Moto WiMAX: Going Mobile

Motorola will launch its first mobile WiMax handsets in 2008, reports Unstrung.

Motorola and Texas Instruments are developing chipsets and plan to focus on 802.16e mobile WiMAX, supporting voice, video and data for low-power mobile applications, according to the report.

TI is readying WiMax chipsets for “mobile devices that Motorola plans to launch during 2008,” says Unstung.

Sprint will use Motorola gear in their Chicago rollout this year. Clearwire and Motorola are also teaming up and may also launch a mobile service in Portland, Oregon later this year.

“Everybody is working from IEEE802.16e-2005 as a standard,” a Sprint spokesman said in an email reply to Unstrung on Tuesday evening. “There will be a range of devices: some dual mode — Sprint CDMA and WiMAX network access, WiMAX and WiFi access — and others single mode — WiMAX,” he added. “We are still early in this process and there will be on-going developments, starting with chipsets.”

In other news, Motorola and Maxis Communications Berhad announced a successful call from the first mobile WiMAX site in Malaysia’s City Centre – Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC). KLCC is among four Maxis live trial sites using Motorola’s WiMAX solution on 2.5GHz spectrum.

This is Motorola’s first mobile WiMAX live trial in Southeast Asia. The live trial, consisting of four sites in downtown Kuala Lumpur, when completed in the second quarter of 2007, will provide full wireless connectivity and access to residential broadband users.

Maxis will assess WiMAX traffic channeling capabilities and further evaluate the full mobility and performance of Motorola’s suite of mobile WiMAX solutions in the 2.3GHz, 2.5GHz and 3.5GHz frequency bands.

Last year, Motorola won a contract to deploy a nationwide mobile WiMax network in Pakistan. In-Stat says the Asia-Pacific WiMax equipment market will be worth US$1.9 billion in 2009.

Related DailyWireless articles include, Motorola and TI together for Max and Oregon’s $500 Million Statewide Wireless Network.

Dark Week in Space

“Shake and bake!” — Ballad of Ricky Bobby

A Sea Launch Zenit 3SL rocket exploded upon liftoff late Tuesday (YouTube Video), destroying the launch vehicle and its communications satellite payload.

Scheduled to launch the NSS-8 satellite for SES New Skies from the Odyssey Launch Platform on the Equator, the rocket exploded immediately upon liftoff, enveloping the launch platform in a fireball.

The explosion destroyed the rocket and satellite. The status of the launch platform is still unknown.

According to the Sea Launch schedules, six commercial satellite missions were planned in 2007, with today’s flight being the first. The schedule included the Thuraya 3 mobile communications satellite, direct-to-home broadcasting spacecraft for DirecTV and EchoStar XI, plus the Spaceway 3 broadband satellite and Galaxy 19 for Intelsat.

SpaceFlightNow reports:

As the smoke and steam billowed from the Russian RD-171 engine firing to life, the rocket didn’t begin its normal quick rise skyward. Instead the three-stage rocket fell out of the camera view as the entire platform was enveloped in the explosion. Whether the rocket tipped over, fell downward from the platform or collapsed was inconclusive from the video seen live. Sea Launch immediately switched its broadcast to a company graphic and then signed off.

It’s too soon to know when Sea Launch will be able to resume flights. As a practical matter, it might be assumed that Sea Launch has been taken out of service for a year or so.

Satellites needing Geo-Orbit may have to go elsewhere. But geosynchronous orbit requires launchpads near the equator with rockets launched eastward. Alternative launchpads might include Ariane’s Guiana Space Center, Kennedy Space Center and Space X on Kwajalein.

It’s been a bad month in Space. First, the Chinese Destroy a Satellite and Create a Space Debris Field. Next, the NRO’s N-21 spy satellite goes dead. Then Iran converted a ballistic missile into a satellite launch vehicle and “will lift off soon.” The Bush administration will likely view the vehicle as a rogue rocket developed in a cabal, reports Av Week’s Craig Covault.

Now Hubble’s main camera has stopped working, knocked out with an electrical glitch.

The Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS), about the size of a public phone booth, is considered the Hubble’s “workhorse,” explains C/Net. The ACS’ malfunction forced the Hubble to go into “safe mode” on Saturday, after some of its electronics essentially exploded.

In February, Atlas 5’s initial military mission is expected to launch.

The Air Force has targeted a February 22 liftoff from Cape Canaveral to deploy a cluster of experimental satellites.

Onboard is DARPA’s Orbital Express, a two-satellite payload that will demonstrate in-space refueling using the Autonomous Space Transfer and Robotic Orbiter (ASTRO) and the NextSat serviceable spacecraft.

In addition, Atlas will deploy four other satellites from the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle Secondary Payload Adapter (ESPA ring). It enables several small spacecraft to hitch a ride aboard EELV rockets.

Those satellites are the STPSat 1 featuring Naval and Air Force Research Laboratory experiments. A Micro-Electro-Mechanical (MEMS)-based PicoSat Inspector (MEPSI), a miniature free-flyer, will be released from STPSat-1. The PICOSAT can be released upon command to conduct surveillance of the host spacecraft and share collected data with a ground station.

Also hitching a ride on the ring is Los Alamos Laboratory’s CFESat (above), testing inflatable antennas, deployable booms, a new type of launch-vehicle separation, and a high-density pack of AA lithium-ion batteries.

The Air Force Academy’s FalconSat 3 and the Naval Academy’s MidSTAR 1 will test a variety of communications technologies and structures.

The EELV mission must deal with the deployment of 5 satellites into two orbital planes at two different altitudes. The Orbital Express (prime payload) and MidSTAR-1 spacecraft will be deployed in the first orbital plane at an altitude of 492 km and an inclination of 46º.

After two more centaur burns, the remaining ESPA payloads, STPSat-1, NPSat-1, CFESat, and FalconSat-3, will be inserted into the second orbital plane at an altitude of 560 km and an inclination of 35.4º.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called for a “weapons free outer space”, after China staged a satellite-destroying weapons test.

“The fundamental position of the Russian Federation is that outer space should be absolutely weapons free,” Putin told a joint news conference in New Delhi.

India’s prime minister said he shared that position. “Our position is similar in that we are not in favor of the weaponisation of outer space,” Singh said.

Related DailyWireless articles include; Chinese Destroy Satellite – Create Space Debris Field, Space Capsule, Antartic Communications, Software Radios in Space, Satellite Jam, Advanced EHF – Wait for It and Pacific Telecommunication Council: 007.

Pango Active RFID Tracking

PanGo announced today a Wi-Fi-based active RFID tag to identify and track thousands of mobile assets at significantly lower cost.

Key new features of PanGo’s tag include an updated ergonomic form factor, battery life of over 5 years and integrated alert-button functionality.

Additionally, the new tag is the first to be compatible with the Cisco Certified Extensions (CCX) Tag Protocol, a Wi-Fi communication mode that enables a higher level of location accuracy for the Cisco 2700 Series Location Appliance and the ability for the tag to provide enhanced telemetry reporting.

The tag transmits ID and telemetry reports to 802.11 Wi-Fi access points. The access points measure the returned signal strength indication (RSSI) of the Wi-Fi signal and forward this data to a location engine which calculates the tag position.

“Our third generation tag is the most advanced Wi-Fi-based RFID tag in the industry”, said Michael McGuinness, president and CEO of PanGo.

G2’s ultra-low-power, active RFID System-on-Chip enables companies to tap asset-tracking capabilities at an average 75 percent reduction in total cost of ownership over earlier solutions. “Effective battery life has long been a weak link,” said John Gloekler, president and CEO of G2 Microsystems. “This new tag represents a quantum leap in power efficiency and location information availability.”

The PanGo tag is a key component of PanGo’s enterprise asset tracking solution that includes the PanOS location management platform and the PanGo Locator asset tracking application. The new tag begins shipping in February.

DeviceScape Connects HotSpot Phones

Devicescape plans to eliminate the complexities of end-user WiFi logins. WiFi devices, such as those built into VoIP phones, can connect automatically. The service is free to the public, but earns the company commissions from operators and royalties from device makers.

According to WindowsForDevices, the “secret sauce” behind the Devicescape Service is a patented technique that will enable high-security, centralized Devicescape servers to supply usernames, passwords, and other login information transparently, on behalf of users.

Service subscribers simply type their hotspot usernames and passwords into Devicescape’s website once, after which their Devicescape-enabled devices supply the needed credentials automatically.

Devicescape expects browserless, WiFi-enabled devices to “mushroom”. “WiFi is literally a couple bucks to embed”, says Marketing Glenn Flinchbaugh. “Three hundred cities in the U.S. have either launched or are in the process of building municipal networks, and there’s going to be more. A billion mobile phones ship each year, and more and more of them will be dual-mode phones with WiFi,” he adds.

The Devicescape “Connect Agent,” runs inside the user’s device. The agent began beta testing last December, and reached general availability a couple of days ago. It runs on XP, Windows Mobile 5, the Nokia Internet Tablet and FON, the “free” WiFi network.

Speaking of FON, they have new competition from Whisher. Unlike Fon, which resells user bandwidth, Whisher generates revenue through client ads.

The Whisher software works with a wide variety of Wi-Fi hardware and helps users find the best access points available to them, explained Ferran Moreno, co-founder and CEO to Network World.

To share a network, you create an entry, enter a password (if any), and choose your friends that can access it. “You can create your own Wi-Fi community, by deciding with whom you share and when,” Moreno said.

Just as Skype challenged the established telephone companies by providing free Internet calling, Whisher also hopes to shake up the establishment by offering an easy way to share and access Wi-Fi for free, using available broadband connections, explains C/Net. This concept is not universally embraced by ISPs, of course. Nevertheless, DeviceSpace says it can work on national WiFi networks like T-Mobile, Wayport, FON and Google WiFi.

The application includes file transfer software and instant messaging, although currently limited to the local Wi-Fi network for registered users. Someone who installs the Whisher application and doesn’t register for an account can still access free hotspots, but if they want additional local features, they’ll need to create an account. A hotspot operator can also use a CD or memory stick so customers can install the Whisher software faster and more easily.

PepWave Client Adds LCD

PePWave released a new model with built-in Signal Bars and other features today, says Alex Chan of PePWave. The LCD bar indicator allows the metro Wi-Fi subscribers to self-install the Wi-Fi modem easier. You don’t need to connect a computer before you can find a good position to locate the device.

Some wireless ISPs like the PePWave clients because they include the PePWave Central Management System (PCMS). It performs “wireless loopback tests” for testing and measuring RF parameters at the CPE level.PePWave has three consumer models, the Surf 200 ($169), Surf AP 200 ($189) and Surf AP 400 ($289). The later two have built-in APs (with 200 & 400mW radios).

The PePWave Surf AP uses dynamic power control, switching between the citywide Wi-Fi and the home AP. The Surf AP can use high power when communicating with the citywide Wi-Fi, and use a lower power setting for indoor home devices (home AP side).

The other improvements include the ability to “Stay connect” on the “home AP” side, independent to the status of the citywide Wi-Fi. If the citywide Wi-Fi connection is momentarily disconnected, the interruption will not affect the home device connections such as doing a file transfer between computers via the home AP.

Meraki’s small repeaters cost $50-$100 and are being used successfully by Net Equality in Portland, Oregon. It was reviewed in the NY Times.

DailyWireless has more on the Ruckus Repeater for MetroFi and Other MuniFi Solutions.

Emergency Com Gets WiFi/Sat Link

Gregg Swanson, CEO of Humaninet says it’s been over two years since the Indian Ocean tsunami, and 16 months since Hurricane Katrina in the United States. Their upcoming Feb 9 Webcast at 11 a.m. (Pacific time) will discuss needs and ideas of disaster assistance with a panel of developers and field users. You can register for the free Webcast at the Event Builder registration page.

Humaninet will also lead a similar discussion on disaster management tools at the first Nonprofit Software Development Summit in Oakland, California from February 21st to 23rd, 2007. Among the topics to be addressed:

  • What software do field users need in a disaster response?
  • What software is ready for use today?
  • What needs to be done to make information management a reality?
  • Are mapping and geographic information systems possible and affordable?

HumanNet, a public service, Non Governmental Organization, sponsored a series of Emergency Communications SimDays last year.

One new piece of software, announced just today, is an Inmarsat/WiFi link from iPass.

Inmarsat’s BGAN provides broadband coverage across 85 percent of the world’s land mass and 98 percent of the world’s population—including the Americas, Europe, Middle East, Africa, the Indian sub-continent, most of Asia Pacific and Western Australia. A portable, laptop-size terminal can access the service.

Unlike Iridium, GlobalStar and Thurya satellite phones that offer voice but slow data, BGAN delivers fast, high-bandwidth IP data at speeds up to 492 kbps. The iPass partnership adds satellite broadband connectivity to iPass WiFi access points.

Inmarsat BGAN service will be available to iPass customers in Q2 2007. Over time, iPass plans to integrate the service into its mobility platform, including the iPassConnect universal client, its patented Service Quality Management system, and iPass’ unified billing system.