As we look back into the year that has passed in the ‘world of wireless’ we have seen consolidation in the wireless carrier industry and can look forward to more of the same in the coming
years. Cingular Wireless and AT&T Wireless. Sprint PCS and Nextel. Where will the next merger take place? Verizon and T-Mobile or Alltel or US Cellular? There will
be a lot of activity ahead as these organizations come together to try for a piece of the cellular pie.
How will municipalities figure into the WiFi of the future? Philadelphia, Atlanta and other municipal organizations are forging ahead into the brave new world of WiFi and are meeting some
stiff resistance. To read more on the Philadelphia vs. Verizon situation check out the Wireless Nuggets of Knowledge section.
Where are we headed in 2005 and beyond? Where are your interests? Let me just throw out a couple of potential areas of interest that you may not have considered and where you can read
more about them:
- A new study by Insight Research Corp. predicts the rise of “pervasive networks,” where users can ubiquitously connect to a wired or wireless network regardless of the device or application
that they use.
Read more here or check out the Wireless Nuggets of Knowledge section.
- ZigBee, based on the IEEE 802.15.4 standard, is supported by over 100 companies already part of the ZigBee Alliance. The low-power protocol will most likely be used by a network of sensors,
each required to wake up, sense their surroundings, and fall “asleep” into a low-power mode. Such sensors will likely include temperature sensors and other home automation products.
Read more here
- According to a new study from researcher Canalys, nearly two-thirds of all new handsets sold in the third quarter this year were camera phones. Roughly 56 percent of all phones sold in the
first nine months of 2004 were camera phones. Nokia was the camera phone market leader with 48 percent market share, followed by Sony Ericsson with 12 percent, and Samsung with 9 percent. Motorola
and Siemens came in fourth and fifth place, respectively. Simply put, this means camera phones are now the dominant mobile phone device form.
- “IBM’s goal in the burgeoning Wi-Fi industry is to help customers deal with the chaos arising from the explosive growth in demand for Wi-Fi access, said James Keegan, IBM’s vice president
for Global Pervasive/Wireless e-business solutions. Speaking at Jupitermedia Corp.’s Wi-Fi Planet conference, Keegan said that to help make pervasive wireless computing a reality the
computer industry has to work through the “chaos” arising from the challenge of integrating the diverse technologies required to slake the insatiable demand for new wireless services.
People around the world want to implement a dizzying array of wireless applications, including everything from Wi-Fi on high-speed commuter trains to having Wi-Fi Internet access along with their
lattes at Starbucks Coffee.
The problem is not that the technology isn’t available to create these applications, Keegan said. The problem is that system architects haven’t completely thought out how to assemble all the
components that will support wireless applications that are reliable, effective and secure, he said.”
I believe that one of the largest growth areas that we will see in 2005 and beyond will be the Digital Living or the Digital Home. This column is going to focus on this area in 2005 with
several special sections. We’ll even detail a step-by-step plan on how you can make your home a digital home.
I believe that Microsoft’s Media Center software will improve from its current release, become much easier to use, more functional and more integrated with every-day products.
So whether it is WiFi on Wheels (see the Wireless Nuggets of Knowledge below), mobile TV, RFID at Wal-Mart or making the digital home more of a reality 2005 and the years beyond are going to be
exciting, full of changes in direction and technologies.
If you have any first hand experience with Digital Homes or Digital Living or have a question pertaining to Digital Homes that you would like to share with our readers send me an email and I will update everyone in a future column.
Wireless Nuggets of Knowledge:
Following are a few interesting articles and discussions on wireless:
Broadband Wireless Weekly Report – December 27, 2004
Report See Pervasive Networks in Carriers’ Future
A new study by Insight Research Corp. predicts the rise of “pervasive networks,” where users can ubiquitously connect to a wired or wireless network regardless of the device or application
that they use.
PC World Mobile Computing Newsletter – December 23 2004
HP’s Media Center ZD8000
HP’s new Pavilion ZD8000 is well equipped to entertain, with Microsoft’s Windows XP Media Center 2005 operating system; 1GB of system memory; ATI’s Mobility X600 graphics chip with 256MB of
graphics memory; a 17-inch wide-screen display; a separate unit that contains two TV tuners, an FM tuner, an infrared port for use with the included remote control, and composite-in and
S-Video-in ports; and guaranteed face time with Jessica Simpson. (I just wanted to make sure you’re still reading.)
PC World’s Kalpana Ettenson gives the system a thumbs up, except for one big problem: the notebook weighs 12.2 pounds with its huge AC adapter. It’s not really designed for mobile
professionals, though; it’s more for consumers who want an entertainment computer they can move from room to room. Pricing starts at $1400, but you’ll spend about $2549 for a model with the
specs just described.
eWeek Wireless Update – December 23, 2004
Wal-Mart Give Suppliers RFID Holiday Gift
The nation’s largest retailer spread a little holiday cheer by pushing its RFID compliance deadline back.
FireceWiFi – December 22, 2004
WLAN on Wheels by 2006
A consortium of German universities and organizations have given grants to several car makers, among them BMW, Audi, Daimler Chrysler, Volkswagen, Renault, and Fiat, to develop a standard
method for car-to-car wireless data. The project, called Network on Wheels (NOW), is looking at how moving vehicles can use 802.11 technology and IPv6 automatically to set up links with other
near by cars, bikes, and trucks. With routing capabilities, this automobile Internet could be used by drivers to alert each other about slow-downs, bad weather, accidents, and other traffic
NOW is part of the consortium’s larger effort to create a vehicle-to-vehicle network called Continuous Communications Air Interface for Long and Medium Range (CALM). The Consortium hopes that
standards could be developed now to avoid interoperability and incompatibility problems later among cars from different manufacturers. CALM is relevant to the European Commission’s eSafety
Programme, which aims to reduce accident deaths by 50 percent by 2010. The first prototype should be out by mid-2005, with advanced prototypes for field trials out in spring 2006. The
consortium hopes that final CALM specification will be available by the end of 2006.
FierceWiFi – December 22, 2004
WiMax Gathers Speed
The movement on the WiMax front is gathering pace. Last week, Wavesat launched its 802.16-2004-based baseband chip, and heavy hitters Ericsson and Sprint joined the WiMax Forum. Ericsson also
said it would make WiMax part of a public Ethernet offering and a complement to DSL. Make no mistake about it: While some analysts haughtily proclaimed WiMax “over-hyped,” the technology has
been gathering industry-wide support, and the Forum now includes practically anyone who counts in telecommunication. In January 2004, the Forum had 50 members; it now boasts 185 fully paid
members and 37 in-waiting. Within the next few weeks, the Forum will finalize the Protocol Implementation and Conformance Statement defining specification parameters, and these will allow for
certification processes to begin. Interoperability tests are then scheduled for the September-October time frame.
The steady advance of WiMax and CDMA2000 forces cellular operators, who are committed to GSM and its third generation, W-CDMA, into quicker-than-anticipated network upgrades (just look at mmO2
and Cingular Wireless rolling out the HSDPA “3.5G” extension). European carriers have paid exorbitantly for spectrum licenses, and now appear to be saddled with an inferior 3G technology. The
most promising way out for them would be to use WiMax to build parallel networks for key markets.
Computerworld eBusiness – December 22, 2004
RFID Reality Check
This special report offers tips for dealing with RFID reliability problems, illustrates the complexity of the data flows and provides lessons learned about running RFID pilot programs..
FierceWireless – December 21, 2004
Business Travelers want data, not voice, in Airplanes
According to a Forrester Research, only 13 percent of business travelers want to use their cell phones for voice during commercial flights and 10 percent of leisure travelers want access to
their handsets. On the other hand, Forrester’s research shows that airline passengers mainly want the ability to send and receive wireless data, such as SMS messages, push email on BlackBerry
handhelds, and wireless Internet access on handhelds and laptops. Consumers seem to want silent (or mostly silent) communications during flight.
FierceWiFi – December 15, 2004
ZigBee on the March
ZigBee is stirring. The basic ZigBee specification, an implementation of the 802.15.4 standard, has been ratified by the ZigBee Alliance standards group, which means that ZigBee-certified
products may show up on store shelves by the end of January. Analysts are predicting between 5 million and 50 million ZigBee devices in the first year. ZigBee will be used in wireless controls
of heating, ventilation, air conditioning, lighting, and security, and for any other communication requiring a short-range, low-power, long battery-life device.
The technology’s 250 Kbps speed is not fast, but this means great battery life, which is important for fit-and-forget devices. In the future, ZigBee will be built into mobile phones and used
for buying things from vending machines. Supporters of ZigBee have learned the lessons of Bluetooth, a six-year-old technology still trying to gain its sea legs. Among other things, ZigBee’s
security architecture would not pass MAC addresses, thwarting man-in-the-middle attacks.
eWeek Wireless and Mobile Update – December 9, 2004
Intrusion Detection Comes to Smart Access Points
Engim and AirMagnet are partnering to develop a chipset that includes intrusion detection and triples range and throughput.
PCWorld Mobile Computing Newsletter – December 9, 2004
Unwiring a Wired Hotel Room
Apple’s AirPort Express was designed to wirelessly stream music from a computer to a stereo system–but it’s also a portable wireless router. Plug in a broadband network connection cable, do
some brief software setup, and you’ve got a wireless network. With the AirPort Express and my notebook, I had a wireless network up and running in a hotel room within minutes–a cool and
convenient thing for business travelers.
FierceWireless – December 1, 2004
Verizon, Philly settle WiFi Fight; PA governor signs bill banning municipal WiFi
Verizon Communications yesterday reached an agreement with the city of Philadelphia that will let the city move forward with its plans for a citywide wide area WiFi network. While specific
details about the deal have not been released, Verizon agreed to waive its rights under the new legislation to bar Philadelphia from providing WiFi service for free or at a low-cost.
As for the bill in question, Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell yesterday signed it into law. This hotly contested new law will make it illegal for municipalities to offer their constituents
wireless or landline broadband service without first getting the permission of broadband service providers. Without that permission, carriers can block any effort to build a municipal network
in the commonwealth. Thanks to its agreement with Verizon, Philadelphia will be exempt from this stipulation. Most insiders claim the law will effectively end the municipal WiFi effort in the
rest of Pennsylvania, making it almost impossible for other cities to negotiate a reasonable rate for offering free or low-cost broadband wireless.
FierceWireless – December 1, 2004
ESPN inks MVNO deal with Sprint PCS
Cable sports network ESPN today signed a wireless MVNO reseller agreement with Sprint PCS. Disney will launch the new MVNO, called ESPN Mobile, next year. The MVNO will offer streaming sports
audio and video mobile content and ESPN branded news. Sprint will provide the wireless network, and ESPN will handle marketing, billing, and content. No financial details of the deal were
Sprint has emerged as the default network operator for MVNO deals in the US market. The carrier has MVNO partnerships with Virgin Mobile and Qwest Communications. While many insiders were
initially skeptical of Sprint’s MVNO strategy, the carrier’s financial reports demonstrate that MVNO deals can help carriers post revenue growth. Some analysts contend that Sprint will
eventually lose customers to its MVNO partners. Others, however, claim that most MVNOs are prepaid plays and are unlikely to create any real customer competition with Sprint’s post-paid
FireceWiFi – November 3, 2004
Intel to add WiFi to Pentium 4 Chipsets
Intel will, after all, embed WiFi in its next-generation of desktop chipsets, only two months after saying it would not integrate WLAN adaptors in its Grantsdale and Alderwood Pentium 4
chipsets. It appears that Intel intends to integrate WiFi capabilities into its Lakeport and Glenwood chipsets, the two follow-ups to the i915 and i925 chipset families. The shipping of
Lakeport and Glenwood will likely coincide with the release of Smithfield, the dual-core 90nm P4 derived from the current Prescott chip. Tony Smith notes that these new chipsets will be
expected to bring to the mainstream P4 family the 1066 MHz front-side bus which Intel has just introduced. The faster FSB is now supported only by a 3.46 GHz P4 Extreme Edition chip (the
chipsets may also support 667 MHz DDR 2 SDRAM).
Intel said that Lakeport and Glenwood will incorporate Caswell 2, an add-in WiFi module. It was supposed to be offered with some i915 and i925 chipsets, turning desktop PC into WiFi APs, but
the plan was dropped when it became clear that the prices of stand-alone APs and broadband gateways were falling so fast that the PC-as-AP became less appealing.
Wireless Info Center:
Here are some other articles that you might find interesting:
Here are some resource links to Mobile & Wireless info areas: