Six leading communications and semiconductor companies today announced the formation of the Wireless DSL Consortium to accelerate the deployment of broadband wireless access solutions to the marketplace. The six founding members of the Consortium are ADC, Conexant Systems, Gigabit Wireless, Intel, Nortel Networks(1), and Vyyo.
Today, service providers planning to offer broadband wireless access service can select from a number of technologies paralleling the origins of the cellular industry. The goal of the founding members of the consortium is to provide the industry with standardized, timely, multivendor solutions for broadband wireless access. The consortium will provide a forum to define, develop, and implement a set of open interfaces for broadband wireless access products operating in the multichannel multipoint distribution service (MMDS) and the 3.5GHz bands. The consortium will also provide a forum for rigorous testing and verification of standards-based products, offer technical advice to carriers on technology issues, and be available as a resource to the FCC, ITU and other regulatory bodies on spectrum management and interoperability.
The consortium will move rapidly to develop an open standard, supported by a broad range of leading industry participants, that enables suppliers to build multivendor solutions for the broadband wireless access market. These solutions will include robust, high-performance capabilities including non-line-of-sight (NLOS) operation in all regions of the world and access speeds that are significantly faster than current broadband solutions. To accomplish that goal, the consortium will pursue a next-generation multifaceted standard taking advantage of recent advances in technology. The standard will incorporate multicarrier technology significantly enhanced by smart antenna and smart system technologies to increase system capacity and coverage, as well as provide robust operations in even the most challenging wireless environments. One such solution, which is generally accepted in the industry as the most promising, is already in the late stages of development with one of the consortium members. The solution is expected to be generally available to carriers in 2001. Additional enhancements will be driven by the needs of the marketplace and will incorporate end user and service provider requirements for extended capabilities.
In order to provide a quick start solution in 2000, the consortium members will implement an air interface based on Data-Over-Cable Service Interface Specification (DOCSIS) with enhancements for in both the MAC (Media Access Control) and physical layers to support robust wireless operation. This air interface will serve as an initial reference point for the consortium's definition of an open standard. It will also provide field experience for the equipment suppliers and service providers to guide the consortium initiatives in developing NLOS solutions as well as developing a smooth migration path to the final solution. The reference point physical layer is based on proven time division multiple access/frequency diversity duplex (TDMA/FDD) technology in order to bring the service to the public in 2000. The air interface will support assured and monitored quality of service. Products supporting the initial reference point air interface are available now and are currently being deployed by wireless service providers.
DEPLOYMENT OF BROADBAND WIRELESS SOLUTIONS
The consortium has chosen to focus on a market-driven multivendor open standard that selects the right technology to meet the needs of users and service providers. A number of industry initiatives are focusing on developing a standard based on a specific technology. The founding membership of the consortium includes multiple suppliers of both system and semiconductor components who in many cases are competitors but who recognize the need for an open standard to catalyze the overall market opportunity.
Semiconductor and equipment suppliers are encouraged to join the consortium and collaborate to accelerate delivery of the benefits of the Internet to every user over a broadband wireless access network. In addition, service providers will be invited to join the consortium to represent the users' needs and help to define the market requirements. The consortium has retained Gartner Group, Inc. to advise on industry issues, strategies and best practices. Gartner will also assist in the organization and administration of the consortium body.
Broadband wireless access is now in commercial trials on a global basis. In the United States, both Sprint and WorldCom have initiated commercial trials in a number of their markets. Latin American operators have also begun to deploy services in the MMDS band.
Jonathan Mapes, Chief Technology Officer for WorldCom Wireless Solutions, said "There is tremendous value in the creation and adoption of open standard interfaces for the broadband wireless market. Open standards are a critical maturation step for widespread service deployment. Efforts such as these by the consortium will help facilitate the adoption of open standards and will work to speed the deployment of broadband wireless services to residential and business users."
The 2GHz to 4GHz band is ideally suited for providing broadband wireless services to the home as well as to business. The FCC has allocated spectrum in the 2.5GHz MMDS band for the U.S. market, and International authorities are making spectrum available in the 3.5GHz band. Several standards bodies, including IEEE and ITU, have begun to address standards for air interfaces. The Wireless DSL Consortium will be an important resource for these organizations as they prepare standards for the industry.
The launch of the Wireless DSL Consortium by the participating vendors is not a solicitation to the service providers for MMDS business. Vendors in this consortium will supply solutions that meet the consortium's open standards based on commercial terms determined separately and individually by each vendor.
For more information, visit the Wireless DSL Consortium Web site at http://www.wdslconsortium.com.
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