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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

WiMAX and the Olympics

It’s great being back from my summer vacation and meeting up with everyone again.

As some of our Comsys employees will recall, when returning from my last summer vacation I shared my views on the benefits of the Mobile Internet and the “always connected” service (Subject: “receiving e-mail while hiking in the Tirol Mountains or boating on the Danube river..…”). My major complaints were the insufficient bandwidth and the high cost of service - 2 drawbacks that WiMAX should solve. However as I don’t have a Comsys-enabled WiMAX cellphone yet, this year we decided to save the international roaming cost and travel locally.

My family are real fighters and they love being around nature: hiking, biking, rafting, diving, camping - you name it. They don’t mind the heat, dust, early wake-up, basic food and even the crowds. They only had one basic request: “Dad, you know, the Olympic Games are happening now and we would like to watch the major events… live!!!”. As my older kids are basketball players, I appreciated their request and replied: “Don’t worry about it: I’m in the cellular business, I’m carrying 2 HSDPA devices (data card and PDA), I have 2 EDGE phones as backup, and I assure you that you won’t miss any Michael Phelps lap, Usain Bolt step or any Kobi Bryant dunk. You can trust me”. And they did.

But…while travelling in a beautiful country area, one of the swimming finals was about to start. We excitedly turned the HSDPA modem on, however couldn’t get more than 100KB/sec. The video obviously stuttered, the gang lost some patience, I turned red, but, luckily the kids showed maturity and forgave me as swimming isn’t their favorite sport anyway.

3 days later, and the 100m final run was about to start. We were by then in the Judeah Dessert. I turned on the HSDPA modem again but….. could only receive GPRS signal. What a shame… At this pace, poor Bolt is still running this race….unlike my kids‘ trust which I lost in world record time. Still, as basketball is their favorite sport, they forgave me once again, on condition to my swearing that the semi-final basketball game would be watched seamlessly.

When the big day arrived, I made sure we were in a reputable city (Eilat) with high quality HSDPA coverage. I prepared cold drinks for them, set us chairs under a palm tree and we were ready for the big moment. And indeed, the game started and the WebTV worked perfectly. I felt my pride returning and a big smile spread all over my face. However it didn't last for long. 2 minutes later I received an SMS from Orange: “Your 100MB allocation has been fully utilized. Cost of each additional 10KB is 0.2 NIS“. A quick calculation showed that watching the full game over HSDPA would cost me more than 6 flight tickets to China and back, and I had to turn the session off!! By this stage I was considered dead (in my kids eyes). Some of them have even given up their share of my will…....

Bottom-line – with growing demand for Web-TV services (72M video clips were downloaded from Yahoo Mobile during the games, similar numbers from NBC Mobile site) we must have WiMAX ASAP. This is the first technology that will allow the necessary bandwidth at an affordable price.

I’m sure that by next summer I’ll have a Comsys-enabled WiMAX phone and WiMAX service, otherwise I’ll have to bring the gang and an inflatable swimming pool and set up camp in the Comsys offices so that we can be connected (by wire) to the LAN, …… ;-)

FCC to Report Next Month on Broadband Wireless White Space Devices

The FCC report is expected to give feedback on testing of smart radio devices and their potential interference in white spaces.

An article in The Wall Street Journal reports on efforts by backers to convince the FCC to allow free unlicensed band access to the so called white space spectrum available in unused TV channels.

Firms such as Microsoft and Google are big supporters of the free option, believing it could spur the use of innovative new wireless gadgets. Microsoft, in particular, has been heavily involved in submitting units for testing to determine their potential to interfere with adjacent bands. Earlier tests did not pan out. There are also major foes to the move, most notably Verizon which has not been very supportive of the plan. Many groups believe the spectrum should be licensed.

This next report from the FCC will answer many questions with its feedback on the most recent round of device testing. Don't look for a final ruling however, before about the end of the year.

Both camps make strong arguments for and against. Broadcasters are clearly against the move, citing the potential for interference. The uncertainty generated by early testing doesn't help broadcaster's confidence. On the other side of the equation, many groups including Intel believe that using these bands, which offer great penetration capability could lead to an explosion of new Internet enabled devices and services.

Latest PC OEMs support WiMAX - Intel Development Forum, San Francisco

The Intel Developer Forum is in full-swing this week in San Fransciso, demonstrating new quad-core processors for mobile devices and WiMAX support for laptops PCs.

During his keynote speech, Dadi Perlmutter, VP and GM of Intel's Mobility Group also announced that Dell and Sony are now public in their plans to add WiMAX (including Intel’s upcoming wifi-wimax module) in some future laptop models.

These two PC makers join Acer, Asus, Lenovo, Panasonic, and Toshiba as being public on their plans, and show the variety of industries involved in the network – telecom, PC and consumer electronics with of course companies like Comcast, Google and Time Warner being part of the proposed new Clearwire venture.

Intel and Move Networks Ready WiMAX Video Devices for Prime Time

Move Networks is developing a WiMAX enabled video device designed to operate on new Intel chipsets.

Move Networks has a media player, designed to receive wireless video signals, even in High Definition. And in partnership with Intel, Move Networks is busily updating the unit to operate on Intel's new Atom Z5 processor series. Clearly the thinking is that Internet delivered video content will be highly desired by the public.

This news comes out of the Intel Developer's Forum this past week. And while it was perhaps not as remarked upon as some, it does offer insight into the possibilities for exploiting new services and devices that the new WiMAX-based Clearwire network could offer.

Intel has been demonstrating the new technology at its Developer's Forum this past week. The advent of Mobile Internet Devices (MID) like this application is a hotbed of interest in some quarters. For WiMAX or LTE to reach their full potential these kinds of creative devices must become a mainstay of the marketplace to lure consumers.

Sprint Leads Telecom into the Age of Location-based Services

Sprint inks a number of partner agreements that will leverage the quantity and quality of location-based services that customers will be able to use in future.

Recognizing that a large portion of customers future use of broadband services in its Xohm broadband wireless division will come from the need to search for services locally, Sprint has aggressively expanded its ecosystem agreements with numerous third party partners.

The vision for the future of location-based search includes numerous devices such as laptops, mobile handheld devices, cameras, car navigation systems and much more. The notion of being able to perform quick searches and have software prioritize results based on where you are physically located is a powerful concept.

Searching for movie tickets would, for example, bring up results for the closest theatres---as would finding a gas station or a list of restaurants. And all of these results could include mapping, driving directions and even video showing the actual route.

Sprint's new partners, which one presumes will also carryover to the new Clearwire when that deal is concluded include Yelp, Inc., a site featuring reviews of businesses including restaurants.

Another partner uLocate Communications, Inc. is building the underlying primary platform for much of this partnering. And its platform will facilitate connections to business, places and favorite people.

Eventful Inc. ties events to local mapping to help people find things to do---whereas Topix LLC parses summaries of local news. And Navteq provides traffic and commuter updates.

Other partners such as Autodesk Inc., Openwave Systems, Inc. AccuWeather and even Google all offer numerous useful and potentially very lucrative capabilities to the next generation of mobile broadband.

I don't know about you, but I think this will be a very interesting time.

Intel Capital Funds Multimedia Messaging Company's WiMAX Initiative

ntel Capital invests $3 million into Aicent to help speed the development of roaming multimedia messaging over WiMAX networks.
In a bit of a surprising move, Intel Capital has chosen to invest $3 million into Aicent, a company focused on delivering multimedia messaging services to cellular companies. What is special about Aicent is that its network enables customers to retrieve messages effectively while roaming.

Clearly, roaming functionality is a hallmark of what Intel wants to promote about WiMAX. And this move clearly is seen as a plan to make sure this technology works well with WiMAX.

Intel has previously invested in several companies focused upon producing WiMAX systems, including vendors Motorola, Nokia-Siemens as well as carriers such as Unwired Australia and of course, Clearwire Corporation.

Moves like this could help ensure that the technology hits the ground running in terms of functionality when truly mobile WiMAX technology starts showing up at scale.

It won't be much longer.

Alcatel-Lucent and Motorola

Alcatel-Lucent and Motorola lead in mobile WiMAX, says Infonetics report

Double-digit quarterly growth forecasted for the balance of 2008 and 110 million users predicted by 2011.

Alcatel-Lucent and Motorola lead in mobile WiMAX, according to a new market report from Infonetics Research. The study found that the pair increased market share of equipment revenues from 50% to 66% over the past ninety days. For stationary and fixed WiMAX equipment, the report gave the top pick to Alvarion with 25% of the worldwide equipment revenue market.

While the combined worldwide equipment revenues were up only 3% from Q1'2008 to $402 million, Infonetics predicts that the balance of 2008 will see double-digit sequential growth. By 2011, 110 million users of WiMAX technologies are forecasted.

Infonetics attributes the Alcatel-Lucent growth to a significant shipment of ASN Gateways in the quarter. The gateways manage mobility functions of 802.16e-2005 networks, enabling base stations to communicate with each other. Gateways can be vendor-agnostic, just like base stations and subscriber devices interoperate between multiple vendors. Alcatel-Lucent has had success with selling gateways to both its base station customers as well as competitors. WiMAX Forum specifies the interfaces used by ASN Gateways.

A few more statistics from the report:

- More than 200 networks are now being deployed and more than 100 other trials are in progress; the market will be increasingly driven by more Tier 1 operators entering the market

- Developing countries are the engine for WiMAX market growth, with Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Central and Latin America, and parts of the Asia Pacific being hot-beds of activity

- In particular, India, Russia and Brazil are fast-moving markets with numerous active WiMAX operators and large populations and market conditions to give potential for strong growth

- The number of fixed and mobile WiMAX subscribers topped 2 million worldwide in 2007 and is expected to triple by the end of 2008

The Infonetics report tracks the equipment shipments from thirteen equipment manufacturers along with Wi-Fi mesh network equipment providers.

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Intel® Virtualization Technology (Intel® VT)±
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Intel® 64 architectureΦ
Server processor specifications
Processor NumberΔCacheClock SpeedFront Side BusSystem TypePowerDual-coreQuad-core
45-nm technology
L541012MB2.33 GHz1333 MHzDP50W
L542012MB2.50 GHz1333 MHzDP50W
X548212MB3.20 GHz1600 MHzDP150W
X547212MB3.00 GHz1600 MHzDP120W
X546012MB3.16 GHz1333 MHzDP120W
X545012MB3.00 GHz1333 MHzDP120W
L541012MB2.33 GHz1333 MHzDP50W
E547212MB3.00 GHz1600 MHzDP80W
E546212MB2.80 GHz1600 MHzDP80W
E545012MB3.00 GHz1333 MHzDP80W
E544012MB2.83 GHz1333 MHzDP80W
E543012MB2.66 GHz1333 MHzDP80W
E542012MB2.50 GHz1333 MHzDP80W
E541012MB2.33 GHz1333 MHzDP80W
E540512MB2.00 GHz1333 MHzDP80W
X52726MB3.40 GHz1600 MHzDP80W
X52606MB3.33 GHz1333 MHzDP80W
L52406MB3.00 GHz1333 MHzDP40W
E52056MB1.86 GHz1066 MHzDP65W
65-nm technology
X53658MB3 GHz1333 MHzDP120W
X53558MB2.66 GHz1333 MHzDP120W
L53358MB2 GHz1333 MHzDP50W
L53208MB1.86 GHz1066 MHzDP50W
L53108MB1.60 GHz1066 MHzDP50W
E53458MB2.33 GHz1333 MHzDP80W
E53358MB2 GHz1333 MHzDP80W
E53208MB1.86 GHz1066 MHzDP80W
E53108MB1.60 GHz1066 MHzDP80W
51604MB3 GHz1333 MHzDP80W
51504MB2.667 GHz1333 MHzDP65W
51484MB2.333 GHz1333 MHzDP40W
51404MB2.333 GHz1333 MHzDP65W
51304MB2 GHz1333 MHzDP65W
51204MB1.866 GHz1066 MHzDP65W
51104MB1.60 GHz1066 MHzDP65W
50804MB3.73 GHz1066 MHzDP130W
50634MB3.20 GHz1066 MHzDP95W
50604MB3.20 GHz1066 MHzDP130W
50504MB3 GHz667 MHzDP95W
50304MB2.67 GHz667 MHzDP95W

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