My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Wi-Fi, LightPeak and PowerLine Broadband - The Young and the Restless

Friday, November 5, 2010

Wi-Fi, LightPeak and PowerLine Broadband - The Young and the Restless


It hain’t no use to grumble and complain,
It’s jest as east to rejoice;
When god sorts out the weather and sends rain,
Why rain’s my choice,

J. W. Riley, Wet-Weather Talk

With the impending combination of a deluge of rain and a chimera of wind in the form of Tropical Storm Tomas set to make landfall (hopefully not!) by Wednesday November 3rd 2010 AD, I guess I have no choice but to do as the poem says.

But choices are a natural desire for any product, even in the Consumer Electronics World, so the poem holds no water, no pun intended. For instance, ever since the advent of the Apple iPhone and the word “smart phone” came into vogue and entered out lexicon, I have begun to notice that certain hardware are now an expected standard with all the other copycats of Apple Consumer Electronics Ecosystem of products.

Additionally, the Apple iPhone may, ironically, be responsible for the current Spectrum Crisis in the Telecoms Industry in the United States of America as stated in the article “FCC crunches numbers on spectrum crisis”, published October 25, 2010 2:37 PM PDT by Marguerite Reardon, CNET News - Signal Strength, the MAIN reason why The Broadcasters went DSO (Digital Switch Over) in 2009.

Quotes are best again, this time from FCC (Federal Communications Commission) Chairman Julius Genachowski during a recent speech: “Even if spectrum and device efficiency doubles, and the number of cell towers continues to grow at its current pace, we will need around 300 additional megahertz of spectrum by 2014”. He seems to have forgotten the need for Solar Power to power these higher speed networks, which will consume phenomenal amounts of power and will need noise free, always-on uninterruptible power supplies that only Alternative Energy can provide.

Since the Apple iPhone, all Consumer Electronic devices come standard with:
  1. GPS (Global Positioning Satellite)
  2. Capacitive Touch Screen
  3. OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) or AMOLED (Amorphous Organic Light Emitting Diode) screens
  4. Accelerometers
  5. Magnetometers
  6. Bluetooth
  7. Processors with minimum speeds of 1 GHz
  8. On board SSD (Solid State Drives) of at least minimum 16 GB
  9. SD Card slots supporting up to 16GB of External Memory
  10. Support for USB
  11. HDMI (High Definition Media Outlet)
  12. At least a 5 Megapixel camera, both front and rear facing
  13. Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n)

These features are set to dominate smart phones according to ABI Research as sated in the article “Wi-Fi smart phones to dominate”, published March 23, 2010 3:01 AM PDT by Marguerite Reardon, CNET News CTIA 2010 - Wireless, with options for tethering via 3G or 4G (WiMaX or LTE) and 3G/4G support.

No one thinks of buying a smart phone, Laptop, NetBook, PC or even the new category of a tablet that does not support one or All My Children of the above. However, yet to make its debut at the Consumer Electronics level is support for Ultra Wideband Transfer Protocols (my name), which is the lumpen grouping for LightPeak, Wi-Fi Direct, WiGiG and HomePlug protocols for Power Line Broadband. These are the Young and the Restless, never ceasing in their agitation for adoption into Consumer Electronics Products as a Spectrum Crisis looms. But how can this be achieved?

Intel, a key supporter and arbiter of many major IEEE (Institute of Electronics and Electrical Engineers) standards, inclusive of WiMaX (IEEE 802.16a,d,e) and the soon-to-be-ratified WiMaX 2 (IEEE 802.16m) as stated in the article “WiMaX 2 standard gets date for approval”, published August 16, 2010 1:19 PM PDT by Jack Clark, CNET News – Wireless needs the assistance of the Wi-Fi Alliance members to get these standards into Consumer Electronics Products as standards.

Wi-Fi Direct has been certified as stated in the article “Wi-Fi Alliance now certifies Wi-Fi Direct products”, published October 25, 2010 5:00 AM PDT by Dong Ngo, CNET News – Wireless.

WiGIG Alliances WiGiG protocol would make transferring large video content between devices within close proximity of each other using a 60GHz unlicensed spectrum a snap as stated in the article “WiGiG group finalizes new wireless standard”, published Friday December 11 2009 by Lance Whitney, CNET News - Wireless and confirmed by the article “Wi-Fi to cultivate speedy 60GHz band”, published May 11, 2010 11:08 AM PDT by Dong Ngo, CNET News - Wireless.

The FOA (Fiber Optics Association) has a keen interest in LightPeak, a Fiber Optic cable replacement for all those port and cable standards on PC, Laptops, Netbooks and Home Entertainment Systems inclusive of Gaming Consoles. LightPeak as described in the article “Intel's Light Peak: One PC cable to rule them all”, published September 23, 2009 12:54 PM PDT by Stephen Shankland, CNET News - Deep Tech is not an IEEE standard, at least not yet, but holds the promise of making the myriad of copper cable based connectors, from USB to Firewire to HDMI obsolete.

HomePlug Power line Alliance, a relatively new Alliance in support HomePlug AV (IEEE 1901) aimed at providing broadband interconnectivity in-house between Consumer Electronics and providing interconnectivity to Broadband services as stated in the article “HomePlug now certifies IEEE 1901-based power-line products”, published October 18, 2010 4:00 AM PDT by Dong Ngo, CNET News - Digital Media.

It’s main advantage being that it uses already existing infrastructure as a pathway for Data Transfers for Residential and Commercial Applications, effectively a “Wire-less” Protocol. All the above define standards can be grouped as being relevant to Wireless, Waveguide and Power line Broadband respectively, in effect, the Kids Next Door.

However, even with the support of heavy hitters in Silicon Valley such as Intel, Microsoft and Google may not be enough to sway designers, Developers and key Industry players in the Consumer Electronics game to adopt any of these concepts as standards into Consumer Electronics. This is  mainly due to fear of Consumer rejection of the products, as it is a fact that many of them would wish to price what is effectively “new” Technology at a premium, often making the product out of the reach of the Recession wary Consumer.

In short, the Consumer, not Apple CEO Steve Jobs and whatever new gadget he wishes to throw at you, is king. If we aren’t feeling it, using American Colloquial English which best expresses this sentiment, it will gather dust on the shelves and end up on sale, or on EBay after initial purchase.

Additionally, these new Ultra Wideband Transfer Protocols would need to have major Industry support before they can make it into every Consumer Electronics device in the first place by virtue of the fact that they would replace other established IEEE or Proprietary standards.

This naturally makes Consumer Electronics companies a tad nervous, as Customers tend to like intuitive and interoperability. Thus, the other standards it replaces and the Consumer Electronics makers who already have built devices with these standards to be replaced are only like to get on board is there is support for backward compatibility for these older standards until they are eventually phased out.  

All the above protocols are capable of transfer rates in excess of 100GBps, as all of the above Technology use some implementation of either DOCSIS 3.0 and higher, as in the case of the HomePlug AV (IEEE 1901) or Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiplexing (OFDM) in the case of Wireless Standards, effectively the same signal multiplexing inherent in WCDMA (Wideband Code Division Multiple Access), a descendant of CDMA Networks. Fiber Optic still has leaps and hurdles to jump over in order to achieve 100GBps speeds.

Throw in the coming of “White” Space Frequencies thanks tote the decision by FCC (Federal Communications Commission) Chairman Julius Genachowski in the United States of America to make them license free for small Telecom Operators as stated in the article “FCC to open up vacant TV airwaves for broadband”, published Monday September 13, 12:35 am ET By JOELLE TESSLER, AP Technology Writer, Yahoo! News and now officially confirmed in the article “FCC officially frees TV white space spectrum”, published Thursday September 23 2010, CNET News and you have an interesting battle lining up involving connectivity standards that are 100GBps capable with incredible unimpeded transmission ranges.

Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n), capable of supporting speeds of up to 300MBps as stated in the article “802.11n Wi-Fi standard finally approved”, published September 11, 2009 5:33 PM PDT by Dong Ngo, CNET News – Wireless has already beaten LTE and WiMaX 2 (IEEE 802.16m) in terms of speed, “White” Space Frequencies evening up things a bit in terms of transmission range.

Thus in the end, the implication for Municipal Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) Networks such as Dekal Wireless and Nubian-1 Tech services Limited here in Jamaica in the next two (2) years is staggering as we also face our own spectrum Crisis as Data usage continues to surge, as Telecom Provider Digicel has learned with the overloading and necessity of throttling their bandwidth for their Digicel 4G Broadband offering. In anticipating this demand, Triple Play Provider FLOW has gone 100MBps as stated in the article “FLOW to bring 100Mbs to Jamaican homes”, published Saturday October 16 2010, The Jamaica Observer.

 Telecom Provider CLARO is tagging along for the ride as stated in the article “Game on!”, published Friday October 22, 2010 by Mark Titus, The Friday Financial Gleaner.

Additional spectrum, also available when Jamaica goes DSO (Digital Switch Over) so as to achieve Spectral Efficiency among Broadcasters, both Radio and Television. This would thereby generating billions of dollars in Taxable Revenue via the sale of said Spectrum to Local and International Telecoms Interests as well as the economic activity generated via the usage of said licensed spectrum by the Big Three (3) Telecoms Providers as well as unlicensed spectrum i.e. so-called “White” Space Frequencies among Small Telecom Providers, such as the Municipal Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) previously mentioned.

As LTE and WiMaX struggle for the ITU (International Telecommunications Union) blessing as per the requirement of Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiplexing (OFDM) and speeds of 100MBps, best effort, “White” Space Frequency enabled “Super” Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) embedded products and Networks may effectively make them extinct, a real possibility as stated in the article “4G: What's in a name?”, published October 21, 2010 12:42 PM PDT by Marguerite Reardon, CNET News - Signal Strength.

Throw in WiGiG that will replace cumbersome wires between HDTV and storage devices of Video Media content, LightPeak that will replace cumbersome wires in computers, the waveguide version of WiGiG, Wi-Fi Direct that will replace Bluetooth and make every Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) enabled device a potential router and last but not least HomePlug AV (IEEE 1901) that can interconnect in-house Residential and Commercial computer Networks.

All the above Open Architecture standards will make the Proprietary people argueing over “G” in Jamaica as stated in the article “4G Quarrel”, published Wednesday October 27, 2010 by Mark Titus, Business Reporter, The Jamaica Gleaner, wake up one day to find that the ever forward march of Technology and the IEEE  has made their “precious” technology licensing agreements only worth the paper they are written on, as Open Architecture IEEE hands the Customer the victory – if they accept all of this, of course.

Already, Consumers, aware of the potential of Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n), are flocking towards devices enabled with Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) as stated in the article “More people buying Wi-Fi-enabled devices”, published May 4, 2010 10:03 AM PDT by Lance Whitney, CNET News - Wireless.

Good to note the following: Each Wireless Generation has speeds ten times the previous i.e. 2G was 1MBps, 3G is 10MBps (without bridging technologies such as HSDPA+), 4G is 100MBps as per the ITU thus it stands to reason that 5G would be 1Gbps. Thus, Telecom Provider CLARO cannot call themselves 5G, as per the article “Game on!”, published Friday October 22, 2010 by Mark Titus, The Jamaica Gleaner.

Also, ITU certified 4G, with speeds of 10MBps, best effort, can be used to provision Municipal Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) Networks, both static (fixed Remote Base Stations or Node B’s) such as hosted inside a build at a fixed location or Dynamic (Moving Remote Base Stations or Node B’s) such as mounted inside of Taxis, JUTC Buses, Individual Motor Cars, with Solar Power Supply, of course.

A separate article would have to be done to discuss the possible services that can be provided by such a “White” Space Frequency enabled “Super” Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) combined with the above IEEE protocols. The only other thing that I have now left to query is as thus: When will Solar Power be integrated and made a standard in Consumer Electronics, eliminating the last vestige of the Analog World, the AC Plug, altogether?

A Solar Powered Radio, TV and Phone would be a great addition to my Hurricane Emergency Kit right about now, as Tropical Storm Tomas, expected to strengthen to a Hurricane overnight, unleashes the Furies up Jamaica on Wednesday November 3rd 2010. Excuse me please; I need to batten down my roof………. Tropical Storm Tomas is near………..
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