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Discussion in 'GENERAL Wireless Discussion' started by Gabriel, Jul 31, 2004.
The Wireless Broadband Battle: Is UMTS TDD Upstaging WiMax?
Broadband Business Forecast
14 December 2004
Vol. 14; Issue 25
While the noise over the eventual advent of WiMax continues to garner major attention -- in no small part because of the drum-beating of Intel [INTC] and other powerful players lined up behind the technology -- the rival UMTS Time Division Duplex (TDD) technology has started to grab market share that could leave WiMax fighting for its life in many parts of the world - before it is even born.
In the latest victory for UMTS TDD technology, British wireless carrier UK Broadband, a subsidiary of Asian telecom giant PCCW [PCW], has placed an order with UTStarcom [UTSI] for that company's MovingMedia 6000, a brand-new platform introduced last week for UMTS TDD service. The MovingMedia 6000 operates in the licensed 1900 MHz-1920 MHz, 2010 MHz-2025 MHz, 2500 MHz-2700 MHz and 3400 MHz-3600 MHz bands. UK Broadband is using the gear to roll out 512 Kb/s and 1 Mb/s service.
UK Broadband won a nationwide footprint of wireless broadband licenses in last year's UK auction. Initial plans are for data service only but, eventually, the company plans to offer VoIP services in competition with landline telephony over the wireless network it has started building.
The deployment joins about 40 UMTS networks around the world that are currently "at some phase or another" in deployment, says Jon Hambidge, head of global marketing for IPWireless, the company that owns the intellectual property for the UMTS TDD chipset that powers UTStarcom's hardware - and, right now, all other vendors' UMTS TDD hardware as well; IPWireless was the first to market. At least two other competitors have announced UMTS TDD silicon plans, but neither is on the market yet.
The Optus Shoot-Out
It's not clear where or when the next UMTS TDD deployment will be ready to announce but, last week, Australian telco Optus set a February 2005 date for a trial of UMTS TDD, using UTStarcom gear, in the Sydney suburb of Belmore. The trial is expected to be closely watched because, until now, all four of Australia's mobile operators have opted for the WCDMA 3G platform. UMTS TDD, also known as TD-CDMA (also a 3G standard), claims to yield between 10 and 15 times the capacity of WCDMA. Should Optus, which also is trialing WCDMA, choose UMTS TDD, the repercussions are expected to echo through the offices of telcos around the world - especially because Optus is a subsidiary of Singapore Telecommunications. An Optus decision is expected not long after the trials are finished.
UMTS, for those who haven't been following closely, became a "pure" broadband offering when it went into Release 5, which defined an IP network rather than the 3G mobile telephony core in earlier versions of the standard. Before the end of this month, Release 6 should be defined and locked down. That will define a multiple in/multiple out (MIMO) architecture.
"We expect that, combined with some other things we're doing, (Release 6) will double not only our peak speeds but also the average capacity you see on the network," Hambidge says. Those specs currently include a maximum speed of some 4.5 Mb/s to 5 Mb/s to the user, although most carriers currently offer no more than 1 Mb/s or 2 Mb/s, Hambidge says, in order to maximize the number of users that can be supported by a single access point. At currently offered speeds, about 200 users are supported, Hambidge adds.
Is This The DSL Replacement?
Still, he says, that is enough for UMTS TDD to already offer a "DSL replacement that is truly mobile," Hambidge continues. A key term in that statement is "truly mobile." There's already a PCMCIA card available for UMTS TDD broadband as well as a small battery-powered modem, a plug-and-play 802.11 access point that uses UMTS TDD for backhaul and a VoIP access point. There's even a VoIP handset coming that can function as a cellphone replacement, at least in areas where UMTS TDD is available.
Hambidge compares that to the hardware expected to be available for WiMax when the technology finally comes to market - hardware that isn't expected to include the PCMCIA cards needed for the technology to be useful in mobile situations until at least 2006 or maybe 2007.
"You look at what's going on with WiMax right now [and] in our eyes, you see a lot of hype," he says. "It's fixed wireless. It still requires truck rolls."
In addition, Hambidge argues, at least for now, pre-WiMax and -- when it first hits market -- WiMax devices are priced significantly higher than UMTS TDD hardware. The result, he says, is that for now "the only market you can make (WiMax) work is where people will pay $100 a month." In contrast, UMTS TDD is said to be at or approaching the point where operators can break even on fees of just $20 per month.
BBF's Take On The Situation
We're not ready to write off WiMax entirely, but it's obvious that the rest of the industry isn't standing still waiting for WiMax to emerge. When it does it's going to find a crowded market, and the longer it takes the more crowded the market will be. To hear some talk WiMax is almost upon us - but then again we heard the same thing about 3G almost five years ago and 3G technologies - like UMTS TDD - are only really starting to gain market traction now.
Thus what we expect to see is a WiMax industry that simply isn't as large as its supporters are touting. Inevitably that's going to mean some big losers, although there will be winners. But it's caveat emptor for anyone first investing in WiMax at this stage of the game.
As for UMTS TDD, the technology looks positioned to grab a bigger chunk of the market than many expect. IPWireless is blazing the way, but within a year it's going to be facing real competition - which is good. Additional competitors will serve to validate the market, resulting in a far bigger market for everyone to share.
Meanwhile, IPWireless has started to grab a few plum OEMs, including the likes of Alcatel, Northrop Grumman and Phillips as customers, in addition to UTStarcom. The company's running fast and hard to establish its position. Among other things, it's got to earn a payback on the $170 million in venture capital that it's raked in since being founded in 1999.
I can't wait to see these take off. I have been reading all the posts on this thread, and think we could all use some faster wide area wireless data networks. I will be one of the first to get on it when I can!
When the tests begin make sure you add your name to the list by sending an email to Gaiacomm and I am sure they will place you with a free phone and Internet access for the test. That goes for anyone else that is interested in becoming part of the test trials this year. Watch the website for details!
I went to the Gaiacomm website, but don't know who I should send an email to. Can you PM me with the email address of the appropriate person? Thanks in advance. I am excited at the possible opportunity to be part of a test group on this!
The person you wish to speak with or email is Matt Hanna:
make sure that you inform him that you wish to be on a list to be part of the Gaiacomm 4G test. The date will be announced sometime soon.
Thanks very much for that info, I have emailed him and will hopefully be part of the test when it goes live!
Excellent! And this goes for anyone else that wishes to be part of the first 4G wireless test!
4G to combine WiMax and 3G, says Forrester
Next-gen mobile services will provide Ethernet speeds and integrated wireless networking
Steve Ranger in Barcelona, vnunet.com 11 Jun 2004
The fourth generation of mobile services - 4G - will be a combination of 3G and WiMax technologies, analyst Forrester has predicted.
According to Bernt Østergaard, vice president and research director at Forrester, 3G will not become the unifying technology umbrella it was originally planned to be, while wireless local area networks (Lans) have crept up on the world.
He predicted that 4G will offer access at Ethernet speeds (such as 10Mbps) and integrated wireless local and wide area networking (Wan) by combining 3G and WiMax in a single handset.
WiMax - or 802.16 - potentially offers wireless broadband services with a range of up to 30 miles, with speeds likely to be around 10Mbps.
Speaking at Forrester's GigaWorld conference in Barcelona, Østergaard said standards around WiMax would begin to solidify by November this year, with devices expected in the first quarter of next year. But he said it would be two to three years before the standard is sufficiently accepted to make 4G a viable service.
Telcos are already investigating the integration of WiMax with their billing systems, he added.
Østergaard said the WiMax standard under development does not allow calls to move from one base station to another without losing the call. Also, as WiMax coverage will not be as wide as 3G, a combination of the two will be needed.
"[WiMax] is not going to replace 3G but it will create the integration between wireless Lan and Wan. Mobile operators have a global coverage that WiMax can't rival," he said, adding that dual WiMax and 3G handsets could be available by 2006/7.
He said companies should develop a wireless policy covering Lans, Wans and metropolitan area networks.
Famous American launches 4G - but this time, is anyone listening?
By Andrew Orlowski in San Francisco
Published Thursday 3rd June 2004 09:44 GMT
On the day that Japan's NTT DoCoMo trumpeted its latest 4G trials, the storied US entrepreneur Craig "Sign 'em quick, close 'em slow" McCaw announced his latest move into the same market, to surprisingly little fanfare. In popular folklore on this side of the pond, McCaw is credited with creating the US cable and cellular industries, although the truth is both more complicated, and more interesting.
McCaw is also credited - in the soft-focus US business press - for being alive and rich (which seems to be an achievement in itself worth lauding, over here), and for promoting down-home values. On the other hand, we tend to look at his re-emergence a tad more skeptically, and see a businessman who has failed several times already in the wireless industry, and on his return, we can't help looking for patterns in his current proposal that might explain why he failed in past lives. Imagine yourself an investor, you're due both sides, so you'll need a little history.
For a decade McCaw's cable and cellular operations dilated by anticipating regulatory shifts, and leveraging debt brilliantly: during the 1980s McCaw's expanding empire was sustained thanks to the help of junk bond king Michael Milken. His biography is entitled "Money From Thin Air". Eventually McCaw sold out, at a prince's ransom, to AT&T in 1993. The former telco monopoly must have been overstocked with thin air at the time, for the deal was valued at $12 billion.
Since then, McCaw's judgements have proved as ropey as those of his low earth orbit neighbor, and erstwhile wireless guru, Esther Dyson. McCaw poured billions into a joint venture with childhood Seattle pal Bill Gates to "provide a net for spaceship earth" (as one giddy critic put it at the time). Teledesic soaked up $8 billion of Gates personal fortune over the next few years, but like Iridium, the project fell spectacularly to earth. Both these US-based ventures correctly foresaw the demand for mobile phones and data, but failed to realize the utility already provided by the global GSM standard, which was then being introduced in Europe and Asia. Stateside techno utopians were dismayed when "spaceship earth" (and Bucky Fuller is probably relieved not to get credit for this caper) was orbed not by 288 Teledesic satellites, but by over 200 GSM networks, singing off the same technical hymn sheet.
Then, in 1995 McCaw bought into Nextel, largely on the word of his trusted technical advisors at Motorola. The nation was at war at the time over radio air interfaces, but somehow, McCaw plumped for the wireless equivalent of Lichtenstein. While GSM providers like Ericsson and Nokia made hay thanks to a phenomenal GSM build-out, and while Qualcomm championed its CDMA wins (later to become Sprint and Verizon) Nextel chose Motorola's iDEN technology. That failure to complete globally has prevented iDEN from becoming an industry player, and Nextel's geographical appeal is limited to the Americas, where it is fantastically popular with teenagers and truckers. Unable to enjoy the economies of scale and choice of the GSM providers, Nextel is forever looking out for an exit strategy, doomed to be the odd man out.
Now, McCaw is back.
"He is like a great painter," says one Steven Rattner, an investment banker pal of McCaw's, in one of those meaningless quotes that punctuate business profiles (this one from the New York Times, c.2000). "He doesn't paint the same thing twice, but you can see similarities in the brush strokes."
Duh, what did he just say?
Well, perhaps McCaw's investors might be able to see some of the similarities in brush strokes when they get beneath the press release of the great man's latest venture. Here we learn that ClearWire, his latest venture, has recently acquired OFDM provider NextNet. NextNet is a rival of another OFDM provider, Flarion, one of several competing companies positioning to define the 4G standard, but neither company has more than a couple of town-wide trial to boast about as yet. (Ironically, Flarion is pitching hard to be Nextel's iDEN escape route). In its literature, NextNet is as bold as brass: 3G doesn't work, and everyone's already going to 4G? Whatever that is...
Technically speaking, 4G right now is a rabbit chasing its own tail. A number of half-hearted technical proposals exist, but no vendor has the market clout to make it a global standard. That's because the technical standards bodies don't have the confidence to police their own standards anymore. Technical favorites such as Flarion can justifiably boast about higher data efficiencies, but in truth their customers - the carriers - aren't convinced that mobile data is going to make them any more money. And after WAP and 3G, who can blame them? Punters simply don't chase after acronyms when there's no utility, and although we've envisaged models where this could work, for the carriers this means lobbying, and these parties don't want to step back into the regulatory shark-waters from which they just so recently emerged. In other words, they don't have the stomach for a fight.
McCaw's oddball choice of a 4G provider looks even odder when we learn that NextNet's trials have been limited to just a couple of small towns in the US and Canada. McCaw promises a fine vision: a box that plugs into the wall, and gives the household 1.5Mbps Internet accesses without having to install funky proprietary software on the client PCs. He hasn't promised why this should be more attractive than the "fiddle a bit, and wait for a day for an engineer" DSL and Cable packages offered by the likes of Yahoo! right now for a quarter of the pirce. He hasn't noticed that demand for consumer data (both wireless and wireline) has stalled - the Internet hasn't proved to be a showstopper like TV, despite the wonders of eBay and Amazon.com. And he obviously, painfully, needs someone to explain the economics of WiMax backhaul to him. But here he is. How do you think he can get out of this one? ®
I still can't believe how many posts you have on this topic, it can be very technical, but great to read!
Thanks, there is more on the way!
Long Distance Wi-Fi
By Adam Stone
Those in the 802.11 world know the trade-off: You get great speed with Wi-Fi, but only over limited distances.
But, suppose you could deliver actual Wi-Fi -- not another standard like 802.16a, AKA WirelessMAN -- over a distance of several miles without a line of sight. What kind of business opportunities would that open up?
Executives at one wireless player say they can do just that, and analysts are intrigued by the possibilities offered by such an approach.
"We operate within the 802.11 standard, but we push the standard to the limits, and we are getting it to go distances that it has never gone before," said Jerry Dix, president of 5G Wireless Communications (Quote, Chart) in Marina Del Rey, CA. He claims to be sending a signal eight to ten miles at full 802.11 speeds.
Dix said his firm has developed proprietary "enhancements" to 802.11 that make these distances possible. These same enhancements eliminate the need for a direct line of sight.
Charles Kalil did not believe that claim when he first heard it. As information systems manager for the City of Garden Grove, CA, he had previously tried another wireless solution in the hopes of connecting the city's six fire stations, eight police substations and diverse other civic buildings -- only to be sorely disappointed. "What they promised us simply did not work," he recalled.
Kalil nonetheless decided to give 5G Wireless a limited test run, and allow the firm to make a quarter-mile Wi-Fi leap to connect two city buildings late last year. That worked fine, so he asked 5G to link up two new buildings that were just being added to his network, at a distance of two and a half miles. That connection achieved speeds of up to 3 megabits per second.
The next building was a two and a half mile jump with no line of site, and again 5G achieved the same results. Then Kalil went for a four-mile hop, and when that one worked too, he figured it was time to give 5G the citywide contract. Today, Garden Grove has eight sites connected with Wi-Fi, and Kalil said he expects to eventually put 20 sites on the network.
Dix said the ability to expand 802.11 in this way opens up a range of potential markets for his firm, such as California's many marinas, or the ranches in the isolated areas of the state. His firm also is looking to land contracts with other municipalities where there is a need for high-speed connectivity at a low cost. "Because we are able to put on more subscribers per tower, we can pass that savings on to our users," said Dix.
That has, in fact, been Kalil's experience.
"Our police substations are leased buildings in commercial areas," he explained. "When we looked at trying to get DSL, the rates we would have gotten would not have been residential rates. They would have been business rates, which were quite expensive, and they would have been slower speeds. So we looked at cable, but cable does not have the penetration into the business areas."
Connectivity using T1 lines would have cost $200 a month per location, whereas for the 5G Wireless solutions he pays just a $30 monthly maintenance fee. "We are paying dialup prices, and getting the speed of two T1s," he said.
Analysts see considerable potential in this kind of expanded-Wi-Fi implementation.
"It makes Wi-Fi a much more useful solution," said Eddie Hold, a wireless analyst with research firm Current Analysis in Sterling, VA. "The problem with most Wi-Fi implementations right now is that they are really focused on a small hotspot. So if you can enhance it far beyond that distance, then the cost-effectiveness of it becomes much more attractive."
Hold said that a long-distance Wi-Fi solution could change considerably the nature of the Wi-Fi market.
"It is quite feasible that we are getting into a market where you will see people building out Wi-Fi in large residential areas, and at that point you have something that is potentially competitive to DSL," he said.
That is just the kind of future that Dix has in mind.
"I believe that 802.11 has not really seen its full potential yet," he said. "It is our belief that it is going to become an integral part of hauling three to ten miles without an great enhancements. That is happening right now."
Doing business with Gaiacomm:
"Evolution of Personal Networks towards 4G: Technology, Services, and Markets"
Tutorials and Discussion Forum on "My personal Adaptive Global NET" visions and beyond
11 - 13 January 2005, Copenhagen
The objective of the Forum is to give a detailed overview of the technical aspects in personal networks (PNs); to present key issues relevant to the thematic priorities of the project, and to present technological concepts, research aspects, and constraints about PNs that will be derived from MAGNET technical work.
On the last day of the event, the objective is to create a discussion forum involving technical experts and SME-representatives. The discussion forum will be based on two panel sessions and has the aim of identifying new business opportunities created by MAGNET research and technology.
MAGNET is an integrated project supported within the Sixth Framework Programme of the EU Commission. The project acronym stands for "My personal Adaptive Global NET", and as the name indicates, the project has a profound emphasis on user-centricity, personalization and personal networking.
The objective of this user-centric approach is to improve the quality of life for the end-user by introducing new technologies more adapted to the user. MAGNET research focuses on environments to become smarter, more responsive, and more accommodating to the needs of the individual without jeopardizing privacy and security.
The MAGNET project has a total cost of 18.14 million euro. The EU Commission has granted 10 million euro to the project and the remaining 8.14 million comes from partners. The project, which has 37 partners, has a duration of 24 months, and started out January 2004.
Mobile industry looks ahead to 4G
James Pearce, ZDNet Australia
May 13, 2003, 15:56 GMT
Tell us your opinion
Third-generation mobile technology has arrived, duly accompanied by a barrage of hype. But the industry is already discussing the next big thing - 4G
However, while 4G is viewed by many as a communications technology that will allow one device to roam seamlessly over several different wireless technologies, arguments over the fine detail of what constitutes 4G continue to rage.
Jason Ross, senior analyst at AMR interactive, told ZDNet Australia, "everyone was arguing about what 3G is for a while, and you've still got people trying to muddy the waters."
However, he said there were a couple of key elements which are required to deliver a legitimate 4G network.
First is the ability to roam across different network standards with the one device.
"If you've got a mobile phone that's got wireless LAN connectivity, and it's got GSM connectivity, and it's got 3G or 4G connectivity and a Bluetooth capability as well, then you start to see some really interesting things happen," said Ross. The mobile phone (or whichever device is being used) could be programmed to automatically and seamlessly switch to whichever network was the most appropriate, saving the bill payer a lot of money.
"There are a lot of problems with that at the moment," adds Ross as a qualifier. "The main problem is the chipset for connecting to those different kinds of frequencies, different channels, are all expensive in their own right -- they're either expensive or they're energy hungry."
He pointed out that wireless LAN is very energy hungry, which is why it doesn't work well on laptops. It will have even bigger problems on the smaller mobile phone handsets, with their correspondingly smaller batteries.
"History tells us that someone will figure out a way to make it operate without using too much power," said Ross. "It's a question really of when that's going to happen, and they're talking not the next generation but the generation after that of Wi-Fi being much more energy efficient than the current iteration, and therefore it might be useful for that sort of thing." He estimated the technology would be ready around 2008-2010.
In addition to the energy problem is the space that would be required to house a Bluetooth chip, a century node or wireless LAN chip, together with GSM capabilities inside a mobile, which would make the handset big and expensive.
"Now the way out of that, which is a blue sky solution at the moment but is again being worked on at the moment in various places round the world, is what they call wireless radio," explained Ross.
This would involve all the relevant technologies being programmed onto a software configurable chipset, which can reconfigure itself by the moment for each call. The chipset will use one aerial, which after all is just a piece of wire.
The second, and most obvious, element of 4G is a higher level of bandwidth. Figures of 100Mbps have been tossed around, but a more reasonable figure to expect is about 20Mbps. This increase in speed will be achieved in two main ways, according to Ross. First, the network will be completely packet-switched, whereas 3G networks have a combination of packet switching and circuit switching, as well as some analogue components. "So [4G] is much more like an IP network, much more efficient [than 3G], and everything is digital in the network," said Ross.
The digital aspect of the network will be enhanced with the introduction of time division duplex (TDD), which will allow mobile phone calls to operate on the one frequency.
"What we're using at the moment is frequency division duplex -- so when you turn on your mobile phone and talk to someone it sends information on one frequency and it receives the information on another frequency," said Ross. "You can't do it on the same frequency because they haven't really figured out a way yet of allowing you to occupy the same frequency without having elements of the packet interfere with each other...there is interference and static which makes it impossible."
He said the industry is trying to remove the interference and send alternate packets on the one frequency, with upstream and downstream packets using the same wavelength. This is a more efficient use of bandwidth, according to Ross.
The questions engaging most observers at the moment are just how big is the 4G market going to be, and when can the industry be reasonably expected to invest in a new network after the immense costs dished out recently to kick start 3G -- most of which came in leasing bandwidth from the government.
When NewLogic Technologies opened a 4G design centre earlier this year, it estimated that 4G IP-based high-speed mobile systems would account for 14 percent of total mobile data revenues and have 50 million subscribers by the end of 2007.
Nokia and Samsung have teamed up to create 4G wireless equipment, a move which not only demonstrates support of the 4G concept, but perhaps an acknowledgement from Nokia that CDMA networks will pose a bigger threat to its native GSM networks in 3G and 4G than in recent mobile systems.
Despite all the bustling behind the industry scenes, no telco has admitted to plans to deploy a 4G network.
In recent years, there has been a rapidly increasing demand for the development of advanced interactive multimedia applications, such as video telephony, video games and TV broadcasting. However, these applications are always stringently constrained by current wireless system architectures because the request of high data rate for video transmission. To better serve this need, 4G broadband mobile systems are in planning and are expected to increase the mobile data transmission rates and bring higher spectral efficiency, lower cost per transmitted bit, and increased flexibility of mobile terminals and networks. The new technology strives to eliminate the distinction between video over wireless and video over wireline networks. In the meantime, great opportunities are provided for proposing novel wireless video protocols and applications, and developing advanced video coding and communications systems and algorithms for the next-generation video applications that can take maximum advantage of the 4G wireless systems.
The papers in this issue will focus on state-of-the-art research on all aspects of the video communications for 4G wireless systems, from video coding, resource allocation to transportation systems. We solicit papers covering a variety of topics including but not limited to the following topics:
Advanced video coding algorithms
Advanced video error resilient and concealment algorithms for wireless systems
Video quality assessment for wireless communications
Rate control for wireless video
Scalable and multiple description video coding and video transmission
Joint source-channel coding for wireless video
Optimal resource allocation for energy-efficient wireless video
Cross-layer wireless video communication system design and optimization
Wireless video traffic modeling
Wireless video streaming and synchronization
Video processing for wireless sensor networks
New multimedia wireless protocols and standards
New video applications over 4G wireless systems
Packetization schemes for wireless video transmission
Efficient transport protocols for wireless networks
QoS issues for video over wireless, especially for low-delay communication
The merging of various wireless systems: cellular, metropolitan, and local area networks
Proxy-based systems for video transcoding and content distribution
Lightweight video encoding methods based on distributed and multi-user coding
Manuscript submission deadline: January 1, 2006
Notification of acceptance: June 30, 2006
Camera-ready papers: August 31, 2006
Publication of special issue: Early 2007
Papers not exceeding 25 double-spaced pages may be submitted electronically (in PDF files) to Prof. Lisimachos P. Kondi (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Dr. Haohong Wang (email@example.com). Authors are also requested to submit a separate cover letter via email, which contains the paper title, the authors' names and affiliations, and a 200 word abstract.
Detailed instructions to authors can be found in http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/jabout/76507157/ForAuthors.html.
FCC to auction three 3G bands from June 06
By Tony Smith
Published Thursday 30th December 2004 18:49 GMT
The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will auction off the States' 1710-1755MHz and 2110-2155MHz spectrum bands to prospective 3G telephony providers by June 2006 at the earliest.
The FCC will also auction off the 1432-1435MHz band soon afterward, the organisation said, possibly as early as July or August 2006.
The June 2006 timetable emerged as the FCC filed its intention to open the two bands to the highest bidders with the US Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).
The NTIA notification must come at least 18 months before the auction process begins, according to the Commercial Spectrum Enhancement Act, which mandates that timeframe when one-time government-only spectrum is opened up to commercial usage, a process the Act was created to drive. In return, the NTIA has to tell the FCC how much the process of transferring federal users from the 1710-1755MHz band to another part of the spectrum is going to cost bidders.
The FCC admitted that a number of requests have been made that the 1710-1755MHz and 2110-2155MHz bands not be transferred to commercial usage. However, the regulator said it expects to resolve these "in the very near future".
The auctions themselves will provide successful bidders with licences to provide "advanced wireless services" - the FCC's formal language for 3G. The FCC said it hopes the transition will ensure US consumers get access to "competitive, high quality communications services".
"For all of us who believe in the future of wireless broadband, it is truly a banner day," FCC chairman Michael 'Son of Colin' Powell in his letter to the NTIA. ®
802.16 Application at 4G Speeds
1st March , 2004
Canada : Military Communications Technologies announced that its Australian affiliate, Military SDR Technologies Pty Ltd, has released information about a revolutionary new wireless product application of its proprietary SpectruCell SDR technology named "SatCell IP". This new product is based upon the Company's recently announced "world first" of providing VOIP (Voice Over IP) at a wireless base station.
The SatCell IP "instant wireless network" product is essentially a low cost VOIP enabled SpectruCell SDR multiple protocol wireless base station unit with a built in Satellite link. The unit is about the size of a small three-drawer filing cabinet. The new product can provide immediately deployable instant wireless network voice and data services in CDMA and GSM protocols to remote locations without expensive traditional infrastructure and it can also provide back-up services for overloaded metropolitan locations without the added cost and complexity of building traditional network interconnect and costly fiber optic links and T1 lines between base stations.
A SatCell IP unit only requires an available power supply to be able to implement immediate wireless services in the most remote locations. Turn on the power and the SatCell IP unit terminates to the operator's network via a satellite link, thereby establishing immediate connectivity into conventional wireless networks world-wide. Conventional CDMA/GSM handsets need only be distributed to users in a 15 - 35 mile radius to provide worldwide wireless voice and data services to regions where cellular phone and Internet services have previously been unavailable. Multiple linked SatCell IP units can also be progressively deployed to provide an expanded service area or continuous coverage or link-ups into Telco's existing conventional Cellular networks. The first SatCell IP production units are planned for the fourth quarter of 2004.
By being able to terminate a wireless base station directly via satellite to a VOIP network operators can easily and cost effectively roll out wireless services to rural areas and remote regional sites in a very cost efficient manner, as the high cost of conventional infrastructure to link remote locations that could be hundreds and even thousands of miles away is eliminated.
The SatCell IP base station is capable of providing GSM, CDMA (IS95A,B,C), CDMA2000(1xRTT) cellular services and various high-speed data applications. Company engineers are currently developing an 802.16 application that will provide next generation (4G) high-speed Internet services from the SatCell IP base station. The SatCell IP product achieves this functionality by providing VOIP protocol stacks, voice codecs, and switching capability within the basestation. This unique functionality has never before been integrated into a single low cost unit that is also capable of delivering 2G and 3G cellular services.
In light of the recent comments by the FCC regarding VOIP services, the company feels that the application of the SatCell IP technology is unique in that the ability to install separate applications at the basestation makes it compatible with all forward looking FCC proposals relating to surveillance and security with regard to law enforcement agencies, which other technologies operating in this space do not have.
The SatCell IP product is especially suitable for Homeland Defense and Military communications as it provides immediate deployment of SDR wireless network functionality for multiple users on different channels and frequencies simultaneously from the one radio. The SatCell IP can easily be rapidly deployed into areas where communications have been unexpectedly interrupted, or to augment existing wireless services in the case of emergencies such as the terrorist attack on New York City in 2001, major earthquakes, and other unexpected natural disasters.
With the recent advances in QOS (Quality of Service) technology, commercial VOIP applications are being more extensively and rapidly deployed by the major Telco's. The SatCell IP technology has already attracted a high degree of interest, especially in China, South East Asia, and South America, from network operators faced with having to deliver wireless services to rural areas and other remote locations without any existing telecom infrastructure.
"Wireless hand-held device applications are predicted to be the "next wave" technology boom and our company's SDR wireless technologies are well situated to be at the forefront of providing rapidly deployable reconfigurable wireless infrastructure to support the delivery of these services. This is the only product of its nature that we have identified in the industry, and the SatCell IP product is the only basestation technology to incorporate VOIP and switching applications at the radio itself, whilst supporting multiple communications protocols simultaneously" said Jason May the companies' Chief Technology Officer.
About Military Communications Technologies
Military Communications Technologies, Inc. is a technology company involved in the development and distribution of proprietary software-defined radio (SDR) commercial and military mobile wireless network applications. The Company's core product, PC4 is specifically targeted to the demands of the Military and Homeland Defense agencies for large-scale defense-grade reconfigurable wireless communications systems. PC4, which stands for Programmable, Command, Control, Compute, and Communicate, is a next-generation SDR framework and proprietary operating system uniquely designed for interoperable, lightweight and mobile military communications systems. The PC4 framework is also especially suitable for radar and high-speed digital RF and GSM surveillance systems. The Company's proprietary SpectruCell SDR (tm) technology offers commercial wireless providers a cost-effective, software-based method to upgrade systems to next-generation standards and makes networks interoperable with most wireless protocols.
Mixed hard and software design for 4G systems
Multi-application circuits to reduce entry costs
A set of masks for a standard 90nm integrated circuit costs one million euros. The sophistication of fabrication technologies has led to prohibitively high entry costs for circuits with only mediumrange sales volumes. It is consequently vital to target a whole category of applications (and not just one) to be able to produce several million units. Design principles must adapt accordingly. Multi-application circuits may need to contain several processors and a highly flexible communications network. On the downside this makes hard and software design extremely complex. Design and development activity is focusing on three template architectures.
Network-on-chip architectures for telecommunications applications A network-on-chip (NoC) architecture has been developed as a platform for validating telecommunications, multimedia and signal processing applications. The implemented mechanisms allow management of the flow of data to be completely separated from their digital processing. This study has also served to define and validate a multi-level heterogeneous design methodology based on System C.
Flexible architectures for heterogeneous multiprocessor environments Among the problems raised by the design of a multi-application circuit is the issue of partitioning between dedicated hardware units and programmable operators (DSPs, microprocessors). This has led to the study of a solution emulating the communications network for heterogeneous multiprocessors, which will help partitioning of hard and software and allow earlier development of embedded software. This environment enables an application to be "run" before the final circuit is available. Tests have demonstrated the performance and merits of this approach.
Globally-asynchronous locally-synchronous systems and transaction-level modelling In partnership with STMicroelectronics we are in the process of developing and validating new transactionlevel modelling (TLM) methodology to take into account the specific features of globally-asynchronous locally-synchronous architectures. As the speed and complexity of digital circuits increases, it will become necessary to divide them into synchronous blocks, each with its own clock, using asynchronous communication techniques to exchange data.
By Betsy Harter
Wireless Review, Jul 15, 2001
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Although carriers are reluctant to discuss 4G, vendors are mapping its future.
It's still a decade away, but 4G already is a big topic of discussion behind closed doors. But what is 4G, exactly, and why is it necessary to think about it today?
Most vendors already have a position on 4G as they prepare to push their visions in front of standards bodies and generate interest among carriers. But each manufacturer has a different definition of 4G. Whether it's spectrum optimization, network capacity or faster data rates, vendors already are dreaming up ways for carriers to spend money and spectrum decades down the road.
Carriers, however, are reluctant to discuss 4G, either because they refuse to take a public position on it when 3G roll-outs still are unfulfilled, or because they are in denial. But carriers soon will find that 4G is not going away.
Never Too Early
3G was supposed to be the land of wireless milk and honey for carriers, enabling multimedia, data transfer between wireless phones at lightning speeds and m-commerce. So why is 4G even necessary? Al Javed, Nortel Networks (www.nortel.com) wireless CTO, said that although it is true that 3G will bring transactional services, they will be lower-speed services compared to, say, streaming video.
“That is not to say you won't love these lower-speed transactional services like location-based services, wireless shopping, personal services or e-mail. But when we move to streaming video and audio, we need 4G systems,” he said.
But Hakan Eriksson, Ericsson (www.ericsson.com) vice president of research, said 3G will offer some streaming services. For instance, a consumer subscribing to a service that provides video of her favorite sports team scoring a goal, basket or touchdown would not require high-speed video transmission.
“That will take 15 to 20 seconds at a bit rate of 128kb/s,” he said. “When you talk about 4G, applications will require higher speeds and capacity.”
One such application might be a set of eyeglasses that projects information about a person's location so that only that person can see it. For instance, someone at a museum could see facts about a painting projected onto a wall, or a tourist could see road signs that locals would not see.
An anonymous spokesperson at Siemens (www.usa.siemens.com) — a company that calls future wireless systems “beyond 3G” because it is too difficult to clearly differentiate between 3G, 4G and xG features — said systems beyond 3G are important for several reasons. First, the ever-increasing demand for more powerful and seamless applications drives the need for higher data rates. Next, high-quality streaming video — an essential component of future multimedia-based services — will require higher data rates than 3G will provide.
“Also, providing seamless mobile access to services without regard to the physical network used, from the customer's point of view, is another essential requirement,” the source said. Moreover, standards typically take 10 years to move from conception to commercial products, so now is the time to start thinking about solutions beyond 3G if carriers want a powerful generation of seamless fixed and mobile services in 2010 to 2015.
Reinaldo Valenzuela, Bell Labs (www.bell-labs.com) director for wireless communications research, said that most standards start in Europe with pre-competitive cooperative projects funded by the European Commission under the scientific and technical umbrella of ETSI. European (www.etsi.org) standards bodies already have begun the pre-competitive process for some aspects of 4G.
4G According to Vendors
No two vendors have the same 4G vision but all agree that post-3G systems will be a conglomeration of previous wireless technologies rather than a whole new wireless system.
“This time, the route to 4G will not be a system or a standard,” Eriksson said. “It will be a combination of technologies, building on 3G but capable of much higher speeds.”
4G is synonymous with speeds of 50Mb/s to 100Mb/s. Although wireless LANs are slated to reach these speeds, wireless LANs alone will not comprise 4G because their coverage is limited, he explained.
For Nortel Networks and Siemens, 4G is all about access.
“In terms of networking technologies, we are all moving toward IP, including wireless,” Javed said. “The networks will not change; 4G is a change in access technology.”
The source at Siemens said future wireless networks will be more than just a new radio interface; instead, one goal is to increase capacity to provide new multimedia services with higher data rates for mobile applications or, in some cases, for portability without wire-based plug-ins.
“Another important feature will be seamless mobile access to different networks: access anywhere, anytime,” the source said. A system “beyond 3G” comprises a combination of several optimized-access systems into a common IP-based medium access and core network platform. These different access systems will interwork by horizontal and vertical handover, service negotiation and global roaming to provide globally optimized seamless services to users.
“The borders between 3G and 4G are not that clear,” said the source. “The term 4G seems to skip the need for a constant development of services, applications and the network technology. This is why we think and develop ‘beyond 3G.’”
One Carrier's 4G Vision
Carriers are not eager to discuss 4G publicly. Both Cingular Wireless (www.cingular.com) and Sprint PCS (www.sprintpcs.com) said that they are so focused on their 3G plans that they have no time to think about 4G possibilites. Both Verizon Wireless (www.verizonwireless.com) and AT&T Wireless Services are keeping (www.attws.com) mum due to SEC-mandated quiet periods. However, AT&T Labs (www.research.att.com), which is able to discuss 4G because it is not spinning off from the parent company and, therefore, is not affected by the quiet period, has been studying 4G since the 3G standards began gelling, said Bruce McNair, AT&T Labs senior researcher.
“Because we are a research organization, our horizon has to be further out,” he said. “It's not too early to start anticipating 4G.”
McNair said AT&T Labs is pushing for a clean evolution from 3G to 4G so that AT&T Wireless does not have to replace 3G systems. Through research, the organization hopes to understand where 3G is heading, as well as what 4G will present.
McNair said the big difference between 3G and 4G will be traffic flow. Right now, Internet traffic flows from server to user, but most wireless systems assume a symmetrical link.
“When we get to high data rates, the laws of physics make it difficult to imagine how we can transfer from a portable terminal to a network, so in terms of 4G, we envision a high-speed downlink added to the existing 2.5G or 3G system that provides the uplink,” he said. Here, short requests or mouse clicks would travel over a lower-speed 2.5G system, but downloaded images would come over a 10Mb/s or 20Mb/s return path.
“Some people argue that you limit yourself when you start thinking of asymmetry, but, in fact, a challenge is making the terminal device run, which requires a reasonable battery lifetime, size, power and cost, so 3G networks need higher-speed downlinks,” McNair said.
For AT&T Labs, smart antennas — in particular multiple input multiple output (MIMO) antennas — will be important to 4G networks.
“To get the kinds of range and throughput we are looking for, we will be using smart-antenna technology,” McNair said, adding that the company will use OFDM in its 4G networks. “There is a natural fit between OFDM and smart antennas, so people see it as sort of the technology that enables this to happen.”
McNair said AT&T Labs is looking for ways to improve network performance, extend the range of antennas and improve frequency reuse in its 2.5G and 3G systems. Smart-antenna technology will enable carriers to use their spectrum more efficiently.
“(Smart antennas) open up spectrum and pack users in,” he said. “If you follow Moore's Law, which predicts that the adoption of technologies doubles every 18 months, that makes 4G smart antennas practical.”
Smart Antennas Facilitate 4G
Vendors already are dabbling in 4G smart antennas. Bell Labs' technology — called Bell Labs Layered Space-Time (BLAST) — is being studied as part of one EU-sponsored pre-competitive advanced antenna-technology project. A BLAST prototype uses an array of eight transmit and 12 receive antennas. During its first weeks of operation, it achieved at least 10 times the wireless capacities of today's fixed-wireless-loop systems.
“The idea here is if you try to increase capacity of a wireless system, you run up against a brick wall because capacity is limited by the interference of other users, so increasing bit rate by increasing power does not work at all,” Valenzuela said.
Although the classic approach is to throw more bandwidth at the problem, high prices and low spectrum availability have made this option unattractive. However, several years ago, the idea was introduced that adding transmit and receive antennas can create parallel channels that don't interfere with one other. This process does not require increased power or additional frequency.
“MIMO antennas are a very practical system, and if you combine it with adaptive coding and modulation, interference cancellation and beam-forming technologies, you can realize gains that are 30 times better, in terms of bit rates and capacity, than 3G,” Nortel's Javed agreed.
Nortel has operational MIMO systems in its lab. Tests show a 10X capacity increase at speeds of 20Mb/s. Next year, the company expects to hit 40Mb/s, as well as conduct field trials of its technologies.
The new sale of "3G licences" represents the making available of more of the UK radio spectrum (2.5 to 2.7 MHz) but for unspecified use (any radio, wifi service etc.) rather than for a designated (eg 3G) mobile phone infrastructure. The advantage of higher frequencies is greater data capacity, but lower range per Watt. How the industry will respond, given the failure of 3G to fly and earn back on the last investment, remains to be seen. May be a case of "buy it or lose it".
3G is third generation. 4G (fourth) represents a future that is still an intention rather than a commercial offering yet. Whatever it brings, it will be further integration of national security, personal identification (possibly tracking), focussing all means of communication, of personal data records, lifestyle activity etc. into a single stream. We might at present (might) think it terribly efficient to have a big central database where we can identify the rogues and curtail their activities. It would be really easy to link the national DNA database and spot genetic trends for crime, even health, and of course for personal profiling (and sell this info to marketing people who desperately would like it, to help pay for the whole thing). There has already been considerable work done by the military on weapons that target genetic groups (David Kelly, it seems, was involved with such work in Israel.) Put all that together and find a government in fear, working with its military, and its usefulness is rather different from the efficient e-government we are being offered now.
4G (if it is of the terahertz variety circulated a few days ago) is a whole new ballgame, with global military communications and weapons linkage, potential primary defence funding etc. but it is a only logical extension of where we are going already. And it ain't good.
Verizon's 3G not that great
Monday, February 4, 2002
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From the Chronicle
David Ewing Duncan
Biotech & Creativity
So when do we get 4G?
For years the telecommunications industry has been telling mobile users impatient for wireless data access at reasonable speeds to wait for 3G -- a new, third generation of cellular technologies, after the early analog systems and today's voice-oriented, slow-data digital services.
Last week Verizon Wireless became the first company to roll out commercial 3G service in the United States. It announced a new data service called Express Network, based on a CDMA technology known officially as 1xRTT.
Existing gear can't take advantage of the service, but Verizon has introduced a new $80 phone, the Kyocera 2235, that can. A cable-and-software kit that makes it a wireless modem for PC laptops is another $80. For $300, you can get the Sierra Wireless AirCard 555, a credit-card-sized modem for Windows laptops or Pocket PC handhelds with PC Card jacket.
BROADBAND IT AIN'T
For the last few days I've been using the AirCard 555 in a Windows XP laptop. On the whole, it has worked fairly well. Older wireless data services (leaving aside, for the moment, the now-defunct Ricochet) are barely adequate for plain-text e-mail and messaging, but simply not up to the challenge of the Web.
With the AirCard 555, however, you can cruise the Web at tolerable speeds. And it works anywhere within the Express Network coverage area -- inside buildings, on park benches, even in your car.
That's unquestionably a big advance. Compared with the hype around 3G, however, the new Verizon service is a letdown.
Yes, it finally gets wireless data bandwidth and, therefore, functionality beyond the level of a 1980s dial-up modem. But instead of delivering what you'd expect from a 21st century technology, it provides levels of performance and reliability roughly equivalent to a mid-'90s modem -- minus the wires.
To Verizon's credit, its news release about the new service is relatively modest in its performance claims: "Users should expect average speeds between 40 and 60 Kbps."
Unfortunately, I haven't been able to reach even that level. Repeated tests with an online bandwidth meter suggested by a Verizon engineer (bandwidthplace. com/speedtest), taken from a variety of locations in San Francisco and the East Bay, showed a typical 30 to 35 Kbps throughput. Once, from my desk at The Chronicle, I hit 43 Kbps, but that was the only time I topped 40.
What do those speeds mean in terms of real-life activity? Over the last few days, I've used the AirCard for my normal online activities -- checking news and technology sites, using Google for searches, reading and sending e-mail through a Web interface, ordering books from Amazon.com, even logging into The Chronicle's publishing system through a virtual private network.
Even though I think of myself as someone with little tolerance for slow technologies, I rarely felt seriously hamstrung by the speed of my wireless connection.
On the other hand, I had the same sloggy feeling I do when using a 56-K dial-up modem -- you wait 10 seconds here, 15 seconds there for a page to open or a screen to fill.
It's a far cry from the responsiveness of Ricochet in the last months before its bankrupt owner, Metricom, shut it down last summer, or what I get every day at home from my 802.11b wireless network connected to a DSL line.
As the Verizon engineer pointed out, though, Ricochet is gone, and my 802. 11b network works only within a radius of about 150 feet. The Verizon network is up and running today, and it encompasses most of the Bay Area from Gilroy to Petaluma.
It's also available in the Salt Lake City area (just in time for the Olympics) and along the Eastern seaboard from Virginia to Portland, Maine. Coverage maps are at www.verizonwireless.com/express_network/availability.html.
By the end of this year, according to Verizon, it expects to have most of its nearly nationwide network upgraded to 3G. In the meantime, where the Express Network isn't available, the AirCard 555 can tap into Verizon's misnamed Quick 2 Net data network, which operates at 14.4 Kbps.
Although at times I stayed connected for hours on end, at other times -- from the same locations -- my connection repeatedly disappeared after just a few minutes of routine use. Getting reconnected was often a chore. A couple of times I had to restart the whole system to get back on track.
Part of the problem is an uneasy, inconsistent relationship between the AirCard software and Windows XP's networking code.
According to Verizon, the former is all you need to get online, and sometimes that was true for me. But on other occasions, XP's Network Connections window would pop up unbidden as I tried to connect or even in the middle of an established session, and then the two programs would give contradictory information about the status of my connection.
I'm still trying to discern the pattern in all this, but it's definitely a problem. Verizon says it has asked the Sierra Wireless programmers to investigate.
PAYING THE PIPER
Then there's the problem of cost. To use the 3G service, you need to sign up for a Verizon plan (even if you already have one for an existing phone) that costs at least $35 a month, then add a $30 monthly surcharge for Express Network access.
That brings us to the madness of minutes. Although Verizon will eventually offer alternative plans based on data packets sent and received, for now it has opted to charge by time online. Through March 15 you get unlimited data minutes, but after that date they'll be subtracted from the time your basic contract provides.
Data access is subject to the same restrictions that apply to voice time. Verizon, for example, is currently hyping a $35/3,500-minute plan. It looks great at first glance, but it turns out that 3,200 of those minutes are night and weekend minutes.
If you spend much time online during the workweek, you'll quickly exceed your 300 anytime minutes, and then you'll get socked with 40 cents for each additional minute.
Of course, you can sign up for a plan that offers more minutes at the times you need them. But whatever choice you make, you'll wind up paying a pretty penny.
Even moderate users will almost certainly end up paying much more than the $70 a month Ricochet service cost -- a rate that was widely disparaged as too expensive, even though it allowed unlimited access at much higher speeds than Verizon's Express Network does.
These reflections inspired me to put in a call to Aerie Networks, the Denver outfit that picked up key Ricochet assets in Metricom's bankruptcy sale last fall.
At the time, Aerie officials said they would work with communities and local service providers in an effort to restore service to at least parts of the Bay Area sometime early this year.
I asked John Dee, Aerie's vice president of sales and product management, where things stand today. "I can't be specific about dates," he said, "but I'd like to see some of the initial areas coming online in Q2."
Even if Aerie can meet that goal, its service won't be comparable to Verizon's Express Network for a long time, if ever. That's because Aerie hopes to succeed where Metricom failed by reviving the system gradually, giving first priority to underserved communities -- places that still can't get broadband access via cable or DSL.
That might well be a sensible strategy for Aerie, and I wish it luck at it. But it's not a model that addresses the needs of mobile users seeking fast access to the Internet wherever they happen to be.
At best, it will be years before the company comes close to the regionwide coverage Verizon already offers.
Considering throughput, prices and bugs, it's hard to get excited about the advent of 3G. But if you want the Web wirelessly, and you or your company can afford the price, and you're willing to put up with some glitches, Verizon's new service is here today and should meet your needs. That's more than I can say about any other wireless technology.
Ouch! A little rough on Verizon, but I agree with him that it really isn't that exciting yet!
Yes, I know. Verizon may be interested in the Gaiacomm project. Time will tell.