Saturday, March 20, 2010

SURFnet lays ground work for next generation 5G wireless network

SURFnet is probably the worlds most advanced R&E network and has continued to show leadership in a variety of new fields from cyber-infrastructure to optical networks. Now, in their more recent funding program GigaPort3, they have announced plans to integrate their wireless and wireline worlds for their users. Here are some additional pointers to articles discussing why need to integrate wireless and wireline networks through mobile data off load because of the huge data volumes on wireless networks. Skype Access is a good example of how this technology might eveolve. Since R&E networks are the only independent organizations that operate backbone networks, and are also the same people who brought you the Internet in the first place, they are well positioned to pioneer these new technology concepts.

Details on 5G next generation wireless networks

Kees Neggars from Surfnet writes:

In 2010 we will start a technology assessment and scenario building how we will integrate the new wireless and wireline worlds for our users as seamlessly as possible.

Here are a few phrase from the activity descriptions for 2010:


The ambition is for students, teachers and researchers to be among the first users world-wide of a nationwide fixed-wireless seamless high speed network no later than 2015. This will allow access to the network and related resources independent of device, time and location. The vision of the "anywhere anytime" paradigm is that the end-users are provided with enhanced capabilities for sharing, collaboration and social interaction, independent of their location, interaction medium and time of day. The integration of portable devices in the communication infrastructure also offers opportunities for interactive teaching processes that are independent of location by quickly and easily bringing together people and data.


GigaPort3 intends to implement seamless network connectivity at virtually every location in The Netherlands, for its users, whether they are connected to the fixed network or to a wireless network infrastructure. For the development of the required wireless services SURFnet will seek partnerships with operators and suppliers of wireless networks.

The main goal for this project is to explore the business, legal and technological aspects for SURFnet to support a nationwide fixed-wireless seamless high speed network.

This project will focus on getting a better understanding of available wireless network technologies, various use cases and business cases.Aspects like heterogeneous network access, mobile applications and wireless testbeds will be studied as well.

4G speeds: hype vs. reality (CNN)

Wireless Broadband Disruption WiMAX, LTE or Wi-Fi

LTE (News - Alert) versus WiMAX is a standard topic in the press and at conferences, as if something disruptive was happening or might happen. Wrong! WiMAX and LTE are technical variations on the same business model providing similar services. If were looking for disruption, we need to catch up on whats happening with Wi-Fi.

Today, WiMAX (News - Alert) is ahead of LTE, but only for green field deployments. All GSM operators will adopt LTE so, by 2015-2020, there will be billions of LTE devices sold each year. WiMAX will survive as a service platform alternative, but for the same services and business models as LTE.

Wi-Fi is a very different story. There are no carriers. Individuals, corporations, communities anyone whos interested buys their own infrastructure and deploys it wherever they want. Carriers are still needed for Internet connectivity, but otherwise, Wi-Fi infrastructure is a completely different beast.

First, Wi-Fi and freemium go together. Business models range from completely free to retail sponsorship (your local coffee shop), community sharing (the FON network) and/or bundled with other services (e.g. Verizon (News - Alert) adds Boingo to FiOS subscriptions). Yes, a few paid hotspot services remain, but they are a small part of the Wi-Fi ecosystem.


The most important result of Wi-Fis ownership model has been widespread adoption, leading to lower prices and ever more adoption.
Projections are that there will be more than a billion Wi-Fi chips per year by 2011, with Wi-Fi showing up in all smart phones and all manner of other devices.

Finally, Wi-Fi has technology leadership. 4G leverages orthogonal frequency division multiplexing and multiple input multiple output, aka MIMO. But Wi-Fi adopted OFDM in versions 802.11a (in 1999) and 802.11g (in 2003), allowing Wi-Fi to achieve 54mbps operation. And Wi-Fi adopted MIMO with 802.11n (draft in 2007). Today, 11n devices ship in high volumes, use 2.4gHz or 5gHz spectrum and provide 100-300mbps. New Wi-Fi silicon will deliver as much as 600mbps, and beamforming antennas will increase range and allow dramatically more wireless connections in the same area.

As consumer devices with access to more spectrum than either WiMAX or LTE, Wi-Fi can deliver more megabits per second per dollar. Expect to see both fixed and mobile carriers including free Wi-Fi access in their subscription bundles as Wi-Fi trumps femtocells. Conventional operators are not going away but, over the next decade, its Wi-Fi that will shake up business models and drive disruption.

Skype Access: pay for WiFi conveniently via Skype

As a longtime Skype user, I was pleased to see that Skype now allows me to pay for Wi-Fi access in places that charge for Wi-Fi (such as
airports) without going through the trouble of getting out the credit card, typing in the details, and authenticating via a cumbersome login screen. This is very handy when you are in an airport or other location where you dont have a lot of time and you dont want to pay the hourly rate because you only want 10 minutes to check email.
The service is called Skype Access.

All you do is select the Wi-Fi network you want to connect to, and if it is a network that works with Skype, Skype will pop-up a message asking if you want to pay using your Skype credit. You can view the Wi-Fi networks that work with Skype Access and check out the rates.



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