Unwired Tap – July 2004

Published in TDAN.com July 2004

Before we get into Broadband Wireless lets look at where we are with a couple of significant events of the past 9 months:

In the October 2003 column I focused on the upcoming number portability rule changes. How is the number portability effort going? According to a Reuters article reported in the May 14, 2004 issue
of FierceWireless the FCC release the statistic that “roughly 2.8 million American consumers have either moved their phone numbers from one wireless carrier to another or moved their number
between a landline carrier and a wireless carrier.” The report also indicated that just the previous month 613,000 U.S. wireless consumers switched carriers and another 49,000 moved their
landline phone number to a mobile phone. The article also stated that the process to port customers from one carrier to another is “more streamlined” and complaints to the FCC has
declined. See the article in the Wireless Nuggets of Knowledge (WNK) section of this column for more detail.

In the April 2004 column I mentioned the move by Wal-Mart toward requiring RFID for its suppliers. How is this RFID effort going? According to a Wal-Mart top executive reported in a June 14, 2004
article in eWeek Mobile & Wireless – Wal-Mart expects to have more than 100 suppliers shipping products with RFID devices by January 2005. Simon Langford, Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s manager
for RFID (radio frequency identification) strategies, told Baseline that the retailer will have 137 suppliers in compliance with its RFID requirements by its January 2005 deadline. Wal-Mart’s
mandate requires the top consumer goods companies to tag cases and pallets with RFID tags. See the article in the Wireless Nuggets of Knowledge section of this column for more detail.

OK. Let’s look into Broadband Wireless. WOW!! Are there a lot of wireless technologies emerging and competing in today’s marketplace. Bluetooth, Wireless Personal Area Networks (WPANs),
WiFi – 802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g, WiMAX – 802.16d, 802.16e, 2.5G, 3G, VoIP and so on. Add to that some technologies that are in development such as Ultra-Wide Band (UWB – 802.15.3a) and
you have quite a mix of direction, standards, frequency, throughput and range. The theoretical range of this mix of technologies is from a couple feet up to 4-6 miles with a theoretical throughput
of from 2 Mbps up to 480 Mbps. Well, what is Broadband Wireless and where is it all headed?

The term Broadband Wireless is being used more and more today to describe this full range of wireless technologies and my belief is that we will continue to push technology toward
a more “Technology Converged” wireless world of the future. Will it happen right away. No. There are a lot of factors that must come into play in order for this concept to be successful
in the marketplace but more and more companies and organizations are embracing this future.

Major players in this wireless space are lining up. I believe that one company that is positioning itself as a strong visionary and leader of the future of wireless is Intel. In a white paper developed by Intel its vision of the future of wireless and in particular broadband wireless is describe very well. In
this article Intel brings a focus and clarity to subjects such as:

  • What is Broadband Wireless Technology?
  • What You Should Know About High Speed Wireless Connections.
  • Broadband Wireless Access is For Everyone!

This technology convergence or blending is already being seen in the today’s marketplace. According to the research firm of Allied Business Intelligence (ABI), as reported in the April 12,
2004 IT Wireless Market Scan, “Bluetooth-enabled handset offerings in North America has increased about 65% to date over 2003 levels”. “Bluetooth leveraged other wireless
technologies such as 802.11, a host of new and extensive offerings could be enabled in the vehicle for telematics, entertainment, and mobile commerce. According to the company’s research, the
global installed base of vehicles with factory-fitted Bluetooth hardware will reach nearly 22 million vehicles in 2008”.

ABI also talked about what the growth it sees in the WiMAX area. Support of large manufacturers like Intel, Siemens and Alcatel for WiMAX will be required for WiMAX to reach large-scale penetration
in the marketplace. Cost is a major driver in today’s business environment and as Edward Rerisi of ABI indicated in the IT Wireless article – “With equipment prices comparable or sometimes
cheaper to those initially promised by WiMax, the market for these technologies is growing at an incredibly fast clip. However, in the end, WiMax is poised to win, eclipsing spending on proprietary
technologies by the decade’s end. Support for WiMax among manufacturers large and small is building and driving demand away from some third-generation (3G) cellular and Wi-Fi applications, but the
primary market will be the sweet spot between the speed of Wi-Fi and the range of a cellular base station. In the end, the largest threat is to the demand for landlines, not 3G or Wi-Fi, ABI
says.”

Take a practical implementation of a piece of today’s Broadband Wireless technology such as “hotspots” and combine it with the technology convergence direction and I can envision
a low cost – dare I say no cost – any time and any where access to information and entertainment of all types.

If you have any first hand experience with Broadband Wireless or have different opinion on “technology convergence” 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:
The following are a few interesting articles and discussions on wireless:

FierceWireless – May 14, 2004
2.8 Million Americans have used number portability

According to new statistics released by the FCC, roughly 2.8 million American consumers have either moved their phone numbers from one wireless carrier to another or moved their number between a
landline carrier and a wireless carrier. Last month, 613,000 U.S. wireless consumers switched carriers, and another 49,000 moved their landline phone number to a mobile phone.

When wireless local number portability launched late last year, some carriers like AT&T Wireless had difficulty porting customers from one carrier to another. Prior to the launch, many insiders
predicted CRM disasters for the U.S. wireless market. Those predictions, however, proved largely false with most carriers adjusting the new requirements after only a few months of difficulty. Since
then, the process has become more streamlined, and the number of consumer complaints to the FCC has declined.
To read more click here

 

FierceWireless – April 6, 2004
Microsoft creates RFID group

Microsoft is jumping onto the RFID bandwagon, creating its own partner group: the Microsoft Radio Frequency Identification Council. The software giant says the group will look at RFID requirements
and how to take advantage of the technology to make it easier for retailers and manufacturers to track and ship merchandise. Microsoft states it will provide a platform upon which partners can
create RFID-based products and services, drawing on its own Windows CE operating system, SQL Server database, and BizTalk Server software. Microsoft plans to hold the first Microsoft RFID Council
meeting in April and already has several partners, including Accenture, GlobeRanger, HighJump Software, Intermec Technologies, Manhattan Associates, and Provia Software, signed up to
participate.
To read more click here

 

The 802.11 Report – June 16, 2004
First pre-standard 802.11n will ship later this year

The first WLAN products that use next-generation antenna technology have started shipping, and pre-standard 802.11n WLAN products will hot stored shelves later this year. Four of Airgo Networks’
OEM customers — SOHOware, Planex, Askey, and Taiyo Yuden — are developing WLAN products which rely on Airgo’s MIMO antenna technology, and SOHOware and Planex have just began shipping products
with MIMO technology. MIMO will deliver Ethernet-like speeds over wireless networks and will be an intrinsic part of 802.11n, which will likely be ratified in late 2005. MIMO allows multiple data
streams on a single radio channel, resulting in faster throughput and longer range. 802.11n will make WLANs more suitable for applications such as VoIP, streaming multimedia, and HDTV.
To read more click here

 

The 802.11 Report – June 16, 2004
HP Moves into WiFi

Looking to exploit the growing adoption of WiFi by enterprises, Hewlett-Packard (HP) has started a campaign to sell and manage wireless Internet technology to corporate offices. It will also help
manage these systems. HP is joining other big technology companies which have began to sell and service wireless network equipment. As a part of this move, HP signed a deal with Aruba Wireless
Networks to provide the underlying technology to build and manage WLAN. Aruba was also working on a similar deal with IBM and other companies.

Analysts are divided over the wisdom of HP’s move. Roughly 9 percent of businesses worldwide have installed wireless access in their offices. Craig Mathias of Farpoint said that the involvement of
major technology companies such as HP could increase corporate confidence in WiFi technology and may well lead to “a very rapid expansion of wireless.” Other analysts note that most corporations
already have high-speed Internet access through land lines and that they may not find it necessary to also have a wireless network.
To read more click here

 

The 802.11 Report – June 11, 2004
WiFi at McDonalds

SBC announced this week an agreement with WiFi service provider Wayport that will allow subscribers to SBC’s FreedomLink WiFi service access to Wayport sites. SBC will pay Wayport to lease access
sites installed at McDonald’s restaurants in the 13 states where SBC operates. In return, Wayport will rent space on SBC’s DSL network for backhaul. Customers can buy unlimited WiFi access at
McDonald’s locations through FreedomLink for $7.95 per day or $19.95 per month. However, SBC plans to offer discounted hotspot service later this year as part of a bundled package with its
landline DSL service. Many analysts claim that SBC will use WiFi to push adoption of DSL.

The deal is the first new partnership to form as a result of Wayport’s WiFi reseller program, named Wi-Fi World. Under the program, McDonald’s pays Wayport to bring in more customers by providing
them with WiFi; and roaming partners, such as SBC, pay Wayport a monthly fee for the ability to sell service to customers in the restaurants. Wayport simply handles the network maintenance, pays
the capital expenses, and secures the backhaul. Wayport is expected to have service in about 6,000 of McDonald’s 13,000 U.S. locations by mid-2005. SBC has said it intends to have 20,000 hotspots
operational within the next three years.
To read more click here

 

eWeek Wireless Update – June 17, 2004
Wal-Mart’s RFID – Using Suppliers to Exceed 100

Wal-Mart suppliers are forging ahead with plans to affix RFID tags to merchandise they’re shipping to the nation’s largest retailer. See who’s leading the charge.
To read more click here

 

FierceWireless – Mobile and Wireless Industry News – June 11, 2004
70% of successful WLAN hacks due to poorly managed APs

According to a new study from Gartner, 70 percent of successful WLAN attacks will be because of the misconfiguration of access points (AP) and client software. Gartner warns that rogue APs and APs
that have not been configured properly pose the greatest threat to most enterprise WiFi systems. The researcher advises IT managers to use a vendor-independent WLAN intrusion protection system to
lock down their networks. IT managers should also use some kind of handheld WiFi sniffer to check for unwanted APs and unauthorized traffic.
To read more click here

 

The 801.11 Report – June 11, 2004
T-Mobile scores Hyatt hotspot deal

T-Mobile beat out Wayport for a deal to set up branded hotspots in Hyatt Hotels. T-Mobile will roll out WiFi in 200 of the hotel chain’s 208 properties by 2005. The WiFi access will be available
in lobbies, other public areas, and select guest rooms in most hotels by the end of 2004. T-Mobile hotspots at the Hyatt in Charlotte, North Carolina, are already operational and several more
hotels will go live shortly. Access will cost $9.99 per day at the hotels, but subscribers to T-Mobile’s WiFi service can access the network as a part of their plan. Hyatt, one of the last hotel
chains not to have a WiFi deal, had reportedly been waiting for an offer that made it economically viable to offer hotspots.
To read more click here

 

The 801.11 Report – June 11, 2004
SiriCOMM targets truckers with expanded WiFi

SiriCOMM inked a deal to install hotspots in 255 Pilot Travel Centers. Pilot is targeting the service at customers and trucking companies that wish to use SiriCOMM’s technology as part of a fleet
management solution. SiriCOMM hotspots allow for vehicle data transmissions and can connect to SiriCOMM’s proprietary remote server. The company plans to install over 400 hotspots during 2004,
focusing on locations frequented by truck drivers, such as shipping facilities, rest areas, weigh stations, and truck company terminals. Truckers have emerged as a lucrative target for public WLAN
providers since they need to stay in frequent contact with shipping companies, are willing to pay for access, and often carry laptops in their trucks.

SiriCOMM made news in April when it teamed up with automotive electronics engineering firm Vehicle Enhancement Systems to develop a WiFi device that could download real-time vehicle data to remote
maintenance service centers.
To read more click here

 

The 802.11 Report – June 9, 2004
WiMAX a source of optimism for industry

WiMAX offers a source of optimism to the broadband wireless industry which, only a short time ago, saw nothing but gloom ahead of it. WiMAX offers a combination of appealing benefits: It can serve
as a last-mile solution in rural areas (and developing coutnries); as a high-speed data overlay in metropolitan and suburban areas; as an alternative to DSL and cable where these are not being
offered; and it can bring the cost of customer-premises equipment from the current $700 to the $200-$300 range. To reach this price goal, Intel promised a standard-based silicon by year’s end;
interoperability tests will commence in January, with certified products becoming available by mid-2005. Zvi Slonimsky, president of Alvarion, predicted the WiMAX market will reach $2.5 billion in
2008. There are regulatory and profile issues yet to be addressed, with the latter appearing to being resolved faster. The latest profile definition calls for both frequency-division and
time-division duplex operation in the 3.5-GHz band, with channel widths of 3.5 MHz (FDD) and 3.5 and 7 MHz (TDD). For the 5.8-GHz band, the profile calls for 10-MHz bands with TDD operation.
To read more click here

PLUS: The May 31 issue of Telephony carried a special section titled “The Complete Guide to WiMAX.” This very useful compendium is also available. To read click here. You may also want to read why NetworkWorld’s Stephanie Lawson. To read click here. that WiMAX is “starting to make its move.”

 

FierceWireless – June 9, 2004
WiMAX unlikely to threaten landline broadband in short term

A new study from The Management Network Group (TMNG) and Bear Stearns claims that 802-based wireless broadband technologies — including WiFi, WiMAX, and 802.20 (or MobileFI) — will not compete
with DSL or cable broadband in most existing markets in the short term. Instead, most 802-based wireless deployments will provide broadband to the last mile and to underserved rural and suburban
markets. The study also claims that these technologies will gain early traction in developing markets devoid of sufficient landline broadband infrastructure.
To read more click here

 

eWeek Wireless and Mobile Update – May 27, 2004
Weaving Wireless into Health Care

Evanston Northwestern Healthcare learned the secret to a successful electronic patient record system is to jump in with both feet.
To read more click here

 

The 802.11 Report – May 26, 2004
World’s smallest RFID reader moves technology into music, videos

An RFID reader the size of a dime will allow the increasingly popular technology to be incorporated into film and music posters. The miniature reader, manufactured by Innovision Research &
technology of Berkshire, England, supports the Near Field Communication (NFC) standard, which allows interaction of electronic devices when they touch each other. Thus, PDAs and MP3 players
equipped with the reader may download music or videos just by tapping the device against a “smart” music or video poster. NFC, which was launched by Nokia, Philips, and Sony earlier this year,
will serve as a digital identifier; when the connection between the NFC-enabled devices is established, WiFi or Bluetooth will be used to transfer the data. Analysts say the first NFC-enabled
devices will be available in 12 to 18 months.
To read more click here

 

The 802.11 Report – May 19, 2004
75% of British rail travelers interested in WiFi

According to a new market study sponsored by WISP Broadreach, 75 percent of British rail travelers surveyed said they would use WiFi on the train if it was available. Eighty-five percent of those
polled believe that they would be more productive if WiFi access were available during their train trips. Seventy-two percent of business travelers said they would use a train instead of a car if
their train had WiFi. The survey found that 50 percent of those questioned knew about paid-access hotspots, but fewer than 10 percent had actually used one.
To read more click here

 

The 802.11 Report – May 28, 2004
WiFi in the sky launched

Connexion by Boeing and Lufthansa German Airlines made history Monday when they launched a commercial airline WiFi service on a flight from Munich to Los Angeles. Passengers were able to use
real-time WiFi Internet connection while in flight. The service is provided by Boeing’s subsidiary Connexion, which also has agreements with carriers such as Scandinavian Airlines System, Japan
Airlines, ANA, and Kingdom Holding to equip these companies’ aircraft with satellite-based, high-speed wireless Internet access. Singapore Airlines, China Airlines, and Korean Air have announced
plans to install the technology as well. The service is offered at a flat rate of $29.95 per flight, or $9.95 for 30 minutes and 25 cents per minute thereafter.
To read more click here

 


Wireless Info Center: Here are some other articles that you might find interesting:

Here are some resource links to Mobile & Wireless info areas:

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About Robert Dominko

Robert S. Dominko, PMP, is a Principal Consultant for CIBER, Inc. in CIBER’s Global Enterprise Integration Practice located in Denver, CO.  He is a member of CIBER’s National Mobile/Wireless Team as well as CIBER’s Global Enterprise Integration Practice. Bob has extensive experience in the consulting industry where he has worked in roles such as Director of MIS, Program/Project Manager, Technical Architect, Data Warehousing Technologist, Business Analyst in global travel and hospitality, automotive, healthcare services, financial, bank card services, utilities, marketing, insurance, human resources, manufacturing, state and federal government. You can contact Bob at RDominko@ciber.com.

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