Carl Ford : 4G: For Generations to Come
Carl Ford

Research Firms Missed Again on UC

MarketsandMarkets states that the UCaaS market size is expected to grow from USD 17.35 Billion in 2016 to USD 28.69 Billion...

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End of Messaging?

Chetan Sharma has been discoursing on what he calls the “4th wave of mobile communications” for some time.  And I’ve commented on some...

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Robocalls Call for Service Provider Intervention

Robocalls have been getting quite a bit of ink lately in the United States.  Robocalls are those annoying auto-dialer calls you may...

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Talari Adds Firewall, Features to SD-WAN solution

SD-WAN is another one of those growth areas in tech which often goes unnoticed. Some time back I went to visit Talari...

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Silicon Valley Will Crush You!

The amount of PR generated by tech companies mostly in Silicon Valley like Google, Apple, Samsung, Facebook, Tesla and Amazon is staggering....

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HD Voice Finally Comes of Age

It’s been quite a while since I wrote about HD voice.  When HD voice was first coming to the market 7 or...

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Tech Culture Will Separate Winners from Losers in The Digital Economy

The 2016 Tech Culture Award winners have been announced The outlook for tech workers has perhaps never been brighter as top tech...

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FanFare Software Interview with David Gehringer

August 5, 2009

David Gehringer, the VP of market for Fanfare Software allowed me to interview him earlier in the week.  Fanfare Software is a leader in system and device testing, designed to simplify system and device testing for all team members, maximizing productivity throughout the quality workflow. 

Virtualization has been a real cost savings to the carriers and the concept of a virtual test bed caught my curiousity.

CF: How long as Fanfare Software been in business and when did you join it?

DG: Fanfare was founded in April 2004, actually April 1st, which is good for a laugh.  We shipped the first product in early 2006, which was the same year I joined.

CF: You work on helping with the roll out strategy of new devices with the technology, who is your customer at that point, the carrier or the vendor? 

DG: We focus on the testing side of technology, specifically making automation a reality.  While we started with manufactures, we are now finding half of our customers to be the carriers themselves.   While the magnitude of the problems differ between the two, they are both roughly testing in a similar manner. 



CF: How have roll out cycles changed and what is your expectation in the future?
DG: Yes, from a macro perspective, the time to tests has eclipsed the time to develop.   I think in the next five years those companies that are successful will reverse that trend.   This is simply due to the fact the developers have been getting tools that accelerate their development capabilities and speed, and yet today testers are still using manual and dated scripting techniques.  Testing tools, while late, are helping testers get the productivity tools they need to stay abreast of development. 

CF: With the switch to 4G OFDM and MIMO will be a major part of the testing, How does the change impact the metrics? 

DG: I would be willing to say it will add many more metrics, but the core quality metrics will remain, QoS, latency, drops, resiliency, and reliability.   What it does mean is the hetrogenious lab just got bigger.   I need all the hard line gear, as well as wireless equipment, and possibly actual handsets.   The need for simplicity and automation will grow out of this.  A typical wireless lab setup can take 2 hours for a single test, that has got to change.

CF: Give us a feel for your customers and are their differences based on location?

DG: In North America, I still feel the testers are not given their due, and must work to prove themselves.  Frankly this is an opportunity and time is now to show they contribute to the company and are not just a necessary cost center; the IT department did the same transformation in the late 90s.   I will contrast that with Europe where testing in an established profession, with actual curriculum in colleges focusing on testing.  Asia has a mix of both NA and European testing stature based on specific countries. 

CF: Can you explain a Virtual Test bed strategy?


Sprint Open Developer Conference

August 5, 2009

Who is driving the Next Bus Verizon Wireless or Apple?

August 4, 2009

Last week while Verizon Wireless was trying to draw the attention of the developer community, the press was all a buzz about their relationship with Apple.

The problem is two fold.  The first is that ATT is the only one allowed to sell 3G iPhones with Apple. The second is that LTE is going to take Verizon a while to get out there. 

Mind you, I think Verizon Wireless could do more with what they have today.  The sad reality is Verizon is still a more Apple friendly company than ATT when it comes to the USB dongles. 

Verizon Wireless has Apple software and does not refer their customers to the device manufacturer.  Personally, my Verizon MiFi works well with my MAC and the Verizon software is Apple friendly. 

So what makes it so important that the iTablet be a Verizon exclusive, and what is the implication if the LTE network is only available in limited areas.

Verizon wants to stop the migration to the iPhone, but the question is does the iTablet represent the same market or a different market?

If Steve Jobs announces the iTablet in January what is foot print that VZW will be able to offer or will it have an EVDO to LTE upgrade offer embedded in the deal?

Should be interesting to see how the marketing moves.

Tags: 3G, ATT, Apple, EVDO, ITablet, LTE, MiFi, USB Dongels, Verizon Wireless, iPhone

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Clearwire adds 10 new '4G' markets in old pre-WiMAX cities

August 3, 2009

In what seems to be now a standard practice, the folks at Clearwire are launching markets by first making them available on their coverage map page, followed by "official" launches a month or so later. We are not sure of what the difference is -- to us, a market is "officially" live when you start charging money for services.

Anyway, even though you can order services now, those new markets we told you about on Saturday will "officially" be open for business Sept. 1, according to a press release from Clearwire today. Here's the direct info from the press release:

Clearwire Communications, LLC, an operating subsidiary of Clearwire Corporation, (NASDAQ: CLWR) today announced the official launch day of CLEARâ„¢ 4G service in Boise, Idaho; Bellingham, Wash.; and eight markets throughout Texas, including: Abilene, Amarillo, Corpus Christi, Lubbock, Midland/Odessa, Killeen/Temple, Waco and Wichita Falls will occur on September 1, 2009. CLEAR offers the first super fast mobile Internet service that works as fast on the go as it does at home.




The Apple Google war may make ATT the Victim.

August 3, 2009

While the California Titans get into a contest of wills, ATT's congressional nemesis is looking to add to the battle.

I have to say it's pretty amazing to me what Congress focuses on, but the letters from the FCC inquiring about GoogleVoice make clear that this is going to be dragged into the bigger discussion.

First of all lets talk about the letters.  The FCC's letter to Apple
Apple letter 7 31 09.pdf wants to see if ATT drove the decision or had any influence.  I think Craig Moffett is right to suggest that if that were the case, it would be more courtesy than control.

Though as a former President of a major phone company used to say, If you leave a telco witness up long enough they will confess to anything.

Now the ATT letter AT&T Letter 7 31 09.pdf gets into the general distrust and expands the discussion to ask about blocking applications as well.

Finally the Google letter Google letter 7 31 09.pdf ends with concern as to whether Android has similar strategies as Apple.

Embedded in the documents are a bunch of questions about Rural Services and Network Neutrality to the ATT & Apple relationship.  Particularly when taken into consideration of the Markey Bill.  It has brought to the attention of the Congress that the Stimulus may leave the unserved and underserved with a network that does not have sexy devices like the iPhone on it, which is not what their constiuents want to hear. 

The people want device freedom, and Congress may give it to them.

On the business side of the equation the resignation of Eric Schmidt from the Apple board is probably long overdue.  The companies have been expanding the Ven Diagram of overlap with Android, Chrome, MobileMe, Safari, etc.

While the two companies could have been the best hope for a level playing field of interoperability, we are probably not going to see either side be their better selves for a while.

Adobe and Oracle (Java) are two other companies that may have a desire to contribute to the discussion.


Tags: Adobe, Android, Apple, ATT, Congress, Craig Moffet, Eric Schmidt, Google, GoogleVoice, iPhone, JAVA, Markey, Oracle, Steve Jobs

























A Kinder Way to Interpret the Sprint's Numbers

July 29, 2009

The Wall Street Journal was pretty hard on Sprint as was the Kahuna on CNBC. 

However the reality is the losses to the iPhone are proportionately less than Verizon has suffered.  It may be for a few reasons.  First of all Sprint may have a good understanding that its customers base is price sensitive.  

The long tail of the iPhone is only a long tail for a specific segment of the market. 

The prepaid services of Boost and Virgin Mobile are probably a case of eating your own young, but it seems to be keeping them in the same tent.  However this migration impacts the profit margin harder.

The acquistion of Virgin Mobile also represents an impact on the botton line, since being the supplier was more profitable than being the service.

Richard Branson like so many other entrepreneurs has found telecom to be as bad a market as the airline industry, which may be why his efforts for green technology are not particularly network oriented.

On the other side of the equation the eating of their young via Clearwire and the outsourcing to Ericsson indicate a desire to get to the right price points to compete in the market.  I think there are opportunities for continued consolidation and Sprint may find new growth in wholesale services and machine to machine markets.  Remember its Sprints WhisperNet that supports the Amazon Kindle. 

Additionally, Sprint's relationship with Ericsson may provide a more logical migration strategy to LTE from CDMA.

So this may be downside of the U for Sprint may be near.




Tags: Apple, Boost, CNBC, Clearwire, Ericsson, Palm, PalmPre, Richard Branson, Sprint, Virgin Mobile, WSJ, iPhone






















If ATT has Apple, and Sprint has PalmPre, VZ & RIM

July 28, 2009

The Q&A with John Stratton and Jim Basilie shows a mutual knowledge of companies that are clearly working together.

Basillie, the CoCEO of RIM, makes it clear that he thinks that Verizon is the leader in mulitmedia services.

Stratton, makes it clear they are AppWorld (RIM's App Store) friendly in their development.

In the midst of this discussion a Joint Venture between, China Mobile,  Softbank, Verizon and Vodafone aimed at Widgets.

The annoucment of the JV which they call JIL (Joint Innovation Lab) is aimed at providing a community of 1B paying subscribers.  

Masayoshi Son, video is about the mobile computing power that is going to increase 1,000 times.  So the handset is no longer a mobile phone, the key all the rich media of music, video, etc.  

He personally is seeing his pc use decline he has moved entirely to a mobile device.  "Let's change the future together."

By being be part of JIL, you have can have Asian and European distribution.



Tags: China Mobile, Jim Basilie, John Stratton, Masayoshi Son, RIM, Softbank, Verizon, Vodafone

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Verizon WIreless says the Future is Open

July 28, 2009

Lowell McAdam, President & CEO of Verizon Wireless open the conference talking about the future is open.

Here they are talking about being the carrier of choice for apps.  Verizon Wireless mission is to win the application developers need for a reliable network and they see a vision where HD video fits comfortably in the platform that LTE provides. 

Speaking about the SUN Java conference, McAdam shared the view that developers think beyond the traditional view of cell phone.

Billing and network services such as location are being offered in the Network API that is being rolled out here, today.

John Stratton EVP & CMO, then shared the reset of development with Verizon.  

He made clear that the move was to Java while still supporting the history of Brew.  However, Java is a platform with an open community and the goal is to support all sorts of developers.  The Verizon plan is to provide over 70% of the revenue to the developer and to provide the ability to launch on their app store in 14 days.

The App store is not aimed at an SDK but a toolset that brings the Verizon's support services to the application



Tags: 4G, Billing, Brew, GPS, Java, Jim Basilie, John Stratton, LBS, Lowell McAdam, RIM, SDK

















Straight Shooters

July 28, 2009

The U.S. Army has used technology as its weapon for decades.  Today technology plays a vital part in military success--from gathering top-secret information to manufacturing efficient arms.  
Many military technological applications need broadband service to operate, such as radio communication, video surveillance, and security.  The military must ensure that its communications infrastructure can operate in a large coverage area--such as a battlefield--and is efficiently communicative among its soldiers.  However, finding the right technology was a challenge.
The Army attempted to deal with this issue by developing the Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS), a program for a family of software-programmable tactical radios that would provide soldiers with voice, data and video communications as well as interoperability across the battle space.  The JTRS would need to use a network of wide bandwidth that would also be compatible with the existing waveforms in use by the Department of Defense.  The army began testing the $6.8 billion JTRS program in June 2003, but the project was set back by several financial obstacles and failed to carry through.
Then in December 2006, Motorola began producing the MicroTCA.  The MicroTCA provides a scalable, low-cost network-centric paradigm for effective connectivity between soldiers.  In addition, the MicroTCA is ruggedized in order to cope with the harsh climate of the battlefield.  In October 2006, Motorola, Intel, and Hybricon developed a ruggedized MicroTCA-based WiMAX demonstration platform at MILCOM, an international conference for military communications.  Combined, the MicroTCA and WiMAX network offered open standards-based subsystems on many different mobile platforms integrated into a high-performance network, physically fit for a military environment.  
In April 2007, the US Army's Communications Electronics Research and Development Engineering Center (CERDEC) evaluated Mobile WiMAX off-the-shelf products for possible military use, and the WiMAX MicroTCA proved to be a very likely candidate.  CERDEC also evaluated Samsung's commercial WiMAX products, yet details of the trial were not disclosed.  In June 2008, the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) chose Alcatel-Lucent to provide a turnkey WiMAX radio access network that included a WiMAX base station, WiMAX Access Controller, and WiMAX Operation and Maintenance Center that supported the latest WiMAX standard, 802.16e-2005.  The equipment had passed examination by the Joint Capabilities Technology Demonstration (JCTD), which focuses on testing the usefulness of a hybrid communications architecture that uses standards-based, COTS, satellite communications and wireless technology to extend global, wideband communications in a mobile environment.
WiMAX has played a part in military developments besides for strictly communications infrastructure.  In January 2006, NASA drafted a proposal for the WiMAX Networked UAV Telemetry System (WNUTS).  Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), otherwise known as drones, are military aircraft that pilots can control from a remote base station.  Thousands of miles away from the battlefield, pilots sit at a video screen, viewing and attacking the enemy via a UAV that hovers unseen above.  The WNUTS used a WiMAX network to support telemetry applications for UAVs, including visualizing real time UAV missions in 3D flight through animation, performing real time GPS data processing for direct remote sensing data geo-reference, and displaying selective inch-level high-resolution image contents.  The WiMAX network was chosen for its flexible coverage, low cost, easy maintenance, and scalability.

Tags: Alcatel-Lucent, CERDEC, Intel, JTRS, MILCOM, MicroTCA, Motorola, NASA, Samsung, UAV, WNUTS, WiMAX, military

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Verizon Developer Community Conference

July 28, 2009

I am in San Jose for the Verizon Developer Community Conference,  It should be an interesting an event, they have brought their execs here to speak to folks in California.  One thing I expect to here is the need for LTE for future applications.

I am going to be listening for the way that people react to the ideas Verizon has for their network app store that is independent of a device, and their vision for a network API that is not independent of the carrier.

My friend Andy Abramson recently highlighted the Gizmo5 to Google Voice which can also support Skype connection.  For the end user, this is great stuff the more you can make a free call the better.

From the view of a network operator, the question is why are these types of applications compelling?  Is the price the only thing that matters? Or is the value connectivity something that should be enabled on their network.

I will be very interested to hear the conversations at the event.

Tags: Andy Abramson, Gizmo5, GoogleVoice, LTE, Verizon, Verizon Wireless

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