Cell Data on a Single Channel

Orange, a large cellular carrier in Europe and subsidiary of France Telecom, has begun a technical and marketing trial of the IPWireless UMTS TDD (TD-CDMA) system, in Lille, France. It will be used to test enterprise high data rate services.

The IPWireless system uses UMTS (cellular) frequency, but instead of a paired band (FDD) it uses an unpaired band (TDD) for data.

Orange will use its WCDMA-based network for the trial, which will assess the coexistence of TDD and FDD networks. Other factors to be assessed include coverage area, network capacity and number of simultaneous users per carrier.

UMTS TDD is a data-only network which means cellular providers must gamble that removing a voice channel for data-only services, won’t hurt the revenue stream (from multiple voice calls).

IPWireless provides TD-CDMA chipsets, software, and reference designs in its Developer’s Kit. Their half-pound modem is housed in a robust, cast-metal enclosure with internal electronics contained on both sides of an eight-layer-buildup circuit board. The product is powered by two processors: an Intel Xscale (PXA255AOC), which likely handles the upper layers of the TD-CDMA stack, and a baseband processor made by Philips.

Jeda Technologies says it has the world’s first single baseband solution that supports all TD-SCDMA, GSM, and GPRS cellular standards.

The Global UMTS TDD Alliance is created and supported by members of the UMTS TDD community. UTStarcom is providing UMTS TDD for a UK Broadband network trial and with Optus in Australia while Moving Media may lower the high cost of dedicated lines to cell towers. Toyko is trialing TD-CDMA technology. IPMobile has built three cell-sites inside Tokyo metropolitan area with subscribers using both PCMCIA cards and modems with USB interfaces. TD-CDMA is optimized for data traffic and Internet usage. Only one frequency is used for both up and downstream transmission.

China may opt to use its own home-grown 3G standard TD-SCDMA, developed by Chinese companies and Siemens. Siemens and Huawei Technologies are developing the TD-SCDMA. TD-SCDMA can use a single (simplex) channel for voice and data. It adds a syncronization element and was adopted by the ITU and is now one of three legitimate “3G” standards.

Intel and Korea’s LG will work together to harmonize 802.16e and WiBro. The 802.16e standard will incorporate a thousand or more COFDM carriers, providing more rugged data links and mobile handoff. The higher upstream data channel of WiBro/802.16e could have advantages for VoIP, just as new revisions of EV-DO and HSPDA have for cellular operators.

Verizon’s chief technology officer, Dick Lynch has said a VoIP offering could be launched in the 2008 or 2009 timeframe after it upgrades its 3G network to 1xEV-DO Revision A. EV-DO Revision A will upgrade existing EV-DO systems based on the earlier Release O standard and boost upstream rates to 1.8 Mbit/s, making VoIP feasible on EV-DO. Same deal with HSPDA.

Related DailyWireless articles include; UMTS TDD: The Other Broadband Standard, Siemens and Huawei developing TD-SCDMA, and Unwired in Maui.

WiMax Catchup

Nancy Gohring, editor of WiMaxNetNews reports on a couple of new pre-WiMax installations. The first is Golden Wireless in Petersburg, Russia. The network uses AirSpan 4020 units which are based on CDMA technology and operate at 3.5 GHz.

The second is AfriConnect in Zambia. They are offering a fixed broadband wireless service using NextNet gear in the licensed 2.6 GHz band.

Did I mention the Trump Tower “wireless fiber” installation using WiFiber technology (pdf) at 70/80 GHz? I forget.

Mesh Standardization

Unstrung reports that progress on the new IEEE standard for mesh networking — dubbed IEEE 802.11s — is now well underway.

Wireless LAN Standards

802.11 The original WLAN Standard. Supports 1 Mbps to 2 Mbps.
802.11a High speed WLAN standard for 5 GHz band. Supports 54 Mbps.
802.11b WLAN standard for 2.4 GHz band. Supports 11 Mbps.
802.11d International roaming automatically configures devices to meet local RF regulations
802.11e Addresses quality of service requirements for all IEEE WLAN radio interfaces.
802.11f Defines inter-access point communications to facilitate multiple vendor-distributed WLAN networks.
802.11g Establishes an additional modulation technique for 2.4 GHz band. Supports speeds up to 54 Mbps.
802.11h Defines the spectrum management of the 5 GHz band.
802.11i Addresses the current security weaknesses for both authentication and encryption protocols. The standard encompasses 802.1X, TKIP, and AES protocols.
802.11n Provides higher throughput improvements. Intended to provide speeds up to 500 Mbps.

A call for proposals was issued in January 2005, and by the March 2005 deadline, 34 individuals registered their intent to make a partial or full proposal to the [802.11s] Task Group, writes report author, Gabriel Brown.

To date, most wireless mesh systems from the likes of PacketHop, Strix Systems Inc., and Tropos Networks have been based on proprietary mesh routing protocols. Donald Eastlake, chair of the 802.11s Task Group, is quoted in the report as stating that the group s aim is to develop a standard wireless distribution system that operates between 802.11 access points and works with stations that don t know anything about mesh.

Initial voting on the standard is tipped to begin in July this year, with a first draft of the standard expected in March 2006. After a review process, the standard will go through the formal IEEE proceedings and could be ratified in early 2008.

Once ratified, Brown says, the 802.11s standard is likely to target the SOHO (small office, home office) mesh market. Although none of the proposals have yet been made public, sources interviewed say it is very likely that 802.11s will be oriented towards residential and small-office networks. This is because the Task Group membership is weighted towards chipset vendors, whose largest end market is the consumer.

Intel calls it’s proposal Mesh Portals. It would be able to connect a mesh network to a non-mesh network. Intel reportedly aims to complete the proposal by the end of the year.

Although mesh networks are already in use for very large deployments in cities such as Taipei, and in some industry sectors, none of the systems interoperate or are suitable for domestic or office environments, says Intel’s Steven Conner.

Intel’s proposals are reportedly compatible with 802.11a/b/g and with 802.11i security. They add functions for allowing wireless nodes to locate each other, authenticate, and establish connections, and establish the most efficient route for a particular task. W. Steven Conner, wireless network architect at Intel and technical editor of the IEEE’s 802.11s task group, says that a broadband video stream, for example, may take a different route across a home environment than a Web connection in order to achieve higher bandwidth

The standardisation process is expected to produce a firm proposal towards the end of 2006 or the beginning of 2007, with ratification following a year later.

Most “wireless mesh router” systems today use multiple 802.11 radios, coupled with essential QOS, fast-handoff, and security features.

DailyWireless has more on Taipei’s Mesh Cloud, Scaling City-wide Mesh, Mesh Projects & Gear, MetroFi Goes Long, Mesh: Baton Rouge Et Al Citywide Mesh, Mesh Goes Downtown, Aiirnet & Telerama, Strix and Air Magnet, San Jose Free Cloud, Meshing at Intel, Meshed Roofnets, Mesh ISP, and City Mesh and Intel’s 802.11s for Home Mesh.

WiMax Over Hyped?

Here’s a story that exclaims WiMax is over hyped in TV Technology. This “news” has all the novelty of “dog bites man”.

But WiMax (or more precisely “pre-WiMax”), is not all hype. The technology is delivering real-world solutions. Today.

No, WiMax won’t deliver ubiquitous communications (like cellular) overnight. Celluar providers have spent decades building up their infrastructure. Getting universal service out of WiMax will take years and hundreds of millions.

Cellular’s EV-DO and HSPDA will offer competitive, high-speed mobile networks sooner than mobilized WiMax. But it will cost cellular companies billions. WiMax may be faster and cheaper because it will be standardized and commoditized and IP all the way.

It offers real advantages.

DailyWireless talked to one wireless ISP who is providing hotels and convention centers with real advantages using WiMax-like service. WiMax can provide additional capacity within minutes. If a hotel needs 5 or 10 Megabit service over a weekend they can get it.

Today. That’s not hype.

Security Products

Do it yourself security like WEP and WPA-Personal doesn t cut it in today s world. A better solution is 802.1x (and 802.11i), where the data between your device, the access point and server is encrypted all the way and authenticated both ways. It prevents exploitations like “the evil twin” where hackers disrupt a legitimate AP so users must re-connect and enter passwords (through their cloned “evil twin” site).

Mobile Pipeline has a good rundown and a chart comparing 802.1x products for small networks of 10 to 100 users.

Enterprise 802.1x solutions include:

  • Elektron ($299, unlimited users), is a stand-alone, self-signed WPA Enterprise server that works only with WPA-based keys. It uses clients built into Windows XP and Mac OS X 10.3 that handle the secured messaging protocols PEAP (Protected Extensible Authentication Protocol) or EAP-TTLS (EAP-Tunneled Transport Layer Security). Elektron supports unlimited users for $299.

  • LucidLink ($449 for ten users), avoids the certificate installation problem by employing its own proprietary client but only Windows XP and 2000 are supported. Users can install a client and then connect to the network. The software prompts a network manager to confirm the person’s identity (usually by voice) before are given access. Free LucidLink Wireless Client software is now available to simplify wireless connectivity for home office and small business users.

  • WSC Guard ($4-5/month), runs their own 802.1X server outside the local network. Accounts are managed through a Web site. If a company looses its Internet link, the proprietary WSC Guard client can switch over to standard WEP or WPA keys using a server package that’s installed on the local LAN, but that retains no login information.

  • BoxedWireless (1-10 users $24/month, total). As with WSC Guard, accounts are managed via a Web site. It provides standard PEAP or EAP-TLS (Transport Layer Security) logins. The EAP-TLS option requires a unique digital certificate for each client on a network. This produces the highest level of security and eliminates any potential for trust problems in the authentication stage.

WiFi Planet has a complete review of enterprise authentication at home. Witopia is offering a hosted service called SecureMyWiFi and a separate security service called personalVPN for $79 per user. This will secure traffic from the client through to the Internet at any location, even a hotspot.

HotSpotVPN ($8.88 per month), encrypting your traffic and cloaks your destination. SecureMyWiFi uses enterprise-grade security based on the 802.11i standard and RADIUS server authentication. It encrypts data using WPA2. T-Mobile hotspots use 802.1x clients.

WiFi Planet says 802.1X provides a vendor-independent solution but in practice, it’s not that simple.

While parts of 802.1X are indeed standard, it uses port control with dynamically varying encryption keys that can be automatically updated over the network with the Extensible Authentication Protocol (EAP) to enable user, not machine, authentication. To make all this happen, 802.1X uses RADIUS servers.

However, 802.1X doesn’t require the use of Remote Authentication Dial-In User Service (RADIUS) authentication. Instead a variety of authentication methods, such as certificates, Kerberos and public key authentication can be supported. That means your laptop, even if has 802.1X enabled and is trying to connect with a open WLAN won’t be able to connect… unless your client PC is running the same authentication method used by the 802.1X authenticator software behind the access point.

For example, if you’re using Cisco’s Lightweight EAP (LEAP) on your laptop and the local access point uses Microsoft Point-to-Point Encryption (MPPE), there no hope of making a connection.

The IEEE 802.11i standard, recently ratified, incorporates both 802.11x and WPA. It defines new encryption key protocols including the Temporal Key Integrity Protocol (TKIP) and the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES). AES often requires new hardware to handle the increased overhead.

iGov hopes to resolve the problems with wireless policies with the launch of its iSolutions for Wireless, reports WiFi Planet. That offering will allow it to quickly and easily implement Wi-Fi systems that are compliant with even the strictest government requirements.

“The big differentiator is that this truly is a complete solution — nothing has been overlooked,” says Mack. “Many companies have a partial solution, and others aren’t compliant with all government policies, regulations and guidelines. Ours is complete and compliant.”

iGov is partnering with ten “best-of-breed” suppliers of network and security technology. They include Aruba Networks for core network infrastructure, Cranite Systems for firewalls that comply with the strict FIPS (Federal Information Processing Standards) 140-2 encryption standard, AirMagnet for intrusion detection technology and Senforce for endpoint security among others.

Freedom To Connect

Steve Stroh is attending the Freedom To Connect, David Isenberg’s conference March 30 and 31 in Washington DC. F2C is dedicated to the proposition that strong networks build strong democracies.

At F2C, communications policy wonks meet networking geeks and discuss network economics, applications, construction and operation. Stroh says the Isenberg conferences is like taking the red pill. Wireless Tech Radio is providing streaming audio of the entire conference, with Jim Sutton manning the streaming PC.