MDA IV PocketPC Phone

The MDA Pro is here (at least in Europe), proclaims PocketPC Thoughts which has a review:

Available from T-Mobile Deutschland from September 1, [the MDA Pro], a mini notebook, is one of the first mobile devices worldwide to integrate the three technologies W-LAN (Wireless Local Area Network), UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System) and GPRS (General Packet Radio Service). Further features include a very large color screen, full keyboard and Windows Mobile 5.0 operating system. The new highlight in the T-Mobile “Office in your Pocket” offer enables business users to work on the go almost as conveniently as in their office.

With the MDA Pro, they can, for example, access the company network quickly or receive emails with large attachments via broadband connections to the T-Mobile network. As the optimum platform for quick and easy access to the World Wide Web, the MDA Pro is perfect for those who frequently use T-Mobile’s web’n’walk offer for mobile access to the Internet.”

Additional information is available at MS Mobiles, Bargain PDA, and Infosynch World.

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Digital Shortwave

The BBC World Service (pr), has announced it will be among the first in the world to broadcast digitally over shortwave radio. They will use a standard called Digital Radio Mondiale (Wikipedia), which covers the international broadcasting bands below 30 MHz. DRM is a new digital radio standard, specifically designed for use the narrow and noisy short wave, medium wave and long wave radio bands.

The BBC is working with Norkring (press release) which is owned by European telephony giant, Telenor (press release). The DRM standard, which is now being implemented across the globe, was developed by a worldwide consortium, consisting of all the leading broadcasters from all five continents.

This new agreement with the BBC is said to be an important step in the digitalisation of short wave radio, which has the capacity to achieve global reach. The Beeb will use Norkring’s transmitting station at Kvitsoey, with signals broadcast to Central Europe. Norkring is Norway’s largest distributor of broadcast programs with 6,500 transmitters installed at 47 main stations and 2,700 smaller stations.

The agreement involves broadcast of the radio channel BBC World Service “English for Europe” for an initial period of 18 months. The BBC is also using UK-based transmitters owned and operated by VT Communications (above) to provide a multi-frequency network aimed at Benelux and neighbouring countries.

The DRM Consortium, founded in 1998, includes 93 members from 30 nations, including broadcasters, broadcasting associations, network operators, manufacturers, NGOs and others. With DRM, broadcasters can integrate data and text with audio, giving consumers new features such as up-to-the-minute news scrolls and traffic data. DRM broadcasts are now available in Europe, North America, and North Africa. Testing is underway in Latin America and Asia.

The first major test will be the launch of receivers for DRM at the world’s largest exhibition for consumer electronics, the IFA in Berlin, 2-7 September 2005. DRM receivers are expected to be available by the end of 2005. IFA will feature 1,189 exhibitors from more than 40 countries

At next week’s IFA show, Texas Instruments and RadioScape will unveil several manufacturers multi-standard consumer receivers with DRM and DAB (Digital Audio Broadcast) based on TI s DRM350 multi-standard digital radio baseband.

In addition, Coding Technologies, AFG Engineering GmbH and Himalaya (Power) Electronics will present a DRM-capable radio based on Analog Devices Blackfin. RTL Group will discuss its DRM strategy and will broadcast live RTL programs in German, French and English. Deutsche Welle will reveal its upcoming DRM expansion, and will broadcast live from IFA along with RFI.

Successful DRM tests in Mexico and Brazil could lead to success with DRM in the United States. One possibility is using 26 MHz frequencies in the U.S. in DRM mode for local broadcasting (and maybe even sky wave broadcasting) with low power (10 watts to 1 kilowatt) to cover small areas such as universities and towns. Radio Canada International is the only station currently on the air to the Americas.

The FCC s recent rules changes now permit DRM modulation by shortwave stations in the United States that are transmitting abroad. The 26 MHz band, basically the 11-meter WARC allocations for international broadcasting, are not used by traditional HF broadcasters, and are being eyed for use by DRM.

Continental Electronics obtained FCC permission to operate a successful 26 MHz DRM transmission during a DRM meeting for one week last August. A similar test was run by RIZ Transmitters in Mexico City during the High Frequency Co-ordination Conference in February.

Digital Radio Mondiale is different from Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB), commonly used in Europe, in that DRM is designed for narrower, noisier channels using Amplitude Modulation or Single Sideband.

Texas Instruments explains there are two main digital radio standards:

  • Eureka-147 Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) offers listeners more stations with higher fidelity sound while transforming radio into an information delivery system with content on-demand for traffic, weather, sports and more. Eureka DAB broadcasts in several countries including the United Kingdom, Germany and Canada. It also is found in Asia in such places as Singapore and Taiwan.

  • HD Radio technology is the FCC-selected standard for digital audio broadcasting in the United States. HD Radio, for example, is used by NPR’s Tomorrow Radio project to allow broadcasters to transmit a second station on their given frequency, doubling the bandwidth of the FM band. Other innovative features include “rewind radio” and surround-sound transmission. TI’s software radio approach allows manufacturers to add new features.

Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB), Europe’s digital radio service, uses two new radio bands, Band III (174-239 Mhz) and the L Band (1.452-1.490 Ghz). The lower frequency has better penetration and doesn’t need terrestrial repeaters. HD Radio in the United States, by contrast, requires no new frequencies, it rides piggyback on current AM and FM radio channels.

Another standard, Digital Video Broadcast – Handheld (DVB-H) took Europe’s Digital TV standard, Digital Video Broadcast (DVB), and modified it for mobile reception. It’s expected to be used by broadcasters worldwide for multi-media distribution and may compete with DAB (on broadcast frequencies). DVB uses COFDM instead of the multipath prone 8-VSB-based ATSC standard. DVB-H may also use the same frequencies used by DAB digital radios (1.7 GHz and 200 Mhz).

Efficiency of Digital Radio Systems

System Bandwidth Required per Average Audio Quality Radio Station
DRM 25
DVB-H 39
DMB 60
DAB 250

Nokia and Crown Castle are testing DVB-H in Pittsburgh. Crown owns a 5 Mhz swath across the United States at 1.7 GHz and expects to start portable television broadcasting next year. DVB-H also will function within the European UHF frequency range (470-890 MHz) and the L-Band spectrum likely to be allocated for European mobile TV broadcast (1,452-1,477 MHz).

The big three mobile television networks in the United States are shaping up to be Crown Castle’s nationwide DVB-H service, in the L band (1670 MHz to 1675 MHz), Qualcomm’s MediaFLO, with 6 MHz of spectrum in the 700 MHz band (UHF TV channel 55), across the United States, and Aloha Partners, which may go head-to-head with Qualcomm on the 700 MHz band, and will do so with twice the spectrum.

In related news, MyBBCPlayer will let users download the Beeb’s TV and radio programming in “Podcast” form, according to C/Net. “Everything we know about the online world suggests that it’s the big brands–the eBays, the Amazons, the Microsofts–that punch through, and the BBC is one of the big brands,” said Mark Thompson, director-general of the British Broadcasting Corporation.

The DRM Software Radio Forums have news and rumors. Related DailyWireless stories include; Intel On DVB-H, Clear Channel Podcasting, U.S. Gets MobileTV via DVB-H, On The New Media, GoogleNet, Cuban: Broadcasting Not Dead, Open ITV, IP-TV Networking, Mobile TV Expands, NerdTV and Global Mobile Television.

LinksysInfo: 60K Users

LinksysInfo has a great website featuring free firmware for the Linksys WRT54G family of access points with downloads, news and forums. They now have 60,000 registered users after less then 18 months.

We have just hit a new all time high with 60,000 + users who have taken the time to register with LinksysInfo. started as a small hobby for both me and JDepew in April of 2004 and it has grown into a full time commitment. we just never imagined in our wildest dreams that we would be this big, so soon. The credit has to be with ALL who have helped this community grow.

Thanks for visiting our site and keep supporting LinksysInfo, as James said in the last 50,000 user news – We’ve got a lot more coming for you very soon.

Open ITV

Satellite provider EchoStar has launched a mosaic video application (showcase) that will enable viewers to watch six TV thumbnailed video channels and access an interactive menu concurrently, reports CED Magazine.

Powered by OpenTV set-top software, the mosaic and interactive elements, offered on channel 100, follow some earlier work with the technology by EchoStar. In 2004, the DBS service provider offered mosaics to support the Summer Olympics and for coverage of the Presidential elections.

A mosaic thumbnail, once selected by a customer, will be transitioned to full-screen video.

Cable also has some grand plans for mosaic video applications. The Comcast Media Center and GuideWorks, the Comcast/Gemstar-TV Guide joint venture, are developing “video-rich navigation” enhancements for interactive program guides.

Cable has a technological advantage over satellite because signals can be sent two ways. Without a two-way path, satellite operators can offer simultaneous viewing of channels or provide VOD via cable PVR boxes. Programming can be downloaded and stored for later retrieval. That’s what DVB-H does, too.

How long until WiFi, WiMax or DVB-H deliver multi-media for Playstation Portables? You decide.

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Softbank Adds Hotspots in Japan

Japanese Internet group Softbank, which provides Japan’s Yahoo broadband service, will offer subscribers “hot spot” service at train stations and other locations starting this October, reports the AP.

Softbank will integrate its WiFi network with that of its subsidiary Japan Telecom, which it bought in 2004, to offer a single service called BB Mobile Point to be available at 820 points in Japan.

The subscription service is expected to cost as little as 315 yen (2.84 dollars) per month, in addition to the cost of Yahoo’s fixed-line broadband, which is the lowest in the market. There will be no limit on connection time or downloads. Ericsson and BB Mobile have demonstrated a seamless handover between Softbank BB’s commercial WLAN network and BB Mobile’s WCDMA 3G mobile network operating on the 1.7GHz radio frequency band.

“Yahoo! BB”, which has about five million fixed-line broadband subscribers, faces competition on the new service from Livedoor, a popular Japanese Internet portal. Additionally, telecom giant NTT, is vying for a share of Japan’s wireless Internet access market.

NextWeb Expands

Fremont, Calif.-based NextWeb, which provides service to more than 2,500 businesses in Los Angeles, Las Vegas and San Francisco, recently raised $3.5 million in new financing to fund expansion.

Today it’s doing it. NextWeb said they will buy 1st Universe to strengthen its network, and prepare for WiMAX. NextWeb claims the deal is the largest cash acquisition in the fixed-broadband space. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Founded in 1999, 1st Universe, of Huntington Beach, Calif., was an early entrant in the fixed-wireless space and has been a strong competitor in the Southern California. 1st Universe operates its primary data center in Irvine, Calif., and has hundreds of business customers ranging from enterprises to small offices.

Their system delivers 10 Mbps over the air, and operates in either the 5.8 GHz ISM band or the 5.3 GHz U-NII band.

NextWeb’s high-speed broadband service plans start at $159 a month for up to 3Mbps, six times faster than comparably priced DSL service plans in the area.

NextWeb base stations are located on high-rise building rooftops, mountain top towers, and other strategic locations. Each unit typically allows a ten-mile range, giving a fully provisioned base station coverage over a 300 square mile area.

NextWeb uses equipment from Axxcelera (right), with roof-mounted base stations covering a three mile radius, supporting 250 subscriber units per sector. User throughput up to 25 Mbps, can be dynamically allocated among users, upstream or downstream.

NextWeb has signed a VoIP partnership with Level 3 Communications and will launch a WiMax service for its 2,000 business customers in the middle of the year using unlicensed 5.8GHz bands.

The company has licenses for 18 GHz and its backhaul links are high capacity, at 100 Mbps or 155 Mbps depending on the location. Each node has backhaul from at least two different directions. They deploy a combination of unlicensed (2.4/5.8 GHz) and licensed band radio technology. Typically, wireless licensed-band links are used for backhaul. NextWeb has a key relationship with one of its investors, Oakland-based nonprofit health industry giant Kaiser Permanente.

NextWeb is an active member in the Broadband Access Network Coordination group (BANC) of several regions and actively works with other operators to coordinate frequencies in the 5.8GHz band.

NextWeb and SkyPipeline merged last year in a deal valued at more than $25 million. The two privately owned, California-based companies created the largest wireless Internet service provider (WISP) in the country.

NextWeb should not be confused with NextNet, the hardware supplier for Craig McCaw’s Clearwire.

Clearwire has raised $260 million in a debt offering from 31 undisclosed investors, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission and could raise an additional $260 million through the sale of senior notes and warrants.

Clearwire is partnering with Bell Canada to provide voice calls over its network and with Intel for WiMax gear.

Clearwire, a 500-employee Kirkland company, offers WiMax-like service in 16 U.S. cities and dozens of other cities around the world.

In related news:

Broadband Wireless Magazine lists the largest Wireless ISPs in the United States.