Microwave Journal

The Commercial Market

February 1, 2002

The Commercial Market

Terrorism Attacks Accelerate Interest in GPS Applications

According to Allied Business Intelligence, Global Positioning System (GPS) applications have attracted increased interest in the wake of the terrorism attacks of 2001.

American society has changed from one that is casual toward these kinds of threats to one that is on the alert for them. GPS will play an increasingly important role in this new "alert" society. ABI's report, "GPS World Markets 2002: Prospects for Satellite Navigation and Locator Applications," addresses these concerns and offers a thorough examination of the market place.

One of the most important of the emerging GPS initiatives is the wireless E911 mandate requiring cellular carriers to link caller location to an emergency call. Although network-based solutions are being developed, most carriers will likely adopt handset-based GPS functionality. In addition, other GPS-based "people-tracking" devices are being developed that are simple as a pendant tucked into a child's pocket or backpack.

GPS is used for a variety of applications by many different industries. Besides the military, end uses fall into nine primary categories: aviation, marine, people tracking, recreation, surveying/mapping, timing, communications, in-vehicle navigation and vehicle/freight tracking; the latter three account for two-thirds of total revenue. Primary market drivers and major players are listed for each segment.

Several alternatives to GPS exist, including GLONASS, the Russian system, and Galileo, the proposed European alternative. Their influence on the overall market place is discussed along with their long term viability.

GPS is not near maturity. The overall market continues to grow at a fast pace, with new market segments and new generations of products constantly evolving. The life cycle of some of the industry's products is very short because new technologies displace the old often in less than six months. The need to capture market share early on is essential.

Details are available at www.alliedworld.com or by calling (516) 628-3113.

Bluetooth Has a Fine Showing at Comdex

According to Cahners Instat group, Comdex arrived this year with many more Bluetooth-enabled products making a showing than last year's Comdex or the last CES. This year, the Bluetooth Pavillion had an excellent location next to Microsoft and Sony prime real estate sections.

An easy to observe, very positive aspect this year was the obvious showing of more Bluetooth-enabled products and accessories and interesting demonstrations with many of the products. New demonstrations included new software user-interface applications as well as demonstrations that used a variety of Bluetooth-enabled devices.

The difference this time was that many more of these demonstrations took place at the OEM booths than they have in the past. This is as it should be. In order for the public to become more aware of the added features that will be available via Bluetooth, they naturally need to observe this with the companies that they are familiar with, and what companies will offer these products. On the carrier side, wireless providers indicate that they have an interest in and are evaluating plans to potentially deploy Bluetooth access points and networks. These evaluations include billing and other software requirements, integrating it into their infrastructure and related issues. Don't look for these carrier deployments, in the US at least, to be around the next corner, but if all goes well, 2003 could be realistic for small trials. Japan, Korea and Europe are ahead of the curve with respect to deployments and enterprise Bluetooth access point deployment plans.

IEEE Standard 802.16 Sets Stage for Growth of Metropolitan Area Networks

The Standard Board of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Standard Association (IEEE-SA) formally approved IEEE Standard 802.16 ("Air Interface for Fixed Broadband Wireless Access Systems"). The approval sets the stage for the widespread development of 16 to 66 GHz wireless metropolitan area networks as an economical method of high speed "last mile" connection to public networks.

The global IEEE 802.16 wirelessMAN air interface standard is the first broadband wireless access standard from an accredited standards body. It was published in January 2002. The approved draft can be found in the IEEE catalog at http://WirelessMAN.org/published.html.

"The new WirelessMan standard is a ground breaking development that changes the landscape for providers and customers of high speed networks," said Roger Marks, chair of the 802.16 Working Group on Broadband Wireless Access. "The standard makes highly efficient use of bandwidth and supports voice, video and data applications with the quality that customers demand."

The 802.16 standard creates a platform on which to build a broadband wireless industry using high rate systems that install rapidly without extensive metropolitan cable infrastructures. It was created in a two-year, open-consensus process that involved hundreds of engineers from the world's leading operators and vendors.

The standard enables interoperability among devices from multiple manufacturers. It includes a medium access control layer (MAC) that supports multiple physical layer specifications. The physical layer is optimized for bands from 10 to 66 GHz. Extensions to the 2 to 11 GHz bands are expected to be completed next summer in the Working Group's 802.16a amendment.

The 802.11g Draft Standard - A Win for the WLAN Industry

The IEEE 802.11g task group has voted on a compromise from TI, Intersil and other member companies as the new standard for 802.11g. The draft standard makes 802.11a data rates (up to 54 Mbps) available in the 2.4 GHz band with interoperability with existing 802.11b devices, paving the way for multimode WLAN devices. Here is a quick look at the 802.11g draft standard.

Mandatory modes:

  • OFDM operating in the 2.4 GHz band. OFDM is the modulation for 802.11a today, which is why the new draft standard provides data rates up to 54 Mbps in the 2.4 GHz band.
  • 802.11b mode (CCK) to offer compatibility and interoperability with 802.11b, (Wi-Fi) devices.

Optional modes:

  • PBCC-22, which was TI's proposal for the 802.11g standard. This provides 22 Mbps data rates and compatibility with 802.11b since it includes 1-11 Mbps transmission rates, as defined in the 802.11b standard.
  • CCK-OFDM was Intersil's proposal for the 802.11g standard (not the same as CCK in the 802.11b standard).

Synergy Research Group Forecasts 168 Percent Growth for the WLAN Market by 2005

Wireless LAN equipment sales are estimated to surpass the $1.3 M mark by the end of 2001 and reach upward of $3.5 B annually by the end of 2005, according to Synergy Research Group.

"Wireless LAN equipment continued to display its immunity to the present and unfavorable global economic conditions," said Aaron Vance, WLAN analyst at Synergy Research Group. "This market continued to grow because the technology not only saves enterprise's and consumer's time, money and efforts, but it also enhances productivity and flexibility. Furthermore, the strength of this market is especially significant when one considers the forthcoming arrival of the much anticipated 802.11a wireless devices, along with the ratification of the 802.11g wireless standard by the IEEE."

Overall WLAN market leaders for the third quarter were Cisco, Agere, Linksys, Buffalo (Melco) and D-Link; fort the Enterprise segment, Cisco, Agere, Symbol and Enterasys were the leaders, while the SOHO/Home segment, Linksys, Buffalo (Melco), D-Link and NETGEAR rounded out the top four.