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Some of these models are similar to traditional ISP-type models that marked the spread of dial-up Internet access. Committed individuals, community-based networks and public networks, on the other hand, are taking a radically different approach by seeking to provide free wireless access.
6.1 BROADBAND FOR THE MASSES
Irrespective of whatever model is taken for bringing benefits to masses the basic service vision must have three key characteristics:
• High throughput and reach;
• Ubiquitous and predictable;
Affordable and reliable.
The Business of WiMAX Deepak Pareek © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd
$100-1 80 -60 -40 -20 -
1990 1995 2000 2005 2010 2015
Figure 6.1 Trend - cost of broadband
WiMAX has a throughput of 75 Mbps and a range of 31 miles; future versions will be ubiquitous and they will be affordable. Having had a few false starts in an earlier incarnation as a purely fixed service, and having been catalysed by fundamental advances in wireless technology, the concept of true broadband, wide-area wireless is once again coming to the fore. Many industry players believe a new class of networks and services will be rolled out very broadly over the next few years. Leading indicators from recent commercial network deployments suggest that the prospects are indeed exciting: WiMAX will bring broadband to the masses (Figure 6.1).
6.2 AFFORDABLE BROADBAND
Once WiMAX Certified equipment is available from a number of suppliers, increased competition can occur, and with volumes of units shipped, more attractive price points can be reached. If WiMAX continues to gain support from industry, it can also provide broadband access in remote regions and developing parts of the world where basic voice or broadband access using fixed line service is not economically feasible. As WiMAX will be available as a system-on-chip, it will provide extraordinary benefits of cost and future innovation based on Moore’s law.
MOORE MEETS MARCONI: WIRELESS APPLICATIONS
6.3 MOORE MEETS MARCONI: WIRELESS APPLICATIONS
Moore’s law started as a simple observation. It has since become a beacon for the electronics industry, guiding the efforts of chip developers and showing the rate of progress that must be maintained in order to remain competitive.
Now Moore’s law is expanding to accommodate not just increased transistor count but also the rising complexity of silicon-based devices and the convergence of additional devices and technologies integrated onto the chip. With convergence imparting silicon power to communication, this is bringing about a new computing and communications landscape, making these technologies more affordable and widespread, and opening the door to broad new areas of innovation. This will ensure that Moore’s law remains in effect for decades to come, through a combination of transistor count, complexity and convergence.
Researchers are creating on-chip smart radio circuits with built-in, reconfigurable wireless network hookups that offer always-on connections, plus the ability to switch automatically and transparently between wired and wireless networks. It is just one illustration of a basic principle: the principles of Moore’s law to benefit entirely new arenas and enable expanded capabilities and performance (Figure 6.2).
Radio on Silicon
Before the advent of digital processing, radios were designed entirely from analogue circuitry. As advances in the cost and scale of CMOS technology provided digital processing power, digital signal processing
Figure 6.2 Radio on silicon
(DSP) began to play a major role in overall communication system design. Ever-improving DSP techniques have enabled improvements in communications consistent with the predictions of Moore’s law.
Today, we are experiencing the power of DSP techniques through many wireless RF communication applications. Wireless wide area network (WWAN or cell phones), WLAN and wireless personal area networks (WPAN) all employ sophisticated communication techniques. Some of these techniques include complex modulation schemes, powerful new error correcting codes and decoding algorithms to combat the effects of channel fading.
All these techniques are being enabled, cost-effectively, by the increasing capabilities of digital processing. At the same time, CMOS technology and the effects of Moore’s law have enabled digital devices to be produced in high volumes, again in a cost-effective manner, enabling larger markets.
Until recently, high-frequency wireless communications applications have used technology processes such as gallium-arsenide (GaAs) to obtain the performance needed from the RF analogue front end (AFE) circuits. Although these processes provide the functional performance required by radios today, they do not support the same cost/scalability economics of standard CMOS that is reflected by Moore’s law.