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 Wednesday, 12 September 2007

A new mobile system where one makes calls directly between phones, for free, is being trialled by TerraNet, a Swedish company, in hopes of dramatically improving communications in the developing world. "TerraNet has developed the idea using peer-to-peer technology that enables users to speak on its handsets without the need for a mobile phone base station. The technology is designed for remote areas of the countryside or desert where base stations are unfeasible. Projects backed by TerraNet recently launched in Tanzania and Ecuador. The TerraNet technology works using handsets adapted to work as peers that can route data or calls for other phones in the network. The handsets also serve as nodes between other handsets, extending the reach of the entire system. Each handset has an effective range of about one kilometre. This collaborative routing of calls means there is no cost to talk between handsets. When a TerraNet phone is switched on, it begins to look for other phones within range. If it finds them, it starts to connect and extend the radio network. When a number is dialled a handset checks to see if the person being called is within range. If they are, the call goes through. While individually the phones only have a maximum range of 1km, any phone in between two others can forward calls, allowing the distance to double. This principle applied many times creates a mini network. However, TerraNet founder Anders Carlius admitted that this has created big problems with having enough available frequencies. The system can also be used to make calls to other TerraNet mesh networks via a net-connected PC fitted with an inexpensive USB dongle."

Currently, this new system only works with a special handset, but "Mr Carlius said he hopes that it will eventually be a feature available on all phones, like Bluetooth. He said that were this to happen, it could potentially spell the end for the current Global System for Mobile (GSM) communications model which is used by about 70% of all mobile phones." Most large mobile companies seem skeptical at the moment, but according to Mr Carlius, mobile phone manufacturer Ericsson had invested around £3m in TerraNet.

Read the full article on BBC News.

Wednesday, 12 September 2007 08:02:10 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, 21 November 2006

A major new study prepared for the UMTS Forum by Booz Allen Hamilton quantifies the economic benefits of maintaining a harmonised approach to spectrum management across EU Member States.

To download the study click here.

Tuesday, 21 November 2006 09:02:13 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, 15 November 2006

Ofcom published its second annual Technology Research and Development Report which provides an overview of emerging technologies that have the potential to make more efficient use of the radio spectrum.

More information can be found here.

Wednesday, 15 November 2006 10:58:54 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, 17 October 2006

Om Malik points to an article in French that discuss how, the world's leading multiple play provider based in France is now quickly moving into wireless mesh networks with its new Freebox HD set-top box/wiifi offering. To understand the quantitative advantages of wireless mesh networks, see this presentation from Dave Beyer from 2002 that explains how mesh coverage has the interesting property of increasing coverage and capacity as the more subscribers are added (since the subscribers are part of the routing infrastructure).

Free recently announced the delivery of their 300,000 Freebox HD, which they say creates a wi-fi mesh network that allowing their new wi-fi based phones to roam.

Olivier Gutknecht reported on some of this in English back in April 2006.

Free is also going to do a rollout of FTTH to every home in Paris which they say they will unbundle to competitors.

They also now have a national WiMax license acquired through the acquisition by their parent company, Iliad, of Altitude Telecom.

This recent presentation on Iliad's mid-2006 results provides a good overview of their strategic direction and their financials. What is next?

Tuesday, 17 October 2006 10:20:26 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, 04 October 2006

The ITU and the EU's Daidalos Project plan a workshop on "Digital Identity for NGN" Dec. 5 in Geneva, officials said Mon. The Daidalos Project and VeriSign are advancing global standardization of digital identity management at the ITU, officials said. Proposals have been floated at ITU on handling the issue, but consensus is still forming. The aim of the workshop is to understand better providers' need to offer digital identity across layers of communication systems, administrative domains and other boundaries, documents said. Key challenges for developing a more consistent approach are to tackle the conflicting requirements of privacy, identification and security, documents said. The NGN-GSI Event will focus on identity management as a key theme during its meeting Oct. 23-Nov. 3, said an official involved in the work. The past year or 2, several research institutes in Japan, S. Korea and Switzerland have been interested in sensor network identifiers, he added. There's supposed to be an identity management piece in the October 23-24 Grid Workshop as well, the official said: "There's a whole burgeoning world of communicating sensor devices, and [they] will need some kind of identity to communicate whatever kind of sensing information they have."

Source: Warren's Washington Internet Daily

Wednesday, 04 October 2006 08:44:39 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, 01 June 2006

A joint ITU-T/Global Grid Forum (GGF) workshop on NGN and Grids will take place at ITU headquarters, Geneva, from 23 to 24 October 2006 inclusive. The invitation letter contains additional details and a provisional agenda. The objective of the meeting is to:

  • Review the present status of applications, services and business opportunities in Grid networks and NGNs.
  • Discuss future evolution for Grids and NGNs both in terms of business opportunities and related technical requirements.
  • Identify relevant existing international standards as well as gaps in the standardization framework for Grids and NGNs.
  • Understand what additional features required by Grids should be considered in ITU-T’s NGN Release 2.
  • Identify the impact of NGN on Grids.
  • Contribute to the establishment of a roadmap for future standardization activities among major players.
  • Prepare a coordinated action plan on urgent standardization issues between standards developing organizations and fora/consortia working in this area.
Thursday, 01 June 2006 10:26:20 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, 03 April 2006

The IEEE 802.11 Working Group has passed a major milestone in the development of IEEE 802.11s(TM), "Wireless LAN Medium Access Control (MAC) and Physical Layer (PHY) Specifications: Extended Service Set Mesh Networking", by voting to confirm a single proposal as the initial basis for the IEEE 802.11s standard. Many additional steps, which will include technical changes, are necessary before this standard becomes final; but this vote sets the baseline from which the group will work. Once completed, IEEE 802.11s will provide an interoperable and secure wireless distribution system between IEEE 802.11(TM) mesh points. This can reduce backhaul and installation costs. It also will extend mobility to access points in IEEE wireless local area networks (WLANs), enabling a new class of IEEE 802.11 applications that require untethered infrastructure.

See the IEEE website for more details with regards to this development related to wireless mesh networks (Wikipedia).

Monday, 03 April 2006 08:12:05 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, 14 March 2006

The OECD hosted a workshop entitled The Future of the Internet in Paris on 8 March 2006. Presentations given at the event will serve at "food for thought" for future OECD work.

The Economist has a related article entitled Reinventing the Internet.

Tuesday, 14 March 2006 22:09:00 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, 13 February 2006

The ITU is hosting a workshop on Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) from 14-15 February 2006, bringing the spotlight on the emergence of a so-called "Internet of Things", enabling ubiquitous network connectivity, anytime and anywhere. The agenda and an accompanying press release are available.

Update: The workshop is being audiocast live and archived.

Monday, 13 February 2006 11:23:35 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, 17 January 2006

Another take on marketing the Internet of Things (via IP). The source can be found here.

Tuesday, 17 January 2006 09:55:42 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, 13 December 2005

The internet as we know it is set to transform radically, according to a new ITU Internet Report entitled The Internet of Things, specially prepared to coincide with the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in Tunis in November 2005. From an academic network for the chosen few created in the late 1960s, the internet is now a mass-market, consumer-oriented network being accessed by over 900 million people worldwide, through personal computers, mobile phones and other wireless devices. But this is only the beginning. According to ITU’s report, we are standing on the brink of a new ubiquitous computing and communication era, one that will radically transform the Internet, and with it, our corporate, community, and personal spheres. The new ITU report looks at key enabling technologies for ubiquity (e.g. RFID, sensors and sensor networks, telematics, robotics, nanotechnology) and how they might impact the future human and technological landscape.

At WSIS, the report was launched at a Press Conference and Panel Debate moderated by Kenn Cukier of The Economist. The lively debate included the following speakers and panelists: Nicholas Negroponte - MIT Media Lab, Olivier Baujard - CTO of Alcatel, Hitomi Murakami - VP General Manager of KDDI (Japan), Jonathan Murray - VP and CTO, Microsoft EMEA, Walid Moneimne, Senior VP and Head of EMEA Networks - Nokia, John Gage, Chief Researcher and Director of the Science Office - Sun Microsystems, and from the ITU, Lara Srivastava, lead author of the report.

Tuesday, 13 December 2005 16:59:21 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Dr. Roger Marks, the Chair of the IEEE 802.16 Working Group on Broadband Wireless Access has announced that a mobile version of IEEE 802.16 has been approved (now officially called IEEE Std 802.16-2004). The amended standard specifies a system for combined fixed and mobile BWA supporting subscriber stations moving at vehicular speeds in licensed bands under 6 GHz. The official press release announcement can be found here. The WiMAX Forum will now expand their certification process to include mobile as well as fixed systems.

Tuesday, 13 December 2005 14:22:01 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, 20 July 2005

John Cox writes in NetworkWorld: The IEEE group charged with creating a standard for wireless LAN mesh is rounding up about 15 proposals at this week’s 802.11 meeting in San Francisco. Members of the 802.11s task group hope to have a draft standard completed in 12 to 18 months. Today's wireless LAN mesh networks use proprietary algorithms and are typically deployed outdoors. With a IEEE mesh standard implemented by WLAN vendors, it's possible that in the future every wireless LAN would also be able to configure itself as a mesh network, similar in concept to the Internet. A wireless mesh uses a radio to interconnect the access points and route wireless packets over the best available route. Mesh benefits include potentially higher performance and more reliable nets.

For a quantative analysis of mesh network benefits, see Dave Beyer's presentation linked from in this article.

via Fergie's tech blog.

Wednesday, 20 July 2005 09:23:19 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, 18 May 2005

ITU members are increasingly signalling the interest of the telecommunications community in grid computing. The technology is under study by the Technology Watch within ITU-T. And following discussions between the Global Grid Forum (GGF) and ITU-T, a workshop on telecoms and grids is planned for 2006.

On behalf of GGF, Franco Travostino of Nortel gave a presentation at the recent Study Group 13 meeting in Geneva. In it he gave an introduction to the work of the forum, also explaining the basics of grids.

Travostino describes grid computing as a software platform for distributed participants to form a virtual organization, securely share resources, and engage in coordinated problem-solving activities.

There are a number of areas of interest for the telecoms industry. At a simple level, telcos could use grids internally, for billing and simulations for example. They could also offer grid managed services, or act as service brokers.

Travostino pointed out that the discussion on grids involves more than just how to provide bigger pipes. There are other issues that may be of interest to ITU-T, such as how to control the network, how to manage dynamic provisioning and how to provide collision-free addresses (IPv4 <-> NAT).

[via ITU-T Newslog]

Wednesday, 18 May 2005 09:24:57 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Sunday, 15 May 2005

The Register: The problem with grid computing has traditionally been tying it down into a real-world context. The theory is great – getting lots of individual technical components working together as if they were one big resource - but it’s the wackier or conversation stimulating applications that have received all of the attention. More details in a free Quocirca report entitled Grid Computing Update.

Sunday, 15 May 2005 21:41:45 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, 28 April 2005

Intel Corporation has announced the availability of its first WiMAX product, providing equipment manufacturers and carriers the ability to deliver next-generation wireless broadband networks around the world. In addition, several service providers worldwide announced plans to begin commercial WiMAX trials based on Intel silicon products later this year, giving consumers and businesses a glimpse at this emerging wireless high-speed broadband technology. Key equipment providers also announced WiMAX solutions based on Intel's product..

The Register (via Wireless Watch) had a recent review of the WiMAX Summit in Paris, France and the related standards debate.

  • It quickly emerged that the issue preoccupying both vendors and potential operators is the road to mobility and exactly how the transition to the forthcoming 802.l6e mobile standard will be achieved. With a key WiMAX Forum meeting to be held in the coming week in Spain, and 802.16e set to be ratified this year, it is essential to the uptake of the platform that the route to mobility is clarified as soon as possible.
  • All agree that 802.16 will be the platform with which WiMAX hits the big time. Most of the equipment majors are merely licensing fixed 802.16d (now renamed 802.16-2004) gear, while focusing their own development efforts on 'e'. That means that the chances for chipmakers to net the big OEM deals - with Alcatel, Nortel and the others - rely on the mobile standard. But there are two basic schools of thought among the chipmakers and their licensees as to their strategy in the interim.
  • One is that there is a period of at least two years before 802.16e achieves volume, and that the upgrade path will be complex. That means the priority is to make 802.16-2004 as impressive as possible in order to drive short term sales and increase confidence in WiMAX. This will mean creating a so-called 'd+' technology that goes beyond the basic stipulations of the fixed standard, with a focus on aspects such as quality of service for voice and video, and portability with consumer grade subscriber equipment.
  • The other view is that the market needs to move to mobility more rapidly, by offering pre-standard networks that provide most of the functionality promised for 'e'. This strategy rests on the belief - or hope - that the mobile standard will come to market rapidly and that the leap from its predecessor will be a simple one.

In related news, only days before a deadline for its first licensing fee payment, South Korea’s Hanaro Telecom announced Tuesday it will forego a license to roll out a WiBro mobile broadband network (based on 802.16e technology). Hanaro was one of three Korean operators granted licenses by the Korean Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) in January. "We still believe WiBro is commercially viable. We plan to grant the remaining licensee withdrawn from Hanaro to an eligible hopeful,’’ MIC director general Kim Dong-soo said.

[via my weblog, The Register, MIC]

Thursday, 28 April 2005 08:43:53 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, 26 April 2005

A Refutation of Metcalfe's Law (PDF) and a better estimate for the value of networks and network interconnections by Andrew Odlyzko and Benjamin Tilly.

  • There have been and continue to be controversies about interconnection policies of ISPs. A particularly sensitive issue is the frequent refusal of large ISPs to peer (roughly speaking, exchange traffic freely without payment) with smaller carriers. (The refusal of AOL to interconnect instant messenger systems is very similar.) This behavior has often been attributed to abusive exploitation of market power. But there may be a more innocent explanation, based on the economic value that interconnection generates. As we show in Section 2, if Metcalfe's Law held, then interconnection would produce equal value for any two network, irrespective of their relative sizes. Hence refusal to interconnect without payment would have to be due to either obtuseness on the part of management or strategic gaming. However, if network value scales like n log(n), as we argue (or by most other rules of this type, the quadratic growth of Metcalfe's Law is very unusual in this regard) then relative gains from interconnection depend on the sizes of the networks. In this case the smaller network gains considerably more than the larger one. This produces an incentive for larger networks to refuse to interconnect without payment, a very common phenomenon in the real economy.

  • Metcalfe's Law and Reed's Law both significantly overstate the value of a communication network. In their place we propose another rough rule, that the value of a network of size n grows like n log(n). This rule, while not meant to be exact, does appear to be consistent with historical behavior of networks with regard to interconnection, and it captures the advantage that general connectivity offers over broadcast networks that deliver content. It also helps explain the failure of the dot-com and telecom ventures, since it implies network effects are not as strong as had been hoped for.
Tuesday, 26 April 2005 08:17:14 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, 31 January 2003

The IEEE has just announced it has approved the 802.16a extension to the 802.16 broadband wireless access (BWA) standard. See Roger Marks' tutorial on 802.16 (Zipped PowerPoint) to understand why this is important for providing broadband wireless access. 802.16a provides improved support for mesh networks, where each subscriber access point is also part of the routing infrastructure. For a general overview of the growing interest in non-line-of-sight wireless broadband systems, see the IEEE's Spectrum article: Wireless Broadband in a Box. For a more in-depth technical explanation with regard to mesh networks, see Dave Beyer's recent (November 2002) presentation on Wireless Mesh Networks for Residential Broadband (PDF), demonstrating some extremely important characteristics of mesh networks, namely:

  • mesh coverage and robustness improves exponentially as subscribers are added;
  • rapid area coverage with only a few subscribers (easy to seed);
  • increasing subscriber density increases overall network capacity.

Some earlier articles here on mesh networks can be found in "Cheap Wireless Mesh Networks", "Watch this airspace and parasitic networks" and "Seeding Mesh Networks".

Friday, 31 January 2003 14:37:20 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, 23 January 2003

Guy Kewney's Mobile Campaign has a fascinating article on Locustworld's affordable wireless mesh network solution, Meshbox. has a primer explaining the MeshBox - a Linux-powered wireless mesh repeater by Jon Anderson, its creator.  As Guy Kewney's article notes: "However, there are going to be some controversial areas in the Locustworld experiment. The cheekiest move was the setting up of an IP address numbering authority, WIANA, or The Wireless Internet Assigned Numbers Authority." Also see my earlier articles on wireless mesh/parasitic/symbiotic networks in Watch this airspace and parasitic networks and Seeding Mesh Networks.

Thursday, 23 January 2003 14:08:36 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, 25 July 2002

Talk about timely. CommsDesign has a recent piece on the development by Motorola of an "isochronous network, developed with input from Nintendo Co. Ltd., Sony Corp. and other game platform developers, [that] will be extended into other markets to serve as a "feeder" for future ad-hoc mesh-based piconets that use 802.11 wireless technology as their underlying infrastructure". Slashdot also has a related thread. Isochronous ad-hoc mesh-based piconets? This almost seems like it could have been generated by

Thursday, 25 July 2002 14:27:53 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Last month, in Watch this airspace and parasitic networks, we flagged the emergence of mesh networks, where end user devices can also be routing devices. Wired Magazine has a short article: A New Spin on the Wireless Web this month and mentions the interesting start-up Mesh Networks.  Mesh networks, where user devices and routing nodes can get co-mingled, might be an interesting twist on Metcalfe's law, which says the value of a network is proportional to the square of the number of users or nodes. Think about it. Where all user devices are also routing devices, it's pretty obvious that, at least for the beginning part of the 'S' innovation curve, the value of network externalities is even greater. This has some interesting implications for seeding 'core' networks by seeding the 'edges'.

Thursday, 25 July 2002 14:11:32 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |