What started out as a luxury item for high-flying executives is now a fashion accessory for teenagers throughout Europe, and increasingly, in the rest of the world. In November 2007 the number of mobile phone subscriptions passed 3.3 billion, more than half the population of the globe. In most EU countries there are now more mobile phones than there are people.
But the real growth today is in the mobile data communication segment, via new 3G digital networks being created by providers. Such 3G services include video telephony and broadband internet access. Industry sources report that the number of EU users of 3G services doubled to 112 million in the year to April 2008.
But what will the next generation of mobile radio networks look like?
The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is proposing a new global standard, called IMT-Advanced, which aims to provide a coherent framework for all forms of digital wireless technologies, not just mobile phones.
WINNER II, an EU-funded project to explore how IMT-Advanced might be implemented, is a continuation of the original two-year WINNER project (2004-2005) that evaluated promising technologies and came up with a first concept of what new infrastructure might look like. The role of WINNER II was to develop, optimise and validate that technology.
“The output is not a product, of course,” says Dr Werner Mohr of Nokia Siemens Networks, which coordinated the project. “The output is a very clear understanding of what the system should look like. The project has developed an entire system concept and a related reference design for a future air interface. This can be used as input for the standardisation process that is now starting.”
The work has gone surprisingly smoothly, given the large number of partners and particular interests. Mohr attributes this success to the early planning for the first WINNER project in 2002-2003, before the industrial partners had invested in any technology of their own.
“No-one had anything to lose and therefore we could start a joint development of a new system where everyone could bring in their ideas,” he says. “We started more or less from zero so everyone could gain something.”
Last November the ITU’s World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC) identified frequency bands for future IMT-Advanced services, opening the way for development to begin in earnest.
In the meantime, the WINNER II partners have also contributed to an intermediate standard called LTE (Long-Term Evolution), which will partly fill the gap until IMT-Advanced comes along.
“Technically there are synergies between LTE and WINNER II,” Mohr says. “Our industry partners went to the LTE standardisation and many organisations have taken WINNER results because we already achieved some consensus there. These kinds of projects are supporting consensus building.”
The technologies tested by the WINNER II team will allow future mobile devices to communicate at up to 100 Mbit/s, much higher than most present day fixed broadband speeds.
“Basically you’ll get in a wireless system a similar experience as in your office or your home,” Mohr says.Challenge for industry
So when can we expect to see these new capabilities? It depends on when the identified spectrum becomes available.
“In Europe this may not happen before 2015 though in some countries it could be earlier,” says Mohr. “It really depends on conditions in different countries and also on market needs, of course.”
Although European industry quickly took the lead in the 1990s by establishing and building the worldwide GSM standard still in use, Mohr cautions that the market in 2015 will be a very different and more competitive.
“In Europe we have a saturated mobile market,” he says. “Asia is still growing fast but in ten years they will also have a saturated market. The need then will be to improve the capabilities of systems. From an industry perspective we have to offer innovative solutions in order to stay competitive in the global market.”
He believes Europe can still remain competitive in such a market, so long as industry exploits its expertise.
“I think we have to work hard, of course, but there is a good chance because we have the people, the know-how and the means for this kind of co-operation,” Mohr says. “What industry has to do is invest in research and development in order to stay inventive.”
He adds: “Technology is always moving, it’s always improving. We can decide either to be in the group which is improving and innovating or we are not in that group. I think it’s better to be in the group that’s improving.”
Christian Nielsen | alfa
High Number of Science Enthusiasts in Switzerland
05.02.2018 | Universität Zürich
Between filter bubbles, uneven visibility and transnationality
06.12.2017 | Schweizerischer Nationalfonds SNF
Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...
On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...
The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...
At the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show from April 25–29, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is showcasing extreme high-speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA): A video documents how for metal components that are highly loaded, EHLA has already proved itself as an alternative to hard chrome plating, which is now allowed only under special conditions.
When the EU restricted the use of hexavalent chromium compounds to special applications requiring authorization, the move prompted a rethink in the surface...
At the ILA Berlin, hall 4, booth 202, Fraunhofer FHR will present two radar sensors for navigation support of drones. The sensors are valuable components in the implementation of autonomous flying drones: they function as obstacle detectors to prevent collisions. Radar sensors also operate reliably in restricted visibility, e.g. in foggy or dusty conditions. Due to their ability to measure distances with high precision, the radar sensors can also be used as altimeters when other sources of information such as barometers or GPS are not available or cannot operate optimally.
Drones play an increasingly important role in the area of logistics and services. Well-known logistic companies place great hope in these compact, aerial...
16.03.2018 | Event News
13.03.2018 | Event News
08.03.2018 | Event News
19.03.2018 | Trade Fair News
19.03.2018 | Life Sciences
19.03.2018 | Life Sciences