Friday, August 31, 2007

Caveat WLAN! Here comes the 3G community access point!

Originally this idea started from an article in Finnish electronics magazine, Prosessori. The article described how a 3G access point functionality can now be created with only two chips. It took me a while to wrote it down, but here it is, a free, probably non-patentable vision of 3G community access point based on the idea of having a very small 3G access point based on Cambridge Consultants technology.

If we think about what it means to get 3G access point functionality in smaller amount of chips it obviously means that the access points are getting smaller and cheaper. Getting them smaller and cheaper means that the operators can more easily, willingly and above all cost-effectively deploy, sell and distribute them even to companies and customer home premises.

Now, if the same box just would have both Ethernet connection, 3G access point functionality and some operators might even provide also WiFi, it would be a great way for operator to deploy more 3G coverage with the help of inviduals and even companies. With this kind of 3G community access point people and companies would share their Internet bandwidth with operator in exchange for free or data and phone calls with serious discounts in home or office. Instead of having to find out ways for terminal to switch between WiFi and 3G coverage when leaving home, the terminal and phones would now just roam from one pico/mini/micro 3G cell to larger one. No gaps in coverage or phone calls and even the data would survive the handovers. The operators, on the other hand, would have more distributed bandwidth and capacity for delivering data services -- some of the bandwidth used not even their own. :)

What about network reliability? What about emergency calls, operator image and the cleaners pulling off cords and turning of equipment. Well, if the picocell does not get good enough network connectivity it switches off and lets larger cells handle the customers. It might be configured also to handle only data customers so the requirements for voice calls do not apply. In essence this is all solvable by operators and equipment manufacturers, it just need some research and development, with maybe a hint of standardisation added to the mix

I claim creating this kind of 3G community access point is do-able and welcome the new operator overlord who manages to pull it through. :) Remember that the 3G community access point can now in addition to the Ethernet uplink also include a lot more radio technologies like WiFi (802.11abgn) and WiMax to complete the radio coverage.

See also the original blog post in Finnish.

1 comment:

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