Rapid Deployments of LTE (Long Term Evolution) the next technology for the G-men (2G, 3G, 4G) of Cellular … but also reportedly for replacements for Land Mobile Communications for Public Safety and First Responders…
This and some public announcements this week spurred some additional thoughts from the WiMAX and LTE discussion of a few weeks ago. Sometimes the early common wisdom (in this case WiMAX will rule) is incorrect and it is the next wave that captures the world by storm. Another example (and one that I may take on in a future post) is why Palm was not able to leverage their early success in Personal Digital Assistance (PDAs) and lost the wireless PDA market to RIM (and of course now the rise of iOS and Android-based devices). But as usual, I digress.
It is amazing that within just a few months, four seemingly separate items clearly identify the trend of wireless communications as well radical changes in usage, deployment, and new business concepts.
U.S. Cellular has announced a rapid deployment of LTE services nationwide. One that will hit 25% of their customers by the end of the year. This is another confirmation that major carriers such as Verizon Wireless see LTE as the technology choice. Even Clearwire (being left in the dust) is now in LTE trials.
Another and less widely known venture, LigthSquared, is deploying a new nationwide LTE infrastructure augmented by a massive satellite (already on-orbit) that services as a big base station in the sky. The goal is to provide complete nationwide coverage, even when out of range of a terrestrial cell tower. With a wholesale marking model, I suspect that there will be some interesting mobile application and device vendors that may develop a business model of bundling wireless connectivity (can anyone say Kindle?).
Maybe the death knell for traditional Land Mobile Radio (LMR) systems is this article based around the FCC setting LTE as the standard for public safety networks. A robust system of LTE base stations could provide a much more interoperable set of public safety voice and data networks. New devices for first responders could integrate significantly more information, providing maps, building layouts, hazardous material identification, an even personal location information.
LTE-based Public Safety Network Could Finally Become Reality
By Brad Reed, NetworkWorld May 10, 2011 8:03 pm
(the 700 Mhz Band …) “It will give us a public safety broadband network with in-building propagation unlike anything we have today.”
* This link talks about allocations already existing for Public Safety in the 700 Mhz band, and the possibility of more allocation coming. I’ve written before about VHF and UHF propagation – and what I’ve learned from Amateur Radio (VHF goes far outdoors, but UHF penetrates buildings better) from Direct Contacts (Simplex) and VHF / UHF repeaters.
* Also reportedly new services using the broadband capabilities may be deployed along with voice communications using the broadband (as in digital bandwidth or speed) capabilities of LTE.
* LTE is being touted as the potential killer of most of Land Mobile Radio (two way radio) services … like that song “Video killed the Radio Star” … But then again when Nextel (later Sprint-Nextel) had “Push-to-Talk” on a cellular-like network it was touted as a killer land-mobile-radio-like service. Sooooo, we’ll see what happens.
* I’m trying to keep my ear to the ground and hear if any of this provides any benefits (killer applications, services) for the marine / yachting market.
Alan Spicer Marine Telecom and WiFiYacht.net
communications @ marinetelecom.net