My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Digicel and Wimax 4G Mobile - the Great Australian Outback

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Digicel and Wimax 4G Mobile - the Great Australian Outback

If you can look into the seeds of time,
And say which grain will grow and which will not,
Speak then to me, who neither beg nor fear
Your favours nor your hate

Shakespeare, Macbeth, 1, 3

The Summer of 2010 of is slowly coming to a close, what with back-to-school promotions now being advertised everywhere as parents cast aside their hard won tech trophies of the summer – their gadgets - and focus on equipping their children in the latest of clothes, shoes and tech gadgets to let their child have a head start in life, within the limits of affordability as the Summer of Overspend is nearing a close.

Despite is quirkiness, the recent binge spending on touch screen smart phones and the fab new Apple iPad in the United States of America is having a good spin-off that even we Jamaicans here in the so-called Third World can appreciate: lower real-world mature prices for Netbooks and eReaders due to the higher than expected demand for tablets fuelled by the Apple iPad-chasing Silicon Valley big-wigs led by Captain Ahab……………I mean Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and his Silicon Valley Posse, desperately in need of an Apple iPad killer but unable to come up with one.

Might I also add as a non-Canadian that find the much rumored RIM BlackPad mildly offensive, albeit I do not hold it against the Canadians, as honestly there are no Black People (as in indigenous to the locale) in Canada.

That said, these Silicon Valley tech heavyweights who were banking their fortunes on the craze over Netbooks have now found themselves, like 100 m sprinter Usain Bolt, being castigated for being too slow out the blocks in response to the Apple iPad.

As now, their stock prices are beginning to suffer due to lower than expected demand for Netbooks and Laptops made with their components i.e. Intel, AMD (American Micro Devices) processors and Nvidia for graphics chipsets as stated in the article “Demand Dichotomy: PC's Down, iPad up”, published August 11, 2010 3:58 PM PDT by Brooke Crothers, CNET News.

Oh well……at least my Apple iPad idea I gave away is doing some good, benefiting Developers like myself and Customers alike, I opine philosophically.

The Apple iPad and the Amazon Kindle Effect is a truly remarkable phenomenon to observe indeed and is expected to continue with product refreshes from Apple for the Apple iPod and its son, the Apple iPod Touch.

Refresh to their other cousins, the Apple iPod Nano and the Apple iPod Shuffle, may be coming this September 2010, or Fall as the American call it and straight on into 2011.  The next product refresh for the Apple iPhone 5.0 and the Apple iPad (LTE and WiMax support, ceramic encased antenna, fiber optic support, gorilla glass, voice-to-text recognition, Liquid Metal casing please??) and the media circus surround in their products start all over again.

These events are much anticipated by technology pundits as it is expected to announce the coming of the much anticipated usage of Solar Powered devices in consumer electronics. It is also expected to set off another trend, which is the cutting the last analog vestiges of consumer electronics, namely the Rechargeable Battery Charger as stated in the article “Apple eyes gadgets with built in Solar panels”, published January 22, 2010 7:46 AM PST by Martin LaMonica, CNET News.

This is further asserted in the article “Apple patent bid combines Solar with Touch Screen”, published June 7, 2010 6:31 AM PDT by Martin LaMonica, CNET News, thereby in theory eliminating the Rechargeable Battery Charger from their devices altogether.

This applies to such devices as the Apple iPod, Apple iPod Nano, Apple iPod Shuffle, Apple iMac, Apple Mac Mini, Apple TV, Apple Air, Apple MacBook Pro and their latest toy, the Apple iPad but also to devices made by their competitors, no doubt still wringing their hands at being caught off guard at the announcement of the Apple iPad.

Best of all, John Public can state emphatically that the future of consumer electronics will not only be encase in “blinging” LiquidMetal, possibly making the word “amorphous crystals” sexy again as is very possible based on the article “Metallic Glass could encase future Apple Products”, published Wednesday August 11, 11:40 am ET by Stuart Fox TechNewsDaily Staff Writer,, Yahoo News.  

Plus, there is the bonus of “No Strings Attached”, an arcane reference to the group N’Sync. Add in the fact that Apple Fanboys will be in-sync with the latest trend in the consumer electronics. This in an environmentally consciousness outlook not normally associated with San Franciscans.

Here in Jamaica, a bonanza of savings awaits for Socialites wanting to be seen as being smart and techies smartly waiting for the next gadget to wash ashore like a message in a bottle, a waiting period of two (2) years if you have no foreign link or a Credit Card.

Dekal Wireless, the Municipal Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) Network stealthy launch to the public as stated  in the article “Wayne Chen, Lees enter Wireless Broadband Market”, published Friday July 30th 2010 by Mark Titus, Business Reporter, The Jamaica Gleaner.

This have gone unnoticed, save for the Eagle Eyes of John Public who spotted their tower atop Young’s Pharmacy in May Pen, Clarendon and began ruminating on the topic a few blogs aback. With Telecom Provider Digicel initially promising as stated in the article “Digicel to offer mini Laptops with 4G service next year”, published Friday September 4th 2009 by Lavern Clarke, The Jamaica Gleaner.

Telecoms Provider Digicel’s 4G was then being pre-announced as being soon-to-be launched in August of 2010 as stated in the article in the article “Digicel quietly testing 4G for August launch”, published Sunday June 27th 2010 by Mark Titus, Gleaner Reporter, The Jamaica Gleaner.

Now that we are in August 2010, soon to launch their much hyped Digicel WiMax 4G Mobile (IEEE 802.16d) Network as stated in the article “Digicel all set to unveil 4G Broadband offering”, published Friday, August 13, 2010 by AL EDWARDS, The Jamaica Observer and further confirmed in the article “Will 4G revolutionize wireless Broadband for J'cans: Digicel says yes”, published Sunday 15th August 2010 by Mark Titus, Business Reporter, The Jamaica Gleaner.

John Public is confused. John Public gets the impression from the fact that Telecom Provider Digicel, in announcing that they are initially launching with Netbooks, Laptops and modems [dongles] that they are blissfully unaware of the fact that Netbooks are soon to be cheaper, are coming with Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) modems built in and smart phones also coming with Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) built in.

Thus persons could totally avoid using their WiMax 4G Mobile (IEEE 802.16d) as Dekal Wireless plans to expand their Municipal Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) island wide, riding on the fact that most people’s Laptops come with built in Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) and a generic Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) modem only costs JA$2500. Telecom Providers, it is time to step up your game or your expensive play toys will soon become expensive paperweights that few Jamaicans will purchase.

But wait! It gets more interesting. Dekal Wireless can also offer, in the not too distant future, VoIP Mobile phones or an app for Mobile smart phones such as the Apple iPhone, Google Android based phones or Blackberry phones that use principles of Mesh Networks to function and route calls over a Municipal Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) Network, effectively a MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator) somewhat like Virgin Mobile in the United States of America.

These Mobile devices would be Mobile smart phones that work using Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) cousin in the form of Wi-Fi Direct or utilizes the lower frequency ranges, such as those allocated for television channels, frequencies that will become available when Broadcasters in Jamaica go Digital as stated in the article “Slow road to Digital switch-over - Cable groups mum; FLOW ahead but network coverage behind”, published: Saturday  August 15, 2009 by Mark Titus, Gleaner Writer, The Jamaica Gleaner.

This Network works much in the same way that smart phones potentially can communicate via each other in the Australian OutBack by piggy-backing signaling on each other, much like runners passing on a baton in a Relay using Wi-Fi Direct, a close relative of Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n), which has a maximum range of 200 meters as stated in the article “Cell phone chats - in the Australian Outback?”, published July 12, 2010 2:06 PM PDT by Leslie Katz, CNET News.

Having a Mesh Network based on turning each smart phone into an effective Mobile tower or Node B, only using Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) or Wi-Fi Direct may seem strange, but this innovative concept has been developed by Dr. Paul Gardner-Stephen of Flinders University in Australia.

Though his name is unfamiliar, his project, dubbed Project Serval, is making waves internationally, as it involves using hacked Google Android based smart phones with Wi-Fi Direct to turn each phone into a Mobile tower, the Project’s name based on an African Wildcat, which best describes the nature of this project, as it is as wild as the outback and way out there on the fringes of Telecoms Research.

The routing I can understand, as it would involves being within 200m of another smart phone with the Wi-Fi Direct turned on, as the call would be routed via the app through each person’s phones, provided that their phones are on and within 200 meters of other smart phones with their Wi-Fi Direct turned on by default and each phone knows where the other phone is in the Mesh Network at any given time, as during each handoff, the smart phones would pass on information relating to:

  1. The phone number
  2. The phone instrument IMSI
  3. The phone IMEI
  4. The GPS location of each smart phone
  5. The last time a smart phone made contact with a Municipal Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) Network, terrestrial GSM, CDMA Voice Network, 3G or 4G (LTE or WiMax) Network
This is information that each smart phone in the Mesh Network would keep in its memory and update every two (2) seconds to more easily route calls.

The aim of the process of updating the Node B so often is to create a Neighbor Cell Relationship Database (also call a Routing Table in POTS) in each phones so as to more effectively route calls and eventually find a phone that is close to a Municipal Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) Network, terrestrial GSM, CDMA Voice Network, 3G or 4G (LTE or WiMax) Network.

Once the call is connected on a Municipal Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) Network, terrestrial GSM, CDMA Voice Network, 3G or 4G (LTE or WiMax) Network and the call setup process is completed successfully and the call is in progress.

The billing process can take place as per usual, with the smart phones with conversations being done over VoIP routed to a Server if the network terminated on is a Municipal Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n), 3G or 4G (LTE or WiMax) Network. It can also be converted to a regular Mobile conversation suitable for terrestrial GSM, CDMA Voice Network by the phone closest to the Home Network.

Best of all, unlike Skype, a Mesh Network would not require users to use a mumble of letters and numbers for a phone number, but their regular numbers on their Telecom Provider’s Network.

Dekal Wireless, a Municipal Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) Network, could launch the service after doing a little research to find Mobile smart phones with these capabilities either built into its hardware i.e. VoIP phones or just simply have a developer design an App for Apple iPhones, Google Android powered smart phones and Blackberry “smart” phones (albeit to be fair, the Blackberry 9800 Torch is now deserving of the title “smart”) that can facilitate VoIP Calling.

Thus the need to have Customers purchase a Mobile smart phone in the first place is eliminated, especially if they already have any of the above or even a Motorola Droid or should I say a Motorola Milestone or a HTC Google Nexus One, now proudly being displayed on Telecom Provider Digicel webpage for retail.

It would be better than Skype, as although Customers are being charged to make calls as opposed to the free Calling on Skype, they can rest assured that their VoIP calls are not being routed abroad through foreign servers and being listened in on as is now the case with Blackberry Messenger and Email in India and Saudi Arabia.

Plus, with a Calling rate of JA$5.00 from Dekal Wireless Mesh Network Phone to Dekal Wireless Mesh Network Phone, even Telecom Provider CLARO could not beat such prices.

Did I also forget to mention the offer of free Calling whenever you are in close proximity to the persons you are Calling in the complete absence of Dekal Wireless Municipal Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) Network? Also, the downloading of the app from the respective Apple Apps Stores, Google Android Market Place and Blackberry Apps Store is also free?

This would be an extra perk, as it is not all the time that Customers would be able to find a smart phone running the app that is still in contact with Dekal Wireless Municipal Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) thus the call would be routed entirely through other phones. Also the regular features such Three-Way Calling and conference Calling as well as premium services such as video Calling and would be supported by Mesh Networks.

Dekal Wireless, could in effect, much in the same way it has launched it Municipal Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) Network on the basis of the coming flood of Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n), Wi-Fi Direct and WiGIG enabled devices, launch a premium VoIP service. This based on the prevalence of its license free Municipal Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) Network. Telecom Provider Digicel, Telecom Provider LIME and Telecom Provider CLARO, take note!!

You own phones can be used against you, and all that is required is to empower people with the knowledge that this is possible, a free app and Dekal with the Understanding that this is possibly what the future holds for Voice Telecoms: All-Data Networks. Truly, never has there been a truer phrase – There’s an app for that!

And I have not even begun to mention the connection between Web TV, DigiTV and the coming of All-Electric Vehicles to Jamaica as yet………..kindling for my next article……… 

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