Thursday, October 28, 2010

Apple's new software SIMs may allow for 5G network deployment by R&E and community networks

[Some more exciting developments in the world of 5G networks. The development of soft SIM cards will liberate computer and telephone manufacturers to build next generation wireless networks in partnership with R&E and community networks. Unfortunately the telcos and regulators are still trapped in the antiquated view of spectrum has being a land grant, while in reality new technologies such as cognitive radios, wireless mesh, RF orbital angular momentum, WhiteFi, etc will allow next generation radios to communicate through a variety of techniques across large spectral regions. More importantly this abundance of new radio services can be powered solely by micro renewable energy. As well, most R&E/Community networks have the essential open access backhaul infrastructure. Liberating the handset from the monopoly of a sole provider is a crucial first step- which is enabled by removing the SIM from the clutches of the telco. As noted in the article below this new world of wireless Internet will most likely happen first in Europe. In Europe policy makers understand that “competition” is the essence of a free market, while in North American we are wedded to the false belief that “non-interference” by government is the essence of a free market. European regulators such as those in Netherlands are already signaling that they will be receptive to new wireless Internet strategies enabled by the Apple SIM card and forward thinking innovative networks like SURFnet. But as Rudolf van der Berg points out the regulator also has a critical role in ensuring access and roaming. Quoting Rudolf “The access bit is dependant upon getting the right IMSI's and cryptographic keys of the operator. The roaming bit is either done by subscribing on all networks with OTA updates or by paying the racketeering fee to telco's to allow you to roam”. The new software SIM cards will allow a host of new applications for education/research community in authentication/authorization, sensor networks, etc. Some excerpts from relevant articles—BSA].

More on 5G networks can be found at

Is Apple About To Cut Out the Carriers?

Sources inside European carriers have reported that Apple has been working with SIM-card manufacturer Gemalto to create a special SIM card that would allow consumers in Europe to buy a phone via the web or at the Apple Store and get the phones working using Apple’s App Store.
It’s rumored that Apple and Gemalto have created a SIM card, which is typically a chip that carries subscriber identification information for the carriers, that will be integrated into the iPhone itself. Then customers will then be able to choose their carrier at time of purchase at the Apple web site or retail store, or buy the phone and get their handset up and running through a download at the App Store as opposed to visiting a carrier store or calling the carrier. Either way, it reduces the role of the carrier in the iPhone purchase. Gemalto and Apple have not responded to requests for comment. I’m also waiting to hear back from other sources to get more details.
However, if Apple is doing an end run around the carrier by putting its own SIM inside the iPhone, it could do what Google with its NexusOne could not, which is create an easy way to sell a handset via the web without carrier involvement. Much like it helped cut operators out of the app store game, Apple could be taking them out of the device retail game. Yes, carriers will still have to allow the phone to operate on their networks, which appears to be why executives from various French carriers have been to Cupertino in recent weeks.
The Gemalto SIM, according to my sources, is embedded in a chip that has an upgradeable flash component and a ROM area. The ROM area contains data provided by Gemalto with everything related to IT and network security, except for the carrier-related information.
The model should work well in Europe, where the carriers tend to use the same networking technology and are far more competitive. It also means that customers can roam more easily with the iPhones, swapping out the carriers as needed. The iPhone has lost its exclusivity in much of Europe and other markets of the world, which makes this model a compelling one for consumers, but a nightmare for carriers. Apple could change the mobile game once again.

From Dewayne Hendricks Blog
[Note: This item comes from friend Scott McNeil. DLH]

A Cell-Phone Network without a License
A trial system offers calling, texting, and data by weaving signals around the chatter of baby monitors and cordless phones.

A trial cell-phone network in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, gets by without something every other wireless carrier needs: its own chunk of the airwaves. Instead, xG Technology, which made the network, uses base stations and handsets of its own design that steer signals through the unrestricted 900-megahertz band used by cordless phones and other short-range devices.

It's a technique called "cognitive" radio, and it has the potential to make efficient use of an increasingly limited resource: the wireless spectrum. By demonstrating the first cellular network that uses the technique, xG hopes to show that it could help wireless carriers facing growing demand but a relatively fixed supply of spectrum.

Its cognitive radios are built into both the base stations of the trial network, dubbed xMax, and handsets made for it. Every radio scans for clear spectrum 33 times a second. If another signal is detected, the handset and base station retune to avoid the other signal, keeping the connection alive. Each of the six base stations in xG's network can serve devices in a 2.5-mile radius, comparable to an average cell-phone tower.

"In Fort Lauderdale, our network covers an urban area with around 110,000 people, and so we're seeing wireless security cameras, baby monitors, and cordless phones all using that band," says Rick Rotondo, a vice president with xG, which is headquartered in Sarasota, Florida. "Because our radios are so agile, though, we can deliver the experience of a licensed cellular network in that unlicensed band."


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