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Ericsson goes beyond wireless

Posted: 01 Oct 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:fixed-to-mobile convergence? IMS? mobile broadband? HSPA? MBMS?

Bergendahl: HSPA is rolling at a fantastic pace. That is what enables the mobile broadband experience.

Since splitting its carrier business into three divisions!network systems, global services and multimedia!last year, LM Ericsson has been out to prove to the world that its expertise goes beyond wireless infrastructure. The 2005 acquisition of Marconi Communications Ltd gave Ericsson new proficiencies in realms such as optical transport and DSL, but it was only last January, with the completed acquisition of Redback Networks Inc., that the company proved it was serious about Internet protocol (IP) routing as well. Chief marketing officer Johan Bergendahl discussed strategy with EE Timesduring a visit to the United States.

EE Times: What do the new acquisitions mean for the network systems business?
Bergendahl: We are seeking an end to the type of stovepipe networks that prevent any service from going to any screen.

Where these network types all come together is where the core transforms to the multi-access edge network, which is capable of terminating any service. This uses IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) and many enablers to create new platforms for service delivery.

As IMS and fixed-to-mobile convergence become a reality, then you really have to think about rapidly retargeting your equipment for a cable head-end, a central office, using the same core equipment for wireline or wireless carriers.
As a primarily mobile company over the last few years, what we did in the area of fixed carriers was to sustain our development for ADSL and VDSL. We skipped right over the ATM piece and went right to Ethernet DSL. It was a very good decision, as this has been used for ADSL2+ and VDSL2. We've been very early out with this and can see that the mix of DSL technologies is needed, both here in the U.S. and in Europe, with the arrival of gigabit passive optical networking and other fiber backbones. It will not happen overnight, but you need to be independent of the access type being considered.

Will ADSL2+ have a long lifetime or will VDSL2, used in conjunction with fiber, quickly replace ADSL?
VDSL2 will happen pretty quickly. We see two segments in broadband!one is up to maybe 10Mbps and the other is beyond 4Gbits. So if you're going to do HDTV for distribution in the home, you are going to need gigabit speeds.

Projects like Verizon's FiOS network have changed the equation for many carriers, who all of a sudden say, "Oh, we have to provide TV now."
All of the applications that helped push fixed broadband!music downloads, video!are now going mobile. People are expecting that whatever I have at home, I can bring with me on a handset. High-speed packet access (HSPA) is rolling at a fantastic pace. That is what enables the mobile broadband experience.

We have roughly half a billion subscribers today in HSPA networks and 100 commercial launches. We at Ericsson are keeping our own share of this market at about 50 percent.

The PC card and data module industry has moved quicker this time than for handsets for 3G, so you see many modules bringing HSPA to the laptop. There are many variants of PC cards and USB modems, and user experience on this tends to be very positive, not only with companies like Cingular, but also in Europe, where carriers are delivering this as a direct competition to ADSL.

For a long time, HSPA was equated with the handset. Now we're seeing an aggressive drive to laptop applications.
Discussions with Intel Corp. resulted in a December deal to combine HSPA elements with Intel Core architecture last year. This year, the chipmaker will begin building HSPA modems into the core of its processors, with the HSPA radio existing in parallel with Wi-Fi and WiMAX. The first phase will be in a home, but by 2008, it will come out in a laptop. The next step in the work with Intel will involve IMS, so whatever services are available through IMS will also be there in a laptop.

One discussion that has come up with some of the carriers that want to compete with ADSL is how long they will have capacity after deployment. We did a simulation that shows that in a big urban area, 3Gbytes a month is an average on ADSL. We can deliver 6Gbytes a month per point-of-presence and handle 60 percent of the population with HSPA. We don't think capacity is going to be an issue, even for big deployments.

In an urban city in the Western world, I don't think you will see that everyone is going to go for HSPA. But if you go to Jakarta, or to cities in emerging markets, fiber's not going to come in there. In Africa, they say it takes two days to roll out a kilometer of copper and two hours to roll it up again. Cellular provision of broadband is going to be the only means of getting it out there in many regions.

It seems there may be many common technologies between WiMAX and 4G cellular.
This will be true for both frequency- and time-division duplexing. They will run as complementary, sometimes competitively. But you shouldn't forget that some people get licenses and others don't. And if you don't get the license, you might have a cost penalty while still providing services. When you go from the handset to the laptop, it's going to generate a lot more traffic. This will put a lot of pressure on the backbone networks, fixed as well as mobile. That is one of the reasons we entered into the deal with Marconi, so we could get the complete view going from synchronous digital hierarchy to multiservice packet provisioning and, later on, a packet-only network. The Marconi portfolio now covers all those areas, including carrier Ethernet.

What about TV delivery to the mobile platform?
We do not favor the traditional "lean back," couch-potato broadcasting model, considering the "lean forward," toward-the-computer-screen-and-Internet media habits of the typical 20-year-old. If you go into a mobile broadcasting solution, not only do you have to build a new infrastructure, but you also tend to deemphasize the personalization and interactivity.

Given your interest in multimedia broadcast service based on Digital Audio Broadcasting, it's interesting to see multimedia broadcast multicast service [MBMS] emerging as a frontrunner for mobile-TV delivery.
More and more carriers are favoring MBMS using existing infrastructure and integrating those services with other IP services. Even though customers seem to want more channels, in the end the unicast/MBMS combination is preferred in one particular study on networked media.

How relevant is the number of channels? People will say they want a full suite on the handset, but if you look at behavior patterns, it's more of an IP clipcast or a few key channels.
Of 120 global mobile TV networks, 100 right now are cellular TV networks. Most people are not into more than three to five channels. Offering 100 channels to the mobile phone is not the issue. We have done trials with Norwegian TV. We looked at combining the big screen and small screen to use SMS for interactivity, buying items on the shopping channel, using chatting on the handset combined with the big screen. We looked at subscription, interaction and transaction types of business models, and examined how to put advertising into the handsets.

With mobile TV, we did very close targeting based on surveys.

- Loring Wirbel
EE Times

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