Wired vs Wireless access: the Race to Higher Speeds

Organizer and Moderator:
Mauro Sentinelli
Managing Director, Telecom Italia Mobile Int.,
Deputy Chairman, GSM Association

Erik Ekudden (VP Head of Standardization, Ericsson)
Kevin Kahn (Senior Fellow, Director, Communications Technology, Intel)
Larry Lang (Cisco Systems)
Dick Lynch (CTO, Verizon Wireless)
Bob Miller (AT&T Labs Research)
Hossein Moiin (VP Head of Next Generation, T-Mobile)
Roberto Padovani (CTO, Qualcomm)
Jon Summer (VP Product Development, Cingular)
Barry West (CTO, Sprint)


The freedom from the “cord” connecting us to a wall and the emancipation of “ubiquitous access” came at the cost of much lower speeds than those achieved with conventional wired technology. The wireless technology has been trying to catch up since, setting the stage for a “race” to ever higher speeds.

Recall that the original 3GSM plans included the adoption of UMTS/WCDMA (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System/ Wideband CDMA) technology, followed by the rollout of HSxPA (High Speed Downlink/Uplink Packet Access), with speeds up to 14 Mbit/s by 2008. Later, OFDM solutions were planned as part of a 3G Long Term Evolution (3G LTE). In the cellular CDMA camp, the original plan was to evolve at a steady pace (from the present EV-DO) like in the 3GSM camp. Similar drive to higher speed has been observed in the Wireless LAN camp (both unlicensed and licensed).

The unexpected rapid development of DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) technology, from ADSL to ADSL2+ and VDSL, that envisages capabilities to deliver by 2008 up to 50 Mbit/s on low cost twisted copper pairs, has changed all that. The reaction of cellular operators has been surprisingly swift. Old plans have been scratched; many new scenarios have been drawn. The “common denominator” of these initiatives is a comprehensive higher speed and lower latency road map, with aggressive 2008, 2010, 2012 checkpoints. The pressure is now on the manufacturers, who must accelerate the development and deliver new equipment.

In this panel, we will hear the comments of operators, manufacturers, integrators and consumers, and their vision of how the wireless access community will organize to meet the challenge.

Questions to The Panel

1) General comments about the “race”
1.1 Manufacturers (Chip maker, Infrastructure, Software Vendors, )
1.2 Operator (3GSM camp, CDMA camp)
1.3 Academia
2) Challenges and bottlenecks to accelerated development
2.1 manufacturers (chip-maker, equipment and software vendors)
2.2 operators (accelerated depreciation of previous investments, rollout, marketing)
2.3 Academia
3) Towards a single standard?
3.1 Economy of scale (Equipments and Terminals)
3.2 Ecosystem (H/W, S/W and VAS)
4) Competition Vs Cooperation (? Coopetition)
4.1 Fix Vs Mobile
4.2 Mobile Vs Mobile
5) Who needs higher “mobile” speeds
5.1 The Marketeers’ view
5.2 The Consumers’ view
6) The future of “unlicensed”
6.1 WiFi vs Wimax
6.2 Opportunistic ad hoc


Any questions or comments should be directed to the Panel Committee Co-Chairs:

  Shivkumar Kalyanaraman
  Adam Wolisz

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