International Report

Alcatel Powers Its Way to Taiwanese Microwave Contract

Taiwan Power Co. (Taipower), the leading power supplier in Taiwan, has awarded Alcatel a multimillion US dollar contract to implement a digital microwave radio backbone network. Leveraging the company's digital microwave technology, the project will enhance the efficiency of Taipower's network to carry voice and data traffic across its power plants. Scheduled to be complete in 2004, the microwave backbone will span 1,400 km north to south of Taiwan and include 51 microwave stations.

The contract relies on the deployment of the Alcatel MDR-8000, a low to high capacity platform for point-to-point wireless communication links, with a wide ranging scalability to meet the changing needs of wireless transport, and its implementation is seen as complementary to the existing fibre network, which is based on the company's data-aware Optical Multi-service Node (OMSN) systems. Commenting on the significance of the contract, Gerard Galbe, general manager of Alcatel's optical and wireless transmission activities in Taiwan, stated, "Alcatel provides a comprehensive product and service portfolio addressing mobile, fixed and non-carrier operators, which can be tailored according to customer requirements."

Vislink Comes Under Surveillance in Malaysia

In a departure from its usual broadcast market, Vislink has been awarded a £1.12 M contract to supply satellite and microwave communications equipment to the Malaysian Government. Working into the central station based in Kuala Lumpur, the new equipment will provide high quality video and audio communications to support security activities during major conferences and events in the region.

The contract includes the supply of a digital satellite news-gathering vehicle equipped with the company's Lynx 2.0 m antenna system and a command and control vehicle, supported with three Mantis 190 Flyaway systems and three UCL Microwave Link systems. The antenna system has been selected due to its compact design and proven reliability, the Mantis systems for their flexibility and the analogue microwave links to give the Malaysian Government added options in deploying surveillance video circuits from buildings and conference centres, back to the command centre. Thus, strengthening their policy of proactive surveillance against the threat of terrorism.

Talking about the new departure, Vislink's managing director, Jonathan Flint, commented, "We are always working to extend Vislink's business focus into sectors beyond its usual broadcast market, and this contract illustrates our achievement in doing this."

Demonstrating a New Air Defence Radar

In a contract that will be conducted in partnership with the Thales Group, ThalesRaytheonSystems has signed a 70 M contract with the French defence procurement agency, Délégation Générale pour l'Armement (DGA), to develop a demonstrator for a new generation of air defence radar.

The demonstrator production will mark the first phase in the development of a new generation of mobile, multi-functional, modular radars (M3R) and a new line of products. With unprecedented range capabilities on low radar cross-section targets such as cruise missiles, these radars will provide an effective response to a diverse threat environment encompassing both conventional air defence and antitactical ballistic missile (ATBM) low level and very low level threats.

The contract calls for production of a new type of solid-state electronic component for the radar, followed by construction of a modular active phased-array antenna. This two-phase approach is designed to provide proof of concept before launching prototype development and series production.

Phasing in CDMA2000 1X Networks in China

As part of Phase 3 of China Unicom's expansion of its nationwide CDMA2000 1X network, the company is deploying networks based on Nortel Networks solutions in four markets in China. The deployments, which began in April 2003 and are expected to be fully completed by the end of the year, will enable coverage that is more comprehensive and richer applications in Chongqing Municipality and in Zhejiang, Shandong and Heilongjiang provinces.

The deployments for Phase 3 include base station controllers (BSC), mobile switching centres (MSC), ''boomer'' cells and other base transceiver stations (BTS), and takes advantage of Nortel Networks being a supplier with wireless data networks operating in all three advanced technologies - GPRS, CDMA2000 and UMTS.

The company has supplied solutions to China Unicom for Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the expansion. Overall, the contracts underlying these deployments are estimated to be worth approximately US$139 M. It is expected that these expansions will ultimately provide China Unicom with increased CDMA2000 1X network capacity for close to six million subscribers in the four markets, paving the way for end users to enjoy enhanced facilities and wider applications including high speed wireless data services.

Big Developments in Small 3G Base Stations

NTT DoCoMo Inc. has announced the development of micro base stations for the FOMA® (a mobile service based on W-CDMA) 3G network that are up to 1/30th the size of conventional base stations. The FOMA service area has developed steadily, reaching 96 percent of the population nationwide at the end of September 2003. It is hoped that the micro base stations will allow the service to expand more economically and with greater flexibility for adaptation to operational environments.

The micro base stations have both outdoor and indoor applications. In outdoor areas with low population densities, the stations' low cost means that enough units can be installed to ensure necessary coverage on an economical basis. For indoor applications in buildings and underground malls, where installation spaces are limited, an external antenna allows the stations to be placed out of the way without sacrificing signal strength.

For these indoor applications, the plan is to have a total of 1600 conventional and micro base stations in operation nationwide by the end of March 2004, increasing to 3000 by the end of March 2005.

WCDMA Base Station Contract for Filtronic 3G RF Units

Filtronic, a global designer and manufacturer of customised microwave electronic subsystems for the wireless telecommunications and defence industries, has announced that it has been selected by a new OEM customer to supply initial quantities of an integrated radio frequency head unit to be installed in 3G wideband code division multiple access (WCDMA) base stations. Production quantities are expected to commence in the second half of the 2004 calendar year.

The units contain power amplifiers, which incorporate the unique, high power, compound semiconductor transistors manufactured in Filtronic's fabrication facility at Newton Aycliffe, UK. The units also contain up/down converters and high speed digital baseband interface and processing capability.