International Report

A First for Alcatel in Namibia

For what will be the first LMDS network deployment in Southern Africa, Alcatel has signed a contract with Telecom Namibia, the national telecommunications operator, to deliver its high performance Local Multipoint Distribution Service (LMDS) solution and high capacity urban microwave radio systems. The move will allow end users to access high speed broadband services as the comprehensive LMDS solution offers service providers a fully controlled, multi-service broadband wireless network that can be deployed incrementally as demand increases. The network will enable Telecom Namibia to deliver a variety of new revenue generating services because by minimizing up-front investment, LMDS allows service providers to quickly capture new markets and begin generating revenue, therefore benefiting from a rapid return on investment.

Also, Alcatel 9600 USY high capacity microwave radio systems, based on SDH technology, will be supplied to link the LMDS base stations to the point of presence of the Telecom Namibia nationwide fibre-optic network. Suitable for deployment in urban as well as in rural areas these microwave systems cover the frequency range 6 to 38 GHz. The systems are claimed to enable the best possible utilization of the frequency spectrum through 128 quadrature amplitude modulation (QAM). The solution offered also includes a powerful end-to-end network management system providing efficient control and routing throughout the network.

ITU Centre's Efforts on Japan

June 1st, 2003 saw the opening of the ITU-Waseda ICT Centre, a collaboration between the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the Waseda University of Japan. Housed at the Yokosuka Research Park (YRP), near Tokyo, the centre will provide support to the telecommunication standardization and development activities of the ITU by providing expertise in IT networking, mobile communication, network security, digital content creation and other emerging technologies.

It will also work with the ITU in the area of human resource development for information and communication technologies (ICT) by providing graduate training programmes as well as seminars and workshops that will support standardization and development activities. The selection of up to 30 researchers and 30 student participants will be made jointly by both partners, and information about the application procedure will be distributed to telecommunication entities and academic institutions, as well as posted on the Waseda University and ITU Web sites, as soon as it is available.

The park is the base of more than 70 government and corporate research laboratories, and the Mayor of Yokosuka City expects the new centre, "To generate great synergy and partnerships for global collaborations between government, university and industry."

Low Cost 5.8 GHz Anti-collision Radar Hits the Market

By concentrating development on 5.8 GHz component technology, Cambridge Consultants Ltd. (CCL) claims a breakthrough in radar safety systems for automobiles, with the potential to make sophisticated reversing and anti-collision safety aids an affordable accessory for the mass market. The company tags its CCL-Softcar anti-collision technology as smart, because of a unique sensing approach that makes it possible to accurately distinguish and track multiple objects, with just one module being required to implement rear, side or front view safety.

By using a software-centric system and broad-beam antennas, what has been created is a single, standalone radar module providing a complete solution, yet measuring just 8 x 12 cm and offering an angular resolution of less than 2°.

Instead of focusing on a limited field of view, the antennas are all broad beam, and are programmed in software to provide the desired horizontal and vertical coverage. By simply changing the mathematical 'filter' applied to echo reception, the field of view changes. This allows the radar to adapt in real-time as the steering wheels change direction. Just four radar modules and one electronic control unit (ECU) are required to provide 360° protection.

Siemens EDGEs Towards Asian First

The first commercial Enhanced Data Rates for Global Evolution (EDGE) project in Asia has resulted from the decision by the Malaysian mobile operator DiGi Telecommunications, a subsidiary of the Norwegian telecom company Telenor, to commission Siemens Information and Communication Mobile Group to equip its network with GSM, GPRS and EDGE technology.

The contract is for the supply of mobile radio base stations, switching technology, and hardware and software components, and the upgrading of DiGi's GSM/GPRS infrastructure with EDGE technology. Commenting on being the continent's first company to offer EDGE-based high speed data services on a commercial basis, Tore Johnson, chief operating officer of DiGi Telecommunications, said, "We'll be able to offer our customers even higher quality voice calls, more capacity and broader bandwidth, which enables faster rates of data transfer than is currently available in Malaysia, thanks to Siemens technology."

From the supplier's perspective, Christoph Caselitz, president of Networks within the Siemens Information and Communication Mobile Group, commented, "This order from DiGi is our first EDGE contract in Asia, so it will have a signal effect on the entire Asian market."

Motorola Starts to Deliver ZigBee Technology

In support of the draft IEEE 802.15.4 standard being driven by the ZigBee Alliance - an association of companies working together to enable reliable, cost-effective, low power, wirelessly networked, monitoring and control products based on an open global standard - Motorola Inc. is delivering hardware and software samples to several development partners. In fact, the company was the first to demonstrate ZigBee 2.4 GHz wireless networking technology at the ZigBee Alliance European Open House in Berlin, Germany, in June 2003. Furthermore, engineering samples of the comprehensive, standard-compliant Motorola solution are expected to be available in November.

A void in the wireless networking spectrum is filled by the IEEE 802.15.4 standard as it empowers designers to create products with low cost, very low power and highly flexible wireless networking capabilities. ZigBee-enabled products are engineered to allow businesses to automate, control and wirelessly connect their enterprise systems.

The IEEE 802.15.4 standard details the Physical Layer (PHY) and Medium Access Control (MAC) specifications, and offers the building blocks for different types of networking - star, mesh and cluster tree. Motorola's MAC/PHY 802.15.4 solution is designed to support the global 2.4 GHz band at data rates of up to 250 kbps over air. The PHY is enabled with an RF transceiver data modem and a number of features have been incorporated to allow flexibility for engineers incorporating ZigBee into their products. An on-chip power management circuit can manage power sources from 2.0 to 3.6 V.

The transceiver integrates a power amplifier, a LNA with filtering, and is engineered to support multiple power-down states. A standard serial peripheral interface can connect with the host controller to send and receive digitised data packets, and a MAC code is offered for use with an extensive family of microcontrollers. n