In The Hot Zone

Kevin Sites in the Hot Zone is news reporting for the new millennium – a combination of backpack journalism and narrative story-telling by an award winning journalist.

In conjunction with Yahoo, In The Hot Zone, is covering every armed conflict* in the world within one year, and in doing so to provide a clear idea of the combatants, victims, causes, and costs of each of these struggles – and their global impact.

Kevin Sites uses the latest digital newsgathering technology — all of which fits in one backpack — to gather and transmit his stories. Additionally, should anything happen to his gear — damage, theft, loss — the Hot Zone team has an identical backup kit ready to be shipped to Kevin anywhere in the world.

MIMO Settop uses Airgos

ST Microelectronics has embedded Airgo Network’s MIMO Wireless LAN technology into its STx7100 settop box and the companies have collaborated on a set-top-box reference design that will allow video content to be streamed wirelessly around the home at speeds up to 240 Mbits/sec.

STBs featuring True MIMO Media technology from Airgo Networks will be able to stream live TV and movies, including high definition, throughout a home. Carriers like AT&T are spending billions to deliver IPTV to consumers. But most homes today aren’t equipped with Ethernet cabling that IPTV settops require. MIMO settops allow fast, inexpensive connections. No cables are needed.

The first actual STB with the MIMO Media chips will be the V2O Wireless Home Media Network from original equipment manufacturer Caton Overseas of China, which also uses STMicro’s chips for MPEG decoding, reports WiFi Planet.

Other chips promoting MIMO (or 802.11n) include:

Most broadcast standard definition video requires between 2 and 5 mbps, explains ZDNet, while high definition video typically requires a stable 8 to 16 mbps. Ruckus’ solution will deliver a smooth 16 mbps barring severe interference. The smart antenna technology from Ruckus can change its antenna array to a more suitable configuration on the fly whereas non smart antenna solutions cannot.

Early “Draft N” products have not rallyed around Airgo’s current 3rd Generation chips. The company has stated it will not go to a 4th generation until 802.11n is in a far more completed state. Some companies just can’t wait.

Atheros and Broadcom said today that they have achieved interoperability with their next-generation 802.11n chipsets. Both the Atheros XSPAN and the Broadcom Intensi-fi 802.11n chipsets were shown to be compatible at speeds greater than 100-Mbits/s. The compatibility tests were not run through the Wi-Fi Alliance, the official standards testing body, however. Of course that would be tough — there really isn’t an official “standard” (yet).

Related DailyWireless articles include Broadcom Ships 802.11n Chips, RangeMax 240 Tested and MIMO USB, AT&T’s IPTV Pricing, Intelsat Does Home Delivery, AT&T’s WiFi TV, NAB 2006, IPTV: Is It Soup Yet?, IPTV Networking, PBS + MovieBeam, WorldView, Cuban: Broadcasting Not Dead, Wireless IP-TV Box, IP-TV End Game and Cisco Buying Scientific Atlanta.

PC Mag Tests KR-1 Mobile Router

PC Magazine reviews the Kyocera KR-1 router. The $200-$300 WiFi box uses a cellular EV-DO card from Sprint for the backbone.

The Kyocera KR1—a full-featured 802.11g wireless router made by D-Link—includes a four-port switch and incorporates a slot in the back for your cell carrier’s EV-DO PC card. Or, if you prefer, you can use a data-capable cell phone as a cellular modem by connecting it to a USB port on the device. The feature is unique but works with very few phones (you’ll find a list of them on the Kyocera Web site).

Setup is very easy. Stick an activated EV-DO card into the back of the router and plug the KR1 into an outlet. If you need to activate your card, you can easily do so using your laptop and the provided software from your mobile phone carrier (the process requires no Internet connection).

Once the working card is in the router, turn on your laptop, browse for a wireless network called KR1, and connect.

Similar mobile wireless routers include the similar model available through D-Link, and the WavBoard CM3 ($379.00), designed to be used in a moving vehicle.

The Linksys Router for Mobile Broadband (WRT54G3G-NA), the Entree Box, the StompBox, Junxion Box, Omniway, Possio PX40 Wireless Router and NETGEAR’s box with a Flarion backbone are not potted plants. They can network voice and data around your home. Cellular backbones today, WiMAX tomorrow.

Verizon Wireless does not allow the use of these boxes on its cellular system. Sprint is more lenient. The Junxion Box allows HSDPA cards on Cingular’s 3G system.

WiMax: Do It Now


What’s wrong with specifying an ALL WiMax city-cloud, right now. Specify hotspots that can be upgraded with 802.16-2005 backhaul. Let coffee shops (or homes) put up their own hotspots. Inexpensive WiFi hotspots with built-in (or plugged in) WiMax backhaul are coming in 2006-2007.

A $75 WiMax client will be able to supply the backhaul. Simple. Cheap.

Licensed and unlicensed WiMax clients, using Mini PCI, PC Cards and USB dongles, should be available shortly. Wavesat’s 5.8 GHz Mini PCI WiMax card (below) could fit in a Soekris box.

With cheap $20/mo Mobile WiMax backbone riding on the “city cloud”, it should be a snap. The infrastructure would be faster and cheaper. That translates into lower costs. And free hotspots.

It might not be mobile, but 5.8 GHz WiMax would be cheaper and faster. Enterprises will demand wireless VoIP (via QOS-enabled WiMax).

WiMax was designed for low cost metropolitan access. Why not use it.

A $200, self-install box could deliver both broadband and voice for $40-$50 a month. That’s a competitive business proposition.

A $300, triple play settop (with DVD) might add twenty channels of DVB-H.

With location-based advertising, it might even be “free”.

Related DailyWireless articles include; WiFi Routers for Cars, USB Client with Antenna Connector, Routers Unwired: Burning Down The House, IPWireless Mobile Gateway, Solar Powered Media, Linksys WiFi/Cellular Access Point, and Seattle Transit WiFied.

Mobile WiMAX: The Attack Plan

Intel has a white paper (pdf) that argues, “only Mobile WiMAX can transport DSL and cable-like services cost-effectively in a mobile environment”.

The paper was prepared by WiMAX supporters on behalf of the WiMAX Forum. The paper compares HSDPA, HSUPA, EVDO Rev A, and EVDO Rev B (using duplex 2 Ghz cellular channels) with Mobile WiMAX (using simplex 2.5 GHz channels). Unsurprisingly, Mobile WiMAX compares favorably with advanced CDMA technologies in this technical comparison.

Mobile WiMAX is based on OFDM/OFDMA technology. It is said to have better resource allocation, better uplink efficiency, and can support a full range of advanced antenna technologies. These capabilities provide significant advantages in spectral efficiency and better QoS in both the downlink and uplink.

Mobile WiMAX can also dynamically adjust downlink/uplink ratio. In contrast, EVDO and HSPA, based on FDD, have a fixed asymmetric downlink/uplink ratio and fixed FDD channel bandwidths.

Other points include:

  • Subchannels allow maximize spectrum utilization. All these wireless broadband technologies support a frequency reuse of one, i.e. all cells/sectors operate on one frequency channel. However, due to heavy interference between sectors, users at the cell edge may suffer low connection quality. 1xEVDO and HSPA address the interference issue by adjusting the loading of the network…but it’s applied to all users within the sector.

    WiMAX users operate on sub-channels, so the cell edge interference problem can be easily addressed by dynamic reconfiguration. Edge users can operate using fewer (but more powerful) sub-channels. It can be adaptively optimized with no frequency planning required.

  • Advanced Antenna Technology. CDMA-based 1xEVDO and HSPA support simple transmit diversity and the HSPA standard has an option to support Beamforming. In general however, the use of advanced antenna technologies in current 1xEVDO and HSPA solutions has been limited.

    Mobile WiMAX, on the other hand, is based on smart antenna friendly OFDM/OFDMA technology. OFDM/OFDMA systems make it easier to support smart antenna technologies. The single frequency makes it cheaper and more practical. Complex equalizers are not required to compensate frequency selective fading. Mobile WiMAX supports a full range of smart antenna technologies to enhance performance including Beamforming, Space/Time Coding (STC) and Spacial Multiplexing (SM). These techniques improve both system coverage and capacity.

  • High Data Rates with QOS. MIMO antenna techniques with flexible sub-channelization schemes and Advanced Coding and Modulation enable the Mobile WiMAX technology to support peak DL sector data rates up to 46 Mbps, assuming a DL/UL ratio of 3:1, and peak UL sector data rates up to 14 Mbps, assuming a DL/UL ratio of 1:1, in a 10 MHz channel. As opposed to priority-based QoS schemes in CDMA, Mobile WiMAX supports guaranteed service levels including committed and peak information rates, latency, and jitter for varied types of traffic on a customer-by-customer basis.
  • Scalability. Mobile WiMAX is designed to be able to scale to work in different channelizations from 1.25 to 20 MHz to comply with varied worldwide requirements as efforts proceed to achieve spectrum harmonization in the longer term. This also allows diverse economies to realize benefits for their specific geographic needs, such as providing affordable internet access in rural settings or enhancing the capacity of mobile broadband access in metro and suburban areas.

The simulations show Mobile WiMAX has a distinct advantage over the 3G enhancements in both spectral efficiency and channel/sector throughput. The spectral efficiency for Mobile WiMAX with MIMO is more than 2 times better than EVDO Rev B and HSPA in both downlink and uplink and, in the same bandwidth, the sector throughput is more than 2 times higher in the DL and about 2 times higher in the UL.

A range comparison was not included and would have been helpful. Still, you have to wonder why the FCC wants to “kill” OFDMA in the AWS auction if Mobile WiMAX is supposed to be so much more efficient.

Covad, along with Korea Telecom, TeleKom Malaysia and PCCW are members of the WiBro and mobile WiMAX Community which plans interoperability between WiBro and Mobile WiMAX.

According to Verizon Wireless’ latest terms of agreement, its “Unlimited” BroadbandAccess services cannot be used for:

  1. “uploading, downloading or streaming of movies, music or games,
  2. “with server devices or with host computer applications, including, but not limited to, Web camera posts or broadcasts, automatic data feeds, Voice over IP (VoIP), automated machine-to-machine connections, or peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing”
  3. “as a substitute or backup for private lines or dedicated data connections.”

How long until $99 USB Mobile WiMAX dongles are everywhere? How long until other countries get wireless broadband (with voice) at twice the speed for half the cost compared to the United States?

One election cycle.

The FCC’s Kevin Martin and the NTIA’s Michael Gallagher are on the hot seat. The U.S. Senate Friday confirmed Robert McDowell as the newest member of the FCC to re-establish a Republican majority.

It won’t help. The key is competition.

Related DailyWirless articles include; AWS Auction: Does It Suck?, Mobile WiMAX: It’s Done, 3G Band Scam?, HSDPA: Operation Grand Slam?, HSDPA Deployments Cingular Push to Talk, Cell Vs City Clouds: The Battle Begins, T-Mobile’s HSDPA Move, Verizon Expands EV-DO, Cuts Price, Verizon Tests Rev A, Sprint Rolls Out EV-DO, Cingular’s 3G Network, Sprint + Lucent for EV-DO, Jacobs: Cellular Beats WiMax, Verizon Tests Rev A, Finland Goes Flarion, Qualcomm Buys Flarion, T-Mobile’s HSDPA Move, HSPDA in China, Verizon Expands EV-DO, Cuts Price, Sprint Rolls Out EV-DO, Verizon EV-DO in Seattle, Portland & NYC, HSPDA Tests, 3G: HSPDA or Not?, CDMA vs OFDM, Mobile WiMax: It’s Alive!, 16e: Backward Compatibility – NOT, Flarion Testing WiFi Handoff, Banning Broadband Everywhere, City Clouds Save Money, Mobile WiMax – Now?, Laptop with EDGE, HSPDA & WiMax Living Together?, WiMax Over Hyped?, HSPDA Demos, Sprint Commits to EV-DO, Verizon Expands EV-DO, Cuts Price, 3G: HSDPA or Not?, and Cellular At The Races.

Fujitsu Gets Wi-LAN IP

Fujitsu said Tuesday it has completed its acquisition of the intellectual property (IP) division of Wi-LAN, a pioneering WiMax hardware developer.

Fujitsu Microelectronics America said it is also is acquiring Wi-LAN’s technology development division. Fujitsu is challenging Intel as a provider of chipsets for WiMAX wireless broadband systems.

Intel’s WiFi chipset in Centrino laptops has sold alot of laptops. Intel also has a fixed WiMax chipset, but some believe that Intel may go with Beceem for a Mobile WiMAX design.

Wi-LAN claims to own the essential Wideband Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (W-OFDM) patent required for any implementation of WiMAX 802.16 – both d and e.

“This acquisition reinforces Fujitsu’s commitment to the WiMAX market,” Kazuyuki Kawauchi, president and CEO of Fujitsu Microelectronics America, said in a statement.

“We have purchased the Wi-LAN IP related to WiMAX, extended the scope of our patent licenses from Wi-LAN, and retained an experienced engineering team to continue our WiMAX development.”

Terms of the acquisition were not released.

The Fujitsu WiMAX reference kit offers a quick way to develop Time Division Duplex (TDD) or Half Duplex Frequency Division Duplex (HDX-FDD) subscriber stations. The board includes Fujitsu’s MB87M3400 (pdf), a 802.16-2004 WiMAX SoC and all the other hardware resources required to create self-configurable indoor or outdoor subscriber stations that operate in a licensed or license-exempt band from 2 to 11 GHz.

Wi-LAN previously sold the LIBRA 5800 product line to Taiwan-based GIL Technology. This transaction completes the Company’s decision to exit the equipment business.

Meanwhile, Qualcomm, which bought Flarion several months ago, is now apparently using that purchase to increase their intellectual portfolio.

Qualcomm signed a licensing agreement for broadband wireless patents covering OFDM/OFDMA, reports Nancy Gohring, especially around Mobile WiMAX technology. Soma Networks paid Qualcomm an undisclosed sum for the rights to use Qualcomm’s intellectual property in a new mobile WiMax platform. Gohring reports:

The announcement is essentially a statement from Qualcomm that it plans to enforce its patents, said Caroline Gabriel, an analyst with Rethink Research. “It did not need to announce this since licensing deals are usually confidential, so I think it’s certainly a public challenge to the WiMax players,” she said.

Qualcomm acquired Flarion earlier this year. Some vendors and observers like Steve Sanders wonder if Qualcomm, had acquired IP crucial to WiMax.

“Qualcomm and Flarion settled for $1.8 million despite disagreement with the DOJ contention [taking control of Flarion prior to the sale closing]. What grabbed me the most about this was that the allegation that Qualcomm didn’t intend to commercialize Flarion’s technology in its present form. But if Qualcomm is not wanting to leverage Flarion’s gear “as is” what does it want to do with it…

Flarion was on a path to mobility (via 802.20). Now it appears that Qualcomm is on a path to the courthouse.

But Mobile WiMAX (802.16e-2005), some argue, is actually evolved from WiBro which adopted technology developed by Adaptix and its predecessor Broadstorm.

In the end, Qualcomm and Intel probably have the most lawyers.

China’s WAPI on Offense

China says that the IEEE broke ISO rules developing the new security standard, 802.11i. China claims that the IEEE didn’t follow ethical and procedural rules and principles and the IEEE is waging a conspiracy against them.

China wants its own proprietary and secret encryption standard (called WAPI) to be adopted. But it was forced to abandon that plan when Intel refused to sell its products behind the bamboo curtain. Intel said that if it adopted the standard, it would have to hand over IP rights to Chinese companies.

According to the China Broadband Wireless IP Standards Working Group (BWIPS), “the IEEE has committed unethical and unjust activities trying to destroy WAPI by every means.”

In March both the IEEE and China asked the ISO to approve a standard for Wireless. The ISO rejected China’s WAPI standard, but Beijing claims that was only because the IEEE misled many national bodies that voted on the plan. WAPI was supported by just 32 percent of ISO members. In the same voting session, 802.11i was backed by 89 percent of those who voted. The IEEE’s 802.11i encryption standard is also backed by Wi-Fi chip leader Intel.

China’s GDP grew 9.9% in 2005 while its telecom industry revenue grew 25.4%, more than double the pace of the overall economy, according to the Ministry of Information Industry of China (“MII”). In addition, the statistics from MII shows that China had approximately 404.1 million mobile phone users in February 2006, which is 60 million more than the a year ago. China may add another 50 million to 60 million mobile phone users in 2006, say industry observers.

China is expected to have over 600 million mobile phone users by the end of 2008.

China may also be concerned about companies like Qualcomm which is suing Nokia, charging they infringed on two Qualcomm patents in GPRS and EDGE for GSM Evolution. Qualcomm has been collecting royalties for its Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) technology, and more recently for W-CDMA 3G as well. Qualcomm now believes it has patents on WiMAX (and intends to enforce them).

Of course the IEEE is supposed to resolve those rights issues when it develops a standard.

Perhaps shutting out Qualcomm from the Chinese market would be a more effective policy. They might get LOTS of support for that!