CLEAR 4G WiMAX Innovation Network is Now Open for Developers in Silicon Valley

In an exclusive article, Clearwire details logistics, goals and objectives for the "4G" CLEAR Developer’s Network in Silicon Valley. Largest 4G WiMAX "sandbox" for developers covers more than 20 square miles in Santa Clara, Mountain View and Palo Alto, California.

At the September 17th Telecom Council Carrier Connections conference, Clearwire’s Allen Flanagan provided an overview and short video on the company’s "4G" mobile WiMAX Innovation Network – a pre-commercial network for mobile WiMAX application development and testing in Silicon Valley.  The network went live only two days prior -on September 15th.  The development focus was said to be "4G" Mobile Applications.  These will be described later in this article.

The CLEAR developer network is a precursor to commercial service planned for the San Francisco Bay Area1 in 2010.  It will cover more than 20 square miles in Santa Clara, Mountain View and parts of downtown Palo Alto, California.  The current coverage footprint includes the local campuses of Intel and Google, two founding Innovation Network supporters who have also commenced their own internal 4G application development programs.  Cisco’s campus will receive coverage in the coming months as the network expands.  Clearwire will update the coverage area maps over time

After reviewing terms and conditions, qualified software application developers that live or work in Silicon Valley can register for free mobile WiMAX service, as long as they buy or own a Clearwire approved terminal (see list below).  Bright House, Comcast, Sprint, and Time Warner Cable will join Cisco, Intel and Google in support of Clearwire’s mobile WiMAX application development initiative.  All those companies except Cisco are strategic investors in Clearwire.  The first four plan to resell the CLEAR service, so they have a lot to gain.  All of the participants will aid in promoting the program and have deployed their own respective development resources into the network (e.g.  RAN equipment, IP NGN systems, devices, software, etc). 

Infrastructure providers include: Motorola, Samsung, Huawei (these three vendors supply RAN equipment), and Cisco (Core IP NGN Network). 

Editor’s Note:  Allen could not confirm that all of these infrastructure vendors would be involved in the Innovation Network instance.

Components, modules and applications were said to be available from: Intel, Google, Cisco, and Beceem (chip set).  Netbooks with embedded mobile WiMAX interfaces are available from Lenovo, Dell, Toshiba, Samsung, and Fujitsu for use in the program.  The new Samsung Mondi MID handheld is also supported on the Innovation Network. 

Editors Note:  only the mobile devices listed are eligible for use on the CLEAR Innovation network.  Home modems and CLEAR VOIP products and service are not available on the Innovation Network.

To read the rest of this important article, please go to:

http://www.wimax.com/commentary/blog/blog-2009/september-2009/clear-4g-wimax-innovation-network-open-for-developers-in-silicon-valley-0920

Making Broadband Access Available and Affordable for all in the US‎- Interview with SCU Law Professor Allen Hammond

Professor Allen Hammond, Director of the Broadband Institute of California, offers a perspective on the importance of broadband access and a prescription for making it available and affordable for all U.S. residents.  Recommendations for Digital Inclusion, U.S. Broadband Policy, a national wireless network, funding and measurement tools are also included in this interview. 

Most of us take broadband Internet access for granted.  We watch videos, play music, multi-media games, upload and download large files without even thinking about it.  But not everyone in the U.S. is that fortunate.  A large number of the U.S. population lives in rural or “underserved” areas where broadband access is not available.  Many low income, inner city residents can’t afford cable or DSL based broadband access.   And municipal wireless networks that were promised to provide such access for cities and counties have been delayed or cancelled. 

Those without affordable access to broadband are at a competitive disadvantage; they are at risk of being marginalized and left behind, as more and more mandatory services migrate to the broadband Internet.  Today, most skilled jobs require PC and web based interfacing skills, which are more likely to be learned by those that have broadband Internet access.  Government services (such as Unemployment and Disability claims), education and training (including webinars), health care, travel information, and banking are offered on-line and have become pervasive on the web.  But without broadband access, these services are not conveniently or easily available.  What if you’re bank branch office has been recently closed and you’re told to do most of your banking on-line?  What if you’re applying for a job that requires web surfing, quick access to information, uploading or downloading .ppt or zip files from web sites?  Not good if you don’t have broadband Internet access or related skills.  Those that don’t will be left behind. 

Professor Hammond firmly believes that “Broadband access is a civil rights issue.”  It should not matter if one lives in a sparsely populated or rural area, an inner city, or a suburb.  Rich or poor shouldn’t matter either.  Broadband access should be made available to all that want it at affordable rates.

What’s Digital Inclusion and Why Is It Important?

The Wired for Wireless? Summary Report1 uses the term “Digital Inclusion” to denote the ability of everyone to have access to broadband and the related information technology.  Specifically it states:  “Digital Inclusion means that everyone — regardless of who they are or where they live — can participate in and take advantage of the economic, educational, health, and civic opportunities afforded by broadband and related information technology. 

More than just access to the Internet, Digital Inclusion means that all stakeholders are engaged in the planning and implementation of technology systems; that all potential users can access the technology and know how to use it; and that with these technologies come more services, increased information, and greater community access. As digital technology is increasingly used for educational, employment, health, commercial, and informational purposes, Digital Inclusion is critical for full engagement, participation, and opportunity in the social, economic, and civic life of society.” 

The report found that “wireless networks are effectively supporting government operations and services. Wireless technology is being used for a large range of government tasks: traffic light control, meter reading, data transport from regional offices to headquarters, video surveillance, communication between emergency vehicles, and much more. These projects have proven successful when jurisdictions commit funding toward the deployment and maintenance of the network.   Project research indicates that many local governments in California pursued or are pursuing a wireless network in order to bring broadband access to underserved communities. In most of these cases, the wireless networks were intended to enhance or fill in gaps left by existing deployment.”  However, the deployment of most of those CA municipal wireless networks, e.g. Wireless Silicon Valley, San Francisco, Fresno, etc have gone into hibernation status or they’re just plain dead.

U.S. Government Broadband Stimulus and Plan

The U.S. is one of the few developed countries that does not have a national broadband plan and up till this year, has done little to accelerate or drive broadband deployment.  The federal government has taken the position that broadband Internet is the job of the private sector.  This is in sharp contrast to the public sector build out of roads, highways and bridges.   

On February 17th, 2009, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act) became law.  This was the government’s first step to making broadband more available in the U.S.  In particular, the Act allocated $7.2 billion in grant and loan funds for broadband build-outs.   

The complete article can be read at:   http://viodi.com/2009/09/18/affordable-broadband/

No registration required.

ComSoc SCV Oct 14th meeting: Intel’s Vision for the Future of Wireless Communications + supporting articles/ commentary

Date

Wednesday October 14th, 2009, 6:00 – 8:00PM

Location

National Semiconductor, Building E, Conference Room, 2900 Semiconductor Dr, Santa Clara, CA 95051

 
Title
Intel’s Vision for the Future of Wireless Communications 
Speaker
Siavash Alamouti, CTO, Intel’s Mobile Wireless Group
Bio
Siavash Alamouti is an Intel Fellow in the Mobility Group and Chief Technology Officer for the Mobile Wireless Group of Intel.  In this role, he is responsible for all wireless standards with a product roadmap at Intel.  This includes the WiMAX Forum, IEEE 802.16, 3GPP, OMA, WiFi Alliance, IEEE 802.11,etc.  He is also known as the technical champion of WiMAX technology at Intel.

Alamouti is recognized by the IEEE Communications Society as the author of one of the best 57 papers in the last 50 years of the Society’s history.  He is most well known for the invention of "the Alamouti code" which is included in a number of wireless standards.  Siavash holds over 20 patents in the areas of wireless communications and wireless systems design.  He has authored many publications and technical reports in the last decade for the IEEE Communications Society and other organizations that have reached professional audiences both nationally and internationally.

In addition to standards, Intel’s Mobile Wireless Group undertakes research projects that are targeted at investigating new applications and use models enable by wireless technologies.  One example is My WiFi -which enables high speed peer-to-peer communications between devices using WiFi and future technologies such as WiGig (an industry study group that is likely to be proposed to IEEE 802.11) that promises to provide multi Gbps wireless communications using 60 GHz unlicensed band. 

Abstract
Siavash Alamouti, CTO, Intel’s Mobile Wireless Group, will share his vision for wireless communications in the future and describe various ongoing research projects in wireless communications at Intel.  He will talk about the next generation Mobile WiMAX (also known as WiMAX 2.0) based on the emerging IEEE 802.16m standard and a candidate for IMT-Advanced, and will also discuss Intel’s vision for the evolution of WLAN and WPAN technologies.
 
2 interviews with Alamouti published at:
 
 
 
 
WiMAX Standards Update
 
The IEEE 802.16 Working Group met in its Session #63 the week of 31 August 2009 on Jeju, Korea. The IEEE 802.16 Session #63 Report summarizes the outcomes:
 

 
New article exposing the cracks in 3G networks- close to the breaking point?  iPhones Overload AT&T 3G Network
 
 
Please weigh in with your comments- either here or at the viodi.com web site.  What do you think is the solution to the 3G conundrum?

 
Intel and Qualcomm Eye Each Other’s Terrain
 

PCs are evolving into tablet PCs and small laptops, essentially big smartphones that are always on, always connected to the Internet, with all-day battery life — in short, very much like a large iPhone or BlackBerry. Qualcomm calls these devices smartbooks because the design resembles a large smartphone.

Could this be the ultimate battle for mobile computing chip leadership?  Or is it just another overblown WiMAX vs LTE argument?  Let’s hear from you!

 
The inside of computers has been Intel’s territory, as the world’s biggest maker of microprocessors reminds consumers with its “Intel Inside” campaign.

The cellphone’s guts have been the domain of Qualcomm. As the cellphone becomes more like a computer and the computer more like a cellphone, it was inevitable that the two chip makers would clash.
Intel wants to get inside smartphones, and Qualcomm, one of the largest suppliers of chips for wireless phones, wants to get into small notebook computers.
“Intel is trying to come down from the computer and bring their software ecosystem along,” said Qualcomm’s chief executive, Paul E. Jacobs. “We’re trying to go up from the phone and build the software ecosystem.”
Qualcomm, which sells about 22 percent of all chips used in wireless devices including the iPhone, BlackBerry Storm and T-Mobile G1, believes it has never been better situated in its 24-year history to break into the market for computing devices.
Mr. Jacobs sees his company at the center of an industry that is driving the most cutting-edge innovations, as seen in devices like the iPhone and BlackBerry Storm.
 
“That energy is now coming out of the phone industry,” Mr. Jacobs said. “The PC became so standardized that the degree of innovation was not the same as what you see in the phone space.”

 
 
What do you think? Let’s hear from you!

 
 
Is this news article from April 2009, already obsolete? 
Will the world ever see a WiMAX MID, or will the tablet PCs and ebook readers with 3G embedded interfaces be the new gadgets de jour?
 
What about the Intel-Nokia strategic relationship on mobile computing devices – genuine with tangible results or DOA?
 

At a developer event in China, the company, based in Santa Clara, Calif., displayed a range of wireless Internet devices that Intel believes will fill a gap between smartphones and laptops. The company is hoping to capitalize on the success that Apple has had with its iPhone, which is one of the most popular mobile Web smartphones.
Intel is calling the new computers Mobile Internet Devices, or MIDs, and claims that it will have a significant advantage over makers of chips for cellphones because the Intel version will be highly compatible with the company’s laptop and desktop processors for which most Web software is written today.
The first generation of Intel’s MID technology will be aimed at data, not voice communications, leaving the company out of the market for smartphones. That has not damped the enthusiasm of Intel executives who foresee a proliferation of devices ranging from advanced ultracompact laptops to small, tablet-size devices that will be used for browsing the Web, navigation and Internet chat, rather than voice communications.
 
“What enables the innovation is the ability to bring over all the existing PC applications,” said Anand Chandrasekher, general manager of the company’s Ultra Mobility Group.

 

Note:  IEEE members that would like to subscribe to the ComSoc SCV Discussion Group, where this post originally appeared, please follow instruction at the bottom of our web page:

www.ewh.ieee.org/r6/scv/comsoc/

Is WiMAX in India ready to take off or be Dead on Arrival?

India’s 3G and WiMAX spectrum auctions are planned to commence this year paving the way for Mobile Internet and Fixed Broadband Wireless Access.

Introduction

India’s IT/ Telecommunications Minister, Andimuthu Raja, has stated that the government will start the auction of licenses for high-speed wireless services within the next three months.   Many feared that the long delayed auctions might not start until sometime in 2010, so this could be good news.   In November 2008, India’s Telecommunications ministry picked NM Rothschild & Sons Ltd.  as the independent auctioneer to help it sell the permits and aimed to complete the process by early 2009, but that never happened.

The auction to operate 3G mobile-phone services and fixed wireless broadband (WiMAX) services will earn India about 250 billion rupees (US$5.1B), Raja said.   The starting price for each slot of 3G spectrum is 35 billion Indian Rupees (US$716M), lower than the (US$827M) price previously signaled by the government but higher than the original (US$413M) price suggested.   "Since the number of slots are only four, the auction price will be more," Raja said.  

Three available blocks of spectrum in the 2.3 and 2.5GHz band will be auctioned separately for fixed broadband wireless access services.   The so called "WiMAX auction" will be held after the 3G auctions are completed and are expected to follow a similar process.   The government ministers also set a base price of 17.5 billion rupees for permits to operate fixed broadband wireless (WiMAX) services.

As noted above, the 3G and WiMAX spectrum auctions had been scheduled to take place in January this year, but were subject to repeated delays that have allowed government controlled operators BSNL and MTNL to deploy 3G services ahead of privately owned rival carriers.   Those operators had already received licenses for one of the five blocks of spectrum to be allocated for wireless broadband (more in the next section of this article).

It was hoped that early auctions of 3G and WiMAX licenses would result in a growing market for mobile Internet in India, which has much potential and promise.   India is now the second largest wireless market in the world, but almost all of it comes from cellular voice and SMS (rather than from wireless Internet access).   India’s cellular operators added 11.59 million subscribers in May, taking the country’s total to 415.25 million, according to the latest figures from Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).

To read this entire article (no registration or ads) go to:

http://www.wimax.com/commentary/blog/blog-2009/september-2009/india-upcoming-wimax-auction-0901

Will Outsourcing of Managed Services and Network Maintenance Make Telecoms More Competitive?

Introduction:

Managed services and outsourcing of wireless and wireline network operations has become an emerging trend in the global telecom industry. 

Here are a few recent examples:

-Last year, Embarq outsourced its Network Operation Centers (NOCs) to Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN).
-In a blockbuster deal announced a few months ago, Sprint announced it will pay Ericsson as much as $5 billion over seven years to manage its CDMA and iDEN wireless networks as well as its fixed-line network.
-Alcatel-Lucent has joint ventures with Indian operators Reliance and Airtel for mobile and fixed networks, respectively.
-Light Reading stated this week that Huawei has made significant strides in its managed services provisions in India. The Financial Times reports that BT will outsource the upkeep of its local phone network to a joint venture of Carillion and Telent, in a £1bn deal expected to be agreed in the next two months.
-WiMAX rural operator Open Range today announced an agreement with IP backhaul vendor Harris Stratex to run its NOCs for five years.
-Bharti Airtel signed a managed services deal with Comviva, making it the first telco in the world to have a managed services agreement for all its value-added services portfolio.

Rajeev Suri, Director of NSN’s managed services business unit says the global managed services is a $277 billion market.  Which carrier will be next to outsource its operations? Will that make them more competitive and profitable? And how much new managed services business will traditional network equipment vendors get?  We focus our attention on the new managed network players in this article.

The new kids on the Managed Network block include Huawei,  Carillion and Telent joint venture, and Harris- Stratex. 

For the complete article, please go to:   http://viodi.com/2009/08/22/outsourcing-managed-services/

Opinion:  The newer, greenfield operators that don’t have any experience in managing networks or operations might be better off by outsourcing network operations and/or managed services/ NOCs.

What’s your opinion?  Do you think Clearwire would do well by outsourcing its network maintenance and management services to another vendor?

Interview with Professor Andrew Odlyzko- Most accurate Internet Traffic Tracker- on Mobile Internet now and in the future

Mobile Internet Data Traffic Trends and  Implications for the Wireless Industry

 

Can the growth of mobile data live up to the hype given the current capacity of wireless networks? Interview with Andrew Odlyzko, Professor of Mathematics at the University of Minnesota and expert on internet traffic patterns and growth.

Introduction:

Due to the success of smart phones, app stores, and open platforms, a strong consensus now holds that mobile data is creating the next telecom revolution.  The volume of data transmitted over mobile wireless networks is skyrocketing, growing at rates over 100% per year. 

But is that growth rate sustainable? Bandwidth per user will continue to be limited by overall 3G-network capacity.  Moreover, considerable CAPEX would be required to upgrade mobile networks to 4G.  Also, most subscribers are unwilling to pay rates in excess of $50 or even $70 per month, which most mobile operators need to get a reasonable ROI .  Yet wireless data growth conjures up "visions of sugar plums" for many telecom professionals and wireless industry stakeholders.

To examine the hype vs.  reality of mobile Internet data growth, we checked in with Professor Andrew Odlyzko – a former AT&T Researcher who exposed the myth of exponential (wireline) Internet traffic growth back in 1998 – just prior to the dot com bust and optical networking melt down.  Odlyzko has been tracking Internet traffic trends for over 12 years.  During most of that time period, the actual traffic growth did not live up to the over-hyped projections.
 

To read the rest of this fascinating interview, please go to:
http://www.wimax.com/commentary/blog/blog-2009/august-2009/mobile-internet-data-implications-for-the-wireless-industry-0816

Interview with Siavash Alamouti- CTO of Intel’s Wireless Mobility Group: article #1 posted, sneak look at article #2

Please read the article #1 here:

http://www.wimax.com/commentary/blog/blog-2009/august-2009/why-cellular-carriers-have-not-delivered-on-the-promise-of-the-mobile-internet-0806

Article #2 has been published at:

http://www.wimax.com/commentary/blog/blog-2009/august-2009/how-the-mobile-internet-can-be-realized-through-new-technologies-applications-0810

Here’s the lead-in:Realizing the Mobile Internet- new functions, technology and innovative applications

Abstract:

In the second article resulting from our in depth interview, Siavash Alamouti, CTO of Intel’s Mobile Wireless Group comments on the roadmap, potential new applications, functions, and technical requirements for 4G mobile networks. Specifically, he envisions several intriguing mobile Internet applications and value added services, delineates major performance and feature upgrades for 4G (it is not an evolution from 3G as many think), identifies several technical issues/ problems to be resolved, and explains why LTE is not the panacea many believe it to be.
 

Introduction

Siavash (and many other knowledgeable professionals) have clearly stated that mobile broadband needs to evolve from its current primitive state (a packet overlay to a cellular TDM network), to a wireless broadband network that can accommodate much higher bandwidth per user and overall traffic capacity. A network optimized for mobile voice cannot be “upgraded” to handle high numbers of high bandwidth mobile Internet users that access rich multi-media content or are uploading/ downloading large video and multi-media files.        

In particular, more spectrum is needed for an acceptable subscriber service level along with higher capacity backhaul and a different network architecture. Alamouti states that the mobile Internet requires a technology revolution to accommodate multi-Mbps subscriber connections from many simultaneous users. Clearly, the more bandwidth available per user, the more people benefit from the web. That is, if the mobile Internet service is reasonably priced (which it’s not now on 3G networks).

To obtain low cost per bit, much higher spectrum efficiency is needed than can be achieved by 3G or 3.5G networks. All now agree that 4G networks will be characterized by OFDM, MIMO, and all IP transport. Mobile WiMAX has these features now; LTE will once it’s deployed. Here’s an illustration of the timeline envisioned for the mobile broadband Internet to be realized:

Growth of Mobile Broadband Limited Without Investments in 4G Networks

While the pump is primed for mobile broadband, significant investments in next-generation broadband wireless networks will be needed to deliver on the promise and potential of the mobile internet experience.   If that is not the case, then all the predictions for explosive mobile Internet growth are a myth- similar to the Internet traffic growth stories of the late 1990s

Read the complete article at:

http://www.wimax.com/commentary/blog/blog-2009/july-2009/growth-of-mobile-broadband-limited-without-investments-in-4g-networks-0729

Alan Weissberger

IEEE ComSoc SCV Vice Chair

IEEE 802.16m Draft 1 goes to WG letter ballot- 4G version of WiMAX moves closer to standardization

Report of IEEE 802.16m Meeting -Session #62 on 13-16 July 2009 in San Francisco, CA

Most notably, the IEEE 802/16 Working Group met a major milestone by agreeing to open a letter ballot on the first draft (P802.16m/D1) under the 802.16m project. The 16m Task Group will issue a request for input on specific technical topics (LBS, E-MBS, Relay, and SON- see below for acronym definitions), to be submitted prior to Session #63 in Jeju, Korea and discussed at Session #63.5 on the big island of Hawaii.

The IEEE 802.16 Session #62 Report summarizes the outcomes:

http://ieee802.org/16/meetings/mtg62/report.html

From Jose Puthenkulam, IEEE 802.16 Vice Chair:

The important news items are:

– The first IEEE 802.16m Draft Standard (D1) will be issued shortly, before August 1st.

– The 802.16 Working Group Letter Ballot on the IEEE 802.16m Draft Standard will start soon after.

– A lot of contributions (60) on 802.16m Femto-cells were submitted last week. Work on Femtocells will continue throughout the letter ballot phase.

– Also optional features like Enhanced Location Based Services (LBS), Enhanced Multicast-Broadcast Services (EMBS), Integrated Relay and Self Organizing Networks (SON) will start being developed soon.

– The IMT-Advanced Proposal development also progressed very well. The complete proposal will be ready by mid September and finalized by the Sept 21-24 Hawaii meeting.

– IEEE 802.16m Systems are expected to deliver performance >300Mbps in 4×4 MIMO configurations using 20MHz channels

From Siavash Alamouti, CTO of Intel’s Mobile Wireless Group – on IEEE 802.16m capabilities in the 2010-2011 timeframe:

-Peak sector throughput over 300 Mbps Downlink* (in a 20 MHz channel)
-TDD & FDD support
-Multi-carrier support; BW of up to 100 MHz
-Increased VoIP capacity
-Even lower link access latencies
-Enhanced coverage
-Enhanced multi-radio coexistence and inter-technology handover
-Integrated multi-hop relay
-Self-organizing base stations
-Increased mobility: Up to 350 km/hr*

*Note: Actual mobility & throughput depends on environmental conditions and Service Provider provisioning. Aggregate peak sector throughput calculated using 20 MHz channel for Downlink.

References for IEEE 802.16m:

http://www.wimax360.com/profiles/blogs/4g-myth-busting-intels-march

http://ewh.ieee.org/r6/scv/comsoc/Talk_032509_WiMAXUpdate.pdf

Observation: It appears that IEEE 802.16m is a lot closer to standardization then 3GPP’s LTE Advanced. If so, it is likely to be implemented sooner – assuming IEEE 802.16e (Mobile WiMAX) is a commercial success.

Alan J Weissberger

IEEE ComSoc SCV Program Chair and Vice Chair

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