• United States

Recent moves affect satellite, 3G, last mile and LANs

Feb 10, 20032 mins
MobileNetwork SecuritySmall and Medium Business

* Government and standards activity abounds

Wireless is one of the most multidimensional technologies ever to hit the networking scene. Each flavor of wireless network solves a slightly different problem. Wireless networks span the LAN, MAN and WAN with both mobile and stationary connections, and the government’s role varies depending on the spectrum involved.

The complexity of the wireless landscape is reflected in the following sample of industry developments from the past few weeks alone:

* The Federal Communications Commission reallocated 30 MHz of satellite spectrum for use in advanced terrestrial wireless networks such as 3G networks. The move should promote additional wireless network service availability.

* The Supreme Court decided that NextWave Telecom should keep its 3G spectrum licenses. The FCC re-auctioned the company’s spectrum to other mobile network operators years ago when NextWave didn’t deliver commercial services on schedule, fell behind in its license payments, then filed bankruptcy. Exactly what NextWave will do with the capacity – such as resell it to other carriers or forge ahead in its own network buildouts – is up in the air (so to speak).

* The IEEE 802.16 committee ratified the 802.16a spec for point-to-multipoint, non-line-of-sight wireless last-mile networks in the 2 GHz to 11 GHz range. It also began work on 802.16e, a new twist on the standard that could bring mobility to 802.16 networks, which have heretofore presumed a stationary subscriber unit.

* The HomeRF working group (remember those guys?) finally waved the white flag and disbanded as of the first of the year. This group had specified (and companies had commercially sold) a viable competing alternative wireless LAN technology to 802.11 and was ahead of the IEEE on the quality-of-service front.

I wonder what yet another month’s time will bring?