3G and next generation wireless technology

For the last couple of years, one of the hottest topics in computing and communications has been wireless technology. During this time, the technology has attracted many users and has undergone numerous changes, including Internet connectivity. However, even these profound changes may pale in comparison to what may happen during the next few years. Therefore, it appears that wireless technology has reached a turning point, as vendors and researchers prepare to take it to the next level. Most industry observers agree that next-level wireless technology will offer more bandwidth, security, and reliability, making it more suitable for multimedia, e-commerce, videoconferencing, and other advanced applications. Those applications could include video on demand; mobile e-commerce; wireless Web surfing; location-sensitive services, such as programs that find nearby movies or restaurants; and customized personal information services, available anytime, anywhere, said Victor O.K. Li, professor of information engineering at Hong Kong University. A key issue for wireless is what form the technology’s next generation will take. Many vendors, service providers, market analysts, and other industry observers contend the next level will be the much-discussed third-generation wireless approach, which is actually a set of digital, packet-based, broadband technologies. Vendors are just starting to implement 3G, but some experts in the field are already questioning its functionality and usefulness. Some experts say that 3G technology itself is not good enough. Others contend that 2.5G will need to be a paradigm shift that includes very high carrier frequencies with massive bandwidths, extreme base station and device densities and unprecedented numbers of antennas. But unlike the previous four generations, it will also be highly integrative: tying any new 5G air interface and spectrum together with LTE and WiFi to provide universal high-rate coverage and a seamless user experience. To support this, the core network will also have to reach unprecedented levels of flexibility and intelligence, spectrum regulation will need to be rethought and improved, and energy and cost efficiencies will become even more critical considerations. This paper discusses all of these topics, identifying key challenges for future research and preliminary 5G standardization activities, while providing a comprehensive overview of the current literature, The global bandwidth shortage facing wireless carriers has motivated the exploration of the underutilized millimeter wave (mm-wave) frequency spectrum for future broadband cellular communication networks. There is, however, little knowledge about cellular mm-wave

, a variation on today’s 2G approaches, will meet users’ needs for quite a while and will eliminate the need to adopt the radically different 3G technology. Still others maintain that wireless LANs (WLANs) or radiorouter technology would be better suited than 3G for many advanced applications. Vendors and researchers are carefully considering these and other issues as they decide where to take wireless technology. What’s at stake for service providers, as well as device vendors and networking-infrastructure companies, are billions of dollars in revenue. For consumer and business users, what’s at stake is the type of technology they will have to use on their wireless devices, including their smart phones, personal digital assistants (PDAs), and pagers with Internet access. Therefore, the issue is critical on many fronts. “The road is bumpy, and some of the bumps are bigger than the car,” quipped Mahmoud Naghshineh, senior manager of the Pervasive Security and Networking Department at the IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center.
Wireless is being driven by a “technology push and a market pull,” Li explained. He said technology can now take wireless to the next generation, while users and service providers want the applications that new technologies could enable. According to Naghshineh, the demand exists, in part, because “there has been an explosion of diverse devices with smart capabilities.” Vendors and users want better wireless-networking technology to take advantage of the devices’ online functionality. Meanwhile, Naghshineh noted, providers have seen ways they could make money if they could provide advanced wireless services. According to Paul Henry, AT&T Labs’ division manager of broadbandwireless-systems research, the key markets for next-generation wireless systems will be sales people and other frequent travelers who need access to corporate data while on the road, as well as consumers of video and other dataintensive entertainment applications. Network providers and device vendors are beginning to roll out 3G services and products. The US trails Western Europe and Japan in adopting them, as has typically been the case with mobile technology. For example, the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) auctioned 2G mobile licenses and frequency spectra in January 2001 for $17 billion to such companies as AT&T and Verizon. However, this was years after man

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