My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Digicel vs LIME - Mortal Kombat over 4G Title

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Digicel vs LIME - Mortal Kombat over 4G Title

Of entrance to a quarrel; but being in,
Bear’t that the opposed may beware of thee.

Shakespeare, Hamlet I, 3

Despite what many may think, I am not a big fan of America, especially now.

Especially when they have former president Bill Clinton come to Jamaica and have us pay JA$13,000 per plate to have him tell us nebulous things while the Haitians are starving as stated in the article “Clinton lauds Jamaica, Caricom for suppport to Haiti”, published Tuesday October 26 2010, The Jamaica Observer, The Jamaica Observer.

This is not for lack of funds but distributions of said financial aid that was collected and lies, supposedly, in the financial institutions in Haiti.

This money is yet to be disbursed to help those still living out in the streets, as per the rant by political commentator Dickie Crawford on Smile Jamaica, aired Wednesday October 27th 2010, Television Jamaica, The Jamaica Observer as well as a prior letter of his to the editor entitled “Boycott Clinton's Visit”, published Sunday October 24 2010, The Sunday Observer, The Jamaica Observer.

Cholera has broken out among the populace, making the situation worse as stated in the article “Cholera outbreak spreads towards Haiti's capital”, published Saturday October 23 2010, The Jamaica Observer. More “hype”-pocrisy than I can bear, thus the world of Telecoms beckons me again, as political grandstanding has no mathematical solution.

I refer to the quarrel that has broken out which effectively boils down to a case of misrepresentation by Telecom Provider Digicel as to whether their Digicel Broadband 4G Network is truly worthy of the title 4G as stated in the article “4G Quarrel”, published Wednesday October 27, 2010 by Mark Titus, Business Reporter, The Jamaica Gleaner. Media circus, here we go again.

My memory is a bit off of late, but I do recall writing a similar article for my blog on this very same subject. My archive of articles has gotten deleteriously large, so a quick sorting reveals that it is indeed the case, so forgive me if I crib from my previous blog article, entitled “CLARO vs FLOW - Cats and Dogs The Revenge of Kitty Galore.  

It is good to note at this point, lest we forget, that these competing technologies [LTE and WiMaX] are not yet 4G.

That seal of approval can only be bestowed by the ITU (International Telecommunications Union), the Telecommunications arm of the UN (United Nations).

They had indicated that WiMaX and LTE, more specifically WiMaX 2 (IEEE 802.16m), are indeed 4G, albeit not officially so 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,.

The ITU’s conditionality is simple: Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiplexing (OFDM), effectively the same signal multiplexing inherent in WCDMA (Wideband Code Division Multiple Access).

A descendant of CDMA Networks and speed capability demonstrable in achieving 100MBps and higher, a criteria neither of these technologies can achieve when the 4G Data Network is loaded to capacity. Thus Digicel 4G Broadband is guilty of false advertising, technically speaking, as they are not quite 4G.

So there you have it folks. I could, as I am a tad sleepy and thus prone to misspell my words, end the article here and make it short and sweet. But a few parting shots first. LIME is correct – sort of. The definition of 3G is set by the blessing of the Telecommunications Papacy, essentially the ITU. The Holy See must bless the technology based on it meeting the criteria.

Since Telecom Provider Digicel Broadband offering does not meet these criteria, effectively Telecom Provider LIME’s case submission to the FTC (Fair Trading Commission), as per the analysis of Regional vice-president for legal, regulatory and corporate affairs, Camille Taylor, is spot on.

Quoting examples is not cutting it, as they too call themselves “4G” yet are not fully compliant to the standards set out by the ITU. But wait, hold your horses! Digicel offering of WiMaX 4G Mobile (IEEE 802.16d, e) is upgradeable to WiMaX 2 (IEEE 802.16m), as per the very same article and thus at which point would be capable of meeting the requirements of the ITU 4G working group, which does indeed specify:

1.     100MBps data rates between UE (User Equipment) and servers, (possibly shared between upload and download?)
2.     The use of Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiplexing (OFDM), to which WiMaX already complies.

WiMaX’s technology is an Open Architecture crib of LTE and Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n), which ironically is capable of speeds of 300MBps best effort – and Municipal Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) Networks are nowhere near this quarrel about “G”, which to uninitiated and superstitious, looks more like a complaint between an Apprentice and his Grandmaster with regards to his Order or Level of Degree in his respective Lodge.

Thus, I think the solution is clear: Telecom Provider Digicel needs merely to bump up their speed to 100MBps via a software upgrade to the new WiMaX 2 (IEEE 802.16m) protocol, for as it appears, some hefty fines and lots of groveling will soon be under way, as LIME is correct on this one, as per the ITU.

That cannot be too hard, as Columbus Communications, the parent company of Triple Play Provider FLOW, is a wholesaler of Fiber Optic connectivity and T1 access as per the article “Information superhighway revolution to hit Jamaica”, published Friday April 3rd 2006, The Jamaica Gleaner.

Additional purchase and enabling/provisioning of T1’s for Internet Access to their MGW (Media Gateway) and thus the WiMaX enabled tower Infrastructure, would be a welcome boost to the current lackluster speeds currently being experience by many Digicel Broadband Customers.

It would be a win-win for all involved, including Telecom Provider Digicel, as they would be able to offer 10MBps, best effort, as promised.

Telecom Provider Digicel can reserve the prime 100MBps speed for its Business and Residential Customers willing to shell out the big bucks equivalent to what Triple Play Provider FLOW currently charges its Customers as stated in the article “FLOW to bring 100Mbs to Jamaican homes”, published Saturday October 16 2010, The Jamaica Observer.

Telecom Provider CLARO may be planning to offer to its Customers as stated in the article “Game on!”, published Friday October 22, 2010 by Mark Titus, The Friday Financial Gleaner, The Jamaica Gleaner.

Additional services, such as Backup Storage, MMORPG (Massive Multiplayer Role Playing Games), Municipal Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) Services, Video Calling, et al, can be provisioned as Premium services to attract Customers to buy into effectively what is a push towards the ultimate Mortal Kombat, as per the movie and the video game.

Small Telecom Providers, such as Dekal Wireless Municipal Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) Networks and Nubian-1 Tech Services Limited would surely have to follow suit. This would leave Telecom Provider LIME in the REAL pickle of having to upgrade to LTE – and their island wide 3G Network is not even near completion.

Especially as DSO (Digital Switch Over) 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 would swing the balance of power in favour of the Municipal Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) Networks.

Especially if the “White” Space Frequencies are made on offer license free as per the actions of our most Northerly Neighbor, the United States of America 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.

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