4G Data will blow your…4G explained.

Posted April 30, 2009 by packetdata
Categories: 4G, Broadband, LTE


The current state of mobile networks is that we use 2.5G and 3G networks—mid-second-gen and newer third-gen data protocols. On the Verizon and Sprint side, known as CDMA, 2.5G is referred to as 1XRTT, or just 1X. On the AT&T and T-Mobile side, GSM, the 2.5G flavor is EDGE. Verizon and Sprint’s 3G is EVDO, while AT&T and T-Mobile have HSDPA (you might not know that one, since they usually just say “3G”).

Second gen wireless was basically just the leap to a digital network, and third gen is a closer attempt at true mobile broadband—kind of. Right now, with their 3G networks, they can all get you typical speeds of around 1 Megabit per second downstream, give or take (though the specs are rated for peak speeds of 3Mbps down on EVDO Rev. A, and 3.6 on HSDPA). 3G has a bit of breathing room left in it—EVDO Rev. B is capable of downstream speeds of 14.7Mbps , while the current HSDPA spec will go up to 14.4Mbps downstream with the right equipment, and depending on how far down the HSPA spec sheet you wanna go, maybe even faster.

But the fourth generation is already on its way. Technically, no wireless technology is officially 4G. But that’s what everybody’s calling WiMax and Long-Term Evolution, because they both promise crazyfast mobile internet speeds that leave the current 3G in the dirt. In the US, the main WiMax player is Clearwire, which Sprint owns 51 percent of after they combined their operations into one company and actually gave WiMax a chance to live. LTE is championed by AT&T (which makes sense because it was developed initially by companies who mainly build GSM networks like AT&T and T-Mobile’s). Verizon also selected LTE, which blew everyone away at first because Verizon isn’t in the GSM camp, but it makes sense because Verizon’s parent company, Vodafone, is gung-ho for LTE in Europe, where everyone’s on GSM.

WiMax and LTE,  use the same fundamental technology, they both use orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing access and they’re both IP (internet protocol) based. More simply, you can kind of think of the difference between WiMax and LTE as a software, not a hardware thing (kind of like Macs and PCs using the same Intel chip). Alcatel-Lucent, who makes the 4G wireless hardware, is actually building hardware that is on a common platform. In fact, some point in the future it’s possible to harmonize”LTE and WiMax.

Here’s what the fundamental difference is: Time division duplexing versus frequency division duplexing. AT&T TDD is like CB radios or walkie-talkies—when one person is talking, the other person can’t talk. The same channel is used for downstream and upstream, so the transmission is divided up over very tiny increments of time. Clearwire’s says they currently use a 2/3 downstream and 1/3 upstream split, so 2/3 of the time, you’re swallowing data, and 1/3 of the time. With LTE, it’s more like a modem or phone conversation. It separates the available bandwidth into two parts—one operating downstream full time, and one operating upstream—so you both can talk back and forth at the same time.

The special think about WiMax and LTE is, how fast can they really get. The amswer is,  The channel width. LTE and WiMax use really fat wireless channels, so they can move a lot of data at once. For example,  peak speed for LTE in 10MHz is about 140Mbps and peak speed in 20MHz is about 300Mbps. The thing about them being OFDM is that it makes them more flexible than 3G, since they can use a wide range of spectrum—LTE can use anything from the 1.4MHz channel up through 20MHz—whereas current 3G always uses 5MHz.

WiMax is no slouch either, technically capable of up to 72Mbps.

Another thing about those superfat channels is that they don’t reach as far out from the tower, and your response drops (obviously) as you get farther away.  They’re going to need to build more cell sites. That’s why building out 4G is very pricey.  If you thought 3G rollout was slow, 4G might be slower.

Here’s what the real-soon-future looks like: Verizon isn’t dicking around, and is doing commercial rollouts of LTE in 2010, while AT&T is following up with their commercial trials in 2011. (AT&T says Verizon “is in a big rush to move to LTE because their 3G technology gives them no room” to increase bandwidth and that red is a stupid color, nyah nyah nyah.) Clearwire has rolled out WiMax to a few cities already, and plans to have 120 million covered by the end of 2010. Verizon says they’re getting about 60Mbps in testing, but expect it to be more like cable modem speeds when it launches—like Clearwire has now. For the reasons we mentioned above, and also because there won’t be devices that can handle that kind of ridiculous speed—as you probably guessed, battery life being a major reason.

Will one standard eventually beat the other into submission, slinking away into the night, arm and arm with Betamax and HD DVD? Well, LTE does have a lot of momentum—the two biggest carriers in the US are rolling with it, and as part of the GSM family, you can bet all of the GSM carriers all over the world will be on board. In fact, there’s no real technological reason to pick one over the other and just like now where multiple technologies exist for economic reasons, it’ll be the same thing with WiMax and LTE.


Broadband bubbles from your wallet…

Posted April 27, 2009 by packetdata
Categories: Broadband


Obama taps Julius Genachowski to head the FCC.

Posted March 5, 2009 by packetdata
Categories: Uncategorized

As widely expected by most folks who speculate on such things, President Obama has now formally nominated lawyer and former venture capitalist Julius Genachowski to head up the Federal Communications Commission and fill the slot vacated by Bush appointee Kevin Martin. Among other things, Genachowski’s nomination is particularly notable given his support for net neutrality, which he made quite well known during the Obama campaign in his role as a top technology advisor. Of course, if and when he gets confirmed, he’ll also have his hands full with a few other tricky issues, including the widespread rollout of broadband services as a result of the recent stimulus package, and that small matter of the digital TV transition.

Wired Epicenter: Obama Nominates Net Neutrality Backer for FCC Chief.

Interconnection business at large: 1.2-Mile Vodka Pipeline Built Between Russia and Estonia!

Posted March 5, 2009 by packetdata
Categories: Uncategorized

1.2-Mile pipeline to run spirits across the border. The Russian and Estonian gang smuggled 1,638 gallons of vodka before getting caught.

The 11-people gang—facing now up to five years in prison—did the covert engineering work to avoid paying import taxes and because vodka is incredibly cheap in Russia.

Does anyone need origination services from that pipe?

Telegraph: Smugglers building vodka pipeline.

2010, Verizon LTE.

Posted February 19, 2009 by packetdata
Categories: LTE, Wi-Max

Verizon plans on a full deployment of LTE by 2010, utilizing the newly acquired 700 mHz spectrum. Trials are already under way, with 3 markets set to start real-life tests sometime in the second half of this year.

No pricing plans were set, and no specifics were mentioned of actual data download speeds; rather, Verizon CTO Richard Lynch would only say that the real speeds would not be known until the real-world tests are made. Peak trial speeds have been set at 60 Mbps so far. Two lucky to-be-named cities will be recipients of the 4G action — which sounds suspiciously similar to Sprint and Clearwire’s current WiMAX situation — where the company will get a better sense of the data rates commercial users can expect.

From the other hand AT&T is in no hurry to deploy LTE since it is very careful on how it deploys HSPA, which is slow to evolve enough as it is.  AT&T will observe Verizon’s rollout of LTE and learn from any mistakes made from it, so as to avoid making the same mistakes on its own rollout.

NetworkWorld: Verizon conforms details of US LTE deployment.

India 2009: Over 20 million Class 4 and 5 NGN lines!

Posted February 12, 2009 by packetdata
Categories: VoIP

Carriers in India have already drawn up plans for deployment of more than 14.9 million Class 4 NGN ports and over 4.1 million Class 5 NGN lines, making it one of the top Nextgen Voice markets over the coming few years. In majority of the cases, vendors have already been finalized. The findings came as a major surprise while I was researching the subject. My impression was that VoIP in India was limited to certain small PC-to-Phone offerings only. I started my research some two months back with the intention of finding out why the carriers in India were not serious about NGN voice. I was proven wrong. There are tenders floating all around in the country.

An estimated volume of 1.23 million Class 4 softswitch and gateway ports have already been deployed for commercial use by carriers in India. ZTE is the most deployed platform commanding a market share of over 71%, followed by NSN and Alcatel-Lucent. ZTE maintains the number one share across the market if we consider the volume of equipment in all those projects where vendors have been selected for future deployments.

Among the carriers, BSNL and Tata Communications have implemented VoIP trunking networks relatively earlier. BSNL recently swung into action with two major tenders involving 6.4 million Class 4 and 1 million Class 5 NGN lines. BSNL’s lead in Nextgen Voice network deployment is equally reciprocated by large projects at Bharti Airtel, Reliance Communications, Tata Teleservices and Vodafone.

By 2012 the report projects 18.9 million Class 4 and 17.6 million Class 5 NGN lines to be deployed in carrier networks in India on a cumulative basis, which translates into a revenue opportunity to the tune of $498 million between now and the year 2012. This excludes allied Nextgen Voice Network solutions such as media servers, Session Border Controllers, and enhanced applications platforms.

iLocus: Carrier Nextgen Voice Networks in India. Published 8th December 2008.

31 million business phones by 2012.

Posted February 12, 2009 by packetdata
Categories: VoIP

The IP phone market is going to split into two different paths. One is going to sell lots of business desktop handsets while consumers move into “media phones.”

In-stat predicts that 31 million “voice-centric” business phones will be shipped in 2012, with corded IP phones remaining the standard.  Wireless LAN and IP DECT phones will also continue to grow within certain vertical and geographic markets, says the company.

The prediction flies in the face of more aggressive projections by FMC/mobile UC vendors such as Divitas Networks and OnRelay, who believe era of the business handset is ending and being displaced by the prolific use of personal cellular phones in the workplace. On the consumer side, the dull voice-centric IP phone is going to be “subjugated” by flashy IP media phones being rolled out by such players as Verizon and AT&T. Such phones support both voice IP communications and the delivery of multimedia content ranging from simple web pages for pizza ordering to playing video clips.

However, adoption is going to be slower among consumers, with business handset sales outpacing consumer sales by a ratio of about 10 to 1.

In-Stat: Nearly 31 million Business IP Phones will ship in 2012, while the consumer IP Phone Market Diverges towards Media Phones.