Summary of Clearwire and Sprint presentations at Sprint Developers Conference + archived webcasts

Archived 4G webcasts and presentations by Clearwire and Sprint at Oct 27th Sprint Developers Conference:

http://2md.hosted.panopto.com/CourseCast/Viewer/Default.aspx?id=f400cb3c-dbdf-414a-bd31-150d460758a1

http://2md.hosted.panopto.com/CourseCast/Viewer/Default.aspx?id=1cd37bbb-d822-4637-bf18-2a254282e688

Also see this article and comments at end:

http://viodi.com/2009/12/01/assessment-of-mobile-wimax-in-the-u-s/

Here’s a summary of three Clearwire presentations:

1. Clearwire’s Scott Richardson confidently stated that “spectrum trumps technology” and that “the spectrum owned will separate WiMAX from LTE.”

Mr. Richardson made another interesting observation: “Most 4G wireless networks are limited by self interference (i.e. Self NEXT), rather than how far the signal can travel.” We interpreted this to mean that mobile WiMAX does not produce the self interference than LTE, as we don’t know of any other “4G wireless networks.”

In a somewhat ironic statement, Mr. Richardson said, “new applications drive bandwidth consumption.” With an average of only 100ms round trip latency, developers are able to deliver “more snappy applications, at higher speeds than 3G.” We wonder if that performance advantage, by itself, will be sufficient to entice application developers. especially with no hand held devices available?

Continuing, Mr. Richardson very confidently stated, “We have a super fast (wireless broadband) network which you can think of as a bit factory” for all IP traffic- for both households and machine-to-machine (M2M2) applications. The bits will go to retail or wholesale customers (MVNOs). In the future, we will have other wholesale customers that will use CLEAR as a backbone network. Our evolving business model(s) will enable a whole new set of applications. This will enable a richer web experience for mobile users. Clearwire will have U.S. nationwide coverage by 2011 and will be able to fill the broadband mobile Internet vortex. By 2011, the killer 4G application will be cloud computing on the go.”

2. Clearwire Developer Program Initiatives:

Disclaimer:  many of the items described are "works in progress

Clearwire hopes that the two platforms described here and others to come (see below) will be exploited by independent software developers to build new applications that will make CLEAR service more attractive to subscribers.

According to its Developers web site
( http://developer.clear.com/innovation), Clearwire now offers two types of platforms to provide its customers with an end-to-end solution to develop, implement, and activate Clearwire’s suite of services.

“The Clearwire Location Platform, or CLP, is for developers with location-based services. Developers can leverage Clearwire’s enhanced and dynamic location interfaces to develop cutting-edge location-based services that are an integral part of their website or application.” More about location in the section below.

“The Clearwire Client Connectivity Platform is for developers who want a platform-independent framework to connect to the entire WiMAX network using a device that complies with the WiMAX Forum-supported Common API. The Client Connectivity Platform leverages a new WiMAX Connection Manager and provides public APIs for developers to manage their devices and connections.”
 

3.  Functional modules available (soon) to apps developers and device makers

At the October 27th Sprint Conference 4G Developers” session, Clearwire disclosed many functional modules or capabilities that developers could use to create new apps for mobile WiMAX. The common API was said to be implemented in WiMAX I/O drivers from Intel, Comsys, Samsung and Beceem chip sets. There may be other WiMAX silicon vendors also implementing that API. The new modules (platforms?) that applications will be able to use include:

Location*: client/server to determine device’s location; server/server to determine location of a device owned by a friend or family member (see details below).
Access Authentication: using a secure mutual certificate.
-RF Awareness: will be very important for mobile video apps. Signal strength, signal quality, transmit power and other RF parameters will be made available to the application/ video player to enable it to dynamically adjust resolution, frame or data rate (perhaps even change the encoding/decoding/compression scheme?). Note that in a mobile video streaming or 2 way real time video chat/conferencing environment, the received signal quality is constantly changing. So dynamic video parameter adaptation is essential in providing a good video experience to the mobile user.
-Data Session continuity: keep data sessions up while switching between WiMAX, WiFi, EVDO/ CDMA
-Device Management: will be device dependent
-Connection Management*: Connecting and disconnecting a device to the CLEAR network
-Diagnostics: for enhanced troubleshooting
-Service Level QOS: is targeted for end of 2010 or 2011. It will allow the application to request a “better level of service” for selected traffic types, e.g. voice, real time video conferencing, emergency/1st responders, etc.

*These modules are described on the CLEAR developers web site

Clearwire sees location as a key enabler for the types of services that take advantage of WiMAX bandwidth and mobility.

-Client/Server location is based on the Call Sector (1/3 of a Cell) that the device is physically present. No GPS or client hardware is required. The result provided is a longitude/ lattitude for the center of the Sector. A corresponding street address may be optionally requested. Acccuracy was said to be withing 400m to 800m. Computation time is < 1 second.

-Server/Server location allows one server to ask another for a remote device location using the latter’s IP or 802.16 MAC address. The resulting response is the longitude/ lattitude for the center of the Sector the remote device is in.

-Assisted GPS capability is targeted for sometime in 2010. In this scenario, GPS queries the network service to more quickly fix the device location.

-Multi-lateration is targeted for late 2010. In this situation, a given device type is connected to more than one Base Station located in different Sectors.

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