Shared Use Wireless

Radios, in the Midst of Radical Change, Are Opening a World of New Capabilities in Higher Frequencies

The August issue offers an exhaustive examination of the development of changes in wireless technology and spectrum licensing from 2003 to mid 2008. Peter Ecclesine explains the development of increasingly sophisticated global spectrum regulation that is opening spectrm in excess of 3 gHz to innovative use. How to purchase this issue. $350 or $1400 group.

June 30, Ewing, NJ -- The June issue looks at the transformation of British Telecom.

Executive Summary

Shared Use Wireless p. 1

Wireless adds fresh dimensions of complexity to the wired world. But as radio becomes ever more capable, radio engineers are undertaking what Peter Ecclesine calls an increasingly productive “dance” with regulators around the world. OFCOM’s just published Spectrum Framework Review summarizes the intended direction. “We believe, and many of our advisors agree, that spectrum might become less scarce in the future. There is more than enough spectrum for almost any applications that can be envisaged, the problem at the moment is that this spectrum is not always held by those best placed to make use of it to meet user needs.”

There is a developing dialogue between radio engineers and their standards developers and the regulatory authorities. This dialogue is gradually pushing back the rigid boundaries of 20th century analogue licensing. As Peter says, these new developments are enabling the on going dance between regulators, radios engineers and society to move into a new direction and create capabilities that would have been impossible in the more rigid licensed world of five years ago.

Wireline communications systems may be thought of as rigid – that is not terrible flexible. Radios bring new dimensions into this otherwise static universe. The components of the radio can be controlled in ways that take into account distance, signal strength, location, environment of location, transmission protocol capability, antenna tuning and aiming capability, and a programmed and built in intelligence that fine tunes the radio’s ability to function in specified ways. Such variables enable functioning in accord with location, time of day, and transmit signal strength needed to reach other cognitive radios.

This makes possible shared use of spectrum in the higher frequencies that are viable playgrounds for the first time because of the increases in device’s power and sophistication. Consequently, useful radio functionality can be obtained in territory that does not belong to the companies that have paid for exclusive right for the use of lower parts of the spectrum.

In the overall context of these changes, one of the most interesting standards is 802.11y. The purpose of 11 y will be to give licensed operators of 802.11 radios the ability to command and control the operation of their radios, being able to vary the power frequency, bandwidth and behavior in general. The General 802.11 standard may be found at and IEEE 802 standards available for downloading here What will be extremely useful is the ability of a licensed 802.11 operator to configure his or her radios for the required conditions of operation in more than 170 countries around the world.

Downloading the entire 802.11 2007 standards document et yields a document almost 1300 pages long. Annex j could become the topic of a future interview. It explains how radios built since 2005 are dual bandwidth capable (2.4 and 5 gHz) and location aware. In other words receiving a beacon transmission tells the radio which set of operating functions to use.

The wireless field is a jungle – impenetrable to the outsider – but at the same time one that no strategist can afford to ignore. As Peter says, people are mobile, people are wireless and consequently mobility will be the ground on which the final battles of the old 20th century walled garden worlds will be played out.

In the 1990s with the arrival of new techniques besides frequency division - such techniques involved packets – we gained the capability of Time division or Code division or Space division approaches to transmission. As these approaches became more prevalent and possible and more cost-effective, regulations that were written in terms of an exclusive area license on a frequency became a poor utilization of the ‘resource’ - that is of the spectrum itself.

Consequently regulators themselves began to head down the paths towards innovation and towards non-exclusive licensing.If we look at present day spectrum utilization, for example we can measure from 3 GHz to 6 GHz in downtown Washington DC and conclude quite precisely that it is only 8% used. We can say in effect that here is this huge resource which is not being utilized to any appreciable degree by the present-day allocation system of exclusive use licensing.
In 2003 interview people were talking about building mesh radios with which wireless entrepreneurs would cover communities. In 2003 in those devices for mesh that hung on the light pole, they had a single radio. In 2008, the same devices on the same light poles will have four radios. They have an 11n radio for access in the 2.4 GHz band. They also have a 5 GHz radio for access in the 5 GHz band. And they also have 5 GHz radios for uplink and downlink to fixed networks. In 2008, the device on the light pole costs about the same as the one in 2003 except the radios inside are vastly different in their capabilities.

[COOK Report: Unfortunately the Wi-Fi networks in places like Philadelphia were planned with 2003 technology and costed out without an adequate understanding of the necessary density of coverage that would be necessary for successful performance.]

Ecclesine: if you look at your laptop today you will see probably three radios in it – a Bluetooth, a 2.4 GHz 802.11 and a 5 GHz 802.11 -- five years from now that laptop will have at least five radios and maybe eight.
It will have the QUALCOMM chipset that can do multi-cellular bands from around the world. It will have GPS; it will have ultra wideband. It might even have a 60 GHz radio.

At the same time that the FCC is auctioning exclusive use licensees in the 700 mHz space other modalities of licensing have taken place and are taking place. In 2005 the FCC approved 13 GHz of spectrum from 71-76, 81 -86 and 92-95 GHz available for a very low cost licensing scheme called path licensing.

There is a complete alternative to the cellular system’s 700 MHz exclusive area licensing is the non-exclusive licensing. Let’s talk for a few seconds about the reality that the non-exclusive licensing reflects. The realities are that we can differentiate transmission in time, in space, or area, or volumetric coverage, also in frequency, in code, and in power. Since we have a huge resource of spectrum above 3 ghz that is virtually quiet, We will find ever more capable radios for operating in that spectrum and delivering value in that spectrum. As this happens, the regulators will shift over to models where they posit non-exclusive use.

In the 21st century what is appropriate is non-exclusive use. At this stage the radios are smart. They are sensing, which means they are listening and can detect the energy emitted by other radios. The radios come to be quite intelligent and do what they need to do to communicate most effectively. In the coming three to five years we will add users controllable variable for speed and distance

For example in 802.11 J and Y we set up the slotted aloha to operate at 9 miles (that is to say 93 microseconds of air round trip time between the two most distant stations). Our MAC timing is now correct for outdoor operation. This was not true before 2007 but it is true now.

In other words we are extending beyond the standards in a number of ways. Extended ranges is one and extended rate is the other. Both of these are going to take place in the Very High Throughput groups. These will be 3-5 year or more efforts, maybe even six-year efforts (as with 802.11n). This is saying where do we think we will be toward the end of 2013.

Cisco has developed a server suite that it calls Motion. One that can be used as a platform to give radio network operators of all kinds a means of coordinating and integrating their devices with each other.

Radios with APIs written for Motion will enable them to be used by IT departments to create common services across different kinds of radios. Bluetooth, RFID, and Wi-Fi radios are not going to be communicating with each other. What Motion does is give IT departments or anyone who needs to use different kinds of radios the ability for common service creation across these differing radios. For example the user of Motion could define a set of standards for secure operation of the differing devices. Motion would ensure that the devices operated according to those standards.

Symposium Discussion p. 24

RPON p. 24

Hendrick Rood: You cannot expect operators to invest much more optical ports than they will use for their customers, when they are not able to charge for it.

This however is different when one does a dual Spread-Spectrum over a PON that hooks up a few dozens of users to a few suppliers and then allows automatic change of provider. In such a case, as a supplier you can enjoy economies of scale and serve fast switching customers.

End users also will not see much advantage in RPON (a far more expensive transmitter in their home!) and invest in Point-to-Point. When they have had it with a provider they will at most change by ordering manual replugging.

I think myself that the near immediate supplier switching dynamic of RPON is more a business need than a consumer need, and I do not expect much investment in multiple ports in residential neighborhoods.

WiMAX p. 27

Rood: The main point is that when frequency assignments end-up in a auction bidding war, you can be sure that the more conventional and conservative thinkers ultimately will be put behind the drivers seat.

Auctioning is an excellent instrument for allowing competition into a market where technology and market are already somewhat demonstrated. It is a disaster in distributing pure innovation and unconventional business models serving market niches, that may become big in a later.

The Sprint and Clearwire WiMAX Deal

Harold Feld: 1) For Sprint & Clearwire: The universe has changed as a result of the 700 MHz auction. There is no question that AT&T and Verizon now rule the traditional wireless roost. Anyone hoping to get into mobile or stay in mobile if already there needs a strategy. So Sprint and Clearwire are desperate. [Editor: it has been quite reasonably suggested that Verizon and ATT bought the 700 MHz spectrum so that it could not be used by someone else against their interests.]
Robert Berger WiMax has been over hyped. There is no way that it can be a "3rd alternative to DSL and Cable". At most it could possibly deliver low speed ubiquitous coverage, mainly outdoor and spotty indoor.

Huston on End to End p. 30

The temptation to construct complexity out of simplicity has always been present on the part of those network providers that entered the Internet from the background of a telco legacy that was well versed in the network architecture of a capable and functional network. [snip]

The telco dream: “if only they could find the "right" model of network ornamentation, with the "right" amount of application awareness built into the network, with the "right" amount of filtering and control functions built into the network, then they could transcend their rather limited role in the Internet world as an undistinguished utility provider of commodity IP switching services and move up the value chain to re-establish their previous role as a "full service provider." But, in spite of these expectations that there is some approach out there, somewhere, somehow, that will re-establish the value of a richly ornamented network, the track record so far for these efforts would have to be considered disappointing at best, and more realistically be labelled as abject failures.”

NREN Architecture

Don Clark: Please keep this thread going - we are starting initial planning for our KAREN 2.0 archiecture and a big philosphical question is do we join the other academic networks (INternet2, JANET, SURFNet etc) in a focus on e2e and trans-domain low-level circuit creation - or just spend it on more PoPs?

Goldstein: It strikes me that Donald's question is very telling: What is the difference? Nowadays, it's one of control. IN2, JANET, and ISPs are all loci of control. To the extent that there is one common IP address space (the ICANN role), the Internet has *more* centralization than the PSTN. The PSTN does have a centrally-administered E.164 space, but the center merely assigns country codes; each country runs its own space, and there are private dialing spaces (including 1-700 in North America for "carrier specific" numbers) within it. The big-I Internet, though, assumes a central address space. Indeed a spammer was recently caught hijacking a disused /16 space that had been originally assigned to an amateur packet radio group. It worked because it was a single central space and its BGP messages claimed authority.

Broadband in Wyoming enables English teachers to “work” in Korea p. 37

On May 15 Rollie Cole: I got this story from Jim Baller's list and from the blog at I put it here because (a) it is a great illustration of the social and economic externalities of HIGH speed UPload; and (b) it is easy to jump over all the good stuff in Jim's list. This one is particularly illustrative of the benefits of a good arch-econ.

“Who would be better to teach English to foreigners than native born Americans, was an idea that Kent Holiday and his wife had when they met in Seoul, Korea. Marry that idea with the increase in broadband connectivity and you could probably do that from a small town, in say Wyoming. So the Holidays moved back home to Ten Sleep, WY (population 304) in Washakie County (population 7,819) with a population density of 3.5 per square mile to start their new business, Eleutian Technology LLC. They started the business in the small town of Ten Sleep but quickly opened branch offices in neighboring larger towns of Powell (population 5,373) and Worland (population 5,250). Within a year Kent has hired over 100 WY teachers at $15/hour to teach 2,000 Korean students at 3 universities and 13 public schools in that country. He estimates that the industry he is inventing could eventually be a $15 billion per year one. And, it is starting in a tiny town in Wyoming. Got any English teachers with an entrepreneurial bent and connections in one of the 193 countries around the world?"

Cost of Cloud versus Grid Computing p. 40

Craig Lee: At the grid conference in Taipei (where I met Gordon) an EGEE user said that they did a cost comparison and found EGEE to be cheaper to use than EC2. Of course, I have no idea how this comparison was done, nor which factors were taken into account.

This points out, though, that as the cloud computing concept progresses, users will be trying to do this same cost comparison to evaluate the business case for a classic "buy" or "build" decision, or "who to buy it from" (which Cloud Service Provider, CSP), or what's the most cost-effective way to deliver such cloud services, e.g., a national grid/cloud infrastructure vs. commercial CSPs.

A commonly accepted best practice for how to make such decisions seems like it's in the offing. It might be easier to compare CSPs simply based on how much they charge for a CPU/hour and a GB/month, but evaluating the Total Cost of Ownership for a cloud will be more complicated. There must be relevant IT cost models that can be applied here to the emerging field of grid/cloud computers that facilitate the evaluation of TCO, etc. Any pointers?

KPN Buys 41% of Reggefiber p. 42

Van der Berg: Great deal by KPN. They take yet another pain in the buttocks of the market. Instead of competing they can now cooperate and at leas for a while accelerate the roll out of FTTH. A joint attack on Cable? What really interests me is why 41%? Does Regge fall above or below accounting thresholds? Could it be that this is a way for KPN to do FTTH in certain areas without having to show it in the books? Could it be a ploy to invest in FTTH without hurting the stock price too much? (Depending on what the contract looks like it could be a loan shaped like a deal where KPN agrees to buy the network at a price when it has reached a certain size/profitability)

An interesting question is how cable will react? If it can react at all? Two years ago three cable companies were bought by private equity for 5.2 billion euro or 1500 per sub. This company Ziggo (used to be Zesko) has about half the market another sizeable chunk going to UPC. For 2007 they reported a 274 million loss (mostly due to 450 million interest payments). If KPN attacks with both technology and excellent product management, then these cable companies might find themselves outwitted. At the moment I don't think KPN will be content just to sit around and do nothing, but this might all change when a large enough piece of the market has been cornered.

What I find interesting for KPN as well is that it is in an excellent position to use this deal for both fixed as well as wireless networks. Their 3G and 4G network could just be plugged on top of this investment, leveraging the fibre assets, something none of its competitors can do at the moment.

"Traffic growth simply doesn't matter. Period. What matters is revenue." p. 46

On June 7, Editor: From a silicon investor piece by Frank Coluccio

Internet Traffic Growth: Does it matter? -- An excellent post by Andrew Schmitt at his Nyquist Capital blog this morning, which concerns Andrew M. Ordlyzko's talk at this year's Gilder Telecosm event: Internet Traffic Growth Doesn't Matter

UK To Be Fibered p. 48

van der Woude: Now that the necessity question seems to be cleared, the new Scylla is "the profit in waiting just a tiny bit longer", the new Charybdis: "how massive will the losses be because of waiting too long". Of course sailing such treacherous waters can take quite some time, however there now seems to be a clear and broadly shared vision. There 's two reports, in the first one some nice things are said about some other NGN project, among them the one I happen to live in ;-)

Benoit, rumour has it that you (of course ;-) were present during the presentation of these reports: any views? BSG identifies models for public sector intervention in next generation broadband

Dutch Government Report on importance of Infastructure, p. 51

Rood: New Perspectives on Investment in Infrastructures (v19 Jun 08) The majority of the studies/essays are written in English, although a few chapters are in Dutch. But it is a rather thick and broad covering report.


Shared Use Wireless

Radios, in the Midst of Radical Change, Are Opening a World of New Capabilities in Higher Frequencies

Radios, in the Midst of Radical Change, Are Opening a World of New Capabilities in Higher Frequencies

Introduction p. 1
Where to Start in Wireless p. 3
The interview: Shared Use Wireless p. 5
Technology Changes Mean a Breakdown in the
Way Wireless Has Been Regulated p. 7
In Higher Bands Spectrum Use is Sparse p. 9
Refarming Usage in the 3 to 4 Ghz Ranges, and the Gobi Chipset p. 10
Where Will We Be in 2015? Non-Exclusive Licensing p. 11
Dual Path Licensing Modality Complexity p. 12
People Are Wireless p. 13
Solving the Co-location Problem via Controllable Variables p. 16
Multiple Channel Bandwidths Superior to Only Time and Frequency p. 17
Coming your Way – Knobs for Speed and Distance p. 18
Afterword: The Field is Complex p. 23


Symposium Discussion April 17 - June 17 2008

PON Architectures - a Spread Spectrum Approach? p. 24
WiMax – a Technology in Search of a Future? p. 27
Geoff Huston Revisits the End-to-End Arguments p. 30

John Day’s PNA Model p. 33
Architecture for an NREN p. 34

From Powell Wyoming: Teaching English to Koreans p. 37

FTTH in the Netherlands p. 39

Cost of Cloud Versus Grid Computing p. 40
KPN Buys Stake in Reggefibber p. 42

"Traffic growth simply doesn't matter. Period. What matters is revenue." p. 46
UK To Be Fibered p. 48

Dutch Government Report on Infrastructure p. 51

Executive Summary p.54

Symposium & Interview Contributors to this Issue

Affiliation given for purposes of identification - views expressed are those of the contributors alone

Robert Berger: Principal IBD, Open Source, Web Services, Ruby on Rails, Multimedia, Internet Infrastructure, Open Spectrum, software defined radios
Frank Coluccio, President DTI Consulting Inc. new York City
Don Clark: CEO of New Zealand's advanced research & education network.
Roland Cole, Director of Technology Policy at Sagamore Institute for Policy Research
Susan Crawford: Visiting Professor of Law at Yale Law School, teaching internet law and communications law.
Vincent Dekker:Telecom journalist working for the Dutch daily Trouw
Peter Ecclesine, Wireless Technology Analyst Cisco
Robin Eckerman: Owner, Eckermann & Associates and Telecommunications Consultant for advanced network infrastructure projects
James Enck: European Telecom Analyst Global Telecom Strategist
Harold Feld: Senior Vice President of the Media Access. Project
Benoit Felten: senior analyst in Yankee Group's Enterprise Mobility Research group
Fred Goldstein, Principal of Ionary Consulting, author of The Great Telecom Meltdown
Geoff Huston, Chief Scientist in the Internet area for Telstra. and Executive Director of the IAB
Craig Lee, Senior Scientist at the Aerospace Corporation
John Levine:owner Taughannock Networks author The Internet for Dummies now in 10th edition
Andrew Odlyzko, Director of the University of Minnesota's Digital Technology Center.
Ed Pimentel: CEO and Founder at AgileCO.NET
Hendrick Rood: Principal Stratix Consulting and Faculty Delft University
Bill St Arnaud, Director Ca*Net4, Canada's high speed research network
Rudolph van der Berg: Telecommunications consultant living in The Netherlands.
Dirk van der Woude working for the City of Amsterdam as policy advisor on city fiber project
Damien Wetzel: CDN and Network QOS Optimization Specialist
John Waclawsky, Chief Software Architect, Motorola Herman Wagter: CEO of Glasvezelnet Amsterdam