Showing posts with label WiMAX. Show all posts
Showing posts with label WiMAX. Show all posts

Saturday 12 July 2008

Will WiMax and LTE find happiness together?

So till now most of you must be coming slowly to the terms that there might be a possibility of LTE and WiMax working together. In the past blogs I stressed this point and also tried to convey some of the common grounds emerging for LTE and WiMax to work together. There is no doubt that the two technologies still struggle to find happiness together on a common platform.

From a software-defined radio (SDR) perspective, the opportunity for LTE and WiMax to seek a settlement is even more enticing. Flexibility, gate reuse and programmability seem to be the answers to the WiMax-LTE multimode challenge--and that might spell SDR

In todays advanced technology there are many multimode solution for SDR.

So will WiMax and LTE find happiness in Multimode SDR?

While it is true that Multimode solution via SDR has a well-deserved reputation for being expensive and overhyped, it is just as true that telecom chip designers are already adopting SDR techniques. They need to, simply to accommodate changes to ever-evolving standards.
The classic definition of SDR is having arrays of general-purpose processors running virtually all functions in software. But to achieve this is very time consuming and expensive as well. The approach of running all the functions of processor in a software can be expensive and may not be able to hit the price/performance targets of high-data-rate technologies such as WiMax and LTE.

Bit then we knows that the chip technology has never been any better than what it is today. Today’s innovative approaches for significant high standard of hardware architecture can make things simpler and can pave a path for SDR.

Such architectures are very oftern presented in the telecoms world on a regular basis and one such early entry is from Wavesat, which has a long history of designing OFDMA chips. The company has inked agreements with Compal Communications, a mobile-products ODM, to develop mobile WiMax products, and with Willcom, a Japanese telecom company, to develop XG-PHS broadband wireless products using Wavesat's Odyssey 8500 chip set. (

Wavesat presented the above chipset to both the LTE and WiMax camps. According to WaveSat the chip set is, in reality, a 4G platform that can implement any OFDM-based technology and thus can carry both WiMax and LTE together on it’s shoulders. Odyssey 8500 based on eight DSP cores is one such chipset.

But Wavesat is not the only company in the race of taking efforts towards SDR and hence finding a common solution for LTE and WiMax. Coresonic AB also has a multimode platform based on a new architecture: single instruction stream, multiple tasks. According the Coresonic AB CEO Rich Clucas SIMT can achieve the performance of very long instruction word architecture, but with lower control overhead and much lower program and memory usage.

Most of the big guns in the industry ahs acknowledged that Multimode baseband solutions for LTE and WiMax are challenging, but designing the front-end chip is truly daunting for several reasons, not the least of which is the wide spectrum covered by the two standards--about 4 GHz. LTE would likely support the 900-MHz to 1,900-MHz bands. WiMax has had to scramble to find available spectrum and, depending on region, may operate from 2.3 GHz to 3.5 GHz.
BitWave Semiconductor's programmable RF transceiver promises a way through the multimode thicket. Prototypes of BitWave's Softransceiver RFIC are already in the hands of selected ODMs Handsets and femtocells that incorporate the technology should launch next year. BitWave's technology digitally tunes passive circuit elements to make the analog functions such as LNAs, filters and mixers programmable.

With these new technologies in play, a little harmonization will go a long way. Everybody in the industry knows one thing very well that LTE is still very much in its development stage, Nor is WiMax standing still. Meanwhile the 802.16m task group is working to complete improvements that will make it look a lot like cellular, with such things as hand-offs. So even though there is air of some peace and vibes of togetherness between the two camps they are still looking to outdo the each other. Both LTE and WiMax camps are burning the midnight oil to achieve the perfect solution and if possible go alone.
WiMax camp knows very well that their technology is a proven one and is at a very advanced stage. They know very well that they can go places in the two to three years, the time it will take to even bring the LTE standard to commercial viability.
There is no doubt that LTE camp is worried that WiMax might chew up traditional cell market share by the time LTE becomes available commercially. In my view there is no doubt LTE and WiMax will merge down the road, but I think it will be the LTE folks doing the adapting. WiMax is here and will dominate. It is already dominating despite the puff fantasies of media reports to the contrary.

Saturday 5 July 2008

LTE And WiMax Together?

In my last blog I talked about LTE and WiMax finally finding a peace in each other and the early signs of the two having a future together. As I said before I have always believed that the two technologies as a basic are not very much different. I certainly support the notion that the industry can benefit a lot from the two working side by side.

But as always when I was discussing this with some of my friends in the industry they questioned about the similarity between the two technologies.

So how much similar or different they are?

Whenever the similarity between LTE and WiMax is discussed we conclude that the single most important similarity between LTE and WiMax is orthogonal frequency division multiplex (OFDM) signalling. Both technologies also employ Viterbi and turbo accelerators for forward error correction. From a chip designer's perspective, that makes the extensive reuse of gates highly likely if one had to support both schemes in the same chip or chip set. From a software-defined radio (SDR) perspective, the opportunity is even more enticing. Flexibility, gate reuse and programmability seem to be the answers to the WiMax-LTE multimode challenge and that might spell SDR.

So to start with I just concentrated on OFDMA and did some research to find out how much similar the two technologies are in terms of OFDMA or are they?

Most of the articles and discussion shows that LTE and WiMax may be two peas in an OFDM pod, but they are not twins. Here are three significant differences:

1. Both use orthogonal frequency division multiple access (OFDMA) in the downlink. But WiMax optimizes for maximum channel usage by processing all the information in a wide channel. LTE, on the other hand, organizes the available spectrum into smaller chunks.
WiMax pays a price for high channel utilization, however, because processing that much information might require a 1,000-point fast Fourier transform. LTE can get by with a 16-point FFT. This translates into higher power consumption, because it's difficult to design fixed-function WiMax hardware that is also efficient in LTE designs. An architecture that exploits the principles of SDR, however, could reconfigure its FFT function for better power efficiency.
2. LTE uses single-carrier frequency division multiple access (SC-FDMA) for uplink signaling, while WiMax sticks with OFDMA. A major problem with OFDM-based systems is their high peak-to-average power ratios. The average power spec cited in marketing presentations does not show the whole picture. Unfortunately, the system's power amplifier has to be designed to handle peak power--and the PA is the single-largest power consumer in a handset.
LTE opted for the SC-FDMA specifically to boost PA efficiency. "If you can improve the efficiency from 5 percent up to 50 percent simply by changing modulation schemes, then you save a lot of battery time," said Anders Nilsson, principal system architect at multimode specialist Coresonic AB. WiMax's OFDMA has a peak-average ratio of about 10 dB, while LTE's SC-FDMA's peak-average ratio is about 5 dB.
The difference also affects the baseband chip, Nilsson added, because of the need to support two modulation schemes in the uplink. Programmable solutions are flexible enough to reuse gates and keep power low in LTE mode.

Regarding the PAPR issue (Peak to Average Power Ratio), I found the following tutorial interesting

3. Although both the IEEE 802.13e standard and the evolving LTE standard support frequency division duplexing (FDD) and time division duplexing (TDD), WiMax implementations are predominantly TDD. LTE seems to be heading in the FDD direction because it is true full-duplex operation: Adjacent channels are used for uplink and downlink. LTE can therefore quote a better spec for downlink data rates, albeit at a cost of placing very severe latency requirements for forward error correction. The bottom line is that the WiMax radio is much simpler
These differences make designing a chip or chip set to support both standards more difficult, but they also have network infrastructure consequences that might be more easily resolved by harmonization instead of competition. Certainly, from the handset designer's perspective, there is no clear winner.
The battery life and power efficiency of the chip or chip set are critical to market success, said Fannie Mlinarsky, an independent consultant specializing in wireless testing and design. Power is a big issue for WiMax and LTE because megabit-per-second capability means running the DSP hard and making the chips more power hungry.

Saturday 28 June 2008

LTE and WiMax Working Together?

In my past blogs I have written about the competition between LTE and WiMax. From some of my previous blogs you might remember that I mentioned about the dirty war between LTE and WiMax. Until few months ago both LTE and WiMax camps never missed any opportunity to have go on each other. But it looks like things are changing now and may be changing for the good.

I have always believed that there is not much difference in the basics of the two technologies. Then why to have two camps which will not serve good to any body.

The issue for me is simply resources in our industry where we only have a finite number of R&D engineers and we split them into different camps, then we would be diluting what we can do in the future.
In the recent days after reading some articles and talking to some of my friends in the industry I can say that after a couple of years of verbal skirmishing and specsmanship, there are signs that the WiMax and LTE camps may be seeking a negotiated settlement.
I believe that LTE standard is an encompassing standard, an accommodating standard and there is a TDD section that I think WiMAX could fit into.

People in our industry must be knowing by now that the outgoing CEO of Vodafone group Arun Sarin has always been a supporter of WiMax. If I say that he was the one to kick start the open debate of LTE WiMax coming together then I won’t be million miles away from the fact. During the opening keynote at the last GSMA's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain the executive tossed out the suggestion that WiMAX could find a place within the LTE standard. He argued that we need about one sixth of the number of operating systems out there in the market and that we have to narrow the range of operating systems. Sarin continued by saying that that we have 30 or 40 operating systems right now, if we had three or five operating systems, then that would be a good thing.

For many players, there are compelling reasons for peace between the two camps and no doubt saving the money tops the list. A head-to-head battle over the next few years would require an outlay of multiple billions of dollars in equipment deployment. It would also be confusing for end users, and might even determine a winner and loser in a very high-stakes game.

Until recently, much has been made of the differences between the two 4G wireless-communications candidates, usually by comparing performance characteristics and ignoring architectural similarities. Sean Maloney, executive vice president at WiMax champion Intel Corp., has already hinted that the two standards should be harmonized because they are "about 80 percent similar." Maloney added that Intel is looking into ways to integrate the technologies. It is technically possible to create a chip set that could be used for both, he said. Maloney's comments might be interpreted as a response to Arun Sarin’s suggestion of the two coming together during the february’s GSMA’s mobile world congress.

While the feelers may not qualify as a love fest, they come at a time when emerging semiconductor technologies promise to make LTE-WiMax multimode operation a reality in the not-too-distant future. In that context, spending billions to deploy standard-specific networks becomes unattractive.

"The differences are more political than anything else," said Nadine Manjaro, senior analyst for wireless infrastructure at ABI Research (New York). Although Manjaro predicted the standards would merge, she also said LTE will not be a formal standard until 2009 or 2010. Thus, she said, it would be 2015 before any merger takes place.

Well time only will tell whether the early signs of this friendship between the two camps will materialize or not. I firmly believe there are more positives as compared to negative if the two camps come together. The time, money and resources saved will be immense if the two work together.

Saturday 21 June 2008

Kyocera's iBurst-Based Technology Approved as New Standard for IEEE 802.20

17/06/08: Kyocera Corporation announced that Kyocera’s iBurst-based technology proposal (625k-MC mode) was approved as a new standard for IEEE 802.20 by the IEEE Standards Association at its headquarters, Piscataway, New Jersey, USA on June 12, 2008.

“Having been a draft standard since January 2006, Kyocera is gratified that iBurst has finally been approved as an 802.20 standard by the IEEE Standards Association,” said Mr. Masashi Yano, General Manager of the Corporate Communication System Equipment Division, Kyocera Corporation. “With this industry standard approval, we are expecting to expand the iBurst service area to more and more countries.”

Kyocera’s iBurst, or HC-SDMA, is a mobile broadband wireless access (MBWA) system that has been commercially rolled out in more than 10 countries and has been approved as a standard by American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and International Telecommunication Union Radiocommunication Sector ( ITU-R). iBurst has remarkably high capacity, essential for mobile broadband wireless access services, and distributes its high data rates to many mobile PC users. This is enabled by field-proven Adaptive Array Antenna (AAA) and Spatial Division Multiple Access (SDMA) technologies.

iBurst operators worldwide have formed the iBurst Association (iBA), a not-for-profit organization advocating the promotion and development of iBurst technology as a preferred MBWA solution.

IEEE 802.20 is also known as MobileFi and I have written a blog on it earlier this year.

MobileFi is more of a compitetor to WiMAX as compared to the 3G+ technologies.

WiMAX is targeted for mobile users moving at speeds of up to 60 mph inside a WiMAX region (laptop users moving across a corporate campus, for example). But 802.20 is focused more on highspeed mobile users traveling acrossan extended metropolitan area at speeds of up to 150 mph (a salesman traveling across a city or an executive traveling between nearby cities on a high-speed train, for example). WiMAX/802.16e also differs from 802.20 in that it supports substantially higher data rates (up to 71 Mbps) than 802.20 (up to 1 Mbps). Another thing is that the cell radius with 802.20 is 15km while with WiMAX is 50km.

Why iBurst? The maain Features of iBurst are:

1. High data rate: iBurst supports Data Rate of 1.061Mbps downlink/ 346Kbps uplink with System capacity 24.4Mbps downlink/ 7.9 Mbps uplink.

2. High Spectral Efficiency: iBurst supports more customers per base station. In 5 MHz Spectrum, 50X over-subscription as compared to 3G system

3. Wide Area coverage: Maximum coverage of iBurst is 12.75km. iBurst uses lower frequency, which is good for non-line-ofsight indoor penetration.

4. Mobility: iBurst supports Mobility of over 100km/h. iBurst also supports Handover between base stations.

5. Easy access to IP network: iBurst is packet based technology

6. VoIP compatibility: QoS is implemented to assure wireless VoIP quality. iBurst has achieved fixed phone level voice quality.


WiMax and LTE backwards compatibility

Most of you must be hearing on daily basis about the race for 4G and who will reach there first and will claim the victory for the 4G post.

The competition between WiMax and LTE is really blossoming and both the camps never miss any opportunity to find a hole or negative in other. One of the major point of conflict in recent days between the two camps (WiMax and LTE) is the backwards compatibly of the two technologies.
WiMax based on the 802.16 standard could push data transfer speeds up to 1 Gbit/s while maintaining backwards compatibility with existing WiMax radios. Vendor sources, however, have expressed some scepticism about the speed with which the work can be completed (the end of 2009 is being mooted as a baked date) and the chances of maintaining backwards compatibility with mobile 802.16 technology.

What's really provoking the disbelieving chuckles are the requirement for backwards capability between current and future 802.16e offerings and the planned advanced air interface. Such disbelief is not that surprising when you think back to the recent interoperability issues between 802.16d and 802.16e

Around the same time that LTE rolls out, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers' (IEEE) 802.16m, or WiMAX 2.0, will make its way into products, analysts said. But there is not doubt in one thing though that WiMax is ahead of LTE in terms of technology as of today. Service providers with the right spectrum, available capital and access to enough sites to place base stations are in great position to take advantage of WiMAX's head start on the 4G market. Backwards compatibility is one area where WiMax heads towards a grey area whereas LTE at the same time is supposed to be very much backwards compatible. The network architecture for LTE/SAE already shows interface defined for the handover between LTE and 3G. The debate between WiMAX and LTE has become dirty when it comes to the issue of backwards compatibility.
Speaking exclusively to WiMaxVision from the WiMax Forum's member conference in Hawaii, Siavash Alamouti, CTO of Intel's Mobile Wireless Group, takes issue with a key claim made by proponents of LTE. Alamouti's argued and puts a very big question mark on LTE’s backwards compatibility claims.
Word is already out in the industry that although they welcome 'healthy' technology competition to mobile WiMAX in the so-called '4G'space, a number of misconceptions have been promulgated by some vendors, and even some analysts, about main rival LTE. Some peoples biggest gripe is LTE being perceived in some quarters as backwards compatible with 3GPP standards, from WCDMA through to HSPA+.

One of the reasons why many of the mobile giants decided to be in LTE camp is because of its claims for the backwards compatibility. But a doubt has started creeping in and some industry sources even says that they see no genuine evolution in LTE as LTE requires an entirely new RAN and system architecture to 3G, in much the same way as mobile WiMAX does.
To make an LTE device backwards compatible, you would have to add 3G modules to that device but you could do that with mobile WiMAX or in fact any other technology argues Siavash Alamouti of Intel.

My above claim is supported when I heard that Qualcomm announced in February it was expanding its device and base station chipsets to include LTE along with UMTS and CDMA2000. The chipsets will allow backward compatibility to legacy UMTS and CDMA2000 networks for carriers that deploy LTE. The new family of Qualcomm MDM9xxx-series LTE device chipsets will include:
MDM9200™ chipset designed to support UMTS, HSPA+ and LTE
MDM9800™ chipset designed to support EV-DO Rev. B, UMB and LTE
MDM9600™ chipset designed to support UMTS, HSPA+, EV-DO Rev. B, UMB and LTE

LTE, however, has made standardisation progress with the announcement by 3GPP last month that some RAN specifications have been frozen and are now under change control, but there is still some work to be done before the 3GPP Release 8 specification for LTE is finalised, probably by the end of the year.

Where WiMAX is today in 2008 I think LTE will be in late 2010 and early 2011, which is early stages, ready to deploy, but the equipment not necessarily completely interoperable. As for WiMax I expect we'll see embedded mobile WiMAX laptops coming onto the market between April and June this year.

Monday 2 June 2008

LTE v/s WiMax

In my last blog “LTE Latest News and Status” I wrote how LTE is developing as a technology how some companies are choosing LTE over WiMax.
But we still have a long way to go before it is clear that which technology will be the winner in the race of 4G.
Every now and then the trends are occurring in which one technology being preferred than the other.
But some of the recent developments have once again suggested that WiMax as a technology can’t be taken as lightly and is providing seriously competition for LTE.

WiMax already has a first-mover advantage over LTE. It is possible that WiMax could prove to be the winner in the 4G race against LTE (Long Term Evolution) simply because the technology is here, first.
Teresa Kellett, director of global development for telco Sprint Nextel, said during a panel discussion at WiMax Forum Asia 2008 that WiMax's first-mover advantage over LTE may help the former become a more widely-adopted technology eventually.

LTE is touted as the successor to the existing UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System) 3G technology, capable of supporting significantly faster data rates.
Comparing the two competing technologies to another pair of competing standards--GSM and CDMA--she said GSM is the dominant cellular technology globally because it was first to market. CDMA, on which Sprint Nextel operates, has a stronger footprint in the United States.

"The head start a technology has is the key differentiator," said Kellett.
Another panellist, Scott Wickware, vice president of carrier networks for Nortel, said the exchange of knowledge is also beneficial to current players in the market in helping them in areas such as establishing business plans.
"This is the first time I'm seeing so much cooperation in the industry, so it's good to be a first mover," said Wickware.

Recent trends in the industry are showing that when some big gun like Nokia, Ericsson are choosing LTE then WiMax as a technology also has something to relish when it sees that Intel is in their camp.

But together with the competion between the two technolgies, both the camps also realise that to survive and instead of killing each other they might be complementary to each other and move towards the convergence.

Garth Collier, managing director, of Intel's WiMax division for Asia-Pacific and Japan, said he is "seeing for the first time a convergence in the cellular industry".
Collier raised the point of WiMax and 3G being complementary and the possibility of co-existence.

While the market waits for LTE, WiMax will serve as a "data overlay" for 3G, meant for delivering data where 3G's speeds are inadequate, while the cellular network continues to handle voice well, he said.

The emergence of dual mode or dual band devices is most likely to happen in the "early days" as the industry in developed markets embraces 4G technology, he said. Raising the example of Korea, he noted the availability of models which combine both HSDPA (high-speed downlink packet access) and WiBro functionality.

In an interview with ZDNet Asia, Wickware said he expects WiMax to find its place as a more cost-effective and quicker way for providers to turn on broadband in rural areas without having to lay physical copper or fibre infrastructure to homes.

This concept is not just contained to emerging markets. "Even in developed countries, there are pockets where coverage is not good, where the operators have not had a business case to provide standard broadband," said Wickware.

Furthermore, the ecosystem is growing, he said. "When you consider that companies such as Intel are very much backing WiMax, it is not a stretch to imagine many of the PCs or consumer electronics devices will drive the deployment of WiMax in developed urban areas, too," said Wickware.

LTE camp sees this competition and trying very hard to complete 3GPP specifications for LTE (36 series comprise of LTE specifications).In the recent RAN meeting in Kansas, USA (May 5 – 9 2008) it was concluded that most LTE specifications are about 95% ready (RRC about 80%).

So LTE is not keeping itself far behind and only time will tell who will score the goal in this extra time or the match might go to penalties.

Sunday 18 May 2008

Qualcomm to back MediaFLO at the expense of MBMS

Just couple of days back I was complaining about everyone abandoning MBMS but now I can see why Qualcomm is suddenly uninterested in MBMS:

U.S. mobile technology company Qualcomm Inc. (QCOM) said Friday that it acquired an L-band radio spectrum licence for GBP8.3 million that will enable it to bring new mobile TV and wireless services to the U.K.

Qualcomm U.K. Spectrum Ltd bought the licence to use 40 Megahertz of the 1452 MHz to 1492 MHz band in an auction by communications regulator Ofcom.

The licence is suitable for offering mobile television, wireless broadband and satellite radio, Ofcom said.

The L-Band spectrum license acquired by Qualcomm covers the entire United Kingdom and is technology neutral, thereby enabling Qualcomm to use the spectrum for innovative technologies, depending on its assessment of market needs in the United Kingdom.

The L-band, on which any technology or service can be used, will contend with two main rivals, DVB-H, backed by Nokia, the handset maker, and by Viviane Reding, the European Telecoms Commissioner, who wants to make it the European standard, and TDTV, which is being tested by Orange and T-Mobile in the UK. All three technologies would require special handsets able to pick up a broadcast signal.

Mobile companies including Vodafone and 3 already offer mobile television in Britain, but take-up has been poor.

Qualcomm said that it does not intend to run a mobile TV broadcasting network as an operator, as it has done in the United States, but is looking for partners to launch its mobile television technology, MediaFLO.

Andrew Gilbert, head of Qualcomm's European operations, said: “We will not attempt to become an operator, but if service providers want to partner with us ... we are open to talking to folk.” Mr Gilbert added that Qualcomm would use the spectrum to bring a variety of wireless technologies to the UK market but that it had no timetable for launches in mind.

With industry heavyweights supporting DVB-H and TDTV, analysts see this as Qualcomm's last chance to bring MediaFLO to the UK and European markets. Will Harris, of Enders Analysis, said: “One potential outcome from this is that two competing mobile TV services could be launched. While it is too early to say which technology will win at this stage, those that fail to get support from the mobile operators will lose.”

O2, the mobile network provider, was initially interested in the L-band auction, but pulled out without bidding. Failed bidders include WorldSpace, the satellite radio group, and The Joint Radio Company, which runs spectrum for the UK energy industry.

The next competition, to run later this year, is even more significant. It has a price tag that could run into the tens of millions because it is for a frequency that supports WiMax, a high-speed network technology similar to a common WiFi home wireless system, but with a more robust signal and a range of a kilometre or more.

Although WiMax is not new it has had little success so far. But interest is hotting up. In the US last week, Sprint Nextel announced a $14.5bn (£7.4bn) joint venture with Clearwire to build a network servicing as many as 140 million people by the end of 2010. And Google is pumping another $500m into the scheme.

At the moment, the UK market is small. Freedom4 and UK Broadband, a subsidiary of PCCW, are the only providers with a national licence, and only limited services are available. But developments on the other side of the Atlantic are fuelling interest, and some big players are lining up for the relevant spectrum auction. Ian Livingston, who takes over aschief executive at BT in two weeks' time, has said thecompany is interested, and Vodafone has trials running in Malta.

Freedom4 is also already in talks with potential investors about the £100m infrastructure funding it estimates it will need from 2009-11. "We are talkingto our partners and the banks," Mike Read, chief executive of Freedom4, said. "Following the deals in the US, there is moreinterest in what we are doing over here."

Ian Keene, a senior analyst at Gartner, said: "There is abusiness case for WiMax in the UK, but most likely it will becity-centric and focused on business, rather than nationalcoverage competing with mobile networks."

The biggest auction of all will be next year's bidding for the "digital dividend" – the wide bands of frequency freed up when the analogue television signal is switched off in 2012. The debate about who should get what is already well under way. Broadcasters claim a substantial portion for high-definition TV, mobile operators want it for next-generation cellular services such as video, and internet service providers say it iscrucial for the broadbandinfrastructure.

Saturday 29 March 2008

The story of WiMAX in India

Read an article on WiMAX in India in Rediff:

On March 4, India's Tata Communications, an emerging broadband player, announced the countrywide rollout of a commercial WiMax network, the largest anywhere in the world of the high-speed, wireless broadband technology.

Already 10 Indian cities and 5,000 retail and business customers use the product, and by next year Tata will offer service in 115 cities nationwide. The folks at Tata can hardly contain their excitement. "WiMax is not experimental, it's oven-hot," says Tata's Prateek Pashine, in charge of the company's broadband and retail business.

Of course WiMax is not new. Most everyone in the industry has been talking about it for years. Intel chairman Craig Barrett has been propagating its virtues in pilot projects across the world, including India and Africa.

Sprint will be rolling out a WiMax network in Washington next month, and in other US cities next year. Until now the most advanced use of WiMax has been in Japan and Korea, where Japanese carrier KDDI and Korea Telecom offer extensive WiMax networks.

However the Japanese and Korean services are not available nationwide - KDDI will have its major rollout only in 2009 - and most people use them as supplements to the wired services.

It's in emerging economies like India, where there is little connectivity and where mobile usage is soaring because of the difficulty in getting broadband wires to homes and offices, that WiMax is likely to see its full potential as a commercially viable technology.
Intel, whose silicon chips power WiMax, has been pushing for this technology for some years and its executives are practically salivating at the thought of the successful rollout in India.

"The more countries and telcos that get behind this technology the better," says R. Sivakumar, chief executive of Intel South Asia. Predicting that the new technology will make other types of Internet access obsolete, he boasts "Tata will set the cat among the pigeons."

Tata Communications has been working on setting this up for a couple of years, and successfully completed field trials last December. It has used the technology from Telsima, a Sunnyvale (Calif.) maker of WiMax base-stations and the leading WiMax tech provider in the world.

For now, the technology will be restricted to fixed wireless, but Tata plans to make it mobile by midyear. The company has invested about $100 million in the project, which will increase to $500 million over the next four years as it begins to near its goal of having 50 million subscribers in India.

The world is watching

Global tech analysts are will be watching carefully. Though WiMax is prevalent in Korea, the Korean service is a slightly different version, says Bertrand Bidaud, a communications analyst with Gartner in Singapore. It's a Korea-specific pre-WiMax technology called WiBRO.

But the Indian market is where the conditions for a WiMax deployment are the best, he says, because of limited fixed lines. That means Tata has fewer hurdles to overcome. And as WiMax scales up fast, it will give service providers greater flexibility and costs will drop equally rapidly.

"If it doesn't succeed in India, it will be difficult (for it to succeed) anywhere else, and Bharti, Tata has been virtually asleep, with a limited subscriber base for its limited product. In fact, even with as many as seven broadband providers in the market, the total Indian subscriber base is just 3.2 million and there is no clear market leader.
But with the WiMax rollout Tata can gain a leadership position and add "a few thousand subscribers a day," says Alok Sharma, chief executive of Telsima. Tata is, of course, going for the heavy-billing corporate customer - a target audience that is beginning to make big investments in technology.

Temple service via WiMax

But also important is the ordinary Indian retail customer who can watch movies via WiMax and enjoy Tata's other unique offerings. For instance, users can take in an early morning worship service at the famous Balaji temple in South India.

The temple permitted Tata to install cameras so that Hindu devotees from around the world could watch the proceedings in the temple around the clock. To get connected initially, users will simply have to go to a store, buy a router, install it, and then they become instantly connected. It will be as easy as buying apples, Tata executives promise.
The Tata rollout is a chance for India to become cutting-edge in mobile Internet services, say WiMax boosters. For India, which "always used last year's fashion to dress itself up," says Sharma, it is a chance to launch a brand new. fourth-generation technology that the world can follow. "India is becoming the knowledge centre of the world; it should take the lead in this," he adds.

There are some other bits which I got from one of VSNLs (now known as Tata Communications) presentation:

  • ISPs using 3.3GHz spectrum for WiMAX roll-out
  • At least 3 networks being built in all large towns
  • Best spectral efficiencies

Wireless Broadband opportunity in India bigger than:

  • Entire LatAm (predominantly on 3.5 GHz)
  • Korea (at 2.3 GHz)

Current deployments by Indian operators rival the biggest ofWiMAX deployments around the world. VSNL deploys the largest WiMAX network in a city across the world.

Soft launched on December 31, 2007 in BANGALORE:

  • Silicon Valley of India
  • 8 million people and over 10000 industries
  • 86% literacy ( national avg – at 61%) - second highest literacy rate for an Indian metropolis, after Mumbai.
  • More than 1000 software companies - Infosys and Wipro, India's second and third largest software companies are headquartered in Bangalore
  • The population of the IT industry folks in Bangalore is 5% i.e 400,000.
  • Bangalore's per capita income of Rs. .49,000 (US$ 1,160) is the highest for any Indian city.
  • Launched with 132 BTS, will be adding another 28 by March 2008
  • 3.3 Ghz, 12 Mhz, 3 Mhz/sector, 4 sectors85% of the city covered
  • The response has been far better than what we had anticipated
  • In 20 days we have installed an equivalent of 10% of the existing wireline base
  • Currently a huge backlog of orders to be installedCustomer experience has been fantastic
  • Additional BTS to ensure full coverage planned

Way forward:

  • Enterprise roll out into another 300 cities over the next 15 months
  • Retail roll out into another 15 – 20 cities over the next 15 months
  • Spectrum in 2.5/2.3 Ghz awaited

Saturday 22 March 2008

Healthcare using BWA (Broadband Wireless Access)

Came across this paper entitiled "IEEE 802.16/WiMAX-based broadband wireless access and its application for telemedicine/e-health services". While it is common sense that any prehospital diagnosis and monitoring can be very helpful it is important to make sure that the information is updated properly and with correct QoS.

Ambulances and other medical emergency vehicles travel at extremely high speeds. This would require that the technology in place is able to handover between different cells and keeps the equipment connected to the server. The nurse should concentrate on the patient rather than worry about the link being maintained electronically. This also necessitates a quaranteed QoS being maintained for this setup to work effectively. The figure above shows the QoS that is required in different situations.

In the above mentioned paper, the authors argue that WiMAX/802.16 networks can be engineered for telemedecine/e-health services. The main focus should be on Radio Resource allocation and admission control policy. Other important thing is to remember while implementing to use TCP for loss sensitive data and UDP for delay sensitive (but loss in-sensitive) applications.
I am sure the healthcare industry is already looking in these kinds of options and its just matter of time before we will hear about some new related application.

Monday 17 March 2008

MXtv or MAXtv

NextWave MXtv(TM) is a breakthrough mobile multicast and broadcast technology that enables WiMAX operators to deliver a broad range of rich and personalized multimedia services including mobile TV, interactive media services, and digital audio for a more compelling subscriber experience. An innovative broadcast solution, NextWave MXtv does not require any additional spectrum and uses existing radio access network equipment providing operators with an entirely new business model to increase revenues and achieve profitability. With MXtv, WiMAX wireless operators can effectively manage their valuable spectrum resources by dynamically balancing bandwidth allocated to broadcast services with on demand services.

So we now have Mobile TV over WiMAX which i personally think is quite good. Unfortunately the Mobile TV services havent caught up with general public yet but the operators have themself to blame quite a bit for this. The pricing is not friendly and then a lot of times, the content is not very friendly. The online portal designers dont understand how to categorise the content so someone doesnt have to browse for 5 minutes to reach their favourite item.

Anyway, this Mobile TV thing is a really good option along with MBMS, TDtv, DVB-H, T-DMB, MediaFLO, etc., etc.

NextWave Wireless Inc. has signed a strategic deal with Alcatel-Lucent over the WiMAX-based mobile TV platform it announced earlier this week.

The agreement calls for Alcatel-Lucent to integrate NextWave's MXtv technology into its WiMAX portfolio, based on the 802.16e-2005 (Rev-e) standard.

The companies also plan to perform a series of interoperability tests with Alcatel-Lucent's commercial WiMAX infrastructure starting in the second quarter of this year.

In a separate deal, Chinese communications gear supplier Huawei also said this week it would integrate the MXtv technology into its own WiMAX networking kit.

The MXtv technology has also been integrated into NextWave's low-power, Wave 2 compliant NW2000 series WiMAX subscriber device SoC. The device is currently being integrated into a wide range of devices with some device availability planned for second half of 2008.

The technology is based on the TDtv mobile TV platform NextWave (San Diego, Calif.) gained access to through the acquisition last year of UMTS-TDD kit supplier IP Wireless (Chippenham, England).

NextWave says its latest broadcast technology will allow WiMAX operators to deliver rich and personalized multimedia services including mobile TV, interactive media, and digital audio. NextWave said that macro-diversity technology is used to improve the broadcast performance over the WiMAX channel.

The offering promises 30fps QVGA and WQVGA content and up to 45 high quality mobile TV channels in 10MHz with channel switching times below two seconds.

Network operators can also dynamically allocate spectrum based on content availability, time of day requirements, user demand, and the availability of live events such as sports, concerts, interactive reality shows or emergency broadcasts.

"User demand for mobile broadcast services is rapidly expanding and we believe that the exciting new applications offered through this alliance will provide mobile operators a unique ability to deliver the key differentiating feature of 4G networks," said Allen Salmasi, CEO of NextWave Wireless.

Thursday 21 February 2008

700MHz for WiMAX: Everything is fair in Love and War

WiMAX was designed for the ISM Band and other bands that were freely available worldwide but suddenly they have realised that they can get a big time break if they can be rolled out in the 700MHz spectrum being auctioned in US.

The Forum, which in the past has assiduously stuck to its guns that it was developing specifications for accepted international spectrum like 2.3, 2.5 and 3.5 GHz, has done an about-face and announced that 700 MHz is a key signpost on its technology road map.

“The market interest has grown considerably recently to the point where the board has decided to give it some high priority and made the announcement today (at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona) that we’re going to be working hard on the technical specifications for the band,” said Tim Hewitt, chairman of the Forum’s regulatory working group.

While the Forum has publicly maintained a low profile about 700 MHz, it “has been keeping an eye on 700 megs for quite some time,” Hewitt said. “There’s a nine-step process we have to go through (and) for some time we’ve been doing this background work on these nine points.”

The next step in the accelerated process is to announce specifications to support both TDD and FDD certification profiles, which, in itself is a bit of focus shift because TDD has previously dominated the organization’s work.

“That was the very strong drive from the market; they wanted these TDD systems,” Hewitt said.

Now the market, both in the U.S. and overseas, wants the combination of FDD and TDD to work with 700 MHz spectrum that’s just becoming available, especially as the FCC auctions off U.S. spectrum being abandoned by broadcasters moving to all-digital delivery.

“There’s an equally important and quite exciting thing under way in the world because the ITU at the recent radio conference identified what we know as the digital dividend spectrum, the UHF spectrum that will become available in many countries when television goes digital,” Hewitt said. “That’s spectrum near 700 MHz.”

The Forum is also looking at WiMAX from a slightly different perspective. while previous efforts included fixed or portable WiMAX based on IEEE 802.16d standards, the profile work within 700 MHz will be strictly 802.16e and especially mobile.

One of the important reasons for going for TDD-FDD combinations I think is due to both LTE and UMB which are its competing technologies support TDD-FDD combination with a possibility of handover between them.

Bidding for regional licenses in the FCC's 700 Mhz auction passed the $19.3 billion mark Tuesday and before the auction concludes total bidding seems likely to hit $20 billion -- double the $10 billion amount that was universally cited as a successful figure before the auction began. And, the total has been reached without significant contribution from the D Block, which was designed to be available for a combination commercial/public safety nationwide network. While bidding for the D Block has dried up, desire for a public safety net definitely hasn't.

See figure above for D Block, etc.

"We now know that only the D Block may not sell in this auction," Rep. John D. Dingell (D-Mich.) said in a statement. "The construction of a nationwide, next-generation, interoperable broadband network for public safety is a crucial policy objective, and the need for such a network has not diminished."

As chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Dingell has pushed aggressively for a nationwide public safety network. With valuable D Block spectrum expected to still be available after the auction concludes, the FCC is expected to re-bid at least some of the spectrum using new rules.

Bidding for the C Block has stalled for days, and speculation has grown that Verizon (NYSE: VZ) Wireless placed the leading $4.74 billion bid for the spectrum in the secret auction. Google (NSDQ: GOOG), which had campaigned aggressively to create the spectrum block for interchangeable devices and services, is the likely second bidder for the C Block band.

FCC Chairman Kevin Martin said recently that he hoped a bidder would emerge for the D Block to improve public safety responses. "If no one steps forward, the commission will have to reevaluate," he told reporters.

Wednesday 6 February 2008

WiMAX or LTE or ............Both?

Everyday I am starting to get a bit more convinced that in future both WiMAX and LTE will work side by side and operators will be more willing to have an open mind about the rival technology.

This article from European Communications has put in words exactly how i have started to feel recently:

There is much expected of WiMAX and it's probably fair to say that some of this can be classified as ‘hype' yet there is much to be excited about, provided we set realistic expectations with early stage deployments. It's also important to remember that WiMAX comes in two distinctly different flavours - mobile WiMAX (referred to under standard 802.16e) and fixed (802.16d). There are significant differences between the two, not least the fact that it's technically much easier to deliver the high bandwidth speeds to a stationary external antenna associated with fixed WiMAX than it is to one on a mobile device in someone's pocket or handbag.

This means that whilst symmetrical speeds of 10 Mbps may be technically possible at a range of 10km today, in practice this is likely to be achieved only using fixed WiMAX and is reliant on other variables for its success, such as a high quality external antenna with line-of-sight to the base station. Given this situation is far from common and that buildings get in the way and degrade WiMAX signals, it will be more likely that mobile WiMAX users will only see half that data rate at much shorter distances from the base station - at least until techniques such as MIMO (multiple input multiple output) and beamforming are perfected to counter, and even take advantage of the multipath effects from physical obstructions.

One of the biggest obstacles to widespread WiMAX deployments is the lack of available high quality spectrum. In the US, Sprint benefits greatly from its 2.5 GHz spectrum holdings. This relatively low-frequency band allows greater coverage per base station since signals travel much further than at higher frequencies. This results in fewer base stations needed, making WiMAX cheaper to deploy in the US than in other markets that don't have access to the same spectrum. Even given the availability of 2.5 GHz spectrum, for Sprint's network to provide nationwide coverage it will require more than 60,000 base stations across the US.In Europe, bandwidth below 2.5GHz is scarce and mostly occupied by analogue TV and current GSM mobile signals. Therefore, until now most European WiMAX trials and licences have been limited to the 3.5 GHz or even 5 GHz bands with often disappointing results, which is why we haven't seen anywhere near as much WiMAX traction in Europe as the US. It may not be until after analogue broadcast signals are switched off across Europe (with the UK scheduled for 2012) that sub 2.5 GHz spectrum becomes available and we start to see large-scale European WiMAX deployments.

An alternative high speed mobile technology that could be used instead of, or to run alongside, WiMAX is LTE. The crucial difference is that, unlike WiMAX, which requires a new network to be built, LTE runs on an evolution of the existing UMTS infrastructure already used by over 80 per cent of mobile subscribers globally. This means that even though development and deployment of the LTE standard may lag Mobile WiMAX, it has a crucial incumbent advantage.

So which technology will ultimately prevail? It is arguable that LTE is more ‘risk-free' than WiMAX because it will run on an evolution of existing mobile infrastructure. Also, mobile operators will be able to use their experience from current 3G and HSDPA networks to carry out the incremental fine-tuning necessary to ensure that the rollout of LTE will deliver on user expectations. Also in Europe it has the advantage of being unaffected by the lack of available spectrum.

However, the recognition of WiMAX as an IMT-2000 technology by the ITU in October 2007 is a significant step, that in the future may help WiMAX to gain a foothold in today's UMTS spectrum and so close the spectrum availability gap, but the full impact of this move has yet to unfold.

Nevertheless, LTE is still perhaps three to four years from being ready whereas mobile WiMAX equipment is entering the final testing phase now. Some operators far from seeing LTE as being less of a risk may take the view that by missing an early mover advantage into ultra high speed mobile broadband and waiting for LTE would have an impact in terms of potential subscribers perhaps attainable by moving to WiMAX now.
Also LTE will start to come to the forefront at the same time as analogue TV signals are switched off in Europe, making the spectrum debate largely irrelevant to the WiMAX versus LTE argument. This is of course provided national governments release spectrum for WiMAX and it's available at a price that operators deem worth paying.

Interestingly many operators have already stated their interest in both camps. In August of this year, Vodafone, a key advocate of LTE, declared itself ‘technology neutral' and joined the WiMAX Forum. This pragmatic approach is perhaps a sign that for now many operators will adopt a ‘wait and see' approach and learn from the experiences of early pioneers such as Sprint Nextel before deciding whether to choose WiMAX or LTE.

Ultimately the decision may be to use both. As Spirent Nextel is showing in the US, the real estate occupied by an operator's current base stations can also be used to site new WiMAX base stations. Then the strategy could be that LTE is used to support mobile broadband users and WiMAX to support fixed or lower-mobility broadband users. Alternatively, they could well use LTE for macro cellular coverage and WiMAX for micro cell coverage.In all likelihood many devices of the future will ship with both LTE and WiMAX capability, meaning full compatibility across both technologies. Consumers will probably not even know which particular technology is delivering high speed data to them and they're hardly likely to care, so long as it works to their satisfaction, and the content provided is engaging and available at the right price

Tuesday 22 January 2008

2008: Which Technologies?

There are many tecchnologies being standardised or about to be rolled out this year. A summary of these along with the predictions are available on RCR News website:
WiMAX Certifications: As promised, the WiMAX Forum opened up its labs in December for mobile WiMAX certification testing. The expectation is that 802.16e-based products will start earning the forum’s stamp of approval by mid-year with, “hundreds of devices to go through certification,” over the course of the year. The larger hope is that certification will drive operators currently testing the technology (300-plus by some estimates) into broader, commercial deployments.

In reality, certification may be little more than a formality. Why?

1) Operators wouldn’t be deploying kit that they didn’t think complied (at least somewhat) to the 802.16e standard and WiMAX Forum profiles.

2) The forum’s plugfests have helped to get vendors roughly in-line in terms standards implementations.

3) Even if you don’t agree with points one and two, consider the following: Some so-called mobile WiMAX products may never get certified. Implementations in potentially popular bands such as 5 GHz or 1.5 GHz may always remain relative niches, never garnering enough interest from vendors to warrant the creation of WiMAX profiles in these bands. And, while Taiwan is oft painted as a hotbed of WiMAX device development, vendors there are reportedly bristling at the prospect of costly certification testing, setting the stage for certification delays or two tiers of products (fully certified and compliant, but not certified). Now, that would be buzz-worthy.

Long Term Evolution: If only in trade shows, WiMAX and LTE seem inextricably linked — usually separated by the word, “versus.” And, as with WiMAX, the LTE market will steadily develop throughout 2008. Tradeshow booths will be filled with prototype LTE systems. The 3GPP should make progress on getting the standard completed. Trials (based on finalized radio interface specs) will take place. Additional operators will declare their allegiance to 4G. Yep, it will be a good year for LTE … and we’ll hear about it often. None of these trials or demos, however, will change the facts. Commercial kit won’t be available until sometime next year; until then, we won’t know how any vendor’s solutions actually perform. Broader field trials will likely be a 2010 phenomenon given the habit of device availability trailing networks by a good margin. This means that commercial service deployments might be expected in the 2011 timeframe. Considering the fact that operators will continue to ramp up 3G usage, that might even be optimistic. So, at the end of the day, enjoy the show floor demos, pick up a few flashing toys for your kids at home and know this: The LTE landscape at the end of 2008 should look a lot like it did at the end of 2007. LTE will be broadly accepted as a dominant 4G standard, but services will be years away and real-world performance will be a question mark.

Note: On referring LTE to 4G please read this and this.

700 MHz spectrum: With all due respect to my troglodytic (cave-dwelling for those didn’t get My Word Coach for your Nintendo this Christmas) friends, the FCC’s 700 MHz auction begins later this month. In the run-up, intrigue around who will bid, how much they will bid, and the bidding/service rules they will face has provided fodder for nearly daily news. Once the bidding begins, we’ll get day by day (and hour by hour) updates on the auction process and what it means for the U.S. telecom landscape. I personally plan to avoid the fray by being in the middle of the ocean when the auctions start and then retreat to the West Virginia border (true story, I go from vacation to our annual corporate retreat at The Homestead). The buzz, however, is somewhat understandable, given the propagation characteristics at 700 MHz (great for broad coverage and in-building penetration), and the fact that it could support new market entrants … not to mention the potential for 700 MHz developing into globally standardized wireless spectrum.

But, what’s going to happen this year? Auctions will take place and spectrum will be allocated. Networks, however, won’t get deployed; I’m planning to continue watching analog TV with my old rabbit ears right up until I can’t anymore. More importantly, operators looking to 700 MHz as a platform for their 4G networks may need to wait for several years before they can even get access to the equipment they need (see rant above).

And, the value of propagation and global standardization? The prospect of 700 MHz spectrum being available around the globe will doubtless bid up the value of the band here in the U.S. and price me out of winning the B-Block CMA covering my house.

Yet, it will take years, if ever, before other countries can move on the band. By that point the costs of developing multi-band devices should be lower, perhaps thanks to innovations like software-defined transceivers. At that point, any operator building out a 4G network should be building for capacity and FMC solutions leveraging Wi-Fi or femtocells (or something we haven’t yet heard of) should solve most of our in-building coverage problems (cue the anti-femtocell rhetoric).

Femtocells: Speaking of femtocells … I like femtocells. I even have one on my desk; it’s a mostly-empty mock up handed to me last year as one of the industry’s pioneers was looking to empty out their booth at the end of 3GSM (back when it was still called 3GSM). 2008 should be a banner year for the little boxes since trials will start taking place beyond the more limited moves in 2007. These trials, in turn, will be critical for providing insights into how (or if) the products work. Just as we’ve heard about most major femtocell RFPs and commitments, we’ll hear about these trials as they move forward (often thanks to tradeshow sessions). What these trials won’t do is provide any immediate answers.

Yep, 2008 will be a year of figuring out what makes sense: the best business models, the best mobile core integration options, the best device management strategies, the best interference mitigation strategies, the reality of zero-touch installations, the tradeoff between products filled with bells and/or whistles and a bill-of-materials that can support profitable services. To this end, Sprint Nextel deserves credit for getting the ball rolling early, deploying commercial services instead of waiting for others to figure it all out. Yet, for all of the femtocell buzz (some of it warranted), 2008 will be largely about setting the stage for 2009.
More of it here.

Tuesday 15 January 2008

80 million mobile WiMAX subcribers (by 2013)

A new report by Juniper Research calculates the number of mobile WIMAX subscribers will exceed 80 million by 2013. The biggest surge in growth, says the research firm, will happen after 2010. Juniper’s projections assume a wide range of attractive devices will be available on the market within three years (at competitive prices), and mobile WiMAX operators will achieve service differentiation from mobile operators.

According to figures from the WiMAX Forum, WiMAX technology had the potential to reach 2.7 billion people before the ITU announcement. That number now rises to over 4 billion.

There are already some interesting announccements regarding WiMAX in the last one month:

Milton Keynes Council has launched what is thought to be the UK's first commercial wireless broadband service using WiMAX technology. ConnectMK, a private company set up by the council to address the issue of poor broadband connectivity across Milton Keynes, has joined forces with Freedom4 to provide residents and businesses in the area with access to WiMAX services.

For those who dont know, Milton Keynes is a relatively newly developed town in Greater London area. When it was being expanded in 1980's, the engineers decided they can save lots of money by having copper plated aluminium cables rather than copper cables for telephone, etc. Their experiment was successful and received lots of applause untill the arrival of ADSL when people realised that these cables cant be used for carrying broadband ;)

Sprint said that the Xohm service will be commercially available in select cities around the United States in the second quarter of 2008.

Sprint was one of a number of vendors at the Consumer Electronics Show with big WiMAX plans. For its part, Sprint said that the Xohm service will be commercially available in select cities around the United States in the second quarter of 2008. The company hopes for a large-scale rollout of its Xohm WiMAX service by the end of the year.

Other CES vendors with WiMAX-related announcements: San Francisco's OQO (an ultra-mobile PC planned for 2008); AsusTek of Taiwan (a variety of WiMAX-embedded devices); and Zyxel (collaborating with Sequans on WiMAX access devices for Xohm's commercial launch).

One of the promises of WiMax, a service Sprint will be providing under the Xohm brand, is that receivers for it can be built into a variety of devices like cameras and Web tablets that usually don't have a built-in Internet connection or rely on Wi-Fi, a short-range technology.

By the way, it seems Sprint is already going through a rough patch:

Now, another round of subscriber losses is expected for the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31 as the firm tightened credit standards for would-be subscribers and failed to price its handsets competitively, said Philip Cusick, an equity research analyst with Bear Stearns in New York.

Shares of Sprint, which have lost more than 25 percent in the past year, closed up 11 cents yesterday at $12.36.

Citing anonymous sources, the Wall Street Journal yesterday reported that Mr. Hesse plans to fire several thousand workers. The company last year fired 5,000. The Journal also disclosed that Mr. Hesse may relocate the company's headquarters to Overland Park, Kan., where 13,000 of the company's 60,000 employees are located.

And finally the rest:

Airspan Announces 5 GHz WiMAX Deployments in Ukraine

Alcatel-Lucent opens WiMAX interoperability testing center in Taiwan

Kirkland, Wash.-based Clearwire, founded in 2003, is building a nationwide high-speed wireless network based on WiMax technology. Under the agreement, Clearwire would offer Google's email and calendar applications to its customers. In the future, Clearwire also plans to offer Google's search tools.

Chrysler to put WiMax into its cars

Axtel (Mexico) selects Motorola for WiMAX deployment

Alvarion and Bridgewater Team for Joint WiMAX Deployment in Angola

Friday 11 January 2008

Heard of MobileFi?

A new book title came to my attention, "Wimax/Mobilefi". I hadnt heard of MobileFi before so i did a bit of digging up and here are the details.

MobileFi is also known as Mobile-Fi or Mobile Broadband Wireless Access (MBWA) and is better known as IEEE 802.20

IEEE 802.20, also referred to as Mobile-Fi, is optimized for IP and roaming in high-speed mobile environments. This standard is poised to fully mobilize IP, opening up major new data markets beyond the more circuit-centric 2.5G and 3G cellular standards. The Mobile Broadband Wireless Access (MBWA) Working Group was established as IEEE 802.20 in December 2002. Its main mission is to develop the specification for an efficient packet-based air interface optimized for the transport of IP-based services. The goal is to enable global deployment of low-cost, ubiquitous, interoperable, and always-on multivendor mobile broadband wireless access networks. IEEE 802.20 has designed a new physical layer (Layer 1 protocol) and MAC/link layer (Layer 2 protocol) around IP packet Layer 3. It can operate in licensed bands below 3.5GHz, with cell ranges of 9 miles (15 km) or more. IEEE 802.20 can operate at speeds of up to 155 mph (250 kph).

Unlike WiMAX, which was incubated inside IEEE 802.16 family and evolved from earlier 802.16 technologies, 802.20 [5] or Mobile-Fi was designed from ground up as a technology to support high-mobility services. It aims to support mobility as high as 250 km/h and a peak rate of up to 260 Mbps in the licensed spectrum below 3.5 GHz. Th e enabling technologies are also OFDM, MIMO, and beam-forming. The draft standard is still under the IEEE standardization process.

Both WiMAX and 802.20 use OFDM-MIMO, which is emerging as the main technology for future cellular packet data networks, including 3GPP long-term evolution and 3GPP2 air interface evolution as well.
While the data rate and range of Mobile-Fi are only half those of Mobile WiMax, Mobile-Fi is inherently more mobile. It has an astonishing latency of just 10 milliseconds (500 milliseconds is standard for 3G communications) and can maintain integrity at speeds as high as 155 mph (250 kph), compared to just 60 mph (100 kph) for WiMax. Because it uses more common spectrumlicensed bands up to 3.5GHzit also offers global mobility, handoff, and roaming support. Whereas Mobile WiMax is looking at the mobile user walking around with a PDA or laptop, Mobile-Fi addresses high-speed mobility issues. One key difference is the manner in which the two standards are deployed. One assumption is that the carriers are going to deploy Mobile WiMax in their existing (802.16a) footprint as opposed to deploying a more widespread footprint, like a cellular network. Because Mobile-Fi is aimed at more ubiquitous coverage, a larger footprint will be required.

Countries and companies often seek to control the market by developing standards they hope will dominate the global scene. The United States has led the way with IEEE standards, and the European Union's ETSI standards are their counterparts. The work of standards consensus is ongoing, uncertain, and difficult to predict. Mobile operators, who are generally friendly to Mobile WiMax, see Mobile-Fi as a competing standard that could make their 3G licenses worth rather less than they paid for them. The fact that Intel is behind WiMax is a strong force and will undoubtedly push the WiMax standards forward.

Mobile-Fi will have to overcome several hurdles. First among them is the fact that it can be used only in licensed bands below 3.5GHz. Another is that Mobile-Fi trails the Mobile WiMax standards process by a couple years. Another hurdle is whether there is indeed a large requirement for 155 mph (250 kph) handoff. In addition, we do not know what effect Mobile WiMax being nationalized in Korea will have. And, very importantly, cellular companies may not be willing to undercut their 3G service. Certainly, we can assume that the US$100 billion investment in 3G spectrum by the European mobile carriers alone might be weighed against a workable Mobile-Fi standard. With the possibility of proprietary systems (e.g., WiBro, Flash-OFDM) being in place a number of years before Mobile-Fi is standardized, the likelihood is that by then, Mobile WiMax will be backward compatible with WiMax fixed services. Licensed or unlicensed, Mobile-Fi will not be ubiquitous, and WiMax probably will.

Further Reading:
* Book: Wimax/Mobilefi
* Official IEEE 802.20 website

Sunday 25 November 2007

India to be WiMAX-ed

Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (known as BSNL), a public sector communications company in India, announced its Calcutta Telephones plans to launch WiMax in 40,000 villages and 70 cities, in India.

India has chosen the IEEE 802.16e version of WiMax. It is expected to bridge the rural-urban digital divide by taking Internet and telephony to remote areas of the country.

Dr SK Chakravarty, chief general manager, Calcutta Telephones, said the tender for the 40,000 villages would be floated within 10 days and the one for the 70 cities would be launched within two months.

India’s Department of Telecom (DoT), has given the go-ahead to the public sector telecom operator to launch WiMax. Dr Chakravarty said: “Even before spectrum is released, DoT has given the 2.5 gigahertz frequency to BSNL for its WiMax operations.”

Initially, WiMax would be only for fixed-line applications. Chakravarty said that WiMax was already operational on an experimental basis in the city, at the Kalyani exchange.

According to Senza Fili Newsletter new technologies like WiMAX are typically successful first in developed markets where disposable incomes are higher and new devices and services are adopted earlier.

However, we expect WiMAX will initially be better suited to emerging markets. We predict in 'WiMAX: Ambitions and Reality' that emerging markets will account for 55 per cent of WiMAX subscribers by 2012.

Emerging countries may take the lead in mobile WiMAX growth due to two trends:

  • Demand for affordable, flexible broadband, coupled with the lack of wired broadband.
  • Widespread 3G, lack of spectrum, and non-committal operators will delay mobile WiMAX in many developed markets.

    The value of mobile WiMAX is not mobility per se. Up to half of mobile phone calls are placed from the home or office. The percentage should be even higher for data-centric devices and applications. Operators estimate that up to 80 per cent of WiMAX access will be from indoors, where subscribers are stationary.

    The true appeal of mobile broadband in developed and developing countries is ubiquitous high-bandwidth network access.

    In developing countries, however, mobile WiMAX will be positioned differently.
    Rather than targeting high-ARPU business users, early adopters or tech-savvy teens, mobile WiMAX services will attract first-time broadband users without a fixed line data connection who are nevertheless accustomed to mobile phones.

    These subscribers cannot afford both fixed and mobile subscriptions. Mobile WiMAX offers them both on a single contract and a single device. Operators can offer mobile broadband ahead of fixed broadband, adding value by combining fixed and mobile access.

    For instance, a retailer may need broadband in his shop, using both data and VoIP applications. After work he may take his WiMAX device home where he and his family can make VoIP calls or access personal email.
    WiMAX operators, both greenfield and established players, have been very active in markets such as Russia, Eastern Europe, Latin America and India.

    In most cases the initial focus is on fixed broadband access, where demand is known and devices, albeit expensive, are available. Most operators, however, see the potential for mobile access and want to enhance their networks when devices become available.

    Device availability is key. Operators are still dependent on a limited selection of form factors: desktop modems, PCMCIA cards and, soon, a few PDAs.

    Vendors need to offer new form factors, new functionality, and new price points, based on the specific requirements of emerging markets. The traditional model of marketing of low-cost, entry-level devices to emerging countries is no longer sufficient.