A few years back the dial up experience of the Internet made application delivery a troublesome experience. Today with relatively small throughput in the way of access pipes, people have found applications relatively easy to get to without knowledge of QOS. Likewise, your cell phone service has improved over the last few years with "fewer dropped calls" and the ability to "hear me now" in more places.
But the migration to 4G is going to include the use of OFDM technology and MIMO antenna strategies. In effect, it's going to improve quality by distributing the signal and making add / drop decisions on the quality of the signal. These techniques have a track record in the WiFi standard, and are the rationale for migration to both WiMAX and LTE.
This ability to move to multiple input multiple output (MIMO) is new when considering how to deliver at the carrier level, particularly given the diversity of situations. As you know with wireless antenna and battery are a large part of the analysis that has to take place. You can think of it like the days of modems, the experience then was that the weakest link in your connection was the last mile, now the weakest links will be the channels between your device and the carrier.
All of this background brings us to the discussion of Azimuth Systems and their channel emulation ability. Azimuth Systems has been doing channel emulation on WiFI for years and was embedded in some work done to assure VoWiFi with some carrier friends. This experience has direct translation in the OFDM / MIMO world of 4G.
For 4G, Testing the scenarios and possible delivery issues when working with 4G technologies is essential for the carrier, particularly if they are going to bundle application stores and give some sort of approval to applications. As we see the move to smart phones and netbooks, when Mobile Internet Devices come of age will the apps be able to trust that it's a world of "If you build it they will come" or are the apps going to have to have strategies that blend with the network.
A lot of the iPhone apps are nothing more than an ftp to an edge device, and because the devices are cool, it works. But as we move to video based apps, and interactive experiences, the network's impact must be better understood. And that makes channel emulation essential. A carrier cannot afford to have bad experiences. While apps survive on customer good will, the carrier wants a stronger commitment.
The promise of 100 MB wireless sounds great but the realities of interference, overhead and other imperfections, make the delivery more qualitative with the need to get some experience as soon as possible. So as we head to 4G the roll of channel emulation is the opportunity to bring to the lab test cases from the realities of the past.
IMHO the channel emulation should be part of the lab associated with every app store a carrier is affiliated with. To be clear, I am not suggesting an OSMINE experience for application developers (they would kill me) but the carrier should be taking advantage of the apps to build up their experience in the new world of 4G.