Wireless

Wireless / Most Commented

IPv6 and MEID’s… Stop Choking on 32 Bits

Both the Internet and North American cellphones are choking under a 32 bit limitation and reactions from protagonists involved in both cases offer striking similarities. 1983 saw the debut of IPv4 and North American mobile telephony started in earnest with Bell's analog AMPS (Advanced Mobile Phone Service). Responding to the need to uniquely identify the growing number of mobile devices in order to bill their owner, the FCC ordered that handsets be equipped with a unique identification number embedded on a chip. This became the 32 bit ESN... more

The FCC Stumbles Into Internet Filtering

What could be bad about free wireless Internet access? How about censorship by federally mandated filters that make it no longer "Internet." That's the effect of the FCC's proposed service rules for Advanced Wireless Service spectrum in the 2155-2180 MHz band, as set out in a July 20 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. Acting on a request of M2Z Networks, which wants to provide "free, family-friendly wireless broadband," the FCC proposes to require licensees of this spectrum band to offer free two-way wireless broadband Internet service to the public, with least 25% of their network capacity. So far so good, but on the next page, the agency guts the meaning of "broadband Internet" with a content filtering requirement. more

Bit Caps, Consolidation, and Clearwire

The news that Comcast, Time Warner, and AT&T are all considering capping use of their networks -- so that "overuse" would trigger a charge -- has prompted intense discussion of just why these network operators are moving in this direction. One camp suggests that these operators have to do *something* to manage congestion, and because any protocol-specific discrimination plan raises howls of protest from the Net Neutrality side of the fence adopting bit-usage discrimination schemes is inevitable. It's the least-bad approach, following this view. more

Google, the NAB, and a Third Way in ‘White Spaces’ Debate

Google co-founder Larry Page came to Washington last week to take on the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), the lobbying group that represents over-the-air television stations. It's a whole new adversary for the beleaguered broadcasters, who have been fighting cable and satellite television for years. The Federal Communications Commission is currently considering a proposal, by Google and other tech players. It would allow tech companies to build electronic devices that transmit wireless internet signals over the "white spaces," or the vacant holes in the broadcast television band. "We have an ambitious goal called pervasive connectivity through ubiquitous broadband networks," said Page... more

Telecom in China: After the Dust Settles

The long rumored reorganization of the telecommunications sector in China has begun. Now China will have three major companies, each with both mobile and fixed networks. The focus for fixed network growth is broadband Internet access. The focus for mobile will be continued growth in mobile subscribers and the launch of 3G services, with the three companies using three different 3G technologies. more

White Space for Internet Use Interfering with Wireless Patient Devices?

There is a germ of truth (perhaps a prion-sized germ or maybe just an amino acid) in the idea that transmitters in "white spaces" in the TV band *might* disrupt patient monitoring equipment if designed by a lunatic who believes in sending massive pulses of energy in a whitespace in the TV band (perhaps amplified by a large parabolic dish antenna the size of a trashcan lid or larger, aimed at the patient monitor system. But that risk is completely shared with zillions of other potential radiators of energy in the entire electromagnetic spectrum... GE, of course, owns NBC. There is a MAJOR conflict of interest at the corporate level of GE... more

The New Clearwire

The new Clearwire could be game-changing, but the rules of the game may not be quite as Clearwire presents them. I have been wondering since last July whether something significant would happen in the Google/Sprint world. The deal announcement earlier this weekseems to be that key development... In a nutshell, Sprint will contribute its substantial spectrum licenses in the 2.5 GHz range and its WiMAX-related assets and intellectual property. Google, Intel, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Bright House Networks will invest a total of $3.2 billion. more

China’s 3G License Delay is a Smoke Screen

Last week there was a flurry of stories about China's 3G plans after Jonathan Dharmapalan of Ernest & Young was quoted as saying he expected it to take 12 to 24 months from the start of China's commercial TD-SCDMA trials, i.e. from now, until 3G licenses were issued. But there was little analysis or comment on what's really happening. 3G licenses are a formality. They delay the deployment of 3GSM & CDMA 2000 which could otherwise happen rapidly -- just plug new cards into existing radios and offer established handsets (already being manufactured, in China, for the world market). more

Models for Muni WiFi Completely Neglect Technology Evolution

Modern travel means interminable waits, but it's a good time for reading. I finally read Wireless Pittsburgh: Sustainability of Possible Models for a Wireless Metropolitan-Area Network by Jon M. Peha, published in February as a working paper of the New America Foundation. The good news: it's full of interesting cost estimates and projected subscriber take rates based on specific demographics in Pittsburgh, Minneapolis and Philadelphia... The flaws in this study...
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Gaping Hole in Models for Using Spectrum Efficiently

In February, the FCC's Office of Strategic Planning and Policy Analysis published three studies (1, 2, 3) on spectrum licensing and spectrum utilization. Thanks to Nick Ruark for pointing them out... Reading on I was struck by a gaping hole in their assumptions. more

Google and the White Spaces

The white spaces proceeding is the next big opportunity for experiments in alternative ways of providing wireless highspeed internet access... A key advantage of unlicensed spectrum is that experiments in new technology can be carried out without asking the permission of spectrum licensees. To date, we have made very little spectrum available for unlicensed use and experimentation. The FCC has the discretion to decide whether the digital television "white spaces" may be used on an unlicensed basis... more

Google’s Gigabit Gambit

Want a gig (1000 megabits per second) of Internet access bandwidth? Google says you could have it by the end of next year "from Manhattan to rural North Dakota (sic, I think they meant Vermont)" if their proposal to the FCC is accepted forthwith according to CNET's newsblog. Not only a gig but a mobile gig, accessible by cellphone or roaming computer -- no fiber required. Sound too good to be true? -- it isn't, IMHO! Engineering is not the problem... more

700 MHz Auction Winners: Why Block C Matters

Today the FCC announced the winners of the 700 MHz auction -- and you can see from pp. 62-63 of this document that Verizon won Block C. (Block C was set up in two nationwide paired blocks of 11 MHz each, which were auctioned off in very large geographic areas -- 12 licenses, each covering a "Regional Economic Area Grouping". Verizon won seven of the twelve licenses, covering all of the US except Alaska, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands.) Why does this matter? more

Broadband Access: What Should We Regulate?

Network Neutrality is a hot topic in the US. The FCC held hearings in my neighborhood recently (while I was in Asia). Now I see Professor Susan Crawford will be testifying next Tuesday at a House Judiciary Committee hearing on "Net Neutrality and the First Amendment." I look forward to her remarks, but I worry that the whole discussion will be focused on "IP Pipes," that is connectivity at network layer 3. This distracts us from the fundamental problem... more

iPhone, Android, 700 MHz: What Maximizes Wireless Innovation?

At the Emerging Communications Conference eComm 2008, I'm moderating a panel "Wireless Innovation, with or without operators." This will be a discussion -- smart people from differing camps responding to (hopefully) probing questions from yours truly, and the audience. Points of view represented include Google Android, J2ME/JavaFX Mobile, iPhoneWebDev.com, Skype and Trolltech Qtopia (Nokia), plus Chris Sacca, formerly head of Google's wireless initiatives. I've been thinking about subjects and questions for the panel. As a start, I'll set down my current views, then seek others' views and questions. more