureen and I that's basically it and is somewhat overcooked things so is the control of how much energy goes in the monitoring of how well cooked what is in the microwave is that's where the technological advancement is but the actual magnetron they use Jonah microwaves is pretty you know it's a lot lighter than a was made of lighter materials but generally speaking is really not a helluva lot that is advanced and that anyone I've done a few microwave links on projects I've worked on and down they are a lot of fun to align the line the dishes and I and some once upon a time long long time ago when I was a young teenage boy and I was getting into amateur radio CB radio is before I left arm still high school this point I would go on our excursions I guess you would call them just go with the amateur radio club because I was just that kind a kid I guess and I and are we went to a radio installation on top of the water tower in Rockhampton I grew up and there was a particularly low hanging are microwave dish I don't know who that was Robbie Telstra's doesn't really matter because microwave dish to appoint point link from the range across to Mount archer and I being the young minnow kid that I was arm having climbed part way up this tower not it wasn't very high of the ground there was a very very low hanging so you know and even that I would think now looking back I didn't have any harness on it and any safety training at any gear I was just the youngest one and are all older guys that are like a junkie up there and adjust the antenna direction yeah one nights sure thing man I think there is not a happy ending to the story is actually not that bad but it is illustrative of the problem okay so I got up this though it wasn't that high up there in my microwave dish so can't put my hand up in front because unlike microwave, and what that feels like Ike were all shut up you I was young however whether it actually it didn't hurt but I could feel my hand getting warm after a little while and I was a little while are not gonna tell you say sometimes we we we conduct experiments on our own body and this was one of them are anyway the bottom line only to keep an eye on my left hand as I get older to see if there's any cancers that form but I doubt I'm sure I'm fine look on okay I'm really sitting sitting myself and so deeply look I felt what they referred to as the thermal effects right because aware microwave works is it causes the water molecules to vibrate at a molecular level that generates molecular friction that generates heat and that's the heating the cooks the food you were saying that it is completely dry and there is much less for the microwave energy to to essentially agitate then you don't have any she was a prom the human body what percentage are we have water very high percentage of water therefore you shove living tissue in front of a microwave or in a microwave what's can happen it's vinegar hot right you are cooking your own hand I was stupid John super teenager John anyway bottom line it's different from DNA damage is not the same thing damaging actual DNA strands requires a different level of power is a different kind of an effect and near field effects seem to be innocent is that it is not conclusive seem to be more of a problem and we talked about Salomon's before which is absorption limits for our electromagnetic radiation and little better on the very first episode of pragmatic Faraday's cage so quick refresher the maximum absorption deemed to be safe is 1.6 W per kilogram that averaged in 1 g of our body tissue but the IEEE ANSI standard so all devices are measured against this as a maximum mobile phone is generally nowhere near that anymore used to be closer but not email every is the evidence we went to low-power stuff like GSM CD Matey mail Lawrence dropped back again talked about this before not going over that again so I thought to myself what is a standard exposed microwave signal that the average person is exposed to everyday well that person could potentially be express every day because I harnessing the average person isn't young stupid teenage boy that shows a hand from the microwave – so let's assume that that is not the majority of people because more people have more commonsense anyway at least I hope they do evaluate separate don't try to trade at home so bottom line is I thought long and hard about this and I came up with one that E toll transponder in your vehicle now a lot of people say hey I live mistakes I don't have a transponder because I don't have any free flow electronic tolling in my vehicle and that's fine some people say I drive a car okay that's fine to my point is though that is the only one I could come up with members more but that's what I came up with their so these particular ones what they'll do is they will actually shoot microwave focus microwave energy at the roadway so that when a vehicle crosses the motorway over the actual transponder in size and RFID is a passive RFID for most of them so it will get charge from that microwave energy you use that to return a signal level transmitter response in a different frequency much lower frequency usually back to the receivers that are mounted right next to the transmitters up on the yard the overhead or the is a mountain besides the roadway either way are and I will have information about than than the license plate the identity of the vehicle light stuff right you though systems because they're not hundred percent reliable are will also often take a numberplate photo and a trimester to up where they don't with his discrepancy they'll be online know that is the one that you people are exposed to but here's the thing the maximum absorption is an average so I thought to myself okay I wonder how long would you have to stand in front of an E toll transmitter before you accumulated the maximum absorption dies permitted by the silence I really want to calculate that it is service to some not yet the reasons I'm about to explain okay so it all sounds all well and good but let's face the facts if you got a toll on it roadway it's gonna be well trafficked in occiput all the money in expense and are in a free flow tolling on a road gets no cars in that's just dumb not to do it economically right is it's expensive so you do that so many similar traffic there which means you knock on our standard front listing anyway so my hypothetical argument is flawed from the beginning because no one can do it nothing to stem from these things and so I crossed their arms and you know play across the road while they're not cross the road and was not a preplanned joke that was bad it was impromptu bad humour anyway so bottom line, is I couldn't figure it out anyway because there's too many variables will realistically if you're inside a vehicle this can be a degree of shielding so and she was in a very depressed based on a kind of vehicle you need a different level shielding from a minivan versus a foot was an SUV versus a compact car versus now you just yank the rate up convertible year of a good example yes right up convertible cedar campus on top of you has great is go really help you anyway arm in an accident also really help you anyway I say this is a guy that used to have a car like that of a minor got married solid had to sell minor sad story moving on and I mean this as there was only Carnegie Maryknoll my God standing versus sitting height changes the distance between you and the antenna stationary target standing there significant idea that you know I was that's far worse neutral paths of 40 to 60 miles an hour hundred 220 comes now whatever works out to you travelling partially exposure for a matter of a few seconds at most now I thought okay your traffic jam possibly okay that would be an exception traffic jam through the free flow tolling point that is unfortunate the final nail in the, a common coffin for this calculation the power output and the power output and the antenna gains from those transponders are not clearly defined anywhere that I could see it varies from model to model I guess you could take the maximum theoretical limits by that are permitted by the regulations but here's the next problem the regulations vary from country to country don't they so I really would have loved to have done a calculation that is too many variables me to have a reasonable standard so I had to do the respectful thing and give up moving on so that microwaves ultimately are to summarise microwaves for transmitting power they are bad because one yard they can cause essentially the gonna cause thermal effects in living tissue people to be very sensitive that second problem is you can't transmit a hell of a lot of energy is car because you need to focus the microwave energy to get the maximum power transfer over a longer distance ultimately it's just not going be a hell of a lot of energy so arm and of course it into about the efficiency deficiency is also not particularly great so transmitting bulk amount of energy over microwave just can happen too many compromises to many issues if we if we have to then I thermal effects may be it would be a bit more acceptable but that's a big stumbling block to overcome and the more power you transfer the worst more power transfer the worst those effects are you know so imagine trying to beam our microwave energy from our summer out the street into the home side and it is a white to power in the house or from a central point in every room we could do drown the ribbon microwave energy slowly cook everyone sitting in the room staggered now it's definitely negative okay so now that we've now agree that microwave is dumb when it comes to transferring power let's look at the most commonly used methodology arm for higher power consumption transfer because E toll technically RFID is they all work okay with their very low power now let's think about induction inductive coupling and again we talked about this a little bit on episode 38 watch this time and space go back that episode I did talk that is a lot more depth and I going to now but just a quick refresher inductive charging is extremely limited in range microwave much longer businesses but inductive charging is through magnetic induction and that is only effective at short distances so I'm talking you know like less than I thought half foot site 15 to 30 cm close in fact you want closer than that because a close you get the better the efficiency to have a look at why did the apps over the research that episodes I shamelessly reuse my research because why not larger than OKC longer a 6% efficiency that was the best that I could find in a portable device that's worse because you you also make it heavier in so doing sets heavier than its heavier than just a connector and a cable right I arthrogram a little now whilst power versus cable so just imagine yes we are still still considering this is a comparative so anyway so it's lost it's inefficient you know and frankly when you go that up against the cable the cable has essentially no loss there is no good purchasing eye contact losses in the connections you know a fraction of a percent of loss in efficiency using a cable versus the perfect power transfer there is no argument from a loss point of view induction loses from our point of view so you know anyone says inductive chargebacks are taxable as physical space again shot that down it simply not the case so anyway okay this crazy thought what if we got rid of all power points in a house all the general-purpose outlets got rid of more clean flat walls but behind the walls we had inductive coupling coils in the walls so you could hang a picture on the wall and it would pick up our from an inductive strip behind the wall or the school of rights, High Court factor now imagine TVs getting lower and lower power degree definitely getting thinner lighter some even have curved screens you had a lighthouse on that what I completely absolutely need curvature and my television thank you to everyone this adding curvature where none was required previously yet I was a feature of CRTs the curve was yellow around win pay extra for them and in your me to pay more for your curve just because it's concave share in okay sometimes it is counted more sarcasm sarcasm detectors off the charts classic Simpsons before it went to hell okay so imagine hang a TV on the wall and there is no wise connected at all because it's getting all the start all the data via Wi-Fi and it's getting all this power find inductive charging live in the wall in and is light enough now that you can hang on the wall with no wit with stick-on clips mind you would you trust the thousand 2000 television was stick on clips rightly know now wow balmy not say what I've hung up some relatively heavy things of these are it's a 3M thing they forget the name of it off top my habit yellow some it's like a very high cholesterol yet high-density Velcro you know and strip of both sides to clean it and you put my hour begins in July put up huge whiteboards with six of those strips and it and they don't fall down so is surprisingly good all right so I thought you cool idea you obviously know you got other issues because the more of these arm you induction coil ship around the house you're creating magnetic interference so what they can mean you need more shielding because otherwise devising to get magnetic interference now is that you're putting everywhere it's our a much wider area you know me and have weird stuff happening like stuff being attracted to the walls it sounded such like such a good idea it's also not as efficiently early talked about that is technically possible do it without wise after smaller televisions than a big power draws I would suspect but some points inside the wall there is still a wire you haven't really got away from wise exactly just replace why the last the last few centimetres or last few inches that we've done and how often do you really movie television health DR plug and unplug the power cable television what exactly are you saving you can tuck in hideaway behind if you want to is makes it look a bit cleaner refer to my statement regarding keyboards and mice and USB cables okay so if you go inductive charging the only white I think inductive charging makes much sense at all is going back to the I have a built-in battery in my other reasons for having a watcher example I can Apple watch is that it'll prevent water ingress through the connection point to the physical connection point that is obviously a big benefit so I think it was need to accept that the larger devices anything with bedding has a reasonable amount of power consumption MNS a hard line to draw but you know me a reasonable manner power consumption worse continuous power consumption or are simply devices that are required to be portable it's never can be cost-effective it's never be more efficient you know it's not gonna be the summary note this amino point to it so the small portable devices absolutely go rechargeable batteries, with inductive charging that solves the disconnect connect disconnect problem with the connectors it it makes a helluva more Reebok robusta product but ultimately the compromises you make the device bigger and can be heavier but that's the trade-off you that's the price of portability you okay so that's enough of wireless last section of got here has nothing to of wireless it's got to do with the last thing about that article that I mentioned earlier if we if we are resigned to the fact that we have to have a cable connecting into provide power to the device then why not have a combination cable in other words overload the cable and I don't mean overload from a power point of view I'm using a software program empowers you a lot of function by providing multiple features depending upon which flags are enabled you're overloading it so that your through a single access point you are providing more than just a single function so other than just power let's piggyback staff along with the power either on the same wires as the power or on multiple wires bonded together in the same cable this is not a new idea in fact there are a bunch of ideas the first one I'm aware of and I'm sure the others I've missed but arm one that will be familiar to our longer time Apple uses is the Apple desktop bus are 80 familiar with this want a loan figure syllable for my Mac time okay well the first Max that I used used ADB I thought that's a funny little dinky die connector in your the point is was why Steve was the axe babies and are not literally in 1986 are was when it was first released they still built 1998 so it was a good run I was at 12 years as last year to arm Saturday without a calculator your arm wise engineers are told the county map and a calculator as methyl maths I've given up caring about that and by the way songs can cause mathematics and that way I found both parties it supported five vaults of 500 mA and that five vaults 5 mA was enough to power as well to communicate with devices now you compare that with acute equivalent standards of the time all the standards mind you but equivalent stands like parallel or serial ports lower running RS 232 standards that are only for data they were never designed to carry power so ADB was an example we carry power as well you could power low powered devices using it which was cool USB started using the same idea came out in 1996 a couple years before they they they cut the cord and ADB and again it started out with 5 mA and familiar us conversions bump that up to 90 mA charging devices can now support up to 5 A at 5 W seven power point of view that's five was 25 what's that significant so you are able to carry reason manner power plus resume our data on this expression of USB three so USB is an example of our I guess with what I call nobody cable in our combination cable can provide power and data there are lots more examples leads to power everything that that's another good one that bumps that well beyond the five vaults in fact it actually works outside depending upon the standard I could as if there's a couple of subversion to the power of reason that standing at 44 to 57 vaults now with some people noticeable diet for those that don't the currents on power everything that is very similar to the ranges that you've got with ADB and USB 350 mA for first power over ethernet standard but PLE plus are can handle up to 600 mA needed better quality cable though now why and the answer is all the cables that are used have a very small cross-sectional area because they are primarily envisaged for carrying data the cross-sectional area of the cable determines the amount of current and can carry that the more the higher the diameter lies the diameter of the cable the more current can carry and if you put a bunch of cables together and you bundle them together in strands individual strands bundled together then again you increasing your attempt effective cross-sectional area and SA to figure out the amount of current can carry is not a simple equation that this can affect knowledgeable things are not going to but note that that's the rough equation now because all these cables are about the same size and they need to be flexible & there is a practical limit to how much current they can carry sign USB they really beefed up to handle the 5 A plus these multiple wires so it's a form of indirect bundling I guess you could call it that I'm by believe I'm gonna I've actually overstepped that I'm not entirely sure of these multiple cables but the bottom line is that arm that's the most current I've seen and I pretty sure that there are very few devices that support the full 5 A so the 12 charges which is the biggest iPad charger for example to get a sarcomere without the iPad and those 12 charges are 5 A obviously if you that's about 2.12.2 answers carry single USB cable that's fair bit of current any rights apparent reason it gets wider by increasing the voltage because the insulation on ethernet is our is higher rated as they get away with that on the wild parries that cables there was one thing arm is aware that you story our insight is becoming more common control systems these days because some instrumentations draws the power it's a Internet-based industrial ethernet and draw its power from power of reason and so generate power cable out there as well idea are VoIP desk phones like IP based desk phones are very very common use of power ethernet are IP-based cameras another reality is through the CCCP reason my work hours at work they use it yet exactly it's gone from being obscure to being very popular because, datacom's point of view used to run the one cable you to write about running separate power to and that's a big deal big cost savings well so I think it's fantastic and that's where this conversation is going to hold that thought when I was there I link to Wikipedia a lot and some pair of I've had a few people saying she really like Wikipedia danger what Wikipedia is convenient but let's be honest it's not always correct and give you an example that right now that I link and is a heresy vacated AI because they don't know what to say you not to say you've shown everything I showed every I showed your faith in the font of all knowledge, I go well a goal is one of knowledge he has wanted to over okay again not literally will visit the Wikipedia page on power over ethernet there's a line in there that reads like this made me chuckle DC power is inherently less efficient than AC power due to the lower voltage let that sink in for a second and then track down the author and give my heart slap so DC power and AC power have nothing at all the do with voltage if you talk about Pete Pete voltage and AC menu Pete voltage is higher that Effexor insulation that has nothing to do with efficiency in fact AC is less efficient because of coupling AC coupling is a big problem DC coupling is no problem it's it's so small it is immeasurable and DC if you got a DC device drawing DC power chopping up DC is much cleaner than chopping up AC so it's it's more efficient so what's the actual hell are they on about the ninth I'm not in a corrected because that would be helpful now I show Iona maybe you should corrected actually flag it come back or corrected simplex suggest that this jumped out his been ridiculous you can make a statement beside a statement like that adds no value whatsoever that is a person's opinion as to why this is the context the statement was arm the reason the power of reason it has not become the runaway success Bob applies because the IDC is less inherently sufficient that there is such BS no no no no no you and power and an apparent reason is becoming much more popular you go back 510 years ago parries any power everything that existed it wasn't popular back then now it is because being built into Cisco ethernet switches and we can do is run slightly more expensive cable hey presto you got IP-based phones are costing nothing around you know everywhere is used and why because they're cheap and effective All the damn desk phones and all the billings of working for the last six years they've all been IP-based phones every single day and one of them you know that's a lot of power everything that so tell me that that is not becoming popular because DC is less efficient whites anyway sorry author who wrote that you didn't do enough research okay powerline ethernet moving on from my rent MIMO technology that's pushing it towards gigabit speeds now that start to get interesting Naomi was a powerline ethernet right cool it's becoming a big thing over the first time I heard about Michael Bell level work because transformers because circuit breakers and sub circuits and blah blah blah but you know what actually it's got LIMS lowers all hell in the beginning but now is getting respectable to the point at which you always wanted to run that networking around the house either go fibre because that's of cool kids use or are gigabit ethernet these days or tended ethernet we know what if I get gigabit out of powerline ethernet suddenly I'm interested you your all your agreement to a network exactly that's cool because I've got no idea for kids eventually there a few years away getting a laptop through school and I'm faced with a problem with Wi-Fi because I got three Apple TV's for iPads three iPhones in a between everyone in the household there's a lot of Wi-Fi the Wi-Fi pea soup gone gone through my head and it lists as an image anyway the point the point is that you wanted to keep adding Wi-Fi router is I guess so or I could switch to know when I get laptops not in more work in a laptop similar iPads I imagine anyway but enough is actually true I'm presuming that that's true anyway point is that powerline ethernet and gigabit becomes interesting so playing no cables plug plugging one plug upon an element away you go you household as you said you householders in our new network so the downsides as I alluded to before course is that if you trip a circuit breaker and you've got multiple circuits then you will start your ethernet signal will not bridge between them so each circuit is its own independent network it or causing ours in your circuit breaker most places do these days may be refused if you blow a fuse and I menu in the switchboard lies views and I so you but then again if you are a device that CI needs power to work let's let's say that it's a device does have a battery and is not battery back like a laptop well you know let's say you plug it into a local ethernet switch any desktop and use an affidavit on my power you screwed anyway right you can't power the device to get the data off the power so you know by large DA is not that big a deal to trip something out of the reach of something when I do unfortunately sometimes because I've got are another GPO circuit Nestlé overloaded is neither load all the time but if I have a micro toaster and writer running the same time then it's that the yes the grinder baby that's the problem dammit I need to correct a hand grinding that's that will solve all my problems and introduced new problems anyway side is careful not to know have them all running at the same time I need to install another sub circuit because my house is two lighting circuits and to GPO circuit where Celeste powerline ethernet is also coming down in price still little bit pricey but you know getting better so I thought to myself in a why not combine that into your power adapter on your laptop charger or into your iMac don't make me go by a separate powerline ethernet adapter built in the biblical is not that hard or you do is you have a high pass filter and you strip off your ACU mains power and then you extract the data and convert it to ethernet and you're done the costly part is the filtering maturity doing that if you switch my converter so why not do it yes it will cost a little bit more just think think about the possibilities you got Wi-Fi you currently got an ethernet plug in the back what say get rid of that ethernet plug and a getting it through the power cable is eliminator port we think at the Cathy Willis is girl next logical step over time Shall I have a Wi-Fi base station into the same thing on there once you poor by Wi-Fi base station your powerline ethernet adapter built in you by separate one anymore it's all integrated you get laptops same deal suddenly you just free up a heck of a lot of bandwidth on your Wi-Fi you need power you can get away from that you always gonna have a power cable going into your computer song as it is a high current demand device that unavoidable at this point in time and I really can't see that changing it will always be more efficient the only devices can get away with not needing that are extremely low power devices you can put a battery and a rechargeable battery in and then you can look inductive charging does not want talk about a high current devices now TVs monitors computers you know any appliance you can think of their organ have cables and has nothing what about fridge intelligent fridges why Latvia Wi-Fi you already connecting it to the power all it takes is for someone to bite the bullet and say we can support this Apple are you listening that would be great to be a great addition to the home kit you want yeah yeah exactly you building to Apple TV's anyway I have no doubt there is a lab somewhere that has got this product in R&D within Apple no doubt whatsoever and I'm sure other manufactured trying but the moment is a cost problem so there saying why do I add additional composed and cost well the cost of adding those composers at the moment is greater than putting RJ 45 socket on their yellow and ethernet charm you transceiver on their yellow and I'm sure that the common costs between sizeable but it's the filter the high pass filter the complaints you're using to be more expensive but you know what one cable man one cable so in conclusion I think that eliminating cables only really make sense for data from most devices because you at but the problem is I guess Pam is a precious resource and cluttering up with more and more junk isn't really smart in the long-term of everything that has Wi-Fi interface or everything is completed it is getting more and more more RF soup so it makes sense for devices you when you try to seal them final that's cool you know if it's mobile in which case you hopefully sealed non-appraisal batteries are better with inductive charging inner and that's fine now make sense it's a trade-off yes we know is not remotely efficient when you add up the official inefficiencies you looking at 15 to 20% worse overall efficiency then you know by using inductive charging with the open with rechargeable batteries a gate we accept that that that's the trade-off and as a trade-off most people are willing to make this a low-power device it's not in her chair pocket that much but from a strictly electron point of view it's not a be as good but if you are resigned to the fact the high-power devices you need to have a wire then overload those wise with more than just power for the data on them if you can and bundled with an optical cable if you can I guess because optical rocks and sit we think is good listening at all believe so well then you like to talk more about this you can reach me on Twitter at John JH NCH IDG why and my writing in this podcast and others I've made a host of my site tech distortion.com if you'd like to get in touch with the what's the best way to get in touch they could find me on Twitter advocates and what and there's a pod cast and you do as well it's called that something rather apt story pipe you could find that our story podcast outcome fantastic anti-ice any feedback about this or any other episode please use the feedback from the 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People

Vic Hudson

Vic Hudson

Vic is the host of the App Story Podcast and is the developer behind Money Pilot for iOS.

John Chidgey

John Chidgey

John is an Electrical, Instrumentation and Control Systems Engineer, software developer, podcaster, vocal actor and runs TechDistortion the Engineered Network and technical whitepapers at Control System Space. John is a Chartered Professional Engineer in both Electrical Engineering and Information, Telecommunications and Electronics Engineering (ITEE) and a semi-regular conference speaker.

John has produced and appeared on many podcasts including Pragmatic and Causality and is available for hire for Vocal Acting or advertising. He has experience and interest in HMI Design, Alarm Management, Cyber-security and Root Cause Analysis.

You can find him on the Fediverse sometimes called Pleroma or Mastodon.