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Although WiMAX does not create a new market, it enables standardization of the technology required for the volume economics that reduce costs and enable broader market growth. WiMAX will prove economically beneficial for alternative carriers in the following key areas:
• Reduction of capital expenses - by 2008, the total capital cost per customer will be less than $100.
• Reduction of operational expenses - operational costs will be cut by nearly 41 % compared with current wireline operation costs.
• Reduction of customer turnover - by emphasizing centralized deployment and customer self-service, carriers will reduce turnover through increased customer satisfaction and will reduce expensive truck rolls by 53 % from current levels.
• Service differentiation - current fixed broadband offerings cannot provide mobility. With the explosion of VoIP during the same period, mobility will become increasingly important. With WiMAX and VoIP, operators will be able to offer a voice service for both fixed lines and mobile users in a metropolitan area.
WiMAX could well be the technology that breaks the local-loop monopoly for adventurous and well-funded ISPs wanting to differentiate themselves and escape from their dependence on the local teleco. Such carriers require:
• increased reliability of services (less than 99.99 % availability from ILEC);
• shorter deployment time frames;
• capacity upgrades;
• platform for migration to IP services;
• cost-effective alternative to ILEC;
• market-wide solutions;
CELLULAR AND MOBILE SERVICE PROVIDERS
• carriers in search of:
î ‘lower risk’ alternatives to ILEC; î converged voice and data services solution; î ubiquitous coverage; î competitive prices.
10.6 CELLULAR AND MOBILE SERVICE PROVIDERS
The ongoing goal of cellular services providers has been to make networks faster to enable new revenue-producing Internet access and multimedia and data-based broadband services in addition to telephony. For example, carriers want to offer mobile Internet services as fast as those provided by cable- and DSL-based wire-line broadband technologies. This process has taken the industry through various generations of radio-based wireless service: after the first generation (1G) analogue cellular service, they have offered 2G, 2.5G and, since 2001, in some fortunate (or maybe unfortunate) part of the globe, 3G digital technology. However, 3G has disappointed many in the industry because of its high implementation costs and slow adoption, and because its initial deployments did not support services that carriers wanted to offer.
As carriers upgrade their 3G offerings, they are looking perhaps 5 years ahead to 4G services, which would be based on the Internet protocol and support mobile transmission rates of 100 Mbps and fixed rates of 1 Gbps. Presently the subject of extensive research, 4G would enable such currently unavailable services as mobile high-definition TV and gaming as well as teleconferencing.
Wireless companies are thus preparing the transition to 4G from 3G, which could include 3.5G technologies, as the ‘cellular technology hits the road again’. Some carriers are looking at new technologies such as IEEE 802.16 and IEEE 802.20. Many providers, though, are simply upgrading the wireless technology they are already using to avoid changing their networking infrastructure. However, this would continue the current problematic situation in which providers throughout the world work with incompatible cellular technologies (Table 10.1).
Four Cellular Paths
There are four categories of next-generation wireless technologies, typically implemented via chipsets, radio transceivers and antennas.
Table 10.1 Comparison of cellular technologies and WiMAX
Metric Edge HSPDA 1x EVDO 802.16-2004 802.16e
Technology TDMA GMSK WCDMA (5 MHz) CDMA 2K QPSK OFDM/OFDMA Scalable
family and and 8-PSK QPSK and and 16 QAM QPSK, 16 OFDMA QPSK,
modulation 16 QAM QAM and 64 QAM 16 QAM and
Peak data rate 473 kbps 10.8 Mbps 2.4 Mbps 75 Mbps 75 Mbps (max)
(20 MHz channel)
(5 MHz channel)
Average user T-put <750 kbps <140 kbps 1-3 Mbps 80 % performance
throughput <130 kbps initially of fixed usage model
Range outdoor 2-10 km 2-10 km 2-10 km 2-10 km 2-7 km