Whitepaper on 3G networks evolution
September 2, 2006
Eastern Research Access Network Solutions has released informative white-paper on the evolution paths of 3G radio access networks (RAN). Whilst this may be a bit technical for some, it is important to understand some of the dynamics of the wireless world and where the different technologies work together.
The white-paper uses a diagram from the UMTS Forum (Figure 1 on page 3) that visually shows the wireless jigsaw puzzle causing so much confusion today. What the diagram does well is show the major uses that wireless network have to address. They are "fixed" location, "walk" (people on the move) and "vehicle" (things moving long distances and quickly).
Whilst the UMTS Forum takes a bit of creative license to speculate that 3G needs to fill all these needs in the future, in some ways the technology does work in these areas today, but the fact remains that other types of wireless will work better and be more cost efficient in specific uses. This will happen because customers are demanding lower costs for usage and higher levels of functionality.
Easterns Reaserch’s white-paper stipulates a conceptual framework they call the 3C’s – Coverage, Capacity & Convergence. Convergence will play a major part in how we see wireless networks develop. As we are seeing coming into the market now, converged wireless devices are a reality. Moving forward we should see this level of convergence become transparent to the user. In other words the user will have requirements for usage of wireless traffic according to cost & bandwidth. So if a user is at a cafe having a coffee, the device automatically switches voice and data traffic to a "fixed" based wireless system that would be cheaper than a "walk" or "vehicle" one.
Whilst planning for the 3Cs is crucial for carriers and wireless operators, the convergence aspect can be operated in partnerships, where companies can focus on their core competencies, and not be distracted by disruptive technologies they believe they need to deploy themselves.