Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Technology

2.4 Megabit Cellular Modem 176

Posted by timothy
from the dream-the-impossible-dream dept.
lew writes: "Ars has a review of a cellular modem that provides 2.4 megabits / second downsteam and 153 kilobits / second upsteam... and it works! Check it out" How much for unmetered service on such a system? :)
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

2.4 Megabit Cellular Modem

Comments Filter:
  • Ummetered? The best your ever gonna find is cellphone minute charges. But they might give you special web minutes at a slightly cheaper rate if you use it often enough. Or get free nights and weekends, to play your cellphone evercrack.
    • Re:unmetered. (Score:2, Insightful)

      by fatgav (555629)
      I think most likely will be a per MB charge as the 2.5g systems are. Gonna rack up the pounds/dollars/euros/yen mighty quickly at those speeds though! ;)
    • Re:unmetered. (Score:2, Interesting)

      by grungeKid (4260)
      I have unmetered GPRS (aka 2.5 G) access right now, real cheap as well. Of course, this is partly because my carrier wants people to become used to the service, then they will probably start some sort of metered access... then again, maybe not, as one of the virtual carriers here in sweden just introduced unmetered SMS service. I don't find it improbable that specialized virtual carriers will offer unmetered data transfer.
      • The reason we don't, and won't see flat rate fast wireless in the US for a long time is simple. We sold off the airwaves, instead of offering them up for experimentation and development like other countries. What this has effectively done is made the money collected a TAX on the airwaves, of BILLIONS (10E+9) of US Dollars on the spectrum which will have to be collected from consumers before we can even begin to get truely usefull fast wireless in the US.

        After investigating, here in Chicago, the only flat rate I can find is from Verizon, and it's 28.8kbps, more or less, for $55/month on a 1 year, and $40/month for 2 or 3 years. This is better than paying per byte, as the maximum file sizes usable across the internet tends towards infinity over time.

        So, I'll stick with Cable modems, DSL, and the Frac-T at work, for now.

        --Mike--

    • Re: Metered service (Score:4, Informative)

      by Raetsel (34442) on Tuesday April 02, 2002 @04:51PM (#3272659)

      I miss Ricochet. I ended up moving into an area where they offered service -- 6 months too late. (Dammit.) They were the only ones offering flat-rate service, although only at 128-256 Kbit. Yes, I know they're trying to re-light the network, but that's not happening up here -- at the last I'd heard.

      1. THIS WAS A SERVICE TEST. They set up a few cell towers just for this engineering test.

      2. Fat chance any cell provider will give you an all-you-can-eat plan! That's for businesses, you don't need that! You're just a consumer so take our advertising and consume!

      Feh.

      I've become so cynical regarding cellphone companies and their greed that I can easily see them crippling this service to the point where it's no fun for any of us. I expect:

      • Throttled service levels (want more speed? PAY!)
      • Outrageous fees per kilobyte (want a discount to buy blocks of bytes? forget it...)
      • and "service" plans that sell you a dozen features you don't want, just to get the features you do.
      We've become so used to "paying for minutes" that the cellphone companies aren't going to let that go without (1) a lot of money, or (2) a fight. I know people that pay "only" $40/month for cell service, yet barely use a quarter of their 'allotment' -- the rest of their money is wasted! It amazes me that people continue to accept this... I guess it shouldn't.


      • The line was supposed to read:
        • Outrageous fees per kilobyte (want a discount to buy blocks of megabytes? forget it...)
        Oh, and about that modem offering up 8 IPs? You can forget about that feature ever seeing the light of day -- unless you pay them a few (hundred | thousand) extra dollars a month.

      • You're entirely right. Cell phone pricing is silly, and I'm sure the vaunted 3G wireless will be underpowered and overpriced.

        But changing that starts at the bottom of the communications industry, not the top. Why do cell phones have minute-based plans? Because land-line long distance does. They cost more because the consumer perceives greater value in the cell phone service (which is accurate), and therefore not only is willing, but demands to pay more. It's no secret that most people equate "more expensive" with "better."

        Why does long distance charge per minute? Because local calls are flat-fee. Again, greater perceived value requires higher cost.

        The same will be true of 3G connectivity. The only way to change that is to start at the bottom--why aren't local calls included gratis with the cost to have a phone line to a building?Why aren't long-distance calls flat-rate?

        If that changed, everything above it would shift downwards. Either that, or someone has to hammer home to the public at large that cost and value don't necessarily have anything to do with each other.

        Of course, if Windows hasn't done that already, I don't know that there's much hope...
        • by Dominic_Mazzoni (125164) on Tuesday April 02, 2002 @05:11PM (#3272808) Homepage
          Hang on...not everything should be flat-rate.

          When my girlfriend and I lived in separate states, our long-distance bill was huge...but we expected that. We were able to minimize it by using calling cards and talking in the evening.

          Now my girlfriend and I live together...and our long-distance bill is small. If there was a flat rate for long-distance, it would certainly be higher than I'm paying now. All that would do is anger the 80% of people who use a less than average amount of long distance. (Yes, my math is right - the top 20% of long-distance callers talk five times as long.)

          I would actually be willing to pay for cable/DSL by the megabyte. Why? Because that would encourage adoption...my grandma would be able to get DSL for $3 a month because she just checks email. I'd pay $60 a month, but I'd be getting my money's worth. And when I go out of town for two weeks, my bill would reflect it.

          Having the option of a flat-rate plan is fine, but I think that it's not best for most people.
          • Sorry, I didn't clarify properly: I didn't mean flat-rate per month, I meant flat-rate per call. You're right: flat-rate per month would hurt the majority of consumers, much the same way flat-rate per month cell phone bills (plus the overuse surcharge, of course) hurt the majority of consumers (myself included).

          • my grandma would be able to get DSL for $3 a month because she just checks email.

            And she'd be happy until the first month she gets a screenfull of animated adds, a mailbox full of spam, and a $750 bill for the privilege.

            Current internet technology evolved in an unmetered, bandwidth-limit-only enviornment. The content of the web and email - or the intelligence of the browsers and delivery agents - will require major revision before metered broadband internet service becomes practical.
            • by akvalentine (560139)
              Of course, in a stiuation such as this, we'd all have a very real reason to make spam illegal.

              Right now it is annoying, but if it cost me money over and above what my own bandwidth needs are, I'd sue in a heartbeat.

              • Re: Metered service (Score:2, Interesting)

                by Xenographic (557057)
                Umm, you do realize that in places like the UK, unmetered access like we enjoy in the US doesn't exist--you don't even get unlimited local calls, for crying out loud :[

                E.G. we *already* have a very real reason to make spam illegal. Granted, this may not affect many US users, save to waste their time, but just because it doesn't affect the US doesn't mean there aren't a lot of people with a very real reason to make spam (UCE) illegal.
          • Re: Metered service (Score:3, Interesting)

            by letxa2000 (215841)
            If there was a flat rate for long-distance, it would certainly be higher than I'm paying now. All that would do is anger the 80% of people who use a less than average amount of long distance. (Yes, my math is right - the top 20% of long-distance callers talk five times as long.)

            That assumes that the flat-rate amount multiplied by the number of customers would have to equal what the long distance companies currently earn.

            The parent post was correct. Things are expensive because LD is still (comparatively) expensive.

            LD used to be expensive because the COSTS were high to provide it. Laying the lines, relatively low number of users, etc. Now, telephones are virtually everywhere. Local calls are unmetered, but long distance is still relatively expensive mostly because people got used to paying for it. They value the service monetarily because they are used to paying for it.

            LD no longer is as expensive as it used to be to provide. In fact, technically, it can be provided almost free. Most of the actual telecomm costs are in "the last mile" (read: the local telephone service that you already pay a monthly bill for).

            Believe me, in 10, maybe 15 or 20 years max, there will be no "long distance charge" per-minute nor per-call and the companies providing them will either be much smaller and paid some monthly amount by local providers paying for international connectivity (like ISP access to the backbone).

            Why? Because the price we pay for long distance is a perceived cost based on habit, not based on the actual real value or cost of the service. The price is, thus, unnaturally high. It may take time, but the free market will ensure that an unnaturally high price comes down. And it will.

            While VoIP seems to have lost it's dazzle (with the dot com boom), I think VoIP is really what's going to eventually lead to free long distance. VoIP is in its infancy. When there is more infrastructure VoIP will be able to charge less than long distance companies. To compete, the long distance companies themselves will have to resort to VoIP. And, at some point, the local telephone company will end up simply being the local POP for the VoIP network... and the long distance companies will no longer exist.

            That's my guess, anyway.

        • Re: Metered service (Score:2, Informative)

          by erc (38443)
          Why does long distance charge per minute? Because local calls are flat-fee. Again, greater perceived value requires higher cost.

          Not necessarily. Blue Kiwi [mybluekiwi.com] or Speak Zero [speakzero.com] offer flat rate LD to the continental US for $30-35 or so a month. All you can eat.

      • Check out http://www.monetmobile.com/consumer/serviceplan.as p
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Why do all the new broadband technologies limit the upload to a very slow speed? 2.4Mbps is nice and all, but for it to be useful beyond surfing the web 153Kbps doesn't leave for much of anything else.
    • by ergo98 (9391)
      The vast majority of what people do in situations that would require a cellular modem would be largely downstream, so I doubt there are many customers at all that would find the 153Kbps upstream limiting (especially given that most cellular connections nowadays are about 14Kbps at best). i.e. I don't think many people want to host Quake3 games from their laptops over a cellular connection, but with those speeds you could play a game on another host just fine.
    • Along with the usual arguments of allocating bandwidth in ways that the large majority of consumers will use it (surfing the web, reading email, etc.) I would think that engineering a base radio that could receive up to 2.4Mbps from a small low powered radio (the battery operated cell modem) might be very difficult and certainly very expensive.

      And the cell modem itself would probably go through its batteries very quickly at sustained throughputs of 2.4Mbps.
    • by joshuac (53492) on Tuesday April 02, 2002 @05:07PM (#3272779) Journal
      Why do all the new broadband technologies limit the upload to a very slow speed? 2.4Mbps is nice and all, but for it to be useful beyond surfing the web 153Kbps doesn't leave for much of anything else.

      Collisions. Same reason your upstream is often capped on a cable modem. On shared media you will get a lot of collisions from the individuals on the network as they choose to transmit at random times.

      From the downstream perspective this is simple to control; you have one broadcast point, you simply queue things to be sent, and there are no collisions. On the upstream side, you need to know when someone else will be transmitting, and this is harder.

      I imagine one way of doing this is to assign time slices to groups of people; you do not transmit unless it is your turn, and you compete with far fewer people (the others in your group). If you have 2.4Mbps available and you, say, divide this by 16 groups, you get a ~153Kbps window to transmit in (plus 9.6Kbps left over on the spectrum possibly for out of band housekeeping duties).

      This is what is probably happening here.

      Another options (and a long shot), but perhaps they are just plain mean (or not confident in their ability to control who uses their service) and want to discourage people from using the system to host anything. "Hey, our security is lousy, we know people will start stealing our wireless service to host copyrighted material/launch dos attacks from, maybe if we lock the bandwidth down at the tower this will not be attractive and the phreaks will go elsewhere".
      • by michael_cain (66650) on Tuesday April 02, 2002 @06:13PM (#3273203) Journal

        Also, that downstream transmitter can push more watts, hence has better signal-to-noise, hence can use more complex modulation techniques and get more bits per Hz of bandwidth. Given 1 MHz of bandwidth for each direction, a base station using 256-QAM modulation has a raw bit rate of 8 Mbps (then subtract out a bunch for forward error correction, framing, etc). The low-powered upstream transmitters may only be able to code at two bits per Hz, for a 2 Mbps total.


      • Why do all the new broadband technologies limit the upload to a very slow speed? 2.4Mbps is nice and all, but for it to be useful beyond surfing the web 153Kbps doesn't leave for much of anything else.

        Collisions. Same reason your upstream is often capped on a cable modem. On shared media you will get a lot of collisions from the individuals on the network as they choose to transmit at random times.

        Collisions can be managed by assigning time slots for the inbound direction. There'd be some reduction due to variation in turnaround time among customers sharing the bandwidth, but nothing like a 20:1 degradation. (And it can also be managed by smarter schedulers.) You have to do some of this anyhow.

        But the upstream doesn't (or doesn't HAVE to) apply to non-shared services like DSL. There the bandwidth is divided between the upstream and downstream link - currently with a fixed ratio though in principle the modems COULD have dynamically adjusted it.

        No, I believe the issue is that the network designers just built networks on the assumption that the customers were mainly browsing the web or pulling down content, rather than serving others. For such a content consumer you want the downstream to be as fat as you can afford, and the upstream to be adequate for TCP ACKs URL references, and keystrokes. Then they massively oversubscribed the (symmetrical) network link feeding the local node (DSLAM, cell, what-have-you) and let the users stat-mux themselves. When they have little competition (which, the carrier hopes, is most of the time) they can fill their fat personal downlink pipe to its capacity. They don't lose packets on the uplink (which would break them badly) beacuse they're throttled back so far that the network link doesn't saturate.

        Users running servers break that model. They cost the ISP more to support because he can't oversubscribe the network link to such an extreme - or much at all - without degrading their service. Even with the throttle, a few users hosting servers on a DSLAM can start causing other users to lose upbound packets and see download degradation.
        • by zeno_2 (518291)
          I think a lot has to do with the fact is that every ISP that sells bandwidth (cable, dsl, wireless) will have plans in place for a buisness account, one that provides a much higher cap for upstream, but at a much higher price.

          What kinda ticks me off is that with my cable modem, its against the 'rules' to host ANY sort of server. Here is a clip from these 'rules' (this is adelphia.net by the way).

          v) to run a server of any type in connection with the Service, nor may you provide network or host services to others via the Service. Prohibited uses include, without limitation, running servers for PPP, FTP, HTTP, DNS, POP, SMTP, NNTP, PROXY, DHCP, IRC, TELNET, TFTP, SNMP and multi-user interactive forums, or remapping of ports for the purpose of operating a server on the network.

          I can understand some of those, but I really dont see what the problem is. I myself run an ftp site, as well as a webpage from my computer with the cable line. I have to use port 8080 for my webpage, but port 21 works just fine for ftp. I maybe transfer.. 10mb of data a month using those 2 servers. Usually im just messing around with apache and php from work on a page hosted on my home machine.

          If im only using about 10mb a month of transfers there should be not a single problem in what I am doing. If I dont configure my server right, and it gets attacked, its my fault, id sign a paper saying so if thats what they are worried about. Why not just close the accounts of those who do use too much bandwidth.. Now the other thing is that last october, a month or two after I got my cable modem, I had a total transfer of 40gigs, about 20 up and 20 down (from audiogalaxy.com =). I never got a single complaint or anything from adelphia.. Even though this is another 'rule'.

          (A) excessive use of bandwidth (e.g. exceeding 2.5GB of traffic in a given month);

          This is a joke really, I dont think they check anything unless they get complaints.. Not a very consistant set of rules, some of them half the rules apply, some rules are just there to be there, and are not followed..

          Anyway, one quick question. My friend has a site up on geocities.com, they tell him he has a monthly transfer limit of 1gb. He has had the page up for a few days and is already getting it shut down because he has already transferred over the limit, even though its been a week. They seem to have a scale that goes along, so if your first day, you transfer 100mb you might get shut down.. Anyway, I told him that he could host it off my computer, and its only going to be about.. 100-300mb of transfers a month, so I doubt they would care.. Anyway, port 80 is blocked, any way that I can use some sort of system like no-ip.com has that will forward someone from another machine to my machine on port 8080, without having the user having to manually type www.whatever.com:8080..

          And yes, I want one of those phones =)

    • Did you want to run a warez server on your cellphone? Publish documents to the web? I think upstream on a phone is probably limited to 'thanks for the packet, it was good' over and over again or text messages.
    • Another reason for limiting upstream bandwidth is based on transmitter power. The transmitter at the base station of a cell tower has lots of power, whereas the phone must run off of a battery. Since the transmission from the mobile phone is of lower power, it must slow the transmission rate to allow for more errors and noise in the signal.
    • It'd take more cellular power to transmit than to recieve.
  • great... (Score:3, Funny)

    by Artifex (18308) on Tuesday April 02, 2002 @04:31PM (#3272495) Journal
    I can use my Voicestream unlimited weekend minutes to trade Jamie Curtis movies and pictures, now...
  • "How much for unmetered service on such a system? :) "

    I will bid an arm ...oh and my leg too...

  • that's PER CELL (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Syre (234917) on Tuesday April 02, 2002 @04:32PM (#3272510)
    What that article doesn't mention, and what people usually don't know when discussing 3G mobile is that the data rates quoted are PER CELL not PER USER (unless only one user per cell is active at a given moment).

    This is the big lie of 3G mobile. In cities, it will never support the data rates they keep talking about because of the duty cycle: the number of users per cell at any one moment.
    • Re:that's PER CELL (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Control Group (105494)
      Yeah, but think about what most of those users are going to be doing with the connection: looking at web pages, reading email, and instant messaging people.

      None of those are terribly bandwidth-intensive...the average user will probably feel pretty much exactly like they were sitting on a consumer broadband line.

      Of course, if you mean to use it for downloading a DivX;-) version of LotR, you might run into (and cause) some problems...
      • by the_2nd_coming (444906) on Tuesday April 02, 2002 @05:02PM (#3272736) Homepage
        I can just see it now:

        Scene: AirPort Terminal;

        Business man : WTF!!! how come it is taking so frigen long to down load my itinerary from the company? man this service sucks ass, not letting me download a frigen 4k file!!

        1337 Kiddy: cool dude!! I almost got Office XP Downloaded from Kazaz to my Pocket PC!!!
      • Of course, you have exhaustive data to support your observations about the different usage patterns of internet users, right?

        Remember, even with Yahoo News, just "looking at web pages" includes streaming video. A lot - a *lot* - of people like streaming audio. P2P is pretty ubiquitous - what if your cell is the one that a dorm room is near? Etc. etc.

      • Re:that's PER CELL (Score:5, Insightful)

        by grnbrg (140964) <.slashdot. .at. .grnbrg.org.> on Tuesday April 02, 2002 @05:27PM (#3272913)
        Yeah, but think about what most of those users are going to be doing with the connection: looking at web pages, reading email, and instant messaging people.


        The cable companies brought out DSL and didn't worry too much about that fact that heavy use could saturate the local segment of the network, because very few people would ever be downloading multi-megabyte files, they'd just be looking at web pages, reading email and instant messaging people....

        Then Napster happened.

        It's just a matter of time before someone figures out a high-bandwidth app that Joe Public wants on his phone.

        Want an example? Wouldn't it be cool if Nokia (or someone else) put one of these modems, a small colour LCD, camera, and video conferencing software into a cheap phone? Suddenly everyone is sending/recieving high-bandwith multi-media streams, 'cause everyone just *has* to have a videophone.

        Demand will always grow to exeed limitations, usually in ways that could not be predicted when the limitations were imposed.


        grnbrg

        • True enough, but the fact that its capacity will be exceeded at some point doesn't make the per-cell limitations any worse than any other ultimately inadequate broadband solution. I'm not saying this will be better than wired broadband (in terms of bandwidth availability), I'm just saying it won't be worse.

          Not to mention it's far and away better than the "wireless web" capabilities built into current cell phones, vastly superior to current cell modems, and just kind of neat in general.

          I just think it's overly harsh to call the cell-shared nature of its bandwidth the "big lie" of 3G. It's no more nor less true than any other marketing claim; it has to be considered in context.

    • Re:that's PER CELL (Score:5, Informative)

      by tswinzig (210999) on Tuesday April 02, 2002 @04:57PM (#3272701) Journal
      What that article doesn't mention, and what people usually don't know when discussing 3G mobile is that the data rates quoted are PER CELL not PER USER (unless only one user per cell is active at a given moment).

      Try reading the entire article. Page 3 [arstechnica.com], near the bottom, does a nice job of explaining this, and why it's not such a big deal:

      Which brings us to the next point: that 2.4 Mbps is shared among all users on a cell sector, just like cable bandwidth is shared by everyone in a neighborhood. What's a sector, then? Cell sites are generally divided into three sectors that each cover different parts of the surrounding area, so each site can have up to 7.2 Mbps of bandwidth to play with. In contrast to cable, bandwidth in 1xEV is intelligently scheduled to maximize throughput for everyone. The modems actively monitor signal strength and request the highest data rate they can handle without dropping too many packets. If the packet error rate gets too high, the system switches to a more reliable transmission scheme and the data rate is throttled down. The cell site uses a sophisticated scheduling algorithm that tracks the modem's average receive signal strength from millisecond to millisecond and takes advantage of local peaks in the signal conditions to send packets when they are most likely to get through. That way, bandwidth is not wasted on packets that will likely have to be retransmitted anyway, and one user with a bad connection can't cause a storm of retransmits that slows down service for everyone. Of course, if everybody on your sector is doing large downloads at the same time, the bandwidth will be divvied up among them, factoring in signal conditions. Of some consolation is that fact that your typical usage scenario is rather more sporadic: you download a web page for maybe 10 seconds, then stare at it for a minute, and so on. When you aren't actually downloading, the airwaves are free for someone else to surf. The likelihood of everyone clicking at once is very low, and the average response as seen by any particular user is pretty good; that's the miracle of statistical multiplexing.
      • The likelihood of everyone clicking at once is very low...
        And this, fellow /.ers, is where the whole plan falls apart. I can hear the execs in their boardroom now: "Damn you Taco!"
      • 3G is marketed [nokia.com] for videoconferencing.... How exactly "the miracle of statistical multiplexing" would help there?!
    • Re:that's PER CELL (Score:2, Informative)

      by mellifluous (249700)
      There seems to be a lot of confusion running around on this issue. I would recommend looking at this whitepaper [cdg.org]. Admittedly, it is from the CDMA development group web page, so take some of the spectral efficiency claims with a grain of salt. Still, it is a pretty good introduction, and there are some other helpful papers on the technology there.
    • Re:that's PER CELL (Score:4, Informative)

      by aquarian (134728) on Tuesday April 02, 2002 @05:06PM (#3272763)
      Nonsense. If demand warrants it, they'll add more cells, just like they've been doing all along. In high density areas, there are more cells than you'd believe- dedicated cells to serve single buildings, or crowded public areas. As long as the *number of paying customers* warrants it, providers will beef up their networks to ensure good service. The problem will be in the low density areas- rural counties with only a few paying customers, one or two of whom like to smutsurf on their cigarette breaks.
      • Re:that's PER CELL (Score:2, Informative)

        by jchristopher (198929)
        Nonsense. If demand warrants it, they'll add more cells, just like they've been doing all along.

        No way. If that were true, then Cingular Wireless would actually be USABLE in Los Angeles after 3PM. You're crazy if you think a cellular company is going to willingly spend money on infrastructure.

        They will do so, but only when their level of service sinks far below what others provide. And since they are all fairly sucky, that can take a while.

        In Los Angeles, Cingular is getting about to that point now. No one I know would ever sign up for Cingular because the service is so bad. Everyone jumps to a different provider as soon as their contract is up.

    • Actually... it isn't per cell but per channel (1.25 MHz for 1x and 3x uses 3 channels.) The number of channels you can have is dictated by the frequency spectrum a provider bought at auction.

      Needless to say, some providers have more than one channel of bandwidth allocated.
  • Great (Score:2, Funny)

    Now I can stream uber-quality DivX-encoded movies to my phone and view them on a sexy mushroom-colored screen the size of my big toe ;-)

    I Got Paid To Place This Text Ad, And You Can Too! [monolinux.com]
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Sure, it works great when it's just a prototype and you're more or less the only one on. What happens to performance once you get everyone using it in a densely populated area? In big cities during peak times, the existing digital cell phone network drops enough calls as it is for me.
  • So now I can download Morpheus movies on my Nokia?
  • by skilef (525335)
    Does that mean my sms will arrive faster?
  • tiny upstream bandwidth, no thanx. give me moochable 802.11 any day.
  • by Arcturax (454188) on Tuesday April 02, 2002 @04:38PM (#3272568)
    How long before there are enough Quake and Home Porn/Warez servers filling the airwaves with frags and grainy shots of Britney Spears to make it as slow as a 56k connection on a bad phone line.

    Eww, just think, I could have a pirated copy of Windows XP wisping its way through my body in the form of radio waves. That alone might add credence to the celluar gives cancer argument.
  • ...You just watch.

    I know how these phone companies are. They'll either use CDPD billing or some other way to charge you.

    They'll either charge you by the minute or by the byte. Either way you'll get reamed.
    • *ahem*

      Either way you'll pay for a service you are using. If you read the article, you would have heard all about how this is going to cost billions in infrastructure and eq upgrades, and about how unlimited use of this technology would likely impair things significantly, as people tend to use more bandwidth when they don't pay for it, and this _is_ a shared media. Someone has to pay for the upgrades.. and I tend to doubt that the telcos are going to spend billions of dollars for your approval alone. They are businesses, after all..

      //Phizzy
  • No thanks (Score:1, Funny)

    by marian (127443)

    The pathetic upstream bandwidth implies to me that the only use this is going to see is faster downloads to your phone of targeted ads.

    • Don't be so fast to knock that upstream bandwidth, it's faster than you can get with a cable modem if you were unlucky enough to be switched over to ComCast when @Home bit it.
  • by DickPhallus (472621) on Tuesday April 02, 2002 @04:41PM (#3272591)
    Picture this: you're sitting on the beach sipping something cold and sweet while browsing your favorite website, listening to some streaming audio, and communicating with a friend or co-worker. You have untethered bandwidth at your fingertips. Pipe dream? No, it's 3G.

    I suppose this is an unpopular opinion, but isn't the purpose of 'getting away' actually to avoiding talking to a co-worker? I mean I would love the bandwidth they talk about at home but it's just not here yet.

    The last thing I want on the beach is some dweeb cellphone going off 'cos his download of the latest Britney video is done. Just enjoy your vacations and leave the office crap at home.


    • The last thing I want on the beach is some dweeb cellphone going off 'cos his download of the latest Britney video is done. Just enjoy your vacations and leave the office crap at home.

      Hmm..... downloading titney videos is something you do at work? I want that job! ;-)

    • Some of us are 'in the office' when we are sitting on the beach or just hanging out at home with the family. Technologies such as this might allows us to alter the paradigm and give workers less reason to need to 'get away from it all'
      • by swb (14022)
        Technologies such as this might allows us to alter the paradigm and give workers less reason to need to 'get away from it all'

        That's been one of the premises of technology for a long time, but it always seems to accomplish the opposite -- tethering instead of freeing. My wife has a marketing job. Her cell rang 4 times this morning before 6:30 AM, simply because someone *could* call her, they did. No emergency, no 5 alarm fire, just someone who had the number.
        • Her cell rang 4 times this morning before 6:30 AM, simply because someone *could* call her, they did. No emergency, no 5 alarm fire, just someone who had the number.

          What does this have to do with new technology?

          Unless you consider the telephone 'new technology.'
          • Wireless is a new technology. Now to you its not that new, but most people are just now getting used to the idea that its "OK" to call people on their cell phone. Used to be you didn't want to -- the thing was in their car. Then you didn't want to because wasn't important.

            Now most people feel comfortable doing it all the time -- why call the office, just the cell, or always call the cell after the office.

            You're tethered again to the phone.
            • by letxa2000 (215841)
              Two solutions:

              1. Caller ID.
              2. Turn the damn thing off.

              • Caller ID is of minimal use -- many outbound trunks have incorrect or no calling party numbers, and most cell phones don't display names anyway, just numbers.

                Turning it off is the equivilent of shutting a machine down when its getting DoS'd. It's an effective strategy when you don't want any calls.
    • I suppose this is an unpopular opinion, but isn't the purpose of 'getting away' actually to avoiding talking to a co-worker? I mean I would love the bandwidth they talk about at home but it's just not here yet.

      The last thing I want on the beach is some dweeb cellphone going off 'cos his download of the latest Britney video is done. Just enjoy your vacations and leave the office crap at home.


      You're completely missing the point! Think outside the box, and imagine WORKING FROM [INSERT NICE LOCATION HERE] instead of from home!
  • ...so much for downloading distros to your uber-leet cellphone.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    It'll be 4 or 5 years before this gets established enough to bring the price levels down to anywhere near earthbound mortal levels. Only big businesses and rich tycoons will be able to play here for the first couple of years (just like cell phones). I can see some security issues with this though. A few mods to a scanner that you can hook up to a PC and you got yourself a wireless packet sniffer!
  • by ripaway (546509) on Tuesday April 02, 2002 @04:43PM (#3272605)
    Monet Mobile Networks [monetmobile.com] provides wireless broadband in rural areas using cdma2000 1xRTT (144kbps), and is upgrading to 1xEV-DO which provides 2.4mbps downstream and 144kbps up. The already have 1xEV-DO trial network Manhattan, Kansas. Their service fee is a flat 49.95 a month, unlimited usages. They also have 1xRTT service up in Fargo, N.D., and Sioux Falls, S.D.
    Here [cdg.org] is more info on the 1xEV-DO network.
  • yet ... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    i still live 500 feet out of range for dsl

    can't these tech companies fix shit that's broken before coming out with new stuff?
  • by dmccarty (152630) on Tuesday April 02, 2002 @04:52PM (#3272665)
    Ars has a review of a cellular modem that provides 2.4 megabits / second downsteam and 153 kilobits / second upsteam... and it works! Check it out

    That's the optimal, best-case, never-gonna-see-it-in-real-life (unless you're testing the system before it's released to the public) speed. In real life use you'll be sharing with everyone else on the cell, just like a neighborhood of cable modems.

    From the article: Which brings us to the next point: that 2.4 Mbps is shared among all users on a cell sector, just like cable bandwidth is shared by everyone in a neighborhood. What's a sector, then? Cell sites are generally divided into three sectors that each cover different parts of the surrounding area, so each site can have up to 7.2 Mbps of bandwidth to play with.

    And FWIW, latency: Round trip times were in the 110-120 ms range on average, with the minimum I recorded coming in a bit under 80 ms.

    • You are forgetting, that a cell is divided to sectors. so you actually get 3x 2.4 megabits. Also, 3g cells are smaller than the current GSM
      cells, and telcos have done a better job splitting
      cells unlike cable-modem people...

      It's still a lot better than the networks today.
      gprs gives theretical maximum of 384kbs (shared)
      and a latency of 500-1000ms.

      Unfortunatly, due to the high priced 3g licenses, it wont be cheap for a long time.
  • I think the most important part of the article is where the point is brought up about per Kb download cost. If you want people to buy this and the related service as a broadband app, you have to make that it doesn't end up costing more to download something than it would to buy it. This would kill wireless broadband faster than it could be deployed.


    Charging a flat fee would probably not work because of the 2% that would use 98% of the available bandwidth. However simply charging per minute would not penalize the userbase for using this for the intended use. This would also address the points of the article about being able to get the multimedia that your buying this for. In short, the lesson for 3G providers, don't kill the market that your trying to create.

  • Snowcrash (Score:3, Funny)

    by tswinzig (210999) on Tuesday April 02, 2002 @04:54PM (#3272679) Journal
    Now perhaps I've been reading too much Neal Stephenson lately, but...

    Do I foresee roving bands of samurai-warrior-programmers with laptops and wearable interfaces to the 'metaverse'?

    Yes I do!

    Well, maybe not Samurai Warriors, but pale geeks, surely! (And soon, perhaps not so pale?)

    Could the stereotypical geek image change from pasty-faced teens languishing in a darkened computer room to well-traveled, olive-skinned men on beaches with laptops? (Oooh, look, live porn! ... no wait, those are just real girls getting a suntan.)

    How much will civilization change when high-tech commuters can work from anywhere -- literally?
    • Whoa. (Score:2, Funny)

      by yzquxnet (133355)
      You mean, I could come outside of my house. To be able to wander about and still retain the same technical savvy. I'm.. Uh.. I don't know if I can handle it.
  • i thought april fools day was yesterday
  • How much? (Score:1, Troll)

    by suso (153703)

    How much for unmetered service on such a system?

    Bend over and they'll show you.

  • Peak usage times (Score:2, Insightful)

    by artemis67 (93453)
    In addition to the normal internet peak usage times, you can also through another one into the mix: rush hour traffic. I live in a major metropolitan city (of ~4 mil), and I can't hardly use my cell phone from about 4:30 to 5:30.

    I wonder how that's going to work with data connections, that are constantly dropping and reestablishing? It'll be a mess, for sure.
  • by Hadlock (143607) on Tuesday April 02, 2002 @05:10PM (#3272798) Homepage Journal
    this is the meat of the article. the pictures aren't really worth too much looking at. get a dvd case out and two black pens. there you go. here's the article:

    The System

    The particular 3G technology under examination in this review is called 1xEV-DO, which is a CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) technology developed by Qualcomm. Picking apart the acronym is instructive. If you ask an engineer, the "1x" stands for "single carrier," which means it operates in a single 1.25 MHz frequency band just like existing CDMA cellular systems. If you ask a marketing rep, "1x" means the "first phase" of the third-generation wireless systems, implying more good things to come. The "EV" is for "Evolution," meaning the technology is an outgrowth of the base 1x standard, functioning as an interim solution for high-speed data while waiting for the "3x" multi-carrier systems being standardized by the ITU. "DO" stands for Data Only (the marketing guy would say "Data Optimized"), meaning that the entire 1.25 MHz channel is dedicated to data traffic and not shared with voice calls. So the present system implements the data-only variety of the evolution of the first phase of the third generation of wireless cellular technology. Got it?

    If acronym soup isn't your bag, simply "fast" will do. 1xEV transmits in the same frequency bands as existing cellular systems and uses similar radio-frequency transmission equipment (the cell sites you see popping up everywhere), but employs packet-switched connections and a new radio link protocol optimized for high data throughput. The maximum speed of 1xEV -- no drooling now -- is 2.4 Megabits per second on the download link and 153.6 kilobits per second on the upload link. As you're probably thinking, that kind of bandwidth is on par with broadband wired connections like cable or DSL -- and the system delivers.

    I was given the opportunity to test out an engineering prototype of a 1xEV-DO wireless cellular modem called the HDR Hornet, developed by Qualcomm as a reference design for their 3G chipsets. HDR is short for High Data Rate, Qualcomm's internal name for 1xEV. Qualcomm just makes the chips and does not sell retail devices, so you will not see this modem on the market. What you will see is a plethora of devices incorporating Qualcomm chips, from cell phones to PDAs to PC Cards to notebooks and devices that have yet to be conceived. Of course, any cellular technology without an appropriate infrastructure is about as useful as a frozen brick; Qualcomm also develops chips and software for cellular base stations, and the HDR modem under review was provided as part of a small over-the-air field trial conducted by Qualcomm in conjunction with the University of California, San Diego. There were three 1xEV cell sites set up on top of Qualcomm and UCSD buildings in the La Jolla, California area for the purpose of stress-testing the system in real-world conditions. Free bandwidth, in range of the beach? One stress test coming up!
    The Setup

    The unit I was supplied with came in a plain white box and a static-proof bag, along with an AC adapter, a dongle to connect the modem to an Ethernet jack, a two-page quick-start guide, and four Velcro stickies to attach it to a laptop. The Hornet itself is something between the size of a DVD movie box and a VHS cassette, measuring 7 1/8" x 4 1/8" x 3/4" HWD (18 cm x 10.5 cm x 1.9 cm) and weighing about 3/4 lbs. (0.35 kg). As you can see, the unit has two 5 3/4" (14.6 cm) antennae that independently swivel up about 200 from alongside the unit, enabling diversity reception for a stronger signal. Keep in mind that this is an engineering prototype; you will probably not see retail devices with this form factor. PC Cards and PDA modules with the same chips inside will likely be the most popular paths to 3G in the near future.

    The first thing that struck me about the Hornet is that it looks pretty darn smooth for an engineering reference design, no frills, but all the essentials: AC adapter plug, on/off switch, USB port on the bottom, Ethernet dongle on the right, and four status LEDs on top that wrap around to the back so as to be visible while the unit is stuck to your laptop lid.

    Installation and set-up can't be any easier. Taking a cue from the quick-start guide, the process goes something like this:

    1. Plug it in.

    2. Turn it on.

    3. You're good to go.

    The unit I was supplied with interfaced via TCP/IP over standard 10 Mbit Ethernet. The Hornet has a built-in DHCP server that automatically serves up the correct TCP/IP settings to your laptop and acts as your default gateway to the network. The connection is "always on" and there is no special dial-up or logon procedure. Having connected this thing to a dozen different computers, I can say that setup was simply a non-issue and took at most two minutes.

    USB connectivity was not implemented on the test unit I received, but I can't imagine it being any easier to use than the Ethernet connection. USB will probably be the interface found in most external devices for laptops; unfortunately, this means you are at the mercy of the manufacturer for driver support and you will probably have to install a CD full of video-mail-grandma-with-one-click software to make it work. On the other hand, TCP/IP over Ethernet is standard, well-understood, supported out of the box by every operating system, and already used for Internet connectivity by most laptops. An Ethernet-enabled wireless modem would be a drop-in replacement for a huge installed base of users, but USB + Plug-and-Pray is perceived as being easier for consumers. Go figure. I tested the Hornet through its Ethernet interface with desktops and laptops using a variety of Ethernet cards under Windows 95, 98, and Me, Windows NT4, 2000, and XP, MacOS 8, 9, and X, and Mandrake Linux 7.1 (kernel 2.2.17). All worked flawlessly. A big nod goes to Qualcomm for sticking with open systems and standards. We can only hope retail products will do the same.

    Once the unit is connected up and turned on, it takes about five seconds to initialize and then begins searching for a connection. If you're in a covered area, the service light goes green and the receive and transmit lights flash as the fire-breathing modem awakes and stretches its muscles. After living with this unit for a while, the sight of those lights when service comes up is like the geek's version of a well-tuned big-bore Harley's guttural rumble.
  • by drew_kime (303965) on Tuesday April 02, 2002 @05:14PM (#3272824) Homepage Journal
    As much as rolling this out will cost, it's still going to be less than rolling out high speed land lines. In places where local conditions (terrain, politics, the whims of Time Warner) make DSL or cable unavailable, this may be the way brodband finally comes to the consumer market in big numbers.

    The most compelling reason to suspect this may happen is that you can do an incremental buildout. Put up a few cell towers in an area and sell service. As enough people sign up to demand more bandwidth, you can add towers. You can't do that with land lines.
  • Hopefuly they will do some decent pricing on this system, my biggest complaint with the web features of Sprint (my current cell provider) and many other cell carriers is they charge you for the time you access the web, by this I mean if I surf on my cell phone and stop to read a page for ten minutes I get charged for 10 minutes, not the 30 seconds it took to download the page. Most phones I know offer no way to download a page and then store it so you can read it latter without charge. Hopefully this sytem will charge me for actual download time or bandwidth, and not for the time I spend reading it.
    • You get charged for 10 minutes because your wireless web connection is a circuit-switched connection much like a voice connection. The newer solutions like mentioned in this article and the GRPS-based solutions that are available today from Voicestream and AT&T Wireless are not circuit-based connections, so you only use the connection when some bit of data is being sent or received, so they bill by the kilobyte, not by the minute.

      -- PhoneBoy
  • 3G providers in Europe are going to charge their cutomers per byte not per minute. They will look at raw data so their will be no differance between surfing and a voice call. NISY (no interesting sig yet)
    • Not true. Voice is not charged as data. Although voice is data it is not billed as so, voice packets weather proprietary or VOIP are diferentiated. One other thing, Voice always has priority over data.
  • That seems completely backwards to me. People who are out and about generate data (audio, video) that they want to transmit home. The thing should be faster coming from the phone, not going to the phone.
  • " ... on/off switch, USB port on the bottom... " (emphasis mine)

    I'm quite sure the maximum datarate of USB is well under 2.4Mbit/second. Isn't it nearer 1Mbit/sec?

    Sounds a bit iffy to me...
  • I remember reading the instructions for my cellular modem, it said that if I crossed a cell boundry, I could lose data in transit. Have they solved that?
    If not, how is this better than a 2mbps wlan?
  • by Qwerpafw (315600) on Tuesday April 02, 2002 @05:38PM (#3272970) Homepage
    Many people have brought up ther valid point that if this (seemingly large) 2.4Mbit bandwidth is spread amongstwhoever is using the cell, then some people will hog everything, and others will get almost none, thereby creating a really terrible situation for the great majority of users.

    The point has also been brought up that paying by the kilobyte sucks for those who want high bandwidth...

    My point is that the two effects would tend to cancel each other out, or, more specifically, that The people hogging the bandwidth would have to pay more, thereby eliminating the use of a cell phone for downloading warez or such.

    Okay, so its not so nice... but it works. People will end up using the system for IMing and light web page browsing, which is what it is designed for. No-one intended cellphones to be used as hotline servers.

    Now, it would be really nice if 3G meant more bandwidth than you could shake a nokia at, but its just not feasible. And who really wants to host a quake 3 server on a laptop. Most laptops can't even PLAY quake 3 with decent FPS (note I said most). And the payment scheme, though I am sure it will exact several orders of magnitude more dollars than are needed, making you pay the jerks through the nose for some crappy junk, works. Don't be surprised. We live in a real world :)
  • Ricochet? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jchristopher (198929)
    Just wondering if anyone has any inside information on the Ricochet network. They were purchased by Aerie networks, who claim they'll be offering service again "soon", for less than it was before!

    At $50 a month for unmetered 128kbps (many subscribers got faster than that, too) Ricochet is easily the best way to get wireless data.

    I see their transmitters hanging off lightposts all over my neighborhood, too. Every time I drive past one I'm reminded of what could have been...

  • ...one of the reasons i go outside is to get away from the broadband. Wonderful. Now my clients will be emailing me while I'm at lunch.

    "I asked you to make those changes to the site 10 minutes ago, why aren't they up yet?"

    Oh yeah, I can't wait.

    mk-
  • by RealTime (3392) on Tuesday April 02, 2002 @07:51PM (#3273747)
    To really be deployable in an un-metered fashion with a reasonable business model, you need something much more spectrally efficient, like ArrayComm's [arraycomm.com] i-BURST [arraycomm.com] for high-speed data service. A recent demo [koreaherald.co.kr] in South Korea shows it working at 1 Mbit/s. Two of South Korea's big telcos, Hanaro and KT, are planning to roll it out next year some time. Remember that Korea is where CDMA got its start.

    ArrayComm licensed [eetimes.com] some spectrum in Australia, where they plan to roll out a wireless broadband service in the major cities in just 5 MHz of TDD spectrum. It looks like recent FCC rule changes [rcrnews.com] have made some national TDD spectrum licenses available in the U.S. as well

    It uses IntelliCell [arraycomm.com] spatial processing and spatial channels to get multiple users on the same spectrum, at the same time. I've been lucky enough to see the i-BURST system in action, and it looks pretty cool, is real, and actually works. There are other smart antenna companies as well that are working on broadband data products, but I don't think any of them are as far along as ArrayComm.
  • GPRS (Score:2, Interesting)

    by cefek (148764)

    In Europe we have GPRS (aka 2.5G, or Generation 2 and-a-half) system. GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) is an extension to widely-deployed GSM system, which allows you to be online for as long as your cell phone is turned on.

    The only thing that hurts, is that you pay for data transmitted, not for duration. That's good unless you really want to do something more with your cell phone, that just check local cinema's "now playing" web page via crappy WAP.

    I guess we're gonna wait for 3G for some time more. Here in Europe, every country tried to maximize revenue paid by cell operators for spectrum band that can be used to offer UMTS. But prices were so horrible and technology is so weak, that we'll have to wait until they get enough money from current installations.

    And they don't hurry, because why offer more and make costs, if one can offer less with no investments in new infrastructure?

"Silent gratitude isn't very much use to anyone." -- G. B. Stearn

Working...