Monday, March 21, 2011

FCC Chairman: Spectrum is at Top of Agenda

Addressing the looming spectrum shortage for mobile broadband is a top item on the FCC's agenda, said Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski, speaking in an opening keynote at this week's CTIA show in Orlando, Florida. Genachowski gave four core reasons why spectrum is at the top of his agenda: American competitiveness, opportunity, dollars and the cost of delay.

Genachowski also said two-sided, voluntary spectrum auctions could be an effective tool for getting more spectrum to mobile operators while fairly compensating broadcasters. He believes the revenue potential of voluntary incentive auctions could reach $30 billion -- and that this figure should translate to $300 billion in total value to market.

No comment from Genachowski on the proposed AT&T + T-Mobile deal.http://

Ericsson Shows CDMA EVDO Advanced for 30-45% Capacity Gain

Ericsson is demonstrating EVDO Advanced Smart Networking capabilities at CTIA. This further showcases Ericsson's innovation and commitment to CDMA.

DO Advanced techniques allocate network resources intelligently to utilize data capacity more efficiently and to address uneven distribution of wireless data traffic in the network. DO Advanced Smart Network techniques can provide up to 30 to 45 percent capacity gain in today's deployed EVDO networks.

The techniques being demonstrated require software only upgrades to existing EVDO network infrastructure. No change is required to the handset. Wireless operators can significantly increase the number of data subscribers supported and improve the user experience with faster download and improved application performance.

"DO Advanced is the next significant CDMA technology enhancement to address the increased demand for data in our customers' networks." says Paul Challoner, VP CDMA Product Management, Ericsson. "DO Advanced implementation is another proof point of Ericsson's focus on innovative solutions to drive the CDMA industry forward."

Ericsson Works with NetAmerica on Rural LTE

Ericsson and the NetAmerica Alliance, announced a agreement for LTE rollouts in smaller markets and rural areas across the United States. The NetAmerica Alliance is deploying a shared nationwide LTE network in partnership with independent operators holding 700 MHz or AWS spectrum.

Under the four-year contract, Ericsson will be the sole supplier for the LTE -based radio access network and the core network, based Evolved Packet Core (EPC) technology. The contract also includes IMS, enabling the deployment of tailor-made applications and systems integration services. Furthermore, Ericsson will provide a Mobile Home Gateway solution, which integrates easily with existing wireline service offerings to deliver broadband speeds to communities that have not yet been able to roll out fixed broadband services cost effectively.

Arun Bhikshesvaran, Head of Strategy and Market Development, Ericsson North America, says: "This is a new type of LTE deployment. NetAmerica is making it possible for smaller operators to join together to deliver cost effectively the same mobile broadband services available in major metropolitan areas. The socioeconomic benefits of broadband services in metropolitan areas are well-proven and, with applications designed for rural consumers, one can only imagine the extent to which the people and businesses in these markets will become more empowered and more productive as a result of this opportunity."

Roger Hutton, Chairman and CEO of NetAmerica, says: "Our requirements and those of our participants demanded more than just a vendor relationship. We needed a partner who could truly work with us and our alliance participants to not only bring 4G wireless to their communities, but to provide true converged services for their wireline business as well. After an extensive evaluation of all the major suppliers, Ericsson proved to be that partner."

AT&T to Provide Wireless Connectivity for New Ford Focus Electric

Ford Motor Company has selected AT&T to provide wireless connectivity for the new Ford Focus Electric, Ford's first all-electric passenger car. A MyFord Mobile smartphone app, using the embedded AT&T wireless connection, will provide Ford Focus Electric vehicle owners with have the ability to send and receive data about their car providing command and control of vehicle settings while away from it.

"Ford has been at the forefront of developing market leading telematics and infotainment services for its vehicles and we're thrilled to be a part of this exciting and significant next step with the upcoming Focus Electric," said Glenn Lurie, president of emerging devices, resale and partnerships, AT&T. "Connecting consumers directly to their electric vehicles in this new and innovative way is going to drive innovative and exciting levels of interaction."

Some of the capabilities include the ability to:

  • Find current and projected state of charge information including estimated range and the amount of charge time necessary for additional distances.

  • Program vehicle charging with utility input, allowing the car to start charging immediately or when electricity prices are lowest with the value charging feature, powered by Microsoft.

  • Features powered by MapQuest available on the MyFord smartphone app.

  • Locate charging stations and get the destination sent to the vehicle.

  • Know if the vehicle can reach a specific charge station from its current location with the current charge level.

  • Create a journey with multiple stops, and determine the likelihood that the car has adequate charge for the full journey.

  • Find the car by creating a route from a mobile phone to the vehicle.

  • Receive alerts if the vehicle isn't charging when it's scheduled to, or if charging stops unexpectedly due to a power outage, plug removal or other event.

  • Receive alerts during recharge when the vehicle has reached a particular preset charge level or has the ability to reach a particular destination.

  • Engage remote vehicle preconditioning, using grid power to heat or cool the vehicle interior.

  • Remotely lock/unlock doors.

  • Use the built-in GPS system to locate the car.

  • Download performance and system data.

  • Fun ways of understanding your driver behavior, with ratings from 'Zen' to 'Zippy'.

  • Receive information personalized to the driver, depending on which key the driver used.

Video: Carrier Ethernet Exchanges


"Wi-Fi CERTIFIED" Hotspot Program Aims for Easier Public Roaming

The Wi-Fi Alliance announced plans to launch a Wi-Fi CERTIFIED testing program that addresses authentication and provision of service for public Wi-Fi networks. The program also aims to facilitate the seamless handoff of cellular traffic from data-hungry smartphones, tablets and other portable electronics to Wi-Fi, helping service providers manage demands on constrained licensed spectrum.

The key benefits of the hotspot program include:

  • Network Discovery and Selection: Devices discover and automatically choose networks based upon user preferences, operator policies and network optimization.

  • Streamlined Network Access: In many cases, devices will be automatically granted access to the network based upon credential mechanisms, such as SIM cards, which are widely used in cellular devices today.

  • Immediate Account Provisioning: The process of establishing a new user account at the point of access will be streamlined, eliminating user steps and driving a common provisioning methodology across vendors.

  • WPA2 Security: Over-the-air transmissions are encrypted using the latest-generation security technology.

"Ensuring end users can easily access hotspot networks from various providers is a win for subscribers, service providers and device makers alike," said Kelly Davis-Felner, marketing director of the Wi-Fi Alliance. "We envision an automated, cellular-like experience for Wi-Fi users around the world in security-protected service provider hotspots."

"As a member of the Wi-Fi Alliance, France Telecom-Orange has actively contributed to the development of Wi-Fi hotspot certification, which is set to significantly improve user experience by facilitating connectivity in hotspots," said Rida Zouaoui, head of access networks standardisation of France Telecom-Orange. "By developing carrier-grade certification, this new generation of hotspots will allow Orange to provide Wi-Fi services that are both reliable and user-friendly. In addition, SIM-based authentication will enhance security and accessibility to Orange Wi-Fi hotspots, especially when roaming."

The planned launch of the Wi-Fi CERTIFIED hotspot certification program is targeted for the first half of 2012.

BelAir's Small Cell Base Station Combines LTE and Wi-Fi

BelAir Networks introduced its BelAir100LP LTE Picocell designed to help mobile carriers quickly and cost-effectively build large-scale, small cell networks. The new product represents an evolution of the company's existing strand Picocell, which incorporates HSPA or CDMA radios along with 802.11n Wi-Fi, and is currently in live network trials with major operators. AWS spectrum band is also supported on BelAir Networks indoor and outdoor APs and base stations.

Key features include:

  • Multiple mounting options – pole and wall-mount or patented strand mount via aerial, pedestal, cabinet or vault hybrid fiber coax (HFC) infrastructure

  • Backhaul flexibility – patented high-performance switched mesh, fiber, Ethernet or HFC

  • Licensed and unlicensed access radios – LTE + dual 802.11n Wi-Fi radios with chip-based beamforming

  • Internal array beam steering antennas working in conjunction with chip-based beamforming to deliver improved throughput at a greater distance

  • Powering via AC, DC or cable plant

  • Virtual AP capabilities enabling multiple operators to share common wireless network infrastructure while offering a customized user experience through direct integration with their specific back end systems (AAA, Policy Management) on a per SSID basis.

"In live network trials with Tier One operators, we've proven that combining licensed and unlicensed wireless technologies in a small cell base station is a very effective way to handle growing mobile data traffic," said Bernard Herscovich, President and CEO, BelAir Networks. "The BelAir100LP features a modular platform to accommodate operators' LTE preferences and leverages patented innovations that address the installation challenges – including backhaul, power and mounting – that have impeded widespread picocell adoption to date."

Verizon Wireless to Expand LTE Rollout to 147 U.S. Cities

Verizon Wireless unveiled an additional 59 markets in which it will rollout LTE this year, bring the total number of U.S. with Verizon LTE to 147 by the end of the year.

David Small, chief technical officer for Verizon Wireless, said, "Aggressively expanding this powerful network beyond major metro areas reflects the reality that the 4G LTE ecosystem is growing quickly. Our commitment to reach deep into medium-sized cities and smaller communities by the end of 2011 means the power of 4G LTE can be harnessed and provide advanced services to law enforcement, healthcare workers, educators, and other professionals, as well as to individual consumers, sooner than many thought possible. So whether you spend time in New York and San Francisco, or Harrisburg, Penn., Saginaw/Bay City, Mich., Huntsville, Ala. and Las Cruces, New Mexico, you can connect to the most advanced 4G network in the country."

Verizon Wireless noted that it is also working with rural communications companies to collaboratively build and operate a 4G network in those areas using the tower and backhaul assets of the rural company and Verizon Wireless' core 4G LTE equipment and premium 700 MHz spectrum. Already, six rural companies have signed on to leverage Verizon Wireless' scale for infrastructure while keeping their customers on the cutting edge of technology.

Actiontec Intros LTE Home Routers for Fixed LTE Services

Actiontec Electronics introduced a family of LTE routers designed for the home/SOHO market. The new 4GRN routers feature wireless N networking, a Gigabit Ethernet switch, coax networking for satellite support, and FXS ports for supporting VoIP/VoLTE.

Actiontec's LTE routers integrate the 4G radio directly inside the box and could support speeds up to 100 Mbps downlink/50 Mbps uplink.

"We have been working closely with major North American carriers throughout the development of the 4GRN-DLV. We believe that this router can take 4G LTE from a promising lab application to a next-gen service that can practically and cost-effectively, be deployed to customers," said Brian Henrichs, chief business development officer at Actiontec Electronics. "We're excited to help lead the 4G revolution alongside other innovative mobile broadband service providers and technology vendors," he added.

Gigabit Ethernet is available on the WAN side to support speeds up to 1000 Mbps. In addition, for satellite home networks, the routers support coax networking for satellite networking to easily connect televisions, set-top boxes, and gaming consoles over the home's coax cables.

Verizon Wireless Completes LTE Trials Using Ecrio IMS Client Framework

Verizon Wireless has completed technical trials of 4G LTE IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) powered voice, video and mobile content sharing services using the Ecrio client framework.

Ecrio is a start-up based in Cupertino, California with offices in Japan and Korea.

Verizon Wireless selected Ecrio's IMS client application framework in 2009, and the product has since been qualified and embedded in a range of mobile devices in preparation for launch across the Verizon Wireless 4G LTE network.

The companies said these trials of SIP/IMS service clients signal progress toward proving the technology and value of rich communication services (RCS) and media applications that are compelling for customers using Verizon Wireless' 4G LTE network.

Huawei Introduces Packet Microwave System for North America

Huawei unveiled its Packet Microwave System RTN 900 series optimized for Ethernet and IP, and able to provide a throughput of up to 1 Gbps per carrier frequency.

The new RTN 900 series for North American includes the RTN 910 and RTN 950 products, which integrates advanced packet compression technology to increase throughput per carrier frequency from 400 Mbps to 1 Gbps. This is achieved by optimizing the overhead associated MAC, VLAN, MPLS and IP protocols. In addition, this series supports MPLS tunneling technology which simplifies provisioning and allows seamless interoperability with Metro Ethernet networks.

Huawei also introduced a series of small cell solutions: the BTS3202E for LTE, the BTS3902E for UMTS, and the BTS3702E and BTS3701B for WiMAX. Huawei said these products enhance its SingleRAN solution, and capitalizes on advancements in areas including smaller cell technology, Self Organizing Network (SON) and the LTE radio air interface.

United Continental to Expand In-flight Wi-Fi Service

Continental Airlines has executed a letter of intent with inflight entertainment provider LiveTV to offer inflight Wi-Fi via Ka-band beginning next year. The company plans to offer the service on more than 200 domestic Boeing 737 and 757 aircraft equipped with DIRECTV, providing onboard connectivity and more than 95 channels of live television programming to customers flying within the continental United States.

Ka-band, which will be delivered over ViaSat's soon-to-launch ViaSat-1 satellite, will enable faster data rates.
United Airlines currently offers inflight Internet service on 14 aircraft, including on all p.s. flights linking New York Kennedy with Los Angeles and San Francisco.