The final session at ET focused entirely upon wireless technology. Cortland Wolfe, Nortel’s director of product development, said that by 2010, customers will use various technologies—such as Wi-FI, WiMAX, HSDPA/HSUPA (High Speed Download Packet Access/High Speed Uplink Packet Access), and EV-DO (Evolution Data Optimized)—over various devices in the home, car or business center. Key enablers for the convergence include policy control, call session control, packet-based wireless technologies, IMS and SIP. "We’re not that far off with this stuff," Wolfe said. "As broadband evolves, there’s time to put all of this together." 802.11n and mesh Michael Rude, Metalink’sdirector of technical marketing, focused on 802.11n. While an astounding 125 million Wi-Fi chipsets were shipped last year, Rude said 801.11n represents the future of wireless, because being based upon MIMO (Multiple-input, Multiple-output) "it enables multiple signals on same frequencies with antennas, which is similar to cable’s channel bonding." Rude said the consumer electronics industry sees value of using 802.11n for home networking and that while it has bogged down in becoming an IEEE spec, he thought progress is forthcoming. Another benefit to 802.11n is that it touches on all the areas of cable’s triple play of voice, video and data. Scientific-Atlanta’s Bob Scott, director of wireless networking, said that while there are multiple wireless solutions, none of them solve all of the problems. But Wi-Fi mesh is attractive because it finds and uses the best path and can have gateways back to the cable IP plant. "This is the sweet spot for cable because it has backhaul, back office, mounting assets, metro networks, and, most importantly of all, cable already has customers," he said. Seamless mobility and QoS Jay Strater, senior systems engineer at Motorola, surveyed the prospect of seamless mobility between HFC and wireless infrastructures. His points included network approaches (IMS, UMA, call-forwarding), power management, security and QoS considerations, NAT traversal options (Simple Traversal of UDP—STUN—"is especially nice because it avoids the need to go through a server"), and WLAN coverage (fast handover, radio resource management and mesh networking.) "For IMS to succeed," said Camiant IMS and wireless product manager Bruce Perlmutter, cutting to the chase, "it must offer compelling advantages." Identity, presence and location are among the rising set of such features (some of which nonetheless may presume an unrealistically high consumer aptitude for decision-tree methodology). Additional underpinnings of an all-IP network are billing and CRM issues, IPv6 and QoS. Why QoS? "Networks will always remain dynamic," Perlmutter said. Moreover, QoS is a key component of next-gen infrastructure, not simply an "add-on to an IMS-based SIP proxy." Using policy servers to negotiate inter- and intra-network conditions, current FMC trial deployments "offer a tantalizing glimpse" of where these next-gen networks are headed, he said. – Mike Robuck and Jonathan Tombes

The Daily


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