Carl Ford : 4G Wireless Evolution
Carl Ford
| 4G is the next evolution in wireless technology. Discover how 4G will transform the wireless industry


Clearwire Mum on Xohm Launches, Says LTE a Possibility

December 1, 2008

The new Clearwire just concluded its first conference call with analysts and press types, and while some questions did get answered there were more questions raised by the quick interaction, including a declaration that Clearwire might switch from WiMax to Long Term Evolution (LTE) as a technology base sometime in the future.

While declaring mobile WiMax as the best technology currently available for 4G services, Clearwire CEO Ben Wolff said that LTE (which has been embraced by AT&T and Verizon for their respective 4G wireless data plans) will most likely gain some traction, and as such will be considered as a possible future alternative for Clearwire.

"Mobile WiMax and LTE have a lot in common," said Wolff, who added that Clearwire will build its network infrastructure in such a fashion that will allow the company to move to, or add LTE technology "if we decide it makes sense to do so."

While such a switch would be at least two or three years in the future, some more immediate Clearwire concerns -- including the pending launches of WiMax services in Chicago and Washington, D.C. -- were put on hold, at least until the company's new board of directors can convene for strategic talks. Though Clearwire merger partner Sprint had talked confidently of launching its Xohm-branded services in Chicago and D.C. before the end of 2008, Wolff said Monday that the company didn't have any launch news to share.

"We need to get together with the new board and walk the board through [the planned network launches]," Wolff said.

Feedback from Friends LTE Advanced vs WiMAX

December 5, 2008

A recent conversation with a Sprint/Clearwire friend, and confirmed 4GWE ( speaker, led to a discussion of the role of the wireless device in the 4G network of the future. His take on this was fairly straightforward - service for WiMAX devices will be cheaper and the devices will be based on open access to the full use of the Internet for communication and entertainment applications. It is the belief of Sprint/Clearwire that these WiMAX devices, with their ability to access high speed mobile broadband applications, will clearly be the winner in consumer and enterprise adoption.

This email I shared with friends yesterday, got some interesting responses.  This one from a friend who has been in the Wireless device manufacture space for ages was a great example.  It started simple.

Friend:> Dream on baby !

To which I replied.

Santa is coming in 20 days ;<).

Seriously, for a moment given your history, give me your opinion how important is the PAPR issue and is SC-FDMA the way that LTE Advanced wins?

When I look at all those WiMAX dongles connecting to PC's I think the premise for some of the debate is wrong.

What do you see?  Are MIDs viable?  Can I expect to see no innovation in batteries?

And the push back came in this way.

Friend:> First: What is 4G ? Pls define what you are talking about !

Is Evolution just a slower form of Revolution?

December 17, 2008

Today's Wall Street Journal warns about the issues facing Clearwire in building out there nationwide network.  The question of their readily available of $3.2B capital and whether they will need to put in two or three more times that to roll out nationwide.

Ben Wolfe indicated he was willing to grow based on revenue in a scaled down approach if the markets were not available to him, and the possibility of selling spectrum was hinted at.

I am not sure if Clearwire can have the same strategy as some of the nationwide fiber networks had of selling off portions of the spectrum to fund their own deployment, but recently people have been talking to me about shared spectrum strategies.  Mostly about White space, but we can make the case for these kind of strategies for Clearwire. 

Remember also the investors intend to use Clearwire as a wholesaler / whitelabel for some of their product. That could be another way to access capital and grow without impacting the capital.

All of this said still begs the question?  What is the window of opportunity for WiMAX?  Massive roll out ahead of the LTE deployments of Verizon and ATT or tactical and slower deployments based on market driven opportunities?

Clearwire representatives like Shawn Molodow who will speak at our event sounds very agressive.  But like a Texas Holdem game the river card is where the pay off occurs.

Waxing, Waning, WiMAX

January 12, 2009

Rich has a great post on his blog about the Nokia 800 and it's WiMAX sister the 810.  These tablets were great little devices, and it's a shame that Nokia has moved away from the 810, but does that mean that WiMAX is dead and its all LTE?

Here are some anecdotal points to think about? 

1) A Nokia employee speaking at PTC in regards to the iPhone said we make 3000 different models for our customers the carriers. And they do but it's a baseline design with modifications for the carriers who all see themselves as unique. Nokia has been having a lot of internal debate about trying to have a more direct relationship with the end user.  With the economy being this bad, the battle seems to be in favor of keeping the existing carriers happy.

2) Intel in its earnings wrote down their billion-dollar investment in Clearwire.  Now most of that was a paper transaction representing the lack of interest in the stock  (CLWR) on Wall Street.   Time Warner also impaired their valuation.  The question is it a sign of the times or a sign of their moving away from WiMAX.

3) Intel's vision for WiMAX has been about a category they call Mobile Internet Devices [MID] and they showed some prototypes in the past that were the equivalent of auto show dream cars.  But they never got the commitment to production.

Day 1: 4GWE Preview

January 26, 2009

Next week at this time, the discussions will be about the future of policy and protocols in wireless communications.

Here is a preview of Monday's sessions

Fanny Mlinarsky and Brough Turner will start our morning off with a historical discussion about the wireless industry.  From cellular to unlicensed this tutorial intends to be inclusive of the spectrum of wireless solutions that can be used to deliver our next generation of wireless abilities.

Jim Baller will be giving us the vision of the Broadband Forum as they impact the Administration's plans to stimulate the economy with new jobs and the opportunity to impact the production of goods and services in the US.

Policy discussions turn to the issues of spectrum and net neutrality. Moderated by Glenn Richards, Todd Daubert and Rick Whitt will be sharing their expectation about problems for policy makers in the next four years.

Day 2 Architecture and Standards

January 27, 2009

Our Friends at Cisco love standards so much they adopt them all!  And contrary to popular belief that 4G will be a mass migration, I expect it will be adoption and adaptation of what standards fit best.  I think the point will be made today.

Day Two sessions kick off with "Does your device compute or communicate?"  David Yedwab will be moderating this session. Panelists include, John Glosser of Sandbridge, one of the few companies focused on 4G chipsets, and Paul Tornatto of Skycross, a company focused  on the antenna side.  Using Orthogonal Frequency Division makes antenna usage and processing, a collaborative balance. I expect this discussion to show that processing will be the driver for 4G devices.   However, it may turn out  that so much processing has to be done, that communication will have to be the focus.

Running alongside this session,  Liliane Offredo-Zreik, Verizon's Bill Goodman,  Richard Brennan of Huawei and Chris Ebert of Nokia Siemens. will be   discussing the role that  IMS will play in the 4G evolution.    After conversations with my carrier friends, I have been told that the IMS implementation has allowed them to support virtualization of the switches.  So while the promise of applications has not been that important, IMS has yielded some benefits and continues to grow.

For the rest of the morning, we will join TMC  and attend the  Microsoft and Digium keynotes as both of these companies  continue to drive the edge of communications with better integration.

Day 3: The Application Imperative

January 28, 2009

Day 3:  The Applications Imperative

I have heard it said that the message is the media!  So it's fitting that we will look into the importance of video to kick off the final day of the 4GWE Conference.  "TV Dichotomy, Over the Top Versus on the Internet" will be moderated by Eric Burger and will feature Anatoli Levine from Radvision and Jim Machi from Dialogic. This session will explore the question "does communication and entertainment join each other over the top, in the IP stream and into your device, or do they stay separated in delivery".  This will be an interesting discussion.

Of course, the delivery of these 4G applications can be done via the end points or through application delivery systems.  Bill Kelly of TelcoBridges, Joe Mele of Dialogic and Girish Pathak of ITE Services will be talking about how platforms and the 2.0 applications blend together in a 4G World in the session titled "How do you deliver Wireless Applications in a 4G World" This session will explore the Service Delivery Creation environments that a service provider will have to support in order to deliver and support 4G applications

If applications are going to be so numerous, will specialized devices become the norm?   Like a tool belt to a carpenter will 4G wireless connectivity be everywhere and everything?   Will "any to any" finally be an accurate portrayal of what devices we will use? .  Or will Mobile Internet Devices be chameleon devices that will adapt to the application that is running?  Clearwire's Shawn Molodow Patrick Scannell will be showing us the viral opportunity when the Wireless Broaband becomes part of our day-to-day lives. This session is titled "The Road Ahead for Device Design".

4GWE Speaker Bios

January 29, 2009

Anatoli Levine

Director of Product Management - Americas



Mr. Levine is currently Director of Product Management - Americas at RADVISION.

Pareto Principle: Alvarion does not need Nortel

January 31, 2009

Am I reading this rightNortel contributed about 10% of the WiMAX sales?

On a pareto principle view point, this was a good move for Nortel, and not much of a problem for Alvarion.

Should be fun part of the discusssion during 4GWE Monetizing the Vision session on Wednesday.

Revolt: IMS: Making Room for the Evolution

February 1, 2009

The Team of experts speaking on the Tuesday morning session have rewritten the Session Description to more accurately reflect their experience.

Here is the new write up.

The migration path for long-term evolution (LTE)  has several steps along the way. This session will look at IMS (IP Multimedia Subsystem) as a key enabler in the migration from 3G to 4G, particularly to LTE. It will consider some of the opportunities and advantages enabled by IMS in this context and will analyze some of the challenges operators are facing in using IMS as a fundamental enabler in their 4G networks and in their converged (wireless and wireline) networks.
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