FCC’s TV Auction Workshop

The FCC plans to auction off television channels 30 through 50 for broadband wireless, and held a workshop for broadcasters last week.

The Commission announced TV auction details at their October 26, 2012 workshop. The workshop provided information relevant to broadcasters considering participating in the auction, including proposed auction designs, the mechanics of participation, and station eligibility.

Broadcasters, unlike virtually every other user of spectrum, do not pay the government to use the public airwaves. That’s because broadcast group owners perform a “public service”. The FCC intends to pay off group owners for the trouble of moving their frequencies by giving them part of the spectrum auction revenue.

Broadcasters will then move their channels down below Channel 30. Low power stations need not apply. Some stations may choose to co-habitate on a competitor’s channel as a “dot” auxiliary channel.

The FCC, in its wisdom, has decided to require paired channels in this prime real estate. Although FD-LTE works fine for symmetrical voice, most spectrum is now dominated by data. Data works more efficiently asymmetrically, using Time Division. Large carriers, however, can afford to “waste” low frequency spectrum if it minimizes competition.

It might be unfair to say large carriers with the money write the law. It just looks that way.

Some 20 UHF channels (120 MHz), from TV channels 31 though 51 will be vacated for broadband wireless. Unpaired (TD-LTE) on those channels might allow more competition, but the FCC may be less concerned by the public interest than in maximizing revenue as dictated by Congress.

Perhaps ownership of the prime 600 MHz spectrum by the big four wireless carriers should be capped at 20 MHz each, (80 MHz total). The remaining 40 MHz could then be available for smaller carriers as “lightly licensed”, or as unlicensed White Space.

That’s competition.

FCC actions speak louder than words. Don’t plan on cheap broadband wireless anytime soon.

WiMax Forum Embraces TD-LTE

This week at the 4G World Conference & Exposition (news and conference program), the WiMAX Forum announced an updated industry roadmap.

The WiMAX Forum is embracing the TD-LTE standard. The WiMax Forum confirmed reports to Rethink Wireless that its board had unanimously approved a proposal to add TD-LTE support to the upcoming WiMAX 2.1 specifications, at a meeting a few weeks ago.

The WiMAX Advanced standard will effectively merge WiMax 2.0 spec and its closest rival, Time Division LTE into a single new specification. That spec will be ready in draft form by year end and ratified in early 2013.

The WiMAX Forum has largely stopped discussing its next generation 802.16m standard, aka WiMAX 2.0, according to Rethink Wireless. It is now promoting the WiMAX Advanced extension as well as specialized subsets such as WiGrid, which is tailored for utilities.

Operators with software programmable dual-mode base stations would be able to support both WiMAX and TD-LTE devices. The standards-based approach could be incorporated more easily a single device. The aim will be to make a dual-mode WiMAX/LTE platform simpler and more cost effective and help operators to migrate to LTE in a gradual way.

“What we don’t want to suggest is this announcement is opening the floodgates of a migration from WiMAX to other technologies,” said Declan Byrne, President of the WiMAX Forum.

Meanwhile, Infonetics Research will present a paper on “Why TD-LTE will take over the world”, at the LTE North America 2012 conference, on the 14-15th November 2012 in Texas.

Previous WiMAX supporters like Yota in Russia, Clearwire in the US and Packet One in Malaysia have already made the move TD-LTE coexistence.

T-Mobile USA will use LTE-A from NSN and Ericsson in their $4 billion 4G network upgrade across 37,000 cell sites using their (paired) AWS frequencies.

Inmarsat Demos Enhanced SwiftBroadband

Inmarsat today provided the latest updates on the continued evolution of its enhanced SwiftBroadband functionality at National Business Aviation Association conference in Florida this week.

The enhanced capabilities, which will become available in 2013, include the introduction of high data rate technology, delivering up to 700kbps of IP data streaming per channel, and SwiftBroadband services optimized for helicopters and the delivery of safety services.

Inmarsat’s I-4 series of satellites can generate 19 wide beams and more than 200 narrow spot-beams. SwiftBroadband takes full advantage of with an IP-based packet-switched service offering ‘always-on’ data at up to 432kbps per channel. It can also provide IP streaming at various rates up to a full channel.

OnAir’s SwiftBroadband-based system enables passengers on Emirates’ A380 flights to make phone calls using their own phones or through the mobile data link on their personal devices.

Inmarsat plans a 2013 launch of a new Alphasat I-XL satellite. Alphasat will supplement Inmarsat’s current series of I-4 satellites, providing additional SwiftBroadband capacity over Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

Alphasat I-XL will feature a 12-meter aperture antenna reflector for an extended L- band (1.6 GHz) payload. It’s based around multimedia mobile services already provided by the current Inmarsat-4 satellites.

Global Xpress will be launched in 2013, with full global coverage available by late 2014. It will provide downlink speeds of up to 50Mbps, from compact user terminals, using the Ka band (20/30 GHz), below.

Inmarsat confirmed the timetable for the launch of GX Aviation, its global Ka-band service. The first of the three I-5 satellites, currently under construction by Boeing, will be launched in the second half of 2013, followed by the other two at six month intervals. GX Aviation will be available from early 2015.

Inmarsat’s iSatPhone, unlike LEO-based satphones from Iridium and GlobalStar, use Inmarsat’s geosynchronous satellites at 1.6 GHz.

A new satellite band at 2.1 GHz was planned by the FCC. The Mobile Satellite Service, it was thought, would revolutionaize satellite phones with dual-use (cellular/satellite) connectivity. It turned out to be a big bust.

Both ICO and TerreStar, which used the 2.1 GHz spectrum, declared backrupcy. Their assets (including operational space platforms), were bought by Charlie Ergen of EchoStar. He hopes to use their combined 40 MHz of spectrum for terrestrial-based LTE service.

Intelsat operates a fleet of 52 communications satellites. SES of Luxembourg is the 2nd largest satellite fleet operator, after Intelsat (but they trade the top spot periodically). SES operates a fleet of 50 geostationary satellites able to reach 99% of the World’s population.

The largest fixed satellite operators also include Eutelsat (28 satellites ), Telesat Canada (13 satellites), Japan’s JSAT (8 satellites), Brazil’s Star One, Spain’s Hispasat, Australia’s SingTel/Optus, and Russian Satellite Communications.

Russia’s largest satellite-fleet operator, Russian Satellite Communications Co. (RSCC), is in the middle of a major expansion program with Russia’s second-largest satellite fleet operator, Gazprom Space Systems of Moscow.

Related DailyWireless stories include; Satellite 2012, Formation Flying Swarmbots, Flying Cell Towers, Global Earth Station Maps, DOD Launches UHF Satphone Satellite, US Celebrates 50 Years in Space, Small Satellite Conference Celebrates 25 Years

The global MSS market will grow to $10.2 billion in 2020, more than doubling from today’s volume,” says Northern Sky Research.

Open Wireless Movement Encouraged

The Electronic Frontier Foundation and nine other groups today are advancing the Open Wireless Movement to encourage open sharing of Internet access.

The Open Wireless Movement website, provides FAQs and how-to tips for users, small businesses, ISPs and developers.

“We envision a world where sharing one’s Internet connection is the norm,” said EFF Activist Adi Kamdar, in a press release.  “A world of open wireless would encourage privacy, promote innovation, and benefit the public good, giving us network access whenever we need it.  And everyone – users, businesses, developers, and Internet service providers – can get involved to help make it happen.”

Here’s how the Open Wireless Movement addresses security and legal concerns on its site:

 Is opening my network a security risk?

Websites and services that take security seriously use transport layer encryption-most notably Transport Layer Security (TLS), which underlies HTTPS. Using transport layer encryption is the gold standard for security. Since it encrypts data between your computer and the web service you are using, TLS provides a strong level of communication security whether or not you are on an open wireless network. It protects against snooping and attacks from anyone who can read the traffic passing between your computer and the website you are visiting, such as ISPs and governments as well as people on your local wireless network.

In addition to EFF, the Open Wireless Movement coalition includes: Fight for the Future, Free Press, Internet Archive, NYCwireless, the Open Garden Foundation, OpenITP, the Open Spectrum Alliance, the Open Technology Institute, and the Personal Telco Project.

Related Dailywireless articles include; Community Wireless Summit, Chicago Announces Free WiFi in Parks, Solar Powered WiFi links Islands, Enabling Solar Powered Projects in Haiti, Free Subway WiFi in NYC, London: The Biggest Small Network in the World, Ad Sponsored Wi-Fi for Malls, White Spaces to the Rescue?, White Space Gets Real,Transit Connectivity Makes Money, Confessions Underground, “Free” Public WiFi with WiMAX Backhaul, NetZero: Free WiMAX Service,

iPad Mini Reviews

Reviews of Apple’s iPad Mini are in. The concensus: it’s nice, but expensive compared to the $199 Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HD.

iPad Mini reviews are available at C/Net, Engadget, The Verge, NY Times, USA Today and the Wall Street Journal

iPad Mini spects show weight half that of the big iPad (0.7 pounds versus 1.4), and it’s thinner, and narrower (5.3 inches), although still large for small hands. Apple kept the screen shape and resolution the same as on the iPad 2 (1,024 by 768 pixels). As a result, the Mini can run all 275,000 existing iPad apps unmodified, plus 500,000 more iPhone apps.

Prices start at $330 for the base model (16 gigabytes of storage, Wi-Fi connections) and run all the way up to $660 for four times the storage and a cellular connection.

By comparison, the $199 7″ Nexus 7 has a higher-definition screen (1,280 by 800 pixels), runs Google Maps, and may fit smaller hands better.

Apple’s iPad Mini may significantly cannibalize sales of the company’s full-sized iPad, with up to half of customers opting for the smaller tablet, at least one analyst argued today. Most experts have estimated the iPad Mini’s cannibalization rate at between 10% and 20%, but Sameer Singh of Tech-Thought came up with 50% after pulling sales data from the recent Apple-Samsung patent infringement court case.

Sales of Google’s Nexus 7, are closing in on 1 million units a month, says Taiwanese maker Asustek. That number still pales in comparison to Apple’s third-quarter sales of 14 million iPads. A total of 25 million tablets were sold globally in the third quarter, according to research firm Strategy Analytics.

Related Dailywireless articles include; Platform Wars: Everyone in the Pool!, Google Nexus: 3 Sizes, Samsung: 35% Smartphone Share, 7″ Tablets Compared, Apple’s New Product Announcements

Alvarion Demos WiFi-based Products

Alvarion held a live demonstration of its dual radio BreezeULTRA, a point-to-point platform that provides 500 Mbps throughput.

The dual radio BreezeULTRA is based on 802.11n technology and takes advantage of 802.11ac channel combining techniques providing a high capacity 500 Mbps throughput per link and greater reliability. The channel combining technique (20+20 MHz and 40+40 MHz) allows the dual radio to be configured to use two frequency bands transmitting simultaneously, optimizing available bandwidth and achieving maximum throughput.

A unique auto failover and recovery safeguard feature embedded within a single link ensures greater system availability as traffic is automatically switched over to the second frequency if experiencing interference. The BreezeULTRA, while operating in dual radio mode, demonstrated link rates of up to 450 Mbps between two servers with an asymmetrical split between downlink and uplink.

In addition to the live demonstration of the dual radio BreezeULTRA, participants had the opportunity to view live demonstrations of the WBSn, a carrier-grade Wi-Fi 802.11n solution for outdoor and indoor environments; and the BreezeCOMPACT, a zero-footprint high performance WiMAX base station, implementing Alvarion’s advanced SDR technology that is software upgradable to TD-LTE Advanced. Approximately 100 people attended Alvarion’s Partner Event from 20 countries, representing Alvarion’s global distributor reach.