Perhaps it’s a combination of the growing number of international attendees, a push to attract wireless players and convergence in the telecommunications industry that puts broadband solutions and intelligent networks at center stage for wireless at Supercomm this year.
The wireless pavilion will be 30% larger than last year, and more than 5000 international attendees are expected, says Matt Flanigan, president of the Telecommunications Industry Association. Certain new wireless developments attract international players to the show, he believes.
“The international world has fallen behind in teledensity. Wireless holds the biggest potential for the international world to leapfrog and get up to speed,” he says. Specifically, broadband and local loop solutions can help these players reach customers.
“Supercomm has traditionally been a forum for wireless and wireline players to augment or replace the public telecommunications infrastructure,” says Doug Smith, chief operating officer for broadband wireless access at Northern Telecom. The same types of solutions that let international players get up to speed allow international and domestic players to bypass entrenched operators, and quickly and economically access small and medium-sized businesses.
Nortel will introduce a product designed for such applications – Reunion 1.1, a revision of the existing Reunion product. The broadband solution operates in the 2 to 42 GHz frequencies to deliver voice, data, Internet and video services. The revision resulted from feedback from commercial implementations by Teligent and WinStar in the U.S.
ADC Telecommunications also will introduce a broadband product, CellSpan BWA, that will operate in licensed spectrum in the 2 to 40 GHz range [ILLUSTRATION FOR FIGURE 1 OMITTED]. The product will be in beta tests in August and commercial deployment near the end of this year.
“Most carriers that have data and voice deliver it off different independent platforms,” says Chuck Riggle, product manager for broadband wireless systems at ADC. “As data increases and surpasses voice – as it will around 2000 – carriers will need to consolidate these diverse networks.”
Broadband over asynchronous transfer mode offers a good way to deliver voice, data and other services over one platform, he says. Riggle believes that the industry migration toward data and integration will drive the market for broadband solutions.
ADC will demonstrate CellSpan BWA at the show using the 28 GHz spectrum to deliver wireless digital subscriber line services. The company also plans to announce beta sites for its Cellworx service transport node used for broadband data and video applications and first introduced at Supercomm ’97.
Alcatel will feature its 9900 WW radio, a broadband point-to-multipoint radio designed for the 10 GHz to 41 GHz frequency. With experience in developing microwave and point-to-point solutions and an under standing of systems deployment, Alcatel made a smooth transition into broadband solutions.
“This was a real natural,” says Allisyn Sharp, the company’s director of marketing and business development for wireless networks. “With our understanding of the telecom market, it made sense.”
Alcatel believes it has an advantage over smaller vendors of broadband solutions because it has experience and much of the back-end requirements such as customer service facilities already in place. Many of the smaller vendors will find it a real challenge because they don’t have customer service capabilities or experience, Sharp says.
Alcatel also will display some of its point-to-point microwave systems that local multipoint distribution service (LMDS) carriers may opt to use rather than leased fiber to tie back to the network.
With the opening of a development arm in Silicon Valley and the acquisition of Hewlett-Packard’s LMDS business, Lucent Technologies also is gearing up to respond to the demand for broadband solutions. The company recently announced Advanced Radio Telecom’s intention to use Lucent exclusively to build out its wireless broadband network.
Lucent will display its broadband point-to-multipoint technology, a low-cost solution for new entrants and international players to access small to medium-sized business customers, says Larry Schwerin, general manager of Lucent’s wireless broadband networking division. Schwerin believes Lucent’s strengths as a systems integrator give it an advantage because small operators in particular want to stitch an end-to-end design that includes both voice and data.
“As the industry moves into data, we have the opportunity to build a global product,” Schwerin notes. Rather than T-1/E-1 type products that break over international lines, broadband products suit both international and domestic players.
A number of other companies will feature broadband solutions at Supercomm. Spike Technologies will feature its Prizm broadband delivery system point-to-multipoint solution that operates in the 2.1 to 2.7 GHz and the 5.75 to 5.85 GHz frequencies.
Hughes Network Systems will display AIReach Broadband, a second generation low-cost, high-speed, high-capacity access product. It operates in the 3 GHz to 42 GHz spectrum and was introduced in April.
Stanford Telecom and P-Com also will display broadband products.
As broadband and local loop solutions threaten landline, they must offer dependable, feature-rich alternatives, increasing the demands on wireless service.
“The feature set and capacity requirements are going through the roof,” says Bruce Rostowfske, vice president of research and development for GNP Computers. “The complexity of services requires more computing power than was previously available.”
GNP’s WorkServer offers such computing power so that companies can focus on advanced capabilities.
“Carriers are moving from getting subscribers to selling services to subscribers,” Rostowfske says. Companies including Lucent, Nortel and Qualcomm use the WorkServer computer platform for the central office to deliver services such as home location register (HLR), cellular digital packet service and over-the-air provisioning processes.
“Wireless is growing up and needs more robustness,” Rostowfske says.
It’s the robust requirement that GNP targets with its WorkServer platform. WorkServer is based on open standards and protects against potential shutdowns with two feeds and a rugged package that can withstand the environment.
Tandem also will feature its intelligent network server, Himalaya, at the show. Widely deployed across the industry, it allows operators to free up call processing capacity from the switch by running functions such as HLR and authentication off the Himalaya platform, says Gary Wood, director of marketing for IS-41 wireless applications at Tandem. Tandem recently made SignalSoft’s wireless location services available on Himalaya.
“Carriers are seeking more control,” Wood says. Intelligent network solutions that are based on open standards, such as Himalaya, offer carriers more control because they can work with multiple switch vendors and applications providers to deploy services quickly
Tandem’s strong experience in the financial industry lends itself to products for the wireless industry. In the financial industry, every transaction is critical. “In today’s competitive wireless industry, every call is critical,” Woods says.
DSC Communications Corp. will feature INfusion, its service control point. DSC offers an IS-41 HLR service, an authentication center product and wireless location services from SignalSoft along with other third party solutions via INfusion.
Stuart Rosenfield, senior director of marketing for DSC’s Advanced Intelligent Network division, noted the interest in using products such as INfusion to integrate wireless and wireline networks on a single platform. “It allows ubiquitous, seamless branding, especially in regional areas,” Rosenfield says. Carriers can deliver services with the same look and feel by operating from a common platform.
Nuts and bolts
Excel Switching is capitalizing on demands in the wireless industry for numerous services and scalability. Rather than invest in intelligent networking, however, Carriers can use its switches to front-end enhanced set vices, creating intelligent network-like services without the investment, company officials say.
In addition, users can avoid large upfront investments when entering a new market by taking advantage of Excel’s architecture that allows switches to be stacked as a subscriber base grows, says Tim Mason, wireless product marketing manager at Excel.
In addition to its Open Network Expansion architecture, Excel will feature two software products, EXS Call Control and EXS Manage. The former allows users to create call models and supplementary features that reside on the switch. “It makes the switch more robust,” Mason says. The software also lets carriers reduce redundant call processing.
EXS Manage interfaces with network management standards such as simple network management protocol and offers operations, administration, maintenance and provisioning.
In addition to driving the need for differentiating features, competition in the wireless industry requires operators to focus on quality.
“Competition drives the need for new weapons,” says Steve Susina, marketing manager at Tellabs. “It’s now critical to sound good.”
Although echo cancelers have long been a part of landline networks, Tellabs is noticing a strong wireless interest in its echo cancellation products since digital emerged.
Tellabs also will display its Titan family of digital cross-connects at Supercomm. Digital cross-connects improve efficiency and reliability for wireless players, Susina says.
Other companies displaying wireless products include RAD Data Communications, which will feature Kilomux, a modular time division multiplexer, and Maxcess, a family of integrated access equipment that transmits data, voice, fax and local area network over leased-line or frame relay networks.
Beyond the real nuts and bolts of the network, HP regulates the heartbeat of the network with its synchronization products. Poor synchronization can result in poor call handoffs, static, dropped calls and errors in data transmissions, says Murli Thirumale, HP’s business manager for timing solutions for communications. HP’s solutions respond to synchronization problems rooted both in the interface between a wired and wireless network and in low-quality clocks in base stations.
Supercomm attendees may not have to dig to find wireless at this year’s show. Today’s competitive and converged landscape increasingly turns the spotlight toward wireless.
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