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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

What’s with the Wireless G Revolution?

What’s with the Wireless G Revolution?
The Canadian wireless industry has been going through a series of revolutions the past 20 years as the need for more bandwidth and faster data speeds is required to keep up with the latest technology.
So what do all these Gs mean?
• 1G – The first networks implemented in the mid-1980s, were purely analog and used primarily for voice. These brick-like phones were often carried around in large bags or had to be hardwired into vehicles. Remember the Motorola DynaTAC 8000X? Or the hardwired transportable Motorola DynaTAC 8000X?. The analog nature of the network prompted the US to declare it to be illegal to eavesdrop on cellular calls after calls made by senators were leaked to the media.
• 2G – Starting in the early 1990s, this generation migrated the industry to digital devices that delivered better voice quality, more reliable service and SMS. The entry of the GSM standard also came about at that time. The text messaging revolution owes its existence to this second-generation wireless technology. Popular telephones where the Nokia 6190 series. I was able to send and receive emails using this telephone and my Palm Pilot with a data cable. Simple SMS was also available on GSM and the ability to do simple WAP pages.
• 3G – These updated networks increased speed and capacity around the year 2000. The first Blackberry 850 was a two line device that worked like a pager. However it’s only been the past 5 years that Canadian carriers discovered that smart phones took advantage of these features. It’s what we use today typically that allows faster speeds and multimedia capabilities on our Blackberry’s and iPhone devices. Sometimes I think the explosion of devices was caused by the boomers kids becoming obsessed with smart phones.
• 4G – This is the next generation of networks. This standard is currently being piloted in a few Canadian cities. It promises the type of speeds that we are used to on wired networks such as 50MB to 100MB speeds. This standard is still under development. This will drive more video applications and our use of cloud computing.
Current LTE and WiMAX implementations are considered pre-4G, as they don't fully comply with the planned requirements of 1Gbit/s for stationary reception and 100Mbit/s for mobile. Besides speed, a number of other requirements and features have been identified for wireless communication standards to qualify as 4G such as.
• Spectrally efficient
• Dynamically share and utilize the network resources to support more simultaneous users per cell
• Smooth handovers across heterogeneous networks
• Ability to offer high quality of service for next generation multimedia support
• Based on an all-IP packet switched network
All this will require more frequency spectrum availability and bandwidth. This is the primary reason why the United States and Canadian analog television channels were shifted and reorganized into digital channels to make room available in the 700 MHz band for reassignment for 4G.
However, it really means spectrum auctions and millions of revenue into the government pockets. The good thing about 700 MHz is that it penetrates buildings better allowing your conversation to not drop when you run into a Starbucks to pick up a coffee.

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