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My Blog has moved –

October 7, 2010 Leave a comment

I apologize for the inconvenience, I now have a permanent place for my analyses –

Also this gives my blog unlimited space  for pictures & Architecture diagrams !!

Thanks for your support !


Categories: Broadband

Unlicensed Mobile Access – A Revival

September 28, 2010 Leave a comment

Last week saw some significant wins for champions of ‘free’ usage of spectrum – first is the approval of TV whitespaces spectrum by FCC and the second is the software based solution by Kineto for using UMA as an app in the Android phones. Two entirely different but high impact propositions for the free airwave users, both of them spur developments in their respective ecosystems that will have long-term impacts. I have blogged on the advantages of both these technologies extensively in the past few months. UMA (Unlicensed Mobile Access) uses the Wi-Fi bands for extension of coverage indoors, and T-Mobile USA has been the only Tier I operator who uses this technology in Northern America.

I have extensively spoken about whitespaces in the last few weeks leading upto the voting on September 23rd, please see my older posts here and here. But the topic that has captured my attention was the event that happened around UMA, a technology that is very robust but has had relatively low success rate – UMA or GAN. It is one technology that could have been the end of Vonage if T-Mobile had followed through with the strategy of ‘at home’ products. It was a simple IP telephony that brought true convergence to cellular networks and the home Wi-Fi, even though it supported only 802.11g standards.

UMA in the News

Kineto Wireless, Inc., the key innovator and leading supplier of solutions that enable delivery of mobile services over broadband, today announced it has an updated version of its Smart Wi-Fi Application for Google’s Android operating system version 2.2, also called Froyo. Read more…

Categories: UMA Tags: ,

DPI – the end of Net Neutrality

September 23, 2010 Leave a comment

The recent events in the media and talk about net neutrality have once again brought focus onto technologies that disrupt the fine balance between neutrality and traffic shaping in ISPs. Internet service providers and Wireless broadband service providers have been looking at ways and means to shape the traffic, enforce policies and prioritize packets as Internet and mobile internet have set to take off. One of the biggest set of tools that has been used by operators is Deep Packet Inspection (DPI). This has been one of the several content optimization techniques that includes Policy Control mechanisms, QOS techniques and ‘throttling’ in extreme cases. Why do ISPs and WISPs resort to this? Read more…

Categories: Broadband, Net neutrality

Whitespaces for HSPA+/LTE offload

September 20, 2010 Leave a comment

Increasing spectrum supply is good for all wireless carriers, handset vendors, and providers of wireless apps, wireless backhaul, and towers. Wireless demand is still likely to outpace supply, creating incentive and pressure on those without deep spectrum holdings. Emphasis on unlicensed could create opportunities for equipment makers and carriers to build out networks and devices that meet wireless data demands.

FCC by establishing unlicensed use of the Whitespaces has taken a major step towards universal broadband access similar to the UNII bands that are used today for Wi-Fi access. Wi-Fi today is being used to offload the macro network for traffic congestion due to smartphones and dongles, whitespaces which has better propagation properties which will allow users to have indoor penetration as well as indoor femtocell deployment. But the way FCC has carved out chunks of spectrum in different markets due to changes to legislation as well as due to incumbent TV channels, whitespaces will require both a database for spectrum availability as well cognitive devices to sense and operate in different channels. Hence, it would make perfect sense to use it as a complementary technology rather than a standalone technology, serving as a mechanism to offload the congested macro networks.

What are Whitespaces?
“Whitespaces” are unused television channels created by the allocation of spectrum in the broadcasters’ digital TV band. These channels are used to protect a broadcast in one channel from interference caused by signals transmitted in an adjacent channel. To solve this problem, the FCC left some channels vacant on either side of a licensed channel, called “adjacent channel” guard bands. To further prevent interference, the FCC did not assign the same channel for use in an adjacent geographic market — these are called “co-channel” guard bands. Here is a detailed study that I had done earlier. Read more…

Categories: Broadband, Whitespaces Tags:

Strand Mounted public access femtocell, NaN & PicoChip

September 16, 2010 Leave a comment

Strand mounted femtocell ecosystem will be one of the biggest deployment of femtocell based coverage blanket that will deliver 4G signal ubiquitously. This is neither a ‘new’ concept nor an innovative solution, as it has been used by Muni wireless providers for blanket Wi-Fi coverage in metro areas. These femtocells will share the space and the power with multiple other uses – surveillance, power grid monitoring, traffic cameras, etc. These femtocells will have different names – Local Area BTS, Metro-Femto etc and will operate with different technologies – UMTS, LTE and WiMAX and will take design and deployment to the next level. A regular Monopole or a rooftop has to pass through different stages of search ring, zoning and site acquisition modes, whereas an electric utility company can bypass all this and give access to a telecom provider to support this kind of deployment due to a different class of RF propagation limitations.
This kind of Femtocell will leverage both network power as well as Ethernet backhaul for data either on copper or fiber. It requires a voltage converter with an optional integrated DSL or fiber optic media converter that provides a simple, scalable, and low cost solution to the problem of delivering reliable power and Internet broadband connectivity to field mounted electronic equipment. For outdoor Wireless Access Points, Femtocells, outdoor surveillance cameras, traffic control devices, electronic displays, or any other outdoor equipment needing easily installed reliable power and/or Internet connectivity.

Another concept that is interesting is Broadband over power lines (BPL) which never really took off due to many concerns including reduction of the number of radio frequencies available for ham and short-wave radio operators and that RF transmission over unshielded medium-voltage lines will cause interference with already-assigned frequencies. BPL has not been standardized by IEEE or any other organization. But BPL as a backhaul solution for Femtocells can be considered in rural areas where there is no access to Fiber or DSL providers.
Femtocell deployment can also be clubbed together with Smartgrid deployment which integrates a Wide Area Network (WAN) for distribution and a Neighborhood Area Network (NAN) for metering. NAN as a concept for smart metering has been around for a while, and will be leveraged for coverage by wireless network operators. Read more…

Whitespaces – Spectrum, Database & Ecosystem

September 15, 2010 Leave a comment

Whitespaces are frequencies allocated to a broadcasting service but remain unused. In the United States, it has gained prominence after the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ruled that unlicensed devices that can guarantee that they will not interfere with assigned broadcasts can use the empty white spaces in the frequency spectrum. The TV broadcast band in the United States has evolved through a number of changes over time, primarily due to the FCC’s desire to make more VHF and UHF bandwidth available for wireless usage for communications. TV White Spaces are unused TV broadcast channels, made more available through the transition from analog to digital TV. The FCC has not dictated specific modulation or protocol requirements for TV Band Devices (TVBDs), allowing TV White Space to employ a wide range of devices and applications on an unlicensed basis, similar to Wi-Fi.

Each TV channel is 6MHz wide

Read more…

Categories: Broadband, Whitespaces Tags:

LightSquared, Spectrum & LTE Deployment

September 12, 2010 Leave a comment

Operators have to make choices for technologies based on few rules – Technology, legacy network backward compatibility, technology ecosystem meaning vendors for Infrastructure/handsets and cost-benefit ratio. They also have to make choices involving which air interface technology to pick, but also which frequency band to utilize.  For the frequency band, both licensed and unlicensed alternatives exist providing different strategic paths.  Spectrum alternatives are compared based on ability to purchase, channel fragmentation, interference from other users, requirements to clear incumbent users, radiated power limitations and technology compatibility. These air interfaces are compared based on spectrum compatibilities, spectral efficiencies, link budgets and deployment costs.

In the near future, operators will be presented with, and challenged by, new and exciting opportunities to deploy LTE based mobile broadband services but like with any new network technology, comes the question of spectrum. Radio frequency is a valuable and finite resource and, today, there is simply not enough to satisfy demand. The need for spectrum is being driven by the pervasive convenience of mobile communications and increased penetration combined with improved performance and the falling costs of wireless devices & services. Read more…

Categories: Broadband, LTE Tags: ,