Here Today - More Tomorrow
This issue's round-up includes products that have already made an impact in 1998, some recent announcements, and a couple of sneak previews of items that will hit the market next year.
New for '99
Qualcomm announced its forthcoming pdQ smartphone at PCS 98 in Orlando in September. The company describes pdQ as the industry's first integrated CDMA digital phone and Palm Computing platform-based organizer. Both 800 MHz dual-mode and 1900 MHz digital versions of the pdQ smartphone will allow users to make calls, track appointments, catalog contact data, send and receive e-mail and surf the Internet - all, says Qualcomm, from a single device. Commercial availability of the pdQ smartphone is expected in the first half of 1999.
Heart of the matter
Samsung's Base Station Controller (BSC) is at the heart of the company's CDMA RF Subsystem. The distributed control structures and redundant processor architecture provide "exceptionally reliable" high-speed data transmission, call processing, mobility management and seamless inter-BSC soft handoffs, says the company.
Features offered by the BSC include inter-BSC soft handoffs, which, between multiple BSCs, result in fewer dropped calls, superior voice quality and better overall system performance.
The Samsung BSC is designed around an open interface philosophy allowing operators to support multi-vendor environments. The open network architecture is based on standards supporting IS-634 (A-Interface), IS-95, ANSI J-STD-OO8, and IS-41 (Rev C.)
In addition, through "highly reliable" packet data transmissions, this BSC can provide more than 120 voice conversations on a single E1 facility.
The Samsung BSC also provides echo cancellation and transcoding.
Multiple vocoding schemes are supported by the BSC, including 13k QCELP,
8k QCELP and 8k EVRC.
The space efficiencies required by PCS/cellular operators are provided with the small footprint offered by the Samsung BSC. As few as two cabinets are needed for complete BSC operation and functionality.
Service activation software
Stratus Computer, Inc. of the U.S. and LG Information and Communications, Ltd. (LGIC) of South Korea have announced a strategic marketing alliance that will make LGIC's over-the-air wireless service activation software available on fault-tolerant Stratus Continuum Series systems.
The new, standards-compliant product from LGIC enables CDMA wireless carriers to activate subscriber service "over the air." Over-the-air service provisioning eliminates the need for customers to visit a third party, such as an authorized dealer, to set up or make changes to their wireless telephone service.
Stratus will market the LGIC OTAF (Over the Air Activation Function) software worldwide on Continuum systems. Continuum systems, says Stratus, assure the computer industry's highest levels of uninterrupted availability for applications that demand around-the-clock operation.
Among new benefits claimed for the protocol are that activating wireless service is far more simple and cost-effective. Carriers need not require new customers to initiate service at a walk-in location, such as a carrier-operated retail store or an authorized dealer. Subscribers will be able to turn on service and choose custom options, including prepaid calling and paging, during one brief call from their wireless phones.
Because OTAF eliminates the need to program phones before purchase, it also reduces CDMA carriers' exposure to fraud and streamlines inventory management. Encrypted authentication keys are securely downloaded to wireless phones when customers activate their accounts. Other required information, including the phone number, is also downloaded upon service activation so that phone inventory can easily be allocated to fill demand.
While this latest announcement extends the range of wireless products already marketed by Stratus and LGIC, standards compliance allows the new over-the-air activation product to be implemented in any IS-41C CDMA network.
The OTAF product complements other Intelligent Network (IN) applications that run on Stratus' open hardware and software platforms, enabling carriers to implement a variety of applications on the same foundation.
Customer care goes mobile
This year has seen the launch and promotion of Kenan Systems Corporation's Arbor/Mobile, a comprehensive set of products and services for mobile telephony providers worldwide. Using Arbor/Mobile, says Kenan, providers can bring new products and services to market quickly, attract and retain profitable customers, and provide superior customer service. Arbor/Mobile includes billing, customer care and customer/churn analysis capabilities, along with maintenance and support services, making it the first customer management solution of its kind designed specifically for mobile providers.
Arbor/Mobile capabilities facilitate dealer set-up, customer
acquisition, customer care, billing and rating, and customer analysis.
Arbor/Mobile enables customer order entry, service activation and contract
printing, and integrates with third-party equipment inventory/point of
sale systems as well as switch mediation platforms. Customer service representatives
(CSRs) can manage and monitor customer accounts with intuitive user interfaces
that allow the issuance of payments, credits, refunds and adjustments
as well as collections and credit monitoring, resulting in increased customer
satisfaction and loyalty.
Customer analysis capabilities allow providers to analyze churn, segment their customer base for targeted marketing and execute and manage their marketing campaigns for increased effectiveness.
Fast fixed access
Hughes Network Systems offers AIReach Local Loop-CDMA, a wireless local loop system that, says Hughes, meets the needs of service providers for cost-effective, rapidly installed telecommunications. Based on code division multiple access (CDMA) and V5.2 open architecture, the AIReach Local Loop: is high capacity and all-digital with extremely high spectral efficiency; is a hybrid mobile/fixed wireless application with easy overlay of fixed wireless application on standard CDMA digital cellular networks via IS-634 interfaces; and offers 8/13 kbps voice coding.
Low-cost startup and cost-effective growth is also claimed by Hughes as well as integration of wireless loop with wireline through V5.2 on a single platform with transparent implementation of a wide range of vertical features. The system is, says Hughes, well suited for wide area and urban coverage
Advantages of the system include a choice of switching
platforms to address wireline/wireless or fixed/mobile hybrid and modular
hardware platforms at switch, cell site and subscriber premises that allow
flexibility to grow in size as well as in features.
PrairieComm says that its PC19501 baseband ASIC combines 64 kbps+ data rate performance and "crystal clear" voice quality with low power consumption and offers a highly integrated baseband solution for CDMA handset products.
The PC19501 integrates two powerful computational devices - a DSP subsystem and microcontroller subsystem to provide a "cost-effective and flexible" platform. Using a highly specialized, power-saving hardware accelerator logic (co-processors) for specific physical layer functions, the PC19501 provides optimal CDMA solutions in terms of performance, flexibility, power consumption and cost, says PrairieComm.
The general features of the PC19501 are: complete IS-95-B baseband solution, exceeding all IS-95-B specifications; low 2.7 to 3.6 V DC power consumption during operation; and fully programmable software-controlled power management.
Among its CDMA processing features are that: it supports 64 kbps data (IS-95-B) on both forward and reverse links; its programmable search processing, RAKE processing, channel coding/decoding, and modulation enable easy field and application customization; and that it includes internal 8/13k QCELP and 8k EVRC vocoders.
NEC offers a BTS that combines compact size, light weight and low power consumption alongside a single cabinet solution for three sectors with two RF interfaces or double cabinet to provide a maximum of four RF interfaces.
The BTS links directly to subscriber handsets through a common air interface (IS-95A). It also includes a multiprocessing system. Its modular design allows flexible configuration. NEC also claims saving of floor space as no space is required behind the BTS. Front access allows easy maintenance and expansion.
ISTAR has announced that it has standardized and automated its production process to meet the technical requirements of the wireless telecommunications industry. The company says its Telecom Datasets specifications are compatible with most RF planning and wave propagation analysis software. Its databases are formatted in order to be compatible with various software including: Astrix (Teleplan), Atoll (Forsk), Ce2/Ce4 (Lucent Tech), CellCAD (LCC), ChirPlus (L&S), Ellipse (CRIL Ing.) NetPlan (Motorola), NPS/X (Nokia), Planet (MSI), QEDesign (Qualcomm) and SGT(SGT).
The company supplies the following standard exchange formats: BIL or TIF (Raster File Format); and ARGGEN or DXF (Vector Format).
The choice of media offered includes CD-ROM, DAT and EXABYTE 8mm. Databases can also be delivered to the customer's site through Internet FTP.
In addition, specifications that are not met by standard products can be evaluated upon request. Examples of possible customizations include: different DTM resolution or accuracy from that listed in the standard specifications; urban package area extension beyond the standard area specifications; different resolution or coverage extension in regional packages; modification of land use map (clutter) classification; additional land use classes using satellite imagery in regional packages; and different technical specifications for dense urban (building heights) databases.
Spectrum management solutions
Metawave Communications Corp., a provider of spectrum management solutions for the wireless communications industry, and CelPlan Technologies, Inc., a leader in wireless engineering services and technologies, have announced a non-exclusive development agreement to incorporate the modeling of Metawave's SpotLight 2000 smart antenna systems into CelPlan's network planning software, CelPlanner. The collaboration will yield a software tool that wireless operators can use to design and optimize the deployment of SpotLight 2000 in CDMA and analog networks.
Metawave's SpotLight 2000 system is a dual-mode smart antenna that improves the capacity and performance of CDMA and analog networks. The system allows wireless operators to expand their service capabilities while lowering their capital investment. By providing a single platform for enhancing analog and CDMA capacity, SpotLight 2000 helps operators grow their networks before, during and after the deployment of digital service.
CelPlanner is, says Metawave, a complete software solution for designing wireless systems. A Microsoft Windows-based system, CelPlanner incorporates databases for topography, morphology, demography, map images, geographic and logistic references and antennas. The software also provides conversion utilities to import and export data from different sources. CelPlanner supports analog and digital technologies, including AMPS, CDMA and TDMA.
CelPlanner with smart antenna modeling capabilities is scheduled for release in early 1999.
All set for integration
DSP Communications, Inc. has announced the introduction of its new WorldCDMA ARM integrated multi-mode baseband chipset, the D5421. DSPC plans to offer samples to customers during the fourth quarter of 1998. DSPC's new chipset features size, cost, and power reductions over previous generations.
A single CDMA digital ASIC (CDA), along with an analog interface ASIC (AIA), provides a compact solution for satisfying cdmaOne baseband processing requirements, says the company. The highly integrated IS-95- compliant WorldCDMA chipset provides superior power management leading to low power consumption, while adding functionality such as voice recognition. Significant improvements in search time as well as support of four fingers optimize performance. Voice memo pad, noise cancellation, and echo cancellation further enhance operation.
The newly offered D5421 succeeds DSPC's previous generation D5411, which is available in handsets today. The newer WorldCDMA chipset offers improved .25 micron technology and 2.5V operation. The D5421 is available in BGA packaging.
DSPC's WorldCDMA chipset family offers a worldwide cdmaOne-compliant solution for complete baseband processing for cellular, PCS, and WLL terminals. Implementing three vocoders, including the 8 Kbps and 13 Kbps QCELP and EVRC.
The WorldCDMA family offers high voice quality to end-users, says DSPC. Low power consumption allows longer talk and standby times and lighter batteries. With built-in flexibility for software modifications, WorldCDMA chipsets may be easily customized, giving handset manufacturers the ability to differentiate their products.
Coaxial surge protectors
Citel has unveiled a new line of coaxial surge protectors for wireless systems, microwaves, radios, antennas, GPS and satellite systems.
They provide a fast-acting protection against lightning surges and electrical transients, says Citel. Citel coaxial surge suppressors use a fast-acting gas tube technology which makes them usable for broadband applications. Many connectors are offered: N, BNC, TNC, SMA, 7/16. Citel P8AX coaxial protectors are available for any power from one watt to 1000 watts and any frequency from DC up to 10 GHz.
They feature very low VSWR and insertion loss. Grounding can be done either through an external ground screw or through a bulkhead mount. Their small compact size makes them easy to install. They mount as a cable assembly or through the chassis of the equipment to be protected.