DOC grapples with cordless telephone frequency allocations – Department of Communications, Canada

DOC grapples with cordless telephone frequency allocations – Department of Communications, Canada – Feature Report: Portable and Cellular Communications

Richard Zwiep

DOC grapples with cordless telephone frequency allocations

Under the surfacr of personal communications network (PCN) services lie a number of complex issues related to the technology, standards and regulation.

Recognizing the Canadian potential for new forms of wireless communications, an Industry Advisory Committee on Cordless Telephones in Canada has been formed to make recommendations to the federal Department of Communications (DOC). The work of the three subcommittees on technical standards, regulatory and spectrum issues and service descriptions has been completed during the last 18 months. Their findings are expected to be tabled before the summer, if an accord can be reached on the remaining issue of radio standards.

There are three technologies competing for acceptance as the appropriate radio standard. CT2Plus (an enhanced version of cordless telephone, second generation) is being touted by Northern Telecom of Mississauga, Ont., U.S.-based Motorola and GEC Plessey Telecommunications of the U.K. Sweden’s Ericsson Radio Systems is pushing its CT3 standard, supported by NovAtel Communications of Calgary, a manufacturing licensee of CT3 products.

There are also several supporters of the CDMA (code division multiple access) technology that has received significant support in American wireless trials.

Various vendors and manufacturers have lined up in support of one standard over the other, but no consensus decision has been reached in the committee work.

Merrill Schulman of Schulman Communications and chairman of the Industry Advisory Group suggests that the trials that have taken place to date have not provided the committee with sufficient data from realistic operating environments for a technology decision to be reached.

Currently available products do not meet the specified service level requirements.

The original CT2-CAI (common application interface) products from the U.K. have only been available for a few months, placing the Canadian trial users right on the learning curve. This technology only allows the user to place calls, not receive them. The initial versions of CT3 technology are designed for use in wireless PBX (private branch exchange) applications, not for home or public use. The CT2Plus system is intended to overcome the limitations of CT2, but the product is not yet available for use.

The technologically sophisticated CDMA products have not had widespread support among the trial users.

The original British CT2 uses an FDMA (frequency division multiple access) transmission technique, used by conventional cellular and satellite services. The CT2Plus being touted by Northern Telecom is also FDMA, but uses a portion of the band as a TDMA (time division) signalling channel.

The CT3 scheme that NovAtel is supporting is a TDMA technique that also uses dynamic channel allocations. It is a precursor to the Digital European Cordless Tel Telephone (DECT) standard expected from the European Telecommunications Standards Institute by 1992.

The British PCN trials use TDMA technology, but rather than waiting for the DECT standard, they have chosen to use the Group Speciale Mobile (GSM) standard that the pan-European digital cellular system is based on.

Although the “radio war” conitinues, the Industry Advisory Committee wants to come to an agreement within the next two months.

Canada is leading the U.S. in dealing with wireless communications, and is positioned to build a strong base of experience prior to the 1992 World Advisory Radio Council rulings on global spectrum allocation. Canadian manufacturing and service providers stand poised, eager to capitalize on this significant new communications market.

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